Life is full of contradictions from birth to grave, as all of us would have experienced at one time or the other. Whether it is at home or at the workplace, contradictions have become more than an exception, if not the rule. Adages and sayings on life experiences, passed from generation to generation is one such sphere where contradictions have made their mark. Some have stood the test of time, but some have also buckled under pressure.
In the early childhood, children are taught that early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise. In the present dog-eat-dog world, many a time it is suffice to say that one who burns the midnight oil,who comes up in life. We have all heard that an early bird catches the worm, but many a time you find that if you had delayed matters,you could have averted disaster,or at least saved much effort. It is asked of us to take care of our pennies, and the pounds would take care of themselves but in today’s capitalist world, people who take care of pennies are left with small change, while the ones who find themselves in Fortune 500 lists are big time risk takers, who staked their pounds when the going was rough & uncertain. It is said that knowledge is power, but one look at some of our politicians and you know the reality. Honesty is the best policy sounds a good sermon, but in truth it is way down in the list of policies. An LIC policy would score better.
At the workplace, employees are asked to look at the larger picture, but the ones who do it end up doing all the dirty work. The Gita exhorts us to do our duty without thinking about benefits and rewards. Many who have practiced it have found themselves at the bottom of the ladder, unknown, unlamented and unsung. One popular saying goes that when the going gets tough, the tough gets going. But in reality, it is better to escalate when the going gets tough,or shift the burden to someone else. They say that the Captain is only as good as the team, but there have been cases where the team has done its duty, and the captain messed it all up. They say that nobody can stop an idea whose time has come, but it can always happen that the idea takes so long to catch up, that it becomes obsolete and irrelevant. They say means are as important as ends, but if you pay attention to means, you might well risk not reaching the end, in today’s corruption ridden world. Slow and steady wins the race, but then, why do corporations always try to stay ahead of competition? Money is not everything is a common saying, but then why is money found to be a high motivator. For that matter, Somerset Maugham put it best by remarking that money is like a sixth sense without which we cannot make full use of our other five senses.
Service to humanity is service to God may sound good, but then charity should begin at home. They say that beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder, but then why in reality are some girls more good looking than others, by common perception. What you sow, you shall reap, is not necessarily so, as someone else might suffer for your misdeeds. They say truth is god and God is truth, then how so many living are unpunished and blessed with all good things in life.
It can go on and on, but better to stop and escape being branded a cynic, a pessimist or worst, a fatalist. Sometimes it does seem, that even sayings have a shelf life, an expiry date.