Sunday, November 29, 2015

Slow down.... take a deep breath....

"I get exhausted even before I leave the house in the morning, Doc." This was a 30 some-year old young man telling me his complaint. I was surprised. All his blood tests were normal.
"All your results look good, you don't have a fever. Are you sleeping enough at night?" I asked.
"Oh yes, Doc. Go to bed at about 11 every night and I am up at 6 am. And then I am out of the house at 8:30."
 "Leave at 8:30? And you are up at 6 am. Are you exercising too much before you leave for work in the morning," I said.
"Exercise?! I don't exercise at all, I don't have time. I can barely get ready on time!"
"Is that right? It takes you two and a half hours to get ready in the morning? Why is that?" I asked curiously.
"You really want to know? Okay...After I get up, I go to the bath---"
"Let's skip that part," I cut in hastily.
"Okay. After that, I have to put on the facial scrub every Monday and Wednesday, and leave it on for seven and a half minutes, then wash it off. Then comes the skin peel lotion Monday through Thursday, which stays on for exactly three and a half minutes. After that, its the collagen building skin cream Monday through Friday, and that stays on for 5 minutes before I wipe it off. In between I have to check my facebook account every 10 minutes for new posts and updates. And then comes the skin softening lotion--"
"Hold on, hold on......You are still not done with your lotions and creams?! How do you keep track of all this!" I was amazed.
"That's not a problem. I have the algorithm on my i-Pad. So that's the first thing I turn on so that I can follow the sequence and timings exactly. You want me to tell you what else I do in the morning before I pack my i phone, i pad, lap top--- ?"
", thanks," I interrupted him. "I get the picture." 
I was exhausted just listening to him! Now I knew why he was tired before he left his house every morning.

Now I admit this guy was a bit extreme, but I know a lot of us have just too much going on in our lives. We try hard to look good, to look young, to lose weight, to stay connected via social media, among other things. Human beings are social animals, and hence the innate need to seek approval of our social sphere. The more insecure among us will try the hardest to please everybody. And I haven't even mentioned work, "kitty parties", social obligations etc. Maybe this is our life these days. How about taking a step back and reconsidering our priorities off & on, lest the forest gets lost among the trees? 

Life is simple, it's just not easy to be simple.

"Simplicity is realizing what you need, rather than what you want." ~ Apoorve Dubey


Saturday, November 7, 2015

Humility : A lesson in humanity !

The elderly patient was a little hesitant. I knew there was something on her mind.
"Is there anything else I can do for you?" I asked.
"Well...please don't take it the wrong way, doc," she started. "But the specialist that you sent me to..."
"Yes," I said. "What about the specialist?"
"I am not going back to that doctor again," she said.
"You don't have to. Would you please tell me why, though?" I asked.
"That doctor is very arrogant. No humility at all," she said firmly.
I was taken aback. "But he is a great doctor," I said defensively.
"I am sure. But not a great person. And that really matters to me," she replied.

I don't know what put that elderly lady off. I didn't press her for any more details. So what is humility? The dictionary defines it as a -- "Disposition to be humble, a lack of false pride."

It's not bad to have pride. A lot of us are deservedly proud of our accomplishments, whether it is professional or in various aspects of our personal lives. The problem comes up when, and if, we start flaunting our success. A lot of people are put off by those who toot their own horn all the time. These are the "know-it-all" people. The toughest three words to elicit from them, as Somerset Maugham so eloquently put it -

It isn't until quite late in life that some people discover how easy it is to say - "I don't know"!

We often forget that at first, we are human beings, with our own unique mixture of virtues and vices. And second, we have our profession, which requires acquiring the appropriate skills. Here is where the confusion starts. We need to realize that our skill set, whatever it may be, can earn us respect, but not love and affection. It is our humanity, underneath that skill set, that earns us the love and affection of people around us.

Many people believe that that humility is the opposite of pride, when, in fact, it is a point of equilibrium. The opposite of pride is actually lack of self-esteem. Is it difficult to be humble? If we are secure in ourselves, humility would be natural. So the corollary would be that people who ooze arrogance, who consider themselves superior and are constantly engaged in endeavors to garner attention, are probably the most insecure.

Be careful at social gatherings, because the more you talk about yourself, the more you will be talked about when you leave! It is far more impressive when others discover your good qualities without your help. Our society comprises of an intricate web of relationships. Success, in any shape or form, is generally never one individual's alone. Family, friends and co-workers, among others, are a part of that success.

The man who thinks he can live without others is mistaken; the one who thinks others can't live without him is even more deluded.

"Humility is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less." ~ C. S. Lewis