Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Preach and Practice - Which is Easier?

Life is a paradox in itself…there are contradictions at every step. While making your New Year resolutions, one of them is surely linked with health – mine too was to eat less sweet, and here I am, just can’t come out of sweet. Similarly, people say that they want to work in organizations that provide them with job contentment, but don’t most of them end-up chasing the paycheck with the maximum digits?

People like you and me will believe in lots of things and will also talk about it all the time, giving ‘gyaan’ to others surrounding us; however, how much of it, do we REALLY practice? Well, my answer to it is – It is impossible to do it completely.

I may not be able to lessen 100% of the weight of contradiction that we undergo every single day; however, I may be able to guide you towards the first step in lessening their impact on your life.

I will take you to the days when we were studying Cognitive Dissonance in our Psychology class. This indeed sounds like a fancy term, but refers to something extremely simple. It refers to the feeling of discomfort that results from holding two contradictory ideas (To Be or Not to Be…!). This happens when we believe in eating healthy food, but cannot resist Pizza Hut. It also happens when we believe in time management but the other person always keeps us waiting. In such a situation, you can make only 2 decisions – first is to rationalize that “the other person is always late because of which my tasks get affected and delayed in the process”. The second is to believe that either it is wrong to be good time manager or wrong to expect that everyone is as good a time manager as you. The reality is that it is indeed easier to rationalize (that’s what we think)…but much more challenging, yet important to change our expectations from all around us.

Once you start being truthful with yourself, just start questioning what you do and why you do it. So much of whatever we do is a result of sheer conditioning and habituation. We do things because we have always been doing it. This makes it all the more important to start questioning these things: Why am I doing what I'm doing? Why do I believe what I believe? More often than not, we'll see that the real answer to those questions is: because I've been told/conditioned/manipulated, etc. to do so. Then, and only then (once this is acknowledged), can we start living true to ourselves. Thus, it's important to question both what we preach and what we practice. Maybe we'll see that one, either, or even both aren't really based on anything valid at all, but rather conditioning, fear, and basic selfish desire.

My next thought leads me towards self-control. The most important thing here is, if you have knowledge of something – believe it in first honestly. You know that junk food is bad for health, but do you believe in it? Don’t you keep proliferating this to everyone, but still end up lying to yourself by eating those scrumptious ‘pani-puri’s’? Well, first Believe! The next step is to begin with little steps.

I remember, I used to work for 15 to 16 hours, without feeling tired; but, gradually realized that it started taking a toll on my personal and social life. This realization did not lead to a magical, over-night change. It took me time to shift my behaviors and habits to what I believed were true and here I am today working from 0930 to 1830 hrs, giving complete effectiveness and efficiency at work and of course, having lots of time for myself, family and friends.

You will realize that this post talks about the core of how we change things in our lifestyle. The trick is to just be honest with the person called ME. Remember, rationalization is so powerful that it always gives us false faith that we are right.


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  2. Hey thanks Dhruv...but cannot access your says it has been removed.