How to understand hard realities of modern life and appropriate coping strategies

Life was very simple some forty years ago. There was far less tension and people enjoyed more of physical interaction as the telephones were only fixed in houses. There were no cell phones. No internet. No online marketing. Today, we have all these. It is fact of life that we need to understand certain hard realities right away. We also need to understand how we can cope with these realities.This article discusses these in detail.


There are too many complications with life in 2019. The world has become inter-connected. Foreign capital is in. This investment translates into new jobs. The smart middle class is raring to go. The most educated among them are riding the new wave of the most modern comforts. Yet, the harsh realities are hard realities. We must focus on them immediately and check on all possible, "what can or should be done?" scenarios of life. More specifically, this will compulsorily focus on a) You are the master of your own destiny b) Parents can only support you up to a point c) Long term savings are absolutely essential d) A cool, calm, and calculative mind is key to success e) always be prepared for " hai, bye" relationships and f) Never ever imagine you don't have better choices.

You are the master of your own destiny

The key to your success is self-realization. Please do understand that in a world where no technology even stays the same for a few months, in a world where skills are becoming so obsolete, preparing yourself for something more meaningful in terms of job orientation is vital. If you are so good in Mathematics, have a passion for it, and can crack the most competitive examinations, an Engineering career with the best IITs or NITs might work out well for you.

However, you just need to have a big focus and be good at identifying what is best for you. This is vital. Remember, destiny is very much in your hands. You need to figure out what is best for you. However, you should not take up courses in subjects such as Zoology, where only teaching is possible. You need to understand modern realities.

Okay. You have some qualification and some salary. You are in a job. You must understand that it is going to be a very tedious and long journey. Eighteen-hour workdays on six days in a week are so common. If need be, you may have to work on Sundays too. Employers are happy with employees who bring to the table very small learning curves. If you are not from the best of colleges, you are bound to find street smart fellows everywhere. For instance, you may have to live with the brightest Economics and Commerce graduates from the likes of St. Stephen 's New Delhi, Loyola College, Chennai or Christ University, Bangalore. When you meet them, you would do well to understand how they organize their thoughts and so on.

In other words, you are out in the most competitive world. Success or failure is largely in your hands and you need to just slog it out there in the real world. You ought to understand that making a success of your life is largely in your hands. Of course, there are sound legal rules that apply to you at any point in time. For example, traffic rules. You ought to understand that you need to wear a helmet. You should never overtake a heavy vehicle on narrow roads and so on. Once you do so, you run the risk of meeting with a major accident. The more careful you are in such small matters, you will automatically get prepared for the long haul.

Parents can only support you up to a point

Your parents can support you only up to a point. Beyond that, it is up to you. If you are young, you should ensure that you cannot and should not depend on your parents at any point in time, especially after you are a graduate. If you do not have the means to study further, and you have to work, just borrow some Rs.25,000 from your father, live in some shared accommodation some seventy kilometers from Mumbai and slog it out. You can easily find a job. Once you get the job, eat in the roadside shops where you can find even the most highly educated people have a quick lunch or breakfast. This is the order of the day in such cities. Or find out friends who share similar concerns about life. If you start cooking, your expenses will come down. Life in Mumbai will teach you how to survive anywhere in the world. The beauty of Mumbai is that you do not need to feel sorry. You will enjoy the company of very hard working people. It is the city that hardly sleeps.

Mumbai has shaped the destiny of hundreds of thousands of people. It is as yet the only city where you can at least get a decent salary for over Rs.25000 as starting salary. Even if you are just a fresh graduate. You can easily find so many B schools where you get a Post Graduate Diploma in Marketing or Financial Management or whatever. Once you are qualified, you would have reached the pinnacle of glory. You would have had a very good break by then. Learn the tricks of the trade of survival in today's times. You have no choice, though. Your parents would have sacrificed so much. They would even be in their sixties now. You cannot tax them anymore.

Long term savings are always essential

More than two decades ago, this author knew one family that went into some small business. Even single pie was pumped into PPF, and in long term recurring deposits that were not taxed then. This happened in 1995. In 2005, month after month, they had some savings to bank on. The family had very intelligently invested money in 10 years RDs. Even their relatives made fun of them. But the man was convinced that the then high-interest rates on deposits were not sustainable. They would crash, he said.

Crash, the deposit rates did. In subsequent years. This intelligent investor was proved right.

The bank he chose then called the Kumbakonam City Union Bank, that offered up to 15% for long term deposits of ten years. Today, this bank has grown from strength to strength and has a pan India reach. The founders might have been traditional in their approach towards lending. However, they were cautious in growth and have now the most modern net banking facilities as well.

The logic is simple. Even if you earn one lakh rupees now, unless you quality yourself and have multiple skill sets, your earning span is just 25 years. In the years to come, any fellow who is more than 42 years old, would run the risk of being sacked even from manufacturing companies. The journey is going to become even tougher. You cannot assume the three odd decades of service and so on. At 42, you need a corpus of at least two crores at 2019 prices ( assume you are just 27 years old now). Robotics will become the norm. Everywhere there will be massive computerization. Online banking will become so widespread. Every single business will manage its operations with lesser and lesser people. All the tall talk of Human Resources Management and Development will go hand in hand with the retrenchment of a very tall order. There will never be any job that will not demand a pound of your flush. There are current realities too. They will become very complicated in the years to come.

So, start saving huge amounts right now. You have no choice. If your wife is just a graduate, in the years to come, she may have to qualify herself even further and then support the family. Compulsorily.

A cool, calm, and calculative mind is key to success

Why unnecessarily worry when you have no choice but to slog it out in the real world?

Yes, you do not have a choice. But you have a choice of being cool. And very calculative in the way you live your life. If for example, you cut down on all wants and do not show off, you can succeed. That is simply playing cool. Just one example. You see a very costly curtain that is normally seen in the houses of film stars. The budget is one lakh rupees. You are still in a rented house. What will happen if you take a bank loan and buy it? It will be the worst expenditure when you can jolly well settle for something that will cost you less than Rs. 25,000/-. You would have saved at least Rs. 75,000, which is nothing but an expense on sheer vanity.

This is exactly what you should do. Calculate what you can best do in any given situation. Assume that you show off by buying such costly curtains. Your relatives come calling and would praise you. The same relatives will hide and not even bother to call you when the chips are down and you are in some financial trouble. Or admitted to a hospital for some treatment. This is one hard reality of life too.

More so, one that should always ring a bell in you and warn you of all unnecessary blunders on expenses. This is exactly how our fathers lived their lives. You would be committing a blunder if you think you are very smart. Your savings will lose its value over time. Remember, a huge corpus is a must.

In every small thing, you need to be cool. Okay. You have six years of experience. You want to do a weekend MBA. How do you be cool now? You just cannot do it from an unbranded institute. Even in a big metro. You need to do it from the likes of the Great Lakes Institute of Management, Chennai. Only.

This is being cool. Any lesser known institute would mean committing suicide. Such branded colleges are now available in every major city. Even in the B class cities. Once you get the qualification, if you do not utilize the extra knowledge or skill, you are doomed. You can never ever improve. The key to your success will be entirely based on how you plan your career. You have no choice.

Always be prepared for "hai, bye" relationships

The issue is very simple. Modern life has become very complicated. You just cannot afford to imagine that any relative, any friend will continuously interact with you. Or simply call and spend time talking to you.

Even marriages are hurried affairs. The boy and the girl pack up to leave the country by the earliest flight. This is the order of the day. You do not have any choice. Even today, people interact with you and say "hai". At best a person will talk to you for ten minutes and say "bye". Life is like that. This is one hard reality that we all need to accept. There is absolutely no choice. We are part of the rat race. Period.

Life is never ever going to be the same again. So, let us accept "hai, bye relationships" with a very open mind and say, "fine. what next?".

Never ever imagine you don't have a better choice

Never think it is the end of the road. Never ever.

A few days ago, this author saw a very interesting video on Youtube. It talked about a very innovative entrepreneur, who would serve customers hot dosa in more than twenty varieties at 4 AM in Chennai. His customers? The IT guys who work in the night shift or land up rather early to start their work. All of them are very young. The crowd keeps growing day after day.

It is innovation at its best. Identify a sweet spot and exploit it. This is happening in the Velachery area of Chennai. It is soon bound to be copied in other areas of the city.

Another fact. Guess who is the new hope for agriculture of the best kind? A grand revival in agriculture? More so, through and by organic farming with firm buy back arrangements?

The IT guys. The smartest IT guys who can't bear it anymore. The torture. The tensions. The sleepless nights. Pump savings into farms some two hundred kilometers from the metro, where they are somewhat cheap. Just buy and cultivate with the native intelligence of the local farmers.

This is a new business. This is a new hope. Similarly, entrepreneurs are coming up with the brightest ideas and are laughing all the way to the bank. Yes, they are mostly in the service sector.


It is wise to always understand what we are up to at any point in time. We cannot take anything for granted in these highly competitive times. We need to improve with every single step. Day after day.

Once we are prepared for the hard realities, our life would become that much better.

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Author: Umesh27 Feb 2019 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 2

A good article depicting the challenges of contemporary life.

It is very true that modern life is full of challenges. There is a paradigm shift in the way the employment opportunities are changing and career-making is becoming a herculean task due to cut-throat competition and requirement of specialised persons in business and trade.

To get success in such a scenario, a person not only requires knowledge, skills and professionalism but also patience and endurance associated with hard work.

Author: ABSivakumar27 Feb 2019 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 4

Yes Sir. The stress is becoming unmanageable. While the value of the rupee is going down day after day, the employment opportunities are also shrinking day after day. We are unable to do anything in this situation.

We also have other huge worries as far as the wider society is concerned. Since the population is increasing so rapidly, too many people being unemployed is one big bonus for the employers, who always want to cut down on salaries.

Some years ago, Shri Narayanamurthy of Infosys Technologies did voice his concern about the wage difference between the paid programmer in the entry-level job and those in the CEO or other senior management positions.

This gives rise to huge complications. If we do not address such issues, we will only have growing inequalities. This will add to too many social tensions all around and will also result in the benefits of development reaching a very few only. With disastrous consequences.

We will be forever backwards if we do not control our population. Somehow or the other, we seem to be least bothered about this too.

Author: Venkiteswaran21 Apr 2020 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 15

The subject dealt here is one that has a large canvas. It is very difficult to enclose it within an article of this size. Still, the author has done it to the best extent under the limited parameters.

He has narrated just a few prominent points in this regard of which the first two viz(a)You are the master of your own destiny and (b)Parents can only support you up to a point- are very relevant and prime ones. They can be elaborated to any length.

However, I see a lot of positives also as realities in modern life.
1. It is the time of unlimited opportunities.
There is any number of opportunities and openings. In the olden times, the scope of education, career, and occupation were just a few. So it was a scramble to get the limited seats by the vast seekers. That contributed to old-timers' desperation and dejection.
Now there are alternatives, substitutes and new creative space. So self-confidence increases and dependability decreases. That can relieve that stress too.

2. The sky is the limit to growth.

Those who have talent, capacity, attitude and hard work can grow to any extent. In olden times, development, expansion and growth -whether individually or as a team or as the industry- was very much limited and stunted. That bred monotony and boredom and suppressed creativity too. Now the situation is very positive and conducive.

3.'Bye-Bye' relationship need not be taken as a lack of loyalty but as an opportunity for both sides.

The old habit of one employer, one job, one house, one shoe is now changed due to alternatives and new innovations. By changing jobs the employee gets better opportunities and the employer also gets fresh ideas from new recruits. So it is beneficial for both. In personal relations also sometimes this helps if proper checks and balances are put in place.

Now that a couple of decades are over after the new trend life has started, there are also various avenues and places for training, preparing and orienting oneself to the modern realities. In a few years hence it will be smooth for the youngsters as they would have been born in the modern life system.

Author: ABSivakumar22 Apr 2020 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 10

Venkiteswaran Sir, thank you so much for your right comments. It is also true that this present generation in the age group of 23 to 40, most of whom would have married a person of his or her choice, even across communities and States and even religious faiths, would be totally different from their fathers. Their children are likely to emulate them on every single parameter that is good by normal Western standards of hard work, optimistic outlook, a pugnacious attitude and so on.

However, they will still miss the warmth and the flavour of caring and sharing that is still a way of life in several rural environs. I am not for a moment saying that this is ideal. But the basic framework and the assumptions that go along with it are still very much valid.

For one, the parents who still prefer to live in their native villages, have come up the hard way and invariably know how to develop empathy for the people in the lower economic brackets.

Secondly, they are mostly wedded to honesty and integrity. Contrast this with the "street-smart" younger generation and then you will get the bigger picture and a close idea of where the young are more likely to go wrong. Am not saying that they are corrupt. But the "me, my life and everything else" philosophy has selfishness written all over it. A casual indifference towards one's parents and a blatant preference for all material things go hand in hand with a selfish attitude that automatically gets transferred to children. It is even faster than COVID-19!

It is not that our children who are into this game are not aware of what they are doing. They will help us if we ask for help. They will rarely, yes, sometimes very rarely visit us. It is up to us to take their life and their ways of behaving, as a new normal and get on with life.

One can only say"times have changed". And times will never be the same again.

Author: Sheo Shankar Jha22 Apr 2020 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 5

The author has taken up a very interesting topic of how best we can deliver in our chosen fields when there are the best brains doing the same jobs. Being over-stressed while examining such situations could be counterproductive. The best way to achieve the job in a commendable manner would require a little home work assessing one's potential, experience in that direction and one's self-confidence. In order to attain success in any field, a cool brain would be required in assessing the priorities to be taken up in ascending ways so as to execute the entire work. Though the instruction of the boss is important in the sense that how much time should be devoted to complete the entire assignment but one's way of carrying out the job extraordinarily would rest on the potential of the performer.
The author has explained the different tools needed to accomplish the job successfully. One needs to implement the same while one is serious to achieve a commendable job.

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