How often we are so impatient to see the results of some effort we are putting into some venture or other! We might have to study day and night and wonder whether it is worth it and whether we are wasting our time. “If only we could see our future!” we tell ourselves, “To see whether we are investing our efforts well!”

But that is not the way it is supposed to be. We invest our time, put in effort and the rewards come at their own time. Chinese proverbs are common and often have stories behind them. The proverb “pulling up a crop to help it grow” is about an impatient man in the Song Dynasty. He was eager to see his rice seedlings grow quickly. So he thought of a solution. He would pull up each plant a few inches. After a day of tedious work, the man surveyed his paddy field. He was happy that his crop seemed to have “grown” taller.

Fifteen years ago on the death of Art Buchwald the famous humour columnist, my column replaced his in Dubai’s Khaleej Times. On reading more about the great man into whose shoes I had stepped in I found that the New York Times had interviewed Art Buchwald just before he passed away. The interview was called, "The Last Word" in which the interviewed person is allowed to express his own obituary. I watched with a smile as the grinning face of Art came on my screen and he shouted, "Hi! I just died!"

Yesterday I got a note from a reader, saying, “Bob, I long for the day when I won’t have any more problems!”

And I thought of Mr Pointed Ears!

Some ten years ago, a new dog, with long pointed ears, entered the colony I live in. Nobody wanted the new stray to stay in the premises, and so all the watchmen were kept very busy, chasing it out of the gates, but somehow it managed to outwit them, enter again and I marveled at its perseverance.

Most everyone is scared of the unknown.

When we board a plane, we are just a bit terrified, as we know that soon we will not be in control. When we leave our home in the morning, we spy a black cat and wonder what’s in store for us, even as we avoid walking under a ladder. Scared about unknown sounds, about news that earthquakes are becoming more frequent, and scared of a scheduled hospital visit and what it will reveal about that secret pain in your stomach.

Life’s battles don’t always go, to the stronger or faster man,

But sooner or later, the man who wins is the man who thinks he can!

Many, many years back I learned something I will never forget. I learnt you can more or less get what you want from life, if you can visualise yourself getting it, and work towards that vision. If you want a Mercedes-Benz, and can hold a picture of you driving in that car and even see it parked in your garage, then there is a very real possibility of you getting it, depending on how vivid you make the picture and plan in your mind.