Monthly Archives: July 2013
Over the years, as early as when I could clearly understand the language of humans; I have been rather fascinated by the notion of control. That urge to want to direct the path/course of movement or progression of a thing or person or whatever the case maybe. You can either be on the receiving end of the brunt of control or on the exerting end. There are billions of people who fervently support the idea of control; some have even gone to make huge thriving careers from teaching people how to be in control. As much as I would like to subscribe to the idea that there are people who are in control of everything, and some who go the extra mile to forcefully exert this control on people and things ( hence the term “control freak”), I have to know: are those people really in control?
Every year a ton of people are admitted into business schools with the aim of mastering CONTROL. Firstly, in business and then in other facets of life. Some of them emerge with success others maybe not so much, but really who can truly say that they are in control of everything around them? The human body for one has a natural process which resumes work at birth and is retired at death. We age regardless of how much money we own and put towards fads that pummel us with vain hope of being young forever. But the really wise ones know that this is absolutely ridiculous. It has always been my personal belief that the Plastic Surgery Industry will completely collapse if all the “control freaks” suddenly all died. Think about it, which type of woman is more likely to want to go under the knife to pull together the loose skin around her abdominal area? I will tell you who she isn’t. She isn’t the confident woman who understanding the biology of child bearing and knows that the expansion of the abdominal is a natural occurring incident in child bearing which cannot be stopped. It is the overly controlling woman who wants to cajole her body into looking like it has never been through the joyful ordeal of child bearing.
Some might argue that such a woman is driven mostly by Low Self-esteem. As tempting as that suggestion might be, I think not completely. I think being over controlling breeds Low Self-esteem when the individual in question is met with the harsh reality that some things are just out of their scope of control.
Humans are born with varying degrees of control, which explains why even the meekest of individuals can at least direct where the steps taken by the feet leads him to. If there is anything to be learned from the lives of wealth and successful people who have gained for themselves, for the most part, the luxuries of life which everyone clamors for is that control isn’t really the purpose of life. I watched an interview of Tom Ford the designer where he talked about the making of his movie “The Single Man”. He had just left Gucci when he was struck by this feeling of emptiness. He began to think about his life, where he had been and where he was headed and then it dawned on him that he was having a mid-life crisis. I believe he defined mid-life crisis as “placing a ladder on a wall, climbing it to the top only to get to the peak and realize that you had the ladder on the wrong wall the whole time” or something like that. Tom Ford had been in “control” of everything as he said, raising from the bottom to becoming the Creative Director at Gucci one of the biggest brands in the fashion business. But was it enough? Upon leaving the job, he was quick to realize how fleeting it all was. He realized that even though he had manage to control and steer his life and career in the path it went, he could not shake the way he was feeling. It’s like youth. Youth is beautiful, it is sexy it is hypnotizing, it is strong, but ultimately it is fleeting. And as much as we try to control its tenor, it eventually fades and withers-off.
We as a people are not in control of everything as most have deluded themselves into thinking. We are in control of few things, but for the most part we are left to chance as a being. For example, you choose to eat a loaf of bread (In our control), and then our digestive system takes over and begins to extract what it needs from the bread and tossing the unwanted ones out (Out of our control). We cannot control what the digestive system picks up or what it throws away. All we want to achieve is the feeling of being fed and how this is done internally shouldn’t really bother us.
I think that as an individual, the ultimate purpose is to apply the utmost wisdom and care in making the decisions in our control and hoping optimistically that the rest will go as we have occasioned in our minds. It is the reason why the religious pray.
Towards the end of the Interview, Tom Ford continued to emphasize a certain point. “Nothing, nothing lasts, that the beauty of it all” was what he said and I could not agree with him more. If we can be patient enough to let ourselves comprehend the point that Nothing Lasts, then we can see how pointless it is to try and control everything.
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Que Sera Sera.”
Most people will see the picture above and think very beautiful thoughts about how fine those pieces of fabric look and possibly how fantastic they would look with some fabulous shirt that they have in their closet. But I am not one of those people. When I see a necktie I sort of cringe and recline into my mental shell. The picture above has about the same effect on me as a large red cape would have on a bull at a bullfighting event.
I work in Investment Banking, one of the few careers where a necktie is necessary if not completely mandatory. A necktie can make you look really sharp and smart and project the image of seriousness and immense dignity to an onlooker. But it can also make you look terribly out of place, if worn improperly, and downright uncomfortable.
Before starting this blog post I typed in to the Google search engine “History of tie” and then it corrected me and offered “History of Necktie” as a suggestion, which I took. And immediately I felt this brief familiar sense of being overpowered. Almost like I can’t even be allowed to ask the way I want to ask a question. Like Google had to snatch the question from me and ask it in a more “proper” way. It is this same feeling of being overpowered that I feel when I wear a necktie. I have always been told by a great deal of people that wearing a tie makes you feel confident even when you feel down, and that it exudes a certain level of masculinity that is very essential to a man. Unfortunately I can’t say that I share in these sentiments as detailed above. To be a total anomaly, I find that I work at my utmost best when my tie is off. I feel more at ease and alive.
When I am dressed up in my tie and shirt to work, some people are kind enough to applaud how smart and studious I look. But I don’t feel that way. For one thing when I wear a necktie, I feel like I am being choked by my own self, and there is nothing I can do about it. It’s the reason why my commute to work is one of the most liberating times of the day simply because I hardly, actually never put on my necktie. I don’t even put on my formal shirt; I just wear a casual round neck shirt. I would be happy to tell you of some childhood story of how I was almost choked to death, and how it explains this deep phobia I have for tying tightly a piece of fabric around my neck. I, sadly, have no such story to tell. On more than one occasion I have purposely left my necktie at home, or even in the car, and then pretend to be oblivious to the fact that I did not have it on. One very few occasions, I genuinely forgot to take it along with me from the house.
I so desperately envy my friends who work in IT or Oil companies, not because of the money (sometimes for the money though), but because of the rather casual (and smart) approach to apparel they have going for them. So then I guess my real question is; is a necktie really a fashion accessory, or is it just an uncomfortable addendum to the formal look?
It is said that fashion is an expression of the inner creative mind of an individual, both from a designer and consumer point of view. Fashion is supposed to help us celebrate our individuality and accentuate our eccentricities. I am not much of a “fashionista” in the real material sense of the word. For me comfort is the key thing in consideration. And I hate to wear fashion that topples my personality. I don’t like to wear clothes that scream louder that I can, in fact the quieter the better. So I guess to an extent that might explain why I am so averse to the idea of neckties.
If I were ever lucky enough to own/run a bank, one of my first points of call will be to liberalize the choice of wearing neckties in the office.
I hope my boss doesn’t actually get to ready this. This is one of the many warring thoughts in my head that are too afraid to make their way out of my vocal cavity…lol
As someone who just recently went through the daunting process of Grad School application (and succeeded, I might add), the whole experience got me thinking. Is it the school that makes the students, or the students make the school?
Most of the schools regarded as “Ivy-League” get tonnes of applications from students every year, which in turn gives them the privilege of picking the brightest and best students before any other school does. So when I see that students from those “Ivy-League” schools test better on standardized tests and tend to get employed faster than others, the question nags me; is it really the school who is to be thanked or the individual students themselves? “Ivy-League” schools pride themselves on having the best faculty and resources etc. but I hardly think that is the real reason for the success of such schools. If you ask me, I think that such schools already have half or more of their jobs (educating) already done for them. If an “Ivy-League” school really wants to prove to me that it has got the best of the best when it comes to faculties and other resources, let it go ahead and pick up the average Joe and make him a superstar in the eyes of employers and then I would start to believe them somewhat.
Just a thought.