Nov 9, 2011

What's your Schema?

I haven't been blogging a lot these days. Many interesting topics await publishing in my Blogger draft. I am sharing here, a blog post I wrote at the beginning of this year, in a different forum. This blog is related to a non-technical topic which I choose to write in a technical way to fit that forum. If you understand what an XML and XSD is, you may like it a bit more than those who doesn't. But still, incase you don't know what it is, XML is pure plain text expressed in a particular format. XSD (XML Schema Definition) is something that defines a 'particular format'. If XSD is grammar, XML is a sentence.
So, this non-technical post is related to emotions and human psycology. A possible answer to When and Why you get frustrated? When and why you attain happiness?
You get frustrated when you are waiting in a long queue to get something from somewhere like office cafe, theatre, or a billing counter. You become happy when you get your plate of food and walk out of the queue, or when you get your ticket and walk into the movie hall, or when you finally pay the bill and walk out of the counter with your shopped stuffs.

Good, you are happy now, but you are soon to get frustrated again. You will have to take your vehicle outta the parking lot. HONK...HONK...HONK...No one moves. You slowly manage to move out of the place and then comes a "Phew!". Happy again, but screwed up sooner. You reach the traffic signal, waiting for the green bulb to glitter, amongst those awful lot of vehicles around you. Frustration surfaces again. In fact, Waiting in car would've been much better for you can have Shreya Goshal singing a super number on the stereo and/or your family/friends will be sitting with you. Think about waiting in a two-wheeler. You will have to inhale all the  exhausts from those Honda's & Hyundai's. It's the most horrible time (unless your GF/BF is sitting behind you) one can have. With all the carbon-di-oxides, monoxides & all-other-crap-oxides I inhaled over the years, I could build my own chemical compound and compete for a Nobel prize with Venkatraman Ramakrishnan. As he is from my hometown, I later choose not to compete :P. Now, forget the Nobel laurations. Most of the ideas struck you when you are waiting in a traffic signal. Even the intention to write this post occurred to me when I was waiting in a signal, this morning. By the time you complete a contemplation, the GREEN candescent comes up. Back to happy mode, you start to steer only to get frustrated by honking again at the old man in his 60's snailing in his sedan, blocking your way. Happy again, after you cross him.

So, What happens here? Why is our mind shifting to different states so much in such a short span of time? We are the reason behind that. It's all about who we think we are which is the key reason behind all your emotions. Every human being has it's own definition of itself. Say, like an XSD. You will define yourselves with certain qualities. Tall/Short, Smart/Dumb, Calm/Cantankerous, patient/short-tempered. Every incident that happens in front of you (Input XML) is validated against your definition of yourselves(XSD). If the input conform to the schema, then the successful validation takes you to a positive state of emotion (or no emotion). If the validation fails, you attain a negative state of mind.

Let's take one example in our life. You feel (or define) like a piece of work you have done (a code/doc/proposal) is done in the best possible way. Someone says, "You did an amazing job, nice work". This comment is an input to the definition of your work being the best. It validates well and you are in harmony. On the other-side, if the comment is, "This is good but could've been even better", then the validation will fail. Someone said something different from what you believe. So you reach a negative state of mind!

This schema not only includes your definition of yourselves but also on other people around you. For Example, everyone thought Sachin Tendulkar is the best ever cricketer to have played the game. He did not have a good time during 2007 which resulted in the questioning of his ability to continue. The definiton of his greatness failed the validation. Ian Chappel bluntly wrote that it's time for tendulkar to hung his boots. But when the same Tendulkar came back strong with blistering performances , it earned him not only the Player of the Year award but made Chappel to re-think and re-write his Schema :)

You want to eat as soon as you enter the Cafe. You want to watch the movie as soon as you reach the theater. You want your bill as soon as you complete your shopping. The parking lot is only for you. You want the green as soon as you enter the signal. The road is laid only for you, and you don't want oldies' obstruction who drive in front of you. All these definitions failed which lead to your frustration. When you change the definition, believe that the world is big and everyone will have a part in it, frustrations will start to reduce. You can never change the  world(input XML). You can only change the schema and you are the only person who can do it. More successful validation = lesser frustrations. The way to experience a clear and peaceful state of mind is to realize when you are not in it and why you are not in it. When I started analyzing every such situation, after reading Howard Falco's I AM, I get frustrated very less these days. This book is a very good read. In technology, the Schema never changes. You only have to put in the right XML. It's vice-versa here. I will not be surprised (or frustrated) if you disagree with this.


  1. This schema not only contains your meaning of yourselves but also on other individuals around you.

  2. That's right. Everyone and everything around us. Like that cricket player example I gave.


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