While on my morning walk, I noticed a profound quote on the beautiful t-shirt of a beautiful lady walking in front of me. It read, “The best way to predict the future is to invent it”.
I was really impressed by the quote. It made me think. (Don’t ask me if I was impressed by the t-shirt or the lady too; I won’t answer that!)
When I got back from the walk, I searched for the quote on the net and found that this quote is attributed to an American computer scientist named, Alan Curtis Kay. I also found that an even better version of this quote came from legendary Peter Drucker who is quoted as saying, “The Best way to predict the future is to create it”.
Since invention is associated with scientists and innovators, for normal people like me the Drucker version is more appealing. Creation is something that we all do, in some form or other. If we care to analyse with the help of hindsight, we always find that our actions of yesterday were the cause for the results of today. While some of us may choose to be modest and give credit to God, Guru, Star or some other entity for whatever happens; if we objectively look at those happenings we will know that they happened only due to our own action or inaction in the past.
This lesson is very important for us Indians, who are often guided by many of those so called sciences that predict future. There are multiple ways for us to ‘know’ our future in advance- such as, astrology, palmistry, face reading, cards reading etc. It surprises me that even rats and parrots have the capacity to read and let us know our future!
While it can be fun listening to someone speaking about you, by reading your horoscope or palm, it is altogether a different matter to let the words of those people guide you in your life. The danger lies in the fact that those words can easily become self-fulfilling prophecy, if we take them seriously. Once we believe in those words we are likely to surrender to the ‘inevitable’ and guide our own actions, knowingly or unknowingly, towards fulfilling those very words. But if you ignore or challenge the words and carry on with your own plans, in all likelihood you will achieve what you planned and strived for; and not what those predictions told you.
Let me illustrate this with an example from my own life. When we decided that it was time for us to take up construction of a new home (the dream for any typical Keralite), we considered only the financial aspects like the source of funding, EMIs etc. Location, facilities, structure etc for the new home were already clear in our minds.
However, when we started searching for a suitable plot that meets all our requirements, some of my family members pressurised my wife to seek advice from an astrologer. Since they already know my views on such matters, they kept me in the dark about this. My wife and her brother visited this famous and well respected astrologer (who happens to be a teacher and a colleague of my brother-in-law) and presented the problem.
After consulting all the relevant stars, planets and comets, he declared with utmost conviction that the time was not ripe for us to begin the work for a new home. He said even if we start the project, it will not get completed for many years!
This revelation unnerved my family, including my wife. They had actually hoped to hear something positive and were scared to go ahead in spite of this negative prediction. Finally, the matter was brought to my attention and I was asked not to proceed with the project for at least another year. I had by then made up my mind, arranged sale of a plot that I owned in Bangalore and tied up remaining funds that would be necessary to complete the house. There was no way that some prediction by somebody would stop me on the track. I reassured my wife, who was little nervous about the whole thing and was repenting having visited the astrologer at all. Though with hesitation, she agreed to go along with me, whatever the future consequences might be.
Then we found a suitable plot that was meeting all our requirements. We went ahead and bought it; arranged balance funding by way of loans from the bank and took up the construction work. I was conscious of the fact that any setbacks or delay in construction would be blamed on my arrogance and irreverence! Therefore, I kept up the pressure on all.
We faced all the usual delays and hiccups, mainly on account of shortage of labour; but still managed to finish the entire work in 19 months, pretty fast by the local standards. Our dream home came into existence, not on the terms of any astrologer but on my terms! Our sweet revenge was when we invited that astrologer to Ambadi, for the housewarming.
Now look at our politicians. Most of them consult their personal battery of astrologers and Gurus all the time. Yet they are not able to prevent the future that is a direct result of their past actions, with so many of them losing power or even ending up in jails for their misdeeds while in power.
Let me now discuss another example that is close to my heart now. Consider the burning Mullaperiyar issue. Can we predict what will happen to the 110 year old dam that was once considered to be a technological marvel but today is nothing but a nightmare for those who are living downstream? It might give away in 2 years or 20 years or 50 years. No one can predict for sure, except that we may be able to do some estimations through simulation etc.
But we can definitely create the future. Change the dam that has lived for more than twice its projected life. Construct a new dam that takes into account the increased risks associated with the earthquake prone area. By that, we can create a safe and peaceful future that is full of goodwill between the people of two states - with safety for Kerala and water for Tamil Nadu.
Whether in constructing a new home or replacing an old dam, the need is to believe in your ability and take proactive actions to achieve what your consider is in the best interests, within the given resources and constrains.
Do not fall for the predictions based on pseudo-sciences thriving all around us. Beware of the numerous agents out there, waiting to capitalise on your uncertainties and concerns about the future. Day after day, we get to hear the stories of cheating by those unscrupulous elements in our society.
It serves no purpose trying to know the future, instead be ready to work hard and create one!