Sheldon: Would you like some advice?

Leonard: Sure, why not?

Sheldon: Then, this is the perfect time to launch a blog with an interactive comments section.”

“The Big Bang Theory

Since I already have a blog with an interactive comments section, I am simply going to share my emotional turmoil that involves, not Penny, but my own spiritual limbo of the moment. Yes, this will be a rant, and I won’t be offended if you stop here and move elsewhere.  I promise that the next post will be more cheerful.  I just need to get this off my chest.  And maybe to hear from others, to either validate or negate my current state of turmoil.

For almost all my discerning life, I have believed in the karmic principle expounded in the Bhagawad Gita – action leads to result and every action has a result, the “fruit of action”.  I have never begrudged or bemoaned any lack of obvious returns because I have believed that returns are not always the ones expected or immediate.  I have believed that there is some power – I am loath to call it God, perhaps it is a natural order of things, or the Newton’s law that states that every action begets a reaction – that would fill any gaps in my life, from my own actions, even if not directly related.  

This faith has been my driving force.  All my life, I have been a hard worker, and I still am.  I take my commitments seriously.  I am sincere about what I do.  I may not be an efficient worker; I know where my weaknesses lie – I am messy and am a big picture person rather than being detail oriented.  I also need sleep and long sessions of solitude.  I accept my weaknesses as signs of my humanness, and work extra hard to compensate.  So, long story short, I work extremely hard – in both personal and professional domains.

Lately, I am beginning to wonder if I am a fool.  I am seeing more and more people who are successful and happy, with very little effort expended in life.  People my age, sail through life, simply being carefree consumers. Someone was recently telling me about a chap they went to school with, who would slink out of class after the teacher marked the attendance register, and has not been known to attend a single day of class.  Said chap is now a successful professional, and has risen to the upper rungs of the financial ladder.  Yes, people bloom at different times, I know, and somewhere along the way, the chap got hold of the ladder and climbed up.  But what does that make me, who has had a near 100% attendance through school and college, and has never failed to turn in a single homework, assignment or test all her life?  Who has given her one hundred percent to whatever project she has taken on? 

I am not saying I have been a failure.  I have done well for myself, I know, to which my company website would attest.  But it has taken me this long to reach here, while people such as the aforementioned chap sailed through and reached where they are at least a decade earlier.

The example of the chap is just one of the many incidents that have been bothering me lately.  I see around me, people getting things effortlessly, things that I have to work my backside off to get. 

The very same Bhagawad Gita also expounds that it becomes agonising when we equate actions with results.  Obviously true, going by this post.  But I am finding it increasingly difficult to reconcile the fact that there is no logical cause-effect in existence and god (or whatever) does play dice with the universe.

21 thoughts on “My fruit is the sour grape

  1. [My apologies if this is a duplicate comment. My old laptop crashed just as I was about to post so I’m not sure if it went… I’ll try to remember what I said.]

    I’m so sorry to hear you’re feeling frustrated. It’s natural and only human! But my long (long LONG) experience has taught me two things.

    First is that we naturally expect a strong correlation between academic and real world success. But the fact is that those usually require different skill sets. Sure, native intelligence and hard work can propel you into lucrative and generally successful professions, so that’s a head start. But I’m willing to bet that if you look at the top 10% of any academic class 25 years on, they will tend to not be among the top real world achievers.

    Second is that it’s normal and completely human to measure your success against those who (for whatever reason) seem to achieve more or better outcomes. But that’s just because you are cutting off all the datapoints of those who haven’t done as well as you, achieved what you’ve gained, or come as far as you have. So sure you’re going to skew the curve if you use yourself as the bottom datapoint! But in fact, I’d be willing to guess that you’re a lot further up than you generally give yourself credit for.

    My 2-cents as we say in the States.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If people less than me have not got what they worked for, that’s just as unfair – I feel for them. If people have attained heights through hard work, oh, I venerate them. It’s people who become “successes”despite not working for it, who get on my nerves.

      But yes, you are right about me. I am above average in that graph, and honestly, I have received exactly what I have worked for – not more, not less. No unfairness there. I just wish that child inside of me would stop throwing jealous tantrums when someone else got a lollypop they didn’t work for.

      The top 10% not being top achievers, this is what I tell my daughter, who is not an academic achiever the way I was. She is, however zillion times smarter than I, and I am glad that she will not let her academic performance decide her true achievements in life.

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  2. I’ve been there. I know you know you can’t compare yourself to others… you don’t know what’s in their mind or heart… their happiness or not. Maybe his bad karma comes later. Maybe your bonus good karma does. Maybe it’s all bullshit. We don’t know. All you can do is the best for yourself and others. Life turns out however it does.

    My version of this involves a complete bitch I know who won a $366M lotto. I pacified myself with thinking other parts of her life were going to vome apart. Instead, she seems happier then ever. I find it hard to reconcile.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have trouble reconciling to such things too. Especially since I was indoctrinated into the theory that you reap what you sow. When I complain about this to the wise (?!) ones in the family, their go-to excuse is, you’ll get the fruits of your labor in your next birth, and these people who you think don’t deserve what they have, are enjoying the fruits of the labor from their last birth. That riles me even more. So, I’ve stopped complaining to these wise ones, and complain in my blog instead !

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      1. !!!!!
        I recently saw something along the lines of “if youcan’t recall your past life, reincarnation serves no purpose.”

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      2. I know it’s bad juju but I gloated when I saw a bitch coworker get slapped in the face by karma today. Several of us dod. Thought it would be months, or never, before it happened. I’m happy Life ensured that I saw it go down.

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      3. Yes. It was sadly wonderful to witness. The person is a nightmare and yesterday, a couple hours before the CEO intervention, said all employees are idiots (she’s virtually entry level while the rest of us have many years of FDA experience). Not only was she talking sh*t with everyone able to hear but apparently “idiot” is double-extra insulting to Spanish speakers. That was news to me. They were REALLY mad!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. There are those that got it, and those that don’t. Equality is debatable. Barb said it best and most intelligently, but I do believe that what goes around comes around, at some point in time. Then again, we have people like Trump – so maybe I’m wrong – time will tell. I do feel it’s pointless to compare ourselves to others, because we are all unique, we all gain some degree of happiness and our version of success, and you cannot tell what kind of life others really have from the outside. Happiness, contentment, come in many flavors but are not guaranteed.

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    1. You know, deep down, I know I have got what I deserve – nothing less, nothing more, and I am very happy with it. But my childish tantrum is that some others get more than they deserve. Juvenile and small, I know. But thankfully, such thoughts are transient.

      You got it right. Happiness and contentment come in many forms, and I have them in the form I like. Thank you.

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  4. the fact that there is no logical cause-effect in existence

    I’ve more or less come to terms with this myself, and I can’t seem to think otherwise… None of the arguments I’ve heard against this idea make any sense to me. It’s brutal, but if I’m being honest with myself, it’s how I perceive life.

    I think I’ve been knocked down to such lows at certain points in my life that my expectations are relatively low too. It’s become hard to disappoint myself because I’ve done it so many times already. Yes, I wish I had more, but I don’t count on it.

    I’m excited about my new job, for example, but I never actually thought it would come through for me.

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    1. I relate so much to what you say, David. Life is brutal. But if I dwell on that, I start believing that I am the victim of something – circumstances, other people, fate, whatever. I try not to go down that rabbit hole. So, I rant here to wonderful people who won’t judge me for it, get things off my chest and move on.

      As do you, I am sure.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. LG, I can relate to this in many, many ways. Like Barb says, there is little correlation between hard work and success. Most people who are doing well I am sure have struggles in areas we have no idea about. Take heart in knowing you are doing well. Hugs.

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    1. Thanks Laksh. I am usually ok, but sometimes the unfairness gets to me. I wish I were brought up with the Western mindset of enjoy the moment to the fullest and not in the fate-karma-rebirth stupidity. My rational mind rebels, but it’s buried deep in my subconscious and when reality does not match, it rattles me. I am sure you know what I am talking about.

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  6. So much of life comes down to pure luck, like being at the right place at the right time. Some rewards are to be realized by hard work, too. As long as I can rest my head at the end of the day, knowing I did my best, I’m ok with it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree with you Rob. I am mostly like that. Sometimes, I get riled. I rant a bit, and then tell myself that I can’t do anything about how other people’s life turns out. I have mine that I would live in my terms, and that’s all that matters.

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  7. The “what you sow is what you reap” doesn’t seem to work at all. I’ve seen many people rise easily, and others who were better, stay in the pits.
    It’s an unfair world, and really what claim do we have to fairness.
    I get really frustrated with life sometimes. At other times, I’m sure others get frustrated at my luck/life.
    And the truth is, I don’t even know if i’m doing the best i can. There is always self doubt, imposter syndrome, worry that I’m not doing enough.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I used to have imposter syndrome when I was younger, but then as I met more and more people in my life, I realised that I work harder than most , and so, I don’t beat myself up as much. You’ll get there too. But the sad part is experience becomes the comb to the bald person. I no longer need self-validation.

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  8. One way to attempt reconciliation is to see your work as art. Your hard work is your payment. The fact that you’re able to care about something to put so much work into it. That has a value that perhaps surpasses the easy sail. Also, perhaps reconsider Karma, it is an idea that is perpetually in contradiction.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, I have no complaints about what I get out of my work, both in terms of personal satisfaction and monetary compensation. I only (sometimes) throw a tantrum about underserving people getting them too. But thankfully, those are rare occurrences. I rant a bit, and move on.

      I am having a serious rethink about Karma and other such philosophy. The problem is that the only philosophy that makes sense to me now is nihilism, and I don’t like it one bit. Oh well.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Interesting to see your take on Gita! Because for me it’s esscense has always been, just do your due diligence and leave the rest. In a way to find solace in the process itself and not be affected by the result. Isn’t that the ultimate goal of being Gitafied? 😊 Karm karo Phal ki chinta na karo is an oft repeated line in my household btw! Hence the easy identification.
    Btw, this has been my bane of happiness forever! Cousins of mine who hardly studied during school days are now married and settled abroad and the airs they throw when they are here is downright obnoxious! Sigh! Most of the times I brush it off as beaneath me to even credit such things but it hurts when you are in your vulnerable worst! 😒

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