Sunday, December 22, 2013

What Guruji says is now scientficially proved

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There is an inbuilt fuse in all of us that cuts off our supply of happiness unless we share it with others
This story came to me through mail. A reporter once asked a farmer why his corn won the state fair contest every year. The farmer revealed that it was because he shared his seeds with neighbours. The perplexed reporter wondered why. The farmer’s answer: “Sir, don’t you know? The wind picks up pollen from ripening corn and swirls it from field to field. If my neighbours grew inferior corn, cross-pollination would degrade the quality of my corn. If I am to grow good corn, I must help my neighbour do the same.”    
A simple lesson that nature teaches us, and we find difficult to imbibe. We pull down others in order to climb up. We clutch our possessions and refuse to share the good things of life. Rarely will you find a person readily sharing credit for a job well done. I have quoted this instance earlier – a senior colleague often talks about how at an interview, what went against the candidate was precisely his biggest achievement at the last job. The guy boasted about being a one-man army and took credit for everything good about the magazine he had launched. “Instead of conveying a good impression,” said my colleague, “this told me that the guy was not a good team player!”    
Contrary to common thinking, studies have repeatedly proved that rather than decrease what you have, sharing only succeeds in starting a circle that brings back multifold benefits. Spiritualists say this, astrologers say it, doctors say it, and now scientists and scholars have also proved it with studies. But more than anything else, our own instinct tells us the same, as does our experience after giving away to a needy person.    
Sharing is the one big reason for the magnificent success of social media. Sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc, enable people to share their thoughts, emotions, experiences, memories and even frustrations with thousands of others at one go. And instant ‘likes’, sympathy, empathy and consolation make for immediate brightening of spirits. Social interaction helps one’s physical and mental health. Engaging in positive sharing of emotions and thoughts, and contributing to each others’ feel-good experiences helps improve health and prolong life. A study by neuroeconomics researcher Paul Zak showed that people who share and feel gratitude release oxytocin, a feel-good hormone, and experience a reduction of stress hormones. Even 10 minutes of tweeting spikes a person’s level of oxytocin.    
Sharing is, in fact, a very natural instinct in humans. Can you imagine where we would have been if our ancestors had not co-operated and shared food, shelter and arrangements of security? Through sharing resources, information and knowledge, we save time and energy and create free time for ourselves. Google and Wikipedia have gained gigantic proportions by sharing knowledge for free. Sharing also helps create trust, which is a prerequisite for security and happiness. When we share our feelings, knowledge and possessions with others, we create a relationship of trust, which in most cases flows back and helps us feel secure and happy.    
Not just religions world over, but even top corporate leaders and thinkers believe in the benefits of giving and sharing. A survey at Harvard Business School in 2008 showed that when one gives away a sum of money, it helps lift his own well-being more than if he spends it on himself.    
Not long ago, whenever any household prepared a special dish, invariably some of it would be sent to the neighbours. In turn, they would fill the dish with goodies before returning it. My mother remembers the many happy hours spent with neighbouring women baking, throwing away burnt dishes and then emerging triumphantly with successful ones. That is how we shared our experiences and our successes. There was always enough for everyone. Today, we make just enough for ourselves and have no time or inclination for sharing. As a result, most of us do not even know the people who live next door, leading to unsafe, insecure neighbourhoods and skirmishes over minor issues such as parking spaces or pets.    
What is the use of an idea unless it is uttered? What good is a dream unless executed? What good are thoughts unless used to benefit others? What good is happiness or success unless shared? Those who wish to succeed must help others succeed, like the farmer on the corn field. Those who wish to live well, must help others do so. And if it is happiness you want, start spreading the warmth and goodness to others around.

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