16/07/2016 5:34 PM IST | Updated 31/07/2016 12:35 AM IST

When The Mantra 'Yes I Can' Turns Bad

Wavebreakmedia Ltd

These three words are linked with an indomitable will. They represent the power of positive assertiveness: "Yes, I can". But wait, this isn't an exposition on motivation. I intend to explore the relationship of these three words with everything that society despises, shuns and rebukes. Even a burglar says, "Yes I can." So do politicians. Scamsters. Smugglers. Thieves. Rapists.

Spare a moment to enter the mind of a plagiarist on social media and listen to him exult as he looks at a picture or a text and thinks: "Yes, I can. I can pick this up and pretend it is mine and then the world will think I am a winner!" He is convinced that his act is not one of wrong-doing but of a gain that his mind perceives. Even a Natwarlal is completely enshrouded in the belief that what he is about to do is for a perceived gain and not necessarily aimed at harming or hurting someone. And so he mutters, "Yes, I can" and goes ahead and commits his crime. Or what we think is a crime.

"Yes, I can" is a real stealth bomber... and when it gangs up with the mind, you can expect anything to happen.

I am no psychologist but something tells me that these three words aren't really bothered about who they are hobnobbing with, good or bad. A babu favours a company that offers bribes because he thinks he can. A politician threatens, bribes, or convinces the authorities to make teachers give up their jeans because he thinks he can. A TV anchor shouts down every voice of sanity because he thinks he can. A manager in an office fudges sales figures, assuming that the loss could be compensated in the coming month and murmurs, "Yes, I can." So these three words and the mind are the two main characters that come together to enact all sorts of dramas -- some get hailed as positive and constructive and others get labelled as malicious and damaging.

The most complex part in this relationship between "Yes, I can" and the human mind is the sheer randomness of the outcomes. Look at the number of criminals who convert into model citizens and admit that the miracle happened because they were convinced that they could do it. Valmiki did it, didn't he? On the other side are perfectly fine people who decide to kill, elope, have extra-marital affairs or become paedophiles -- all because they think they can. So these three words are no guarantee of what to really expect. The other day I heard a PR executive tell a blogger, "I'll send you the press release. Please copy the entire text and upload as a post. I need to send in details by evening. Hope you can do it." And the blogger replied, "Yes, I can!"

"Yes, I can" is a real stealth bomber, if you allow me this analogy... and when it gangs up with the mind, you can expect anything to happen. They could come together and create the most sublime smooch, hug, and kiss or the deadliest explosion that you can think of.


The author's blog: The Real Fiction

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