Miss Honey: “Miss Trunchbull, it is my belief that Matilda Wormwood is a genius… She can do maths in her head that I couldn’t do with a calculator. And the books she’s read. It is my opinion that she should be placed in the top form with the 11-year-olds. Immediately!”

Miss Trunchbull: “But what about the rules, Honey?”

Miss Honey: “I believe that Matilda Wormwood is an exception to the rules.”

Miss Trunchbull: “An exception? To the rules? In my school?”

Look at my trophies.

See how my trophies gleam in the sunlight,

see how they shine.

What do you think it took to become

English Hammer-Throwing Champion 1959?

Do you think in that moment, when my big moment came

I treated the rules with casual disdain?

Well? Like hell!

The headmistress, Miss Trunchbull was not about to let some kid progress without following the rules. But to stand up to such a tyrannical woman, we’d have to give credit to Miss Honey. Stuttering and stammering her way to propose a bright future for the child, she did her best to put up a brave front, until the headmistress finally shut down Miss Honeys’ recommendation.

In this melodic musical called Matilda, Miss Trunchbull forces her ideals and executes strict punishment for the children in her school as she sees fit. Her ways as a headmistress were cruel, showing little to no concern for the well-being of children.

She believes that following the rules is the only way to succeed in life as it was what she experienced as a child when she practiced and won the championship in hammer throwing.

Miss Trunchbull:

If you want to throw the hammer for your country

You have to stay inside the circle all the time

If you want to make the team

You don’t need happiness or self-esteem

You just need to keep your feet inside the line

Miss Trunchbull had devised a motto for the school and she often used it: “Bambinatum est Maggitum”. A fictional expression that translated as “Children are Maggots”

While adding this motto to the school anthem, Miss Trunchbull sings:

And if you want to teach success

You don’t use sympathy or tenderness

You have to force the little squits

To toe the line

Life’s a ball so learn to throw it

Find the bally line and toe it

And always keep your feet inside the line

The school anthem and Miss Trunchbull’s beliefs resemble the way society functions today. There’s this misconception that working hard today and not living life in the moment will give you success tomorrow. It’s like a bubble created since inception for a child.

·       “Work hard now, when you grow up, you will be successful.”

·       “Do not travel to an unknown place for your vacation. When you get married, you can go where you’d like to go.”

Seems familiar?

We are made to live in a bubble of Expectations, Assumptions, and Desires for a major part of our lives. Expectations and desire for a better tomorrow with the assumptions of facing little to no problems or challenges in this perceived future. All under the pretense that a day will finally come when we can enjoy the fruits of our past labor.

To what extent has the dream of this perceived future ever come true? How many times have you come across a person confessing about how their life is not turning out to be as they expected? How many times has a colleague come up to you and said, “I hate this job, I want to quit”?

According to research findings from BambooHR, job satisfaction has suffered since 2020, and this year 2023 experienced an even steeper decline. The HR software platform evaluated close to 60,000 employees across 1,600 companies between January 2020 to June 2023. According to the reports, employees are not just experiencing highs and lows. They are expressing a sense of apathy or resignation. On the majority, morale is at its worst. One of the major reasons for this includes:

·       Inconsistent compensation

·       Lack of support from co-workers and bosses

·       Unreasonable workloads

These expectations of being compensated for your efforts at work, gaining support from co-workers and bosses, and working with a reasonable workload are only natural. However, reality paints a different picture. It would be great if things were normal and everyone got their fair share of gains. While employers decide how to tackle this issue, let’s also address the happiness and peace that one looks for in all this chaos. People are simply not happy with the way their future has become.

They were told things would be fine if they just worked hard enough.

They were told that if they secured distinct academic scores, they could look forward to a bright future.

While there is truth to all these statements, there is an underlying problem that not many people are noticing. We are living in a bubble of an assumed future.

Here’s why:

We are conditioned to live with Expectations, Assumptions, and Desires of the external world that form the basis of our motivation to achieve success in life. We begin to draw a boundary that defines success within the confines of our understanding. When we do this, it becomes apparent that life will either become pleasurable or painful for us because of these three external and temporary motivators: Expectations, Assumptions, and Desires.

As a result, we focus on the outcome which is not in our control. Yet, we emphasize more on the outcome than on our intent-driven actions. Here’s how you can identify whether this is happening in your life. Let’s take career as an example. Let’s say your workplace is an environment that is not conducive to your happiness. It is simply boring and has a routine fixed for years. You have the same work profile with a few additions each year.

You are not happy at this workplace even though it was your dream job. Another note of surprise is that you’ve noticed some colleagues around you are happy with their job. They have no complaints. So, then why are you so frustrated with your dream job?

Taking a step further, you leave the job and join another company that you thought to be suitable for you. In the previous company, you found legitimate faults like having to work urgently on a Saturday when you were specifically told that your work days would be Monday to Friday. But there have been a few Saturdays where you were called to work.

Also, you were not happy with the way your boss would treat you. You weren’t happy with your pay getting deducted every time you were late to work even though you would meet deadlines and many times leave late from work. These and other disappointments finally led you to leave the job.

Now that you’ve joined a new company, you are happy there for the first few months. You are not called on Saturdays, you reached work late a couple of times but your deadlines were so no one had a problem with that, and your pay wasn’t cut. You have a good manager to report to, and so on. But now there are new disappointments. A few of your colleagues sneakily take credit for your work. The clients are escalating stinker emails about your deliveries. Suddenly, your reporting manager who is good to you at work seems condescending in the team WhatsApp group.

All of the above are legitimate reasons to once again leave the company. But you are now worried that you may face a new set of challenges in the next new company.

“Problems are guidelines, not stop signs.”

~Robert H. Schuller

When are there no problems? When are there no challenges? Never! Yet, we continue to base our happiness and peace on the wrong motivators – Expectations, Assumptions, and Desires. Expectations of the future we desire, and assumptions of the present and a specific tomorrow.

It is time to gravitate toward your Ground of Neutrality and transcend above these external and temporary motivators of life.

You’ve got to gain your Ground of Neutrality by unsealing the stamp of Expectations, Assumptions, and Desires that define your peace and happiness in life. As cliché as they may seem, it is true that happiness is found within.

What is within is permanent, it’s eternal. However, what is found without and externally such as your salary package, the popular career choice, studying abroad, etc. are all temporary attractors. They will soon outrun your definition of happiness, and then what? They steal from you the big picture of your true motivations, which forces you to invest your time, effort, and energy into external definitions of success.

If you continue to do this then the reasons for your happiness will always change. You will always feel underachieved and will constantly work to align yourself with the external motivators of life. But if these motivators are not the real deal, then what is? What else if not success to drive one to work hard and accomplish great heights?

Therefore, it’s time to enhance your SiQ or Spiritual Quotient and define your true intent behind any career choice or other aspects of life. Find who the real you is and soar higher with the right motivation that is permanent and reliable.

While Miss Trunchbull defines the parameters of success for the children in her school, the main character of the movie, whom I have not mentioned yet, the child, Matilda realizes something. As she realizes how her parents don’t appreciate her, the movie drifts into a song that I would like to share (just a few verses). It pretty much sums up how we think that when we grow up, things will get better. While this is true, there’s still a lot to learn. Isn’t there?

When I Grow Up

When I grow up

I will be tall enough to reach the branches

that I need to reach to climb the trees

you get to climb when you’re grown up.

And when I grow up

I will be smart enough to answer all

the questions that you need to know

the answers to before you’re grown up.

And when I grow up

I will eat sweets every day

on the way to work and I

will go to bed late every night!

When I grow up,

I will be brave enough to fight the creatures

that you have to fight beneath the bed

each night to be a grown-up.

Just because you find that life’s not fair,

it doesn’t mean that you just have to grin and bear it.

If you always take it on the chin and wear it nothing will change!

Just because I find myself in this story,

It doesn’t mean that everything is written for me.

If I think the ending is fixed already,

I might as well be saying I think that it’s OK!

And that’s not right!

And if it’s not right!

I’ve got to put it right!

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