Although, Vallabhai Patel was winning the case, all he felt at that moment was total despair. Yet, not one person in the court room guessed, what he had read in the telegram, that was delivered to him a moment ago.
Vallabhai Patel, folded the telegram carefully, put it in his pocket and went on with his cross examination. He won the case. Packed up his bags. Walked over to the judge, pulling the telegram out of his pocket, he said, ‘ I will not be coming in to court for the next few days. I just lost my wife’.
This is just one instance where Vallabhai Patel demonstrated his indomitable iron will. A will, which will not let him deter from his current path no matter the circumstances. He was able to put aside, his most crippling emotions, the loss of his wife triggered in him and keep doing what needs to be done. He understood the power of the present moment.
In the coming years, Vallabhai Patel, alongside Mahatma Ghandhi , would become one of the major forces in the Indian Independence movement and the unification of 565 princely states of India, all without bloodshed.
It is not surprising that he is celebrated as the ‘Iron Man of India‘.
The power of now
What is the most precious resource we have?
Some might argue it’s time. But time is a very broad term. It encompasses the past, present and the future. But ‘now’ is the only slice of time that is available, changeable, usable.
The most precious resource we have is ‘Now’. How would you use the most precious thing you have?
The only thing that is ultimately real about your journey is the step that you are taking at this moment. That’s all there ever is.Eckhart Tolle, The power of now
Strategies to be in the now.
Mike Krzyzewski (pronounced: Sha- shef- ski), also called coach K is an American basketball coach, leading Duke University. He is the first coach in history to win 1000 games at one school. If I list his credentials, which also includes winning three gold medals in the Olympics, it would be a mile long.
One of the top philosophies, he instills in every one his players is the “Next play”. You might have seen him on TV mouthing these words after every play.
When Jay Bilas talks about the time he played under coach K, he says, “When something happened in the game, positive or negative, we were conditioned by coach K to immediately move on to the next play without concern over what had just taken place”.
According to coach K, “By moving on to the next play, concentrating and trying to move to the next thing, you have a better chance to be your best at the moment”.
5 Minute Rule
Hal Elrod, author of ‘Miracle morning’, has a very inspiring story to tell.
He died at the age of 20, when a drunk driver hit his car. His heart stopped for a full 6 minutes. He eventually woke up from a coma, only to be told by his doctors that he would never walk again.
Hal Elrod did walk, and even run a 52 mile ultra marathon by the time he turned 30.
He has a very interesting approach to negative thoughts. He says, ” Every negative thought we have, is created by us, based on the amount of resistance we have to our reality”.
His solution is a “5 minute rule“.
When things go wrong, set a timer on the phone, be negative for 5 minutes. Wallow in self- pity, rage about it, complain about it. But just for 5 minutes. After that, say three powerful words, ” Can’t change it”, and come back to your present moment.
What does the “next play” and “5-minute rule” help us acheive?
Keeps us free from our emotions.
Being in the now, doesn’t mean you have to forget your past. It just means not wallowing in the past. We have no control over our past or our future. But the present moment, we can do something about it.
Imagine, if Hal Elrod had despaired over his accident. He wouldn’t be the successful inspiration he is today.
For using the current moment to it’s full potential, we have to be free of our emotions. What happened in our past, failure or success shouldn’t affect our present moment.
Keeps us hungry
Now that you have success, should you stop working?
Success that you have had, just like your failures are all in your past. The past is a guide to our future, not a destination. By focusing on the present moment, we stay hungry. Hungry for more, hungry for better and hungry to improve.
There might be a time when we want to quit, because of our loss or disappointments. There might be times when we just want to sit back and enjoy our success because we have worked so hard for it.
So give up, sit back, but just for 5 minutes as Hal Elrod recommends. More than that, it becomes your comfort zone. Comfort zone is a place where your life becomes stuck. Get back on your feet and to this moment.
As coach K says, ” What you have done is not nearly as important as what you are doing right now”.
Gives us the tunnel vision that is needed for success
Once again, I have to quote coach K. ” Anyone who’s had success or wants it can’t have a rear view mirror.”
Imagine what would have happened if Vallabhai Patel, looked back to his failures and disappointments, while trying to lead an entire country to a better future. He would have lacked the conviction to convince others to walk with him in the movement. He wouldn’t have been able to barrel forward, in spite of all the losses and failures. History would not have had a leader to look up to.
A tunnel vision keeps us moving forward, no matter what. And that is what life is all about. Moving forward, moving past our past.