Allow me to break down the state or time of greatest vigour or success in a person’s life through my personal conditioning and introspection. Success is the accomplishment of an aim or purpose — true inference and a judgement by others that approves, appreciates and exemplifies it as a benchmark. Vigour comes from physical strength and good health.
If I ponder upon each decade of my almost five decades, I do not know of a time wherein I did not have vigour or success. Not because I am exceptionally gifted, abnormal or have supernatural powers but because I am inquisitive, disciplined and patient.
So are all of us — it is basic human instinct.
We explore, we experience, we develop a skill set, we are patient during the learning curve, we are finally equal. It is the passion that primes us to delve into an aspect repeatedly that creates success.
We learn to walk, differentiate taste, smell, temperature, pressure, learn how to swim, ride a bicycle, read, write, pronounce and so on in our early childhood. As a society, these are considered normal. We are primed for it and it is expected of us. Yet only in the eyes of our parents, they know the constant struggle to have you succeed and make you socially acceptable. For those who could not, the kinder word is challenged.
Challenged or not meant to compete?
The arena is a structured, unidirectional, conformed setup to enforce no free will and no tolerance for a tangent. The teenage years bring rebellion, as one starts questioning the purpose of this purposeless competition. Parental pressure to please and showcase you as a better specimen than them.
Adult life hits with yet another solar year. To put it clearly, it is when one can get a driving license. It is prime time to be responsible, wise and have all the attributes that the society dictates. In short, one has to be exemplary.
One works fast and way beyond capability, capacity and tolerance — mimicking and excelling at what is routine. Reminds me of John Lennon, “When I was five years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”
Success in one’s twenties is measured by a college degree. The further away from familiarity in region, language, society, race and possibily religion, the higher it is held in esteem. Two-tiered — different from the rest at home, with a newly acquired passage to and fro, switching between true self and the new found avatar. Primed for work and expected to marry.
In the next two decades, more individuals are choosing to not fall into conformity and decide for themselves. However, that is not applicable for the work culture.
The thirties witness a sense of having arrived — in control of everything from pleasure, finances to expanding social commitments. Once the party becomesmundane,thereisasenseofthenextmilestone—marriage. Eitherit is in love or by modelled infatuation. Primed to be recognised as a family unit.
Then, the reality hits with a newborn. Routine change and so do choices. Inherent and genetic coding of behavioural change happens. Just like that, a couple is now primed as parents.
Work-life balance becomes work, home, family and a bit of social indulgence. It is a beautiful transition with its own joy quotient, wherein one often wonders what became of the previous incarnate. Everything revolves around the child — collectively.
For those who have not achieved the milestone, there is a sense of liberty and freedom. But deep inside, there is a sense of urgency and frustration of not being able to move to the next stage of life. It is often masked as being happy and successful, having the ability to make independent decisions.
It is as if everyone has now been primed to play their new role. A decade goes by seeking security comfort, over ambition and risk. A predictable safe routine over random shenanigans.
Forty is the new twenties. With clockwork routine and the ability to manage all crisis, the world seems to be a new place. It is not, but one sees it in a different light. There is more love to be had, to give, more laughter, more emotions, passion for life and an understanding of the fellow being.
I look through yesteryears at the collection of gold medals I won during my school years; challenging and exhausting work in cities with religious strife; heading a dental department at an early age with complicated surgeries; migrating to another country and being handed the authority for the centre, examination cell, ethnic & medicolegal committee; hosting the elite heads of armed forces and political factions in neutral ground; migrating yet again to an unknown country; did Vipassana and certifications in subjects of MBA; trained to become a life coach and a certified cognitive behaviour therapist — all these amount to something.
A beautiful and holistic life lived so far and an ability to leave a legacy of love and understanding, of ambivalence and being ambivert, of never doubting in one’s self, of understanding goals may be important but they are temporary.
We are all primed to succeed. Not in competition, but in our own abilities, our passion and our calling.
“One often meets his destiny on the road he takes to avoid it.” — Master Oogway from Kung Fu Panda.
Dr Ramnish Vohra in an Oral Maxillofacial Surgeon, a qualified life coach, a spiritual and motivational thinker, and a doting father amongst many other traits.