Nope! I have not selected a wrong image. At the outset, if you noticed the ‘Man’ in the title, don’t let it stop you from reading ahead. Since this is the new age of equality, let me admit, that I’ll probably never use a ‘she’ as a general descriptor while writing. Of course, I could have written ‘Person’ instead of ‘Man’ in the title, but hey; don’t miss the forest for the trees. The ‘Seven Signs’ and ‘Complete’ is the forest here, ‘Man’ is the trees. I have always used ‘he/him/his’ and I’ve always meant it for all the genders. So, this article is for everyone regardless of their gender. You can read an interesting article here on the gendered pronouns.
‘Completeness’ and its search thereof, have been of significant importance to humans. Wise men (there I go again, please laugh it off 😛 ) throughout the ages have dedicated their lives to finding completeness. In India, the concept is known by the term ‘Purushartha’, a Sanskrit word meaning ‘Object of Human Pursuit’. I leave it to you to find more about the concept if you like. What I am writing here today, is inspired by the same idea. I am part of the new generation; born and brought up in cities, amidst the new-found westernization, irradiated by first the television and now the social media. Till some time ago, the word was alien to me.
The concept of completeness, however, was never foreign to me. It is not alien to the most of us. We keep searching for something more, something that will make up happier, something that will satiate our thirst for completeness. Let me warn you, beyond this point; there will be no dissemination of ‘Gyan’. So those of you, who were looking for ‘Nirvana’ can stop reading now! Now starts the serious, actionable stuff. If you want to feel complete, then read on…
There are seven key ideas to grasp in your journey to completeness. The practice of these will help you live well. So let us begin.
- Work out that ‘Body’: This is the key to the next six ideas. I do not know how the live evolved, and I certainly have no clue what happens after it ends. What is certain, is the fact that we are here for a limited time. And we are going to spend this short period in the rented house called ‘our body’. Need I say more? Cracked walls, faulty plumbing, peeled off paint, non-functioning electricals; these make a home Same with the body. Keep it healthy. Eat well; Exercise well. Let me confess, that I have not maintained myself well. My eating and exercising are experiments worth writing a book about. In the last seven odd months, I have changed certain habits to get to a point where I am mildly out of shape. This is contrasting to the earlier state of horribly out of shape. It is an ongoing battle. Like one of my managers, I too hate present continuous tense. Hence, there is a deadline for getting in shape.
- Learn a ‘Trade’: This does refer to selling goods and services but in a very personal sense. All of us must learn a skill, which we can get paid for. Money talks, and it talks like nothing else. Financial Independence is crucial unless you are becoming a Monk. Believe me, a lot of us have learned, that, despite the education system, and in spite of our parents pouring in their hard-earned money, we are not ‘employable’. That is because we inherently believe that a piece of paper (read: Degree) can miraculously get us a job. It well might do so (read: A degree from a prestigious college), but it will not take you far. You are the only one responsible for making yourself employable. Learn languages, coding, machining, mechanics, what so ever. Learn it well, and it will pay you.
- Learn to ‘Cook’: Not talking Gourmet here, just simple edible food. Each one of us should be capable of cooking. Yes, money will get you home delivered food and maids, but it is an extreme form of dependence. Food and water are the key elements of Therefore, there is no reason for you not to cook. It is not a ‘girl’ thing. Man please! If you still believe it is, then learn cooking just to spite them off ;-p . There was a curious case of a British national who wore a skirt to the office to look equal! The situation nowadays is so bad, that even girls are forgetting this skill to be equal to I don’t know what. Eating right is essential; Ergo, knowing how to Cook is essential. Matter closed!
- Learn to ‘Drive’ & to ‘Change Tyres’: If the above point was considered a Woman’s forte, I need say no further here. How many of us have heard Girl Driver Jokes? There are videos too. Driving is an extension of your body. You can take your body a few miles on the legs, while this gives you considerable ‘Range’ if you like. so unless you are living in cities like Copenhagen (I did not need to drive there at all! Public transport is superb.) and never want to explore beyond Copenhagen, then forget about this. Along with freedom, comes duties. Or along with babies, comes diaper duties, take your pick. The same way, along with driving, it becomes necessary to learn a bit of maintenance; tyre change, oil, and wiper fluid top-up, cleaning of the car, You get the drift. So learn it too.
- Get a ‘Routine’: This is a tough one. I have still not been able to convince my family on this, or the meaning of this. I am convinced, but have great difficulty is following it. ? Human ‘Mind’ is the best and the worst of gifts. It has modernized the world, made it comfortable and livable on one hand. And on the other, it is the cause for most pain. It is often said that the fear of punishment is greater than the punishment itself. This Fear is generated by the mind: Fear of failure, of an uncertain future, of an outcome, the list continues. And while it takes a saint to control one’s mind, a routine can help us avoid the fear.
I have seen some people whose life runs on a routine like clockwork; get up at 0500, get ready by 0600, breakfast at 0700, personal time till 0830, work from 0900 to 1800, personal time till 2000, dinner at 2030, family time till 2130, reading at 2200, sleep at 2230. Rain, hail, or sleet, this routine never changes. It becomes so set in your mind, that you stop thinking about uncertain things, and instead concentrate on the current job at hand. When the time comes, mind moves to the next job. It does not think beyond the next job thereby avoiding unnecessary thoughts. A routine will help you face the future in the present instead of in your mind.
(Let me know if I managed to convince you.)
- Find a ‘Passion’: Incomplete understanding of this word has spoilt many a life. People throw around this word a lot; writing is my passion, books are my passion, world peace is my passion blah blah blah. I feel relaxed when near books, family, kids, and mountains. When I am relaxed, I am happy. To me, Happiness = Passion. For some fortunate people, their Passion becomes their Trade. The number of such people is terribly small. So don’t go and leave that day job for your passion! Having said that, finding work (for a very few fortunate ones passion and trade are the same. Don’t run after that!) that is meaningful to you is a necessary condition for ‘Completeness’. Go on then, let me know what’s yours?
- Know ‘Yourself’: This is not a Philosophical statement. This is you. I know I like to own my time, have no intentions for a career (a job will do!), like ‘thinking’ a tad more than ‘doing’, prefer reading to going out, enjoy hiking to biking… (get the drift? ?) Knowing about your likes and limits helps you improve the quality of life. For example; I prefer to spend more time with my wife and kids. This translates to I cannot clock long hours on job. This translates to having a job instead of a career. This translates to happier me. On the other hand, let’s look at this: I prefer to rise to the CEOs position in my work. This translates to clocking more hours and after hours on the job. This translates to lesser time for the family. This translates to a very understanding spouse. We can go on, but the matter of the fact is that everything in life has a tradeoff. The more you know yourself, the better you will be able to manage your decisions.
Life over the last century or so has sped up a lot. Everyone is running their own races. Some are running for their own, while others are running because someone else is running. You there! Stop right this moment. Just for a minute. Now breathe. Look around you. How many complete people do you see? Look in the mirror. Do you see one there? Think about it.
The first four points are related to independence. One who is not truly independent, cannot be complete. These points are related to your physical well-being. The last three points are connected to your heart, mind, and soul. They relate to the higher consciousness. You can relate these points to Purushartha, or to the concept of Body, Mind, and Soul. Or to Maslow’s Pyramid if you like. If you know a complete person, then try to verify if the article makes sense! Read on!
P.S: with these points in mind, I feel far from complete. But it’s something to strive for!