The wrong stories we are told and what to do about it.
Updated: Jun 27, 2022
Stories define us. From early childhood everything we hear and see define our reality. Unfortunately most of it is wrong. Here is what you can do about it.
“I met with an accident.”
This is how it is said in English. But the same sentence is Hindi would be said like “Mera accident ho gaya — My accident happened.”
If you’ve noticed “I” am the subject in English. It was “ME” who met with an accident. Like, literally I walked and “met” with the accident.
This sounds very obvious and logical to me. It was “me” who was driving that damn car after all. It was “me” who was walking on that road and wasn’t paying attention. It was “me” who jumped from the rood (I literally did last year and broke my anklebone. More on that in another article).
But, if you were to say the same thing in Hindi, you would say it as if you don’t know how the accident happened, or who was responsible. YOU were certainly not responsible. It even sounds like you were not even present there.
As if some unknown alien kind of entity conspired against you and without your knowing it just “happened” to you. You were just sitting in that car, enjoying the view. And then the almighty “made” the accident happen.
Obviously, you couldn’t do anything. Your consciousness was “made” dead. Your hands “were” tied. And your eyes were “blindfolded”. You poor soul.
Language is a very important tool to understand cultures. How we say things is how we see and perceive them. Words are literally the expressions of our mental pictures.
There are many examples in the way things or incidents are expressed in English. And if you pay attention you will find that there is a lot of emphasis on the “subject” in their sentences.
Things just don’t “happen”. Someone does them.
More so in cases where there is a human involved in the act. It tells you a lot about the role they give to us, the humans.
“I” am the creator. It was me who was responsible.
Holding ourselves accountable and responsible is immensely powerful. If “I” met with the accident, it means “I” could’ve avoided it. I can avoid it in the future. This is a very scientific and proactive approach to life.
If you see yourself accountable and responsible for things happening to you, it puts in the centre of it. It gives you power. You are in control. And it certainly means you can do something about. It means you can take actions to fix the problem you have.
You can find and create solutions to ensure a better life and a better future.
There is the reason behind the meteoric rise to wealth creation, advancement in science, engineering, and technology in the western world.
“If it’s to be, it’s up to me” mindset makes you do wonders. And thanks to this mindset, humanity has progressed so far ahead.
But, if you look at the way similar actions or incidents are expressed in Hindi, you would realize that people avoid responsibility.
“Accident ho gaya” means, I wasn’t responsible. Somebody or something else did it. And I am not even interested in finding out who and why. I am just content with the fact that it was not me. Just don’t blame me.
Now, that means I cannot do anything about it. I am not in charge. I am just a victim of life. Certainly not the creator of it. Hence, in spite of being a very talented lot of people, Indians are mostly working for other people.
You don’t find many visionary entrepreneurs, leaders, innovators, and engineers who built great solutions and businesses and changed the world. And of course, this is the reason Indians could not create wealth.
I would also argue that this mindset was the reason the country was so easily conquered and ruled by a handful of foreign invaders for over 1000+ years.
Remember those movies from the 70s and 80s where there was a villain who was killing innocent people and was such a bad person? The whole generation would wait for the Hero to arrive and save them from the atrocities of this villain. Nobody, not even the police, the administration, and common people would even try to do something against the villain.
They would wait for the Hero to suddenly “appear” one day and do all the magic for them.
These movies are inspired by the stories in Indian scriptures. There is this unruly and cruel king (Kansa). He is such an evil and mighty that people can’t do anything against him. They just wait for their Bhagwan to arrive.
So, there is even a prophecy that Krishna would be born and one day would kill the king and save humanity. So, why bother doing anything. The future is pre-decided. Right? So, people sit, cry, wait and curse the wrongdoers.
These stories have been making many generations weak, inactive, blind and super lazy for centuries now.
These stories are the reason we are not where we could’ve been. This is even sadder and unfortunate considering the fact that our Vedas say “Ahem Brahmasmi — I am the creator”. Meaning it is ME (the human being, each person) who is responsible for anything and everything.
This means “I” can do things. I can change things. I wonder where and how the whole narrative changed. And we even didn’t realize it.
Its time to ask that question. Its time to challenge our beliefs. Its time to change the stories we have been telling ourselves. Only then, we will have different stories to tell to our future generations.
We certainly need better stories.