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A conversation is recounted in the book # Shantaram  in which the character, Khaderbhai, says: “There is no such thing as believing in #G...

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Saturday, 17 December 2016


In case you have gone into cold turkey because of the temporary absence of “The Talking Stick”, I am pleased to report that I have emerged from a couple of months of disruption brought about by extensive and worldwide travel, sadly none of which represented leisure time. Be that as it may, the blog is now back on stream and the hiatus in its broadcast brings me to today’s topic.    

One of my great passions (other than family, health, photography, people empowerment and, and…) is writing. I love it because it is one of my forms of expression and it serves, amongst other things, to clear my mind and keep me sharp. I do it for its own sake because it feeds me at some level, despite the fact that (sadly) I haven’t yet found a way to monetize it. However, I have done almost none in the past two months. How can that be?

The truth is that I have allowed Life to get in the way of doing what I love, mainly because there is also the small matter of putting food on the table, which has then got me wondering whether I have become fixated with work at the expense of the things which nourish me. If I am brutally honest with myself, I have to acknowledge that I have lost a measure of balance in my life by trying to serve my work commitments at the expense of all else.

The one thing that is clear, however, is that I am not alone in this. I know any number of people whose sole topic of conversation is where the next deal is coming from, how busy they are, how many emails land on their desk every day, how they will make budget and how much their next bonus cheque will be. They appear incapable of talking other than at a completely superficial level of anything about which they could be passionate such as life, love, relationships or finding meaning in their lives. The problem with the fixation is that it destroys passion, unless the passion is somehow linked to the fixation.

However, unless what you are fixated about makes you wake up each day with a smile and a spring in your step, the chances are that the fixation is not equal to your passion. So when I hear people speaking to me (or at me) about their fixation, I find that eventually there is a part of me that tunes out, because whilst it may interest and even excite the other person, more often than not, it is not within my personal realm of interest and so much of my time is spent trying to avoid the thousand yard stare.

Part of the problem I have described (i.e. tuning out from fixations) is of course my own. However, I want to suggest that when there is fixation without passion, it is the beginning of the slide down a slope to self-destruction. It may give you a buzz at the time and feed you intellectually or in some other way, but it won’t necessarily nourish you and keep you alive in the long term. It is a bit like trying to hydrate yourself with beer rather than water. You know that the one tastes better than the other and has a particular physiological effect on you, but ultimately the beer will kill you: the water won’t.

Beer is the fixation whilst water actually provides some nourishment to your cells, but ultimately you will need to help the cells with the passion brought by say fruit juice or green juice. Water is the safe option and won’t kill you, but it won’t necessarily nourish you. Beer is the exciting option, but will eventually kill you. Some juice with particular nutrition in it is your passion, and that will keep you going indefinitely.

So the question for you is: Which will it be? Beer, juice or water, or a sensible combination of all three?

I want to suggest that, unless you can meld passion into your life, your fixation will eventually get you. 

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