I cannot stress the importance of what I realized a few weeks ago and after my realization, there was no option but to swing into action. I wanted to share that and see if I could inspire you to move your ass too for some area(s) in your life as well.
I have been planning and planning … yawn … planning to do a lot of things for many years. For example, while I was a kid, I saw a few movies and loved war on the big screen. Guns of Navarone, Where Eagles Dare are movies that come to my mind instantly – those were 2 movies that I saw with my dad and I have never seen him that excited in anything other than a cricket game! The more ancient the background setting in a war, the more interested I would get. So, there I was, a little kid absolutely overawed by trying to imagine, how Mr. Alexander the Great or King Vikramadiya would look like or how Mr. Bhima from Mahabharata could lift trees and hurl them at the evil asuras and rakshasas. How could an army of monkeys fight against an army of demons? Then, I was very intrigued by scud missiles that got sufficient press coverage during the times Saddam was sent these gifts via air mail from those Bushy planes. History began to excite me. I began to find it fascinating with the realization that man’s thoughts around greed, love, power etc have not undergone any change – only the settings have changed. Pigeon carriers have evaporated to form wireless signals; not letters on paper or leaves but emails packed in invisible containers called data packets are flying in all directions under the sea, over the head, through your body etc but man is man – still the same. History books were like the sexy temptations that I wanted to indulge in, but never did. Obviously, where was the time? I was so busy! But did I decide, ditch history? Well, No!! Because I could find time and read it tomorrow or very soon or shortly or in the next few days. Multiple ways of saying the same thing, huh!
Was it only history – did I not want to secretly read the Kamasutra when I was a teenager? The secret is, I did get time to read it and even the access to the right source. Shhh …. There were other books on different topics that I did read but only when I really wanted to.
Alexander was not the only topic of interest for me. For example, I was told by some friends about this book called Lord of the Rings. I also found that book in 2 of my friends’ houses, borrowed it and didn’t get past the first 10 pages. Why?? Obviously I was busy practicing math or reading physics or playing the violin. Where the heck was the time?
Then, I went to college and got busy – formed several brick and mortal social networks and met people face to face – no facebooks then! We twittered for hours on various things in life. All that I read was the sports section (and started solving crosswords too) but beyond that in newspapers, didn’t read much. I loved to read (meaning loved the idea of reading) economics, mythological creatures and wow, how amazing that Roman / Mexican mythology had parallels with Indian mythology too. So my ‘to read tomorrow’ list began to grow at an alarmingly fast pace. Demand (demand to read from my head) and reading supply’s gap was becoming wider and wider. Of course, B-school and job interviews meant there were classics that had to be read. How could somebody not read the Goal or Positioning or X or Y and call themselves a MBA graduate from a premier institute? Believe me, one can get away and nobody will ever know – after all, all you need to survive in the universe is common sense and a mind that can convince you and others 😉 Forget survival, you can succeed too.
I recently went to this book store (Bradleys) and to be honest, it was a completely unplanned visit. They offered a huge discount and their sales event has been going on for a while. When I went and saw the books, I realized there were some books I had wanted to read for the last 25 years. By now, you and I have both made an intelligent guess that I didn’t find the time to read it in 25 x 52 x 7 x 24 hours, which is almost 200 thousand hours – a miniscule percentage of my expected life, just close to 40%, to be precise.
I stood frozen and wiped the sweat that mysteriously appeared on my forehead. I quietly bought some books and have been taking time out to read – at least half an hour every day. I also take time – about 15 minutes each for some of my other interests that didn’t get to see the light of the day because I just didn’t do it! I haven’t compromised on my long work hours or anything else I have been doing as part of my normal life too. I know I will never meet all my demands from a cumulative demand perspective – reading or other stuff but am so glad, I have made a start towards proudly deleting items from the ‘To Do’ list and throwing them forever into the dungeons of the ‘Yeayeee, Its Done’ List. I did miss out on a lot of things but I am not going to miss the misses and find another perfect reason to only add to my demands without doing anything about the supply side of the equation. Now, I love the phrase, ‘Just Do it’, more than it just being a brand association or slogan that only Nike can use!
So, if you are waiting for something, well, ‘Just do it!’ The waiting time is like the empty space in your life’s atom while action time may just be the small space the nucleus and other sub atomic particles occupy.
p.s: I didn’t start the post intending to preach here, but hey, what the hell, I like doing that too 🙂