June 4, 2009

{Lesson 1: Respond to Wakeup Calls}

As the publishers are hard at work getting Raising a Father ready for print, I have got a lot of time to reflect on the book.  The reflections have been further magnified by discussions with attendees at different places after I am talking on the book. All these reflections have helped me come up with six lessons.

The first of the six lessons is: Respond to wakeup calls in life
My life thus far has been full of wakeup calls. To me a wake-up call is an interruption in state.  Wikipedia defines it as “an event that brings about a sudden realization.” What we do after that is our choice. There have been times I have woken up after a wake-up call, and there have been times I have snoozed. Every wake-up call in my life, figurative or literal, has had a purpose, and it has always been up to me to figure that purpose out.

This morning when the alarm went off at 4:30 a.m., I had to make a choice: do I somehow get myself out of bed and get ready to go to the gym, or do I snooze and go back to sleep. However loud the wake-up call is, we individually make the decision on whether we will wake up or not.

I feel wakeup calls come to us in our relationships too.  They come in the form of events that make us think, challenges that bring us down to our knees, cry for help from our near and dear ones, or other events. When the wakeup events come in, they shake the very existence of our life.  But not always do we respond to the wake-up call.  Many a time we just close our eyes and wait for the intensity of the pain to be over, so that we can go back to sleep.

My life’s worst wakeup call came on the day after 9-11 when my eight year old daughter told me that I did not know her. She was right. It was one of those shattering moments where I could not deal with reality anymore. I was forced to wake up and try to change my life.

When you wake up, normally your immediate response is that of regret for not staying in your previous, status-quo state. Life was more comfortable and easier before you woke up. But if you are one who measures life by no-regrets, waking up is one of the sure ways to minimize the biggest kinds of regrets in life.
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