Virat Kohli said something significant that can change your perspective
“Have you noticed”? My niece asked me with a smirky smile.
“What?” I asked.
“In most cases where we get offended, it will be an insignificant and trivial issue”
“Can you give an example”
“On many occasions, we fail to communicate clearly. However, we blame others for not understanding us”.
I pondered over the statement and ended up digging deep into my life.
I have had a fair share of arguments and fights with almost everyone. I have argued with my parents, elder brother, colleagues, bosses, my wife, and even my son.
I cannot recollect the point I disagreed with in most of these cases. But I can tell you why the argument happened.
All the arguments stemmed from one point — I am right, so they are wrong.
In most cases, the arguments were to prove whose memory is correct. However, the fact remains that memory is temporary and deceitful. Your memory of anything that happened in your life can never match what happened exactly. Your mind drops a few details about the incident from your memory with each passing year. But it paints a picture as if it is giving you the complete details of the incident.
I vividly remember one argument with my elder brother. I was so ferocious in putting forth my points which created so much commotion in the neighborhood that my mother intervened.
Another vehement argument that I recall happened during my first employment. Mr. X was older than me and held a senior position. He sent a mail. I felt it is my birthright to correct him. I replied.
He did two things that triggered my desire to prove me right.
One, he defended himself and rejected my perspective.
Two, he marked a copy of his reply to me to my boss.
So, when I replied, I marked a copy to his boss. It would have been a circus just between the two, ended up having an audience of 10 enjoying our duel. I was relentless in the fight till my boss intervened. Not by email. But he called me over the phone.
“Meenakshi, I know you have a point. Let me give you friendly advice”.
“You may be right from your perspective. So is the other person right in their perspective. Always allow the probability that both perspectives can be valid in the given circumstance. Even when you are right, never squander dignity. However, you need to disassociate yourself from the desire to prove you are right. You can still make your point but don’t have to fight”.
“How is that even possible ?”
“It takes effort. You need to be intentional and aware of your mind. It requires a conscious effort. Life is nothing but a continuous effort”.
That sounded philosophical. though the lesson sounded great. Never squander dignity. However, despite my efforts, the desire to prove myself right clung on and kept me fighting even for trivial issues, at times, even with my son.
Recently, I stumbled on an interview by Indian Cricket Icon Virat Kohli. I quote his words — “ I am not finding any self-worth or value in what I do on the field. I’m way past that phase..”.
It took me to a deeper introspection of my actions.
Is my desire to prove right a way to find my self-worth in these petty arguments?
This led me to a particular verse from Bhagwad Gita.
In Bhagwad Gita, Chapter 2, Verse 71, Lord Krishna says :
विहाय कामान्य: सर्वान्पुमांश्चरति नि:स्पृह: |
निर्ममो निरहङ्कार: स शान्तिमधिगच्छति || 71||
vihāya kāmān yaḥ sarvān pumānśh charati niḥspṛihaḥ
nirmamo nirahankāraḥ sa śhāntim adhigachchhati
The essence of this verse is that the only way to attain peace of mind is by dropping our desire and freeing ourselves from the sense of greed and ego.
When my desire to prove myself right takes control of me, I become obsessed and play to boost my ego.
The moment I drop the desire to prove myself right, it not only lightens the situation but makes it pleasant for all involved.
Every time the desire to prove myself right kicks in, the mind attaches our self-worth to the favorable outcome. When the outcome evades us, our mind entangles us in the fight to attain the result. The moment you drop the desire to prove your worth, your mind attains tranquility.
Is it possible for us to eliminate our desire to prove ourselves right?
Tough. Especially, when we have experienced the pleasure our ego gets in proving others wrong. The moment we become a witness to what our mind is doing to us, we can pull ourselves out of the Abaddon.
I would not preach that it is possible to do so every time. But, I would suggest that we should try. I found success on a few occasions. But I have miserably failed multiple times.
As my boss said, the secret lies in the effort. Life, on many occasions, is just an effort.
We need to keep pushing ourselves to drop that desire.
We need to train ourselves to become “the witness” more often.
We need to keep the focus on the effort.