Intricacies in insignificance. How to draw wisdom from every day experiences.
Life is continuous and repetitive. It is continuous because of its very nature that can be judged on the scale of time. At the same time, it is repetitive because of our persistence with following routines and orders.
Put it this way; we are growing old every day and while growing old we are repeating things (going to work, school etc).
In our pursuit of repetition, we tend to ignore the details of our surroundings or scenarios, we ignore the experiences, the randomness that life itself throws at us.
In this blog series, I will share some of the oddities I noticed while looking at things from different perspectives.
Chapter 1: “Tai Seng Pavement”
Tai Seng MRT (train station) is the closest station from my house. I use this station for work and other errands daily. Situated in the north east of Singapore, It is a commercial and industrial area (kinda’). Its station gets crowded in the morning and evening hours.
9:05 AM. It was a day like any other. I crossed the traffic signal (my house is on the other side of the station) and stepped on the pavement (sidewalk) which led to the station. It was a 20 – 25-meter strip and passing it was a matter of few seconds.
Sound simple! I am sure it does. However, there is one small problem.
In spite of the ample side space, the concrete pavement is only 1 meter wide. You don’t want to walk on the grass when it rains (and it rains all the time). Secondly, as I mentioned Tai Seng is a commercial/industrial area, so a lot of people come out the station when I am trying to get in and vice versa in the evening.
In short, I was on a narrow pathway with people charging towards me (i am being dramatic here :D). At that moment, it occurred to me that this seemingly random encounter with a herd of people (mulling me) is more than just a random event. It was thought-provoking and has the wisdom to share.
Few things crossed my mind while I took a moment and reflected on my daily struggles to overcame 25 meters passage. Let me share some of them with you.
Going against the flow. It demands perseverance and patience.
Plan to address problems that are recurring in nature. Like stuck in a traffic, health problems etc.
The action plan you choose to address your everyday recurring problems tells a lot about what kind of a person you are.
Let me elaborate the last point. In fact, let me explain this in the context of “tai-seng pavement”. There can be three possible solutions to avoid being stampeded (again being over dramatic…. more than three solutions are also possible… use your imagination :))
Action Plan 1: All’in
This is the most common and most convenient (no brainer) option. Ride your luck and see where it takes you. This is my goto option and it works most of the time (minus the pushing and shoving). In fact, this is the go-to option for all of us, if the problem in-hand is not significant.
Tips: Open your favorite app and keep walking while staring at your cell phone. If you are bulky like me, then it is a bonus 😀
Action Plan 2: Grease Monkey
Be attentive and figure out how can you safely negotiate the passage. This action plan is important in tough conditions, like thunderstorms, people with umbrellas or you have grocery bags etc.
In everyday life, we use this plan when a seemingly simple scenario becomes difficult because of variance. For example, using a sharp knife to cut meat or cycling in rain.
Action Plan 3: Heisenberg Solution
Identify the problem and create a support group. Convince authorities to increase the size of the pavement. Another solution is to educate people to use on side of the pavement to go in one direction.
This action plan is for chosen few! I am not saying that majority of us are dumb; on the contrary, most of us will not give an iota of thought to solve a trivial or problems beyond our comprehension. People who use this action plans are thinkers, innovators, and inventors.
Enough said. Time to wrap it up. But before I end this post, I like to leave you guys with one thought. “Next time you are doing something, take a moment and look at what, why and how of the things you are doing”. I bet you will make few interesting observations.
P.S: The title image is taken from Hayley Leibson‘s article.