By Sonam Wangchuk, Monday, February 10, 2014

Sonam WangchukLeh: A nation may have various natural resources like forests, mines, oil, precious metals and so on. Such resources seem to make some nations lucky and rich compared to others. But even nations without such generosity of nature can attain heights of wealth and prosperity, and Japan is one example. Compared to India, Japan is a pauper in natural resources and yet its leaders decided to change that destiny by focusing on development of the only resource they had, i.e. themselves. It’s called human resource. Thanks to this, today Japan buys iron ore from the ‘lucky’ countries like India, and then with the magic touch of its skilled human resource it turns that kilogram of iron ore worth ten rupees into these famous watches that they sell back to India for tens of thousands of rupees. So,  much for being lucky with natural resources.

I will talk more about human and other resources of nations another time but here I just wanted to first stress the importance of human resource and then talk about a special kind of human resource which is often overlooked by most nations: the habits of its people. I have never heard this ‘resource’ mentioned as a human resource but I definitely consider it as one. Yes, the habits of the people of a nation can be a huge blessing or a big drain on the nation’s economy and ecology.
Here are some examples:
Getting up early
I have observed that young people in the west and nowadays even in India and Ladakh too, have a habit of going to bed very late and then getting up even later when they can. I think this is a very dangerous habit both personally and ecologically. I won’t go into the personal part, as opinions may vary, but I am sure you cannot overlook my environmental arguments. When we stay up late till, say 12:00 or 1:00 am, you must know that we are swimming against nature and use a lot of artificial lighting and heating etc. So many diesel generators, coal plants and nuclear reactors run full throttle just to keep that habit of ours going. Now suppose you changed that habit and started going to bed at 10:00pm and getting up at 6 with the natural light. You would be saving 3 hours of dangerous power plants belching fumes and gases, and instead you would be using a kind of solar lighting that happens every morning around six. That is why I say that the cheapest and the cleverest solar lighting system ever used is, getting up with the sunrise and going to bed not too long after sunset. With such habits you could not only save your energy bills, and save your country all the imported fuels, but even save the earth, because many nuclear powers plants and coal and diesel powered plants could actually be shut down if people like you and me change such habits.
Exercise and fitness
People in India and now in Ladakh also have a habit of eating a lot of sugar and fats and doing no physical work. Little do they know that these same ‘comforts’ cost them dearly in the latter half of their lives. There are many premature deaths due to inactive lifestyle (heart disease, strokes, diabetes and so on). Studies show that globally there are 5.3 million per year killed by these, compared to 5 million killed by cigarette smoking.
Can you imagine what these bad habits cost the nation? The medical bills, lost productivity etc. and also to the family, when sick parents die before their children have grown up and so on. In many parts of China and Japan it is almost a national habit to get up early and come out into the public parks etc. and practice various physical art forms like taichi, yoga, etc. There is no bigger wealth for a nation than healthy citizens.
Here are some other habits where we in India are not very strong compared to other nations and the loss is entirely ours too. Being on time Imagine the time we waste waiting for meetings to start. The loss of man-hours in India due to this habit of making others wait must run into crores of rupees.
Putting things back where they belong Remember the times in homes and offices… when we take a tool or a book and do not put it back where it belongs? As a result, the next person has to waste hours looking for it, or does a poor job with substitutes.
Waiting for your own turn
It seems we in India are world famous for not having this patience. I have seen busses where the doors get jammed for minutes with all the people all trying to push in at the same time. In the process, children are lost, old people are hurt, people’s glasses are broken and their hats and hairstyles take funny and scary shapes. It would have taken far less time if everyone went in a queue. Why so much “I, me, myself” in a country that taught the world about nirvana? Habits,  of course.
The good thing about habits is that bad habits can be changed and new habits can be acquired. And once something becomes a habit, even the most difficult looking things do not remain difficult any more.
Initially it was hard for me to imagine that I could cycle up and down from Phey to Leh 34 km a day, but once it became a habit it becomes so much easier. Similarly, taking an icy cold shower even once in a year was unthinkable just a year ago, but once it becomes a habit you don’t think much and just do it.
Some experts say that to form a new habit you have to do the new thing continuously for 21 days. The first few days will be difficult but if you hold on long enough the gates of heaven open for you. Nowadays there are even some mobile phone applications to help you form new habits. I checked some and they were useful.
You can consider the whole of January as your New Year month and resolve to change some of your bad habits and acquire some new ones. And remember, one of the best ways to make a resolution succeed is to share it with many friends.

– See more at: http://www.reachladakh.com/habits/2208.html#sthash.GVQtK956.dpuf

and also : http://www.reachladakh.com/are-bicycles-a-win-win-solution-for-ladakh-i-dont/2154.html