Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thought for the Day - Danger and Being Alive

One of my favorite stories I have read is from the internet - a thoughtful forward that I received. It is about how a popular Japanese seafood restaurant located on the sea front in Japan which served some great fish. Its clientele was very happy and voted it to be the best fish making restaurant in Japan. As business grew the restaurant decided to move to a larger place and also increased the order for fish from their fishermen. But soon, their clientele complained that the fish was somehow not just the same. Concerned, the management checked every step of the fish recipe and figured that the only area where the problem could be was with the fish themselves. They asked the fishermen about the fish and the fishermen conceded that since the quantities were so large they had to go deep into the sea in their boat to catch the fish. Perhaps the fish died and became stale by the time they got back despite the ice?

They decided to think of another way and came up with a plan. They decided to install a huge tank on the boat and dump all the fish there so they could be alive when they came to the shore. The customers still complained and it was back to the drawing board. How do we keep the fish fresh and tasty?

After much thought they came upon the solution to the problem. They introduced a small shark in the tank. That's it. You see, the shark ate a few fish but the others swam around in complete awareness, completely alive, in face of the danger of being eaten. They were at the edge of their skin, all faculties open as they looked to survive this clear and present danger in their life. Needles to say, the customers never had a problem after that.

I always subscribed to the thought behind this story. You are never more alive than when pushed to the wall, when you are stretched to the limit. And I realised this when I drive on the highway as well. When you drive on these new swanky, wonderful four, eight laned highways, expressways, where the road is like a carpet, there are huge dividers, loud boards instructing you about what is coming ahead and all you have to worry normally is to keep the car on the road (and you are feeling like you are still slow at 100 kmph), I realised that I feel tired even after a four or five hours. The sheer monotony and lack of danger tires you, make you go dull and I seriously believe the chances of an accident increase drastically. You feel too secure. And I am talking of a journey like say Hyderabad to Bangalore, a distance of 550 or so kms which would take me 7 hours in the new roads.

The same distance on the traffic intensive Hyderabad-Pune road takes almost 12 hours, with heavy traffic, lots of accidents on the way, no dividers, no boards, cattle and people crossing the highway all the time, a two laned road at best. But believe me, I am never as tired or fatigued as I am when I drive on these smooth, seemingly danger-free roads. In fact after the 12 hour Hyderabad-Pune journey I am pretty fresh! But the three hour journey from Pune to Mumbai on the expressway tires me and bores me.

There is a case to add that element of uncertainty to life. To do the different. To push boundaries. To tread in the danger zone just that little bit and always expect the unexpected. It is the danger to our lives, to what we hold dear, that keeps us alive. And alive means growth, or vice versa. In fact the only mantra of my workshop on the Champion's Mindset is this (here I am giving this away as well) - do one thing out of your comfort zone everyday. You will grow comfortable with growth, with the sense of danger. You will be more alive. There are no two ways about this. To get alive, get a foot into the danger zone!

On a more practical level what it means is that you could start doing all the things you have put off. Stop thinking about it and do it. The people who earn our respect and admiration do it, small babies do it. Try it and see the difference it makes to your life, this shark.


Rajendra said...

I think Jaggi Vasudev subscribes to this view. He drives at 100 plus km/hr on Indian roads!

Harimohan said...

I did not know that Jaggi Vasudev did that.

Madhav said...

I think the fish tasted better because the shark eat all the weak and sick fish. The only fish that survived the shark were the healthy ones that tasted better. Just saying......

Harimohan said...

Maybe the healthy ones were too fast for the shark. Anyway, the healthy ones are those that keep moving - that is the lesson.