Life is NOT a Race

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We all have heard of the classic fable ‘The Tortoise and the Hare.

There’s a Running competition between a Tortoise and Hare, where Hare was exceptionally fast. But it was overconfident and takes a nap. And the Tortoise wins.

Okay, so, the story didn’t change in a while. What’s the purpose of this story?

Overconfidence can dump us. I think that’s what the writer of this story wanted to convey.

But, the Big Question is, why on earth are they in a race?

Not all Hares are overconfident, even if they are, who sleeps in the middle of a race? Like really. The story—if made honestly—should end up with hare as a winner. And that’s obvious.

Whenever I hear this story, I wonder what a fool is that Tortoise? If I was a Tortoise, I would rather hang out with some Turtles on the beach. But I wouldn’t run with a hare because I know I can’t win.

It’s not my disability. It’s just not my track.

Perhaps, the Tortoise also knew that it was a foolish idea to compete. I’m sure, what might have convinced it, are the other animals in that jungle.

Maybe a giraffe said, ‘Yes, you can do it. Do not underestimate.’

Maybe a wild pig said, ‘Don’t give up, run for it.’

Maybe a fox said, ‘It’s a shame if you can’t win.’

 

They aren’t motivating. They were fooling the Tortoise. Because, in the first case, the Race is Not meant for the Tortoise.

Somehow, it won and nobody talks about this.

 

A race is always between equals. A race is between two runners with equal caliber and equal strengths and equal flaws and equal lives.

And I bet nobody is equal here. We are all different.

Then why are we even competing?

 

Don’t be a Tortoise



We all are like that foolish Tortoise. But we may not be as fortunate as it was, to win the race.

We hear people around us, pushing us, comparing us, estimating our caliber. They want us to run with hares and prove.

Ask yourself, is that your track? If that is not, then why are you even running?

If I’m motivated to fly and compete with a bird, I think I can’t win. I’ll train myself in flapping my hands faster than a hummingbird, practice jumping from a building into the thin air. Can I fly?

Surprisingly, people call it a disability. And you start to believe in it. That’s even worse.

Don’t be a Tortoise. You will lose. (Life is not a fable).

 

Stop Running. Start Thinking.

 

Okay, you must be busy running for something and perhaps wishing this article ends soon without wasting much of your time. But, take a pause and Think.

  • What are you running for?
  • Is that your track or somebody’s?
  • Are you running because that’s what you wanted to do or Are you running to prove something to the animals around?

 

If yes, then you know the result. Right? You know it’s a futile effort, right? Then, why?

 

If you force an Egg, it becomes an Omelette. Not a chick.

 

Look at yourself in the mirror. Do you look like someone? No. And that’s what you are. Unique.

We are all unequal. We have unequal minds, unequal habits, unequal lifestyles, unequal problems and unequal faces. So, you cannot really go on a race with anyone.

Just because you are of the same age, it doesn’t mean you should be doing as your peers. Just because you are into the same stream, doesn’t mean you should be at the top. Nothing to compare!

But we do. And thus, force ourselves to become better than someone, to run faster than someone, and remember, that if you force an egg, it becomes an Omelette, not a chick. You’ll just screw yourself.

 

Be a Hare

Be a hare. And you’ll win. (Life is not a fable)

The hare was running on its own track. It’s doing what it was meant to do.

Your track is empty. There’s nobody on your way and there can be nobody. You have a path of your own. And what matters is not speed, but whether or not you’re sticking to your direction.

Move at your own pace. No hurry.

When you are tired, take a nap. (No, there’s no Tortoise behind).

Come back, and keep moving.

 

What’s Wrong?



There are two things wrong.

We’ll be a Tortoise and we listen to the animals around. They convince us to do something which we cannot win. And later make us feel like a failure.

We’ll focus on our speeds rather than direction. If you are on the right track, it doesn’t matter how slow you are, you will someday reach the end. But if you are on somebody’s track, running fast, even if you reach the end, you will lose, because that’s not your track.

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How to Stop Overthinking (Instantly)

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Overthinking: The art of creating problems that weren’t even there

Overthinking is not just over-thinking. It is thinking without a control, without a direction. If I say, thinking is like driving a car, then overthinking is not – driving the car faster. Overthinking is drunk-and-drive. And that’s why it’s dangerous.

Most of the times, we know that we overthink. But the problem is that we do not know how to stop overthinking. And to overcome any problem, we always have three steps.

1) Understanding – What is it?

2) Analyzing – Why is it?

3) Act – What can I do?



Understanding Overthinking – What is it?

 

This morning, I rushed from my room by 7 a.m. as I had a very important interview.

When I was in the cab, I got a call from my neighbor aunt. “Are you in the room?”

“No,” I replied.

“Why’s the door open?”

That gave me chills. The keys are in my pocket, but the door is open. How?

The other day I read it in the newspaper that burglars broke into a bungalow in my colony. And we were warned to be more cautious.

I returned back, immediately. As my neighbor said, the door was open. I didn’t dare to step in.

I asked the watchman, “Did you see anyone going upstairs?”

He gave a minute thought and said, “No, but I heard a door smash, a few minutes ago. And—” he pointed to a broken plant pot, “Is that yours?”

“Yes,” I shouted. “It’s supposed to be in my room’s balcony.”

“There must be someone. You know they jump from the neighbor’s terrace to ours. And we, watchmen have to stand in the ground floor. We never know what’s happening above the stairs. Do you having anything valuable?”

“There’s gold in the desk. And money under the bed. We’ll go to the room,” I said.

“You never know what he might be carrying!” my watchman said.

There’s a CCTV camera that captures my balcony. We checked the footage in the monitor. To my surprise, the footage says that I was on a call while leaving and forgot to lock my door. I just pushed the door keys in my pocket and stepped out. And there’s nobody in my room. After a while, the wind got fiercer and the plant pot in my balcony hit the floor and smashed my door.

 

We were all just overthinking—my neighbor, my watchman and me.

 

Understand how our mind works. An open door indicates a robbery is a primary thought that my neighbor had. The news of burglary in the colony, the door smash, plant pot strengthened the suspicion.

What’s happening is that we assume something in the first case which we fear. And our tricky mind will perceive everything in a way that supports our assumption. Remember, we only see the way we want to see.

Overthinking is fueled with assumptions. And our mind loves assumptions. Why?

 

Analyzing Overthinking – Why is it?

The million dollar question is Why do we overthink? If you can understand this. It’s not a big deal to find a solution for How to Stop Overthinking.



 

Answer: We overthink because we want to be smart—we want to be a Sherlock Holmes.

My neighbor wanted to be smart by assuming an open door to robbery. My watchman wanted to be smart by misinterpreting a door smash. We all want to be smart. Nobody wants to sound foolish and that’s the biggest problem.

 

There’s nothing in this world that can trouble you as much as your thoughts.

 

You might be yelling, “But nobody said me that Sherlock Holmes was overthinking!”

That’s right. Do you remember the first metaphor I gave you? Overthinking is different from deep thinking. It’s drunk-n-drive and not driving fast. Sherlock Holmes drive fast—that’s deep thinking. That’s in fact, a positive extreme.

Whereas overthinking is going out of control, it’s a negative extreme. Driving fast is a skill. But driving out of control is dangerous and leads to accidents.

 

Overthinking is all about imagining things. Sometimes, it might help you in finding a solution. But many times, it only pushes you into some emotional trauma. It’s more of a problem than a way to find a solution.

 

Act – What can I do?

 

Stop assuming things.

Stop being smart.

Stop guessing.

Stop imagining.

And…

Stop Thinking.

 

It’s a baby definition that overthinking is over + thinking. That is thinking too much. And the best answer for: How to stop overthinking, is to Not Think.

That might sound ridiculous, but it’s practical and that’s what spiritual masters were teaching since ages. That’s what meditation is. To put a brake to that uncontrollable car.

 

I tell you 3 practical solutions that can help you get rid of overthinking. Remember, you can make a thousand more solutions on your own. Our ultimate goal is to Stop Thinking. I’m not telling to stop your mind forever. Push the brake for a second. The car stops. Just a second is enough.

 

  • Using Breathing

 

Stop whatever you are doing. Step aside from the world immediately. Sit somewhere. Close your eyes. Drink a glass of water. Watch yourself.

Let the stream of uncontrollable thoughts roll. Do not care. Just monitor your breathing.

If you try to control your mind, you lose control. It has a reverse effect.

You cannot control your mind directly. You can do it indirectly. That is by controlling your breathing. It’s a fact that our mind alters our breathing. There’s a link.

Whenever you are angry, sad, jealous or whatever, there will be a change in your breathing pattern. We pant, we sigh, we sniff…the way we breathe is somehow related to what’s in our mind.

So, to control your mind, control your breathing. It’s a meditation technique practiced by people for ages. I don’t want to call it meditation, because that word sounds boring, at least for most of the people.

And how long you should do it? Ten minutes, twenty minutes, thirty?

Nah. Just a few seconds. More than enough.

Come out of everything around and become completely conscious about your breathing. Inhale, exhale…smoothly.

You don’t need to push the break for an hour, to stop the car. Just for a moment, it’s enough.

The car stops.

 



  • Using Body 

 

Just do something physical. Go for a walk, jog, play a sport, jump, dance, exercise or whatever. You need some body activity.

Remember that, whenever the body activity increases, mind activity decreases. And vice versa.

Body and mind function in a reverse manner. Now you understand, why all those meditation techniques you tried have failed. Because whenever you sit quietly, your mind becomes more and more active. Thoughts flood. But when you are doing something physical, mind gradually slows down. If you are running very fast, your mind almost halts.

So, get on your heels and do something. It’s the easiest way.

 

  • Using Props

 

Okay. So, if you can’t win your mind, using breathing or using body techniques, the simplest, instant way is to divert it.

Divert your mind using some props.

A prop is a trigger for your mind to switch the topic. I suggest you to keep a small notebook with some pictures you love. Some memories written. Some good things that put a smile on your face. Call it a Cheer Book.

Whenever you find yourself overthinking, pull out the Cheer Book and scroll through the pages. That should instantly fool your mind and divert it to some good things that you love.

It need not be a book, but also an object or a song or any of your favorite prop. This technique is good especially if you find it very difficult to control your mind. This is simple and amazingly effective.

 

Note: Do not do all of these simultaneously. Try one at a time. If you think:  running fast, without breathing and with a Cheer book in hand will give the best result, that’s terrible.

 

Overthinking is normal. We all overthink. But as long as it’s not depressing us and it’s not breaking us, it’s fine. Do not overthink about overthinking.

It’s simple to handle.

 

Just push the brake. And the car stops, instantly.

I & Buffet – How successful people become successful?

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We all ask Google, How to be successful in life? How to get success? And a million similar questions with keyword success.

But, were the answers you found in those search results satisfactory? Did you get what you were looking for?

I was a constant seeker for this question. I read blog posts, books, articles, watched interviews of successful people and in the end, all these only overwhelmed me.

One fine day, I heard about a ‘Success Meet’ where 15 highly successful people from different streams and locations will give their success stories. There must be one common factor in all of them, and I wanted to know it.

 

THAT DAY (BEFORE THE BUFFET)

 

It was all exciting. I prepared myself with a notepad and took a first-row seat. The Meet started.

The first one was the Youngest Successful Entrepreneur in the city. He was just 17. He said, ‘For me, it seems like an overnight success. I started working on an idea from a year. It worked. But I tell you, it’s not easy. By the time, I stepped out of school, I know a dozen programming languages.’

What was his Success Secret? I pondered. He’s highly skilled and educated. Maybe that’s what you need: Education.



The second one was an elderly man, who started off with a bakery which fetched fantastic reviews. It was so successful that the bakery now has 5 branches in the city. ‘It took me just a year,’ he said. ‘I never went to school. I was working in a bakery and I know what it takes to make better bakes. So, I started it in a rented single room. Education isn’t really a criterion for success.’

What was his Success Secret? I pondered. He’s uneducated but intelligent. Maybe that’s what you need: Intelligence.

The third one was 60 yrs old man. He said, ‘The only secret to my success is my hard work. I started a company at age 35 and it took me 25 years to reach this point. I was always an inefficient, dumb guy. But I understood the fact that, I do not need to be intelligent. I can instead hire intelligent people and make them work for me. It’s only my Never-give-up kinda hard work that made it happen.’

What was his Success Secret? I pondered. He’s uneducated, not so intelligent, but hardworking. Maybe that’s what you need: Hard work.

The next one had none of them; he took a good amount from his dad and started investing them in the stock market. Things favored. He’s a millionaire.

Maybe that’s what you need: Money.

As the talks went on, in contrast, things started becoming more confusing and puzzling. I wanted to have clarity on one of the most difficult questions: How to be successful in life? But, this Success meet was full of contradictions.

Every story was different. Every man was different. Some were of 20, some 40, some 60. Some were scholars, some illiterates, some idiots. The only common thing was Success. But the only common factor for that Success is unknown.

I scribbled my entire notebook and at a point started to believe that, Success is destined. Maybe they are, by some means, destined to succeed in life. Somewhere deep within, I know, it’s not the answer, but I was consoling myself.

 

AT BUFFET

 

The Buffet was the climax of the event (and also the climax to my confusion).

I wasn’t hungry, because I didn’t yet find my answer. I took a corner seat and watched the fifteen entering into the Buffet hall. They all moved to different menus and picked their choices.

One of them took a donut and said, “This really tastes good. You should try.”

The other said, “No. I’m diabetic; I’d rather choose a salad.”

“I can’t chew that, my tooth aches. Large glass of fresh orange juice is all I need,” one of them said.

“I’m hungry as hell. I’ll go with a Beef sandwich.”

Nothing was in common. Not even their food habits.

But…

I discovered something profound.

They were choosing What they can eat. In fact, they were doing What they can do.

 

WHAT IS THE COMMON FACTOR OF EVERY SUCCESSFUL MAN?



 

In the whole experiment to find the common factor, I found, the only thing common for all the fifteen is their Way of thinking.

You call it Thought Process. You call it Ideology or whatever. At a foundational level, they all think alike.

Let me explain.

The one, who is good at math, used math as his tool. The one, who had some money to invest, used money as a tool. The one, who had an experience at something, used it as a tool. The one, who had an idea, used that idea as his tool.

They aren’t working on the same platforms. They were working on what they have. Their biggest tool for success is that… which they are good at.  

Successful people are successful because they don’t waste time doing something which is out of their domain. They work on what’s in their hands and what’s in their hearts. In the journey of success, you can use any tool you have.

 

THE MISTAKE WE COMMIT

 

Our mistake is that we focus on the tool, rather than the way someone used it. We look at investors and say, “He’s got money to invest. I don’t. So, I can’t be him.”

We look at a successful speaker and say, “He’s good at speaking. Vocab. But I’m not. So, I can’t be him.”

Understand the fact that, successful people turn their strengths into their weapons. That’s how they win.

Focus on the way they think—the common factor.

In the buffet, they were eating different foods. But, in the end, they all satisfied their hungers.

Success lies in the mindset of using what you have, to achieve what you want.

Simple it is.

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I & Dirty Water – How to control Mood Swings

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mood swing:

(noun)  an abrupt and unaccountable change of mood.

 

It was always my friends talking about my mood swings but I never consciously caught my mood swinging. I, for the first time, realized it after my break-up.

Bad relationship it was. I was into depression. Few days later, I found my ex with some other guy. My depression turned into jealousy. I messaged her. She saw my message but didn’t reply. My jealousy turned into anger. Next day, she blocked me. My anger turned into sadness.

Like a Chameleon changing its colors, my moods were changing from one color to other.

It was a monsoon evening. I sat by my bedroom’s window looking at the gloomy climate. A little far from our stay is a slum colony. They live by the footpath. A boy of six or seven walked out from one of those slum huts, with a bucket and mug.

He went to a mud puddle that’s just dirty water accumulated by rain. He was trying to collect water from it. He was creaming it, trying to filter, but nothing was working. The water is blended with dirt.

For more than twenty minutes, he tried. And then, he gave up. He left.

I felt sad for that little boy who was seeking for some fresh water. He gave his best, but of no use.

Sun went down in a couple of hours.

The boy came back with the same bucket and mug. He crouched near the puddle and collected water. Surprisingly, the water had no dirt in it. I might have learned this as a science experiment, but the little boy learned it from his necessity.

He gave up, only to come back later. Because he understood, that the muddy water doesn’t need any efforts, but just time. Give a little time—the clean will come up, and the dirt will settle down.

I was doing the same mistake which the boy did. My mood swings weren’t settling for the same fact—I’m NOT giving it time.

 

 What are mood swings?

 




Mood swings are fluctuations of different emotions in a short span. The word ‘mood swings’ has something to do with time. We call it a swing because it is an abrupt shift from one emotion to other. So, the solution is also in parameters of time.

Our minds are like mud puddles. Like that little boy, we try to filter it. But the more we try, the dirtier we are making it. The thing we don’t understand is that we need to give time for our mood swings. Only then, they will settle and you’ll attain peace of mind. 

 

The Best thing you’ve to do when you are having a mood swing is: Do Nothing.

 

I see many people searching for: How to control mood swings? How to cope up with mood swings?

The answer is, do nothing at all. Step out of all action, all conversations, all things that might trigger an emotion. Rest for a while, play a game, go on a ride, eat something, whatever. But do nothing about that emotion.

If you are sad, don’t think of ways to get out of sadness. Let it be, and give up. Within a few minutes, you find your sadness settled at the bottom. This is extremely important to understand.

 




We have a bad habit of trying to solve things. But that will only mess you up in this case. Because emotions cannot be solved. In the first case, understand that emotions are not problems. They are just dirt particles. They settle on their own if you stop stirring.

Mood swings are normal. But, its reflections are the real problem. Being sad is okay. But what you do in that sadness is the problem. If you are angry at someone, it’s okay. But then, you immediately text them, or call them, or stalk at their profile. And any of these might trigger another reason for your anger.

 

Situation is the mother of emotion.

We know that situations aren’t permanent, so are emotions. But your actions are permanent. I see people taking hard decisions in life, just because of a tiny situation. Remember, someday, situations and emotions pass. But the things you messed up because of them will remain.

 

You want a divorce from your wife because you didn’t like the sandwich she made for breakfast. She can make a better sandwich tomorrow, or the day after. Even if she fails, you can buy a sandwich. But divorce will permanently separate her from your life.

This is a ridiculous example, you may say. But look back at your life. How many times did you take Big decisions in your mood swings? Aren’t they ridiculous?

Once my friend was having a fight with his girlfriend, on phone. Call dropped. Thinking that she switched off the phone in between, he slit his wrist. He was angry, furious, out of control. Five minutes later he got a callback, she said, ‘Sorry, no charging. I just plugged in.’

Now, that scar on his wrist will stay forever. Isn’t this ridiculous? I think, my sandwich example was better.

 

Look at yourself. Your mood swings. Don’t try to solve them. Don’t consider them as problems in the first case. If there’s something you really want to do—Do NOT make decisions during a mood swing. Give time for your dirt to settle.

 

10…9…8…7…6…5…4…3…2…1…

Give up! Give time. Let the water settle.

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Think about it.

Share it with those whom you think should take care of their mood swings. Help your self. Help others. 

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I & Sandwich – The Secret to Failure

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The easiest way to success is to know the secret to failure.

As a kid, I read Edison’s story where he was trying to figure out what works as a filament. He tried with every damn thing, but it didn’t work out. When someone asked about his failures, he said, “I discovered a thousand ways that don’t work.”

When you know what it takes to fail, you’ll know the other side of the coin too. That’s the easiest approach.

I discovered the secret to failure when I was in high school. There’s this master-chef competition where we have to experiment our recipes on teachers. It’s kind of a revenge game.

Well, nobody likes to be bad. We were trying our best at cooking.

Let me be frank: I wasn’t prepared. But to me, the easiest of all is a sandwich. Maybe that’s a misconception, but my perception of a sandwich, at that point of life is stuff between two bread loaves. That stuff can be anything leftover in the refrigerator.

My friends were trying North Indian, Mexican, Italian recipes. It’s de-motivating. But then I found someone who was trying a sandwich too. But he took all measures so that I don’t steal his recipe.

I was worried. Inferior. I was loitering in the school balconies.




As I was walking through a staff room, I heard the judges. They were three of them. One of them said, “I’m really looking out for lots of mayonnaise.” The other said, “I’m waiting for chocolate recipes. Nothing beats sweetness.” And the third one said, “Nah. Fast food is my favorite. I somehow like that flavor of soy sauce.”

That was a hint to me. More than a hint. I got a peek into their tastes, so I felt my job is almost done.

The time limit was for one hour and I chopped stuff—tomatoes, cucumber, lettuce. I was staring at my friends sandwich which looked pathetic. There isn’t much stuff. He was just grilling bread loaves with butter.

The competition is done. And you know, none of them could actually complete their cooking. It was just three and I’m one of it. The other sandwich guy is done too. And noodles were another option. It looked over-cooked, anyway.

I was super confident until the judges took a bite. To my surprise, their faces showed different colors as they chewed. “What did you put in it?” all three asked with one voice.

I explained that I added stuff with mayonnaise, Hershey’s choco spread and soy sauce.

“It tastes disgusting,” they said without any hesitation.

I wished I could jump off a cliff, that minute.

“But why?” I asked.

“Why did you add soy sauce and chocolate?”

“I thought you’d like it,” I said.

“But, No. You don’t do that with a sandwich,” they left with a sympathetic glance.

I failed. Just like they can’t digest my sandwich, I couldn’t digest my defeat. Unexpectedly, my friend’s sandwich was applauded. He’s on the winners list.

I walked to him and asked innocently, “What did you put in it?”




“Just stuff with some cheese. And I grilled it.”

“Mayonnaise, chocolate and soy sauce?”

“Dude, but why? I just added what a sandwich needs.

He’s right. He didn’t satisfy the judges’ personal favorites. He just did what has to be done.

I realized that the secret to my failure was that I was trying to please all the judges. I was trying to make something they love and it was a disaster. I never thought how the sandwich would taste or what actually does a sandwich need. It was all simple. But I messed up.

I’m not sure what it takes to succeed, but that day I realized what it takes to fail. It’s easy to learn failure.

Whatever you are doing, do it in a way it has to be done. I’m sure we cannot please everyone. Because everyone has their own taste and if we try to add all their favorites, you’ll end up making a disgusting sandwich, just like I did.

There are always people whom you cannot satisfy. It’s a simple fact that people’s tastes are different. Some like soy sauce. Some like chocolate. How can you satisfy both of them simultaneously? It’s impossible.

Whatever you do, you face comments. But that’s just one side of the coin.

The other side is, whatever you do, someone will love it.

If what you doing don’t satisfy someone, it means you are exhibiting to the wrong audience. There’s a place for every one of us. The world is bigger than we think.

Understanding failure is simple—stop pleasing everyone. Once you get that, you’re already halfway to success.

Everything in life has a recipe. Just do it the way it has to be done. Not more. Not less. That’s all you need to know. For god’s sake, next time when you make a sandwich, don’t add mayonnaise, soy, and chocolate.

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I & Turtle – Why you shouldn’t play safe

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I always want to play safe in life, without taking a risk. Just like everyone.

Lately, I realized that something was wrong.

Did I tell you that I’m a beach volleyball player? Whenever I put my bare feet on beach sand, I seek for a volleyball. It’s not easy, especially when the sand is wet and loose. It takes no time to stumble on shore. You hurt your knees, elbows and (when not properly stumbled) nose. So, beach volleyball is always good until you stumble.

I was playing a match last Saturday with my friends. It was going great until I stumbled. I hit my right knee to a pebble. I walked out and laid myself on shore watching the sunset. I do that whenever I’m hurt. I walk out of the game. I play no more.

The pain was horrible but soon I diverted it by staring at the four turtles walking towards the sea. One was so close to me. I placed my palm on its shell to draw it close as I love little turtles, but to my surprise, it immediately shrunk into the shell. Its head and limbs disappeared. What remained is just a shell, like a rugby ball.




I remember reading Turtles retract their heads and limbs into shells when they are scared or feel vulnerable. It took a minute for it to come out of its shell.

I touched it, and it shrunk again. It was fun. I repeated. The other three turtles were walking towards the sea, but the turtle at my hand lags behind.

I wondered what if I keep touching it all night. It will always remain in its shell, safe. Thus, it will never reach the sea. Isn’t it?

This bothered me, like really.

While the other turtles already swam into the sea. This little one lags behind forever if it chooses safety. There should come a point where this turtle should stop retracting into its shell and start walking towards the sea. Only then can it succeed.

Either I should stop bothering it or it should dare to walk. But bothering doesn’t end. If not me, then someone else, or something else. There’s always a threat to this turtle as long as it is out of its shell. The only way for it to reach the sea is to dare. Come out of the shell, and walk.

Hell! I was just like that turtle. My friends always asked me to keep playing though I stumble again and again. They want me to come out of my shell. But, whenever I stumble I get into my shell, my comfort zone. Because I’m afraid of hurting myself again.

Life always bothers you, in all ways, always. If I hide inside my shell, I remain in it forever.

Then, how’d I move? How’d I reach the sea which I’m supposed to?

WAIT, now that I stumbled, I walked out of the game. I’m resting on the shore, in my comfort zone. My idiot self asked me, What if I choose comfort instead? It’s like what if the turtle says to me I don’t choose sea, I choose shell. Now, what’s your problem?

That’s really another question. Because choosing a comfort zone is a personal choice. Just because the other turtles are walking, it doesn’t mean that this cowardice turtle should walk and not hide. Yes, what’s wrong if I play safe?




I heard my friend calling me. I turned around.

My friends stopped playing. “What’s wrong?” I asked.

“The game stops, without a player,” my friend replied.

That hit me. The game stops. As long as I hide inside my comfort zone, the game has to pause. Like the turtle’s journey stops as long as it remains in its shell. Choosing comfort is not a problem, but choosing comfort always is.

The real risk is when you don’t take any risk—when you play safe. Because then, you hibernate, and all of your life, all of your game pauses.

Pausing life is a bad idea because time never pauses. It passes, it doesn’t give a damn whether you’re hurt, or not. The sun was setting, the clouds were turning dark. They didn’t care about the little turtle beside my hand.

So, playing safe is like not playing at all. When you play safe, it only means that you are pausing the game.

But, remember that, someday the sun will set.

Come out of your shells, walk to your sea before it happens.

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Think about it

Share it with those who play safe and are afraid to step out of their comfort zones. Help your self. Help others. 

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I & Google – Searching for Peace of Mind

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We know that peace of mind is not a piece of cake. But we all ask for it as if it is. Might be before an exam, or during Maths hour, or after a bad chat with girlfriend.

There came a point in my life when I badly needed it. I was in a Peace Conference then. I asked the speaker, “where to get peace of mind?” He smiled and said, “Nobody can give it to you. You’ve to search for yourself.”

Search for yourself he said. The statement sounds good to print on a T-shirt. But where do I actually search? He didn’t say. I locked myself in a room and started pondering about it. After a moment, I decided to search for it in a place where you find anything—Google.

I started typing all the keywords related to Peace and Mind. And the search results showed a never-ending list of blog posts. I started reading one by one. Some had practical steps as if Peace of Mind is a DIY project.

A post said: Write down a list of what you don’t like and burn it. It sounded interesting. I started jotting down lists and burned them with a psychotic smile. I did it until my room filled with smoke and my eyes turned red. Didn’t help.

Well, there was another post: Write down the word “Peace” 21 times. I don’t know how this thing will work but the number 21 sounded romantic. Anyway, this is easy (at least my neighbors wouldn’t call fire police). It was all good until I realized how bad my handwriting is. It took me to a memory where my fifth-grade teacher punished me in front of my crush, for bad handwriting. With every word I write, I was turning more frantic. Didn’t help.




There was a post saying: 1001 ways to attain Peace. You know such posts work because of the probability factor. Who knows, at least one of those might help. I started reading:

  1. Play with your dogBut I don’t have one
  2. Resolve your relationship issuesBut my Ex blocked me
    .
    .
  1. Tell the truthI can’t tell mom that I have a girlfriend
    .
    .
    .
  1. Read blogs on PeaceHell! That’s what I’m doing

.

Scrolling through that long list helped me attain good sleep. Perhaps, the title was wrong. Nothing worked out, except the last: 1001. It says- Get a statue of Buddha and put it on your desk. Oh! Now that’s the easiest of all.

I checked for a statue on Amazon and added it to cart. It was good until the payment gateway showed up, where I realized that my bank balance was 3.50 bucks. Didn’t help, for god’s sake.

Perish all Blogs! I switched to videos.

He looked like a peaceful man with white beard and saffron shirt. I’m talking about the guy in the video. There was vintage violin background score. He was instructing: Close your eyesI did. Take a deep breathI did. Think about what you love the mostI did. Imagine you have thatYeah! Going great, I did.

silence

The instructions stopped abruptly. I opened my eyes to check what’s wrong. And there was a pop-up on screen saying: “Sign Up for Full Course at just $49”

I lost even that little peace left in my head. I continued browsing for an hour or so for better ways. As time passed, so did my patience. I was frantically breathing searching for peace of mind… and then, there was a power cut.

Everything dark and silent.

Ironically, there was a sudden peace filling my mind. I sat down in the most relaxing pose ever.

I realized that it’s not one of those searches that helped me to attain it, but the moment my search stopped, it was there. Peace of mind. All this time I was desperately searching for it and the more I dig it, the more I was losing it.




The more I was searching for it, the farther I was moving from it.

Peace of Mind is to silence your mind. But when you keep searching for it, and when you keep thinking about how to attain it, your mind, in fact, makes more noise. It’s like trying to attain silence using musical instruments. Violin, guitar, mandolin, or whatever is the instrument, they don’t help you in composing silence. Because silence is in the absence of all the instruments. No efforts needed. It’s there.

Similarly, all this while I was trying different ways to find peace of mind. In the end, I understood something strange.

There are few things which you find, not when you search for it. But when you stop searching for it. And Peace of Mind is such a thing.

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I & Pearl Store – How to be different

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Who doesn’t want to stand out from the crowd?
Everybody wants to be different, wants to be unique. I too. But I had no idea what makes someone different from others until I visited a Pearl Store.

Last evening, I hung out on a beach with my girlfriend. We were walking by the tiny stores on the way to beach. There’s a Pearl Store—the busiest of all. She rushed in to buy pearls. I wasn’t really interested, though.

I was standing in the store like one of those mannequins, staring at the crowd and the pearls on desk. They were two bowls on the desk, one of which had hundreds of pearls—round, white and equally glittering. The other bowl had just a dozen pearls—different in shapes, different in colors. I was fascinated by the second bowl, and so was everyone. How are they different? I asked the shopkeeper. He smiled as a reply.

I didn’t get his smile. The price of those different pearls was twice. And it had the attention it deserved.




Unique things attract, and isn’t that why we all want to be different? After all, the unquenchable thirst of everyone is to be recognized, is to be identified and appreciated. And that cannot happen when we are one among the crowd. It only happens when we stand out.
I just wanted to be like the pearls in second bowl. I asked the shopkeeper again, How are they different? He returned the same smile as if he’s hiding a secret.
He asked, “Are you buying them?”
I nodded, “No,” and stepped back as if-if I’m not buying them, I don’t have the right to know the secret.

The shopping is done. She bought two of those different pearls and we walked out. I held one of those and examined it. It wasn’t perfectly round and white. It had a shade of deep blue and orange blended on surface. It was much of an oval. Beautiful!

My curiosity was still up when I found the shopkeeper shutting his store. One last time, I asked him the same question. “How are they different? Are you hiding any secret?”
“I’ll tell you if only you don’t exchange the pearls back.”
“Why would I? They are stunningly beautiful. Tell me what did you do to the pearls in second bowl?”
“Well, it’s simple. I didn’t do anything with those. But I’ve polished the pearls in first bowl. The second bowl pearls were just crude and unpolished.”
“But this unique shape, unique colors?”
He laughed, “Haven’t you seen pearls before? That’s how you get them. We polish, coat, and cut them into same size and same color. Else, every pearl will be unique.”

He walked away laughing at my ignorance. What came startlingly was the fact that he didn’t do anything for those second bowl pearls to look beautiful. In fact, he damaged every unique pearl to make them look same.
Nothing made those pearls look different. They were different, in the first case. The efforts were made to look same.

Isn’t it the same story with all of us? We try to be different forgetting the fact that we are already different. All we have to do is to stop being same. You might have read or listened to people say Be yourself, because you are intrinsically different, just like an original pearl.




But we got things wrong. We thought it would take many efforts for us to be different. We were struggling to stand out. But that will never happen.

Efforts are needed for you to become similar, to fit in the crowd. When you stop putting those efforts and realize that you are already what you’re trying to be… that’s it.

The shopkeeper was smiling because my question was foolish. He didn’t do anything with pearls in second bowl, but it appears as if he’s done something to make them beautiful. Because we still believe we can achieve beauty. We can only achieve ugliness. What’s there first, is always beautiful.

He had no idea what impact did his little bowls of pearls had on me.
He unknowingly taught me:

The best way to be different is—not to be the same.

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Have you read Monday Motive #2 What you can do?
No? Read on to unleash your potential.

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I & Pet Bird – What we can do

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Last month, when I visited a pet shop, I met my fifth-grade friend.
He was surprised to know that I gave up on writing. “You were working on a novel, right? Why the hell did you stop it?”
“You know,” I said, “It’s bigger than we can perceive, the world of publishers, readers. And I feel like a sand grain.”

It’s not really easy. Especially to chase your dreams.
The worst thing about Dreaming Big is that they make us feel so small.
But my friend denied, “Bro, you shouldn’t give up.”
“Why don’t you write a book and prove me wrong,” I said.
He didn’t answer. Maybe because I had a point. Or maybe because he felt that I’m out of ‘convincing-band’. “So, what are you up to? I mean in the pet shop.” He asked. The disappointment on his face was clear.
“I’m buying a pet bird.”
“Which one?”
“That black one. It looks cute.”

I always have an affinity for tiny birds for their overloaded cuteness and the sounds they make every morning. I was lately depressed with my writing-renunciation and needed something to cheer me up. Google suggested me to have a pet. Just to make me feel better.
The bird which I bought was the size of my fist. Its feathers are fragile, beak soft and body hollow. I grabbed it in my palms and fed the pet-stuff.




Stepping out of the pet-shop, “The bird looks weak,” I said my friend, caressing on its head.
“But, I never thought you’d give up on writing,” he said—back to the same topic.
I understand it’s difficult to convince someone to believe in what you believe is right. Because they aren’t walking your way.
“I know, giving up hurts. But you need to get this point. Dreams are like clouds hanging up in the sky, they look tiny when we look up. But when we plunge to take a flight, only then, we realize how big they are and how small we are.”
He was about to reply when the bird in my hands slipped.

Before we realized, the tiny pet bird flew away. We raised our heads helplessly staring at the bird flapping wings against the clouds. It looked weak, feathers fragile, beak soft and body hollow. That moment, looking up at the bird, I looked down to myself.

The bird was small, but it didn’t accept its smallness. That’s what it taught me, slapping with its wings. Birds know how big the clouds are but they don’t know how small they are. And even when they know how small they are, they don’t believe in it. True size of someone is the size they think they are.

I’m small, not because I’m small, but because I think I’m small. And when I do think, my big dreams scare me. Everyone has a dream, but how many of them really end up living the life of their dreams? The reason is that we doubt. We doubt What we can do.




I always considered the sand grains on the shore as weakness. But they have survived a million tides of the infinite ocean. Yet, they stick to the ground. What kind of strength does a sand grain have to face the ocean? What kind of strength does a bird have to face the clouds? Their strength isn’t in their bodies. It is in their hearts.

True incapability of a man is that he fails to believe that he’s capable. That’s what makes all the difference.

The world might be big. The dreams might be big. But so should be our belief in ourselves.

“Damn, that escaped,” my friend shouted, “shall we complain about it in the pet shop?”
“Let it fly,” I said.
“But you wanted a pet, to drive your depression. Isn’t it?”
“Not now.”
“Why?”
I said, “I can’t explain. I’ve to go home. I left my novel incomplete.”

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From Author’s Desk:

How often do we notice the little creatures around us doing things which are unimaginably big for them? What we can do is independent of our size, our muscles, our past, our problems and our every-damn-excuse. It only depends on one thing: The belief that we have in ourselves.
If you think you can do it. You can do it!

Next time when you are giving reasons for chasing your big dreams, look at a flying bird.

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Think about it

Share it with those who doubt their potential and needs motivation. Help your self. Help others. 

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I & Restaurant – The Purpose of Life

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I was at a Restaurant lately, sitting idle. The waiter asked me, “Your order Sir?” but I couldn’t reply because there was another question on my mind already. The question was “Why am I?”

When was the last time you questioned your existence? For some, it might be a question that creeps up the balcony every 2 a.m. and for some, it might be a random uninvited question while taking a shower or walking a pet dog. It happened to me a million times, and once again, at the restaurant.

I thought about this inevitable question, “Why am I?” or to be less philosophical, “Why the hell am I here?” (not in the Restaurant but on this damn planet). I was desperate to know the purpose of my life, but the waiter didn’t give me enough time. “Your order Sir?”




It’s funny that I’m questioning my purpose after wasting two decades. But that didn’t worry me because millions have died and will die without an answer. I realized that I, and many others, didn’t ask this question, maybe because we were given answers even before we actually asked questions. Isn’t it? At age three, before we asked, “What am I supposed to do?” They said School. Before we asked, “What am I supposed to be?” They said Replica of X-Y-Z. And there comes a time when we realize that their answers weren’t right for our questions. It might be too late.

Sometimes, I really wonder if there’s really a purpose to life? Or is it just to come and exit. But logically, if it had no purpose, what’s the actual need of coming, in the first case. So, I’m convinced that there is a purpose. But what’s that now? And how do I find it? Can I ask the guy next to me about my existence? That will be foolish. If I don’t know why the hell I’m here, how can someone know it? And I strongly think that the poor guy next to me is also thinking to ask me about his existence.

Still confused with the question, I was staring at the Restaurant door. A stout guy walked in whispering to his wife, “I’m hungry.”

That flicked a spark in my empty head. I could relate it to the question. My mind repeated, “Are we here because we’re hungry?” (Yes, the Restaurant or the life)

I realized something profound that if I assume this Restaurant to be a metaphor for life. I see people coming here when they’re hungry. Their only purpose is to satisfy their hunger. And what satisfies their hunger? We don’t ask the waiter, What should I eat? Do we? We make our own choice because only we know what satisfies our hunger.




It was a simple metaphor but hit hard on my head. We all come here, to life, with hunger. Hunger in our hearts. The world, as I see, is the longest Menu Card ever made. It has more than just cheesecakes and oysters. It has, almost, everything. And we are here to choose. Of course, we need to pay for what we want to get. That’s where the fun is. Before we leave, we ought to satisfy our hunger. And that’s what the purpose of our visit.

Listening to your heart’s hunger might not be as simple as listening to your belly. But it’s essential. You can’t end up eating the food you don’t like. But that’s what you’ll be doing as a penalty for not choosing your own food. Know what your taste is. Know what will satisfy your hunger.

The saddest thing that could ever happen is when you walk out of the Restaurant, hungry and thirsty. If so, you missed the whole point of entering into it.

I smiled at the waiter and said, “I’m here to satisfy my hunger.”

He looked at me with an awkward smile and replied, “I know that.”

I’m not sure what did he understand. But for me, it was a little enlightenment.

The most difficult questions are those whose answers are just in your pocket. Or even close. It’s all around, if you see.

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Note: A version of this Article is Published on Positively Positive.