Monday, September 12, 2011


It seemed impossible. Jumping over the barbed fence that was about waist high. He again traced back a few yards , took a run up but aborted his attempt on approaching the fence.
These attempts were leading nowhere and was making him increasingly frustrated and despondent. Eventually, he reached out for his wallet and threw it over the fence.
He deliberately forced himself to a point of no return. Cutting off all the options of not jumping the fence.
Often, our free will and sense of insecurity forces us to keep alternatives . Plan B, C and D to every plan A, a kind of insurance against failure of plan A. But this insurance may also tend to blunt the efforts to make plan A successful.
We often read about rags to riches stories of people who overcame odds from the brink of total destruction. Like the protagonist of “ Pursuit of Happiness”. The desire to succeed gets amplified in an inverse proportion to the available options. The ‘no other option’ mindset pushes one to the limit as it becomes a matter of survival. Action and reaction are equal and opposite states a fundamental law of motion. When the forces against are perceived as having the potential to threaten ones survival, the reaction generated is also one that matches these forces. Do we really strive to do our best in every endeavour of ours? Is it necessary for the circumstances to push us to a point of no return to really get the best out of us? The lord has spoken of doing ones best with scant regard to the outcome. When one is pushed to the ground, one is scarcely obsessed with the outcome as what remains is merely the instinct to survive. The success of ones endeavours in such situations is relegated to becoming just a by-product of ones efforts. The strength of our efforts lies in the conviction that we have in ourselves. Faith in oneself surpasses faith in any other, may it be a deity, or any object of worship. Embarking on anything new does involve exiting ones comfort zone. This comfort zone, becomes a sort of bondage. It raises imaginary fears of failure that stymie the will to rise and march forward. There is a very thin line dividing impulse and courage. Most incredible success stories certainly have an element of impulse. But they are also coupled with a strong self belief and never say die attitude. Problems are part perception , largely self doubt and a very tiny bit reality. That is precisely why what appears as a problem to one manifests as an opportunity to the other. Need is the mother of invention. Even serendipity blesses the one who is obsessed with his objective. This obsession might open the proverbial third eye that spots the obvious where conformism and comfort blind the two eyes. Leaving no escape route requires courage and conviction. Having a plan b is what wisdom would suggest. But then wisdom is the luxury of comfort. Security eliminates the thrill of going all out and blunts the cutting edge of all effort. The paradox of a no alternative mindset is that it opens up alternatives within ourselves. We become aware of facets within which we never knew existed. It develops a lateral thinking ability and pushes the bar of our own abilities. That is the reason adversity stimulates our own growth. And the ultimate silver edge to this cloud of ‘no alternative’ is the contribution by this huge unending universe as we tread on this path of no return. Serendipity and help from unexpected quarters are natures way of rewarding the courage and conviction to this traveller on the path of no return.

Dr Deepak Ranade