Life can be an interesting experience or everything in it can be a source of irritation, the choice is ours. We are primed by instincts to treat anything new or unfamiliar to be irritating, but only when we consciously condition ourselves to take interest in the unfamiliar, do we experience breakthroughs.
Edward de Bono, the guru of lateral thinking, has encouraged readers and students to engage in exploratory thinking. He has helped conflicting sides in Ireland to overcome their challenges by encouraging them to take more interest in each other’s perspectives, which lead to empathy, which then leads to an understanding and thus a resolution.
Next time someone does something which usually would have irritated us, let us step back and say to ourselves, wow, interesting, he or she has done the same thing again. Why does he or she do this, if I were to be in his or her situation, would I do the same? We will be less judgmental.
Recently, I was traveling from Singapore to Delhi. During the flight while I was checking the in-flight movie menu, I deliberately chose to watch a movie titled Step Up 2: The
Streets, the description said that the movie was about the passion of a teenager to pursue a dance form of her choice and she goes all out to do it. In the past, I would have probably skipped such as movie and would have stuck with the conventional drama, but this time, I said to myself, it will be interesting to see what the teenagers are up to. I started watching the movie, and I found the movie to be very interesting and energising. I was in awe of the dancing talent of the teenagers and I realised that teenagers today are as disciplined as many of my generation. The difference is that the teenagers have the heart to do more of what they like to do. Some of the dialogues that
I liked in the movie were ‘Life is too short to be somebody else’ and ‘It is not what you have got, but what you do with what you have got, that makes all the difference’. The movie finished, and I wanted more of it, such was the impact. I am so glad that I saw that movie, as it has opened a whole new vista for me to explore, a new dance form, a new way to achieve physical and mental fitness, a whole new area which is very interesting.
Let us take more and more interest in the great variety that life has to offer and overcome the tendency to become cynical that comes with viewing the world around us as irritating. When we take a lot of interest in what goes around us, I can assure you, we will also become more interesting to other people. Thus we will live more vibrant lives.