I’m ravaged if I don’t Get It.
This life is a quest for Getting. This society will cheer you if you can Get it. And if you can't Get enough-you're a nobody, you're not worth anything. ‘It', for you, might mean wealth, recognition, status or any kind of material success. You MUST Get IT.
Superstar from childhood?…
Our children imbibe this from early childhood. Parents pressurizing them to be the topper of their class, win the football championship, be equally amazing in painting, music, dance and what have you.
I know I must be the best. Otherwise Mom won't love me as much.
And what can be a greater measure of self-worth to a child than parental love? This is not to say that parents stop loving their children if they are not high-acheivers. But the message the child gets is, "I get all those beams and hugs and kisses and little treats when I top the class, but I get a long face when I don't."
…Or suffering from distorted self-image?
Where are we going? Why are we doing this to our kids and to ourselves? What does it matter if the interviewer thinks I'm not worthy of being in their company/institute? What does it matter if the teacher thinks I don't deserve better grades? I know what I am. Who knows me better-she, or me? Why will my self-worth depend on others' evaluation of me-others who are not even the important ones-my friends, husband/wife/partner, parents, kids?
Let's say I ask myself, "Who am I?" What answer do I get? Do I tell myself, "Who am I? I'm the guy who's responsible for a 40% increase in my company's revenue!" Or do I say, "I'm a fun-loving/friendly/happy-go-lucky person, married to/in a relationship with Rahul/Neha-the most wonderful man/woman in the world. I'm also blessed to have Amrita and Amar-the sweetest kids in the world!"???
What happens when you fail?
Now let's say I didn't get that job/promotion/admission to that hallowed school.
I failed a test. I didn't meet my targets. What happens? Well, hell happens. That's what lies at the core of my life, doesn't it? Meeting my targets/getting the best grades/ being promoted. So of course I'm devastated.
And oh, I forgot to add – in the world inside my head, there's no second chance. Like everyone else, I somehow believe if I fail to meet those targets today, there's no tomorrow. If I don't pass that exam at the first attempt I'll be barred from taking it ever again in my life. And everyone knows that people never get promoted if they fail to get promoted once. So considering all that, I'm contemplating suicide.
When success comes at a hefty price…
Now let's imagine another scenario-I keep neglecting Neha cause I'm too busy making sure the first scenario doesn't come true-meeting deadlines, networking with key people after office hours, studying so hard for the interview that I have no time even to talk to Neha. She is a human being too. She feels hurt. Then she tries her best to draw my attention to our waning relationship. Naturally I ignore her. She feels more hurt than I can imagine. And then one day she doesn't feel so hurt. And then comes a time when she barely notices my negligence. That's when she starts seeing other guys. And then we part.
The most important part -yes, the most important part of me has been slow-poisoned to death.
What will I do then? Will I be ecstatic that I still have the gold rolling in and my targets in place?
Have you ditched life for success?
"Oh, well, the elixir of my life, the only reason I was born, the happiest little secret of my life is gone but that's a teensy-weensy price I paid when you consider what I got in return-a promotion and an insane bonus a result of all those hours I kept working neglecting her!"
Is that what I'd say? I actually won't. No, not even if I'm the most selfish, achievement-maniac and greedy person in the world.
I'd feel like I'm choking to death. I'll feel the ground giving way under my feet.
Is there a second chance now? Will I ever get her back? Ok. Let me try.
"Neha, I can't tell you how much I love you. I can't tell you how sorry I am. I know what has happened is entirely my fault. I promise you I'll always be yours from now on. I'm dying. Don't do this to me. Please come home."
"Thanks for all that, Rahul, but I'm with Sumit now. We're getting married next month."
"Oh. Right. Congratulations."
Looks like I made a mistake. There's no second chance after all. Not in this case.
Now all I want is to live my life once more. To correct those mistakes. To do the things I should have done. To spend my time where I should have spent it.
Will I get another chance?