Every thing in the world happens for a reason. There has to be cause for every effect. Ralph Waldo Emerson, an American essayist and poet said wisely “Cause and effect, means and ends, seed and fruit cannot be severed; for the effect already blooms in the cause, the end preexists in the means, the fruit in the seed”.
However, the cause and effect are not connected with each other in linear relationship. The effect becomes a cause for further effects which influences the cause itself. This cycle continues eternally forever like a ripple that is created by dropping a stone in a pond.
The above figure shows that the cause and effect are so deeply interconnected with each other that we often can’t differentiate cause from effect.
We often admire the body of swimming champions. Their body has the best proportions. They don’t have the bulging muscles, six-pack abs like a body builder. Their bodies are streamlined in such a way that they appear most beautiful. It is common all over the world for beauty pageant to wear swimming consume to display the perfectness of their bodies. It is, therefore, natural to think that you can get the most beautiful body by extensive swimming. Many people practice swimming regularly in the hope of getting a perfect body.
However, the researches have revealed that professional swimmers don’t have perfect bodies because they swim extensively. They are the best swimmers because they are born with the perfect bodies. The design of their body is the cause of their being the best swimmers and not the other way round. This illusion is often called ‘swimmer’s body illusion’.
The World of Illusion
There are many illusions in the world like swimmer body illusion. Let us have a look of some popular illusions.
1. The top colleges like IITs, IIMs, Harvard or Cambridge often lure the best student from around the world by providing the statistics of their future potential income. Thus they attract the best students in their universities. Whether the quality of students admitted in the university are responsible for the top paying jobs or the quality of education provided by the university is difficult to be ascertained?
2. The beauty products often uses beautiful models for advertising their projects who claim that such products are the cause of their beauty. However, in reality, the models are selected for the beauty products because they are beautiful, even without using these beauty products.
3. The top coaching colleges often use the testimony of their top students to impress the students that the success of toppers is due to their coaching. However, thousands of other students who have studied in the same coaching never get good ranks in competitions. They attract the most intelligent students through these testimonies thereby improving the chances of creating more toppers. Whether a student becomes a topper due to the coaching institute or the coaching institute produce more toppers due to admitting most brilliant students is difficult to establish?
4. Happy people have a positive outlook of life and they see goodness even in the negative happening. They are born with such an attitude that they see the positive things in the world right from their childhood. Hence teaching unhappy people to see the positive side of life is difficult in real life as these people are born to see negative side of the happenings of the world.
Nature Vs Nurture
Nature vs. nurture is one of the oldest puzzle of human psychology. How much of our success is due to our nature which is pre-coded at the time of our birth and how much of our success is due to our nurturing including training, values, environment? It appears that nature as well as nurture together are responsible for building up our personality.
It may be true that if your body is genetically designed streamlined, you have much better chance of becoming a swimming champion. It is also a fact that unless you work very hard and practice regularly, you can neither become a champion nor achieve a perfect body.
Let us take the case of the American swimmer Michael Phelps. He is hailed as the greatest Olympic athlete of all time who has won a staggering 19 Gold medals by 2016. There is no doubt that Michael Phelps is extremely well suited to swimming. He is 6 foot 4 in tall and weighs around 185 pounds (84 kg), which is simply perfect by any standards.
Did Phelps just became world champion due to his good luck being born with perfect body?
The answer is no.
Michael Phelps consumes 12,000 calories each day while an average man only needs 2000 calories a day. Even powerlifters consume in the region of 8000 calories a day.
Phelps trains for six hours a day, six days a week, without fail. It is said that even if Christmas day falls on a training day, he does a full day of training. He swims approximately 50 miles (80km) each week, which is over 8 miles per training day.
It is thus evident that a person does not become a swimming champion simply because he is born with a perfect body. He has to make his body perfect with tons of hard work and training. Aristotle rightly said,
The Virtuous and Vicious Cycle
“Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”
If Phelps would not have practicing so hard and did not have access of the best diet, his body would not been as perfect and he would not have been the world champion in swimming. I am sure that there may be thousands of people all over the world with his level of genetically perfect body at the time of their birth, but they neither become champion nor possess a perfect body as a grown up as they don’t nurture their talents.
If you are gifted with a certain talent and you work upon that talent, you can reach to the top of your potential. If Albert Einstein would have chosen any profession other than being a scientist, his achievement would have been as ordinary as that of Michaela Phelps in the field of science.
When our talents matches with our effort, a virtuous cycle is created wherein we produce best result with least effect. Our success motivates us to work even harder and we become even more successful. This creates a cycle wherein our talents are efforts nurture each other and we reach to the top.
On the other hand when we are working hard in the area where we are not gifted with any special talent, our output is far less than our effort. We feel demoralized and find it difficult to focus on the work. This leads to further deterioration of performance. Hence we are trapped in the vicious cycle of performance and we reach to the bottom.
The Right Approach of Life
We often reprimand our children when they don’t focus on their studies and perform poorly in their examination. We ask them to concentrate so that they can give their best results. However, their lack of focus may be due to the fact that they have no aptitude for the subject being taught to them. Therefore, they are not able to understand the subject well as compared their friends. Their inability to understand the subject leads to poor performance in the examination which causes further demoralization to them. They lose interest in the subject as they can’t do well in it. If the children are asked to study a subject of their choice or pursue an activity like music, arts, games of their choice, they may be able to concentrate better and perform much better.
It is important to us to identify our talents and put our concentrated effort in that direction to achieve the greatest success and happiness in our lives.
1: Michael Phelps – Greatest Olympic Swimmer – Workouts and Diet URL: http://www.motleyhealth.com/athletes/michael-phelps-greatest-olympic-swimmer-workouts-and-diet
2: Rolf Dobelli, ‘The Art of Thinking Clearly’ URL: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16248196-the-art-of-thinking-clearly