Wisdom of the past and humility of the present 2Picture an onion. Got teary-eyed? Well, that’s not what I meant. When you remove the first layer of an onion, you encounter another. You peel the next layer, until layers upon layers, you reach the centre of the onion, expecting a juicy flesh or maybe a seed. But there’s nothing. You come to the realization that the layers making up the onion WERE the onion from the beginning. What are we then, if not the accumulation of second-hand knowledge and experiences that we have gathered over the years to build the “I”? If it came that all of these were removed, what’s my identity?

Wisdom of the past and humility of the present 3Is this pure coincidence that I read the post of Swami Ji about Chess and chapter 9 starts with the Polgar Sisters? Trust me, You WANT to read the opening of this chapter. The author starts by telling us how we assimilate and reflect back on the habits that we observe through our Close Ones, The Many and The Powerful.

Close Ones

If we are constantly surrounded by unhealthy habits, it makes building healthy ones challenging. On the other hand, when our close ones have healthy habits, it makes building healthy ones without much friction.

One of the most effective things you can do to build better habits is to join a culture where (1) your desired behavior is the normal behavior and (2) you already have something in common with the group.

Wisdom of the past and humility of the present 4The closer we are to someone, it is more likely that we are going to imitate some of their habits.

Isn’t this incredible? This is the ancient wisdom shared by our ancestors. They instructed us to keep the company of good people for a reason. We are sponges soaking up our environment.

The Many

Follow the herd? Popular actions matter because we seek social validation. The author provides the example of an important study where one genuine participant and actors (unbeknownst to the participant) are requested to compare the length of one line with three other lines. However, when the actors choose the wrong answer, the participant chose the wrong answer also, questioning his own rationale despite knowing that the answer provided was wrong.

The normal behavior of the tribe often overpowers the desired behavior of the individual. Most days, we’d rather be wrong with the crowd than be right by ourselves.

Remember the COVID toilet paper crisis? It still makes me laugh. Well..

The Powerful

The craze of biographies. The market is flooded with it, catapulting these on the bestsellers list. Why? Because we look up to these people for their ways to obtain the same power and command the same respect.

 “If a behavior can get us approval, respect, and praise, we find it attractive.”    

RememberWisdom of the past and humility of the present 5

What you see, you assimilate

What you assimilate, you become 

What you become, you reflect

Who you keep in your surrounding,

will become your habits.

The Wisdom of the Seers call you back,

Embrace your heritage, and 

Reflect back to the world

The paradise you built inside. 

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Jai Shri Hari!

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