Let's start with a few numbers first to understand the significance of our existence on this planet. If life has been in existence for about 4 billion years, every 80 years or so there is a complete refresh of the entire human population. During these 80 years we are one among 7 billion, so by a simple calculation the significance of our existence in relation to life and humanity is about 1.142*10^(-17). (Now all the serious mathematicians reading this—please understand the sentiment and don't start finding holes in the calculation!)
If we don't express this number in this scientific manner the simple representation is ZERO. Let's call it the state of "zeroness."
Now we all have our pet theories and philosophies about how to live our lives. In my case, there is one thing that I have strived to achieve, the one catalyst that I think is profoundly empowering.
And that is fearlessness.
Every advice, every direction is to counter a fear. Become fearful and then take the medicine to counter it. Why don't we work towards becoming fearless?
I am no guru or saint or philosopher. I am just a simple executive who works hard and tries to make two ends meet and make a difference to my small, insignificant ecosystem on a daily basis. But over my 40 years of existence, out of which the last 25 were truly conscious, I have come to conclude that fearlessness is THE most empowering trait of life. A lot of gurus tell us about meditation, breathing, yoga, karma... but have you ever reflected that these are generally geared to fight the fear of something such as bad health, fear of failure, fear of something or the other. Every advice, every direction is to counter a fear. Become fearful and then take the medicine to counter it.
Why don't we work towards becoming fearless? This one thing, one trait, one goal is simply the solution to everything if one keeps the above mentioned math of inconsequentiality/zeroness in mind.
I believe life has three primary facets— work, family and external ecosystem. So how do we imbue fearlessness in each of these, rather than die every day in some form of fear?
Let's address each one separately.
In the backdrop of what's happening in the IT industry and the expected downsizing, I write about work first, as this takes the largest timeshare of our life. Taking up approximately 11 hours a day this is 45% of our time.
As I walk into office each day I am excited to achieve more than what the system expects. Ability to deliver more than what people expect and become an outlier in each small way/deliverable is amazing. But what if you aren't able achieve the best or aren't able to demonstrate expected performance in spite of doing your best? The worst that can happen is losing your job. And really that's all. When we give more importance to the employment rather than the result that we are paid to achieve we become fearful.
When we give more importance to the employment rather than the result that we are paid to achieve we become fearful.
No job will last forever, No annual operating plan/budget will be achieved perpetually and not every month or quarter will be that of expected growth. It didn't happen with Microsoft, Google, Apple and Amazon and it won't happen in your company. So just chill and simply do your best.
No boss will be perpetually happy with you. But if you do the best that you humanly can then success cannot be far behind. And this belief is empowering. But if you lie, shun ownership and steal or indulge in corruption you will always live in a state of fear. In this above-mentioned state of zeroness what is it that you are trying to achieve or prove? You can't achieve anything or prove anything that will last forever. But if you do the best that you can you feel empowered and empowered human beings achieve extraordinary results.
Corruption debilitates and good character empowers. Corruption isn't just about financial misdeeds. Corruption is wrong/diluted intent. Intent has a smell, intent has a feel and it's clearly visible. And if your intent is honourable then stop being fearful.
Your acknowledgement of your state of zeroness should empower you to carry that proverbial resignation letter in your pocket but don't die every day in the fear of being fired. That's the worst that can happen and in the cycle of life it's meaningless. No one can fire you except your own self. And when this fear of being fired is out of the window you feel empowered and as said above—empowered human being achieve extraordinary results.
For a major part of our life we ignore and take our families for granted only to make them secure for a rainy day and slog our life out because of some fear of an unknown chilly winter.
And we live in fear.
Agree or not, we are constantly trying to prove a point. A point by buying/striving for a bigger better house/car/exotic holidays/ clothes /gadgets. Nothing lasts a lifetime. Everything depreciates and eventually vanishes. But if you lead a simple life where material things stop bothering us and we just strive for all necessary comforts without pressure to demonstrate or win a race, you become fearless.
You become fearless when you lead a minimalistic life and there is little to lose. When there is nothing to lose you respect relationships more than material things.
You become fearless when you lead a minimalistic life and there is little to lose. When there is nothing to lose you respect relationships more than material things. You find greater joy in eating at home with your family and laughing with them rather than suffering in the pressure of dining in a Michelin star restaurant, that you reach after braving traffic and then worrying about spending too much. How often have you celebrated a simple meal with the entire family and just enjoyed their company without needing to prove anything to anyone? It is actually empowering because your need isn't to spend and feel pressured but to enjoy togetherness.
Wife, parents and children are all there is to a family. If you treat your parents as you would like to be treated when old, if you treat your wife as you would like your sister to be treated, life cannot be simpler. An uncomplicated life empowers you. A complicated life makes you fearful.
When you gracefully accept life and the cards that it deals for you, you feel empowered. You are fearful when you cheat and when you lie and strive to acquire things that aren't destined for you. We neglect our immediate relationships but invest time catching up with inconsequential acquaintances. Why? To further our social circle. But no one in a social circle matters except the immediate family.
Divorce rates and instances of spouses cheating on each other are at a historic (evolution to date) high. And this is because we are striving for something that doesn't belong to us or is meant for us. And that is tied to fear. Fearlessness is when you can look in each other's eyes and smile with the greatest degree of confidence without even the need of saying I love you.
Live within your means—eat like a pauper and live like a king, don't buy/spend to prove something but only spend on what you need. You and your family will feel empowered and fearless forever.
This comprises your friends and relatives. I have realised that there are only going to be 4-6 truly reliable people in this realm. And your true friends aren't ever going to judge you by your possessions or by your lifestyle. Whether you live in a 500 sq ft apartment or 50,000 sq ft house their behaviour and blessings for you will remain the same. The trick in life is to quickly identify this handful of people and ignore (get rid of) the rest.
Keeping up with the Joneses is the most fear-inducing and debilitating exercise. You feel empowered when you live within your means and give away to someone in need.
People who judge you by your car/home/holidays/liquor are just pests (assimilatory) in your ecosystem. Keeping up with the Joneses is the most fear-inducing and debilitating exercise. You feel empowered when you live within your means and give away to someone in need. Giving away brings joy and brings a sense of satisfaction. There is no need to talk about poverty eradication and global inequality in Davos. Just try and behave well with your maid, driver, security guards and try and make some difference to their life. It will empower you.
If you fund the deficit of these people who bring in the daily comfort to your life, it's far more joyful than the momentary satisfaction that you get by spending a similar amount of money on an expensive meal that could be equal to your driver's monthly salary. And when you make an effort to tune your thoughts in this direction you become fearless for there is nothing to lose but only to gain.
Live a comfortable life but spend on what you need and not what you want and you will live fearlessly for the rest of your life.
And lastly human beings are but a figment of their thoughts and character. To paraphrase Margaret Thatcher, good thoughts lead to good words, good words become good deeds, good deeds become good habits and good habits become great character and character is everything.