Did you reinvent yourself today?
The only happy and relevant people are those who have learnt to walk with change
At a family wedding, I overheard two elderly gentlemen talking. “I am living on bonus time now,” said a grandfather, while another said equally morosely, “I have wasted my life!” It was sad to hear two men having led fairly decent lives, sound despondent in the evening of their lives. Why do they feel helpless, tired and unmotivated? Why don’t they take charge right here and now, and resolve to make the best of their years? One has so many choices today.
For life is, and should be, a constant process of reinvention. A child gradually increases his field of activities and fires his ambitions as his mental, physical and spiritual faculties build up. Similarly, with waning strength and faculties, we should learn to adapt our lives to activities that the present reality allows. The most successful people in the world are those who have learnt to walk with change and adapt themselves to circumstances. Keeping yourself abreast with the latest technology and relevant news is just as important as being flexible in your personal life — in your relationships as well as the demands you put on your body, mind and the people around you.
Constant reinvention at all stages of life is the only way to stay afloat professionally as well as personally. Being on a constant learning curve is also a great way to bring in some healthy excitement into life. Look around; movement attracts energy, happiness and prosperity, while stagnation brings in depression and a stalemate. Flowing water is clean and useful; stagnant water gets polluted and breeds diseases. Keep a house shut for a long time and it acquires negative vibes; open the windows and allow fresh breeze to swish through, and a new life force seems to take over the same environ.
Similarly, we all need to keep the life force alive and moving around us all the time, and the only way to do that is constant movement — onwards and upwards, no matter what your age. Reinvention is not just about learning new processes and techniques; it is also about changing one’s outlook and changing interests, hobbies, relationships and job profiles. It’s about shifting your goalposts, and even your goals and targets with time. Even if you do not seek change, change will find you. And when that happens, you had better be prepared!
Amitabh Bachchan is a good example of a man who has constantly reinvented himself — from a bank employee to angryyoung-man actor, to superstar, to TV anchor, grandfather and general patriarch. He has worked passionately on each reinvention and taken care to stay true to the image he has adopted. There have been times when life has thrown him googlies, but AB’s greatness lies in his being able to get up and climb new heights in yet another role.
Most of us postpone dreams to a later stage; we wait for the ‘right’ time in life. Women look forward to a time when their children are settled, and they finally get a chance to do what they have “always wanted to do”; men wait for retirement.
The only ‘right’ time is here and now. While it may not be the right time to fulfil certain dreams, that doesn’t mean we should not always be mentally prepared to receive that dream. Nor does it mean that in looking towards that dream, we forget the relevance of the present moment. Every present moment offers a chance to learn and reinvent. As beauty expert Shahnaz Husain said the other day, “Life forces us to make choices; but if we are alert and empowered, we can create our own choices and be in charge of our own lives. Isn’t it exciting that God gives you a chance to reinvent yourself every morning?”
As with the elderly men, why should life be waiting for anything at any stage? It should be a constant process of reinvention and relevance. We have to ensure a constant release of any stagnant energies, and learn to age gracefully and accept life. For life reveals its beauty at every stage. Life gives us indications that it is time for change. Learn to recognise them and focus on what you really want to do. Don’t just do things the way they have always been done, nor live life the way it is ‘meant’ to be lived.
Break the barriers, challenge yourself, innovate and constantly reinvent yourself. Be aware, stay focussed and ride the change in your life. As American writer and futurist Alvin Toffler said about what lies ahead, “illiteracy will not be defined by those who cannot read and write, but by those who cannot learn and relearn”.