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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Rejection and Response

You have probably heard of how rejection and mistakes are good things. How they shape who you are and teach you valuable lessons. Well, it is true and false at the same time. Lessons are taught by nature at all times. But these are useful only if you heed to what they are saying and understand that these need to be taken in a positive way. The teachings of life can so easily be ignored because of the mere fact that it is indeed free!

Simply failing and making up excuses for your inadequacy isn’t going to benefit you from anyway. Make sure you are taking something away from these mistakes and learn how to better yourself the next time you have to do the task. Analysis and preparation are crucial for turning the failures into something of value. So, stop giving bullshit excuses to yourself and start analysing where you are going wrong.

We all get rejected and it sucks! Nobody likes being told “you aren’t good enough“, “your skills aren’t sufficient“, or even “better luck next time“. But you gotta remember, the comeback is always better than the setback. And you need to make sure that you aren’t repeating the same thing over and over. I’ve written about how harmful these patterns are Read here!

Here’s a basic system that you can use in order to get something valuable out of this rejection:

  • Put an end to denial – Stop thinking you are greater than thou and admit you failed
  • Review what you did or didn’t do against what you should have done
  • Figure out where you went wrong. If you can’t do it on your own, ask for help. There’s no shame
  • Now, that you’ve figured where you’ve gone wrong, start working towards how to make it right!

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Break free

There’s a tireless wave of really trying tasks,

we’re all merely stuck in an endless loop

that we created for ourselves.

Norms, we call them

stability, we tag them

easy, is what it is

and that’s why we are scared,

scared to break the loop.

 

For if you break it, you are free!

You can be you

even though you’ve forgotten what ‘you’ feels like.

You can be you, unfiltered

without generations of passed down prejudices.

You can be you, filled with grace

no judgements or adulterations.

You can be you, brimming with confidence

without the need of approval from others.

Looking back…

Looking back, I see

how much of my happiness I let others control

in constant need for validation and approval,

wanting to be liked and get along with everyone.

Made efforts that were never returned,

left… felt unloved.

Unwanted by some,

unseen by others.

I was invisible.

 

Looking back, I understand

it was my fault

to put myself in such a state

vulnerable, open, and unarmed.

I invited trouble

and trouble is what I got.

 

Looking back, I realise that I will never be that person

make those mistakes because

I have learned

I have grown

for the better,

for my own good.

 

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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Starting is the secret

Success is something we all dream of. For each of us though, success means many different things – money, fame, satisfaction or any other way you could define it. We’ve always been taught to dream of being self-sufficient and financially stable and the society we live in consistently tells us, this is what it means to be successful. But the truth is, you define your own success and it doesn’t matter who agrees or not with you(as long as you are not harming anybody in the process)!

Now, if you’ve been exposed to Internet for a while you would have obviously come across millions of articles regarding the ‘formula of success’, ‘how to be successful’, and ‘what do successful people do’. Well, I’ll tell you what successful people do, they START! That’s right, it is just that simple they start doing what they want to and continue learning as they are doing it.

They get their hands dirty and work on their dreams instead of just talking about it and reading articles about how to be great.

So, it is time for you to start as well, start with what you have, where you are and try to get better at what you want to do.

Ask for help along the way because it is okay to be stuck at some point – we’re only human! You’d be surprised at how many people will be willing to help you if you just ask for it. Take your dreams as seriously as you take TV shows/movies and you’ll go a long way. You get one try at life, why not live it by doing everything you imagine.

It is not easy, putting yourself up there and making mistakes and being insulted but that is a process of being successful. When you fail, tell yourself:

“This story is going to be in my book when I become successful”

Because it will shape you and teach you more than anything else in the world. Do not be afraid of starting.


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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.