Sunday, March 18, 2012

That ability to prove others wrong

For long, I have admired sport for the virtues that it has taught me. Passion, commitment, discipline, love for what you are doing, do the best that you possibly can, make the most of your talents, make a statement to the world et al. Sport usually thrives on the ability of a chosen few to go beyond the ordinary that makes watching sport itself a virtue. But that is not the point of this blog. I firmly believe that sport teaches all of us, in any walk of life, on how to approach life and come up in life, in the wake of severe adversities. 
 
There is no point screaming at the top of your voice against people who have decided to harm you. It is better to take stock of the criticism being levelled against you (in whichever stream you may be in), and doing the best you can to prove those critics wrong. Like they say in cricket, let the bat do the talking. In much the same way, let critics talk; and all you need to do is perform and the same critics will either stop making comments about you, or will learn to appreciate that they need to watch their word before they speak.

I have seen this element of being criticised or ostracised or denegrated by many people in many ways. Some people end up saying that 'he is not good enough'; others are bit more impolite, and many others are downright rude. Of course, there is this other variety that you need to guard against the most i.e. the type that will sweet talk you and make you believe that you are great, when in fact, they are doing all they can to destroy you, bit by bit. Calculated demolition by people, who know to do it subtly, without your realising it. And this can be both at a professional and personal level. If it is professional, there is enough room to prove them wrong. If it gets personal, that is where the aspect of self-respect comes in. I have learnt in life never to let go of your self-respect, irrespective of anything else.

I believe that critics of all types can be made to eat their words in ample measure. The one thing that you need to watch out for, is to avoid taking things personally. That is easier said than done. Like my uncle famously told me, “You will you find the solution to a problem, if you focus on the problem”. Otherwise, one tends to get consumed by the feeling of revenge against the individual who demolished you and that will make it hard to focus on the issue. That's the key - focus on the issue, because, if that gets solved, then your critic will automatically eat his/her words and be careful about what he/she says to you or about you next time around.

The worst variety are the people who betray you (not just critic you) i.e. you may have grown up believing somebody no end. Such people may turn out to be supremely opportunistic and may stalk you in the smoothest manner possible, without any previous hint. They are the toughest and the worst set of people once can think of handling. When they demolish you they way they do, it affects your self-confidence and belief systems in life itself. You begin to wonder whether you can believe anyone on this planet at all. That is the time of supreme examination of an individual's patience, intellect and most importantly the temperament of the individual, who is at the receiving end of the critics. That precisely, is the time, to have the balance to handle the situation. Very few have that balance. That is where, I believe, sport can help.

The ability to handle the worst situation possible in the most balanced manner. Never to give it back verbatim to the individual who demolished you, but show the same individual that you are actually far better than he/she thinks you are. While those people may have the opportunities to be opportunistic, they conveniently forgot that ever dog has its day. One needs to bide his/her time and just go on about one's regular life and have the gumption to fight back, professionally and with a lot of dignity. A lot of this is to prove to such demolition-driven people to not only mess with you, but also to prove to yourself that you are far better than people think/perceive you to be.

I think, one really is answerable to oneself in the long-run. If I can look at myself in the mirror and be convinced that his/her conscience is clear, that is more than enough. Critics will come and go; so will people who think they have demolished you and thereby won in their lives. But, all of them can be made to eat their words, by your own courage of conviction and firm belief to prove to yourself that you can achieve the benchmarks that you have set for yourself. Opportunistic people are the worst people one can ever encounter; and such are the people who will first realise your worth, when you perform.  Take Rahul Dravid, for instance. Connoisseurs of cricket averred that the man cannot play one-day cricket; he didn’t react, he actually responded with 10,000+ runs in the ODI format. The old connoisseurs had no answer and were forced to agree that he was one of the greatest ever cricketers of all time!

Many of these lessons are embedded in the sublime world of sport, at least for me. I am convinced that all of us can draw from these lessons and adapt them to our spheres of life. There is no need to be bitter, or arrogant or irritable or reactionary.  Just do your own thing, keep your conscience clear and people who have done all they can to kill you alive, will eventually eat their words. Don’t even expect an apology from the people who tried to damage you; you will automatically know that they were wrong, when you go about things the right way, just as they will realise that they passed a judgement on you a little too early for their own good.  
 
One needs to look no further than a Dravid, or a Kumble, or Ganguly or of course, Sachin in cricket. Or, other champions from other games such as Federer, Maradona, Pele, Viswanathan Anand,  Jesse Owens, et al. All these legends have had their fair share of critics and people who have questioned them through their career, and indeed their lives.  The lesson that these champions taught me is to focus on their sport and make their critics eat their words.

I now firmly believe in many of these virtues that sport has taught me. It helps me live my life better.

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