Note: This article was originally published on April 18, 2014
Few weeks back in office, during one of our sprint sessions, we were attempting to draw up the literature related to Student Entrepreneurship Policy of the Kerala State Government to go into our Wiki page. Overview section to that wiki page drawn up by Diksha prominently spoke about the role Startup Village played in bringing about such a policy into existence. In fact the first line read that it was an outcome of a campaign (a series of campaigns actually if you want to be matter of fact) undertaken by us.
While I was doing the review of the overview literature, I commented that we need to reword it and state the information in a plain and straightforward manner and eliminate all the references to the role Startup Village played in that. Yes, we might have played a crucial role in that but students who reach out to us want to only know what’s this policy all about and what’s in it for them. To this argument of mine, Diksha countered saying “But we did do a lot of work which resulted in the policy in the first place”. Well, let’s accept it, nobody cares!
The rationale of rewording was eventually accepted by the group. Tom also saw the point of “Nobody cares” but by the time we were walking out of the room after the meeting, he commented “It’s true, but it’s sad”. To me, that’s not an accurate depiction. I would prefer to reword it to depict the phenomenon more accurately — Its true, and it’s not sad. That’s just how the way it is!
Alignment as against belief & faith
There is this collective overemphasis in the world around the concept of belief, at times to the point of being delusional. To its credit, belief or faith have a lot of things going for them. Belief has resulted in the creation of marvels and led to large advancements in human prosperity. Belief has changed people, transformed masses and inspired generations. What is also to be noted is that faith is a two edged sword. Faith has equally had resulted in devastating consequences from time to time. But yet overall, I would be tempted to go with the argument that the sum total of all those consequences is net positive. That again could possibly be yet another manifestation of a belief.
The world of belief always has two sides to it. There are ups and downs. Much like the crests and troughs of a wave. Its nature dictates that for every crest there has to be a counter balancing trough; for every up, there has to be a compensating low. This correlates to the concept of a zero sum game. Belief is central to the concept of religion. And hence religions also reflect the dual nature; good & evil, heaven & earth. Can’t we better this zero sum game? Can we move into a game scenario where everyone wins?
These questions will lead us to a different thought tangent in itself and very soon you will be exploring aspects related to the cosmic nature of things. I also went through that journey and ended up with the concept of alignment as against belief. Gravity is a matter of alignment. It does not matter if we believe is gravity or not. It’s not a matter of belief, it’s only a matter of alignment. We have a choice to believe it or not. But irrespective of our choice, the universe and everything in it (us included) will be in alignment to the forces of gravity. At best, we have a choice to accept it or not.
If you further explore the concept of alignment and that too with the energies of the universe, you might end in discovering a lot of striking instances of alignment and its ability to magnify & amplify. Waves resonate when frequencies are in alignment. And resonance created by winds have moved and swayed large bridges. It is oft said that belief can move mountains. Well, I’m not too sure about that but resonance sure can make bridges dance. The concept of alignment to movements and energies is a central tenet of all forms of art; contemporary art, martial arts and sex. It’s not a zero sum game. Interestingly, information and knowledge also exhibit similar behaviours. Information and knowledge when shared tends to amplify; and exponentially that too.
In the realm of alignment, the goal is not to maximize happiness and minimize or manage sadness. The realm of alignment deems that things like happiness and success are a moving target and chasing them for their own sake is futile. In the realm of alignment, the objective is to achieve a state of flow! Its not the arbitrary goals like happiness and success that is the end but the pursuit itself. Its not the destination that makes the journey but the journey itself. A destination is only an arbitrary reference with the purpose of creating a journey.
Change as the only constant & growth as the only purpose
Change is the only constant. Things change. We change. We have a choice to accept it or resist it. At each stage, you need to outgrow the aspects that helped you grow to that point, consciously and gracefully. Growth is the only constant. The larvae need to leave its cocoon at one point irrespective of what it wishes. It has a choice to rue the fate of affairs and of not having a choice. It might prefer to retain the present state of comfort and familiarity. Or it can accept and embrace the phenomenon turning into a beautiful butterfly; of moving into a phase of movement and flight. And turn into a butterfly it will have to irrespective of what the preference is. It’s again how it is and it’s a function of alignment to the laws of life.
We go through similar phases several times in our lives. “Things used to be so much better and beautiful in the past”, “College days were the best days of my lives” “Our friendships are not the same from the time we used to be kids” “Wish things were the way it used to be” — People change, you change, everything changes! We do not have control of a lot of things that happens in our life. But we do have a choice about how those events can make us feel and how we respond to them. That is totally within our control. Swimming with the tide is a beautiful and effortless experience but what about swimming against the tide?
Your purpose and alignment is to growth; that’s also the way it is. You will need to outgrow your parents, your friends and even yourself for you to truly embrace the possibilities of moving into your next stage of growth. Like a hand of cards that has been dealt to you, you will need to figure out when to play them or fold them. And that’s what you need to get good at. Folding a hand is an equally powerful expertise in your game. Leaving an unplayable ball is a really important skill to have in cricket. Is it time to retire or what’s required is to be tenacious to see this tough phase through? Sometime, you will need to fold, you will need to leave and you will need to retire. There will be times when those are your only moves and it may even be the last move you get to make. Even at that stage, you have the power and the choice to do it consciously and graciously.
Your purpose and alignment is to growth. And to stay true to that alignment, you will need to let go from time to time, you will need to move on; consciously and gracefully.
Let go or be dragged!