Tretar 9, Disturbing the Universe

[This post is the ninth in an ongoing series for Project Tretar. You can read previous posts here]

Tretar, delhi street kids

My nephew wants to be a cricketer but he is being told to focus on studies and grades instead. I have myself studied Biology and Maths till Class XII and got into both Medical and Engineering colleges – eventually I had to choose one. The way our destiny is attempted to be forged by social norms is a growing concern.

So, today, dear reader, I talk to the gagged figure of creativity that lies helplessly behind that old rusty box of your curiosity. You abandoned (or were made to abandon) your wonder as you grew up and started taking yourself too seriously (I am guilty of the same mistake I acknowledge but just in time to rescue the damaged youth of creative spark). The garage of your life is now filled with heavy boxes of practicality and street smartness. If the time would permit, a fresh gust of wind might enter someday to clear off the dust from what we knew so well in our childhood – carelessness, fearlessness and delight.

Only when we take ourselves lightly can we take ourselves seriously, so that we are given the courage to say, ‘Yes! I dare disturb the universe’Madeleine L’Engle

By the time, I found the courage to write and pursue it on a professional level, I feel I have lost so much time. I wish I could have started writing earlier. I wouldn’t mind failing but an early start would have made me better by now. I wish I had dared to disturb the universe earlier and figured out that a prestigious job is a mirage.

Prestige is like a powerful magnet that warps even your beliefs about what you enjoy. It causes you to work not on what you like, but what you’d like to like.Paul Graham

One of the interesting things about success is that we think we know what it means. A lot of the time our ideas about what it would mean to live successfully are not our own. They’re sucked in from other people. And we also suck in messages from everything from the television to advertising to marketing, etcetera. These are hugely powerful forces that define what we want and how we view ourselves. What I want to argue for is not that we should give up on our ideas of success, but that we should make sure that they are our own. We should focus in on our ideas and make sure that we own them, that we’re truly the authors of our own ambitions. Because it’s bad enough not getting what you want, but it’s even worse to have an idea of what it is you want and find out at the end of the journey that it isn’t, in fact, what you wanted all along.Alain de Botton

I wish every child, irrespective of where he is born or raised, gets to know his own definition of success and work towards it. We owe this to next generation and their dreams. I have grown fanatic about pursuing the things you love and finding a way to work on what you love to do. Real success can only come from a full heart and that can only come from loving every moment of what you do. And, thats why I love this resignation letter from Sherwood Anderson, a famed novelist from the advertising job he was doing before writing-

Dear Barton:

You have a man in your employ that I have thought for a long time should be fired. I refer to Sherwood Anderson. He is a fellow of a good deal of ability, but for a long time I have been convinced that his heart is not in his work.

There is no question but that this man Anderson has in some ways been an ornament to our organization. His hair, for one thing, being long and messy gives an artistic carelessness to his personal appearance that somewhat impresses such men as Frank Lloyd Wright and Mr. Curtiniez of Kalamazoo when they come into the office.

But Anderson is not really productive. As I have said his heart is not in his work. I think he should be fired and if you will not do the job I should like permission to fire him myself. I therefore suggest that Anderson be asked to sever his connections with the company on [the first of next week]. He is a nice fellow. We will let him down easy but let’s can him.

Respectfully submitted,

Sherwood Anderson

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