As a professor in one of the leading business schools in India, I sense that the younger generation is always on the lookout for quick fixes.
We have a headache, we take aspirin or paracetamol or consult a so-called expert, take their recommendation and get back to doing what we were doing. Since the problem goes away, we do not bother. Each time the headache returns, we take a larger dose or try a different medicine. Sometimes it works, sometimes it does not. One day we realize that this is not working and go to a proper doctor. We then understand that the root cause was different, by which time it may be too late.
We treat life the same way. When we have a problem, we consult a so-called expert or read a self-help book and apply its principles. Sometimes it works, sometimes it does not.
There are tens of thousands of ‘self-help’ or ‘how-to’ books, ranging from fixing your physical problems (weight, looks, complexion, height) to fixing your emotional and mental problems (memory, speed of thinking, control of emotions) to fixing your after-life (spiritual, religious problems). If they give quick fixes, it is a good book or advice. If it asks you to do things from basic principles (like yoga) where the results take too much time in coming or are not evident, we do not like that book or advice.
We become evangelists of some remedies that work. We close our eyes to the root problems, or ignore any signs that are contrary to our beliefs. We also try to convert others to our way of thinking. We force our beliefs on others. Check out the latest diet, fad, religion, spiritual guru.
The answers are within us. We are a product of what we did or did not do in the past. All this past programming made us what we are today. This cannot be deprogrammed by an instant pill. We have to spend a certain amount of time undoing and redoing.
We then have four choices.
- We can get disheartened and keep searching for the magic pill. We will run from one fad to the other, ask more and more quacks about what to do and believe that the symptomatic relief is the final cure.
- We can accept ourselves as what we are, and by the same token, accept others as they are. We understand our shortcomings and work around them, and compensate for others’ shortcomings and/or help them.
- We can start the process of undoing and redoing the most important things. For example, health issues happen when we are old, and we have time to undo/redo our range of activities pertaining to our health. However, once we have taken the career path of ,say, engineering, we cannot go back into medical.
- We can, early on in life, start doing the right things, so that we are programmed the right way. This requires us to analyse and agree that we need to create some skill sets, find the best way to do it and stick to it, giving it a chance.