The L word

Learning is about inspiration, not information!

You are never really “done” learning. Learning is a constant process that keeps your mind alive and functioning. It can be thought of as breathing for your brain, once you stop doing it, your brain becomes dead<so to speak!> Idle mind is a devils playground. And when you stop assimilating knowledge, your brain becomes idle and starts wandering off in unproductive directions with you having no control over them!

When you do not feed your mind important, informative, intellectual <and other words starting from i that’ll make you think I’m smart> things to think about, it’ll usually result in you pondering over problems and overthinking, which is not healthy for either you or your brain. Keep your mind busy enough so it does not have time to think and worry about all the things that do not exist. Overthinking causes you to worry about the most unlikely scenarios <Imagine some witty example of why overthinking is a mess!>

We can all agree that education system, which says it is teaching something to kids, is heavily flawed. A bunch of kids — each definitely unique in their own ways, with obviously different interests, and who will all take varied amounts of time to comprehend and learn something are taught the same thing over a same period of time and are tested on the basis of their understanding of that! In my opinion, these tests determine the ability of the teacher to convey the information more than the student’s intellectual ability. <Many Indians nodding furiously in approval>

Since the obvious choice of learning seems to be below par, what do we do? Well, the Internet is a wonderful place to turn to at this time. We are fortunate to be a part of a world where you can Google anything and information about it appears for free, at your convenience.

Think about it, Internet is like your portable library+personal advisor+intellectual partner in crime.

In a world where information is so easily and readily available, the irony is that not many access and make use of it. We instead use the Internet for social media stalking and validation purposes. There’s nothing wrong with that but I urge you to take one small break from that routine and to focus on learning something new. It is a very small change in your life that could lead to many good things.


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How you do one thing is how you do everything

“Just this once”

This is one of the most common excuses I have heard myself give in various circumstances when I mess up something. I convince myself that it’s always the first time I am being bad at what I do. While this may be true— I may actually have messed up for the first time in the given situation; there’s a pattern! I got so used to letting myself off easy for the mistakes that kept occurring so frequently with that excuse and I convinced myself that it’s okay to mess up. Now, of course it is okay to mess up but one needs to learn something from the mistake and take away something important from that experience. I did not seem to be doing that, instead I kept giving myself more and more chances to screw things up without learning a damn thing.

I have consciously tried to correct this and break from this pattern of perpetually making mistakes because I realise that how I do one thing is how I do every damn thing.

Here are a few examples—

  • I’m late for my class, I’m late for my doctor appointments, I miss flights/trains/buses.
  • I procrastinate on studying, working on my assignment, project, work.
  • I get mad at my parents, my friends, my professors.

I kept focusing on the thing or place of the mistake. The point is I AM LATE no matter where I’m going; I PROCRASTINATE irrespective of the task; I AM SHORT-TEMPERED regardless of the situation.

I could go on listing many situations where I have been wrong and point of how it is merely the way I have been living my life and how it has become a part of me. In fact, I have made a list. Now, it is time for me to work on that list and make sure that it isn’t me anymore because I don’t want to be that person, it’ll take some time and require a lot of resilience and patience but I am ready to put the effort in to make myself a better person than I was before. I also know for a fact that there are many out there just like me facing similar issues and this is a call-out to them to come out of denial and accept who we really are and strive to not be those irresponsibly stupid people anymore.


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Mental Fitness

If you have access to the internet, which you probably do, then you could not have missed the plethora of articles about mindfulness and awareness. Mental health is finally getting its share of attention that it so rightly deserves. For far too long, we have made a big deal out of physical health— exercises, diet plans, regimes and coaches are easily available to achieve and maintain a good physical well-being and little to no attention was given to mental health. But things are changing now; people are talking a lot about meditation and its positive effect on the mind.

Mental health should be the most important aspect of a healthy life but so often we ignore it. The first step to being helpful is to understand that mental problems are real problems too. We need to stop saying “It’s all in your head, just shake it off!”; imagine you fractured your leg and I say “It’s all in your leg, just shake it off”, that’s ridiculous, isn’t it! Mental disorders are substantial problems and we shouldn’t just ignore it as simply ‘all in the head’. Acceptance that these disorders are genuine is the first step to helping people who are struggling. Once you have accepted it, be open to talking about it and creating an awareness among your family & friends about it and encourage them to speak openly about it, as well. By doing this, you are creating a safe space for anyone in your life who is having a difficult time speaking up about their problems. If someone does come to you, don’t try to fix them, just be there for them. As someone who has been through extended spells of loneliness, I can tell you I didn’t want to speak; just having a shoulder to rest my head on was sufficient— no words were needed.

Let us make mental well-being a priority and help people around us and ourselves become healthier beings.

Some useful tools/tips for mindfulness I follow/use:

  • Headspace — An excellent app for easy on the go meditation.
  • Writing — Writing about your fears and insecurities help you understand yourself better and this leads to awareness.
  • Two minute challenge — Whenever you find yourself wandering off, focus on the seconds hand of an analog watch/clock for exactly two minutes.
  • Mental commands — Before starting a task, tell yourself “Start” to get your mind to be fully aware of what you are doing!

It is not a piece of cake to learn mindfulness, it is a journey and once you begin this, you will realise how wonderful your mind can be and discover some amazing things about yourself.

Staring at the ocean

An old song, a familiar voice, a far-flung question

Oceans, train travels, waterfalls, mountains are all very evocative — they bring out a feeling of nostalgia. They somehow make us think about life in depth and scrutinise the things we are doing and why we are doing it. They provoke us to question our orenda. They do the same for me. I feel exactly those things and then some…

I often see myself as a luftmensch, some may even call me an ingénue but I’m often unfazed by that. While it is fine to be devoted to understanding yourself and the purpose, one must realise there is not definite answer for this. At least, not as far as I know. There’s no ONE purpose — at least not for me and my life, there are so many things that I can do and that I want to do; confining myself to one purpose seems inane to me.

It is often quite fascinating how I have a revelation every time I am in such places. We’re all so busy going after that perfect life — a job, a house, a car, kids — we just turn a blind eye to the present. To ourselves. To the endless possibilities of things that we could be achieving. Don’t get me wrong, if those are the things you actually want, then I completely respect your choice but if it isn’t.. I urge you make a change. Be different. Be bold. Stop thinking about the what ifs, the ‘Damn! I wish I did that’ and start doing. Because the regret will eat you alive and make you hate your life. There are a number of surveys that are conducted across the working class on whether they are happy with their job — and the result was overwhelmingly they hated their jobs but are sticking with it to feed themselves and their family.

You must work your ass off to do anything, don’t mistake that. Following your dream sounds very ebullient but it is a steep mountain to climb. And I know for sure that you have what it takes to go to the top and beyond. Getaways are good, but hustle is the real deal. So, go out there and work your ass off for whatever it is that you want. And when someone tells you ‘It is time to get married and have kids’ smile at their propinquity towards the stereotypes and get back to hustle. You don’t need someone to tell you when it is right for your to start your family — that is totally upto you and only you. You don’t need someone to remind you of what you want to do, that comes from within and your eternal desire to reach your goal is what is real. Don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise.


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Planning for a distant future

Of late, I’ve been planning for a life that I’m want to embark. I’m almost 20 and I feel like I’m ready to start planning my life. I could be so wrong for all I know. I mean, I have been wrong before. Multiple times. On numerous occasions. For various reasons.

But!! I have started planning out what my life should look like. I’ve made a rough sketch of what I’ll be doing in five years from now. It all looks good on paper. Very tantalizing, failing to give a true idea of how hard it is going to be. Then, I started thinking about what needs to be done in order to be able to do everything I have planned to do. And that’s where the problem started…

Now, don’t mistake me, I think hard work is the only route to success and there are absolutely no shortcuts but man, hard work is hard (hence, the name, I suppose). Planning was so much fun, listing out all the things I’d own and all things this I’d do and all the people I’ll be surrounded with; was all so blissfully planned without thinking of the amount of hard work that goes in it. This life I’ve imagined for myself is something I truly want because I seemed really happy in it. Sure, that’s always not the case and there’ll always be ups and downs but is that going to stop me living this crazy awesome life I’ve planned for myself. Now that I’ve ideated my future and there’s something to look forward to for the next couple of years, I know exactly how to monitor, track and assess my progress (all of the three words used mean the same thing).

I’m ready to put in the hard work, I’ve slacked off enough and procrastinated much more than I should have and I’m done doing those unproductive things that have led me to believe I’m useless and cannot achieve anything.. Bill Gates, the famous entrepreneur and the founder of Microsoft was known for a famous quote

“I never took a day off in my twenties.” – Bill Gates

That explains why he’s a billionaire and is such a respected and admired entrepreneur. Now, I’m not 20 yet but I’m very close (one week till I’m twenty) so I want to try to follow this as much as possible. I’m going to make a poster of that quote and hang it on the wall in my room (will post a picture soon) and look at it every time I feel like taking a break; that is, every SINGLE day. But that’s okay, if I have to remind myself this every day in order to be the person I want to be, then I will remind myself every single day.

By following the principles of the successful people, through their days of failure, especially, you learn more than any book could ever teach you. So, be wise while choosing your rock stars and follow them and their principles that got them to where they are today. Make plans for your future and picture yourself in a place you are truly happy. Make sure you follow up with the work necessary to achieve what you have pictured. It ain’t gonna be easy, but it’ll be worth every bit, trust me.

Work hard. Be great.

Struggles in the last week

6R7KCXBEEE

There comes a time in anyone’s life when they feel like they aren’t worth anything. When everything they’ve done so far seems to be for nothing. Everyone around you seems to have it all figured out and making progress while you’re just stuck doing absolutely nothing. Well, this recently happened to me when I was dumbstruck by all the things that people around me – my friends, family – were doing. I felt worthless as if I was running out of time for some reason. I felt the need to do things and do them quickly. This urge, I thought was a good thing.

Turns out it isn’t.

When we feel like we’re running out of time and put ourselves under that kind of pressure when there’s absolutely no need for any of that, it causes more harm than good. Who set deadlines for the things that I’m yet to do? Who got to decide that if I start something now, it’ll be too late? Why should I feel like this is some sort of a race against time?

The answer is simple: The social pressure to ‘fit in’. Well, this pressure is the reason many of us are in jobs we don’t like and this pressure is the reason that many of us still haven’t taken that trip to explore the world because we have ‘commitments’ here. I’ve come to realize that we are fooling ourselves to a great extent by telling all these lies to ourselves. We do not have to do the same things that others do just because it is socially accepted. We do not have to do things at the same time our friends do. We sure as hell don’t have a deadline on our dreams. So, whenever you feel like ‘you’re falling behind’ know that there is no such thing as falling behind.

You have to work hard, sure. But that should come from within and be self motivated. You shouldn’t wanna do something because everyone around you is doing that. It’s not only stupid but also useless and never gets the results you’re hoping for. Worrying about the things that others are doing and worrying about the things that you haven’t done is never gonna change anything. So, get off the worrying boat and go kick some ass.

Stay motivated. Stay focused.