Gazing through the lens of possibilitiesThe thrust that blocks the rocket to move forward is the same thrust it uses to soar ahead.
Every lock has a key. Every problem has a solution. And while every solution gradually leads to another problem and every step leads to uncertainty, life is a wonderful journey—at least for those who are prepared to unfold it. Afterall, our life journey is not a smooth path that we can slide along. Unforeseen events are hurled at us every step of the way, but that is what makes us tough and strong. Here, I am reminded of the Chinese bamboo that apparently spends five years as a little shoot, using that time to develop its root system. And then, one day, it puts on a spurt and grows up to be 25 metres tall.
Right now, we are all living in a period of great uncertainty. These are testing times. And while some of us are luckier than others, we all have our struggles. With every passing day, news of more uncertainty seems to arrive. To get through such difficult times, when we cannot find the strength within, we have to look for light outside.
And to find heroes, we don’t have to look very far. Our country Nepal lays a table in front of us with a long list of heroes, and heroines, who have transformed their pain into possibilities.
One such person is Sangita Thapa Magar. When Magar was just 16 years old, in 2015, she was splashed with acid by a man whose advances she had refused. This attack not only disfigured her face but shattered the dreams of an aspiring youngster who wanted to be a karate player. Till date, she’s had 17 surgeries done and her battle is ongoing. But rising from the burns and ashes of hopelessness and frustration, she has now become a beacon for resilience for many women. In the immediate aftermath of the incident, she took legal action against the man who attacked her, demanding him to be put behind bars. And her fight to increase the penalty for such attacks and stop the sale of acid, which is freely available in the market, still continues. Only recently, she attended a Parliament hearing to lobby for stricter punishment for perpetrators of acid attacks.
I am by no means attempting to compare her struggles with anyone else’s. The courage Magar showed in the face of such adversity is inspirational, and it is something we all can learn from, particularly in unsettling times such as now.
The thrust that blocks the rocket to move forward is the same thrust it uses to soar ahead. It moves because it pushes back the thrust and leaps forward. It can never move vacuum. There is no easy way to escape the clutches of life. But every tough situation in our life’s path tests us and forces us to come out as champions, as Magar has shown us.
But of course, different people have different ways to take on problems. And I am not here to reveal a profound technique; everyone has their own method. But here are some ways I often take to solve my problems. The first step I take is I define what the problem is, meaning I put down my problems into words. You can write it down or state it verbally. Then I envision a solution. I teach my mind to keep anticipating what the solved problem looks like, and I find a way to reach a solution. It is always advisable to be realistic about the problem and to start with short-term solutions before thinking of long-term goals. When a problem knocks at our door, we generally try to open it with an old key (or old solutions) but we can go one step ahead to finding a new solution by applying creative thinking. Our comfort zone will tempt us to be satisfied with one solution but there is no harm in walking the extra mile to find a variety of solutions. We need to sit back and reflect on new possibilities.
Let me give you an example. On a holiday, two men, one an experienced fisherman and the other inexperienced, went fishing. All kinds of fish—big, small and medium sized—got onto the fishing net. The experienced fisherman put everything into his basket but the other kept throwing the medium and big sized fish back into the pond. The astonished friend asked him the reason for his action and he coolly stated that he only has a small frying pan in his house.
Very often our mind is fixed with the smaller frying pan and the possibilities of a bigger frying pan remains buried within us. Just as we believe darker days will never end. Immense are the potentialities in the mind, but the will is what makes the determination.