“What would have become of Hercules do you think if there had been no lion, hydra, stag or boar – and no savage criminals to rid the world of? What would he have done in the absence of such challenges? Obviously he would have just rolled over in bed and gone back to sleep. So by snoring his life away in luxury and comfort he never would have developed into the mighty Hercules. And even if he had, what good would it have done him? What would have been the use of those arms, that physique, and that noble soul, without crises or conditions to stir into him action?”
I was late up all night thinking about what I should write for the past one and a half month spent in IIMB. Frankly, there has been so much happening day in and day out every day of the week, that it’s indeed a ‘Herculean’ task to condense it to a single article. But in the era of instant news, our short attention spans can only be held for a fleeting moment before we’re distracted to something else.
So let’s cut to the chase. In three words, without any sugar-coating, in my brutally honest and frank opinion, I think this is what the initial days at IIM-B are – ‘A Worthy Crisis’. All of us come from diverse backgrounds, with our own bright little ideas of how life at India’s best B-school would be like, and it is these formative days that provide the correct perspective on the real world out there (which some of the freshers would be experiencing right after this, and those of us who were expecting an escape from the big, bad world out there are again reminded of).
Right from the memorable first week, where at day we get to know the college through the official orientation / induction programmes, to being true PGP1s at night, never before did we ever think objectively in terms of priorities, deadlines, and absorbing as much information is out there. Then began the academics, and the Professors here quite rightly follow a completely non-conventional approach, which makes us search for the right questions to ask, rather than spoon-feeding us the answers. Isn’t this how the real world is like, after all? The answers change depending on the context, but the right questions, the fundamentals remain the same.
I have been reading up on ‘stoicism’ lately, and these are some of the things which I would like to share across the board.
- A common view is that stoicism preaches a simple detachment from pain whereas I feel it isn’t a detachment but rather a realigning of perspective from which we can grow.
- The end goal (of life, in general) isn’t not feeling offended when someone says something mean to you, but rather the growth that comes along with that.
- It’s important that we understand the obstacles that we face and not run from them.
- The purpose of education is not only to internalize knowledge but also spark action and facilitate wiser decisions.
- Remind yourself constantly that time is our most precious and scarce resource.
If I started with some Greek philosophy, can the Romans be far behind? The Roman general Hericletus said, “Of every one hundred men [they send me], ten shouldn’t even be there, eighty are nothing but targets, nine are real fighters… We are lucky to have them… They make the battle. Ah, but the one, one of them is a Warrior… and he will bring the others back.”
Let us all pledge to become that warrior!!!
The author is a first-year PGP student at IIM Bangalore