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Being Yourself: Are You a Saint or a Scorpion?

Being Yourself: Are You a Saint or a Scorpion?


    Once upon a time, on his way to the Himalayas, was a saint, a wandering ascetic. He came across a shallow river he had to cross. Just when he was about to wet his feet, he saw a scorpion helplessly treading the water, trying to come out of the river. It was almost touching the bank but not enough to gain hold of the ground. The sage saw scorpion’s struggle and decided to save it.

    He picked up the scorpion in his right palm with the intention to place it on the dry surface. No sooner did he do that than the scorpion stung and rushed off the palm in frenzy, landing in the water again. It resumed its struggle to come out of water. The sage caressed his ailing right hand with his left. His body was in pain but his mind, calm.

    Seeing that the scorpion could lose its life, the sage used left hand this time to lift the scorpion out of water. However, it panicked and stung again. Once again, it sped off the hand and fell in water resuming its struggle to come out. The saint was left with both hands singed with excruciating pain. He was not the one to give up either.

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    He tried again. This time, he cupped his hands together and lifted the scorpion in one swift movement. Before it could react, he safely dropped it on the land. The scorpion disappeared into the pebbles that lay near the bank. The sage felt elated, for, he succeeded in carrying out his resolve, for saving another life, in holding his forte. It was worth the pain he thought.

    At a distance, oblivious to the saint, a man, surprised and shocked, had watched the whole episode. He promptly approached the sage and said, “Pray, can I ask you a question please?”

    “Yes, you may.”

    “First of all, there was no need to save a scorpion. It does no good to anybody. Secondly, if must you save him out of compassion, you could have simply tried once. I’m surprised that even after it stung you so ungratefully, you persisted with your efforts. Why? How come you did not just stomp on it after it stung you?”

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    “Oh! That’s pretty simple,” the sage replied softly rubbing his stung hands against each other. “This was a scorpion, someone really low on the food chain, a creature whose nature is to sting, to panic, to harm. It is known for not exhibiting any compassion. It is supposed to be weak. Whereas, I am supposed to be a saint, a person whose job is to love everybody, to only offer unconditional love and compassion. I am supposed to be the strong one, the one higher up on the food chain. With my principles and lifestyle, my philosophy and practice, my elevated emotional and mental state, I am supposed to cleanse and transform the other individual. Right?”

    The man nodded.

    “Well then, a creature as lowly and weak as a scorpion does not change its basic nature, its traits, reactions in the presence of a holy man. Should I, the one who’s supposed to be a saint, let go off my righteous conduct, my demeanor in the presence of a scorpion? Am I now so weak to allow a measly creature change me, throw me off my principles and virtues? It did what it is designed for and I did what I’m designed for. It retained its behavior, and I, mine.”

    The man prostrated at the feet of the sage and expressed his gratitude for the profound wisdom.

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    Living in this world, disagreements are normal, in fact, natural. You will meet people ranging from scorpions to saints, thankful to thankless, from weak to wild, and so forth. If they are able to provoke you, put you off, throw you off balance, they are stronger than you. When in any conflict, if you retain your goodness, you will emerge a winner. If you stoop down to their level, treating them the way they treated you, that invariably means they have won, that means you have become like them. Rarely worth it, if you ask me.

    It is often not possible for a person to be one or the other at all times. Sometimes circumstances force you to sting like a scorpion, perhaps you may even repent later on; forgive yourself. A lot more important is to make a serious attempt to act like a saint. Whether you are a sage or a scorpion, it is a matter of choice, an independent choice. You have the option to retain your individuality. Strength comes naturally from such stance.

    So, if you are willing, write in the comments below, whether you are:

    • (a) a sage;
    • (b) a scorpion;
    • (c) or you can be either depending on the situation.

    If you wish to be a sage under all circumstances, you can. It requires mindfulness and a conscious effort. Nothing will ever bother you thereafter.

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    Peace.

    (Photo credit: Man With Devil and angel on Shoulders via Shutterstock)

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      Last Updated on September 28, 2020

      The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

      The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

      At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

      Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

      One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

      When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

      So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

      Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

      This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

      Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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      When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

      Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

      One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

      Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

      An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

      When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

      Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

      Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

      We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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      By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

      Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

      While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

      I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

      You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

      Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

      When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

      Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

      Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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      Con #2: Less Human Interaction

      One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

      Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

      Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

      This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

      While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

      Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

      Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

      This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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      For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

      Con #4: Unique Distractions

      Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

      For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

      To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

      Final Thoughts

      Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

      We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

      More About Working From Home

      Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

      Reference

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