The Battle Unseen

3 minute read


Categories: leadership

Tags: philosophy

For eons, a battle has raged between two mighty forces. The likes of which has never been penned in any fiction nor reminisced in any myth. The likes of which dwarfs the epic battles of our cinemas and novels and make them look like fairy tales. And yet, this battle has all but been oblivious to us “five sensed” earthlings, us who see, yet are blind; who hear and yet are deaf.

Since our planet first matured, the mountains have grown tall and proud. Even today the mountains continuously evolve with some growing a few centimeters each year due to the continued tectonic pressure. Too high did the mountains climb, so high that their peaks were covered with snow, and crowned white. And while they looked at each other and marveled at their splendid crowns, little did they know that they had just birthed their arch enemies.

As the sun shone it’s light and warmth on these tall mastiffs, the snow melted down and from there came the water streams. The mountains cared little for the tiny rivulets, as they did nothing more than to add to their proud beauty. As these streams, Brookes and rivulets met, they slowly gave rise to formidable rivers that thundered down these mountains. Even then the mountains cared little for they were confident in their tenacity and their strength. Who among this earth could ever change those majestic mountains, those that were made of earth and stone, those that could host entire forests on their slopes and those that could tower over even the clouds and look down upon the rest of the earth.

The Sleeping Buddha

And yet the mountains failed to account that their off-springs would be just as tenacious and persevering as they themselves. The rivers were the great equalizers, and they wanted to chart a course through these tall peaks and level the field. And yet they knew that their objective wasn’t easy. They knew that the gallant and daunting mountains were not easy subjects who would bend to their wills. And so they persevered. At each turn, the rivers would try chipping away at the smallest bit of the mountain. They would fail a million times before they succeeded. And yet they knew that they only had to keep trying until they succeeded.

And thus began the longest battle that our planet has known. Mountains, who grew ever so slowly and aimed to persevere, and rivers that slowly tried to chip away at the mountains and level them. Who will win this battle is no longer relevant, as we unfortunately wouldn’t be here to witness the end. But there is much to learn from these two titans.


The mountains achieve their purpose through being gentle, patient and unmoving. They see the rivers chipping at them, and it would be easy for them to look at their losses and assume that eventually the rivers would beat them down, and yet they don’t lose hope. They stand tall, proud and steady. They persevere.

The rivers are aggressive, dynamic and yet they too are patient. They see their failures a million times each day as they try and try and fail at chipping away even the tiniest block off a mountain. It would be so easy for them to look at these failures and think that they would never achieve their goals, and yet they don’t give up. They dart this way and that, trying different things each time. They persevere.

In life too, at every step, in every venture that we take, we face uncertainties, we face hardships and we face losses. It is terribly natural for us to look at these losses and assume that we’ll never succeed. And yet, we see instances all around us, both among nature and people, of success that comes through perseverance. I’m of the belief that along with empathy and rationality, perseverance forms the holy trinity of mental traits that leads to a healthy life. It gives us the strength to fight through hardships and it evens us out during our successes. It keeps us going when there is nothing left to go on. And it’s the stuff that stories are made of.

This then is our quest. To find things that help us persevere. For me, it’s looking at stars as they chart a billion year life cycle across the cosmos, rivers sculpting their way through mountains, predators prowling all night to hunt their prey, mammals migrating thousands of kilometers to evade harsh weather, humans going to extraordinary lengths to protect each other and nature. Find things that inspire you to persevere and hold onto it. For it shall be the light in the darkest of the days and will make this journey of life a breeze to live on.