“The cup of tea on arrival at a country house is a thing which, as a rule, I particularly enjoy. I like the crackling logs, the shaded lights, the scent of buttered toast, the general atmosphere of leisured cosiness. There is something that seems to speak to the deeps in me in the beaming smile of my hostess and the furtive whisper of my host, as he plucks … It is on such occasions as this, it has often been said, that you catch Bertram Wooster at his best.”
― Bertram Wooster in The Code of the Woosters
In the first half of my article on My Ten Commandments, I had covered four of the ten commandments. I will cover the rest in this article.
- Enjoy the simple pleasures of life: I am a big fan of P. G Wodehouse books, especially the Jeeves and Wooster series and the above quote aptly sums up what I want to convey about this commandment. I immensely love small indulgences – having a hot cup of tea with cookies or a piece of cake, spending time with the family, the aroma from the first few drops rain falling on the scorching and parched soil, the sight of a budding flower, an outing with friends, eating a well-made and well laid out simple meal, or wearing perfectly ironed clothes every morning. Some of these things may not be memorable but they provide joy and relaxation on a day to day basis and are important for me. Finding your simple pleasures in life and living those moments can make life more relaxed and enjoyable.
- Cut your losses quickly: Many times we continue to cling to our decisions even when we realise we have made a mistake. I am not sure whether it is due to ego, false hope of recovery or sheer procrastination, but I have observed that many people (including me) hang on to the decisions that they have taken, way past their expiry date. It could be as simple as continuing to support a team member who has been consistently underperforming or not getting out of an investment decision gone wrong due to an unforeseen development. On many occasions, I have observed several people are also not able to take tough decisions regarding dead relationships. I am sure that, in hindsight most of us would have concluded that we would have been better off if we had nipped the problem in the bud instead of carrying on. When observed from a distance, it seems easy, but it is not. This is an area that I want to do better in.
- Make peace with yourself: Blacklist, a crime thriller television series is another favourite of mine, especially the character of Raymond Reddington, played by the super talented James Spader. I quote Reddington who says, “Revenge isn’t a passion. It’s a disease. It eats at your mind and poisons your soul.”
Talking about revenge is a bit extreme but many of us often carry a load, sometimes throughout our lives, of being wronged by someone close to us or are unable to forgive ourselves for mistakes made by us in the past. The burden continues to grow with time and it prevents us from being at peace with ourselves. We must learn to forgive others and also forgive ourselves if we want to be happy.
- Do not sweat the small stuff: In some sense, this point can be considered as 7b, however, in my book, it is important hence I feel that it deserves to be included as a commandment. We can lose sight of the big picture and let the less important stuff take control over our life and stress us out. It could be as simple as a co-worker’s wrong attitude or someone not giving us our due credit or a heated exchange of words due to road rage. If we let our lives be dictated or taken over by how others behave and let it bother us beyond a point, it will be very difficult to have peace and sanity. In such cases, the dictum ‘prevention is better than cure’ works best. If one is prone to such distractions, one will need to acknowledge that this can occur, identify triggers / warning signs and establish a clear avoidance strategy.
- Express gratitude: It is an established fact that being grateful and expressing gratitude can bring positivity in our lives and make us happier, more content and confident. However, many of us who have been shepherded to be combative to achieve success, may find it difficult to be thankful for what we have and also express that feeling towards others. My suggestion is to start now and I can promise that you will gradually become comfortable.
- Give back to society: The lockdown has proved beyond doubt that the negative effects of global warming can be mitigated by being prudent. It has also exposed the city focused development model that we have been following till now in India. Even at an individual level, we can all make a difference by being careful about the choices we make going forward.
As you would have observed, most of the commandments that I have covered in this article are aimed at making life more peaceful and content. I have observed that these ten commandments work for me. Do try and create your own commandments, which work for you. May the force be with you!
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