Momentum – An article by Vijay Michihito Batra

Actions are more effective than words.

Four friends decided to practice silence and embarked on being silent for three days.

On the first day, all were silent. Their practice of silence had begun auspiciously, but when night came, and the oil lamps were growing dim one of the friends could not help exclaiming to a servant: “Fix those lamps.” The second friend was surprised to hear the first one talk. “We are not supposed to say a word,” he remarked.

“You two are stupid. Why did you talk?” shouted the third.

“I am the only one who has not said a word,” concluded the fourth.

All four-started shouting at each other in frustration and gave up their quest to practice silence.

If only, the first friend had remained silent and fixed the lamps himself, the four would have continued their quest of practicing to be silent.

Next best would have been if the second friend would have remained silent, soon the first friend would have resumed silence, and all four would have returned to their quest.

The next best would have been if the third friend would have maintained his silence, the first two would have resumed their silence.

And the next best would have been if the fourth friend would have remained silent, the other three would have resumed being silent.

I often heard from my father say, “don’t make best the enemy of the better.” I realize what he meant. Whenever you and I, individually or in a group of friends, family or colleagues embark on a journey of improvement, we need to ensure that we overcome the mistakes we may make, by being on the track of improvement, the moment we start becoming upset and start correcting each other for “minor” deviations, we end up breaking the momentum.

In the movie Scent of a woman, while Al Pachino is teaching the dance form Tango to a young lady, he says “If you get all tangled up, keep tango on.”

By being silent, we get others to be silent, by shouting “shut up” we end up breaking the momentum. An effective way to bring self and others on track is to “return or remain” on track.


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