Mr. A (a Government employee) and Mr. B (who is an avid reader) were having a conversation. They both live in a small town in India.
Mr. A: You always say me to keep on investing my money, but I need to know whether is there anything left in this country or not. Because whatever I see there is always some problem in this country. Should I leave this country, is there any use of staying here? Because whenvever I read news or see it, it is most of the times negative.
Mr. B: He starts his conversation by saying , tell me how many pair of shoes a man in this country had 10 years before, how many does a middle class boy now have? Do you go to a multiplex to spend more on a movie?
Most likely your information source is a few old news papers which love to report specific instances yet they dont give you the whole picture. It is not their duty even. News is for awareness, to keep a system of balances and checks.
Mr. A: Yes I agree, but this means consumption is rising not incomes or you can think previously one member of a family was earning now two people earn, but they also spend more.
Mr. B: I am sure your income must have risen in past few years, are you not saving more?
Mr. A: No, infact I am spending more. It is all the fault of the country or government.
Mr. B: Even if your income has risen and you are not saving thats your personal problem.
This was the last word which Mr.B uttered and he was stopped by an utterly furious Mr. A who could not control his anger and he started yelling at Mr. B. He said how dare you said it is my personal problem. Mr. A being a calm person remained silent and kept on listening to Mr. B.
After Mr. A went bashing the door, Mr. B started thinking that why this happened? Why Mr. A was so misinformed? He closed his eyes and started calling the wise man.
The Wise Man: Don’t worry it is not his problem, it is everyones problem. We love to draw inferences from our immediate circumstances or environment. Now Mr. A lives in a small town in India his maximum information is drawn from 500 people whom he may have met. News and social media may have further influenced him too much. Now there is no problem with news, but remember the duty of news is to report you less probable unfortunate events so that they don’t become big in future, so that problems are eliminated when they are small not when they are big.
But as Mr. A did, everyone of us loves to draw conclusions from our own circumstances. However, when a system goes beyond roughly 150 people it is useless to draw conclusions from what you see or hear. It is better to use data to judge it. Like a complex system like India where more than 100 crore people live there will be definitely few specific circumstances daily but if you really want to know about the country, you should study it from a macro point of view not a micro one.
You cant comment much about India from your own personal experiences and form a view
I know you may consider it tough to comprehend, but think other places in life where you do the same.
Mr. B: Unable to think (dumbfounded)
The Wise Man: Think about when you think about women, you may have developed stereotypes. Think about people of different states, religion when you meet even few of them you come to conclusion that all of them are like that only. You may have some biases regarding all of them. We love to categorise people into categories.
Remember, whenever we read a biography it is the micro point of view of a person not the macro one., about how he thinks about events in his life. The point of view is rarely macro. We rarely consider the situation from the others point of view or from point of view of people or humanity as a whole.
I will give you another example through which you will understand what is micro and macro? Think you are going on road trip and having chips.
The road is beautiful you are going on a long drive. Now after having chips you have two choices with the packet either you throw it on the road or you keep in your car to throw later? Lets see from micro point of view. Your hands are dirty if you keep it in the car you will have that itchy feeling that your car is getting dirty. Without even thinking for your own immediate comfort you throw it out of the car. This is micro point of view.
Now lets think from macro point of view (or from the point of view of earth or humanity as a whole) you caused harm to nature and to fellow human beings.
Now think about when you are taking bath in the morning, do you use a shower or just one bucket of water?
Second, most of the time you read specific news on social media and say (Yaar India ka kuch ni ho sakta). But if you study the history of humanity since millions of years, it is one of the best times you are staying on Earth. And no doubt from macro point of view countries have progressed or are progressing very fast (even India).
Now this takes me to another point. Why does this happen?
Why Does this Happen – Blame Game
The wise man pauses for a while and then continues………
Whenever you have had something negative in your life, there is an instinct in you which loves you not to make you responsible for anything. You will always find someone else to blame. I call it the blame instinct.
Suppose you are doing business legally and someone else your competitor starts doing business illegally (using black money) and starts bringing the price of your product down. You start losing money. There is an instinct in you which will find someone to blame. You will start blaming the government or its policies. (Think when demonetisation or GST was implemented in India).
Similarly, whenever you lose in life you blame someone or the other. You find thousands of reasons to blame others. Like students love to put the blame on teachers if they dont score well in exams. Sometimes I am shocked even parents blame teachers. My next question is who told you to study from that teacher? (Was there some punishment)
When people lose money in the stock markets they put the blame on markets. Typical reason for fight with spouse, among friends, among colleagues is this habit of blame game.
People even love to blame God for the situation they are in.
This takes me to what is the opposite of blame game – it is being responsible. Now whatever happens in your life make it a point to ask first where did I went wrong. I will explain through an example:
Think you have given a project to your junior and she fails to do it in time. Instead of blaming her, first find your own mistake. Find where did you go wrong. As it was your responsibility to ensure the project went on time. You were the person responsible for assigning roles to people.
Remember, accepting we are wrong or your own mistakes is solving half the problem. As when you have the humility to accept your mistake then only you give yourself an opportunity to improve.
Now this takes me to the final point.
What is the deep cause for our instant reaction? Instead of thinking calmly why we react in such a way?
We are attached to whatever we do. Be it our work our relationships or anything. We want them to be stable and predictable. Further, we want that to be permanent. Now this contradicts with the law of nature – which is based on impermanence.
So whenever we get a result which we are not expecting, there is a fit of emotion in the body and mind. The mind gets unstable and we react instinctively.
Better way is to believe the main principle mentioned in the holy book Gita
“ Do all work with a sense of duty, be non-attached”
The wise man is long gone and Mr. B starts to crave for him. Forgetting the main principle he taught. Non- attachment and Impermanence.