Pinnacle of human audacity

After I watched Mumbai Indians thrash Rajasthan Royals, yesterday I could not help but relate it to a facet of human behavior, which we tend to ignore. When I say we, I mean we, the plebeians, the common man, trapped in this web that we so carefully spin around ourselves. That facet is self-belief, the audacity to hope for the impossible, the grit, the determination that no target in life is too difficult to achieve. Having followed cricket for a dozen and half years, I can vouch for the fact chasing 190 in 20 overs, in a do or die game is a mean task in itself, but imagine reducing it to 14.3 overs. Commentators said they made a mockery of Rajasthan’s bowling, I say they made a mockery of me, a mockery of us. Us human beings who shackle ourselves, with our apprehensions and our definitions of what is possible and what is not.

Now is there something to learn from this? Is there something that we can incorporate in our daily lives to reach our own pinnacles? My answer is a loud yes. I had the good fortune of attending a creativity course in IIT – Delhi, couple of years ago. A session I attended helped me develop a different perspective towards life. The trainer divided us in groups of seven, and asked us to make a circle. We then had to pass a ball among ourselves, such that it touched every hand and came back to the first person in the shortest time. Another condition was it should not be dropped. We started rather clumsily and did it in 6 seconds, next we made the circle smaller, and little finished it in little above four second. Then, he said do this in 1 second. We thought it wasn’t possible, how do you reduce the time by 75%. We thought for a moment and came up with an idea, we made a slope with our palms and rolled the ball on it, and well it took a second. His next challenge was to do it in a fraction of a second. We replaced our palms by fingers and it took a split second for the ball of roll over and touch all our hands. This activity may seem like something of a joke, but if we look deeper then there is a lesson to be learnt, until we really believe and push ourselves, we will never achieve the results we think are impossible.

If we look at the modern history, none of the technological inventions was accident. It was not as if someone left a few wires with a screen overnight, and the TV was born. Wright brothers had a dream that they can fly and they did, on this day in 1961, John F Kennedy, promised to the world that they would put a man on moon in a decade and come back, and they did that. Imagine when the computers weren’t even as powerful as our phones are, they put a man on the moon.

Sports are littered with many such examples, but for the sake of brevity of this article, I will mention the one event that stunned me the most. In cricket, the team score of 400 in ODIs was a mental roadblock that teams had. Srilanka had the highest team score for a long time, it was 398. Surprisingly, the first time a team dared to beat the 400 mark in ODIs, the opposition did too. Australia scored 434 in 50 overs, and South Africa replied with a 438, imagine 2348 ODI matches had been played till then, many of them of 60 overs as well, and it was broken twice in a matter of 4 hours. I mean come on, what was South Africa even thinking. This audacity to actually break barriers is one of the reasons we evolved into such advanced creatures. Amongst all such impossibles that we have seen our lives, a pattern emerges.

That pattern is self-belief; no doubt there is a thin line between self-belief and over confidence. But when you have practiced enough, worked hard enough, planned well, had your share of struggle, then the only thing that stops you from achieving your destiny is self doubt. The ifs, the buts, the perceptions that creep in our mind about that moment of triumph make victory all the more difficult. Well I am just 23, and many of you reading this will be my age, I say let’s believe, believe for a better life, a better society, a better country, better relationship but most importantly a better I. If we all can collectively do this, then everyone of us will be a winner in our own right.