Commitment is “Whatever it Takes”

If you have done Production assisting in Landmark or attended any Landmark Education Program you are likely to have heard the above phrase, over and over again.

In the beginning, for me, it was a slogan, yet another one of those one liners to say in the face of everything that stops you from getting what you want or doing what needs to be done. The war cry before raging ahead no matter what the odds. It was about doing more than you have ever done before. It was about fighting spirit and never say die attitude.

I realized recently that this interpretation of mine was misled again (This has been happening to me quite frequently since I started the Landmark Journey). I had been hit yet again by “understanding”.

Let me elucidate by example. I love my sleep, so much so that I get withdrawal symptoms if I have a lack of it. I will be groggy, unfocussed and basically unproductive. Of course life has the habit of hitting you where it hurts again and again and again and again.

My waterloo began with Pranaya breaking her schedule of sleeping for about 4 hrs every night from 1-5 am. This schedule was awesome for me, I could easily get 4 hrs of sleep which is enough to get past being groggy. The schedule became 3 Am wake up and asleep again at about 7Am. Then work required me to be in the office by 930Am in the morning on Wednesday Mornings. This meant I had to leave home by 8, which required a get up by 730Am. Late night meetings with other teams meant I could only sleep by 1Am.

There was no 4hr stretch where I could just go to sleep. The result I was groggy throughout the day and got little or no work done.

I looked at my commitments and decided that I had to do “Whatever it takes” to fulfill on them. To me it was all about burning the waking ours, more coffee, more tea anything to keep me awake. But it did’nt work.

Ultimately, however many times I reminded myself about the slogan above I was still unproductive at the end of the day. So self motivation this way was not working.

Looking at how to transform this, I noticed that once I had not slept for the “required” number of hours I let myself off for the rest of the day. I would’nt do anything, and nothing I could do would motivate me. It was as if I was telling myself that I “deserved” to stop working because of the lack of sleep! Of course my environment agreed with me, they were all enrolled into this conversation. “Ofcourse you should sleep! , how can you think of working? Go home!” ( Its interesting that my wife would have none of it :-D, the woes of marrying an IL ).

So I had to simply give up this sympathy and glory that I was getting from my environment. What I was getting (the payoff) by holding onto this conversation was a lot of sympathy and glory… “Oh poor thing, he is such a hard worker”… “Hey hows the baby? You should go home and rest”…”Hey Param, go take rest, we will handle this…”…. And hey I was getting my sympathy and glory! what more did I want in life 😀

But it isn’t what I am committed to. What I am committed to is my word in the matter of my life, not some cheap glory and sympathy. The cost I was paying is the life I wanted to lead.

“Whatever it takes” is not about doing more, war cries or any of that. Its about giving up whatever is in the way of you taking action. In my case it was a hankering for fame and sympathy.

In life if there is something that is not happening despite efforts, its usually because of some conversation that is in the way. You need to disappear whatever it takes to make it happen. That means giving up stories and conversations that are in the way.

Its not easy, It takes something, as these conversations are meanings in your life. They are the Gita that built your life to be what it is till date. You will be hit by the same indignation that Lord Krishna met when he asked Arjuna to give up all forms of religiosity and simple surrender unto him. “WHAT?%$#$$ those are the things I have always wanted all my life. They are what make me feel important and allow me to succeed in life!@!!!, You want me to give up all that???”. But in the end its worth it.

Go on, go get what you are committed to, just give up whats in the way…. its empty and meaningless anyway….