The date is August 3, 2026. 5 Years from Today. You imagine today is that day. Just visualize it!
Now, ask yourself the following questions…
Do you want to be mentally healthy? Do you want to be physically healthy? Do you want to be free of all ailments? Do you want a positive voice in your head? Do you want to have less anxiety and/or less stress? Do you want to be satisfied or feel fulfilled in life? Do you want to have fewer problems in your life? Do you want to evolve to a higher version than what you were 5 years ago?
In order to say ‘YES‘ to those questions 5 years from today, the work for it starts TODAY.
Your today’s actions may not have an impact today, but they definitely have an impact ONE year from today, FIVE years from today, and TWENTY years from today.
The life you live today affects your future, no one else’s.
Mind. Body. Breath. The three most important aspects of our life. The three focus points of my life. Each of those areas plays an individual role in our lives. Moreover, in our lifetime, either beforehand or after, you have to start taking care or start paying attention to all those three areas. But here’s the important part, your mind, body, and breath play a role in each other’s areas as well. Your breath plays a part in the working of your mind and body. Your body plays a role in your mind and breath. Your breath plays a part in your mind and body. When one fails, all fail. When you work on one aspect, it has an impact on all three aspects.
Knowing that, understanding the advantages of working on those areas, understanding how those three aspects of our lives are interconnected, but also have an external impact on all areas of our life as well.
Whether it is how you live, how long you want to live, how well you want to live, what’s going on in your mind, is your mind well-fed, what is the voice inside your head telling you, how does your body regulate your energy, how often do the foods you eat cause a negative impact on your thoughts, on your day as well, how eating something nutritious immediately turns that scale, how is your breath affecting your actions, how is your food affecting your stress levels… These and more are questions that every individual should ask themselves… The sooner you start, the sooner you start seeing the results and the impact of these results on your life and the various external aspects of your life.
Mix all of this, with self-awareness, and I boiled down my life to three specific focus points and what do I need to about it, now, and how that affects my future. Thus, I focused on the following three areas… It took time, a lot of patience, and understanding, and experimentation, but eventually I realized the change once I started walking down that path.
1. I replaced the foods understanding their impact on my mind and body
2. I worked on the chemistry of my breath
3. I changed the voice in my head
All three individual areas of life, seem as if they don’t impact each other or the external aspects of our life, but they do, more than one can think of. Replacing the foods helped not just my body, but also the health of my mind, and my breath. Working on my breath helped me realize how it impacts every moment of my life, how it impacts what I do in the very next moment, and how it’s signaling my emotions too. The voice in the head is the biggest work that can ever be done, one that is initially shaped by society’s prejudices, biases, and whatnot, and that’s how we grow up. But work on it, and that voice can become a positive, optimistic tone that helps you and pushes you to help others as well.
None of this has a destination though when you start working on it, it’s a lifetime work-in-progress, but every day you see the progress, and every tomorrow there’s an evolution waiting to happen.
How often do you buy something? How often do you post about it on social media? Oh, you aren’t active there? How often do you tell your friends then about what you bought?
We have this feeling that we really want something, then we buy it, then we’ll share it everywhere and more often than not, the happiness of telling everyone about it takes over the happiness of having that thing.
Where does that root from?
We have this dire need within us to be better than others, to be superior, to choose communities that have the same beliefs as us. When we are compared to someone else, we should be the one chosen. We want to constantly look down upon others. Because that makes us feel better about ourselves. Now how does that happen? Who cares about characteristics or values, right? Or who cares about being secure with themselves?
So, now we buy something that someone else couldn’t. We will go somewhere where someone else couldn’t. And talk about it, on and on and on. We’ll constantly post about it.
Now, let’s get one thing clear. Sharing something about your life isn’t wrong. You want your audience, you want your friends and your relatives to be updated with what’s going on with you. With that intent, sure, it’s a good thing.
But when it turns into, oh let me show that person what I bought, or let me tell everyone what I’m able to do, then it turns uglier. Now whatever you’re doing isn’t for your self at all. Now, there’s boasting about it, and what not.
When you don’t tell a single soul about it, and/or you don’t share it on social media or anywhere else, and yet you’re satisfied with what you’ve bought, well then, you have bought something truly for yourself.
All our thoughts aren’t focused in one direction. How can they be?
Our thoughts range between 12,000 to 80,000 in a day, depending on the individual.
In that quantity, they aren’t focused on one topic alone. From time to time, maybe in minutes or hours, those thoughts range between a ton of topics.
And most of them are just random thoughts.
So random, you wouldn’t know what to do with them. But what can you do? How many times can you even divert your thoughts to a particular topic only?
But here’s the thing… Every thought has something to say! No matter how random they are, how matter how meaningless they may seem, every thought has something to say.
More often than not, its these random thoughts that speak volumes. They may lead up to something about us that we didn’t see before, or maybe you’re ideating on something and these random thoughts bring something to light that help you in that direction.
The point being, instead of dismissing these random thoughts, we should admire them and cherish them, and try to extract what can be extracted from them, instead of being disappointed that you’re not in the right space, or that you’re distracted.
These random thoughts sometimes speak more than we can see.
How its often told that you should balance your life, that you should take macro breaks in between things, and micro breaks in between different tasks during your day as well…
Sometimes we do it and sometimes we don’t.
Those breaks are as beneficial as the things that we were doing if not for those breaks. Both have their time and place and importance.
A break of that kind allows you to rest, to rejuvenate, to gather yourself to go all out again.
But sometimes, unknowingly, your body decides to give you a break as well (either because you didn’t know you needed it or because you were taking on too much).
A forceful break, temporary, is sometimes handed over to you, when you can’t take a decision but you just have to accept that break and wait for things to get back better again.
Such breaks could be of any kind, but instead of freaking out, may be we just ought to listen to our mind and body, and just understand the signals being sent to us, and the takeaways from those signals.
Sometimes, a break is forced onto you, regards the body.
Whether your professional or personal life, whether you’re thinking about your self or a goal that you want to achieve, or a task yet to be completed…
90% of the things that we do in life or that we would like to get done require just one thing…
Whether it is a project at hand or wanting to workout, or meditate, or if you’d like to cook or journal, anything and everything that you want to do, you can create plans for it, you can jot down the steps, you can find sources for inspiration and get motivated in the short-term, but eventually it all boils down to discipline.
Discipline is that self-generating power that keeps you going, that keeps you on your toes, that keeps you motivated even when the outcome isn’t in your favour, you don’t fail, but you keep going. You keep trying, but you don’t stop.
That’s the power of discipline. It doesn’t allow excuses, it doesn’t allow a setback, no external affairs can create a hindrance.
Said that, being disciplined isn’t an easy process for all. It takes time, it takes patience, and moreover the mindset to get that discipline going.
To get disciplined, you need a strong why behind you. A purpose. And self awareness. Mix the right ingredients in the right proportion and it gets you going. Don’t and it’s a matter of time before you aren’t able to continue for whatever reason and there and then you are thinking why did this not work out.
All of us, every day, have a ton of stuff to do, and there’s a limited period of time to do them.
In the midst of managing your time, trying to complete your tasks, give enough time to every sector of your life, there will be moments with others, with yourself, with some situations, where it may not go according to your expectations, or you may not be on the same page with a certain someone, or you might be in the wrong.
The point is, when these moments do occur, you have to pick your battles.
Give more than enough time to one particular thing and you take away the time from the other things… Time, energy and peace.
So when you have to pick your battles, you have to let go of your emotions, and you have to choose which conversation is worth arguing for, which outcome is worth fighting for, which situation requires more of you, and for others you just let go.
Not every situation is worth winning, not every situation is worth fighting for. At those times, you have to be smart enough to pick the right battles and move on from the rest.
These battles happen every day, some are happening with yourself too… But if you just hold onto one, then how will you live the rest of the day?
Whilst every sector of our life holds its own importance, with an alloted amount of time and efforts that need to go into it, there’s nothing more important than your mind and body.
The two sectors of our life, that we take for granted, and we pay attention to only when something goes wrong. Then we start the work towards it.
Instead, when you change your mindset, when you change your approach, you realize that focusing on your mind and body not only has an impact on those two areas, but the network effects fall on the other regions of your life as well, whether with regards to your thoughts, your emotions or your actions and more.
All of us just have the #OneMindOneBodyOneLife, and its high-time we take back the control of our lives, give the importance where its due and live life satisfied, happily, and peacefully.
What’s the basic viewpoint of our individual selves? How everything and how everyone affect our lives is what we care about.
Everyone wants to live their life a certain way, and they want everything and everyone else to abide by those standards and expectations so their life can be lived according to how they fantasized it.
In a scenario of this sorts, the mindset becomes so limited, that we only see ourselves, and we see our own advantage in everything. Here’s where ego and jealousy and competition boils up.
Where an individual stands out is when they develop an ability to see beyond themselves.
This ability comes in when they develop a mindset of growth, a mindset of service, a mindset to help others.
This ability helps in seeing beyond their identity, beyond their beliefs, and now empathy grows in, perspective grows in. Now, they see other people, situations of their life in a different light, they approach themselves, within and exterior, in a way different than before.
The ability to see beyond themselves helps to think bigger, to approach life in a bigger manner, to see the world in a wider form than before, your viewpoint has here shifted from yourself to the world.
Life is a balance of wins and losses. Either or isn’t even a choice. Sometimes you win at something, and sometimes you lose at something.
But, our society has created this narrative where everyone must win. At all costs. Irrespective of how you win. That’s the mentality that has been set.
And with a win put on such a pedestal, imagine how a loss is treated as! An individual is considered a failure if they lose at one small thing, they are made to feel as if they have lost at life.
Moreover, simply shutting down that noise and mindset for a second, when that individual just accepts their loss for what it is, then they’re free of the burden of it.
Accepting any kind of loss, in whatever form, in any sector of life, you understand that its okay to lose at something, you understand the mistakes and the lessons learnt from it.
You then develop a mindset where you understand the balance of life, you try more things because you feel free to lose as well. You shatter the structures on which the society is built, and live a life which is balanced with wins and losses, no matter how small or big.
So many individuals, so many stories, some inspirational, so many to learn from, so many to not repeat again…
But, any day, any time, the best example is of oneself.
This isn’t about self-boasting or arrogance, but for every individual, the best example that they should give is of themselves. Especially when they look at their past selves and then look at themselves today, in the present.
Those are any day the best examples, because no matter how inspirational or motivational someone else’s story is, only you know the hard work and efforts and struggles you have put into yours.
Your best example is your today when compared with your yesterday, and to see how far you have come, how much you have overcome, how much you have changed.
Moreover, if you doubt of you being your best example, that is again an inspiration to make one for your tomorrow and when you compare that tomorrow with your today.
There are a bunch and more of self-created shackles that we continue to put on ourselves, thinking this is how life is run, thinking this is how life is supposed to be.
But these shackles are put on ourselves by ourselves. With a choice.
This is a self-created prison and we continue to torture ourselves. We continue to go through it, and we continue to suffer through it.
BUT, that’s only until we realize that we have the keys to get rid of these shackles as well.
A path to create a new mindset, a path to have better thoughts, a path to not compare or judge and be judged, a path to be open and independent and free of the society narratives and biases, a path to grow and evolve, a path that will take time and patience, a path where results won’t be seen in a day or a week, but even if it takes a year or more, knowing the path is freer than before, you’re ready to walk on it, you’re ready to get rid of those self-created shackles.
60,000 to 80,000 thoughts in a day. That’s on average. Some say, thoughts range from 12,000 to 60,000 as well. Whatever may be the right number, they still are a lot.
The more habits you create, the more muscle memory of things you have, the more your mind will takeover during those moments, and you’ll end up thinking, having thoughts, not being in the present moment (unless one practices to be in the moment from time to time).
But, the more important question now remains, do you remember your thoughts?
How often does one thought lead to another and another, until there’s a chain of thoughts about a single topic and suddenly you jump to thinking about something else and now you have forgotten your previous thought?
Moreover, considering the quantity of thoughts we have in a day, its not a surprise that we don’t remember a majority of them.
As true as that may be for all of us, these thoughts do state something about us… How we think? The type of thoughts we have? The emotions behind them? The values behind them? Are they guiding us into something? Are they providing more ideas to you? Is there a deeper layer to them that you don’t understand yet?
The point is, an effort needs to be made to understand these thoughts, to make sense of these thoughts, to know whether these thoughts are even right for you or not.
Those efforts will be difficult, you won’t be in control to remember in the beginning, but it starts with remembering a single thought and holding on to it and trying to decode why it came to you.
Eventually we need to start remembering our thoughts, or else what’s the point of even having them.
Humans blame. We all do. For the tiniest of things. Everything that doesn’t turn out the way we fantasized about, the blame of that goes to someone, another individual, a group of individuals, a corporation, a government, a country, a religion or something else.
We are designed this way over the years. We cannot accept responsibility. Because putting the blame on someone else makes it easier to explain to ourselves, it becomes easier to put the blame on someone else, now you’re not accountable for what happened, irrespective of your percentage of fault.
Now the other party will bear the blame (in your imagination), every time, whenever an outcome doesn’t turn out your way. For every micro and macro element of your life.
Here you don’t have any control, you’re constantly looking for excuses, you’re constantly on a hunt to blame people, and it becomes an automatic mechanism for you without you realizing doing it.
When that is realized, when you decide to take control of your life, when you decide you want to be accountable for everything that happens in your life, without depending on external factors… Then you start thinking of steps to head in that direction.
Therein comes the Accountability Exercise.
The Accountability Exercise, where after every moment where you slip out, start losing control of the situation, when the outcome doesn’t turn out your way, you step back for a moment and say to your yourself that you’re accountable for what is happening, it is entirely on you.
No one else is responsible for that. Except you. Everything is on you. You’re accountable for each and everything of your life.
It takes time to accept this. It comes with practice. You do it consciously until it replaces the already-existing mechanism stuck in your brain that lets you think that everything going wrong in your life is someone else’s fault.
To learn, not particularly academically, but any form of learning, especially with the amount of content available on the internet, via audio, video or text, one can learn anything and anywhere, whatever topic they’re interested in.
Not obsessed per se, but who particularly looks back at the end of the day and notices what they’ve learnt, what are the takeaways from those learnings,
For someone like that, a day without learning is noticeable like a snap of a finger.
What if the day goes by and you didn’t get the time to learn something new and add something to your reservoir of knowledge?
But can a day really go without learning?
There could have been an experience with something, a conversation with someone, a thought in your head, that made you think… That made you ideate more… That was something new to learn.
Can a day really go by without learning, if you are really looking forward to learning something new?
Anyone who sees the world just by their own limited perspective, without wanting to see it from a third-person view, lives in a one-dimensional reality.
In such a scenario, everything is perceived just by that individual’s viewpoint.
So thereby, their biases and their narratives decide the outcome of a scenario even before it happens.
Whether this is through conversations, or actions, with people, or with generic scenarios, how the world reacts to them and how they react to the world is pre-defined in this one-dimensional reality (and it always goes the same way).
To broaden one’s horizon and to widen their perspective means to accept this reality they live in and then wanting to not that way.
In a previous post here, I wrote about how we fill the silence in our lives with various things and why do we do it.
Having spoken about escaping silence and running away from it… What can one do to embrace that silence?
That golden silence which is going to unlock so many things in your life, that you didn’t want to face but now you want to… How do you embrace it now?
The first step is one of acceptance. No matter what is revealed to you in this silence, you will accept it and not run away from it. That mindset of acceptance is the biggest key to embracing silence.
Once you have the mindset, then there are two ways to embrace it…
One, you do a lot of self-reflection. Sit to think, journal your thoughts, go deeper into them and when you face those deeper, darker thoughts, and you go deeper and deeper into them and take away their power, then you embrace the silence.
The other way is to meditate. Practice meditating, sit for longer periods of time, go in deep meditations, let everything come to you, feel it, feel those moments, and embrace that silence.
Once you experience it, then you want it more. You feel its power and what it does to you.
In order to escape the mind, we fill the silence with
– talking (more than usual)
– music (contextual) and/or consuming content in general
– activities that you don’t want to do
(or anything else that one might do to fill their silence)
Why do we do it though?
It’s only when we are scared of that silence. The deepest questions that you don’t think of lie in that silence. The answers you avoid lie in that silence. The truths you run away from lie in that silence.
Silence speaks volumes.
And that is why we run away from it. Because we don’t want to face it. That’s why we escape. Its feels better to escape your reality than to face it.
Facing it means to take action, to pause and look back, to accept your mistakes, to change your tomorrow, that requires change in thoughts and actions and that’s a lot of efforts.
Instead, we avoid the silence.
// i write about how to embrace this silence here.
In all of focusing on that voice in your head, how your actions affect others and how others’ actions affect you, we forget how we sound like.
No, this isn’t about your vocals and about the literal sound of them.
But, the impact of your words on others.
You may say something casually, but someone else with a different perspective than yours might take it differently.
And that is a lifelong conundrum that we live in.
You don’t know how you sound and you may never know.
Your anger in your words might put someone down deeply than you’d think. Your appreciation in your words might be taken sarcastically by someone else.
Moreover, this is a vice versa case as well. Because you yourself might get affected that way too, by someone else’s words.
The answer to this conundrum?
Either deeper conversations so you understand something properly, or a deeper understanding of the person so you know their style of speaking, or on a macro level, not to give so much importance to who speaks what (a difficult task that will come with a lot of practice, and might not entirely be recommended because sometimes people need people, they don’t want to do it alone).
To thrive as a human, we must coexist. What do I mean by that?
We are designed to ensure that we keep ourselves safe and we get to eat and sleep. Keeping history in mind, we’d do anything to ensure those things.
Over time, that anything has evolved into pulling other people down, doing wrong by others, picking out flaws in others and making yourself feel good or even getting frustrated by others and maintaining a distance from them, amongst other things.
However, where does that take you though?
In order to thrive, especially keeping our human relationships in mind (friendly, romantic, professional, and others), we must learn to coexist.
Yes, being aware is good. Yes, being woke is good. Yes, taking care of yourself is good. But eventually, in order to feel fulfilled, in order to evolve, in order to thrive, that answer lies in maintaining a common ground with others and then walking on that middle ground together.
When that happens, there would be lesser arguments, lesser disagreements, lesser frustration and better relationships with others.
We never seem to understand who we are. Our perceptions about ourselves are always on the either side of the scale, either we think we are better off than we really are, or we think we are worse than we really are.
That thinking stems from a ton of things, but that sort of thinking cannot be ignored which also counts a lack of self awareness.
Without self awareness, we are never really able to understand us. Subtract all the outer layers, and then understanding what’s left, because that’s the real us.
Better or Worse than we really are? That thinking will unfortunately never make us understand who we really are, and who do we want to be.
On the bright side, everyone does it, on the other side, we really need to stop doing it.
Rough Roads. Difficult Journeys. Hiccups. Everyone goes through such phases in life.
Such a phase teaches us the most important lessons, tests us in the toughest of times, and ensures whether we’re ready for the next step or not.
Has the rough road chosen us or have we chosen the rough road? That is surely debatable. But even if we willingly chose it, there must be a reason.
Such a phase is not understandable to ourselves, let alone others. But one can only assume that it gives a chance to strengthen ourselves, it gives us the opportunity to make decisions we otherwise wouldn’t have, it allows us to run when we are ready to run.
Often, you find a diversion towards a highway when you get out of the rough road.
We talk. We like to blabber. We listen to reply, and not to learn and understand someone else. That’s how we have programmed ourselves to be.
If someone doesn’t talk, they’re labelled as arrogant, selfish, or what not.
But what is someone labelled as who listens well?
Listening is a skill that isn’t headlined enough and is surely lacked in many of us. Let’s call it an underrated skill. Those who have the skill understand its value, those who don’t never will.
When you actually listen, you observe, you understand that certain someone, you understand their perspective, their point of view. Moreover, you get to learn something yourself, you get to widen your perspective, you get to understand how people of a certain taste think or act for example. All of that happens when you just listen.
Instead of throwing up your opinions everywhere, how about just listening? How about polishing that underrated skill in your life portfolio?
What is the circumstance at hand and what does it ask of you? Does it require you to stay the same or does it require you to adapt?
The situation could be in control or it could not be, but you need to act according to the circumstance at hand, and not how you would regularly react.
That’s what the circumstance at hand demands of you. To stay sharp. To stay atop of things. To not let things get out of your control. No matter what.
Once you are able to adapt according to every situation that life throws at you, then you’re in control, then you’re able to live life on your own terms, then you’re on a path of growth and improvement.
Every individual, since their childhood, is laden with the society narratives and biases and thus grows up to be someone who is in a constant comparison with everyone else.
That leads to judging others, at every moment, noticing their smallest of flaws (because eventually it makes you feel better).
Instead of noticing your strengths, you’re on a lookout for others’ failures. It unfortunately doesn’t lead anywhere, except you feeling unfulfilled and unsatisfied all the time.
What can be done differently is to take a different approach to this altogether. Once you realize this mindset, then you can take steps to reform yourself. Sure, the results will not appear in a day, but the first step can surely be taken.
A day without Judgement
That is what I propose. Be on the lookout for every thought you have. Try to go on an entire day without judging anyone or anything (no judgements against real or fictional beings).
The moment you break the chain, note down what exactly was the judgement, how it made you feel and was it even necessary.
Now, try again tomorrow and try to go on even longer (until you can complete an entire day without a single ounce of judgement through your thoughts and words).
If someone wants to truly learn, where’s the best place to do so?
But, the right question to ask is, what can I learn from this very thing that happened with me? (it can be anything that you just did)
The beauty about learning is that it happens anywhere and everywhere. You could be talking to someone and learning. You could’ve just read a tweet ot watched a video and learnt from it. You could’ve made a mistake and learnt from it.
Every moment, when carefully observed, has something to teach. Only if we are ready to look in that direction and gather some takeaway from it.
Some things are said, but not understood. Some things unsaid, but yet understood. Sometimes your words don’t match your thoughts. Sometimes your actions don’t match your values. So much is lost in transmission.
One individual’s appreciation can be another individual’s insult. One individual’s lesson can be another individual’s failure. This is the reason context is key in each and every situation.
On the outer layer, we see everything from our own perspective, our own values, and our own experiences. But bring in context, and everything that was lost in transmission seems clearer now.
How can you maintain that balance of context is the key to maintaining everything.
Our brain constantly records each and every thing that we do – what we consume (read, listen and watch). There are then neurological and psychological impacts to all of it.
In simple terms, what you feed to the brain is extremely important, because neurologically, our brain and our body organs are connected. Every thought that occurs, originating from what you consume, leads to a particular emotion (the type of emotion is then based on the category of thought) and the implication of that emotion is then felt in the body.
Psychologically, based on what you consume, your brain is constantly mapping out, in case of a film you’re watching, the character’s traits, their emotions, their journey in the storyline, your takeaways from it and something like this on a micro scale leads to changing how we think, how we act and how we talk.
Now, the question arises, what are you watching?
Because apart from how you originally think, the society narratives that have already influenced you, and the type of conversations you have, what you watch is going to impact your thoughts, your emotions, your actions, how you behave, how you think of yourself and of others etc.
The next time you choose to watch something, try and understand what you’re taking away from that consumption and the similarities of it in your real life.
Minute 1: Thinking about the Past (a certain action or a consequence of it)
Minute 2: Thinking about the Present (how you’re currently feeling, living the consequences of yesterday)
Minute 3: Thinking about the Future (how is today going to affect my tomorrow)
Minute 4: How could I have changed my past? (how could I have acted differently)
Minute 5: How can I change what I am currently feeling?
Minute 6: What can I do to not feel this tomorrow?
Minute 7: Thinking about how can tomorrow look different than today?
Minute 8: Daydreaming about an alternate timeline where everything is perfect
Minute 9: Overthinking about everything
And just like that, 9 minutes were spent on something that happened in the past, spread through today and the imaginative tomorrow. Alternate timelines were created, alternate scenarios were created, but with a lack of action, nothing changed.
The loop might repeat yet again, in another hour, in a few hours, multiple times in a day, for different topics, and different thoughts, again and again.
This happens to everyone.
The loop of thinking, thinking, and overthinking.
Until one can learn to snap back, be in the moment, understand what’s in their control, what’s not, what can be changed and what cannot be, and the actions that can be taken to actually change the today and tomorrow.
Quite often, people want to change the world, in some form or the other. Usually this stems from an understanding that something is missing, or something could be better, on a worldly scale.
But, at the same time, such a feeling also arises because your perspective or your point of view doesn’t match with the world’s and this quest to change the world often originates from you being able to change that.
A beautiful quote from Rumi fits in perfectly here, ‘Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.’ When you shed all the layers, when you start asking questions in depth, when you start facing your own vulnerabilities, you also understand how much you need to change yourself.
Instead of portraying your perspective onto others, you need to upgrade yourself and understand others’ perspectives and point-of-views. When you change yourself, you also elevate yourself to understand what someone else is going through and what do they want, instead of the initial version where you wanted to place your thoughts onto others.
When that happens, is when this quote also makes the perfect sense to you, and you are able to use the learning from this beautiful quote from Rumi.
2. Writer Alice Walker on the discomfort of growth:
“Some periods of our growth are so confusing that we don’t even recognize that growth is happening. We may feel hostile or angry or weepy and hysterical, or we may feel depressed. It would never occur to us, unless we stumbled on a book or a person who explained to us, that we were in fact in the process of change, of actually becoming larger than we were before.
Whenever we grow, we tend to feel it, as a young seed must feel the weight and inertia of the earth as it seeks to break out of its shell on its way to becoming a plant. Often the feeling is anything but pleasant.
But what is most unpleasant is not knowing what is happening. Those long periods when something inside ourselves seems to be waiting, holding its breath, unsure about what the next step should be… for it is in those periods that we realize that we are being prepared for the next phase of our life and that, in all probability, a new level of the personality is about to be revealed.”
Source: Living by the Word: Essays
3. If you are going to be jealous of someone, you must be willing to swap your *entire* life for theirs. You can’t cherry-pick the aspect of their life you want. You must give up *everything* you have and know. [Summarized for context; Naval on The Knowledge Project podcast]
4. Demonstration of success creates trust, which unlocks opportunities for further demonstration of success. The loop goes on, and that’s just the way it is. Hating people and complaining doesn’t do you any favours. [Kunal Shah on Paras Chopra’s Bold Conjectures podcast]
5. Fragmented attention is an enemy of engagement and excellence. [Adam Grant]
How many times have our conversations with others ended with the statement, “I’ll prove you wrong”.
Either in anger, or ego popping up, are the two major scenarios when one wants to prove someone else wrong.
Then, your life’s objective isn’t to be happy, isn’t to enjoy the process, isn’t to become better, but just to prove someone else wrong. And once you do that, then what?
Most people feel lost then.
Instead of facing off with such people, how about being around those people whom you want to prove right?
Such people who walk with you, who support you, and who also keep you grounded whilst supporting your vision.
Now what you’re doing is for the right reasons… Now you want to do something you are interested in, you want to do something that you want to spend your time on, and now you’re proving those people right who had your back.
Amidst all the content I consume every week, through this weekly series of ‘My Weekly Learnings’, sharing highlights of content pieces that caught my eye and provided more value than I could imagine.
(P.S. Every Sunday, I share a list of what to read, listen, and watch, in my weekly series, The Last 7 Days. You can check out the editions here).
1. Your first impression isn’t your appearance, it’s your energy. (Ascendant Power)
2. Intelligence isn’t a substitute for knowledge. Being smart doesn’t mean you’ve taken the time to be informed. Knowledge isn’t a substitute for wisdom. Being informed doesn’t mean you’ve developed good judgment.
Good judgment requires the humility to know what you don’t know. (Adam Grant)
3. Only the one who has faced failure is able to tell where you are bound to fail as well. (TVF Aspirants)
4. “Like our stomachs, our minds are hurt more often by overeating than by hunger.” — Petrarch
5. When you deal with an angry person or an angry mob, they are in a state of amygdala hijack. It’s often not helpful to talk to their prefrontal cortex of their brain and try to rationalize that time but easier to communicate in childlike sentences and calm their amygdala first. (Kunal Shah)
If you have more than one follower on any of the social media platforms, you have a responsibility.
A responsibility that is not a rule per se, but one that needs to be upheld for humanity to walk together and progress.
This responsibility states that you do your best
– to ensure your words and actions don’t put anyone down,
– to ensure you help out someone else, if you can
– to share what will make someone else’s life better (that doesn’t mean you post for other people, but that also means that you don’t post anything degrading or offensive to anyone else)
– and, to mainly ensure that you walk with others and not against them.
These are not rules. These are not laws. But sometimes, humanity is beyond that, and to progress, to unite, to move forward, we must come together with a unified set of responsibilities such as these, especially on online platforms that connect us globally in order for that to happen.
How often do we feel that we have to say yes to something? We feel pressurized, we feel its an obligation, we feel saying no would make it look rude. Thus, we end up saying yes to a bunch of things that we don’t want to do or things that waste our time, especially when its taken from elsewhere.
The power of a ‘NO’ allows you the time, the freedom, and the independence to do the things you want to do, the things you truly want to spend your time on and not end up doing things forcefully or things that you’re not interested in.
It’s only when you start saying no more often, is when you’re able to live your life like this.
Whenever you receive any information, or you receive a contrasting opinion to your thought, you have two choices.
Either you dismiss it quickly and stick to what you know, whether it is right or wrong, whether it is accepted or not, or the second option is to accept this new information, to accept a counter opinion, to hear the other side and what they have to say.
Choosing the latter option widens your perspective, expands your viewpoint and helps you grow and evolve. Then you have the choice to change with this information or let your information change someone else (whichever is the right one).
Our time (during the day) is divided into a bunch of phases, which include
– your work time,
– your family/ friends/ relationships time,
– your escapism time,
– your chores (cleaning yourself, your house, paying your bills, those types of activities) time,
– and your ME time.
This ‘me time’ is an essential part of your life, day to day and macro, both. This me time is not for any other purpose or individual, but for yourself.
Whether you use this time to rejuvenate, to relax, to learn and grow, to heal, that is upto you. This time gives you the chance to focus, to look back, to look forward, to look within, to look outward. But this is the time which is solely used for you.
The things that you’re able to do during this time, and the outcome, or what you feel during, are things that cannot experience in your other phases nor can you mix it with them.
Like any other time spent on the other phases, your me time is equally important to your life.
Constantly studies are being conducted on this, but it is said that an individual has 60,000 to 80,000 thoughts in a day, a single day.
When you look upon this, it is imperative for every individual to figure out what they are thinking about, where those thoughts are leading to, and whether you should change the way you think or not.
Throwing more light upon the topic, not all of those thoughts fall under 60,000 separate topics, but rather fall under particular branches and go in depth of them.
Now, for a particular topic, one thought leads to another and another and goes deeper and deeper into that topic (also spending a certain amount of time on this).
Under such conditions, how you think, your process, what do you think about are important points to ponder upon, because in the macro, such thoughts are going to form your emotions, your actions will depend upon them, and ultimately your life will be based on all of that.
It all starts with your thoughts, one thought after another.
Amidst all the content I consume every week, through this weekly series of ‘My Weekly Learnings’, sharing highlights of content pieces that caught my eye and provided more value than I could imagine.
(P.S. Every Sunday, I share a list of what to read, listen, and watch, in my weekly series, The Last 7 Days. You can check out the editions here).
1. There’s no such thing as a “good” or “bad” emotion. There are only “good” and “bad” reactions to emotions. (Mark Manson)
2. Not doing it because somebody else has done it is like not eating because somebody else is full. (Jack Butcher)
3. A list of 6P’s that provide a useful framework for anyone who wants to sell something.
Product – what are you selling Pricing – at what price Person – to whom Purpose – why are they buying it Priority – why now Prestige – and why from you? (Balaji Srinivasan)
4. Intelligence can be analogized to computers. Belief in a singular intelligence implies that humans possess a single general-purpose computer, which can perform well (high IQ), average (normal IQ), or poorly (low IQ). Multiple intelligences theory implies that human beings possess several relatively independent computers; strength in one computer does not predict strength (or weakness) with other computers.
For anything that goes wrong, or rather not according to one’s expectations, they sure are quick to blame someone in that situation.
Such blame games become a way to get rid of any accountability there could be and shifting that entire weight onto someone else.
But, blame games are a two-way street. If you can blame someone else, so can they to you. It’s a cyclical process and one that is never-ending. However, it doesn’t solve anything though.
What got wronged will be the same, irrespective of who gets the blame. Pointing fingers and arguments will not resolve the situation nor can you move forward.
Instead, taking accountability of something puts the entire control of the situation in your hands, you get to learn from your mistakes, you get to resolve the situation quickly, you get to move forward and also seek help from those you would have earlier stuck arguing with.
It almost seems like the advantages of taking accountability weigh much much more than playing blame games and not getting anywhere.
Over the years, the society narrative has developed in a way that conforms to a pattern where we, all of us, associate ourselves with the work we do and/ or the degrees that we have accumulated.
When someone says, describe yourself, it often results in an answer which includes work titles, college degrees, work experience etc.
And outside of work, those labels are then shifted to pop culture and/ or sports fandoms.
Thus, limiting our identity to one or many labels of some kind.
What hasn’t yet been understood is that, our identity is not limited to the labels we attach ourselves to.
These labels which become an individual’s so-called identity doesn’t help you to look beyond, to experience different things, to experience life.
And amidst these labels, we compete and we try to win, we fight and abuse and also want to become unique in them.
However, who we truly are is beyond any label out there and no amount of labels can limit one’s identity to those particular things. Life’s bigger than that. There’s so much more to experience than that.
Right from our thoughts to our actions, from our emotions to our response towards certain situations and events, from what we consume to what we create, do we really control anything in our lives?
What is it that is being truly done without any external involvement?
Our minds are conditioned to think a certain way. Our responses (words and actions) are programmed in a certain manner which comes out subconsciously. Those programs also include peer pressure, opinions from close and unknown ones, societal patterns, advertising and so much more.
When everything around us influences us so much, then we need to ask, do we really control anything in our lives, truly by ourselves? With our choices, for ourselves?
That would be the ultimate form of living, to get rid of the programming, and to create a whole new program for ourselves, based on how we want your life to be – without any external influences.
Whenever we get sick, we take a medicine to heal ourself and to get back to normal.
That medicine is useful to counter the effects of the consequences we are facing. But, not the origin of it.
Everytime we get sick and we feel those symptoms, our sick body (at the time) is telling us that something about your lifestyle, something about your environment is not right. And now, with those symptoms is the time to face the consequences.
Your body is also telling you, if you don’t want to feel this way, then you should probably take a deep-dive into your life and change the habits and choices you make that is getting you to this point.
A healthy lifestyle, working out your mind and body, frequent walks in the nature amongst other minor things is all your body asks of you to keep it in shape.
With social media, with virality, and such factors that bring fame to people, often people wear a cloak to hide who they really are and put up a mask when in public.
To be honest, the mask doesn’t apply to just the public image, but it’s put on within friends and colleagues as well.
Then the question arises, who you really are?
And the answer to that question lies behind closed doors. When no one is watching you. When you can be honest with yourself. When you can remove that mask and show your true face to yourself. That is the real you.
Behind closed doors, you understand your authentic self and everything about you, with a choice to show this self to the outside world as well, because that’s when you are at your strongest too.
Every individual has multiple phases in their lives, one that they look back to and ponder upon, when a new one begins.
There’s a perspective attached to every phase, of how you perceive things and how you react and respond to them.
Now, your daily thoughts (which decide your actions and outcomes) are all based on that perspective.
If your perspective on a topic is limited to something and you have decided to not look beyond, your thoughts will be as limiting as that and ultimately, that particular phase of your life is then lived in that manner.
Only if you want to outgrow yourself, reach that next level, must you expand your perspective of looking at things, thinking upon them from a broader viewpoint.
Hence, your thoughts will widen as well and because of cause and effect will your phase of life get affected in a positive and evolving manner as well.
These three areas are correlated and have a cause and effect impact on each other. To improve one, you must work on the other and the process is cyclical, which is then repeated to every phase of your life.
For any situation in life, there are always two ways of looking at things and one of them is a positive one.
The way our minds are programmed, how the society narratives are instilled within us, considering a number of factors that play here, our automatic response to most situations is a pessimistic one (and here we think, to have such a point of view is the one that’s realistic).
But, it’s all a game of programming. There’s no right or wrong. A little bit of unlearning, a little bit of practice and you can learn to automatically view any situation from an optimistic point of view.
There’s a reason this is happening to me, what can I learn from this, am I at an advantage here, I’m so grateful to have gone through this, there couldn’t have been a better way to learn this – and more of such optimistic perspective builds in your mind when anything happens in your life.
The current one, the pessimistic one, the negative thoughts, the downplaying yourself, all of those aren’t right, nor does any good to you – all of it is a program that has been instilled since childhood and it can be changed.
A simple question that we often resort to, ‘Can you help me out with this?’
We ask this because we know we would get help and our problem will be solved or the undone deed will be completed.
Now, asking for help isn’t wrong, but a strong skillset which people lack and don’t look towards, and one that also helps you to grow and evolve.
Said that, unfortunately, the question ‘Can you help me with this?’ can also come from your dependence on others and/ or your lack of efforts.
It’s when you don’t want to put the efforts towards something, but can be done by you, is when you look for easy help.
That and when you know someone is readily available to do it for you. What if you were the last person on Earth and that task had to be done by you? Would there be a chance of dependence onto someone?
Such a perspective solves many things in life and helps you to do a lot of things you didn’t think you could, but it also lacks context (a lot of ifs and buts) which needs to be understood by one whilst adapting such a perspective.
In life we walk on three paths – when we ask why am I doing this? Or why not?
The third path is one very rarely walked upon, the thin line between the two, when you ask both the questions and you’re stuck hanging in between.
There are certain things you do, or you want to do, to which every obstacle that comes along, internal or external, you ask yourself why not? And you keep on crossing such obstacles, whilst doing that certain something.
On the other hand, in a similar scenario, you ask why am I even doing this? You start searching for answers, start going deeper into this quest and you figure out there’s no point to it. There’s nothing wrong in not doing it, if it doesn’t serve any purpose at all.
But, the thin line between the two is the most confusing one, when you ask why not and you also ask why? You ask why not and make your mind and start pursuing it. But you also ask why, and see that there’s no meaning or purpose to it and you’re just doing it for the heck of it.
That thin line is when your values, your beliefs, your mindset come into the picture and based on all of that, you must choose a side. Because these are two paths and you have to be on the either side of it and fortunately or unfortunately, you can’t not choose either.
A game which is never-ending, and one which is played by all is the game of Ifs and Buts.
This game occurs for most, throughout various moments in just a day and that is then repeated over and over again, life then continuing in this cycle.
For anything that occurs, you think, what if I had done this differently?
For something that hasn’t happened according to your expectations, there’s a but that’s added to your thought.
These Ifs and Buts constantly keep playing in your head, showing you different alternatives if you had made all the right choices, and if everything went according to your plan.
However, two things happen here. One, such thoughts take away the present moment from you, constantly keeping you wondering about the past. Second, and more importantly, life is not but a series of choices you make based on who you are at that time and the experiences you have had.
Every choice you make is something you control, and only when you know the outcome isn’t in your favour is when you think what if. But there’s no time travel, is there? That means you need to be satisfied with the choices you have made and the outcomes that have come along with it, ensuring that those results play a part when you have to make your next choice that impacts your life, on the micro or macro basis.
When your thinking is altered in this way, is when you will be able to limit this game of Ifs and Buts in your head and actually be able to live your life in the reality.
With the internet at its current stage and with all of us having smartphones in our hands, at every moment of time, there is a ton of content available to us, just about everywhere.
But, our hypocrisy with free content is, we want free, but we don’t value free.
To elaborate it further, and having observed this for a period of time, given the choice between consuming something for free versus being charged to consume it, majority of the people always choose free first.
When asked who’d like something for free, everybody’s hands will jump up. And there’s nothing wrong with wanting free, why pay when something similar or better is available for free.
But the problem occurs when you have that certain thing or you consume that certain thing, but you’re not able to emotionally attach any value to it.
Because the initial thought is, I haven’t paid anything for it, therefore, I’m not gaining any expected value out of it. Only when I pay for it, is when I can attach a certain value to it as well.
For example, in the world of content creation, people will end up creating courses and e-books etc., with information so basic that it could’ve been given for free, but only because it isn’t valued enough and to create that value, is when creators resort to such methods (except when their primary reason to do it is for monetary purposes).
Such consumption, when paid for, is then cherished and now you celebrate the value you get. On the contrary, if you’d have received the exact same information or even more, but for free, would you have valued it the same? Or would you criticize that it wasn’t enough?
That is the hypocrisy of free content.
Even when you get less, you want to pay a certain amount so you can psychologically tick off in your mind that now you’re ready to accept the value in return for that amount.
What can you takeaway from this? Well, just because something is free, doesn’t mean it has no value to it. And just because something is being charged for, doesn’t mean it’s valuable.
Quite often, we don’t do certain things, we don’t say certain things, we do particular things in a certain way, whether we want to or not.
Such patterns originate from judgements and initially and mostly from the judgements of others.
When someone reacts in a way you don’t like, or didn’t react the way you expected, often, it is you who changes things around to get a different reaction. Basically, you’re getting affected from those judgements.
Similarly, when you judge other people on a criteria of things, and labelling them in sorts,
What emerges from both of these situations is ultimately the judgement of yourself.
With time, a pattern is created that leads to you judging yourself at every step of the way – judging every thought, every action and now doing them in a certain manner, because now you’re predicting how others would react when you do that something.
And then the ultimate question arises, do you want to continue to do things for the sake of validation from others, or do you want to change that and think and act the way you want to, irrespective of everything.
Making that choice starts a journey unlike any other, and one that never seems to end, but at least you’ll the path you’re on.
All our life we have been taught to be busy, either with work, or filling the gaps in between, just trying to do something or the other, often in the form of escapism.
The word ‘busy’ has been ingrained in our minds, so much so, that for anything that we do, be it watching a movie or scrolling on social media, we’d claim to be busy.
But, the reality of life is, in order to be free, in order to be more productive, in order to get more ideas, in order to relax, you don’t have to be busy all the time.
It’s in your ideal time when your brain is most active, it is that time when you’ll ideate more, you’ll think of your decisions to make, what do you want to do differently, what’s going right for you – that ideal time is your time.
Instead of focusing on being busy, focus on the opposite and notice the change it brings.
If an individual lives for say, 70 years or 90 years or even more, it sounds good to have lived that long.
But, life being an experience, it only matters if you have experienced life enough up till that point.
If you have lived the same life for a long amount of time, to not have experienced the thrill and satisfaction from it, then how does it matter how long does you live for?
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t live that long. No. It means that life is about experiences, life is about satisfaction, life is about freedom, life is about emotions, if all of those things and more aren’t experienced, then it doesn’t matter whether we live for 20 years, 40 years, or a 100 years.
Not because I wanted to lose weight fast, but because I wanted to live a better lifestyle than before.
Not because I wanted to look good, but because I wanted to feel good and feel those fabulous internal benefits of working out.
Not because I starved myself or tried fad diets, but because I knew it’s time to get rid of those foods that have harmful effects on the mind and body, that may taste good in the moment, but have not-so-good effects in the future.
A simple tweak of knowing the why, rather than the what and how.
A simple tweak of enjoying the process than the outcome.
We aren’t taught or we aren’t applauded for asking questions. Rather, do what you’re told, follow the narrative that has been rolled, execute the actions blindfolded.
But, the people who seem smart to you, the people who are knowledgeable, the people who are experts in their fields, that is because they ask the stupidest of questions.
They don’t shy away from it, they don’t care what anyone else thinks. They are curious, they will ask. They want another perspective, they will ask.
Those who think their questions aren’t smart enough keep forming the right question to never ask it, keep being curious in their minds to never know more than they already do, keep thinking everyone else is smarter than them.
Don’t shy away from asking the stupidest of questions because that’s how you grow and evolve.
You have three options in life, either to play, or pause, or to fast-forward.
What do these options mean?
The play option means to live your life. The pause is to take a break, rest for a while, pause your life with your daily activities and then resume again after a while. To fast-forward is to not enjoy your present moments and to just drift through, but with this option you later wonder where did all that time go?
There are two more options, one of which you cannot control, and one you don’t have the option of choosing.
The one you cannot choose is the stop button (your actions may influence the timeline of this option though). The other option you don’t have the option of choosing is the rewind button (you cannot go back in time and redo something, what’s done is done).
Once we understand the options that we can choose from, the perspective of looking at life changes as well.
With whatever you want in your life, there are certain expectations attached, a scenario where you give to take and not to just give.
That scenario is when everything becomes a transaction mindset for you.
You give someone something and you expect something in return, an expectation of your wish to be fulfilled by someone, even though they aren’t liable to anything in the first place.
Here, when that is not reciprocated, is when you get disappointed. It is at such times when you blame others, when you feel anger and also, create a dislike for the other person.
When you get rid of such expectations in the first place and when you truly give is when you start living your life. Now, when you receive something, you receive it out of worth or out of love, not because of anything else.
In our life, we are always running after what’s next or running after our wants, or rather complaining about the things we don’t have.
In all of this, we forget to be grateful for the things that we already have in our life.
Gratitude is such a powerful factor in our life, where if we are grateful for each and every thing that we have and grateful for each and every thing that we get to do, our approach and perspective towards life changes and we start looking at things differently.
For anyone who has browsed through the internet enough, or the social media platforms to be specific, would know how over-saturated the motivational content has become.
Every individual will come up with some type of motivational content, irrespective of how their individual life is doing, or if not original, then would remix someone else’s content, but so much of it is just revolved around Motivation.
It almost gives a perspective to people that motivation is all they need to do anything in life, personally and professionally. When they’re motivated, everything will be done right and everything they want.
When they aren’t motivated, then they’ll seek more of it on these platforms.
But, to be honest, is it all you need? Is it okay for one to perceive that motivation is all they need? This mental high they get after reading something motivational is all they need?
The problem is not with motivation, but with those pushing it and those consuming it. Sure, motivation is needed, but it makes more sense when its done by yourself, and especially when included with the other ingredients.
Motivation is just the cherry on the cake, but you still need the ingredients to make the cake first.
Right from your physical and mental wellness, to your mindset, to your thoughts, to your habits, your faith and your beliefs, the goals you have, the people around you, all of it comprise of those ingredients you need to make a good cake.
Then you can put the motivation as the topping, that’s what motivation is. But those who post motivational fail to realize that, probably because themselves are doing it just for the content or they have created a motivational bubble around themselves.
Irrespective of the reasons, as the consumer of such content, especially for one who wants to improve their life, who wants to write the script of their lives themselves, can ponder upon this and ultimately, take charge and start working on every aspect of their life and improving it, rather than depending on Internet Motivation.
How easy is it to manipulate someone’s mind, do you know? Common interests, common target points then make way for mob mentality, making it more easier to manipulate people at a mass level.
On the grounds of capitalism, wanting to be rich, on the grounds of diets, wanting to be slim, on the grounds of motivation, wanting to be inspired, on the grounds of followers and likes, wanting to be famous…
It is so easy to manipulate anyone’s mind, and those that understand this, then take advantage of it. If one is not aware of their true needs and wants, their true meaning of life, love and happiness, then they keep falling for these traps again and again.
It then becomes a cyclical chain.
For example, you eat something which tastes good for the moment, but unhealthy for the body. You then have to go on a fad diet/ taking shortcuts to become healthy. You spend a ton of time and money on consultations, courses, classes, etc. to get your workout in place, your diet in place, but you don’t feel motivated to carry on. Sooner or later, you now opt for someone to motivate you, either through a seminar or a personal consultation, or any other form. That cyclical chain then affects other areas of your life until you have fallen for every trap possible.
Instead, you could have opted to not eat that unhealthy thing.
A simple example can then be applied to every phase of your life, and it is then for you to realize how many traps have you fallen into by now.