• Our first identity when we are born is that of Human Being – or Homo Sapiens.
  • Our next identity is that of our gender – the one that we are born with (to avoid any confusion)
  • The third identity is our parents/family/lineage that we are born into.

These are a given. These are what we start our lives with (yes, there are gender change operations etc which mar my statement here).

What happens subsequently, is what we choose. What school we go to, where we live, what kind of house we live in, what kind of clothes we wear, food we eat, etc.

At some point of time (mostly after we have gained maturity and some sort ability to think deeper) we started making some smart (or not so smart, eventually) choices on what COMMUNITIES we wish to be part of.  

This is the time where the knowledge and wisdom that we have adorned ourselves with, be it school, college, from parents, books, etc. has a key role to play. 

Some of these choices of community can turn out to be a major hit- like you choose to go for IIT, ended up in blue chip company which promised a handsome salary in the US and your life was set. 

Some choices might be not so great – you joined an ordinary college in the city to do BCom and struggled for a job to start with and ended up having a below  average life. 

It is interesting as to how 50 of my school classmates, all of us were more or less together all through the 12 years in school, ended up in 50 varying careers – completely unique in themselves.. this is a cumulative effect of multiple choices made at varying levels. What could have been a different ? Imagine all decided on engineering, all got through IIT JEE, all were selected by Microsoft to work in their Redmond Campus and all had sterling careers in that company and all competed  for the CEO’s position after 25 year stint and then finally, one became  the CEO. Now the reason this story sounds so crazy, is because its assuming that all 50 of us will work exactly the same way. 

And that, is the fundamental crux of the article. All DO NOT think the same way, even if they are provided the same level of information for 12 years.We still end up taking 50 divergent paths in life.

And how our lives pan out, is based on the communities that we choose to be part of, where we would rather align with the fate of community we choose, rather than charter our own growth path, totally unique in itself. Because in taking such a decision, we fear failure, we fear ridicule, we fear ridicule and worst, we fear being laughed at.

We choose engineering because engineers get great jobs. we choose Microsoft because it pays really well. We choose to go to US because its land of opportunity. Whenever we choose things which are popular in nature, and easier to embrace, we are becoming more ‘normal’ , ‘ordinary’ and ‘boring’.

The moment we choose the alternate options, we move towards being ‘extra ordinary’ – choose to be a scientist , choose to work for a startup which pays nothing, chose to go to Ethiopia and build something unique for the community there . Some of the decisions sound crazy, but will give fab results, once you succeed. Even if you don’t the experience will be worth remembering and talking about.  One of the quotes I admire the most is ‘Either write something worth reading, or do something worth writing.” 

So choose a community that is rare and unique. Choose tasks which people are scared to take up (scared of failing). To avoid being repetitive and trite, I am not sharing examples of what I am hinting at, but all of you can look within and see things which you said no to in life and deliberate on those instances. Delve on many of those decisions and ask ‘what if’ and you will get your own answer.

Instead of choosing communities that are large and overcrowded, choose ones which are sparsely populated and often neglected, you will have better chance to grow and thrive in those.

have a fabulous day!!

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Hetal Sonpal

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