Baijnath, a small town in Uttarakhand, has a complex of 18 temples of Lord Shiva and other deities. The temples are credited to the Katyuri rulers who ruled this part of India at the time to which the temples have been dated.
The narrative has been dramatised by the locals to the point where they believe that the temples came up overnight through magic. This myth surrounds several architectural landmarks in India and abroad.
Fact vs Fiction
Several local myths regarding the Baijnath temples exist. One that our vehicle driver told us was that the entire temple complex was built overnight by magic. Inside the complex, the ASI (Architectural Survey of India) and Uttrakhand tourism banners date the various temples to completely different centuries. This published fact never bothered our driver for he totally believed his story of overnight creation.
I have also heard the same story in Tabo monastery in Himachal Pradesh’s Spiti region, where a local insisted to one of the visitors that the paintings were created by magic in a single night by the grace of Buddha.
Our beliefs: Easy vs Hard
It initially surprised me that people who are closer to the place propagated such myths to gullible tourists. But I later realized that whether it was the locals or the tourists, the only ones who believed in the story were the ones who wanted to believe in it. So why did they want to believe in it?
The alternative but the real story that artisans worked for several years on an amorphous stone to give it just the right shape or that they toiled several nights to mix natural pigments to create the right coloured dyes to paint on the walls sounds so unsexy. Why not mix some myth and magic to turn it into a nice miraculous story worth sharing?!
The myth of overnight success
We are told that the apple fell on Newton’s head and that he discovered gravity. What we are not told is that after the apple fell on his head, it took him nearly 20 years of theorising and testing, and another two years for writing a thesis on gravitational force.
Most mobile phone game developers hope to create the next ‘Angry Birds’, ‘Candy Crush’ or ‘Temple Run’ to make a killing. But how many of us realise what went to it to the making of such an app. Did you know that the ‘Angry Birds’ founders failed 51 times before they struck gold with their most popular game?
Lure of Success
When India won the cricket World Cup in 2011, people started playing cricket more frequently in every gully. When PV Sindhu won the silver medal in the 2016 Rio Olympics, even grandmothers started playing badminton in their backyards. Both trends lasted hardly for a week before people went back to their old ways or to the next shiny object.
Chosen ones? Or choosers?
It is sexy to win an Olympic medal, but unsexy to get up at the unwieldy hours of dawn, show up for practice every day, watch what you eat and work your butt off and get sore muscles.
It is sexy to sell your stake in your startup and rake in the money. But validating your idea, getting your first customers, getting employees, and scaling up require tremendous effort every day.
Successful people are not the chosen ones, they are the ones who have chosen themselves to succeed every day.
Choose effort every day, so that success will choose you.
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- The 1 Percent Rule: Why a Few People Get Most of the Rewards by James Clear
- The 1% rule: how to unlock success every time by This Somebody
- Atomic Habits by James Clear