Saturday, August 30, 2014

Thought for the Day - Pursuit of dreams is like scoring centuries

I was intrigued to meet this lad the other day who was sceptical of dreams and goals. He just wanted to live and have a good time. I am all for this ideal state of existence, an almost Wodehousean ideal of friends, fun and clubs and I wish him luck in his pursuit. However he did ask me how he thinks he will benefit if he has a goal and there was some discussion.

On the other end of the spectrum I found many others who dream of stuff that I am sure would seem rather out of reach or plain frivolous, and perhaps driven by media and the aspirations it creates. Nothing much in a jet, a Rolls, a travel round the world, villa, money in the bank, island to say that it is a goal one would want to strive for. It cannot be the purpose one would want to live for solely and they can only be consequences of activity in another area.

In which case one needs to go beyond the consequence and identify the action, the choice of actions that will fetch them these goals. Here I'd say that achieving dreams is a bit like scoring centuries in cricket. Let me explain why and how.

As an ideal, batsmen wish to live a life where they will never get out. Now this may not be the case in reality but he will pursue the ideal. How he chooses to achieve the ideal, how much he is willing to risk in his pursuit defines his approach to life. The lower the risk, the higher the reward here. The pursuit of large scores needs one to be patient, to build on sound basics and in keeping out risk.

A batsman who has always been struggling with a score of fifty cannot aspire for a double or triple hundred right away. Something in his preparation indicates that he is not ready yet. This however does not mean that he cannot aspire for it - everyone should. It is only when one challenges to go beyond oneself that life gets interesting.

So having aspired for that triple hundred or a six hundred (since Lara has achieved a 500) the batsman who is struggling with scoring a fifty needs to get real. Why am I not able to get a fifty is the next question? Which part of my preparation needs work? Who can help me? If he or she is aware and works at the game and pushes the score to a seventy next game, he or she is on the path.

By now he would be aware that scoring big and on call requires certain things. It requires sound knowledge of basic skills. It requires one to analyse the skills enough to self-correct. It requires enough purposeful practice and self-analysis. It requires a detailed study of how to push beyond the next barrier. And then it requires a good look at ones performance. All this will get the person to think of how to get into the state of zero-error, high return and performance irrespective of conditions. Certainly the person is a much better equipped person than she has been for all this thought.

Having done this, the first thing the person realises is that one must achieve a basic promise. What is the basic promise that one can deliver? A fifty? Fine get that first as many times as you can and then improve on it slowly. With time we realise that we are getting better at it. Hundreds follow, and the more ambitious get more double hundreds. Some spill into the triple hundred arena. And so on. The biggest dreams come by as one pursues the dream of fulfilling the basic promise of the fifty well. One fine day it unlocks itself. It rewards the serious practitioner,

The big dreams then come by as a product of getting the basic promise right. The basic promise is a goal - be it a process goal or an achievement goal. A goal it remains. The good news is that in many cases when we involve ourselves deeply in our pursuit of the goals and process, the higher purpose strikes us and lifts us into those white fluffy clouds we never imagined we could ride on.

It does require proof of that commitment, purpose, concentration and work before it happens though.

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