must be consistent, must persevere, must….

Last night a friend and I talked about the words “consistency”, “perseverence”, “pushing forward” etc. And how when we were unable to produce results or were unable to show our efforts then we felt the blame, shame, guilt automatically.
Most of our growing years of school and college…. the usual drill… “if you don’t do this every single day or if you don’t consistently work at it, then you will never be good at it”. I blamed myself for not being good at something… why could i not develop the willpower to do it, etc…?

But when i started to paint…i kept at it because i wanted to. There was no need for external compulsion. I just did it because i wanted to. So the persevering part, the consistency of purpose, the pushing forward etc… just was natural. I did not consciously follow these dictum’s. I just did it… for the love of the subject.

So today if Raghu does Lego…its because he wants to. I honestly believe that provided he is doing something because “He” wants to, he will stick to it and be good at it. And good to the point that feels good to him. The day he switches interests, it simply means he has exhausted one interest at this point in time and is achieving contentment in another. Even if its an interest that lasted a day… its still just that. An interest… his to control.

I’m so glad Raghu has never had anyone tell him that he needs to be consistent / to work hard at Lego. His interest would have died the day we timed, primed, examined etc.

Back to me and my friend. I feel the dictums told to us as we grew up came from fear. A fear that we will not achieve the set goal. (Set usually by someone other than ourselves.) Fear of the possibility that our interests might change by the day. Fear that if we do not persevere at one interest…. then we will start from scratch at some other interest. The fear that our lack of efforts in one direction will reflect badly on our social/work profile. The fear that we will not learn the skills to survive in life and also make a ton of money.

I can see that if i love something, if i really, really want something, if i feel a deep connection with something…. then the rest follows… all the hard work seems easy… the consistency and perseverance are natural. And there are no fears when one works from the heart.

And as children remind us constantly… “just doing it” is easy and part of the flow of life. Living in expectation and fearing the unknown (partly a result of knowing how much shame there was in not doing well on an exam) is unnatural and mostly counter-productive (if not in the short run… then in the long run).