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What is right for me? How do I know?

Through the sto­ry of his own life, the qual­i­ties he embod­ied and the intu­itive rea­son­ing behind his deci­sions, Adi ji offers insight into the prac­ti­cal ques­tion every­body faces, “How do you know whether what you choose or wish to choose, is it the right thing for you or not? How do you find out?”

“You should have the apti­tude, you should have the back­ground capa­bil­i­ty”… but we are talk­ing the­o­ry!

You need to active­ly test out. So that you can even call it…in engi­neer­ing we call it pro­to­typ­ing. In soft­ware method­ol­o­gy, we call it, Agile devel­op­ment, you know, Agile method­ol­o­gy. Have you heard of it? You active­ly pro­to­type. You con­duct some quick exper­i­ments that give you some­thing like a rea­son­able mea­sure with which you can con­fi­dent­ly move for­ward. At least you have some 70% con­fi­dence, to move for­ward. It might not be 100% con­fi­dence because there is noth­ing like that. There is noth­ing like per­fect sce­nario, but you should have a rea­son­able lev­el of con­fi­dence. For that you should have tried some­thing out in that direc­tion. That is called pro­to­typ­ing, in engi­neer­ing. You have a grand idea, but you need to test it out. Quick­ly you do…it might not be the best solu­tion or one with every­thing inte­grat­ed, but for now it gives you rea­son­able con­fi­dence to move for­ward. That is very crit­i­cal. But in the process, you will observe anoth­er impor­tant aspect. You will see that not every­thing res­onates with you. At least you will be able to elim­i­nate.

With prototyping you will be able to eliminate before jumping in full time. Otherwise the consequences might be much more difficult to undo. So that is there. So that is why you prototype. In whatever way you can imagine, in whatever way you understand this. You prototype, to get that feel – whether it resonates.

With pro­to­typ­ing you will be able to elim­i­nate before jump­ing in full time. Oth­er­wise the con­se­quences might be much more dif­fi­cult to undo. So that is there. So that is why you pro­to­type. In what­ev­er way you can imag­ine, in what­ev­er way you under­stand this. You pro­to­type, to get that feel – whether it res­onates. Again get­ting that feel is not a the­o­ret­i­cal thing, because you can­not jump to con­clu­sions.

It so hap­pened that I want­ed to teach, and every­one, you know, all our col­leagues and friends said, “Imag­ine the sce­nario, where you go to teach but you are not hap­py. What will you do? If you come back, the soft­ware indus­try, you would have lost all your expe­ri­ences. It would be a waste, so what will you do?” Because that was a life path. Com­plete change. So what will you do? But just that, my rea­son­ing of get­ting into the soft­ware indus­try itself was to sat­is­fy my par­ents. I want­ed to teach. So I was not actu­al­ly giv­ing up the soft­ware indus­try. I had already made up my mind only to teach. This was a tem­po­rary expe­di­tion, because my par­ents had to be sat­is­fied, I could under­stand their mis­er­able con­di­tion. They had invest­ed every­thing in my edu­ca­tion, and they felt it is not an appro­pri­ate career. I could not say imme­di­ate­ly that,”No no, I will do only this.” I could not say that, I did­n’t have the heart to do that. So tem­porar­i­ly, I had to wait until the appro­pri­ate cir­cum­stances came where I could just jump in. Till then I had to wait. I had to wait patient­ly, and how many long years will I have to wait, I did­n’t know, at that point in time. When my par­ents asked me to join the soft­ware indus­try, I had to wait. I wait­ed, I wait­ed, wait­ed, but all the time, being alert, to when I can take the step. So when the first oppor­tu­ni­ty pre­sent­ed itself, after mar­riage, I jumped in. This seems like a very cru­el strat­e­gy, ruth­less strat­e­gy, but what to do, my par­ents are not unhap­py because of that, so see the rea­son why I am say­ing this is not that you should also do this, don’t do it this way, okay? Because your cir­cum­stances are unique to you, only you under­stand it. You apply prin­ci­ples as per your cir­cum­stances. But you pro­to­type, it match­es, sort of match­es, it need not be a full match, so I came to Amri­ta, is it like a full match? Will every­thing go as per my expec­ta­tions? Need not be. But my expec­ta­tions are resolved.

Raaga-dwesha does not operate and hence you sense the situation, I had no idea that I would be talking Mahabharata and all that. You pick that up along the way. I put in effort to pick that up, otherwise how could I speak to you? I felt it is necessary, I did not have a background in Indian shastras, I put in that effort. So you can imagine what kind of effort would have gone in.

Raa­ga-dwe­sha does not oper­ate and hence you sense the sit­u­a­tion, I had no idea that I would be talk­ing Mahab­hara­ta and all that. You pick that up along the way. I put in effort to pick that up, oth­er­wise how could I speak to you? I felt it is nec­es­sary, I did not have a back­ground in Indi­an shas­tras, I put in that effort. So you can imag­ine what kind of effort would have gone in. I am not trained in Mahab­hara­ta. I am not trained in any­thing. But there is a curios­i­ty also, inquis­i­tive­ness, enquiry also. So, you put in that effort, rapid effort, you come to a cer­tain lev­el of con­fi­dence with respect to your back­ground. You can build in such capa­bil­i­ties. Your back­ground and then you test the waters, and once you are plan­ning to.…you active­ly sense, you are always alert and open, you are not set. It is not like,”Ah! Ah now every­thing is.….” It is not that way. You are active­ly alert and you sense and you act appro­pri­ate­ly. So it is not a set idea. It is not the result that you are focussed in, it is more the process, that you are focussed in. And hence the appro­pri­ate result emerges, because of your focus in the process. The appro­pri­ate result that is best for every­thing, maybe not the result you imag­ined. I did not imag­ine such results at all. because at that time, to what­ev­er under­stand­ing I had, to that extent I could project the result. I could not project so much and all that. It was not pos­si­ble, because I did­n’t know at that time, what would be the ground con­di­tions at a future time how would I know? Though cer­tain ground con­di­tions, that I wish to estab­lish in a future time for cer­tain pur­pose, that I would be work­ing towards. That is a dif­fer­ent thing. But what the ground con­di­tions that would be at a future time, you don’t know, and hence you pick up skills, that would make you robust to act along the lines of what­ev­er you are con­vinced about. You make that robust­ness a part of you.

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