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Lighthouse No. 43
The Epitome of Kindness
Welcome to the 43rd edition of ‘The Lighthouse’!
Thanks for bearing with me for running late on this edition. A couple of weeks earlier, I wrote about the origins of trust being rooted in kindness. Since then, I’ve been wondering about a perfect example of something that was always kind - to everyone, and every time. I hope I’ve made my case about that here. Happy and grateful to have made this connection and I’d love to hear your thoughts about it.
Let’s dig in.
For over 6 months now, I’ve built this habit of writing every day. Writing about the day that passed, things that take retail space in my head, gratitude, and workouts. People who’ve come to know about this sometimes ask me – “Doesn’t writing cause you to overthink stuff?”. No. In fact, it helps me quiet down my thoughts. I pour out all my thoughts and make room for emptiness. Emptiness I’ve learnt is a place and time where you have clarity – to focus on what you value the most.
This forced me to ask – “What does Paper offer?”
In one of those eureka moments, that occurred to me while I was driving, I suddenly realised what paper offered.
An empty piece of paper is the epitome of kindness.
To recognise this, talk to it with a pen.
Do not assume the lifelessness of paper robs it of its power. It is an active medium to engage with. It has taught me valuable lessons on kindness. A piece of paper is a beautiful teacher.
Paper has infinite patience to listen. It will listen to your mundane thoughts, most profound emotions, hilarious moments, excruciating pains, and gratitude. Throw everything at it, and it will only listen. You can keep repeating the same things to a piece of paper, and it’ll listen to you with Stoic patience. Humans can only take the same stuff until a certain point; beyond that, it is boring. You run away from it. I want to be like paper – ever ready to receive, prepared to listen, to the people I care. To understand someone entirely is to – know what they’re going through, what they’re saying or doing and why. To understand someone completely is to become that “someone”. To that end – do not listen with your ears or see with your eyes, but with every fibre of your being. Paper teaches you to do that, over time.
Paper is objective. Being judgemental is a common trait. When was the last time you said something that wasn’t judged? When was the last time you didn’t judge? Paper is the polar opposite. It won’t judge you for who or what you are, but it will listen intently to what you have to say. Amidst the cocktail of words you come up with, in the silence that paper offers, you will realise that judging isn’t a great way to go about life either. Dispensing a continuous stream of verdicts is taxing. A piece of paper is an impartial listener. Slowly but surely, a piece of paper transforms you into one as well.
Another quality paper has impressed upon me is its sincerity. A piece of paper is sincere to everyone who writes on it. Be it a pauper or a prince. Sometimes we don’t value the opinions of people who care about us. Children are a great example of people we don’t listen to. Sometimes we don’t even listen to ourselves. In the vicious cycle of busyness, we’ve forgotten how to listen. Paper serves as a reminder to be sincere to those who care about us.
I talk to paper every day – to remind myself of my flaws, learn, empty my mind, crystallise my thoughts, and be a better person. But mostly, I talk to paper because it teaches me to be kind.
Here’s some interesting stuff I came across:
“Enough” by John Bogle: “…it’s not time for any of you to rest in peace, or to rest in any other way. Bright futures lie before you. There’s the world’s work to be done, and there are never enough citizens with determined hearts, courageous character, intelligent minds, and idealistic souls to do it. Yes, our world already has quite enough guns, political platitudes, arrogance, disingenuousness, selfinterest, snobbishness, superficiality, war, and the certainty that God is on one side or the other. But it never has enough conscience, nor enough tolerance, idealism, justice, compassion, wisdom, humility, self-sacrifice for the greater good, integrity, courtesy, poetry, laughter, and generosity of substance and spirit. It is these elements that I urge you to carry into your careers, and remember that the great game of life is not about money; it is about doing your best to build the world anew.”
Practice Failure by Farnam Street Blog: “If you practice failing every so often, you increase your flexibility and adaptability when life throws obstacles in your way. Of course, no amount of preparation will get you through all possible challenges… But making deliberate mistakes in order to learn from them is one way to give ourselves optionality when our metaphorical engine stops in midair.”
The Parable of the Mexican Fisherman: If you are struggling to find perspective in your life, or work-life, this will help you get started to think about things differently.
A thought I’m ruminating on:
Till next weekend,
Take care. Cheers!
If you would love to discuss anything I’ve written about and shared, please reach out to me by replying to this email or sending a direct message on Twitter 🐦 @iam__prashanth. The tribe there is over 2100 members and continues to grow.
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