There is something I want to ask you before I explain the reason behind the weird yet interesting topic of this post. Please think before you answer. Here is my question “If you were an eagle, a sharp-eyed, quick brown eagle, would you befriend an elephant?” Now, I know the question sounds stupid but give it a thought, and think of an answer. Yay OR Nay (Valid reason is needed for either of the responses).
I will assume that you have an answer with a valid reason by now. When I gave it a thought the obvious answer was no. I am an eagle, I rule the sky, and I eat fish, rats and snakes. Why would I befriend a clumsy and bulky animal with nose longer than his tail? We have nothing in common. He is a vegetarian, I am not; He walks, I fly; I can’t eat him, he can’t catch me; He is slow, I am fast; He is of no use to me etc. If your answer is no, you are good, you have applied logic, rationale response. AND if your answer is yes (and you got a solid valid reason as well), then you probably don’t need to read this post.
I am not going to talk about eagles and elephants but just think about it. Eagles can see to the far lands and tell the elephants where the sugarcane fields are, and elephant most probably knows in which area the density of rodents and snake is highest. This could be a mutually beneficial friendship. Both can help each other. But of course we don’t expect them to be friends, they are animals.
But we are humans; our brain-body weight ratio is as good as 1:46. We can think. We can use our brain in a better way. Why don’t we get along with people, who are in a different profession, or people who follow a different religion or people with a different opinion? Because we think like eagles do and we think they are elephants. If you have read “The Gutsy Engineer”, then you know about Professor Bee. He befriended many of his father’s friends (who were lecturers, professors, doctors etc.) during his days as a software engineer. He told me repeatedly that “it’s good to mix with different people; you might learn a thing or two that you won’t learn in your field, ever”. And many of them are working with him in HX classes.
It is very good to concentrate our minds in what we are doing and what we will be doing. But I believe it is not enough to expand it. If you are familiar with electronics, then you must have heard about soft computing techniques. There are techniques inspired by behavior of ants and bacteria, techniques called ACO (Ant Colony Optimization) and BFO (Bacterial Forging Optimization) etc. These techniques are used by electronics engineers and scientists to simplify and implement complex algorithms. Now hold on a second and ponder. Electronics engineers, who only deal with micro-current, microprocessors, semiconductors and stuff, using the techniques used by bacteria and ants to simplify complex algorithms; where did that come from? Do you think that would have been possible had the electronics guys concentrated only on electronics? There is no way in hell. It all became possible only because they took interest in what is outside their line of work.
My point is: why not take interest in something that is outside our domain if it can help us generate wonderful ideas to lead a better professional and even personal life? Now don’t tell me you do not have enough time for all these stuff. You have plenty of time; all you need to do is to manage it. If you have time to watch television for hours, if you have time to gossip around, if you have time to talk to someone who you think you got a shot at (for 90 minutes a day), I believe you have all the time you need for this “out-of-your-line-of-work” stuff.
I am 23, I am an engineer. I never played any sport on a regular basis, never took interest in any cultural events whatsoever, I never played any musical instruments either. Yet (capital Y), I joined violin classes, I bought a violin which costs a fortune and I started playing it. I joined recently (so obviously I suck) and I have attended only 2 classes so far, but I can’t explain how much I have enjoyed these 2 one-hour sessions. Well, yeah I am reading a book that kinder gardeners use to learn violin and my teacher is probably younger than me, and the students in my class are all kids. But once you decide to make your life more comfortable by jumping out of your comfort-zone all these small things seems smaller.
The peace that I got from just these 2 hour session is beyond what I expected from just a one-and-a-half footed instrument. After the violin class while I was walking back home, The level of my inner joy knew no bounds. I have been feeling good since then. From the research that I did for over 2 months, I can conclude that learning violin requires discipline and perseverance. I am surely going to use that in discipline and perseverance in my line of work intentionally or unintentionally. This is sure to help me in my career. what’s more?. I will learn violin which is a wonderful thing in itself.
There is no connection between violin and my line of work. There is no connection between an eagle and an elephant either. If I am an eagle, violin is no better than elephant’s hair. But I am fortunate to have found that elephant hair. 10 years from now I don’t wanna look back and regret that things would have been much different, had I dared to do so and so. There is an old saying that says “There are two best times to plant seed, one was 10 years back and the other is now“. We don’t have any fruits today because we forgot to plant the seed 10 years back, BUT if we plant it today, 10 years from now we’ll have plenty of fruits and flowers.
If you are eagle then go out there, hunt, dive, fly, do what you do the best. But do know about elephants, even if you two are world apart. You can learn a lot of things that another eagle can’t teach you. Get to know people in other profession, religion, caste and creed. They can probably teach you many things that you want to know, they can probably give shape to your random idea that has been residing in your mind for a long time now, and they can possibly trigger new ones too. If not you will still earn a friend.
Do something different today, something that you want to do, something that you love to do, something you enjoy doing, not what you have to do.
Find that elephant get to know him, and try to learn his ways. After all it is your gray matter. Use it or lose it.
(I would love to hear from you. Please submit your feedback here.)