“Beta, you cannot leave any food in the plate, come back and finish it.’ This is one statement we all heard in childhood, which might have ensured millions of plate not being left unfinished, but also contributed to many a misfired careers.

While the reason for finishing the food in the plate is that it should not be wasted, one is so lucky just to get food, it would be an insult to God ; etc. The reason why we end up insisting on finishing a lot of stuff later on in life, its not very clear.

Joy of not finishing a book : my favourite one ! We all get so carried away when we come across voracious readers. They are the ‘good for nothing’ people, who finish reading books by the dozens, when post people have a challenge even selecting the right book to read. They make book reading as easy as running, no, wrong example. As easy as sleeping. Just pick up the book and it will get read all by itself. But in reality, it’s of course, anything but that. The book has to be read, as in R-E-A-D. One has to move from one page to next, one chapter to next and one section to next and so on. After 2-3 weeks of hard effort, one will finish a a genuinely good book. And imagine, if its one of those complicated, tharooresque language book, that needs a dictionary every 10 pages or so !!! – So what you should do ? NOT finish it. Leave it, just drop it right there and DO NOT EVER try reading it again. You spent Rs 400 on it – you will not recover it anyway, even if you read in record time, write a world-beating eye catching review of the book, you will NOT GET YOUR MONEY back. However, what you can salvage is your TIME. Time to read another book, or anything that you are good at, but to continue trying hard to read the book – just because what the world will think, you could not finish a simple 250 page best selling book – the world does not give a damn about you, honestly. 

Joy of not finishing a movie: I do not know about others, but within the first 10-15 mins, its very clear to me if I am going to like the movie or not. If I am going to like it, I get more comfortable, make sure the lights are dimmed, I am not pretending to read a book while watching the movie, the snacks and drinks are well arranged for and be more relaxed for the rest of the movie. If not, then I just find the big red button on the remote and STOP the movie. Help me avoid being tortured further, not for a minute more, forget an hour+.  I may or may-not watch another movie on another channel, but this movie, no, its surely not getting any more of my time and attention. I am sorry if you are Amitabh Bacchan or Al Pacino, you did not do the due diligence when signing up for this one and I need not pay the price for it (by watching all of it). It’s ok if people will find me weird as I did not like Game of Thrones or Money Heist. Good that they will not expect me to give them company for it and I will be allowed to watch my choice of content!. 

Joy of Not Finishing a project: Not for every project, the eventual end is its completion. For many, its non-completion can also be an amicable end. Especially if we consider the time, money and bandwidth of people involved and how saving on all that can help to maybe do another project much better and faster. Timely  re-allocation of time and resources from one project to another can make or break someone’s career. And many times, such interventions are made by people who are NOT in the system, whose head is NOT on the line and who DO not give a hoot abt what the owner thinks. The reason these external entities are able to make these calls is because they look from a different angle, which is not easy for people involved as their vision is coloured by what they see day in and day out.

Joy of not finishing a speech or talk:  Now you must be thinking, that’s like taking the topic a bit too far. But you had intent to talk on something for 30-45 mins and within the first 10-15mins, you are getting a clear sense whether the public is liking it and are responding well, or they are just being respectful of your stature and giving you the importance that your designation demands. If you know it’s not going good, then its best  you cut it short, make major changes in the content (if you wish to continue) or to move towards QnA and interaction (to bring a hasty end).  There is a very polite line I learnt when on a business trip to US. In a meeting scheduled for 30 mins, the convenor had covered all the key points in the 20 mins itself. “I am giving back 10 mins in your calendar”, are the precise words he used, letting 5 of us in the meeting know, that he valued our time and did not see any reason to hold us back for the balance 10 mins.

Joy of not finishing a thought:  We all love our ‘thinking time’, time we get for ourselves, wether it be while taking a nice walk by the beach or in the shower, in the tub or even in the loo. We feel that since we have taken the bold step to think on a topic, we might as well take the liberty to give the thought as much time as it deserves. But in reality, taking a thought to an eventual conclusion by itself, need not be the right approach all the time. Many times, its important that you bring it up for a dialogue and discussion with other people.

In the end, of course, like every rule, there are exceptions here. We do not live just for ourselves, but of others too. Many times, we have to complete the task, however unpleasant it might be, for others. In such cases, taking task to eventual conclusion is not a choice, but a mandate.

One needs to see that

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Hetal Sonpal

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