Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Experience variety

It was during the first week of joining my engineering college. An exciting period of my life where I experienced my new found freedom and a false sense of adulthood. I began looking forward to every approaching day in college with childlike curiosity. The anticipation of the unknown, a heady mix of fear and excitement kept the mind happily agitated. Fear and excitement of being ragged in college. We all grow up hearing about the thing called ragging through stories; some true, some made up. But the college management had dealt strongly on ragging and we freshers were shielded from the seniors with war like tactical strategy. I was sorely disappointed. How much had I looked forward to this day to experience what ragging was like once in my life. All the months of curious anticipation that rose to a crescendo was now going to end as a damp squib. I resented at the thought of it. I wanted to experience ragging first hand. I wanted to have stories in my life that I could share with my kids when they grew up; stories of my ragging experience. I decided not to heed the instructions and jump into the enemy camp. So with a fake air of confidence, head held high, collar unbuttoned, sleeves folded, I walked alone to the canteen infested with seniors. The details of what ensued isn’t necessary for this post but the dressing down that I received in the canteen will remain etched in my memories forever. And I asked for it for the sake of experience. ;)

This might not be an ideal way of experiencing life, but that’s how I am. I don’t know since when, but I always believed that experiencing life closely in all its vagaries is important for self growth. And I don’t just mean only experiences that come your way, but experiences that you deliberately create and bump into. I have listed out certain advantages of looking for deliberate experiences in life:

Don’t fall into a pattern:

One should never fall into a pattern in life is what I had always heard and wanted to believe in. So I consciously sought variety in life even when I wasn’t comfortable with it.In my brief career of 7 years, I have worked in 5 different states Gurgaon, Faridabad, Pune, Bangalore, Hyderabad. Having worked in the IT sector for 7 years, I did an about turn to work in the arena of rural marketing. My work requires to travel hinterland of India and helps corporates set their brands there. A loner as a person, working in so many states with varied organizations, helped me open up and become adaptable. Today fitting in is not a problem for me.If you always take the same road, how will you ever find anything new

Enhances quality of life:

An year back, I picked up my backpack and left for the Himalayas alone for 15 days. My idea of travelling alone to the Himalayas stemmed up from this very thought of experiencing life. Surrendering yourself to the mighty mountains alone could be a life enhancing experience. I have tried to persuade the Gorkhas in Mana village to allow me to stay at their place overnite and they have reluctantly agreed.Has it had an effect on me? I think it should have. I am not sure. May be that will manifest itself subtly in some way tomorrow. During my Himalayan trip, I remember my tour guide Rajneesh talk about a Malaysian woman who along with her two year old baby stayed at a cave in the deep Garhwal mountains for a month. After a month both the mother and her daughter looked disheveled and rugged. She often comes there every year for such adventure.

Multidimensional life:

I have worked in some of the biggest companies in the world like Siemens, Sun Microsystems and CA. Today I work with a small startup that isn’t even a speck compared to where I have worked before. But whereas the work was unidimensional in my previous organization, the work in my current organization is ad hoc. It is maddening like a whirlpool. There is nothing to fall back upon. There is no one to give you instructions. There is no one to listen to your issues. The only fact is, work needs to be done. Period. Buck stops at you. But with all this, there is so much to learn.Today with my new field of work, I stay engaged. I keep looking for ways to delight my clients. I realized how important smiling is in my day to day interactions. I realized to keep my ego in check. I meet difficult people every day. I learn different ways of interacting with different people; how to convince, cajole, coerce, placate etc. I learn to look at things from others’ perspective for the first time in life. Today, I do not have an issue in interacting smoothly with a tribal farmer in a remote village in Nasik or delivering a presentation to the COO of my fortune 100 client. In short the experience makes you well rounded and the growth as a person is fulfilling.

Removes fear and discomfort:

The only way to dispel fear is to attack it head on. My fear of facing a crowd was gradually won over when I decided to tackle it head on. I joined Toastmasters. I kept failing. I kept faltering. I deliberately jumped in to host little events in my office or other public forums. It gradually became my comfort zone to the point that I started receiving compliments for my presentations.

Childlike curiosity:

Making a conscious effort to experience life keeps alive the child within. And it is very important again or self growth. I remember visiting Papakondulu in Andhra Pradesh with a big contingent. The trip was a launch ride on the mighty Godavari cutting across beautiful mountains called Papikondulu. While there were many of us observing the enchanting waters and hills of the beautiful Godavari, there were some who played cards all through the journey. On their way back it was them who complained how pathetic the place was. But to me and many others Papikondulu was one of the beautiful places in India. To appreciate beauty you ought to observe the experience . Your eyes should twinkle with child like curiosity. Only then you would be able to find more colors in the world than what meets the eye.Experience More. Live More. Because you live just once.


Kumar Friday, March 19, 2010 1:21:00 AM  

I really like your perspective of Life. I see a little bit of me in you....I did try some of the wildest things like Skydiving and more just for the sake of experience...Viva la vida ! You should try to visit US or other country, there are great things that you can try here...you may check my Skydiving experience on my blog : http://redbus2us.com/skydiving-add-some-direction-to-your-life-experience-the-thrill/

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