Who Let The Wolves Out?

Unlaugh it out…

Robin Williams is no more. The funniest man on earth allegedly killed himself.   But that doesn’t sound right; such a thing can’t happen to the inventor of the phrase “You’re only given one little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it!”  How can a person who taught us to heartily laugh, not laugh it out at whatever madness was pulling him down?  Sure, a terrible tragedy (such as an untimely loss of a loved one or a financial catastrophe) can push the strongest man to the edge of despair. But when I googled, no such reason surfaced for Robin.  Then what was it? Was it the woeful past, the gloomy present, or the pointless future?  No doubt, all three must have been accomplices in this heinous crime, but which was the orchestrating mastermind – the past, the present, or the future?   It’s a quandary with no off-the-bookshelf answer.  And when sitting in a library doesn’t help, it is time for a long walk.  For sometimes, a journey holds more answers than a thousand journals… 

A few weeks ago, I was in Jodhpur for a weekend getaway.  Ritu also tagged along .   It’s an annual ritual.  Sure, anniversary getaways do not measure up to the thrilling high of a honeymoon, but they do a decent job of countering the lows of monotony.  The destination befitted the “20 year” special.  Umaid Bhawan, one of the original palaces in India, is now run as a luxury hotel by the Taj Group.   There are no direct flights to Jodhpur from Pune.  I explored the available options and settled on a brave choice.  Not that I am unpatriotic, just that when it comes to choosing an airline—the Maharaja Carrier somehow figures only by a method of elimination.

The connections were excellent, 5:00am wakeup call, 7:00am departure to Delhi, an hour of aircraft changeover, and by noon we were to disembark in Jodhpur.  ‘It is such a short haul, not much scope of things going wrong’ I kept cajoling myself as I sat apprehensively through the journey.  As our Air India flight hit Jodhpur runway on the dot, I was bewildered at my silliness.  Instead of gazing at a cotton-sea of monsoon clouds or yakking with my partner, thanks to my idiosyncrasy—I had ended up wasting some precious time on my anniversary day.   Little did I know that what lay ahead would toweringly dwarf my present bafflement!  But before we transit from Maharaja’s carrier to Maharaja’s palace, let’s take a pause and reflect…

So what driving emotion had deprived me the pleasure of the journey?  Was it the past (of not letting go my prior traumatic experience with the Maharaja carrier)?  Or was it the present (the possible frustration of being stranded half-way through the journey)?  Or was it the future (the fear of reaching the destination late that I had so excitedly planned for)?   Of course, my set of apprehensions qualify more in the category of irritable bugs; they are clearly incomparable to Robin’s showstopper.  However, the correlation might not lie in the magnitude, but in the pattern!  

Is there a universal ‘time zone’ pattern that is a downer for some when faced with seemingly standard obstacles?  Does it happen more to those who are: (a) unable to let go of the past; (b) powerless to handle the present; or (c) unprepared to face the future?   More relevantly, can this logic be extended to the corporate world?  A business on its way to a collapse is primarily paying the price for its ill-actions of the past, ill-execution in the present, or ill-strategy for the future?    

Those interested in signing up for the crusade to capture the mastermind are welcome to post their comments here.  I am sure the audience would love to hear the varied perspectives on who let the wolves out: the past, the present, or the future?  I, for one, am looking forward to hearing it more over a home-made Sindhi dinner with the worthiest crusaders



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20 Comments

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  1. Nice to see the blog and the point it caters, so for the question:

    So what driving emotion had deprived me the pleasure of the journey?

    As all of our experiences, with one thing or the other, our nature is fixed to learn from the past. And when the mistake is done from the other party. We more or less brand it as, not for us.
    When you shared that you had previous experience , not so good, with Maharaja Carrier . it is natural to resist selecting it for another round.

    Coming to present when the selection of destination was driven by the past experience, the selection of carrier was under influence too. But as no other option was there , you ended up selecting the same. now the happiness of planning to achieve something so desirable, with the way which caused pain last time. Do takes an edge on us. We commonly call it being cynical , not in the prejudge manner, But in the manner it will be executed. as we prepare our self for the worst outcome, by narrowing our expectation and in this case, keeping the excitement at low. Just to counter the scenario running in our head.

    So it is in my observation a cocktail of, past experience, which influenced the present and since the common bad part from the past is still running the show, the future seems to be a little out of place.
    And when we project the probable future, it keeps our present blank. Hence makes us unprepared to face the future

  2. As it is said that we are the sum of total of our experiences.
    So if we had had unpleasant experiences in the past and we are ‘unable to let go of the past’;then we are ‘powerless to handle the present’ and we will be ‘unprepared to face the future ‘ . So it is important that we learn from our past, and be prepared to take on the situation, if we were to face a similar situation in the future. This will ensure that we will little anxiety in our present.

  3. As they say, its all about the journey and not the destination. So, while its anyone’s guess on what exact thoughts kept you pre-occupied, the pointers in your blog suggest to the past and the future.

    Specifically, it seems the perceptions (given the past experience with the Maharaja) led to apprehensions (of future plans going wrong).

  4. The past always leaves the wolves out and it is the experience of the past that keeps lingering in our minds (especially the ones which are not pleasant). But what the mind forgets or needs to focus is on how did we come out of that situation in the past ? What did we learn from it ? This will help us control the wolves in the present. We cannot avoid the present situation because we are already in it and may feel powerless. All we can do is to direct the wolves of past and present effectively so that we can come out of the woods being one level better in what we are doing.The future however, can be planned and we can be better prepared. Definitely there will be wolves let out in the future as well (as we cannot be perfect in planning and strategizing), but those wolves will be better tamed because now we have put our efforts on controlling the past and present wolves. The key is to be optimistic towards dealing with the wolves of the past, taking them along with the wolves of the present and plan for a controlled and more predictable future where we more or less know which wolves could be let out.

  5. I think the present is the scariest part. We can let go of the past if the PRESENT is going well. We are not scared for the future even when the PRESENT is going well. If everything is working out in PRESENT then we are brave enough to face the future and mature enough to let go of the past. But if things are not right in the present itself we are scared for what is coming ahead plus we keep comlaining about the past.

  6. Ill-strategy for the future is where I think everything starts from. It can be a personal experience or a business on its way to a collapse. If a person has planned properly with his past experiences and experience he has gained from others experience, there are very less chances that he/she will go wrong. The most important thing to remember here is a strategy for the future should always include Plan B.

    Thus, if everything is well planned for, the person will not fear anything, He/she will be prepared to face the present, will overcome all the obstacles on the way, and will achieve the ultimate goal.

  7. To answer the question – What driving emotion had deprived the pleasure of journey held its seed to in the past for sure but unfortunately it holds true for ones who are unable to let go of our past experiences.
    Past sows the seed, present nurtures it and we reap the fruits in future.
    In case presented by Arun…
    One past experience has caused him to mull over that incident all over again while he still chose to fly with Air India but he kept re-iterating on his past experiences that somehow disrupted his time he could have invested in present and worrying about future which is not in our control.
    Present is something purely impromptu, we act the way we want to act upon and when attempting something new our past experiences drive us to something called as learning from experience which is something I would say really misunderstood concept.
    If it’s a catastrophe from Past, we learn from it is something acceptable but if we hold on to it for long, it becomes baggage which will bother us every single day without us being productive.
    I believe in the philosophy that a young child/professional teaches us following –
    a) Go with the flow and live in it in the moment with no baggage
    b) Best solutions are proposed and initiated by people who are less experienced or fresher which is because they don’t have the baggage of past and are energetic to move ahead and live it up in present.
    c) Keep experience on your side but don’t limit it by a tag such as bad experience, impossible because mostly these things when solved without a locked out mindset, are solvable and easy to approach.
    From corporate standpoint my lesson is something very different than ones I’ve read above.
    1. I will learn from my past and let it go.
    2. I will gun in present by preparing constantly with bunkers of knowledge which will help me in defending my future and choose the weapons which I would love to work with
    3. For future, it’s something not in my control except that I hope for the best knowing that I did enough in my present and never having regret about anything 🙂

  8. IMO, it’s the PRESENT. The uneasy feeling knowing (and having experienced) what can go bad. Additionally, if it was me, I would have been curious about what is in store for me – what are the odds of my PRESENT experience being a bad one, given that I already had one.

  9. Let me drive this topic towards EQ. There are situations we fail to manage our emotions or fail to empathize ( put ourselves in the shoes of the other person) with others and this lets the wolves out as we find ourselves in one of below situations:

    1) A moment’s madness and a lifetime of regret.

    2) Emotions cloud all reasoning and you are driven over the Edge, Arrogance and Sense of Power can blind people to reason .

    3) There is that split second before you tip the balance which is a making or breaking moment.

    4) You get to the point of no return when you are lost to reason and consequence.

    Gadgets and social media are all about technology. There’s no warmth or empathy to be found here. Later, when posed with life’s real challenges, like pain, loss, heartbreak, insecurity and anger our minds are ill- equipped to deal with it.

    All we need is to focus on below four areas to learn form past emotions, manage the present emotions and manage future emotions in a better way :

    1) Self Awareness
    2) Self Management
    3) Social Awareness
    4) Relationship Management

    Thumbs up for the article which is a must read especially for the people in corporate world.

  10. It is true that we should learn from our past mistakes. And to take care, not to repeat the same again. However, once we have already selected a path (like AirIndia/Maharaja) in this case, it is better to be COOL, stay calm and focused like majority of the other passengers would be at that time. Once, we are already in the path/situation, no point in cursing our choice/luck/decision.
    Just make sure that if the path proves to be the same as usual/earlier, plan your future decisions appropriately.

  11. Personally, I feel sometimes we are so badly stuck in our past impression that present and future gets blurred. I guess coming out of that needs meditation which helps in controlling emotions.

    That being said, travelling with Maharaja can be horrendous. Can you imagine AI flight without it’s AC’s working ?

  12. Today is the tomorrow you planned yesterday. So if your planning for the future has a vision attached to it, which is backed up by your research and lessons from the past then the present is nothing but an implementation of reaching your tomorrow. The Present need not be utilized in just surviving the day, it needs to be part of a future plan. If there is no plan, then the present has to be invested in making one. And the Past should definitely be consulted to make use of the rich lessons learnt earlier, to make the plan better, identify probable risks from experience and devise better strategies to handle them.
    We can make a few (hazardous?) guesses on how Robin Williams’s could have faced his last day. Maybe he was enamored by the past glory of what he had achieved, maybe he was disillusioned by his comparatively bleak future. But the point to note was he probably thought he cannot do anything in the present to change it. In my opinion not utilizing the Present effectively, because he had no Future plans led him to take the drastic step.
    Closing notes – Past cannot be changed 1% & Future cannot be predicted 100%. They give you no chances to do anything, all you can do about them is think, reminisce and plan. But Present is the only one which can be acted. So best strategy – put a plan for the future, incorporate experiences from the past, but live your present in achieving it.

  13. What driving emotion had deprived the pleasure of the journey?
    It was the past – not letting go prior experience

    Is there a universal ‘time zone’ pattern that is a downer for some when faced with seemingly standard obstacles? Does it happen more to those who are:
    Unable to let go of the past

    A business on its way to a collapse is primarily paying the price for its:
    Ill-execution in the present

  14. Decisions should always be taken from a blend of; the experiences of the past, the available choices in the present and in line with the goals set for the future.

    The quality of your decision will greatly influence and put you in a situation of being powerful or powerless to handle the PRESENT.

    The choices you have are always in the present. Thus the confusion should have been gazing at the clouds or catching up with your partner and not letting the wolves out in your anxiety.

  15. It’s always the “unprepared to face the future” that drives you and nothing else, you did something something wrong happened and you made it a fact in life, for eg. you say truth you are beaten and you make a story in your mind that if you say the truth you will be beaten and then you never do so AS you don’t wanna get beaten again.

    so the ans for me is “UNPREPARED TO FACE THE FUTURE.”

  16. You made a choice and were not ready to accept the result whatever maybe with the choice. You should have accepted whatever happens once you took the airline whether delay or no delay.
    You cannot change Maharaja Airline but you could change destination or mode of transport.
    I would say “UNPREPARED TO ACCEPT THE RESULT OF FACTORS BEYOND CONTROL”

  17. You made a choice and were not ready to accept the result whatever maybe with the choice. You should have accepted whatever happens once you took the airline whether delay or no delay.
    You cannot change Maharaja Airline but you could change destination or mode of transport.
    I would say “UNPREPARED TO ACCEPT THE RESULT OF FACTORS BEYOND CONTROL”

  18. All lives end, all hearts are broken. Caring is not an advantage.

    But it is out of this ‘care’ we see a hope of a brighter future. And so we ‘care’ in our own selfish ways to achieve our needs, wants and desires; even if the ‘care’ seems selfless.

    We all unknowingly live in the future because all that we do is out of the benefits we would reap in future.

    But when we lose hope of the existence of such future, due to wrongs created/happened in the past or present, quitting the battlefield remains the only option because there is nothing left to fight for.

    Everyone hates quitting, makes them seem like some kind of loser or coward. So other option is to right the wrongs of the past, letting go of the past, do your best in the present and most importantly picture a bright future.

    This logic goes for the corporate world as well. If a business can see itself surviving and thriving within any manner of obstacles, its collapse can be averted or for the least be dignified.

    We can always be prepared for the future, but it won’t always be enough. We have to hope for the best and prepare for the worst and follow the phrase “Live long and prosper”.

  19. Wonderful post and equally wonderful comments. My view is that it is not always about Who let wolves out but rather that the perception that there are wolves out there. The past and lingering on to it in the present both play an important part on this. It is not just the bad experience in the past for the airline but the perceived, maybe true, may be not…, character of that airline that we have developed in our minds. Equally so, each of us has a fragile self which we hide and protect from the rest of the world lest they take advantage. This inner nature is what determines our behavior to the situation we see ourselves in. I would quote a dialogue I heard in the hindi movie Anand to sum it up
    “It is so simple to be happy but so difficult to be simple”

  20. In my opinion ,it’s the present.
    It’s the present where we live.In present we can control our mind and concentrates what we want to do. It would automatically builds our great future
    It’s up to us what we learn from past and stop worrying about the future that same past action could be repeated.
    So better live in present and enjoy the life.

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Who Let The Wolves Out? | Arun Nathani Blog