Ships do not sink because of water around them, ships sink because of water that gets into them [2020]

All human beings aspire for success and happiness in their life, but only a few actually achieve their goals. People often attribute their failures to external factors like corruption, crime, casteism, communalism, poverty or injustice prevalent in the nation. However, it is also a fact that even within the same family where all children are brought up in the same environment, one child can achieve great success in life while another child may remain ordinary or fail. What makes some succeed in life and fulfil their dreams while others may be unable to do so?
 
Dr A.P.J Kalam was born in a poor family in India. His family did not have the resources to provide him with a good education. To support his family, he started distributing newspapers from a very young age. He, however, always focussed his attention on studies rather than criticising the adverse situation around him. Due to his hard work and dedication, he got admission to a good engineering college, completed his graduation in aerospace engineering and joined the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) as a scientist. He rose continuously in the organisation and later played a key role in the development of missiles and conducting nuclear tests in Pokhran. He was awarded the Bharat Ratna for his contribution to the nation. Subsequently, he was elected as the President of India and became the most loved Indian President and was often referred to as the ‘People’s President’. 
 
The success of Dr Kalam is a testimony of what a person can achieve in his life with a positive attitude. There are many examples of people who overcome adverse situations in their lives and achieve great success by not allowing their mind to be filled with negative thinking. Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar was born in a Dalit family and yet due to his hard work and positive attitude he rose to become one of the greatest leaders of our country and the first law minister of India under whose leadership the Constitution of India was drafted. Lal Bahadur Shastri also did not allow his poverty to come in his way of success and today he is considered one of the finest Prime Ministers of India. Mahatma Gandhi became one of the most influential leaders of the world in the twentieth century despite coming from a very humble background. 
 
Indeed, our world is not perfect. It never was. However, we can still achieve all the success and joy in this world, if we don’t allow the negativity of the world to find a place in our mind. Just like ships do not sink due to the water that is around them unless it allows the water to come inside the ship, all the problems of the world can’t stop us from achieving success in life and fulfilling our dreams unless we allow the outside negativity to influence our mind. We can use the negativity outside to motivate ourselves to work harder and illuminate the world to reduce its darkness. People like Dr Kalam have inspired billions of people to discard pessimism and fulfil their dreams. 
 
In recent times, the coronavirus pandemic has impacted that world like never before. Due to the pandemic, hundreds of million people got infected with the virus and millions have already died. However, a person can still protect himself from the pandemic if he does not allow himself to be infected by the virus. Hence, the challenge of leading a healthy life is to take precautions so that we are not infected by the deadly virus. Similarly, the world is today filled with pessimism and negativity. We find so much negativity on social media platforms, newspaper and news channels. However, if we don’t allow negativity to take root inside us, we can still achieve great success in life. 
 
It is not only an individual which can fail if he allows the negativity of the world to penetrate within but also a family, society or a nation. When family members love and trust each other, they can together overcome all types of challenges in the world. India is today surrounded by many countries that are hostile to us. However, if we Indians are united and work together, they can’t do any harm to us. In the same way, when the people in the world are united, they can tackle all types of challenges to humanity.  
 
It is, however, not right to say that the external environment is not important for the success of an individual. Human beings are social animals and they are influenced by external environment. When a person is born and brought up in a good family or a developed nation, he gets far more opportunities than a person who is not so privileged. If a country is poor, it can’t provide quality education, healthcare and infrastructure to its citizen. If an organisation is riddled with corruption, honest people often find it difficult to perform their jobs professionally. If businesses in a country have to deal with a corrupt government, they would find it difficult to remain honest. When a large number of people don’t follow the covid protocol, it leads to a lockdown which hampers all the economic activities in the nation leading to closure of businesses and unemployment. This affects not only the people who violated the norms but also those who had been following the norms meticulously. 
 
While it is easy to get overwhelmed due to the negativity of the world, but we can still achieve our dreams if we continue to be positive inside. The great American leader and reformer Martin Luther King, Jr. said wisely, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” We can’t protect ourselves from external, negative influence unless we make ourselves stronger from the inside. We have to cultivate positive thinking to thwart negativity. We have to acquire knowledge to overcome our ignorance. We have to spread love to get rid of the malicious thoughts within us. 
 
His Holiness Dalai Lama faced numerous adversities in his life, but he never gave up hope and positivity. He rightly advised us, “Just one small positive thought in the morning can change your whole day”.  We can’t hope the world to change and become an ideal place for us to grow. We have to be the agent of change for the world and like Mahatma Gandhi said ‘be the change you wish to see in the world’.
 
The positive change can’t come from negative people. The former American President Barack Obama did not just blame racism but instead fought against it and became the first black president of America. He right said, “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek”.
 
While we can’t change the world, we can surely change ourselves and thus become the agent of change. By changing ourselves, we also change the world. The famous Sufi poet Rumi rightly said, “Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”  Let us not allow the negativities of the world to influence us and take a vow to become the light that shall spread the light of hope, kindness, wisdom and love to the humanity to create a better world.  
Ships do not sink because of water around them, ships sink because of water that gets into them [2020]
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