Sujatha Rao makes a case for the necessity of the world coming together as one— where everyone is a winner!
Last year, ‘Squid Game,’ a Korean television series on Netflix broke records for its viewership across the world. It reached the number one spot in 90 countries, garnering more than 111 million viewers in just 17 days of its release.
While the title of the series is drawn from a similarly named children’s game, the series itself is woven around a contest where 456 players in deep financial debt, put their lives at risk to play a children’s game, in which the ultimate winner takes home 45.6 billion South Korean won (translating approximately to USD 38 million). The story’s creator, Hwang Dong-hyuk, says, “It is a story about losers” from our present competitive society where the “winners level up.”
Life, fortunately, is not a zero-sum game.
If one person wins, it doesn’t mean that someone else needs to lose. Ideally, you want everyone to win. But can we believe that things can really be ‘win-win’? If yes, are we to wait for things to pan out by themselves, or are there any things in our control that we can do to make this happen? It appears that in addition to the luck factor in life, there are certain things we can do to create a conducive atmosphere for a win-win situation. .
Which Mental Space Are You Acting From?
• Despite having a very good bank balance in her account, Sowmya finds it very difficult to withdraw money for spending even on daily basic items and often finds herself stressed out about money matters.
• Dinesh is having sleepless nights about his promotion at work and is constantly worried about someone else taking credit for the work done by him.
In a way, these are examples of people suffering from what we can label as ‘shortage mentality.’ These people are constantly worried about not having enough of the things they want from the world. Is this a trait one is born with? Or did some incidents in their lives make them behave this way? Either way, is there something we can do to rid ourselves of such a mentality?
It appears that we can. Following are a few of the practices that can help us nurture an ‘abundance attitude’ in ourselves.
• Maintaining a gratitude journal will open the doors to abundance consciousness by reminding us about how lucky we are by focussing our attention on things that we have, rather than on things that we lack.
• “It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you do not care who gets the credit,” said Harry Truman. Going a step further, when we also praise others’ work and let others share the credit, however small their right to the same happens to be, we elevate our status in the eyes of others and strengthen our relationships with them.
What Are You Choosing?
• While growing up, Ashwika had a bad childhood. Her parents divorced after a very long-drawn bitter fight. Many a time, Ashwika was caught in between their fights, impacting her growth negatively, as a result of which she broke into her adulthood not trusting man-woman relationships.
• Revanth, on the other hand, had a good childhood. His parents loved each other, and they both were doting parents to him. But, while he was growing up, money was always an issue at home due to his parent’s
lack of financial discipline. Revanth grew up feeling jealous of his rich friends. To date, he holds his parents responsible for his having to settle for a menial job in life.
Ashwika and Revanth have put the blame for the problems in their lives outside of themselves. While there is no denying the fact that there definitely is a grain of truth in their line of thinking, unless they take control of their lives and own them fully, they will continue to live with bitterness and fail to live up to their potential.
But is there something they can do to enable them to do so?
• Freedom of choice: In his famous book, Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl said, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
It is often a choice between either playing the victim or being the survivor of the tough situations in our lives. When we choose the latter, we would be able to move on, by owning up to our present and steering it towards whatever we want in life, without the baggage of the past.
As the popular writer and American psychotherapist Lori Gottlieb beautifully said, “We are the authors of our own lives. We get to write our own stories. We may not always choose the circumstance, but the response is ours to choose.”
• Self-control: A lot of real improvements in the quality of our lives are likely to be driven more by our improved decision making rather than by medical technology.
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But many a person laments that though they know the right choices for themselves and are likely to choose the same, they lack the requisite discipline to continue practising them.
To improve our self-control, we have to try and come up with strategies best suited to ourselves. One of the best things that would help us in this regard is to pair something that we love with something which is good for us but we hate doing. For instance, an obese movie lover can decide to watch a film while sweating on a treadmill.
How Badly Do You Want To Realise Your Dreams?
• Dheeraj is daydreaming about owning a big house some day without planning anything in terms of making the said dream come true.
• Anvesh is a travel enthusiast. He went on an overdrive of his credit card spends in an attempt to visit the places he loves and is currently struggling to pay the exorbitant penalties and charges levied on his card.
Both these people are unwilling to work towards making their dreams come true through a constructive plan.
For that to happen, you have to want to realise your dream bad enough to sacrifice your present to better your future. You can spur yourself into action, either by turning on stuff that motivates you or turning off things that distract you.
• You can keep pictures of well-toned-bodied
“We are the authors of our own lives. We get to write our own stories. We may not always choose the circumstance, but the response is ours to choose.”
people around you if you want to get in shape.
• You can turn off notifications when you work on important projects to avoid distractions.
• You can stop buying junk food and fill your refrigerator with healthy salads and fruits if you are trying to lose weight.
clichéd saying goes,
“If you have the will,
you will find a way.”
The mask Is off
COVID-19 and the earlier pandemics have amply demonstrated that, in life, win-win solutions are not only possible, but, sometimes, they are imminent for our very survival as a race. In the interconnected world that we live in, the
world has truly become one true to our Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (the world is one family) philosophy, and there is no way the world can win the war against the pandemics unless all human beings are protected against them.
Hence, sharing the requisite resources and knowledge with all human beings, irrespective of their geographical or economic standings, after carrying out thorough and irrefutable evidence-based research about the same, is an absolute necessity. Either we can win collectively, or we will lose collectively.
As the world is gradually getting out of the pandemic and as our masks are slowly coming off, the following words of Benedict Wells are worth pondering over:
“Life is not a zero‐sum game. It owes us nothing, and things just happen the way they do. Sometimes they’re fair and everything makes sense; sometimes they’re so unfair we question everything. I pulled the mask off the face of Fate, and all I found beneath it was chance.”
Sujatha Rao is a retired banker. She has been contributing articles to various newspapers and mag azines over the last two decades. Two of her short stories were placed third in Times of India’s national level Write India contest (Seasons 1 and 2). Her first book titled In the Company of Stories was published recently. Her other interests include reading, traveling, practising yoga, and mindfulness.
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