Sunday, August 31, 2008

Eight Guiding Principles of My Life

Thirty two years of life in planet earth has taught me a lot. Like all human beings I had so many ups and downs in my life. I was able to enjoy the ups in my life with a level head and downs with courage and determination due to some principles I adore. So what are the principles of life I follow? Here they are -

1-Life’s not a Bed of Roses:

I was in sixth grade and watching this interview in Doordarshan with the great Malayalam actor Prem Nazir. As a kid I was thinking that he may be one of the happiest people in the world. He had money, fame, a good family and everything else. In the interview he was talking about the hardships he had to undergo before and after he became an actor. He told in the interview “Life is not bed of roses”. Here you are listening to a person who owns a Guinness world record for the maximum number of movies as hero (whopping 600 plus movies) and telling in national television that life is not a bed of roses. I realized from then on how true that statement was.

If you think at any stage of your life, your life will become smooth with no issues you are living in a fool’s paradise. The life will throw at you a lot of hurdles, sometimes very brutal ones and how you overcome those challenges and move forward defines your “success rate” as a human.

2-Live Within your Means

This is one of the most important lessons my parents have taught me. Know your means and never live beyond it under any circumstance. It will land you in very big trouble. When I was a kid we had a lot of financial difficulties. Salary of my parents was just sufficient to meet the day to day expense. There used to be few days at the end of the month when we don’t have any money in the house. We couldn’t afford to buy lot of dresses. Other than the school uniform I had just one shorts and a shirt. Wherever I go I used to wear that and if someone asked me why you are wearing the same dress my mother has told me to tell them that “we cannot afford more”. If I cannot afford something I am not ashamed to tell that openly at that age or even now. If I cannot afford something I resist from it what ever be the temptation. I have seen so many people shooting their own foot by living beyond their means.

3-Plan for all Possibilities

Before you do anything major in your life, plan for all the possibilities especially the worst ones. You never know what is in store for you when you execute the plan. I have seen people who think only about the positive when going to do something major stuff in their life. I do think about the positives but I dissect the negatives more than the positives so that I will be mentally and physically prepared to face the worst. For example when I got admit for my Masters from Arizona State University (ASU), I was kind of apprehensive if I could do well in the US system of education. Before I resigned my job in India I thought about all the possible positives and negatives that can happen to me if I come to US for my Masters. That planning really helped me overcome the difficult six months of school in US as I had thought about the exact same scenario even before I left for US from India.

4-Compare Yourselves with Achievers

An example – you are an average student and you have 2 friends – one a topper in the class and another one who hardly studies and always fails in the class. It is easy and fun to follow your friend who always fails in the class but lot of hard work and determination to catch up with the topper. If you compare yourself with people who have achieved more than you, then you would work hard and determination will automatically come in you which will help you to climb ladders of success. But if you compare yourself with someone who has achieved equally or less than you a sense of complacency leaps into you and you will lose that urge to put on extra effort to fine tune your skills.

5-Never Complain

I have seen lot of people who are so blessed in life with almost all the physical stuff needed to live a happy life but always complain. I have written a blog “Complaint Maniacs” about such people. I have seen people who complain that they don’t have enough money when they earn a six digit salary. You may never see me complaining. Rather than complaining I always try to make the best out of the given situation. In Arizona I have seen a lot of people complaining about excess heat during summer. For me, the way I take that – even if a couple of months are extremely hot we have some very pleasant climate coming up winter. Again most of the times we will be in an air conditioned office/house/car. So why should we complain? If I was in a place like Alaska, I should have seen the good side of cold weather and lived happily.

6-Never Showoff

If some one who knows me 20 years back and sees me now they don’t see any difference in the way I talk to them. I have seen a lot of people for who even a small piece of success will go into their head and start showing off. There are people out there who buy for example a posh car even if they cannot afford just to create an “artificial impression” within the society. Once you are into the business of showoffs you need to do more showoffs to be in this business and there is a good chance that it will ruin you.

7-Know Your Limits

I believe knowing your limits is very essential to succeed in life. It has lot of advantages – knowing your limits will help you work hard on it or one can avoid it all together. For example if a cricketer knows that he is bad at playing a hook shot, then in the nets he can practice it and if he is still not confident, he can avoid that shot in the match. If he doesn’t know that he may be getting out to the same shot again and again. As a student I used to excel in math oriented classes and do badly in classes that have a lot to read. Knowing that beforehand helped me a lot. While selecting courses for my Masters and PhD, I tend to choose courses that have lot of math in it. Even if I had to take classes that require lot of reading, I know beforehand that I have to put in extra effort.

On a lighter note…this is applicable only for me

8-Food is for Survival and Not for Taste.

For me food is something to quench hunger and not something for taste. Give me a bowl of ice cream, a chocolate bar, chicken curry or bitter gourd juice - I never prefer one over the other and eat all the four dishes with the same enjoyment as long as it satisfies my hunger. The most embarrassing situation comes when someone asks me “how was/is the food?” and the answer always is positive for me. My wife, my parents and my close friends know that they should never ask me the following questions “which cuisine do you want to have food from?” or “how did the food in that particular restaurant taste”. Hope all who are reading this piece also don’t ever ask any questions concerning the taste of food.

Labels: ,

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Enter You Email to Subscribe this Blog


Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz

10 Comments:

Blogger Ram said...

Yeah man, we know about #8 all right :). Poor Deepa. Or should I say lucky Deepa? Whatever she makes is going to get the same reaction.

#2 - #7 all relate to people/situations we all have faced. The problem is - they don't realize what they're doing till someone calls them on it.

The comment I related to the most is the one about people commenting how we have never changed despite getting jobs, earning money etc - that's the true measure of being grounded.

August 31, 2008 6:03 PM  
Blogger drsubbu said...

DEAR BRIJESH,
Well written Honest piece.
I have come up by hard work and I have succeeded with the pure realisation and following the priciples of living truthfully and within means without hurting anyone by words or deeds.This is our family's guiding principles. I share your thoughts sincerely. I must admit my wife Malar, my daughter Bharathi and my son Sripathy are the true back bone of my life and success.

August 31, 2008 6:13 PM  
Anonymous Siva said...

Nair in #4 you should not have insulted Mr like this.

August 31, 2008 6:25 PM  
Blogger Bharu said...

This is very well written piece and very honest. I can related to all your principle (except #8) is what my dad and mum have lived their lives by. There are few people who are able to hold on to their principles in life. My dad is one of them. I think its been possible because he had a very strong and supportive life partner who helped him stay level grounded and honest. So it is not good enough that you have those principles but that your wife is also supportive of your principles.
(So say thanks to Deepa!)

I have one more to add and that is: As much as it is possible treat others the way you would like to be treated.

To all those who complain things could always be worse!

Nice read Brijesh!

September 01, 2008 1:55 AM  
Blogger Bharu said...

This is very well written piece and very honest. I can related to all your principle (except #8) is what my dad and mum have lived their lives by. There are few people who are able to hold on to their principles in life. My dad is one of them. I think its been possible because he had a very strong and supportive life partner who helped him stay level grounded and honest. So it is not good enough that you have those principles but that your wife is also supportive of your principles.
(So say thanks to Deepa!)

I have one more to add and that is: As much as it is possible treat others the way you would like to be treated.

To all those who complain things could always be worse!

Nice read Brijesh!

September 01, 2008 1:58 AM  
Anonymous vijay said...

now theres a perfect man!
VJ

September 01, 2008 4:34 AM  
Anonymous Lakshmi said...

Nair,
The 9th principle should have been - If somebody appreciates Malayalam movies and requests ' Vadaken Veera Kadha' you should give it to them, somehow.
Anyways very well thought out and well written entry.

September 01, 2008 7:23 AM  
Blogger Mani said...

#1 – “Life is not a bed of roses but rather a bed of rose plants” – I believe this sentence represents better! It is as important to inculcate a broader perspective and mental strength in a kid as to develop good habits or to groom intelligence in the kid. “If you think at any stage of your life your life will be smooth with no issues you are living in a fool’s paradise” – more of pessimistic outlook it gives. You don’t necessarily get hurt every time you pluck a rose!

#2 – It could probably be better rephrased as “Live within your medians!” since living within your means could potentially drive you to the extremes in life (pun unintended here).

#8 – I totally disagree with it. For example, the ultimatum of having sex is obviously to reproduce but there is also a reason for your getting sensual pleasure out of it! Sensuality and sensibility don’t necessarily go hand in hand. Sensuality is more closely connected with your heart but sensibility is more associated with your mind. We have to try to use both as always as possible. “Birth’s ultimatum is Death!” But you don’t necessarily die the next moment you are born but rather you live the journey of life. Eating has also got an obvious destination, which is survival, as having sex or birth has. But it has got a beautiful journey too as getting sensual pleasure from having sex or living a wonderful life until death. Don’t get carried away by the destination and only focus on the journey. You will eventually reach your destination. I also don’t see any significant evolutionary reason yet for human beings to lose the tongue like they have lost their tail or their excessive body hair! Please use your tongue to taste the food. It also makes sense!

Rest of the points are not only honestly said but also said with a sense of balance. Great going!

September 02, 2008 1:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two things
- I think guiding principles one should follow than preach. Unless one follows those, there is no value in posting it. By listing these principles if you are trying to publish as your opinion then its good. If you are expecting some one to look up to you as role model then sorry to say, you need maturity.
* I can club all of these principles into one category - "Old middle class mentality". Historically great achievers had a "think big" attitude than a submissive middle class one.

September 17, 2008 7:26 AM  
Blogger Brijesh Nair said...

anon @ 11.26 PM
Did I write anywhere in this post that this is the best way to lead a life and others should follow that. I very well know each persons life is different.

September 17, 2008 8:10 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

Google