Earn this

Habit one from “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” by Steven Covey talks about ‘Begin with the end in mind’. As a primer to making one’s personal mission statement, Covey uses a emotional visualisation exercise of imagining ones own funeral scene. He ask us to choose four people, each representing family, friends, work colleagues and members of a social club you were part of to speak about you at the funeral. Depending upon what you wanted each of of them to say about you at the funeral, he then suggests you work back to the present and determine the qualities you need to cultivate and articulate the same in your personal mission statement. Here is a clip in his own words:


(The section below is edited from Wikipedia )

Saving Private Ryan is a 1998 American war film set during World War II directed by Steven Spielberg.

The movie begins in the present day, an elderly World War II veteran and his family visit the War Memorial in Normandy France The veteran walks around the cemetery and, upon seeing one gravestone, collapses to his knees, overwhelmed by emotion.

The film flashes back to the beginning of the Normandy Invasion. Captain John Miller (Tom Hanks) survives the initial landing and assembles a group of his Rangers ready to penetrate the German defences.Meanwhile in Washington, General George Marshall is informed that three of the four brothers of the Ryan family were killed in action and that their mother is to receive all three telegrams in the same day. He learns that the fourth son, Private Ryan (Matt Damon) is missing in action somewhere in Normandy. Marshall orders that Ryan must be found and sent home immediately.Miller receives orders to find Ryan and bring him back from the front. Miller and his men move out to Neuville in search of Miller. After several incidents, they finally come upon a small group of paratroopers, one of whom is Ryan. As one would expect, Ryan is reluctant to leave the battlefield even though he is distressed at the loss of his brothers.Meanwhile in an ensuing battle with the German forces, Miller is fatally wounded and as he dies, whispers his last words to Ryan, “James … earn this. Earn it.”

The film returns to the present and it is revealed that the veteran is Ryan and the grave he is standing at is Miller’s. Ryan asks his wife to confirm that he has led a good life, that he is a “good man” and thus worthy of the sacrifice of Miller and the others. His wife replies, “You are.”



This ongoing debate about patriotism and nationalism is bit disconcerting and saddening. Personally for me there is no difference between loving your mother and your motherland. Do you grade, calibrate or cultivate love for your mother? I don’t. Just as the love for your mother is natural and instinctive, so it is for your motherland. A flag or an anthem are symbolical representations of your country and when you have an occasion to pay respects to your country either at a flag hoisting ceremony or when the national anthem is played, you do not think twice before standing up in attention or saluting to convey your feelings love and respect.You do this instinctively and naturally.

While this is true for a large set of us, there are two more kinds of people. One are of course who are rabidly anti Hindu/anti India and the other are the “progressive” Liberals who in their endeavour to be ‘Liberal’ end up pardoning disrespect to the symbols of our country or tolerating sedition or expression of various anti India acts under the ruse of  FOE. While its difficult to change the DNA of people who are anti Hindu or anti India, the “progressive” Liberals do need to ponder about whether it is actually FOE that they are supporting or their own inability to publicly express their emotions for their country that makes them lower the bar and in turn support such acts of disrespect towards their country or even pardon sedition? They may be loving their country but find it difficult to express it in public either by way of standing up for the national anthem or saluting the national flag. So this personal inability may actually be leading to a situation of being benignly disposed to even seditious acts as a stand for FOE. The reason for this question is the selective stands these “progressives’ take on FOE. While they are all for FOE when it comes to Hindus or India, they seem to clam up when it comes to any comment on other religions. There are several documented instances of such selective outrages by these so called “Liberals” that does not warrant any repetition. So the obvious conclusion of not being consistent on FOE would mean the problem lies elsewhere, i:e inability to be emotional in public.

Either way, to all such “progressive” Liberals,  I suggest two visualisation excersises.

Whenever any soldiers dies protecting our country, imagine him whispering “Earn this” into your ear.

Next visualise your own funeral scene  and instead of four categories mentioned by Steven Covey, add one more; that of a widow of a martyred soldier. Imagine her coming to your funeral and speaking about you. Imagine her saying that you have been a good man who led a good life and therefore worthy of the sacrifice of her husband.

Try this exercise once. Three things will happen. One you will readily condemn the anti Hindu/anti India acts, two you will rise in attention the next time the national anthem plays and salute your flag and three you will say Jai Hind loudly.

I won’t push the Liberals for a “Bharat mata ki jai” yet. That may be too RSS !.

2 thoughts on “Earn this

  1. “I won’t push you for a “Bharat mata ki jai” yet. That may be too RSS for you.” – Just in case there was any doubt that this message was meant for the liberals.

Leave a Reply to Milind Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s