Few Things I Will Teach My Son about Life

” The sweetness of a life well lived can only be savoured when our life has a great purpose. That purpose, that goal, is our own. There is no need to compare ourselves to others. We should choose our own goal and move forward toward achieving it in our own distinct way. Take heart, and do not let disappointment or shame stop you from moving forward. The true outcome of life is only apparent at the very end. ” ~ Daisaku Ikeda, SGI President

Life is not short as they say. It is really long! And in this long journey, we are bound to encounter numerous challenges. The interesting fact is that, these challenges look daunting when we collide head-on with them in life. But, months and years later, you look back and tell yourself with pride – “I did it! I moved on to achieve bigger things in life.”

How amazing it is!

There are some life lessons that children should be taught early on so that they do not encounter challenges that look insurmountable. I have decided to do the same. Here are a few things I will teach my son.

  1. Life is not rosy: When we, as parents, tell our kids that life is too perfect like a picture, we are creating an illusion for them that will fizzle out one day. That day will be painful. To avoid that, why not give them the real picture? Life is beautiful, but harsh at times. You need to accept life with all it’s imperfections. It is ‘OKAY’ to face hardships – they are part of life, just as those blessings that already exist or may come to our life.
  2.  You cannot win ‘all the time’: Yes, it is the fact of life. In the various games and tests of life, we cannot win all the time. Losing and winning are parts of life. Striving to win is most important. The outcome isn’t. Why? Because the passion to strive and attempt to do better each time is more important. If you strive, you may win. And if you don’t strive, you cannot. Learning from victory and defeats is an equally important thing. When you win, that doesn’t guarantee recurrent victories. Losing at the same time, doesn’t warrant repeated failures! After every win, instead of feeling overconfident, it is important to revisit your strategy and assess ‘what could have been done better?’ Similarly, after every defeat or failure, it is mandatory to scrutinize yourself. None can be a better judge to your performance than yourself. Condition is: Be honest!
  3. Be an avid learner: There should be no shame in saying: I don’t know this. But, I am eager to learn.’ Someone might laugh at you that moment and make you look like a fool. But,  imagine! You will be able to learn something new for life! Anne M. Mulcahy, Former Chairperson and CEO of Xerox Corp. rightly puts it:

    “I learned how to be a learner. When you get in a job, the tendency is to say, ‘I’ve got to know it. I’ve got to give direction to others. I’m in this job because I’m better and smarter.’ I always took a different view, that the key was to identify the people who really knew and learn from them. “

  4. Compete with yourself: Each one of us is unique, with unique qualities, and hence, have unique goals in life – personal and professional. There is no question of comparison. Yes, you may aspire to be “like” someone, but certainly not him/her! Each one of us come from different family backgrounds, upbringing, needs and dreams. Then why compare yourself with someone? What gives me the deepest satisfaction is my own learning curve; my own growth curve. When I look back on my professional and personal journey, I feel totally victorious. I have earned so much for myself. Whenever you feel deadlocked in this competitive rat marathon, ask yourself how well you have fared in the past months or years? Have you overcome at least one of your weaknesses? If the answer is a power ‘yes’, bring a broad smile onto your face, get a cup of nice coffee, and just feel accomplished. Competing with others is the worst thing you can do to yourself. Reason? You can’t measure how much you have grown as an individual by comparing yourself with others.
  5. Never give up: Life hurls unexpected challenges and hurdles on our way. There is none on this planet earth who lives a life free of challenges. Encountering hardships and challenges is THAT common. The biggest defeat is not a failure, but the tendency to give up mid-way because someone thinks you are not able to make it. In any battle of life, the course of events can never define your victory or defeat. What matters is how hard, strategically and courageously you fought! A courageous battle may or may not bring a victory, but it will surely make you a more experienced and a stronger individual. What is bigger and more definitive than this?

“There are times when a victory or success can actually become the cause for future defeat or failure. Likewise, defeat can become the cause for victory in the future.” ~ Daisaku Ikeda, SGI President