Is that so – a modern Zen Story

Alex, an intelligent, detailed oriented and calm Computer Programmer was praised by his colleagues for his ability to solve complex problems without getting stressed.

He was working with a Software Development Company and he was so respected that many clients used to put a clause in the contract that the company would get the contract only if Alex is part of the development team.

One day a young and attractive software developer, Lisa joined the company. She was to be the point of contact for the company’s biggest client account. What’s more, she was hired based on a strong recommendation from the same client.

Few months passed and the client discovered that the software version they received had a business-critical bug. It made the client upset and they asked Lisa about who was responsible for causing the bug. She would not confess initially but after much questioning, at last, she named Alex.

With great anger, the client went to Alex. “Is that so?” was all Alex would say.

 

Is that so?

“Now you will need to work on the day and night and fix the critical bug within next 24 hours or your company will lose the contract and also the legal battle.” The client demanded.

“Is that so?” Alex said calmly as he accepted to fix the critical bug.

Few months later when Lisa could not stand it longer, she told the client the truth: the real bug was caused by her and not Alex.

The customer went to Alex and asked for his forgiveness, to apologize at length and offer them praise and bonus and express their gratitude.

This time also, Alex was calm and peaceful. All he said was: “Is that so?”

Lesson: Whatever the problem, keep calm and always focus on the solution.

Whatever the problem, keep calm and always focus on the solution. #hackyou Click To Tweet

Happiness and a Small Town Tea Stall Owner – a Short Story

A Tea Stall Owner from a small town was absolutely satisfied and happy in his life.
small town tea owner on happiness
One day he got to know a bit more about his regular customer: a Car Driver of a well-known business tycoon.

The Car Driver used to stop at his stall every morning and every evening with different expensive and luxurious cars.

“This Car Driver gets to drive different, expensive cars every day. He must be the happiest person in the world,” he thought.

The Car Driver

the car driver on happiness

“Well,” said the car driver, “I felt I was very fortunate to drive different and cool luxury cars every day until I met Mona, my boss’s personal secretary.”

“She is well educated, good looking and career oriented woman. She also gets to drive almost all the cars that I drive, but she is treated more respectfully and attentively than me. Maybe with more affection too ;)”

The Tea Stall Owner then approached Mona.

The Personal Secretary

personal secretary on happiness
Mona explained, “I lived a happy life until my boss got married to Kate, the popular film actress.”

“I only get to be with my boss for a few hours a day, I get his attention, I learn a few things from him and if he is in a good mood, I can get little cozy with him. You know what I mean. I also get to drive most of his expensive cars, but my boss’s wife, Kate, being a very popular actress and more beautiful than me, enjoys an abundance of his attention and wealth. Kate is a big name in the film industry, earns millions, and also enjoys attention and love from our country’s most handsome man, my boss!  I was really happy before my boss’s marriage with Kate but not anymore. I feel jealous of Kate …”

The Film Actress

kate on happiness
The Tea Stall Owner then approached Kate, “Hey Kate, you’re so beautiful, rich and famous. Every day thousands of people come to see and greet you. People come to me for having a tea. I do not get any attention from them. They just care about their tea. Sometimes they even don’t care about the quality of tea I make. They come to my place, talk about everything on the earth with other people and leave. I don’t get enough love, richness and wealth though essentially God has created both of us as human beings. I think you must be the happiest person in the world and I’m not …”

Kate replied, “I always thought that I was the most loved and happy person on the planet.”

“But because of my popularity, I feel trapped. I cannot live the life I want to. I have to wear the mask of the “brand” I have become.  Sure, I have an abundance of money, fame, and a loving husband, but I am not free.  I ‘have to’ behave specifically so I can maintain my brand image.”

“But you know what, for last several years, I have been consciously seeing you selling the tea at this corner. I am seeing that you are really enjoying your work as a tea maker. Often, you’re singing a song or you’re having fun along with those college students who come to your stall to take some tea on credit. Whenever I see you, I think perhaps you’re the happiest person on the earth because you’re free and you can do whatever you want!”

“For past few days, I have been thinking if I were a Tea Stall Owner like you, I could really do all that I want to, without wearing any masks!!!”

Conclusion

hort Story on Happiness

That’s our problem too.

We look for happiness everywhere else but not from within.

We make a comparison with others and create an abundance of unhappiness in our lives.

We don’t value the present moment that God has showered us with.

We plunge ourselves in the vicious cycle of unhappiness: I am unhappy than him. I am less beautiful than her. My cousin has 2 bungalows while I am staying on rent.

How our life would become if we value our present state?

How our life would become if we choose not to compare ourselves with others, for better or worse?

How our life would become if we just live the present moment?

How instead of writing that above is “easier said than done,” we start making it easy – for our own self – and others too?

Happiness has no relationship with the profession you are in. It emerges from within.

If you look forward to the next moment of your life with equal or better enthusiasm, then your present moment is well spent. If not, then … you need to make some changes.

What changes you will make will depend upon the type of expectations you have from your life, but ask yourself this: a life full of accomplishments is worth at the cost of happiness – or a life full of happiness is worth at the cost of accomplishments?

There is no right generalized answer to this question but I am sure there is an answer that is right for you. That answer will determine the course of your next life. Choose it consciously so you don’t have any deathbed regrets.

A Lion in Search of a Circus

When Simba, the Lion, didn’t know that a circus was a possible home for him, his life was different.

He had so much freedom, many opportunities, and so much choice.

He was wired to lead. He was wired to roar. He was wired to kill.

Kill like a Lion.

A-Lion-in-Search-of-a-Circus

Then came circus. And the ringmaster.

Initially, Simba didn’t like the circus but eventually he compromised and surrendered himself.

If he would do exactly as the ringmaster asked him to do, he would get a piece of meat.

If he would refuse to do as the ringmaster asked him to do, he will have to sleep hungry.

If he’d do what the ringmaster wanted even without asking, he would get one more piece of meat.

Following the ringmaster’s orders was a better deal.

So he rewired himself to listen to and follow the ringmaster’s orders.

He was now an integral part of the circus.

His life became easy. Follow the orders and get the food. On some days, he would be allowed to have sex with the lioness who used to stay in a nearby cage.

Simba thought to himself, “Life at circus is not bad at all. I get the food without having to kill anyone and I get to spend some good time with the lioness I developed a crush on.”

As the years passed, Simba thought that the ringmaster was his “true” master and if he would please him, his life would continue to be easy.

Everything worked well for several years, but one day, for some reason, the circus owner decided to close the circus down.

The circus owner was happy with Simba. He thought at this point, rather than selling him to another circus, he would send him back to his real home, into the wild.

And he did it.

That day was difficult for Simba. There was no ringmaster. No shows. No noise of people applauding Simba’s performance. There was no food at his fingertips.

Simba was hungry and he had to arrange for his food on his own.

But he didn’t feel like home. The wild was perhaps too wild for him. He didn’t want to stay there anymore. He needed to be with a circus. Any circus.

He sat under a tree thinking, “It would be great if I find another circus. I want someone to come and take me to the circus again …”

He was the Lion. The King. Yet he needed a place to hold him, a spot where he didn’t have to assume the responsibility.

If he would work with a circus, he’d get food, sex and sense of safety.

Simba was no longer a Lion. His habits were changed. Sure, he looked like a Lion but didn’t remain one. He could roar, but he could not choose.

Why wasn’t he a Lion anymore? Did he forget hunting?

No.

But after living a passive life with the circus and after following orders from the ringmaster, he forgot to choose himself.

Simba hadn’t read James Altucher‘s book – Choose Yourself . Especially the page #4 which goes as below:

“That’s when it clicked. When everything changed. When I realized that nobody else was going to do it for me. If I was going to thrive, to survive, I had to choose myself. In every way.”

~James Altucher, Choose Yourself, pg #4

If you don't choose yourself, you don't remain Lion even though you were born as a Lion. Click To Tweet

If you are a Lion, then you hunt. You don’t ridicule yourself by following orders of the ringmasters.

If you are a programmer, then you program. You don’t fool yourself by copy/pasting code from stakeoverflow.com and call yourself a Programmer.

You are not what's available to you. You're not what happens to you. You are what you choose to… Click To Tweet

Hunt every day. Program every day. Keep your reflexes sharpened. Read Choose Yourself from James Altucher today and be a real Lion who leads the wild, not just Simba. 

Or go in search of a circus.