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Saturday, January 15, 2011

Thank the sharks in your life!

One of the things thats common amongst human beings is that we all want to be happy and always pray for happiness. There has not been many instances in history or in real life now where some of us pray to god for troubles / failures which lead us to sadness and grief.

But the following sayings in Tamil actually stuck me hard at one of those vulnerable moments.
  1. தீதும் நன்றும் பிறன் தர வாரா 
  2. இன்பம் வரும், துன்பம் விளையும் 
The first line highlights that the good and bad things that happens to us are NEVER because of others but its our own making. This highlights the Karma theory clearly. The second line highlights a slightly different aspect of this. If its happiness / Joy then it shall COME to us which means Joy need not be a result of commission but could come even without doing anything. But sadness / sorrow shall grow out of our actions only. This means sadness can be avoided through right actions.

But there had been instances where people have taken a lateral view on the problems / failures. Quoting my friend, Poet Thiruvalluvar, he says if you encounter a problem please be happy there is no other way to conquer this.
"இடுக்கண் வருங்கால் நகுக அதனை அடுத்தூர்வது அக்தொப்ப தில்"  

There is also a Karmic theory interpretation for this aspect, which emphasis that when there is a problem its a seed that was sown earlier which is being reaped now, so be happy about the problems as you are neutralizing your karmic account. So laugh at your troubles.

He also says how to face them,
"Deluging sorrows comes to naught
when wise men face them with firm thought"

But Side stepping the literature and philosophical aspects on this topic and looking at the real life incident how challenges & difficulties keep us live and make us stronger is narrated in this incident below.

The Japanese have always loved fresh fish. But the waters close to Japan have not held many fish for decades. So the fishermen had to go further out to sea to catch their supply of fish, the fishing boats got bigger and bigger. The farther the fishermen went, the longer it took to bring in the fish. If the return trip took more than a few days, the fish were not fresh and they lost their fresh taste.

To solve this problem, fishing companies installed freezers on their boats. They would catch the fish and freeze them at sea. Freezers allowed the boats to go farther and stay longer. However, the Japanese could taste the difference between fresh and frozen fish and they did not like frozen fish.

Also, the frozen fish brought a lower price. So fishing companies installed fish tanks. They would catch the fish and stuff them in the tanks, fin to fin. After a little thrashing around, the fish stopped moving. They were tired and dull, but alive. Unfortunately, the Japanese could still taste the difference; because the fish did not move for days, they lost their fresh-fish taste. The Japanese preferred the lively taste of fresh fish, not sluggish fish.

So how did Japanese fishing companies solve this problem? How do they get fresh-tasting fish to Japan?

To keep the fish tasting fresh, the Japanese fishing companies added a small shark to the tanks that the fish were kept in. The shark of course eats a few fish, but most of the fish arrive in a very lively state due to the fact that the fish are challenged.

Moral of the story:Some of us are also living like fish that have been caught, we give in too easily, and we are not challenged. Consider new challenges and problems in your life as a shark - the challenges and problems can keep us motivated and moving forward. Without challenges we can become complacent, find life boring, and become a vegetable.

So be grateful to your enemies, adversities, troubles and failures. For they keep us alive and stronger.

So, thank the sharks in your life! May we all get few sharks in our lives from time to time that are manageable and results in betterment.

Happy reading!

Quoting few lines from my earlier blogs on the same topic..
"For a sea faring soul in an ocean called life
Success and Solutions are the ship driving sails
Problems and Failures are the rudders as brakes
If sails or rudder either is weak
Life would be still or toss and drift..."

"...Yo!, I have found a friend in my failures
For failures begets lessons than a thousand wins!
Lessons in humility, Lessons in contentment
For failures,Keeping me young and swift of foot!
Presenting me my scarce solitude!
Awarding me my austere aloofness!
Revealing to me my deathless courage!

In life,“Where am I?” is the product of my success
“What am I?” is the result of my failure...."


  1. Another excellently written and thought provoking article! Can I request you to include transliterations of the verses from Thirukkural in English for the benefit of those who cannot read Tamil script?

    Keep writing!


  2. @Ashish: Thanks. Shall transliterate in future.