How often have we found ourselves stressed because we had to choose between one or the other? Those cross roads where we had to choose only one road that might take us some place….
I used to sweat on this – those difficult choices and their consequences. I always thought it had to be this OR that, black OR white, me OR them, right OR wrong. And true enough, I added quite a bit of stress to my life thanks to constant crossroads and choices. Until one day when a dear friend spoke to me about the ‘And Strategy’. It was like a breath of fresh air. It’s like making the best of both worlds. I tried this and it has been a fulfilling experience, to say the least. I realized I was, until then operating with ‘Or Strategy’.
I often felt stressed for having to choose between two things that I loved equally – like learning to dance versus learning to paint. Suddenly, I applied ‘And Strategy’ – I decided to learn both. I can’t tell you how wonderful it is. Yes, time does not permit me to attend classes for both. So, I learn piano in a professional environment while I learn to paint at home through YouTube videos. It is delightful to be able to do both the things that I love. I did not have to let go of one thing to do the other!
There was another decision about working in a corporate versus being a trainer. I just could not choose. They both were important. I decided to do both! They have been wonderfully coexisting for a while now. Love it! I can’t imagine how big a decision it would have been if I had to choose one.
When my opinions were different from others….
In a different angle, I used to think that if someone is right; someone else has to be wrong. It has to be true or false, right or wrong! I then realized that it may be appropriate with facts but not with people and their perception. I can be right and you can be right too! And someone else can be right too. They are just different perspectives that can certainly coexist. For black to be black, there’s a definite contribution from white!
What’s my right could be someone else’s left. And what’s left can take you to some place right too.
There’s just one life. Wherever possible, I first check if “And” strategy would be possible. If I can make it work, nothing like it. It has worked in more places than I ever imagined it could. The few places where it was not be feasible I went for the “Or” strategy gracefully.
It’s not that ‘And’ is better than ‘Or’ or vice versa. Both have their own merits depending on situations. What is important is that there are certain times when we sweat trying to make a choice between this or that when both could be possible. Life is not all about difficult choices. It is sometimes about having the gumption to understand that there are more roads that lead to Rome than we know and that we could use a road and sea and air in parts to reach Rome.
An attitude of coexistence:
‘Or Strategy’ is good. At times, ‘And’ is better. It doesn’t always have to be this or that. Coexistence is the name of the game…and “And” is the word that represents our coexistence. There’s a joy when we can co-exist’, when certain dreams can co-exist. People who have this attitude of coexistence (‘and strategy’ as a way of life) will have the attitude of inclusiveness. Their default thinking will be ‘how can I do both?’ and that only expands their true potential and helps them discover that they had all the resources already within to be able to do both.
Once, Goddess Kali appeared before Tenaliraman and asked him to choose between a bowl of milk and curd. Kali told him that the bowl containing milk represented knowledge, and the bowl containing curd represented money. After thinking carefully, he asked the Goddess how a choice was possible when he did not know the taste of either the milk or the curd. So Goddess Kali extended both the bowls to Tenaliraman, who instantly grabbed the bowls and drank the curd and the milk. Goddess Kali was annoyed at being outwitted. She asked him why he drank out of both the bowls. Raman replied that knowledge without wealth was useless and wealth without knowledge was dangerous. The Goddess was pleased with Tenaliraman and blessed him with both wealth and knowledge. He was undoubtedly an exemplar in adopting ‘And’ Strategy.
Say, when the journey AND the destination can be good, why just choose one of them?
Now, if you are thinking between ‘And Strategy’ and ‘Or Strategy’ which one to adhere in life…It could be both – depending upon unique scenarios.