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The Shape Theory

student can overcome his shortcomings and deficiencies with the help of a concept called ‘shape’: Self-analysis, Hard-work, Acceptance, Perseverance and Entertainment.

Questioning is the first step to fight failure. The investigation should start from the roots. ‘Why I am not getting good marks? Why I feel embarrassed to speak on a dais? Why am I not able to talk intimately with my father as I earlier used to do? Why am I unable to concentrate? Why I feel sleepy whenever a take a text book into my hands?’ Find out the basic reason first. This is otherwise called self-actualisation or s.w.o.t. study.

Self-analyses:

Suppose your problem is not getting good marks. Question yourself: “Did my problem exist from the beginning of my kindergarten days or is it triggered recently? If existed from the beginning, do I have basic interest in studies or more fascinated towards other activities like games and arts? Or is it because I am a slow learner?”

Suppose you scored good marks in the initial stages and lost the track later. There are two reasons. Firstly, it may be due to fragile foundation in early stages of your education in basics like science and maths and you might have managed good marks with your inborn intelligence. As you go up on the ladder you require more industry and concentration. The second reason for decline in marks may be your latest friends circle, house environment, health and above all... other luring activities.

Some students feel that their family genes influenced their education. May be true to some extent as established by Mendel through his theory of inheritance, but you can also notice children of one family developing different levels of intelligence.

Let us have another example. Suppose your problem is talking in public and stage-fear. Locate the bottom-line reason. It may be fear to face people or failure due to lack of confidence. You lose confidence if you do not have in-depth knowledge of the subject. Everything must have a beginning. For your first speech, write down notes, master the subject, by-heart the speech and deliver it before small crowd to overcome initial jiggles. The claps at the end of your speech give you confidence and it is called ‘break through’.

Thus, every personal weakness has a salvation. Once you diagnose the disease you can find a medicine. Hence ‘analysis’ constitutes greater importance. Next week we discuss the second concept ‘Hard work’.

SHAPE THEORY – 1

We were discussing the concept of ‘SHAPE’ to understand and rise above our various weaknesses. The second letter ‘H’ stands for ‘Hard work’. What is a hard work? When your body and or mind reject to cooperate, a work becomes hard. Even if it your dream to climb Mount Everest barefoot, your body does not oblige. Suppose your mother wants you to accompany her to a mythological film against your wish, your mind does not cooperate. These are the two examples of body and mind refusals.

Now consider whether studying everyday for few hours daily is hard due to mind rejection or body refusal. It is certainly a mental block in ninety percent cases, unless you have an eye or back problem.

Our tastes:

You ordered for soup and noodles and after consuming some portion, the waiter told that by mistake he served special snake-curry in stead of noodles and the soup consisted of rat-meat boiled in bat-wings. Can you finish them? Why you feel like vomiting? Then how the foreigner by your side table eating them?

Our tastes and dislikes depend on how we were taught from our childhood. To make us study when parents use the word ‘hard work’ repeatedly, the auto suggestion influences our mind to reject the same. Many students take education as a responsibility rather than an interesting activity. Parents should make their children feel that ‘there is nothing more fascinating than studying and there is no better thrill than standing class first’.

When your entire family is watching an interesting film on TV, you don’t feel like continuing studies. One side your consciousness says that the rights of the film are purchased by the channel and is sure to be telecasted again in your holidays. But your heart says that it cannot wait till then. If your logical part of thinking can dominate your unhealthy desire, it is called ‘Nirvana’.

In the initial stages you will not be comfortable to come out of your aversion towards education. When the foundation is fragile, you find present syllabus complicated. Start from the beginning. Change your friend circle if you feel that they are disturbing your progress. Change your food habits if you of-late feel lazy and sleepy. Control your over-chatting. Once you start doing these things, you feel you are different from others. And that is the first step to eradicate the concept of ‘hard work’. Next week we shall discuss the third letter ‘A’ which stands for ‘Acceptance’.

SHAPE THEORY – 2

The second letter of ‘shape’ stands for ‘Hard work’. What is hard work? When your body and/ or mind reject to cooperate, a work becomes tough. You love to climb Mount Everest barefoot, but your body does not oblige. Your mother wants you to accompany her to a mythological film against your wish; your mind does not cooperate. These are the two examples of body and mind refusals.

Now consider whether studying everyday for few hours is ‘hard’ due to mind rejection or body refusal. It is certainly a mental block in ninety nine percent cases.

Developing tastes:

You order for soup and noodles. When you are about to finish, the waiter comes to apologise that by mistake he served ‘special snake-curry’ in place of noodles and the soup consisted of rat-meat boiled in bat-wings (that is served in some places for joint pains). How do you feel? Feel like vomiting and nauseating? Then how the foreigner by your side is relishing the same?

Our tastes and dislikes depend on how we were taught from our childhood. To make us study when parents use the word ‘hard work’ repeatedly, the auto suggestion influences our mind to reject the same. Many students take education as a responsibility rather than an interesting activity. Instead of insisting the children to work ‘hard’ Parents should make them feel that there is nothing more fascinating than studying and no better thrill than standing class first.

Conscious and sub-conscious:

When your entire family is watching an interesting film on TV, you don’t feel like continuing studies. One side your consciousness says that the rights of the film are purchased by the channel and is sure to be telecasted again in your holidays. But your heart says that it cannot wait till then. If your logical part of thinking can dominate your unhealthy desire, it is called ‘Nirvana’.

When the foundation is fragile, you find present syllabus complicated. Start from the beginning. In the initial stages it is difficult to come out of aversion towards education. Change your friend circle if you feel that they are disturbing your progress. Change your food habits if you of-late feel lazy and sleepy. Control your over-chatting. Once you start doing these things, you feel you are different from others. And that is the first step to eradicate the concept of ‘hard work’. Next week we shall discuss the third letter ‘A’ that stands for ‘Acceptance’.

SHAPE THEORY – 3.

Third letter of ‘shape’ stands for Acceptance. Having failed her tenth class twice, my friend’s daughter requested me to put pressure on her father to let her discontinue studies. “I don’t know fundamentals of mathematics and Science. I won’t pass tenth class. Why people bother me?” she questioned.

“What will you do then? You are hardly sixteen” I asked.

“I enjoy cooking. I like to play indoor games and chat with neighbours. I watch movies and draw rangoli before my home and my neighbours’ houses”.

Controlling my temper I asked, “Who will marry a tenth-failed girl? Now-a-days every boy would like his spouse to be minimum a graduate”.

There came a quick answer. “I marry a farmer. I carry lunch for him to the fields. I serve my in-laws and be a good mother. To tell the truth I am euphoric about seven-day festivals, relatives, new saris and ornaments. I hate 10 to 5 office chores and unwanted responsibilities”.

The debate:

When I quote this, students in my seminars divide. “How can she manage a house without minimum education? What happens if something unexpected happens? It is easy to dream but difficult practically”. But surprisingly more than ninety percent agree. “She is correct. When not interested, why study?” they conclude.

This is what exactly I want them to be aware of. A cricketer, whose profession is cricket feels disappointed if the match is abandoned due to rain. Then what is your profession? How should you feel if your college declares a holiday due to rain?

‘Willingness to accept the responsibility’ is the bridge between goals and accomplishments.

Mind (conscience) and heart (desire) are two different entities. Desire is like a monkey. If you have a class-test next day morning and your favourite hero’s movie on TV tonight, heart says ‘Let us see the movie first and then study’. After watching the movie, it convinces you that you are tired, better to sleep then and wake up at 4 a.m. to study. When the alarm bell rings in the morning, it argues that there is no point in studying for few hours just before exam. On the other hand mind persuades that the film can be seen after fifteen days, as the channel repeats.

Successful accept what mind says and not the heart.

SHAPE THEORY – 4

The fourth letter of ‘shape’ stands for Perseverance, the strain to reach the last step (target), after you get tired of climbing countless steps earlier. But it is not as hard as it sounds.

Some people say that you should work ‘hard’ to reach your goal. Change this perception. No intelligent and practical person sacrifices his ‘present’ for future. Instead... he enjoys present work to reach future goals.

Imagine studying late in the night with the fresh breeze when the entire world is sleeping. The pleasure that you have finished the job as per plan gives you sound sleep. The fulfilment gives you strength to start another job, a more difficult one this time.

Tension, working for long hours and lack of confidence causes apathy towards education, making it a ‘hard job’. Cultivate the hobby of studying daily and it becomes a part of your routine. Studying ten hours a day for last 30 days before examinations is equal to studying one hour per day from ‘day one’.

Wisdom does not engulf overnight. It is like an aroma that settles slowly around you as you go on acquiring knowledge and insight. When a stone splits into two with the 100th blow, it does not mean that the last blow did it. Although there is no crack showing on it earlier, something went inside.

A ship in harbour is safe, but that is not what it is built for. Your journey as a student is to acquire wisdom, fame and luxury. Take inspiration from the postal stamp that sticks till it reaches its destination. But the road to success is dotted with many attractive parking places. Don’t let the luring temptations cost your education.

Conclusion:

The last letter of ‘Shape’ denotes Enjoyment. When education is unavoidable, is it not better to enjoy it (enjoyment does not mean chatting with friends, watching movies etc) rather than taking it as an irritating burden forcibly thrust on you? If you spend fifteen years of lovable student life in agony, when will you enjoy? When will you take pleasure in life? Is it after employment with poor pay packages, or after marriage with worries like children’s education etc or after retirement with health problems and loneliness?

Life is a continuous pleasure, not a futuristic hope. “When I tell that I am writing a book on “Happiness and Education” many responded with some puzzlement that they don’t go together. Indeed they two seem increasingly opposed but both are intimately related. Happiness is the aim of education...” says Nel Noddings, Stanford University, in the preface of his book.

What makes us happy? Previously the answer was left to philosophers. In the last few years, the emerging field of positive psychology is bursting with new findings. It suggests eight scientifically proven strategies for happiness. We will read next week these principles of how a student can make days of education happy.

What makes people happy? Earlier the answer was left to philosophers but now it is dealt by emerging field of positive psychology. It suggests eight scientifically proven strategies:

Take pleasure in every small event. Happier people take time to ‘savour’ ordinary events and enjoy each moment of life. They fight stress more strongly. Take a holiday to go to the riverside or to the hill tops. Watch children playing. Enjoy the fragrance of a rose; aroma of watering dry soil, smell from the papers of an old book, listening to the bird sounds etc.

Avoid Comparisons. Jealousy ruins happiness and self-pity spoils self-esteem. Instead, take inspiration from others’ strong points, identify your weaknesses and focus on your own personal achievement.

Avoid harmful attractions. You never tip over a mountain but it is the small pebble that causes you to stumble. A vice of playing cards is enough to make a successful businessman fall down from the hill of triumph.

Deal with money properly. It is true that money is a must but it is also true that comfort is different from happiness. People who put money high on their priority are more at risk for depression, anxiety and low self-esteem. ‘The more we seek satisfactions in material goods, the less we find them there’ is an old proverb.

Keep smiling. It shows your optimism and positive view. ‘This tumbler is half-empty’ is pessimism, ‘half-full’ is optimism but feeling that ‘the tumbler is too big for the water’ is positive thinking.

Be helpful. Avoid shallow acquaintances. Make it a hobby to say ‘thanks’ at every possible moment even to auto driver or server at a hotel. “Listen to others, pass on your skills, celebrate their success, contribute to their happiness and see the affect in a few days” says Elizabeth Dunn, researcher in positive psychology.

Let exercise be one of your daily chores. Do you know that physical exercise for fifteen minuets is more powerful antidote to mental depression and stress? Start it at the young age so that it becomes a daily routine. It releases positive endorphins, adds to your self confidence and boosts your energy in social gatherings.

And finally: Enjoy your work. Take initiative and work with creativity. A student who memorises a lesson is 5% productive; understands it is 50%; remembers it is 75% and explains it to his friends (or teaches to youngsters) is 100% productive.

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