Rant 17: Being Myopic and killing the stigma around it

MYOPIC. adj.

Short or nearsightedness, Lacking farsightedness or intellectual insight.
You must have heard this term from several people around you.
Don’t be myopic, you’re such a short-sighted person, have some far-sightedness, etc.

Every single one of us has been rebuked by this. Especially the ones before the technology boom began in the late 90’s in India. We had been brought up teaching an ability where you’d decide for a vision in the future, near future and the far future and for middle class or the lower class societies, the present really was just a means to achieve the 3 forms of the future. Probably most of us reading this today, still agree to this long-sighted theory of vision making and life planning.

Today, the times have changed. Where food comes from the restaurant to you in 30 minutes and the examination scores come right after the exam as soon as submit, things have to change. Everything from the vision to the approach, to the behavior and to the psychology to win has to undergo a change. We cannot be dealing with a millennial the same way we dealt with a kid from the 90’s or before.

Millennia’s come with traits like never seen before. We cannot comment they are wrong or right, because the righteousness of a trait is a relative term. Features like Instant gratification, short span of attention, an ever increasing knowledge availability, global citizen behavior and even improved capabilities of interlinking subjects and their applications. These are changing times and our approaches to achievements have to be modified too.

Being short-sighted or myopic is not a vice. Being that alone is one. It’s time we propagate to be short-sighted as well as long-sighted and give more weightage to short-sightedness. This might feel fishy to many of you reading and yes, that is my intent to raise this issue.

We have all been having those long time goals in nearly every aspect of our life – career goals, relationship goals, personal life goals, social goals, etc. We have all been taught and trained with questions like, how do you see your self down the line in 5/10/15 years? While such questions are always better to verify the formulation of ideas and the confidence of the candidate, these questions do leave us with a big issue.

The issue of not living in the present. The issue of ruining the present for the future, the issue of ruining a childhood for an entrance exam to a god-for-sake college which is years away. Are we really not becoming too far-sighted and leaving the pleasures of today?

I have always suggested students to look what’s going on today. Have a long-terms goal and plan. It’s okay. But do not devote your “everything” of today for it. It will come if it has to. You are not a magician to decide your future. Focus on today. Of course that doesn’t mean you let lose of your visions, but do give some respect to the today and what and how it deserves to be treated.

I often asked students if they had a 30 minute plan for today. What would they do for every 30-minutes of today. Have they thought of it? Can they think of this? Is it possible for them. Try it out for a day or two and you will realize, the actual time you give for the “vision of tomorrow” is actually sparse and more time goes into the ‘thinking of it and what might possibly go wrong and what are the possible xyz, etc.”

And while all of this happens, you can still enjoy that 30 minutes on your terrace with your siblings and talk about possibly where you forefathers are located in the sky, or maybe just take out an app on your phone and see the different stars and planets etc. You can try to go back to the playground which you left 3 years ago for your “preparations” and ask the kids there, if they can let you join. You might want to join your mom to the market and just help her bargain and buy the veggies at the best price.
Maybe sometimes you just sit with a crush on the side of a lake or even at a road side food stall and just gaze into her eyes and tell her you miss her but it’s just about time you focus on something which is even greater and more important.

Life is not always about the “larger goals we achieve”. These goals keep the world happy your surroundings happy, But for yourself to be happy, you need to have a bunch of these small moments of joy. That small fight you had with the other school guys for your best friend, that chase by the traffic police when you’d caught tripling on a bike, the day when you went to the petrol bunk and asked for filling 10 rupees petrol or the night you spent below your friend’s crush’s house just so that he could wish her happy birthday.

Believe me, swinging either sides completely is going to ruin you. Don’t be a racer. It’s not going to lead you anywhere. Be a traveler. Enjoy the journey. Enjoy the stops. A racer does not look at the pitstop, She certainly wins the race, but mostly after 30 minutes she is alone in her vanity preparing to run for the next. While when a traveler stops, there are many ears, wanting to listen to her story – where she went, whom she met, where she stopped, what she ate, etc. Be that traveler. A traveler with a focus.

Be that eye. The Far-sighted eye, with the detail of the near-sightedness.
Plan your today yourself. Don’t let the future plan it for you.

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