Thursday, February 2, 2012

Post 1.0

Every New Year people resolve to change some aspect of their lives. Most of them fail dismally. Research shows that people make the same resolutions year after year, on average, for about 10 times. Of course, not all fail. But the success statistics aren't exactly encouraging. Among those who succeed, successful change happens only after attempting the same resolution for 6 times, on average.

I don't know about you, but these statistics appear pretty depressing to me, especially, because the figures are not from the yellow press. These are figures from top-tier peer reviewed journals in psychology. So, is personal change that difficult? Do we fool ourselves when we vow to start a new life? If we make the same resolutions for about 10 times, on what basis do we harbor hopes for successful change when our previous attempts had been hopeless failures? As the optimists say, may be, I should see the positive side. May be the fact that we keep trying despite failures is a sign of our persistence and resilience, and not a sign of our ludicrous naiveté that  lets us regale in our false hopes.

May be we all are intuitively skeptic about our ability to change, but we still try because that seems to be the right thing to do. Long ago, when I was in the first year of my undergrad, in a long-delayed welcome ceremony for freshmen, my seniors asked me to share my New Year's resolutions. As an earnest young man always eager to im-prove himself, I am sure I had made at least a couple of resolutions that year as well. However, I didn't want to share my resolutions publicly with everyone. So, I gave a tongue-in-cheek reply, "My New Year's resolution is that I won't make New Year's resolutions anymore... they fail anyway." My seniors seemed to like my response, because I got a lot of clapping and cheers.

My reply may have pleased my seniors, or at least amused them, but the earnest man in me has diligently continued his attempts at self-improvement. And I can confidently say that I have improved at least in some spheres of life. I guess that makes me an "improved" man, if not "new and improved." The latter title has traditionally been the reserve of soaps and toothpastes only, though now everyone has become very ambitious. Cellphones, web browsers, tablets, and computers, all become more attractive when the "new and improved" version comes with numerical suffixes of 2.0, 3.0... Some even stall their purchases by a year, because they want nothing less than the "new and improved" version. Of course, these people are much better than those who discard their 2.0 the moment 3.0 hits the market, because our obsession with "new and improved" products can continue indefinitely only if we get an Earth 2.0.

To be continued ...

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