Walk the talk and make life meaningful

There is a reason why some people are respected, followed, and are famous for the things they propagate

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By Shilpa Bhasin Mehra

Published: Tue 21 Jun 2022, 11:46 PM

We all have often heard the proverb “practice what you preach.” ‘It is usually spoken as a retort to someone who is being hypocritical, someone who is telling people how they should behave while not themselves behaving that way. In modern times, we say “walk the talk.”

I wake up every morning with many beautiful messages lined up on WhatsApp. Some are really meaningful, some make me think and ponder, while others are motivating. When scrolling down, I look at the sender of the message and the message itself. That’s the irony. I know that it’s a forward and the sender hasn’t written it herself/himself. But I feel before sending a message you should at least have some sort of connection with the message. I would not dare to send messages/sermons on exercising or dieting, because I am a disaster in both. I would rather send some jokes because we all can do with a laugh. Life can be stressful.

It amazes me that short-tempered people are sending messages about being calm; untidy people talk about cleanliness; and the miserly talk about generosity. I know it’s a forward, but there is something called relatability. I cannot relate to the sender and the message at all. It amuses me and I think: “Look who’s talking.”

A very beautiful and often forwarded one is from Maya Angelou which I truly love. “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” I feel sad to say that some of the senders (forwarders) of this message are the sort of people who don’t do anything for others at all. (I know them well enough to say so).

There are always two sides to a coin. Some may argue that it was a nice message so they forwarded it. But can we take a moment or two to absorb the essence of the message before pressing the forward button? If the message is truly so beautiful, maybe we can try to take a leaf from it ourselves.

When we were studying history in school, we were taught about Gandhiji and his principles. We saw pictures of him spinning khadi. Just imagine if he was wearing silk or nylon and telling others to wear khadi. He followed non-violence, practiced it, and taught it. Actions speak louder than words. One can relate to the person and the message he stands for. On similar lines, you see Mother Teresa’s pictures, and you can only think of compassion and love.

I know technology has made things instant. But there is a reason why some people are respected, followed on various social media platforms, and are famous for the things they propagate. The mind links the person with the message they stand for. You see Warren Buffet and you think of wise investments, you see Mark Zuckerberg and you think of technology for connecting people (Facebook), you see Charlie Chaplin and you think of comedy.

The messages sent and received at the click of a button are beautiful. But we are in such a hurry that we don’t even finish reading the last line and we want to forward it. I remember when I was writing my book ‘All Battles aren’t Legal’ in 2003, there was no Facebook or WhatsApp, but I would get beautiful messages on email. People were encouraging me to get well and would send lovely motivational messages. Others would send me jokes to add humour to my life when I was bed- ridden. I had made a folder where I would store these messages on my laptop. I would often open that folder and it was the tonic that I needed on that day. I have quoted some of these messages in my book.

Words carry so much meaning. They should be rightfully respected. They deserve a minute or two of your time. One of the things that Covid taught the world was the meaning of pause. It made everything pause. Maybe we can pause and absorb the messages that are doing the rounds on our mobiles. Some of them are truly pearls of wisdom.

The people who are truly doers are not spending their time on sending messages. They are out there doing what needs to be done. So, tell me what did you do to make someone feel good, bring a smile to their face, gladden their heart and make them feel that they matter. Before you send that message of Maya Angelou that I quoted earlier, do think about it. She has definitely inspired me in more than one way.

Having said all that I have said, my motto is summed up in this quote: “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humour, and some style.” ­­— Maya Angelou

Shilpa Bhasin Mehra is an independent legal consultant based in Dubai.

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