People told us that fossil fuels will get exhausted soon and hence we should shift to renewable energy.
We listened to it and thought, we will see when it happens.
Then they told us that global warming is a problem due to burning of fossil fuel.
We listened to it and thought, 1 or 2 degrees more, we can manage with Air conditoners.
Then they showed us ice melting in the Artic, and we felt sad for seals and penguins.
Now they are talking about Climate Change after 2050 or 2070, more storms, more floods, rising sea levels, unpredictable seasons affecting food production etc. and we are a little worried and we think, “Well.. we should do something soon. There is enough time”.
Elders told us about the urgent need to study hard in 10th and 12th.
Doctors advised us on the urgent need to go to the gym, the urgent need to control sugar, to stop smoking, to quit drinking. Financial experts tell us about the urgent need to control debt and improve savings. Pundits advise governments on so many things to be done urgently to improve efficiency, grow the economy and improve development.
But we all know intuitively, that for everything that needs to be done, there is always plenty of time. Things will fall in place. Because that is our own experience.
We studied one week before the exam and got decent marks. We were among the 70% people who got 70% and we did get a decent job. We don’t eat or stay healthy. But apart from the occasional cold and fever, we are quite OK health wise. We manage to pay our EMIs and still go for movies and fine dining restaurants. We do make new year resolutions. But we feel more happy when we break them.
Even at the national level, in-spite of in-action, indecisiveness and procrastination by our governments, every decade is always better than the last, every generation is always better off than the previous one.
So why is there so much fuss about “the urgent need to do something”.
We live only once. We should make the most of our time here.
Changing people’s behaviour is not only hard but actually impossible. You can’t change people. You can only understand them and empathize with them.
Even people who try hard to change their own behaviour with a lot of effort, fail miserably. Harder the effort, greater the failure.
Because behaviour is not a skill to be learnt. Behaviour is not the driving force of human action.
Behaviour is a ripple that we leave behind when we act and move forward.
Since behaviour is not the cause but the result of our direction and action, trying to change them is foolish.
Habitual actions, thoughtful actions and inspired actions … these are the invisible driving forces that leave behind visible behaviours.
So if we have to move forward in a new direction, then we need to find the driving force and change its direction. Like a trailing smoke cloud behind a jet plane, the behaviours will automatically follow.
All great people (and those ordinary people who go regularly to a gym or dance class) are inspired to do what they do. What we see as their behaviour is just a trail that they leave behind. The success we see in their lives is a side effect of their action. Not the driving force.
So what exactly is inspiration?
How can we inspire people to switch to renewable energy?
How do we inspire people to sacrifice their life for their nation? What is the Return on Investment that we show them?
How do we inspire a mother to sacrifice herself for her family, for her kids? What is the rational argument that we use?
How do we inspire sports people to work as a team? To put the team’s success above their individual interest?
Doing something for a bigger cause / purpose, even if it is detrimental to your own selfish interest is a common thread that is behind every inspiration.
Wives and Husbands who are more concerned about the mental suffering of their spouse (due to possible illness, physical suffering and death of their selves) will be more regular in controlling sugar and going for their morning walk than those, who do it for their own self-interest.
So can we help people to connect with the soul of this planet, empathise with her sufferings? Fall in love with her?
Can we inspire them to switch to renewable energy without asking for payback and ROI?
If you can afford to pay Rs 8 per unit for Solar electricity at home or Rs 6 per unit for Solar thermal energy for an industrial heating application in your factory, shouldn’t you go ahead and switch?
Or will you argue that Coal powered electricity and Furnace Oil fired boilers are cheaper?
Yes they are moderately cheaper today. But if you can freeze your energy costs for the next 20 years, buy energy security without any capital investment – how does it matter that it is a little costly today?
When you buy a house, is your EMI lower than the rent that you paid before?
When you buy life insurance, who are you buying it for? What is your immediate benefit?
So now tell me, how can I inspire you? To lead. To set an example for others. To plan for the future. To look beyond the visible horizon.
Actually I can’t.
You need to feel and care for your children, grand children and future generations. You need to love the company that you work for, even if you know that you are going to stay there only for 3 years. You need to love this planet and her beautiful soul. You need to empathize with her sufferings and problems. When you get there, you will find the inspiration from within you.
By: Ramkumar R S