Friday, March 30, 2007

The Road to nowhere.....

Paulo coelho says in 'Confessions of a piligrim'-- " I don't stack all those books that I've already read. What's the use of keeping these books which I may not read again? Who am I trying to impress with this display?'.

My cupboard is stacked with many books that I've finished reading and amidst them are a few books which are not yet opened. I have an emotional attachment to many of these books; and I also leaf through the finished pages once in a way. Hardly anyone comes to my room here, so there's no question of impressing any soul. Among these books are half a dozen novels by R.K. Narayan-- bought many ages ago, a bunch of books by Osho--mainly on Zen masters, a few collection of short stories, some inspirational books, one or two novels..........

I think, the most books that are sold over the counter of any bookstore or on any pavement belong to the 'How to' category. How to do this, do that, learn english, speak fluently, become assertive, make friends, stop worrying, become rich, earn a million bucks, write better, even grow tall....I've bought atleast a dozen such books and read another 2 dozen in the past ten years. The mantra of success appears as elusive as ever.

There's a book on my shelf--'Unlimited Power'--which I'd purchased nearly 5 years ago and had diligently read, the priniciples of which I'd tried to implement. Most of the advice from such books, although well-intended, is either far-fetched or too generalistic and vague to be applied for successful results. I know people who swear by 'Think and grow rich' or 'How to make friends and influence people'--and their financial status or friendship quotient is anybody's guess.

As far as self-help is concerned, one of the best advice I've come across is from Dave pollard. He says--'Why do we do what we do? We first do things that are a must. Then we do those that are easy. And finally, those that are fun. If a job doesn't fall in any of these categories, it'll never get done.'

I've been chewing on this advice for the past couple of days as I wonder about all those self-help manuals I bought, all those plans and goals I set for myself, and all the lofty ideals I've dreamt of achieving. Do they fall in the Must, Easy or Fun category? To make any goal or a dream a reality, maybe it should first fall in one of these. Until then, it's doomed to remain as it is--just a wisp of dream.

(Why is brushing teeth every morning not a goal--but it gets done without fail? It's a Must--you can't go out without doing this. Make it a goal and it falls flat)

I understand that no amount of advice can help until the desire for a better living arises from within. And no, you can't ignite that desire by reading ' How to develop a desire for success?' You need to arrive at the answer yourself. (Don't ask, How to arrive!)


  1. The desire for a better life arises when the current one is unbearable. Ohterwise, most of the time we muddle on. There will only be change within us when we really really desire it desperately enough to do something about it, ourselves. It would be nice to be touched with a magic wand and be transformed - but you and I know it doesnt happen like that!

    Oh R.K. Narayan - what a master storyteller. I have recently recommended his books to someone who likes to read novels by Indian writers, about India. He is so good at invoking atmosphere by writing naturally.

  2. Good post.

    Likewise, I've got stacks of books. Dave's Must-Easy-Fun priority system seems to explain my motivations well.

    Let's hope for the breakthrough that will get us over the top.


  3. Val..Rk Narayan is like vintage wine. I re-read one of his novels recently--they seem to get better with time.
    Totally agree with you. That desire comes when life at present isn't acceptable. Or, the promised life is more alluring than the current situation. But the paradox is that, when you get there, there can be another promising horizon--the current life can remain unsatisfactory even after arriving. How to reconcile this with what Tolle says--'Totally accepting the Now'? That's a puzzle for me. Your thoughts?

    ...Thanks Myke.

  4. Interesting post. P'haps the trick that may just do it is to live for the moment, past be made peace with and future be left to the machinations of abstract fate (if you're an atheist) or the auspices of the divine (if you've a believer).

    Live it in resonance with your beliefs, the heart, and the instincts, the gut.

    Easier said than done, and easiest to refute, argue with. But with so many ways to look at it, mine's just one among some teeming, tetchy billions. :)

    Cheers, and Vishwa, thanks for your kind comments over my post - 'Eating a Peach...' at Might as well share with you, this imagined piece did stem from a real loss (friend), which due to a certain natural reticence turned to take on fictional overtones. Glad it touched a chord in you.


  5. Brushing one's teeth every morning may be a "must," but if one is clinically depressed, the odds are that it doesn't get done.

  6. vishwa, great post. Books are great but it is in the action of living moment by moment with one's heart... in all the pain and glory and love.

    I do have my stack of books... but they are just for me and my ponderings... and sometimes to share thoughts about... :)

    Thanks for stopping by blog and posting your kind words... I do so appreciate it, vishwa.