There is always a book on how to. And it’s usually in steps. 4, 7, 9. Become a better speaker, a better employee, a better employer, writer, reader, father, mother, son, daughter, husband, wife, person and everything else in between. At times I am glad I could not read or write as an infant otherwise I might have been tempted by – “how to become an ideal toddler in 7 steps” [pun intended].

There is an implicit assumption that there is an ideal version of each of these roles that we will play at some point in our lives and the way we will do it without coaching is likely to be less than ideal. So in our naiveté or gullibility – we believe that there is indeed that one person out there – who else but the author – who has figured out the mechanism to reach role nirvana. In steps, of course.

If you break down any of these gateways to success roadmaps, spread over ominous looking 300 pages, with venn diagrams and pyramids, the core essence is strikingly similar and straightforward. Speak your mind, listen attentively, de-stress, seek like-minded people, gather a healthy lifestyle, have a spiritual (not religious) core, laugh, do not seek perfection, enjoy the day. I can print this list in font size 20 on one single sheet and paste in my office. And home.

But who would choose one A4 sheet over a hardbound, glossy cover – well printed bestseller with a forward by someone I do not know but I think is a very important person. To a first time visitor to planet Earth, human race would appear quite weird. We look for complicated ways to ease complications in our lives. There is an unbelievable belief that someone out there can offer solutions that would somehow endow me with seemingly incredible virtues, if only I would read their books. I think few care to assess what happens when you turn the last page of the book. Does the buck stop with us right now or it just moves to another self-help or self-assessment book search on Amazon?

Lesson from Today – there is only one you, and one me. We are unique and there is an infinitesimally small chance that an exact version of us would ever exist in the entire history of human race. However, we prefer to turn that unique person into a copy-paste version of someone we do not know or actually care for. What would it take to celebrate ourselves as is – and live in just the way we are.

As the great Rumi said –

“I have been a seeker

and I still am

but I stopped asking the books

and the stars

I started listening

to the teaching

of my Soul.”

Who wishes for an obituary that reads – this was I, part Jack (in 3 steps), part Mike (in 7 steps), a little bit of Joe (in 5 steps) and not much of myself…

Pay Anything You Like

Manas Misra

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