Every chess player knows what is meant by the ‘power of four’… a domination of the four central squares on the chess board means you’ve managed to eke out a benefit that can very well go on to become the reason for your victory. If this can happen in a mere game it can be equally true in any real life situation too. Why a mere situation? This can be one of the solutions that can help us turn the game of life from malevolent to benevolent!
‘Four words,’ I said to myself, ‘are what I am searching for. Four words that can catalyse destinies to opt for the right twist! Four words that can undo what has harmed us all these centuries and exercise a powerful influence to bring us face to face with a tomorrow that we’ve been dreaming of. Fours words. Just four words.’
‘What are you mumbling today?’ asked my wife.
‘I’m looking for a four word sentence that can cat like a powerful spell and change us all to be better people.’
‘You’re incomprehensible at times,’ she said, ‘give an example.’
I thought for a while and said, ‘For instance, These Words Must Change!’
‘These words must change,’ she repeated, and continued, ‘impressive slogan. Use it in some contest and I’m sure you’ll win a prize.’ She smiled and I knew that sooner than I can blink my eyes, she would give me my first break, and quite expectedly, she took a deep breath and said, ‘Not here. Not now.’
Before I could speak anything, she went on, ‘Aren’t we all postponing things forever? Aren’t we forever forcing ourselves to slow down our pace just because we aren’t very sure if we’d love going faster? Don’t we happily become friends with the self-defeating emotion of letting even important decisions linger until they’re too old to do anything?’
Yes, this does seem like it. The first four words were there with me and I sat down to think and write about them.
Not here… not now!
Not here… not now! These four words are indeed powerful and hold the secrets of creative outbursts within them. I realised it the moment I heard my wife say them aloud and then, as luck would have it, read a similar status update on FB as well.
A friend from London updated her FB status:”…is sick of London weather already, don’t know how I am going to survive rest of the winters…”
This surprised me because I had heard such sentiments many times earlier too… from my friends in Delhi. So I wrote back: “Replace London with Delhi and winters with summers… (or any other city and season) and you’ll know what connects the whole world! ”
Everyone forever wants to be somewhere else… assuming that this somewhere else will be better than HERE and NOW. This got me thinking. Is CREATIVITY a process that is connected to such feelings? Yes, I think so.
Most of us who’ve wanted to write more than just 140 character tweets or copying smart sentences disguised as creative updates on FB have experienced this. Every time these people try to graduate beyond a 50-word update to a one-page blog entry, they convince themselves that they’d do it some other time… or somewhere else.
They invariably tell themselves:
Not here. Not now!
Give me a notebook, then I’ll write
Else there’ll be no creative bite!
I have no laptop, I can’t write
Just give me that and then I might!
It’s always time for something else
There’s always time for something else…
Up and down moments I’ll walk
To eat, to read, to even talk
And even words flow into me
To weave some story for no fee
Then why is it that I still wait?
Why do I say: Not here, not now!
I wrote the above lines to give a rather stern concept some soft romantic leanings! So clearly, the four evil words that prevent creative outbursts are: NOT HERE, NOT NOW! And they’re as valid for writers as they are for anyone else in any situation… even my friend in London who seeks happiness someplace other than hers.
So what I’d prefer to change is ‘Not here, not now’ to ‘Right here, right now!’
I was somewhat happy with myself as I finished writing this small piece and thought, ‘These Words Must change – is indeed a rather powerful four-word phrase!’
Just then my wife came along after finishing her work in the kitchen, read what I had written, and said, ‘Sounds good. I have thought of another four-worder for you!’
‘Right,’ I said, ‘so the article hasn’t yet ended. Well, what is your next suggestion?’
‘These words must change!’ she said with a triumphant tone and continued, ‘these four words are more powerful than the ones I suggested earlier. These are words that can and need to change the grim pages of our newspapers today.’
This was rather cryptic for and I told her so.
‘Quite simple, really,’ she said, ‘open the newspaper and read a first few headlines that catch your attention and then tell me if you’d want such headlines there every day.’
These words must change!
The couple of hours kept me busy clicking the headlines from that day’s newspaper that caught my attention, analysing them, thinking about them, and then deciding that these were words I’d love to be changed.
Mere words if you look at them one way, but words that go on and decide what happens to people’s thoughts and attitudes… I wondered at how many thousands of people would be sad to read headlines that talked of murder, corruption, failure, greed, arrogance, bad behaviour, lust, and declining standards everywhere! The truth, however, is that these headlines are just reflecting life as it happens.
Would a different and positive set of headlines change anything? Yes, I believe, and I have reasons for my belief.
Year back when I was to appear for my Services Selection Board interview for getting into the Indian Army, I happened to come across a book on Body Language. On reading a few pages I realized even then that changing yourself becomes much easier and painless if one decides to be conscious of one’s body language and change that. For instance, if I want to be less nervous in an interview I cannot possibly just tell myself not to be nervous and leave it at that. Body Language taught me to be aware of the way my body signals my nervousness and focus to change those signals than just asking me to be less nervous. That is, is my feet slide under the chair, I would know that I am under a devastating spell of nervousness and all I need to do is to force my feet out and plant them firmly on the ground in front of me! This works like magic… every time.
So if I had the power I’d just let all the editors all over the world give positive headlines to every little piece of news… and I’m sure this will work wonders. We can surely stay free by staying positive, can’t we?
Stay positive, Stay free
Here is a set of newspaper clipping with headlines that can freeze even God’s heart… and I wish the headlines could have been different. With a different set of headlines, the morning newspaper would cease to give our day a grim start… and life would be so much better! Just look at the headlines from just one day’s newspaper… and you’ll agree that these words must change:
Gangsters, an inept police…
Financial greed, corrupt strategies…
Lazy thought processes of professionals…
An obsession with doomsday predictions…
Lack of a professional attitude…
Inflation, rising costs, economic hardships…
Declining political standards…
Match fixing, arrogance on the field, infighting, disrespecting sportsmanship…
The grime of crime, drunkenness, traffic violations…
Intrigue, plotting, lobbying, professional rivalry…
Pollution, environmental hazards, bad research, misleading statistics…
Decay of global amity, hurt relationships, damaged sentiments…
Yes, indeed, if I had the power I’d simply want to opt to change the headlines in the daily newspapers… but then, because it is the job of a newspaper to report the facts as they are, my wish would change the way things happened in the world.
Changing the world by wanting to just change the headlines isn’t an euphemistic belief but a powerful way to seduce destiny and the will of the Gods to come to our rescue, some may argue. The way I’d put it is that it is the force of wishes such as these that have the power to put us all onto the right track and then the journalists have their job cut out for them. This is a cycle that will energise each other… good work energising good reporting which in turn will induce good work to continue with an increased gusto! Got my point?
Just four word can help us all to stay free… now even you can go ahead and device your own set of four-words to change the state of the world!
‘Time to change’, a blogging contest sponsored by STAYFREE on indiblogger isn’t a mere contest. It was an opportunity for me to explore totally new ways of expressing my thoughts.
11 April 2012