The Only Real Opponent You Have, In Work or in Life, Is Yourself

Mahatama Gandhi once said – “As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world – that is the myth of the atomic age – as in being able to remake ourselves.” And indeed, it is one of the greatest myths of this world that we have to fight our battles in the outside world.

Everyone who has reached the pinnacle of sport, business, or his/her chosen profession knows that there comes a time when you realise that the real opponent which you have to fight is you yourselves. To take our performance above a certain level, we need to break our safety walls and take new actions which previously we might not have even thought of. By changing ourselves we actually change the world around us.

If you want to win the race, then you have to get on the bike

If you want to win the race, then you have to get on the bike

If we want to improve our performance manifold, instead of just learning new courses or reading new books, we need to work on our commitment to the goal we are after. We should make that commitment so unwavering that our own lazy and procrastinating self (and yes, we all have that) can’t stop us from doing what is necessary.

So don’t miss the morning walk, even if you are sick or it is raining outside. Don’t stop doing something just because it is getting tough for you. You have given a commitment, and it is your fight with yourself that you need to win to complete that commitment.

If we can demand nothing less than excellence from ourselves and others in every little task we do, whether it is watering the plants or giving that presentation, the kind of results we produce will change dramatically.

We should strive to give our best to every second, and not just in the important events. We have to make things happen, by doing what we have never done before, or by doing them in a way that we have never tried before.

“Character, like a photograph, develops in darkness.”
— Yousuf Karsh

Discover The Strength Inside
All of us have amazing strengths which we never realise or acknowledge unless we are forced by some sudden situation which requires us to act beyond what we think we are capable of. This is epitomised by the famous saying – “When the going gets tough, the tough gets going.”

So the so called ‘tough‘ people seem to get their strength out of nowhere in tough times. Our defeats tell us more about ourselves than our victories. We all have tremendous reservoirs of strengths hidden beneath us, but we have to dig deep and defeat our own ‘stay in comfort zone‘ self to uncover it.

I will end with this powerful quote by Arnold Schwarzenegger

“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.”

Only if you knew!!

(As imagined by me from a lower class Indian kid, who is poor, illiterate, without a future, exploited and has no clue what to do. To the average middle class Indian who is educated, employed, and making his mark in the world)

The story of my struggles with life,
Never reaches you!
I will be glad only if you knew,
Maybe just a few!!

The numerous tears I have been shedding,
Never tells my story to you!
Only if you knew that I was the future,
Which was dreamt of by Nehru!!

That I use mud both for playing and hunger,
Never touches you!
Only if you could bring me some toys,
Red, green or blue!!

That I have to work as soon as I can,
Never jolts and scares you!
Only if you knew that millions,
Like me are waiting for a rescue!!

The distance between books and me,
Never might have bothered you!
Only if you could see my dreams,
Of going to school and having a guru!!

The jingling of the songs in my head,
Never reaches you!
Only if you could hear the music,
And dance a few steps, too!!

I am waiting for you to come,
To show me a future new!
Where I can play in colorful clothes,
Maybe even get a new hairdo!!

I jump in joy and smile when,
I believe my dreams can be true!
I am waiting for that day to come,
Only if you knew!!