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Friday, May 21, 2010

You are Not Perfect and that is Good for You

My friend, Arun Chaba, recently gave a brilliant speech on Evolution & Human Behavior. The speech was titled, "All is Well". Following is the transcript:

A friend of mine was about to become a daddy. For whatever reasons, his wife insisted that she wanted to have the baby born in her home town, where her mother would be around. My friend didn't want so. This was the cause of a serious conflict between them. A few months later, I read somewhere that humans are one of the few mammals who cannot have babies throughout their lives. About one third of their lives, human female cannot produce babies. During this time, because a woman doesn’t have to worry about producing and taking care of her own babies, she can concentrate on the well being of babies of her daughter and the chances of survival of new born babies multiply. This has given humans an evolutionary advantage. This phenomenon is called grandmother hypothesis and was first given by GC Williams in 1960s.

Clearly, my friend was not battling with his wife, he was battling with a natural phenomenon called the evolution that has been occurring for past millions of years and will keep happening. He won or lost was another thing, he was bound to get frustrated because he was fighting against a law of nature.

It led me to believe that we may be doing lot of things in our day to day lives that are against the basic laws of nature, so how do I figure out when I am moving with the nature and when I am moving against the nature. I got sort of an answer few weeks later when I was flipping channels on the TV and I came across this program on the Discovery channel when they were showing lions’ hunting habits. They showed that lions, cheetahs and other animals of this family have strong leg muscles, to enable them hunt. Deers and other such animals, which are most common preys to lions, have their eyes placed such that they get panoramic view of the things in front of them. That way, they can see a larger area of the field and can know if there is a predator around.

Lions – despite having strong leg muscles and big jaws, succeed in only 25% of their hunting attempts. Deers, despite being able to see a large area, don’t always succeed in escaping the lions. Does it mean they are perfect or imperfect? If they were perfect, they would never fail. If they were imperfect, they would not exist. So clearly, Perfection Vs Imperfection is less important. The bigger fact is – evolution, they are always continuously improving. The essence of Evolution is continuous and slow change, slow improvement. So I concluded that the law of nature is – a feeling of perfection in the current state along with a slow gradual improvement. If I think that my life will be perfect when I have that much money or if I have that quality, I am wrong. It’s already perfect in the given scenario, but I have to make continuous small improvements.

If we feel secure, comfortable and try to be better - it will be easier to improve ourselves, we will be more creative. If we feel desperate, insecure - we may try hard a few times but it will not be sustainable. When people feel secure, comfortable in their current situation, they are more likely to be creative and think out of the box. Insecurity doesn’t breed innovation, but leads to short sightedness, patch work, crisis feeling.

So we need to stop demanding too much from ourselves or from anyone else, just try to make a little improvement, not necessarily everyday, whenever we feel comfortable. On a broader perspective, everything is already perfect.

So, if you didn’t invest in the property at the right time, if you invested in the stock market at the wrong time, if your boss is a piece of junk, if you have been planning to start exercising for the past many years but are not able to do it – first of all, take it easy. And then see if you can improve the situation only little bit. Everything is fine, because we are all part of an eternal process called evolution and everything is perfect in the big picture. If you think I am talking sense that’s fine. If you think I am talking non-sense, it’s equally fine. Because at the end of the day – All is well.