WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE – A SLOTHFUL SINNER OR A DILIGENT WINNER?

sloth

No matter how cute a Sloth may look, being one is not good. In fact, the Bible describes it as one of the deadly sins. What’s wrong in being a sloth, you may ask. To that, I will say, there is no right or wrong, just the consequences. If you choose to be a sloth, you will shape your life likewise.

Sloths are arboreal mammals noted for slowness of movement and for spending most of their lives hanging upside down in the trees of the tropical rainforests of South America and Central America. They personify the laziness. Thus, a person who is lazy and reluctant to work is called as a sloth. There is an age-old idiom “As you sow, so shall you reap.” How true is that! If you act lazy, do not put in efforts, wash your hands off the responsibilities then your life is going to be dull, non-progressive and boring. Success will be miles away from you.

On the other hand, if you are diligent you can go places. Observe any successful personality. The virtue that will stand out is diligence. Again, I would like to remind you of an old age idiom “Winners don’t do different things, they do things differently.” The hard work and perseverance of these people are what differentiates them from sloths. Their willingness to consistently pursue the hard-work and effort is what makes them a winner.

Having said this, let’s talk about the practical aspect of practicing this. I will be lying if I say I am totally diligent. I am not! And I can guarantee that even you are not! We all tend to be sloths, don’t we? Let me share my personal experience. I am a new mother and a full time working professional. I survive on a 4 hours sleep a day through the week, I travel 40 km every day and I pour in endless enthusiasm to entertain my son after coming back from work only because I want to make up to the time lost working in the office. Apart from this, I cook, I clean, I do social gatherings. We all do that, don’t we? And you will agree that the only thing that gets us through is diligence. We are able to do it only because with do it with a lot of vigor, we put in immeasurable efforts, we pay attention to every minute detail and we have tremendous ability to adapt to the changing demands. And this pays us big time, doesn’t it? The big fat pay cheque at the end of the month, being a hero in the eyes of our children, and being a very stable and strong support to the family is what we get in return. Just imagine how life would be without these tokens of love, trust and (materialistic as well as non-materialistic). appreciation. However, in my case, all this holds true from Monday to Friday. Come Saturday, I will usually be a total Sloth. I wake up late. I some times don’t cook, I laze around the house, I procrastinate many household chores. Yes, I do that. And it is natural, isn’t it? After all, I am a human, I get tired, my body needs rest. An this will be true with more or less everyone.

So you see, the same individual is a sloth as well as diligent. The challenge is to where to draw the line. It is very easy to get used to a lazy lifestyle, but it is very challenging to step out of the comfort zone and discipline yourself. Being sloth is alright, but only to the extent of being one just to rest and rejuvenate. We all need that change, but mind you it must be a temporary change and not the lifestyle change. We must bounce back.

I echo Benjamin Franklin’s words: “Diligence overcomes difficulties, sloths make them.”

So, what do you want to be, A slothful sinner or a diligent winner? The choice is yours!

WHEN PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL LIVES COLLIDE

Many of us lead two lives – personal and professional. Our day is split between these two lives. The two sides of us are so intertwined that a problem with one without a doubt affects the other. Small disturbances like occasional fights with significant other, kids falling sick as well might affect us at work temporarily. Can something more severe in degree take away our concentration and dedication towards work? It might be the death of a family member, end of a friendship, breakup or a family member suffering from an illness like cancer. The answer to this mostly depends on whether or not we are passionate about what we do. If we are passionate, we won’t give up on the job but find a way to deal with it.

The last three years of my life had three negative moments which were very personal. The pain of those is still there in me, deep down. There are days at work when I am sitting at my desk with tears rolling down. During that time, I can hardly concentrate on whatever I am doing. I must agree that emotions can engulf us at any time. If the pain is unbearable, I walk up to the restroom, have personal time to cry out. It is very important to acknowledge but not resist the confrontation to our own feelings. It is better to let them out. Shed the tears, holding on to them could be counterproductive.

Some days are a little worse. Either I would have had a bad dream or wake up and feel very low. I pull myself out of the bed, walk up to my plants, water them, talk to them and sometimes I just break down before them. I know that unlike pets, plants cannot understand us, but there is no other soul who I can talk to. Such days when I cannot control my thoughts, I usually opt to take leave from work. It certainly helps to sort out the thoughts and return back to work with clearer self the day after. It would always help to take a break from work, not a long one, but a day or two does benefit us in many ways.

There is one more thing that really helped me over time. Disconnection from social media. It is better to have lesser distractions when we are already fighting to concentrate. Not only that, say, for example, you had a break-up. A few days later your ex posts a picture, is it really important to see that? I don’t really think so. Once we give up on someone or they give up on us, it is always better to let them go not just from life but from the radar of our attention. We don’t really need to spend our valuable time on someone who doesn’t really value us.

Most of the times I pulled it through but there was a time when I just could not deliver at work. I was feeling very guilty. At the same time, I did not think it was appropriate to talk to any of my colleague’s. I was struggling, literally, nothing was working. I could not read a design document or a requirement document to understand them. After some time, I thought it might be better for me to resign, sit at home and return back to work when I feel better. I walked up to my manager’s cabin to tell him to accept my resignation. I tried once, twice but I couldn’t do it, my inner voice was shouting at me to just do it. I finally gathered courage and told my manager the decision. He did not react much but listened to my problem with great interest. He said, “You know what, while I agree that you need a break, I do not agree that you need to resign. This weekend please sleep well, take good care of yourself and we shall talk on Monday”. In our next meeting, he said many encouraging words and gave me feedback which brought me back on track. That is when I understood he was observing me. Our managers/supervisors are not always our go-to people, but they have the right to know why we have been under performing. A good leader would show the right path, so, it is always better to talk to them. We have to be careful about how much we let them into our personal territory.

While on the personal front things weren’t good, things weren’t great at work either. No person used to talk to me (I was new in the team). People had their own doubts on me. Every design of mine was going through several levels of scrutiny. My ideas weren’t even seconded by another person. The problems I raised were unheard. There was neither recognition nor a word of encouragement. I had been through a lot to prove what I am capable of.

From leading one crucial module in our product, two years down the line, today I am technically responsible for the entire platform we are creating for our new line of products. There is an onus on me to deliver. I work for a healthcare company, the first thing I see in the morning is a visual of a happy mother holding her newborn (Imagined visual). The joy in the moms’ eyes keeps me going, on and on. This is possible only because I am passionate about what I do. No matter what happens, how many people say that I should leave my job to get back to my family, my job brings satisfaction to me. I do not need another person to acknowledge how good I am, the added responsibilities at work speak for themselves!!