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Don't mistake the PART for the WHOLE – Lesson on the Riveredge

Author: Sreedhar Mandyam

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I must have been around nine-ten years when we were traveling from Bangalore to Mysore. My grandfather was with me. We stopped on the Cauvery River Bridge in Srirangapatna and since rivers are regarded as sacred, we were asked to bow to the River and offer some coins to the River. As kids we did not understand any of it but loved the act of throwing coins into the River. I asked my grandfather, “Is this the Cauvery River?” His answer left an impression on me. He replied, “This is part of the Cauvery River. No one can see the whole River. Wherever we go we see partoftheRiver” Howtrueisthat?

Work, Love, Life

Now does that apply to a lot of issues in our lives? We see part of things and assume about the whole? How many times have you heard yourself and others say, “My working life is crap”, “My marriage is a disaster”, “My life sucks”. Isyourworkinglifecompletecrapor part of it is crappy? Are there benets from your work life? Are you making good money from it? Are you having good relationships at work? Are you enjoying part of the routine? Yeah, parts of your work life could be something you don't like. Maybe you like everything about it except the commute. Maybe it is just the paperwork you dislike. Maybe you love the work but not SOME of the people whom you have to work with. Are you mistaking the PART for the WHOLE?

Which Parts of the Relationship are not working?

What about your marriage or your close relationship? ALL of it is BAD? Maybe you just don't like the additional relatives part? May be it is the lack of attention lately from your partner that is bugging you? Maybe you just dislike the fact that you don't get to spend enough time with one another? Maybe you dislike ONLY the sloppiness of your partner? Maybe only the lack of respect for time from your partner gets your goat? When you say your marriage is a disaster, are you mistaking the PART for the WHOLE?

Life as a whole?

“My life sucks” oh yeah? Which part of it? You love everything about your life except your job? Oh you love your job but it is the lack of Romantic Partner in your life that gets you? Oh you are married and it is the lack of connect in your marriage that gets you? Your marriage is great but it is the relationship with your siblings that breaks you? Is it just the relationship with your parents that is not working out? Your work is great, you have a great marriage, your relationship with your siblings and parents is ne but it is your health that upsets you? Your health is great but it is the nances that get you? Some part of your life is not working out perhaps not your whole life. So when you say, “My life sucks”, are you mistaking the PART for the WHOLE?

Gaining Perspective

Think about it: When we are going through some misery, do we tend to mistake the PART for the WHOLE and brush aside all the things that are working well for us as inconsequential. When we begin to think of the PARTS that are not working within a job, relationship, life, we put things into perspective and not paint the WHOLE with the black brush. We also realize that we have to work only on the PARTS and that is a smaller task compared to having to work on the WHOLE. Perhaps an easier one too. We look at other people whose life is working out great in the part where our life sucks and wonder why can't my life be like that. Parts of every one's life sucks. Just that, your part differs from mine.

No one can see the WHOLE river standing on the riverside.


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