The right path

Like breathing and eating, making choices is a necessary part of everyday living. Is this a boon or a bane?

An old native American tale highlights this dilemma in a pertinent manner. An Indian came to an elder and told him, 'In my mind are questions that keep making their rounds. It is as if there are two dogs fighting all the time. One is beautiful and the other ugly. Which one do you think will win?'

'The beautiful one will win.' came the answer.

'Why do you think so?' asked the brave.

'Because you will feed the beautiful one.'

A confident answer, but not a convincing one because it makes one wonder what is beautiful and what is not. Decisions on simple, routine matters are easy enough. For instance, when to get out of bed, what to have for breakfast or how to dress are neither time consuming nor momentous issues. Questions at the crossroads of life are the ones that are difficult to solve. Adolescents, eager yet inexperienced, wonder what career to choose. Before them lies a path that is dark and full of uncertainties. Marriage, children, a job are all eventualities that hold out the promise of success but the possibility of failure too. We see quite clearly that freedom of choice is a mixed blessing.

The truth is that we can make anything we choose of our lives as we possess the great gifts of potential and determination. We may well make a mistake of equating success with money or with power, failing to realise that what appears to be beautiful to oneself is not always what is beautiful. In the words of the tale, this is what is 'ugly'.

On the other hand a little thought and foresight can lead us to the right path. A good evaluating tool is the FOUR WAY TEST. Devised by the Rotarians, they consist of four simple straightforward questions; Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and friendship? Is it beneficial to all? If your answer to all these questions is 'Yes' there is little cause for dismay. There is nothing that is wrong with your choice, because it will take you on to the right path.

Correction: The article title 'Shielding Against Shocks' that appeared in these columns in the edition dated January 12 is written by Meera Seshadri and not as attributed.

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