Wednesday, September 10, 2014



Inspirational Pep Talk for My Young Friends

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step
So make sure that your first step is not on the wrong road
Your first step must be on the right road which takes you towards your Goal


When I was a small boy, my grandfather used to tell me a saying in Marathi, which roughly translated meant:

If you don’t want to go a certain town, then don’t take the road going towards that town

Well, obviously, the word “town” is a metaphor and can mean anything undesirable.

This “town” can be a habit, a person, a place, a career, a value system, yes the word “town” can mean anything you consider undesirable, detrimental, harmful or damaging to you.

For example, if you want to enjoy good health, why smoke that first cigarette?

Your first cigarette will lead to the next, and then the next cigarette will lead to one more, and cigarette will follow cigarette, and gradually smoking will become a habit and soon you will get addicted to smoking tobacco.

After you become a smoker, addicted to tobacco and nicotine, one day you will realize that smoking is adversely affecting your health.

Then, it will become difficult for you to quit smoking and retrace your steps and “rewind” back to where you started from before you had your first smoke.

So, if your goal is good health, avoid the temptation for smoking that first cigarette – don’t take the first step on the road to bad health.

Instead, take the first step to good health by beginning to exercise. 

There is no point in getting addicted to health-destroying activities like smoking.

It is the same with alcohol and other addictions. 

By the time they realize that alcohol is adversely affecting their health, they may have already become alcohol dependent and it becomes difficult for them to quit drinking.

If you do not want to become an alcoholic, why have that first drink of alcohol?

(However, if your chief objective in life is to become a drunkard and an alcoholic, then it is a different story altogether – please go ahead and have that first drink and many more drinks and embark on your life’s journey towards achieving your long term life goal of becoming an alcoholic).

Why experiment with drugs when you don’t want to become a drug addict?

Many young persons fall victim to “peer pressure”

I have seen so many youngsters taking that first step in the wrong direction under peer pressure.

That is why you must select your friends carefully.

Why make friends with individuals whose behaviour and life-goals are not in congruence with your own goals, aims and purpose in life?

It is the same with gambling too.

If you don’t want to become a gambler, then why go to the race-course or casino or play card games with stakes like flush, rummy or teen-patti?

Some will argue that you must try out all these “vices” for curiosity sake, but then remember the saying “curiosity killed the cat”.

Sometimes your “first step” experimenting dangerously can go awry and ruin your entire life.

The risk is just not worth it.

(It is easy to pontificate and give moral lectures to others, but let me tell you from my own first-hand experience that I too started drinking and smoking after I joined the Navy in 1977 mainly due to peer pressure and the “conducive” social environment and it took me more than 25 years to give up these “minor vices” and permanently quit smoking and drinking. 

I never fancied playing cards or gambling, and though I did enjoy going to the races occasionally, it was primarily because I enjoyed the sport rather than the betting and “punting”. 

It is difficult to resist peer pressure and temptation when you are young and maybe I could not do it. 

But you must not succumb to peer pressure or temptation.

You must beware of your first step)

This metaphor:

Why take the “first step” in the direction of the “town” where you don’t want to go?

is relevant in other important aspects of life as well.

If you want to remain honest, why pay or accept a bribe in the first instance?

Why associate with corrupt and dishonest persons?

If you are an ethical and morally upright person, why take up a job or business which requires you to be morally pliable and where there is so much corruption that an honest person cannot survive?

If you want to achieve spiritual goals in life, why befriend “sharaabis and shabaabis” (drunk and debauched persons)?

If you are spiritually inclined, is it not much better for you to spend time with like-minded spiritually inclined people?

If Godliness is your goal, then is it not better to attend satsangs rather than indulge in wild rave parties or freak out in drunken orgies?

If you desire a life of tranquility and inner peace, why take up a career or job which is fast-paced, hectic, stressful and “noisy”?

Isn’t it better to look for comparatively hassle-free vocation which is in harmony with your values and goals in life?

Why start a “work-hard, party-hard” social lifestyle which is not in harmony with your long term life-goal of a peaceful, tranquil and healthy life?

Well, if your life’s ambition is to be a “Page 3” celebrity, then it is a different matter altogether, and you must choose your “first step” accordingly in that direction.

Decide what you want (the destination “town” you want to reach) and then go in that direction.

But please don’t take the road which leads towards the “town” where you don’t want to go.

Why go in the direction of a place you don’t want to reach?

Why travel towards a wrong destination?

Remember, once you embark upon a “journey” it will be difficult to retrace your steps.

If you are going in the wrong direction, one day you will realize that you are on the wrong road of life and you will want to turn back to where you began your “journey” and then reorient yourself and start “walking” on the “right” road towards your actual goal.

Time and tide wait for none, so it is not possible to “rewind” your “clock”.

Now just imagine the amount of time and resources you have wasted in travelling on the “wrong” road just because of that one small “first step” you took in the “wrong” direction.

That is why, when you are at any crossroad of life, the first step you take in a certain direction is important, for once you begin your journey in that direction it is difficult to stop, turn around, retrace your steps and come back to the starting point.

Then after coming back to the crossroad point, from where you had started your journey, you may now decide to start “walking” in the direction of the “town” where you actually wanted to go. But it may be too late.

I am not being judgmental.

It is your life.

You have to decide what you want from life and where you want to go.

And once you have decided the destination “town” you want to reach, then take that first bold step in that direction and bash on regardless on the road that leads to your chosen “destination”.

It may be apt to quote the words of the Chinese Taoist Philosopher Lao Tzu once again:

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step”



Your first step must be on the right road which takes you towards your Goal (the “town” you want to reach)

Remember what my grandfather told me:
If you don’t want to go a certain town, then don’t take the road going towards that town

Beware of your first step. 

Do not succumb to Peer Pressure and start doing things which are not consonant and congruent with your aims, goals and objectives in life.

Decide your goal, and then take your first step in that direction, and then march on with full gusto till your goal is reached.

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All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the story are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice sober blogs.All your blogs are so relatable and it feels good after reading it.