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25 February 2013

The Spring Transformation....

It is spring time here again in Bangalore...

Some of the trees have already shed their leaves and are adorned with new,glistening, green leaves. Some of them are already decked with brightly coloured flowers. There is a smell of spring all around.

Some of them woke up late. Like a passenger late for the train, they are frantically trying to catch up,  shedding their leaves at a furious pace, afraid of being left out of the show.

The other day, my car was parked under one such tree. When I came back after an hour, my car was literally flooded with brown leaves.

Watching nature reinventing itself, redecorating itself, shedding the old useless leaves to make way for new glowing ensemble, made me think. Year after year, like a clockwork, nature dresses up in Spring, attracts birds and bees that will help it 'spread its message' and finally, having completed its task, shed the old leaves and wear new ones.

I mean, isn't a lesson there? Shouldn't we all be like the nature? What about taking some tips from nature?

Starting from childhood, we pile up ourselves with bad habits. We go thru the motions of living, do not set any goals for ourselves, eat all those junk food, put on fat, sit ages in front of our PCs, Laptops, Tabs and mobiles, do not go out and play, don't have time to exercise, do not socialize, do not read good books, do not watch good movies, work and wear out ourselves, do not plan our tasks, do not set ourselves goals and targets, do not schedule...

Go thru the motions...

We blame ourselves, find faults with others, become ineffective in personal relationships.

Day by day, month by month, year by year, we let these bad habits pile up. 

All these bad habits take up our time and resource. Which means that they 'crowd out' good habits. Good habits need time to develop. And that is what is not available for us since all our time is taken up by bad habits.

Have you read a good book recently?
No man, I am so occupied.
When was the last time you complimented you colleague?
Are you crazy? What has she done to deserve a compliment? 
Want to watch Lincoln?
I am afraid I am busy.
Want to come to the garden and smell flowers?
You mad? I would rather update my status on Facebook....

Shouldn't we take some lessons from nature? Shouldn't we all have our spring cleaning? Shouldn't we have our own 'Personal Spring' season, where we identify and shed bad habits and let new habits develop?  

Our ancestors, those dudes who lived in the era of 'handwritten letters' and 'newspapers' and 'going to bank to withdraw cash' and 'waiting in line for making a long distance call' realized this. They realized that people should dedicate some time every year to remove clutter from their environment and their minds. That is why they brought in the concept of 'Spring Cleaning'. 

It is time that we adopted the concept of Spring Cleaning. Let us identify at least one bad habit and try to rid ourselves of that. Have a time-bound program. Remember, nature has a window of about two months between Winter and Summer to remove the dead leaves and bring in new bright ones. Here are some of the lessons that we can learn from nature when it comes to getting rid of bad habits.

1. Identify your bad habits: Every year, the nature only sheds its dead leaves, The roots, the stem, the branches are all left untouched. Just like nature, you also identify the bad habits that you want to shed.

2. Identify a good habit to replace a bad habit with: This is a very important step. Nature doesn't just shed old leaves and say ' I am done. I have removed all the bad leaves. Now I do not have to do anything.'.  It continues the process by replacing the dead leaves with brand new leaves. For every bad habit that you want to shed, identify a good habit to replace it with.  

3. Shed bad habits completely and thoroughly: Nature do not do a half-baked job. Come spring and ALL the bad leaves fall and new good leaves comes in their place. Just like nature, if you identify a bad habit, shed it completely.

4. Have a time bound plan: Nature binds itself to a fixed time window in which to shed the old leaves and bring in new ones in their place. Just like nature have a time-bound plan, have a very clear time window in which to relieve you of bad habits.

5. Consistency is the key: Nature is anything if not consistent.Every year, around mid-January, the leaves start shedding and by mid of March, the old leaves are replaced with new ones. Just like nature, once you start shedding bad habits, do it consistently, stick to a fixed time window, have a fixed start date and a fixed end date ans stick to it year after year. 

6. Replace bad habits with good habits: This is important. Nature doesn't just shed old leaves, it replaces old leaves with new. Similarly, once you give up a bad habit, it is very important to fill up the available time with a new habits. It has to go hand in hand. I see many people make the mistake of working on removing their bad habits without devoting enough time to replace it with good habits. Without this replacement, you will end up replacing one bad habit with another bad habit. It doesn't help at all. Bad habits and good habits are like left hand and right hand. They go together.
Struggling to start a new habit? This might help

7. Shed one bad habit at a time. Nature do not wake up one sudden day and shed all the leaves at one go. The leaves are shed one leaf at a time. Similarly, you also have to shed one habit at a time and eliminate it completely. 

8. Be aware of the external dependencies: As spring approaches, nature knows that it is time to shed the leaves and adorn a new look. Somewhere else, the birds and the bees also knows that in another two months, the nature's renewal will be completed signalling them to start their activities. They wait patiently for nature to complete its tasks. The trees do not see the birds, The birds do not see any specific tree. But both know that they are dependent on each other. They instinctively know that there is a mutually beneficial relationship between them which will commence once the nature completes its 'Spring Cleaning'. Just like that there is something out there which is patiently waiting for you to shed your bad habit to bless you with abundance of richness and growth and personal happiness. But, you have to initiate the process. The blessings will not come to to you till you shed the bad habits. If you do not shed the bad habits? Well, the blessings, help and support will flow to those who take the time to do that. 

Tell me what other lessons that you learn from observing trees shedding their leaves in Spring. I would love to hear your views.

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