One's personality is both a composition and reflection, but if I have to choose one of them, I will choose reflection as the "self" is more important to me than "me". One's composition may change, walking across the cultural landscapes and climbing the social ladder but one's self is tied to one's reflections. The fun part is that reflections are not bound to "Time-Space" barriers ( it is not time-space) and respective mental constructs, which have grown so thick over ages, that they had reduced the image of humans to Sisyphus, rolling different sizes of boulders on hills of different heights.… As the name of this Blog indicates, knols are my perspectives on topics of interests, sweet/bitter experiences or just doodling :)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Living under Terror

I am not a big fan of self help books, however overlooking them is as
overlooking cookbooks. If you have gone through 50 cookbooks, I would say,
you really like to do things differently. Of course, cooking is of no match to what
one does with his life. If you can go for cooking through 50 books to cook
differently, I am sure you would go through hundreds (if not thousands of
books) to live your life very differently. Years ago, one of my professors
recommended me the book, “The magic of thinking big- by David J. Schwartz”…
I didn’t find it in libraries and bookstores in Quetta and I forgot the book. Last
year while browsing through amazon, I accidently found the book and ordered
it out of curiosity……
I just leafed through the book and really didn’t read it as I believed that for an
imaginative person, formulas don’t work. You can’t predict the ideas that would
come to your mind and you never know which idea will change the course of
your life. Today as I was sorting out the library books from my own, I found it
again and started leafing….. Chapter 11, page 182-183, really struck me (As it is
really relevant to what we face these days)….and I want to share it here,
“Social workers and others who work on skid rows find many differences in age,
religion faith, education, and background among tragic souls who have dropped
into America’s gutter. Some of these citizens are surprisingly young. Others are
old. A sprinkling are college graduates, a few have essentially no formal
education. Some are married; others are not. But people on Skid Row have
something in common; each one is defeated, whipped, beaten. Each one has
encountered situations that conquered him. Each is eager, even anxious, to tell
you about the situation that wrecked him, about his private waterloo.
These situations cover the waterfront of human experience from “My wife ran
out of me” to “I lost everything I had and had no place else to go” to “I did a
couple of things that made me a social outcast so I came down here.”
When we move up from Skid Row into dominion of Mr. and Mrs. Average
American, we see obvious differences in living habits. But again we discover
that Mr. Mediocre gives essentially the same reasons to explain his mediocrity
as Mr. Skid Row gave to explain his complete collapse. Inside, Mr. Mediocre
feels defeated. He has unhealed wounds suffered in situations that beat him.
Now he is super-cautious. He plods along, ducking the thrill of living
victoriously, discontented with himself. He feels beaten but tries hard to endure
the sentence of mediocrity that “fate” has handed him.
He, too, has surrendered to defeat, but in a reasonably clean, socially “accepted”
Now when we climb upstairs into uncrowded world of success, we again
discover people from every possible background. Corporate executives, leading
ministers, government officials, top men in every field. We discover, come from
poor homes, rich homes, broken homes, cotton patches, cornfields, and slums.
These people who lead every branch of our society have experienced every
tough situation you can describe.
It is possible to match every Mr. Skid Row with a Mr. Mediocre and a Mr.
Success on every score – age, intelligence, background, nationality, you name
it- with one exception. The one thing you can’t match them on is their response
to defeat.
When the fellow we call Mr. Skid Row got knocked down, he failed to get up
again. He just lay there, splattered out. Mr. Mediocre got up to his knees, but he
crawled away and when out of sight, ran in opposite direction so he would be
sure never to take beating again.
But Mr. Success reacted differently when got knocked down. He bounced up,
learned a lesson, forgot the beating, and moved
What strikes me that in every country you see these three categories of people.
If you find a lot of Mr. Skid Rows and Mr. Mediocre in US – the land of
opportunities- then it is not un-expected to find more in countries where
opportunities are scarce and worst than that fear and terror rule with full force.
Mr. Schwartz is talking about personal defeats and personal responses to
defeats and that is very different from what youths are facing in Quetta. It is
place where people are living under constant terror and neglect. If government
(civil and military), elders, political leaders and media are openly
acknowledging that they got defeated in war against terrorism in whole
Pakistan then Quetta is nowhere in Pakistan (It is a neglected, backward place
with almost non-existing law and order). The question is what happens to
youths and people who are living under constant terror for a decade now (and
neglect forever)…where the whole society is laid down to defeats like Schwartz’
s Mr. Skid Row?
Frankly, it is easy to advise that, “be like Mr. Success” and bounce up, learn a
lesson, forget the beating and move upward…. but it is not so smooth and easy.
It is not easy and smooth then what is alternative? Of course, there is no
alternative. I am sure that Mr. Skid Row and Mr. Mediocre is not acceptable to
our youths.
If their government has proved to be Mr. Skid Row…. the youths would not
share their failures. A good analogy would of a broken and poor family where
there is no hope but we still find examples of Mr. and Mrs. Successes out these
families. Being ashamed of a failed government doesn’t mean accepting failure
at a personal level. Mr. Successes that would come from such harsh environments would be definitely more resilient and stronger than Mr.
Successes that come from land of opportunities. Mr. Successes of such harsh
environments definitely need more open minds, higher levels of creativity and
investing more time for bouncing back. In simple words, Mr. Successes in this
environments needs stronger responses to “defeats”………and needs not to get
distracted by annoying acknowledgments of defeats on societal and
governmental level……………

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