Recently I have written about giving and what it can do for you, and creating a new culture of giving and helping is the vision behind PickaFight. In this article, I am going to focus on why the ability and openness to receive is as important as giving to constantly improve the quality of our lives. When we give out, it is also important to be open to receive, which is one of the toughest steps for us as human beings. Even receiving praise and appreciation makes us uneasy many times, leave alone to receive criticism, and the different lessons our setbacks bring along with them.
I see life as a journey and all of us as its pupils. We should look to enjoy the ride and feel its energy. There is so much to learn from each moment, be it moments of happiness, despair, sorrow or anger. We should always seek to be life’s students. The day we think we are the master of our lives, life has a knack of knocking us down to show us our place. For example, Sachin Tendulkar has almost all cricket batting records to his name. Still, you can see his humility and love for cricket whenever he speaks. He is always a student of cricket, and always looking to learn and receiving to improve his batting. He never goes out and says, “I am the master, I am the best, I don’t need to learn anymore.” Always be a student of life to truly enjoy what it has to offer.
We live in a world where learning and receiving is only linked with formal modes of education and training. So when a person finishes his school and college and moves into the professional world and later into family life, the emphasis on receiving declines. Every success makes us more confident and less open to receiving. Every failure or setback normally takes us into a blame game, whether we blame ourselves or somebody else. This makes us stubborn. What I am trying to say is that life is the biggest teacher and its every moment is a lesson. But it reaches only those who are open to receiving. This one ability is what makes all the difference in the quality of lives we live.
In my recent article, Seeking Comfort in Discomfort, I mentioned about learning from uncomfortable situations and people. This learning is only possible when we give up our ‘being right‘ or ‘the problem is not with me‘ attitude and are open to receive the lesson life has hidden in that moment. It takes patience and courage to really look deep inside and ask ourself, “What can I learn from this situation?” or “What is the next level I need to step upto to deal with this challenge?”
Life is always giving to us, be it through some situations, events or individuals. It only depends on us how much we want to receive. We receive only that much for what we are open. That is how some people have great lives and others don’t. If you the see the greatest achievers, be it in sports or business, the one thing you will find in common is the willingness to continuously learn from life, situations and people. ‘Kaizen‘, a Japanese concept which means “continuous improvement” is a perfect example of what I am saying. Kaizen is based on making little changes on a daily basis, to make things better, to make yourself better, day after day. It is applied in every aspect of a person’s life in Japan where we all know their industrial productivity standards are a benchmark all around the world.
All of what you want to do, everything you want to achieve, be it spiritual happiness or material goods, it can’t happen if you are not open to receive. And if you are, you will learn from life so much that you have no idea the kind of person you can become and the kind of results you can accomplish. If you don’t believe it, try to be open to receiving for the next few days. Just be aware of each situation you face, each person you met and try to introspect what you can learn from him/her. We can learn a lot from small and little things which we normally ignore. For example – You can learn from a janitor in your office the art of smiling and wishing everyone. Situations which don’t go the way you expected can teach you patience which is a very important virtue missing in our fast paced daily lives.
So just absorb yourselves in your daily lives and receive as much as possible for a few days. Try to implement what you receive to bring in daily improvements when you face similar situations in life again. Be aware of every moment. Don’t go on auto-pilot. See if you can make out any difference in a few days. I am telling you, you might be astonished.