identityThere used to be a fine oak tree, in a lovely green meadow. Over the years it had grown to be a sprawling tree with lush green foliage. Travellers would often come to that spot seeking relief under the cool shade of the tree. As time went by, the oak had an acorn, and the acorn was of age.

The acorn was enamoured of the outside world and wanted to roll along the meadow and grow into a strapping young oak. The oak loved the acorn, and told the acorn that the oak would be hurt if it were to go away from the tree. The world beckoned to the acorn … the acorn was torn between the two paths of action. The acorn finally decided to play it safe and stick with the oak tree. The oak tree was happy. The acorn was happy that the oak was happy.

As time would have it, the acorn finally fell. It rolled a few feet away from the tree (as they say … the acorn does not fall far from the oak). The acorn turned into a small plant and found happiness in the shade of the oak.

Many years passed, and the plant remained a plant … it suffered from stunted growth and did not fully grow into an oak tree. The plant was competing with the oak for water and minerals and it was not getting any sun shine due to the oak’s shade. The plant remained a withered shadow of the oak. The oak noticed this, and felt sad … the acorn should have been a full fledged oak by now, yet here it was … a sapling living on the oaks resources.

In some years, the oak tree (now old beyond its years) fell ill and began to falter. It was fast losing its leaves, and looked a shadow of its former self. Woodcutters noticed this rich source of wood and decided to bring this sick tree down. Along with the sick oak, was also a weak sapling. The woodcutters took pity on both the trees and chopped them off.

Travellers who often passed by that meadow still talk of the oak tree … but few remember the weak sapling.

How many people do we meet that fail to find a voice when the occasion demands and find their identity?

What’s your ideal?

I had written about Purpose and also how Perspective can be used to change the society, well … what does one do if one has neither? I did not have an answer for that now … if a person is devoid of both, then is his life a wasted time? Does he not achieve fulfillment??

Today, I get to throw one more term in this quagmire of confusion. If one has neither, then one need not worry … one simply needs to choose an ideal and uphold it. Simple. Pick an ideal of your choice, and live by it. I know its an axiomatic way of life, but imagine a world without living by any ideals.

Without an ideal, one may not know what is good or what is bad (think about this before you dismiss it). We talk about work-life balance … well, we choose work because we have career success as an ideal, we choose life because we choose being a good son as an ideal (or a good husband, a good father … the list goes on). \

The best part is that, there are no rules once you choose an ideal and live by it. Choice making is easier. I know a friend who lives by integrity as an ideal. Even if her job depends on it, she will choose to go take the path of integrity.

So what’s yours?