As the year gives way to a new year and a new decade, thoughts turn inward and the oft-repeated question emerges yet again to a mind that is ever restless! What am I embarking upon? What am I going to be doing differently? What are the new directions that will be my compass? What are those little things that can make a difference to my life and wellbeing?
As I live through this dynamic, I take recourse to my inspiration of last many years, the poem by Rabindranath Tagore titled, Where The Mind is Without Fear. It is not precise perhaps but it is believed that the poem was written sometime in 1901 in Bengali and was translated by the Bard himself in 1911 and that translation appeared as poem 35 in his Nobel winning anthology “Gitanjali” (Song Offerings) published by the Indian Society, London in 1912.
Where The Mind Is Without Fear
Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls
Where words come out from the depth of truth
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit
Where the mind is led forward by thee
Into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.
The poem is set in the context of India under the British Rule, when people were waiting eagerly to get freedom from the British Rule. It is a sort of visualisation of an India where apart from political freedom people express themselves as, fearless, self-dignified, knowledgeable, truthful, hard-working and broad-minded enough to enjoy it fully.
Aren’t these the expressions I seek as my aspiration? And the little things I set as my goals for 2020:
Keeping myself relevant – Knowledge alone can offer this and therefore the need to be up to date in the fields and areas that I work in. And today there really is no excuse for lack of knowledge. After all, Google has made that a myth! A press of a key and the entire encyclopedia is there to explore and learn. And when we look at the Organisation, there is so much knowhow that exists, that a bit of humility and the ability to ask should easily do the trick.
Mindset with no boundaries - My mind compels me to define and draw boundaries, you and me, they and us and so on. In terms of work and my contribution, can I foster (and nurture) a mind that does not create these walls? Or at least to begin with have lesser walls? An ability to own total responsibility for one’s own area of work or function without pointing fingers at others? A devotion to deliver that is all-pervasive and is not bound by assumptions and beliefs.
Striving for higher standards of results - Tireless striving towards perfection! My ability to set bench marks for performance, to constantly moving goal posts is a definite possibility to aim for. To use a cricketing metaphor, it is not just more runs every time one goes out to bat but also the way one gets them – Is my approach getting better? Is my planning improving? How about my ability to speak and write? To listen and to empathise and build relationships?
Oneness of thought, speak and action- How sacred or malleable is my point of view? Do I often compromise to buy momentary peace which is convenient but at what price? Cost of business purpose and personal values that I behold- to be honest and truthful. Mastering the art of being integrated in what I think, what I say and what I do!
Shaping habits that are vibrant and productive – Am I getting lost in tried and tested ways of doing things? Am I unknowingly carrying my ways of doing from the past to the present? The Bard talks of “the dreary desert sand of dead habit”. Are my habits holding me back or are they liberating? Do I ever pause and take stock or is it just a continuum of inertia? An ability to challenge oneself and find newer “ways” of doing things is what I seek. And that is best achieved when we challenge our beliefs - to deliver newer behaviours.
I welcome 2020 with these promises to myself, as my freedom (expression) lies in being fearless, self-dignified, knowledgeable, truthful, hardworking and open-minded!
Wishing you and your near and dear ones a wonderful New Year full of cheer!