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  • Writer's pictureTarun Kumar

My learnings from a Tree

Some people are so poor, so poor in fact they are miserably poor that the only thing they have is money.

TM of the Day and fellow Toastmaster if you want to know how rich you are then count all those things you have that money cannot buy.

We are blessed to be born in this world where the almighty has created a beautiful environment. Whenever I go around I am mesmerized by the breathtaking beauty of the ecosystem that we are surrounded by and take for granted. Have you noticed that whenever we look at trees we see the trunk, we see the crown but one of the most essential parts of the tree we miss out on YES the roots? Whenever we talk about the roots we remind ourselves that a healthy tree has healthy roots AGREE. The deeper the roots, the stronger the roots - the tree stands strong, high, and mighty.

Come storms, cyclones, hurricanes, or tornadoes these trees continue to stand majestically tall weathering rough weather all because of the roots. To us humans these roots are a metaphor that is reflected through our strong conviction, upbringing, and inner strength that comes from a deep sense of spirituality. In many ways, our life resembles that of a tree. How?

Our achievements are visible, our accolades are visible, our physical possessions are visible, our charisma is visible, and our success is visible but what is not visible is the roots. How we have achieved those milestones? That one can only guess. That’s why a famous scholar said, “If you do not work on what is unseen, it is very difficult to sustain what is seen.”

Recently one of my clients purchased a palatial house, he invited me over as I was coaching him on workplace issues including behavioral adjustment with others. The house was huge and the interiors were fabulous. I observed that he was spending inordinately more time showing the house, hence asking him to excuse me. To which he stated he would like to show me the outhouse and a separate guest house in close proximity to the main house. Spread over two hectares this was one eye-popping real estate that I couldn’t have dreamt of in one lifetime at least. No wonder he was a successful businessman. Just as I was about to leave this friend of mine started to cry, I was shocked as to what trigged it. My friend informed me that three days before his wife has filed for divorce. He and his children are going to miss her but in spite of their best efforts, there was no reconciliation in sight. I was trying to pacify him, console him and I realized that till he shared this inner feeling I was only enamored by his possessions, his success, his wealth, his popularity, his bank balance but no one knew what one was going through from inside. Drawing a parallel with the Tree I could say with conviction that the trunk is visible, the crown is also visible but the roots are not visible. If you want to withstand all the uncertainties in your life then you must have strong roots.

You all must have traveled by air, about a decade back when I was traveling with my family, my son was intently listening to the security instructions given by the air hostess. When the lady showed that when the cabin pressure is affected mask will drop and you must secure yourself before helping others. The young lad was perplexed by this line of thought process and inquired why the air hostess was expecting him to be so selfish. I was amazed by his spontaneity and informed him that before you help others you have to be in a better position. If you don’t have food how will you share it with others, if you don’t have resources how will you share it with others if you don’t have money how will you share it with others? If you don’t feel love, you can’t share love, if you don’t have hope, you can’t give hope to others, if you can’t uplift yourself, how can you uplift others? Therefore you have to look after yourself before you start looking for others - and that’s not selfishness, that’s caring for your essence of being human.

The late president of India Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam said a very nice thing that I hope will resonate with you all - On the question of why ladies wanted to look beautiful and men handsome? He said if you really want to look handsome, give your hand to someone. Coz handsomeness is not about beauty and looks but how we contribute to people and the society we live in. That’s a sign of a firmly established tree and a majestic example of strength and perseverance in the face of adversity.

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