Tuesday, 24 January, 2012

The chip stretch

It’s a common situation. 

You have the most brilliant idea anyone ever came up with - at least you think so. And you do need to think so, even if just to sustain interest in it for a few hours longer until you can pen down your thoughts, before they melt into the atmosphere.

So. The idea seems perfect. From every angle. Even your brainstorming partner - just anyone who happens to be with you at that time - plugs in her ideas and adds to your concept. It seems like a festival of brilliance. The stars will seem to have aligned themselves just so, to shine their combined light on the tiny spot of planet that you happen to be occupying at that moment.

In a frenzy, you create a plan.

In 2 days you find that someone has already thought about ‘your’ idea and proceed to modifying your plan.

In a week your plan is beginning to look elaborate and bulky

In a month, your plan is extremely detailed but your idea appears lame. You get back to watching TV.

In 2 months you find that someone else has implemented your idea. You check it out and get back to watching TV if only to replace remorse with fast moving images.

In 6 months, you look back at your idea as though it were the Sphinx - Familiar, but having nothing to do with you.

Of course, you might be a person who managed to start something and actually finish it and succeed in the bargain. You are needed too, I guess, because we can’t all sit around watching TV. We need someone to create programs for the rest of us to waste our lives watching. So, please keep it up.

In bookshops, they have shelves just to stack books written by people who are dying to tell you how to be guy who doesn’t dissipate himself and his ideas. 

Such books are always boring and following what they say is way harder than watching TV.
How then do we realize our ideas while indulging in activities that rival the comfort of watching TV?

The most obvious things are sometimes the hardest to spot, because their obviousness makes us oblivious to their existence. I realize that the word play in the previous sentence is most certainly a put off, but I’ll let it stay for a reason that I hope, will become obvious as you read on.

You’d like to go on a trek. The planning is great fun - choosing the route, packing essentials, just dreaming about it the night before. You pick a route that you think you can manage to complete and to push the limits a little you factor in a diversion or two along the way. Once you start, if your plan is simple enough, chances are, you will have reached your destination without too much trouble and returned from your trek in one functioning piece. 

Now, if you introduce a few random variables into the trek - like a landslide or bad weather - which you cannot plan for too accurately, two things are diminished. Firstly, your chances of executing your plan fully and secondly your chances of survival. The extent of both, though, are linked to the same factor. And this factor, stamina, is the one we become oblivious to on account of its being obvious.

I think this is true of any human venture - from something like running where stamina is more easily appreciated to something like creating a business - where stamina isn’t an obvious planning parameter.

Stamina is generally associated with going on for long, doing whatever one wants to do. Looking at it in this way makes it quite boring and difficult to achieve. On the contrary, I think stamina needs to be looked at as a moderator of all the qualities that are required to embark upon a journey and reach a destination.

And stamina is a physical parameter. Which is much easier to quantify and comprehend than say something like talent or experience.

How does all this help me ‘effortlessly’ realize my ideas? 

Quite simply, by being driven only as far as stamina allows. Actually by doing a little less - like stretching for that bag of chips rather than getting up to fetch it.

The chip stretch, when implemented to non-food situations, will allow one to do more without wasting too much energy and hence conserve much valuable stamina.

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