Do you remember the bedtime stories you heard as a child? Do you still feel the euphoria of being pulled up into the stories and living a life very different from your own? I do.
These days, I am more of a storyteller than an audience. I think childhood is much better than adulthood because of that one unique quality where we listen more than we speak, where we learn much more than we teach. If only we could still be kids in those aspects life would be much easier.
Breaking from tradition, today, I was the recipient of storytelling rather than my kids. Today, my dad had a story to tell and I was as raptured by it as I was during my childhood days when I used to listen to stories told by my grandparents and parents. For those few moments, I was once again a child as enraptured by my dad’s story as ever. I guess parents have that power of keeping the child in you alive, I hope I can do the same for my kids. Anyway, the old Indian fable goes like this:
A guru wanted an important task to be done. He wanted a disciple worthy of doing the same. So he chose his best three disciples and gave them a test, whoever succeeded in the test would be chosen for the task. He called his disciples, gave them each a pot full of oil and said, “Keep this pot in the centre of that road. Bring it to me in the morning and ensure that you don’t spill even a single drop of the oil”.
The road on which they had to keep the pot of oil was a road frequented by cows and unlike humans you couldn’t expect them not to hit the pot in their hurry to return back to their abode (these days probably humans too won’t bother about what’s in their way)
Next morning, the first disciple came, placed the potful of oil near his feet and said: “Master you gave us an impossible task, I couldn’t do it for the fear of the cows hitting the pot”. Hearing this the master was disappointed and sent the disciple away.
The second disciple approached him and said: “Master, I tried my best to do as you instructed, but I couldn’t save all of the oil, a little of it spilled when a cow hit the pot”. The master was disappointed but kindly let him know that he was happy that he tried.
Then came the third disciple, he promptly placed the potful of oil near the master’s feet and stood back with folded palms. The master was surprised and asked “How?” The disciple said: “Master, you asked me to keep the pot of oil in the centre of the road but you did not mention how long I should have kept it. Hence I kept the pot on the road, picked it up and went back home, now the pot is in front of you as you commanded”. The master gave a smile of satisfaction and chose the smart disciple for the task he wanted him to do.
Who is the one person most unlikely to receive a letter from you? Yourself?
Ever wondered, why people write letters to themselves? Or what could possibly be written in a self letter? Or why somebody would engage in a seemingly “waste of time” activity? If the answer is yes, then this article is definitely for you.
Now for people who know what it is, have you written one? Yes? Congratulations, you have one more technique in your kitty to be Zen like!! No? Then maybe you should try it. It works for many!
Now, what is it anyway?
Self-letter is writing a letter to yourself.
(Am sure that was not very helpful !!). Basically it’s a time bound letter you write about yourself for yourself.
Sounds fatuous isn’t it? As fatuous as watching the sunrise, enjoying a good view or laughing your heart out, but totally worth it. If you have nobody but yourself to motivate yourself, then this definitely is worth a try.
Why do it?
- For clarity: All of us have been/are victims of confusion. These are times of, a galore of choices and the more choices you have the more confused you get. Writing a self-letter can clarify some things up for you. If nothing else you’ll get to see things from a different perspective.
- For help in Decision Making: From time to time, we all undergo something called as the Decision paralysis. We block our own decisions. Most of us normal folks unintentionally depend on others for our decisions. We rarely consult ourselves on the best course of action. We ask the opinions of everybody who is anybody to us and finally take decisions based on whichever opinion is convenient to us. When things go wrong we go to great lengths convincing ourselves that it was not our fault. Self-letters can help you avoid skirting the important process of deciding things for and by yourself.
Self-letter is not an end in itself. It is just another time-tested tool like journals, notes, diaries and so on.
How to do it?