The following is the transcript of a speech delivered recently by Sonam Wangchuk at the morning assembly of the Bishop’s School Pune, a 150 years old institution considered the best school in Pune. He shared a technique called Morning Introspection which has been developed and practiced at SECMOL Campus for the last 20 years. The Bishop’s School management is considering making this Ladakhi technique a regular feature at their morning assembly.
Dear students, a very good morning to you all.
I bring you good wishes from across the Himalayas, from a place called Ladakh. There I work for a school that is a bit different from yours in that it is very small and meant for children from a very different background. In this school the qualification for admission is failure rather than high marks. We take students who fail their 10th grade exams at least once and sometimes many times. But since they are very bright in something or the other, they do wonderful things once they leave this school.
At this school we try to rebuild their lost confidence and give them what they missed at school and much more. Here they take charge of their own lives and do not need adults chasing them. And then most of these ‘failures’ go on to become wonderful people. They may become anything big or small in life but what we consider important is that they become honest men and women of courage, creativity and compassion. Some of them have become very good teachers and Headmasters in schools while others have gone on to become social workers, civil servants, innovative farmers, entrepreneurs, journalists, filmmakers, politicians…and so on. One of them who had failed 10th grade five times became the Executive Councilor or (the equivalent of your) Minister for Education and by the way this school itself is currently headed by a former student who had not only failed exams but had been kicked out of three high schools for being a misfit and was at one point running around as a city bus conductor.
There are many things that go into this change in their lives but I can share one technique with you this morning and you can also practice it – we call it ‘Morning Introspection’. Imagine if so called failures in Ladakh could do wonders then what can children at the Bishop’s school, Pune’s best school, do!
So what is Introspection? Well intro means inwards and spection means looking, it is an exercise where you look inwards and talk to yourself for 5 minutes in the morning. You see we spend the whole day and even life, looking outwards, complaining and finding faults with others… but we seldom look inwards at our own behavior, shortcomings and strengths. If we did that we wouldn’t need others telling us what to do.
So you close your eyes, sit or stand comfortably and then first welcome the wonderful morning and thank God or nature that you are alive to see another new morning. Morning marks the beginning of a day… and do you know how important a day is?
We often make promises called resolutions on say the New Year’s eve, to change ourselves for the whole year or for life… but since life is so big and vague a target, most of our resolutions do not last longer than few days. However if we resolve each morning to make the current day a perfect day then we will feel strong enough to handle a day… just morning till evening. Then if each day becomes perfect… slowly days add up to make a month, and months add up to make a year, and years add up to make… a LIFE. In short, if you want to change your life take charge of your day… and the months, years and life will take care of themselves.
So now let’s practice it. Close your eyes, welcome the new day and then think of how today you will bring out the best in you. Promise to overcome all your weaknesses… just for today. Say… yes, I can handle today and I don’t care about tomorrow. Think of your weaknesses… some of you may say I am lazy, but I shall overcome it with action today, I am timid- I shall overcome it with courage, I am jealous- I want others to be happy when I succeed but today I shall try and be happy when others succeed. I tell lies- but not today, today I shall be truthful come what may... and so on. And yes! Life is not about just yourself… so think of others and think of something good that you will do for others today… and say that even if you are unable to help anyone you will not harm others today.
Now in the evening, before you go to bed take another few minutes for evening introspection, this time look back at the day and see how it went. If you find that you did as you promised in the morning then smile and go to bed. If you find that you could not do what you had planned… still smile, do not regret and think of tomorrow as a great opportunity to practice them with twice the effort.
Soon you will be ending each day with a big smile before sleep… then you will be ending each month and each year with a big smile and finally you will be smiling back at a life well spent before your final sleep.
So if you want to change your life, change your day.