Imagine a story without conflicts.
Say a love story.
A girl meets a boy. They date. They are compatible. They like each other. They get married.
And live happily ever after.
Now imagine a story with conflicts.
Another love story.
A girl meets a boy. They date. They like each other. The boy is poor. The girl’s family objects to their association. The girl is devoted to her family and yet does not want to let go her new-found love. The love, which brought her happiness.
She is conflicted.
The boy understands her dilemma and asks for some time to prove himself. They decide to take a break but remain loyal to each other. The boy works hard to earn money. The girl provides moral support. After many ups and downs the two get united again. They get married after seeking family’s blessings.
Now which one of the two stories do you think is a story worth sharing?
The one without conflicts or the one with conflict?
Probably, the latter.
Because it inspires us. It pushes us to think and appreciate how the two overcame the conflict.
It passes on a meaningful message.
A story devoid of conflict would not challenge the reader to introspect. There would be no meaningful progression and it would stagnate.
Conflicts bring change and change helps the story to evolve.
My father was a self-made man. He had a very modest upbringing. His family did not have means to pay for his higher education and yet he got himself a doctorate in Physics and post-doctoral degree from a foreign university through his sheer hard work and determination.
He would often tell me stories about his struggles and that of his friends. He would then say “All the great people in the world had a story. A story of hardships. Do you have a story Charu?”
But I had none then. I had a comfortable upbringing; I had never struggled for anything. There were no conflicts. It was after I encountered conflicts and hardships in my life that I realized the true meaning of life and the gravity of my father’s words.
Life is not only about eating, sleeping and ablutions. We all have a purpose and a rather difficult one. Like raising children, following your passion, being true to yourself.
But nothing is easy. Nothing is without conflicts. Yet it is these conflicts which make our life story meaningful.
Tell me how many Kings and Queens from history do you remember?
Can you recall the names of all of them and their personalities?
There are many Queens in Indian history but I can recall the name and story of only one.
Lakshmi Bai. The warrior Queen, who fought to protect her rights and well as that of her subjects.
She died fighting for her cause. And we all remember her for her bravery.
She could have chosen to live a life of ignored bliss. She could have lived comfortably off the family jewels. But she chose the path of conflict, the path of hardships. And therefore inspired many generations in the process. Hers was a story to be told.
Would we have remembered her story if there were no conflicts in it?
A story literally is prose which tells a tale. And a tale has twists, turns, surprises, dreams, heartbreak and realizations. Most of these stem from conflict.
Therefore my dear friends, the next time you encounter a conflict, do not get dejected. Don’t be hopeless. In fact be thankful. These conflicts are masked opportunities.
It is these conflicts which would help you evolve and provide a meaning to your life journey, your life story.