Minimalism Is Not Deprivation

“You shouldn’t deprive yourself at such a young age,” she told me as I narrated her the story of why I wear the same set of clothes every week, since 3 years now.

This is not the first time someone felt I am depriving myself when they hear about minimalism — about how I seldom shop or the fact that I don’t own much. They shake their head in disbelief when I mention my disinterest in purchasing. By now, some people think I am crazy — how can someone not want a luxurious car or a bungalow with lifts inside it?

But I understand how lines can blur — how minimalism can be confused with asceticism. How me not buying excess can be confused with me wanting to live near some holy river in utter poverty.

To clear it up here’s my attempt to explain it through weird images I created on Powerpoint.

Text describing minimalism

What we think it is.

Slide2.JPG

What it really is.

I often get asked about how to distinguish between minimalism and deprivation. If something adds value to your life, then keep it. Don’t throw it away and then take pride in being a minimalist.

Minimalism is not about how less you own: I find all the noise about owning the least dangerous. It defeats the point of minimalism. I have read ample blogs about people travelling with 33 items and 147 items — I don’t have anything against that lifestyle, but remember — it works for THEM. It’s okay if it doesn’t work for you. No-one will dethrone your minimalist title if you own 500 items.

[Side note: There’s no such thing as a minimalist title — it’s not a one-time thing. Minimalism is alive — the process lasts as long as you do.]

I have more books than anyone else I know. Yes, I can buy a Kindle and get rid of all the physical books. But I love reading paperbacks — the crispness of the paper, the smell, the experience of turning the last page, and just looking out the window while holding a closed book. I get immense value out of my collection.

Book collection of That Indian Minimalist

Deprivation would be my throwing them away for the sake of minimalism. I could throw them away and write a blog about how I own 27 items. I could count my stuff and flaunt the numbers — but that’s not minimalism.

At the same time, I also own fewer clothes — so much so that people close to me remember every colour of my wardrobe. Is that deprivation? No. The number is more than enough for me, and I don’t get any value out of fashion. 

So, when you decide to be minimalist: don’t think about depriving yourself in any way. Think about what is essential for you and what is excess.

If you are amongst those who believe minimalism is deprivation — it’s not. On the contrary, it’s about how to maximise value by focusing on things that matter. 

One time, a person asked me how am I minimalist if I am not bald.

I do have long hair: I guess that disqualifies me from being a minimalist.

Too bad.

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You Are An Advertisement.

You read it right: the sentence doesn’t have a typo. I could have said we are ‘consumers’ or we are people who buy crap we don’t need to impress everyone around. But the truth is far more heinous: we’re advertisements.

Somewhere, a group of people, are getting paid outrageous amounts for having us — to put it mildly — as a walking billboard, promoting their brand for them. The game is twisted: advertisers make us believe that it is our privilege to use their product.

We’re lucky; our stars are fucking aligned, getting a chance to go out and be an advertisement so that they can earn more money.

tattoos, advertisements, that indian minimalist

Such brands. Much wow.

Here’s what being an advertisement sounds like:

I am typing this on my Mac, as I sip my Starbucks Coffee with my name wrongly spelt on the cup. iPhone organises my notes: I have to finish writing this post in an hour. It’s 4 PM right now, as per my Rolex. Afterwards, I will change into my Adidas running suit and Nike running shoes. I will take my FitBit and run while listening to inspirational music through my Beats. In between, I will stop and drink water from my overly expensive bottle that filters the water every time I take a sip. Also, I also have a unicorn in my basement, and it will tell me fairy tales as I fall asleep.

Okay, the last part is a bit exaggerated.

Again, am I saying there is something inherently wrong with buying or even buying these brands? No.

All I am trying to point out is how we’re being used to advertise, and how we partake in it every single day without noticing or flinching.

The message is loud and clear: we’re inadequate, worthless, and incomplete until we have certain specific stuff made and designed by individual brands. The promise of the entry into wonderland once you cut that fat cheque to multi-billionaire corporates.

We need to snap out. And it’s hard to do so.

Advertisements are everywhere: television, radio, roads, public transportation, footpaths, the internet, and even public bathrooms. And since a long time, they have it figured: humans are the best advertisements. So, with all their might and money, they are here to convert us.

bathroom stall, advertisements, that Indian minimalist

I can’t pee without someone trying to re-finance my mortgage.

What can you do to avoid being an advertisement for someone?

It all comes to down to not buying to impress. Why do you need to buy a branded product if a less-expensive (but still good quality) substitute can carry out the same function? Are you afraid that other people will judge you for not keeping up with the trends? Good news: they’ll judge you either way.

So, read this brilliant article by Wait But Why and step out of this shitty-advertiser cycle.

At this point, you might be wondering: You’re talking about the concepts. But is there anything I can do to apply them?

Don’t buy any brand for a month. Find cheaper alternatives. If you want to go into a hardcore mode, don’t purchase anything for a month. See how it makes you feel: are you anxious? How does not wearing recognisable brands make you feel? Do you feel vulnerable? Do you feel liberated?

Tweak around, experiment, and curate a lifestyle that suits you.

I don’t buy brands, and my clothes don’t carry a logo. Will I never purchase a brand? Again, I have nothing against buying: the idea is to make a conscious choice with the intention of plain utility and not showing off.

Next time, you think about purchasing something just because of a brand: imagine yourself running naked on the streets with nothing but different coloured logos stuck all over you.

Like the imagery in your head?
Thought so.

10 Choices You will not Regret.

minimalism, regrets, guilt, choices, Hardik Nagar, Minimalism and India, minimalist in India

Credits: Favim.com

I believe life is this whole sequence of choices one make.

Good choices, bad choices and few horrible choices, here and there.

And some choices end up having more impact than the others would have.

Regret is something we all go through. Perhaps in more than one way and about more than one choice. Apart from the horrible choices, there are also choices we are thankful for and choices that always leave you with a smile on your face.

Brew a coffee. Sit and relax because we’re going to go through all such choices that I believe none of us will ever regret:

  1. The Choice of Honesty: Being honest. Honest about how you feel, honest about what you feel, no sweet-coating, no sugary lies. Oh, it is difficult. People will hate you for it, will run away from you and will perhaps stop talking with you for you cannot praise them falsely. Yet, be honest, be honest to the point where your words become the word. Lying is a tiring process and drains much of your strength. Honesty is simple, difficult but simple.
  2. The Choice of Empathy and Compassion: Can I be completely honest with you? Everyone is terribly broken. Every single one of us. We have our fears, insecurities and demons to deal with. Honesty has down-effects of maybe converting you into an arrogant prick. This choice will keep that side-effect in check. You have your battles and they have theirs. And the only solution is to listen and participate in each other’s fight in whatever way we can, to ease the pain, to love.
  3. The Choice of Being Okay: It is all good to not settle for mediocrity, to aim for excellence. But you will be sad often for no apparent reason, you will fail, you will be broke and your heart will get broken umpteen number of times and most likely you won’t be okay, many times. Life is not all fairies, rainbows and unicorns and that’s how it is. So sometimes being okay with not being okay makes a crucial part of how we grow and what we become.
  4. The Choice of Letting Go: Can you let go? Let go of the things you can’t control, let go of the emotions that are bringing you down, let go of the relations that are not just working out and most importantly, to let go of people? On this choice, your happiness quotient depends. This is perhaps the most crucial choice of all. Think about it: What all are you willing to let go?
  5. The Choice of Acceptance: I love deep conversations and I do it often and with different people. You know the reason why most of them are not happy? They can’t accept things. Accept that the relation was not probably meant to be. Accept that the situation is horrible and you just can’t ignore it. Accept that you have made a mistake and take accountability of it. And most importantly, accept yourself as a person with the flaws, blemishes and ugliness.
  6. The Choice of Genuine Connections: Whatever connections you have, make them genuine. Have few, that is fine but have genuine connections. The lure of instant connect might seem appealing but eventually it will wore off and you will feel terrible. Aim for genuine connections, genuine and real connections. That’s the only real way of knowing people.
  7. The Choice of Humility and Curiousness: The amount of time we bullshit ourselves by making ourselves the center of the entire universe and thinking from that point of view is staggering. Humility is the key to growth and also the breeding ground for curiousness. Be curious, explore and be humble. And as soon as you feel you’re smartest person in the room, change the room.
  8. The Choice of Choosing:  Choose your own path. You’re different from others but similar at the same time. That’s one of the most beautiful as well as fucked up irony there is in this universe. For the same part, we have compassion and empathy but for the different part you must choose how you want to live your own life, in your own way and with words like success and happiness defined in your own context.
  9. The Choice of Less:  Choose less. Less complaining. Less drama. Less bullshit. Less materialism. Less superfluous stuff. Less pretension. Less everything. The power of less goes beyond what you and I can imagine. It is beautiful what it can do for you: physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Focus on less but superior. Less but efficient. Less but quality. Less but enough.
  10. The Choice of No Regret: There will be things in your life that may seem like a regret. But wear them like a scar or a badly knitted tattoo on your body, you will eventually make peace with it and in more ways than you can imagine it will make you who you have become. Dwelling on the past is boring. Each choice is a checkpoint and life is marathon so although, you don’t have to run or come first but each of the checkpoints matter if you want to finish it.

These are the 10 choices. 10 choices, I believe if we all choose, the world in totality will be such a beautiful place.

Have I mastered them all? No, not at all.

But I have chosen them and I will continue to work on them, make mistakes, learn, fall and then be what I have to be.

The key thing is to choose.

So choose.

Oh and while you’re at choosing, choose to fly.

12 Signs you’re doing life right. (Even if you feel otherwise)

The question, which often people ask me in quite indirect manner and sometimes blatantly direct manner, generally sums itself up in the insecurities we have with our life. We want someone to tell us that we’re doing fine in life and most importantly that we will do fine with life, in future.

But alas, there are no fix answers or patterns or a guided tour of a ‘good’ life. Insecurity will stay, whether you like it or not. And if you ask me personally, it should. (Hint: Read why here)

The good part however is that there are signs, which if nothing else, they tell you that you’re doing life right. And you may ask right in what sense and you should.

Right in the sense of the path, the journey. Right in the sense of the essence of living in now. Right in the sense of knowing oneself and the world around better. Right in the sense to continue to learn new things each day, to evolve, to grow.

I often feel doubt about where I am going in life, who knows? There is a gripping fear– one that throbs hard, making you feel alive. Do you feel that as well? In such a time, you need signs and gentle reminders– a reminder that it was never meant to be competition in first place and you’re doing life right.

Here are the 12 signs that means you’re doing life right (even if you feel you’re not and more importantly, even if others feel you’re not):

  1.  You believe and walk your own path. You just don’t do something because everyone is doing. You don’t do something because it is safe and secure. You do something because you believe in it. And it might be unconventional. It might be different from everyone else. But you like your path anyway, because it resonates with what you love and more importantly with who you’re.
  2. You work through your fears everyday. You know your fears and more importantly, you understand your fears. You don’t loathe yourself for it, you don’t try to cover it up, hide it, use defense mechanisms but genuinely try to uncover them, see them and then work through them. And this you know is a continuous process.
  3. You can see through the games that your ego plays. The raw ego or nature of  it to make itself the center of universe and then see everything from the shades of arrogance and hear things from the ears of narcissism is there in everyone. One doesn’t have to loathe its nature. Just understand it, recognize it when it happens, be aware of its presence.
  4. You can empathize. You can understand the pains of others, even put yourself in their shoes and try to see how it feels. You realize through this that almost every single individual is fighting a battle, maybe the intensities differ but nonetheless, a battle. Making you even more empathetic, genuine and real.
  5. You try your best to avoid judging. You know, you judge. You’ve been conditioned that way and you don’t deny the fact. But you try your best to not judge. You recognize instantly the moment when you are judging and then try to understand why exactly, you’re doing it. And go beyond it. You try to understand people, even when they don’t want to understand themselves. You take that extra effort. And it pays off, every single time.
  6. You don’t buy to impress or impress to buy. You buy only what you need. You buy only when you need it. You don’t tie your self-worth to how much money you have or how much things you possess. You know and understand the nature of trying to impress others and how futile it is and you go beyond it. You don’t grade people on basis of how big their car is or how big their houses are or what brand they wear. You see beyond these things.
  7. You create value. In some way, you’re creating value for others and yourself. Either by working, creating something, by volunteering, by writing, painting, listening, singing, dancing or just being there. You’re creating value. There is the incidence of value maximization. And, you always strive harder to create value for others and for yourself.
  8. You are honest to yourself and others. In this world full of masks and pretentious, you have dared to be honest with yourself and others. And chances are that people might not like you because of that, they might even stop talking to you. But that’s fine. Pretension has never gotten anyone too far, anyway.
  9. You can listen. Not hearing. Listening. A person can actually sit with you and talk to you about everything and anything and you can listen, without the need to respond, to show your opinion, to fight back or even say a word but just listen to the person intently. The ability to truly listen is rare. And one who does it in its essence generally stands out everywhere.
  10. You don’t have a gripping need of validation. You don’t need others to validate you. You know yourself. You even accept criticisms and allow suggestion but you don’t roam around seeking validation from people. You have the curiosity at the same time, you can be content with who you’re and what you’re.
  11. You know and accept that you’re responsible for everything that happens in your life. You go beyond the blame game. You accept that your actions have led to whatever has happened. Sure, there are external factors involved. But in the essence, it is a choice. And you can accept that and let go of the past, moving on and always working on yourself.
  12. You give a damn. You give lots of damn. You see things beyond yourself. You connect with people in the community. You recognize their problems, you relate to them. You relate to the people. And in whatever capacity, you try your best to create value for them. To help them, to be with them. Not only community but for the people around you. Everyone. You give a damn. You care.

What are these in essence is just a rough guide. You don’t necessarily have to tick of everything, you don’t even have to tick off one and you can create your own signs list (which I would love to read), the point is to recognize signs.

Believe that, you’re doing life right. Believe. And fly. Fly the hell out.

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Please don’t call me Spiritual.

What do you want to see in this? Common, I am just a 20-year-old guy. Half of you will discard this article by calling and labelling me as a wannabe hippie, some of you will laugh at me thinking how stupid it is for a 20-year-old to think about all this. Rest of you most probably will label me crazy or mental and swear to yourself that you’ll never talk with me.

They want me to write about discovery of spirituality. And, I was like WHAT? Wait, right there— what the hell just happened? That was my cue. Dammit. How come I never thought about it before? Am I spiritual? What is spirituality? And what is its discovery all about? I felt like my head will explode any second. There were too many questions popping, almost nil answers to any and the smell of Pav Bhaji—all of this happening simultaneously.

You help me now. Yes, you—the one who’s reading these words and wondering what is this stupid article all about. What comes in your mind when I say the word ‘spiritual’? That’s the key question. If you’re like me, you’ll think of something mystical in sense—something with rainbows, unicorns, lights, colours, flying fairies, powers or something extraordinary in sense, something out of this world.

But is spirituality really that? I happen to visit a meditation retreat a month ago. I won’t deny I was expecting something miraculous to happen. Maybe I will levitate and stuff? Or become all-pervasive? I expected something extraordinary or something out of normal. It was a beautiful experience and an ordinary one at that. Nothing extraordinary happened. I saw things as they’re. If it is pain, it is pain. If it is joy, it is joy. Will you call such an experience spiritual? Will you call me a spiritual person?

The need to label everyone and everything is what spirituality is not. And, it is ironical for sure. But, if you’re labelling something as spiritual or labelling someone as spiritual, it or he is anything but that. Spirituality is not a game of feeding ego, it is not something which you get into, make your ego feel good about itself and then get out.

Spirituality is about falling from the highest peak without a parachute, recognizing that you’re going to die and accepting that anyway.  As far as possible, one should never get in this path at all. Stay as far as possible from it because it is not mystical. It is painful. It is like an operation without anaesthesia. But if you’re already in it, there is no turning back. You’re in it. Your ego will fight and scream and cause you pain because you’re thinking beyond it now and it doesn’t appreciate that.

So, I’ll ask you again, what is spirituality? Spirituality is nothing and spirituality is everything.  Do me a favour—don’t label me as a spiritual person and don’t label yourself as a spiritual person.  It is not a designation; it is not something you use to strengthen your ego.  It is beyond the ego.

It just is.

What is, is.

10 Learnings From 10 Day Vipassana Course.

I just returned from a Vipassana meditation retreat few days back.

And such a gorgeous experience it was.

Vipassana means insight. It means seeing things as they really are. The meditation technique is the essence of the teaching of Buddha, re-founded again in India and the world by Siddhartha Gautam after it was lost amidst 2,500 years of civilization. (For more details– http://dhamma.org/)

There is noble silence throughout. Noble silence? Complete silence of body, speech and mind. You can’t talk. You can’t gesture. You can’t read. You can’t write.

You just meditate.

You’re on your own, quite literally.

Initially, I wished I could document my experience with a pen and paper, as and when it happened. But, Vipassana is not about that. It is about self discovery, it is about experiencing.

I’ll try to jot down things, I learnt. So that, you can know and probably, you might just go for this. You want to. Trust me.

1. Silence is golden. And scary. We talk too much, connect too much and live in amidst of deep noise. And then suddenly when you’re thrown into complete silence, it will be scary. But hands down, this will be the most beautiful part of the entire thing. That is if you follow.

2. Slow down. Nothing will happen. Your life will completely slow down there. You’ll be in the now. In the moment. I watched sunset and sunrise, every single day. And it was so gorgeous. Living in now is beautiful. We all need to slow down and live more in now rather than the past and the future. Just slow down.

3. Ego is the ultimate evil. Remember this. Our pride, our ego, our possessive nature, our deep attachment towards ourself  and things is the root cause of everything horrible that has ever happened to you. While doing Vipassana, at least on some levels, you’ll see through that. And it’ll hurt. But it’ll be worth it.

4. What happens hardly matters. How you react does. Throughout our life, things will happen. Good things, bad things,blissful things and horrible things. They don’t make you happy or sad– how you react does those things. If you can learn to control your reactions, you have just learnt life.

5. Trying to control events is futile. And a waste of time. I have written about it before and it just got reaffirmed– trying to control the events or what happens is a tiresome and a futile exercise. You won’t be able to control, you’ll react negatively and you’ve just created an endless cycle– a horrible, endless cycle.

6. What is, is. We either glorify too much or we underestimate. We have always been taught things that way. Learn to observe. To see things as they are. If it is a rock, it is a rock. If it is a flower, it is a flower. What is, is. This forms the crux of the technique– to see things as they’re. Not one scale up, not one scale down, just as they are.

7. Equanimity. Total and complete equanimity. We’ve been brought up in an environment, where you jump with joy if something good happens and generate an emotion of greed and whenever something horrible happens, we generate anger. As per the technique, this behaviour is the cause of all the pain. Be in the moment. Take it in. But with the essence of equanimity.

8. Changing, changing, changing. Everything arises and passes away. While doing Vipassana, you learn through experience that everything arises and passes away. It comes and goes. It comes and goes. Eternal process, that is. What point of clinging? Let go of your anger, resentment, fear, greed. They only cause suffering and they’re bound to pass.

9. Look within. Experience. Don’t just believe. Experience. Turn your attention from outside to inside. Everything is fine outside. The problem is you and your reactions. So, work within. And don’t just believe a thing. Know it. Through experience. Rest forms of knowledge might just come and pass away. This will stay.

10. Until you know yourself, you can’t do anything for others. If you do the technique right, you’ll experience the oneness with everyone. The universal oneness that is there in each and every being. And if you even get a hint of that, you’ll be kinder, more loving, more caring and more compassionate. Know yourself, first. Rest shall take care of itself.

Go there. Just go. Take ten days out, without excuses and go. You’ll love it, it might be scary at first and for certain other points. But it is worth, every moment of that thing.

Go there. Love. Be awesome.

And fly, for anyone’s sake. Get the hell out and fly.

*If you liked this post please follow this blog via mail or for your WordPress reader. I would love the inspiration.

* Also bookmark the permalink on StumbleUpon and other sites. I would really appreciate it. Keep commenting. Thank you! Love.

Coffee Conversations- What To Do With Life?

Minimalism and India, Minimalism, minimalist, India, stairs, life, black and white

It is that time of the year again. People are graduating from universities, from high-school, from secondary school.

Also, it is probably the time where we all are insecure– dreading the new at the same time excited as to what is going to happen.

I received this mail lately from a fresh high-school passed asking how to figure out life.  He writes:

“I got done with high school and in the coming fall, I’ll be joining a under-graduate course at some university where I got admission in. But what to do with life? I don’t know what I’ll be doing or whether or not I’ll like the course or what? I may sound stupid and confused but I want to know what to do with life? Can you help me out? Like, I know you yourself are just 19 and most likely not a graduate yet but can you help me out with some advises or observation or experiences or anything of that sort? Would wait for a reply! Thank you.”

And, that’s a tough cookie. I wish I could say that I have it all figured out or that I can guide you exactly on what to do but I can’t.

What I can do though is tell what I’ve learned till now from experiencing life, from asking people and from observing.

Here’s what I would say.

We can’t figure out the future. Really. We can’t. We can obviously draw a pretty plan on paper and in our mind and that’s good but always be prepared that those plans might not work in the exact way you expected that to.

I see people around me being so rigid with all their plans and then becoming sad and depressed when the plan doesn’t work. Look around, things change in such a drastic manner. Everyday, every hour, every minute.

So what to do when you can’t figure out the future? Be in the present. Do what you can do now. Do something. Build skills. Volunteer. Create things. Travel. Seek opportunities. Make real relations. These things help in any sort of future.

Learn to be OK with Insecurity. You will go through a lot of times where you will be insecure and uncertain. You won’t know what to do ahead. At times, you will be broke, both from pocket and heart.

You will be wanting to do something you love. But you will too insecure to take that step. To start that business, to write that book, to fall in love, to travel, to leave that job. When you do any of this, you’re generally entering in the sphere of insecurity, initially.

To see how amazing any of these really are, you will need to be OK with the feeling of insecurity. Read more about Insecurity here.

Be OK with being different. You might have passion for something which is not mainstream. You might have love for something which is different from people usually do. And that’s fine. It is OK to be different and follow the unconventional path.

As long as you’re happy, you’re good to go. People might talk and disagree over your choice  but if you really feel for that career or that job or that stream. Go for it.  It doesn’t matter what the thing is or what people say. It is completely al-right to be different.

Build real relations. You want to build real relations. Real, genuine relations based on trust and a feeling of care  and love. Few such relations are enough, but have them.

You will want this people to be with you more than anything else when the tough time arrives. These people will help you sail finely. Be the life of the party but have a home to go once the party is over.

Focus on creating value. Whatever maybe your line of career, whatever maybe your stream. Focus on this. This is the single most crucial thing. This is why people will confide in you, this is why people will buy from you and this is why people will hire you– because you can create value.

So go out and create value. In the job you do, in the things you do, for the people you work and meet. Create value for them.

Build something from scratch. It can be anything. Create a blog, write a book, create YouTube videos, start a business, sketch, draw or paint. Anything. But build something. Most people will fritter their time watching television, sports, on social media. Don’t do that.

Build something. After a year, have something to show. A blog, a book, a video series, some paintings, a new business, some events you did. This is the most effective way to build skills. To create something from the scratch. It will grow with time and so will you.

Learn to embrace discomfort. Get out of your comfort zone and do something. Start small. Not something too sudden or big. But do it. Scared to talk to new people? Go to park and talk to 5 new people. Scared to write a book? Start with a journal.

Don’t get scared by the discomfort. Don’t run away the moment, it gets outside your comfort zone. If you do that, you will never grow.  You will be stagnant. So get OK with discomfort. It is a part of life and a crucial part at that, learn to embrace it. And grow out of it. It will teach you immensely.

Become a trustworthy person. You’ve to work with people your entire life. You have to live with people your entire life. You’ve to become trustworthy. Someone people can confide, can share with, can trust in.

Build a reputation. Create your personal brand. What are you known for? Have you ever given it a thought? People like working with and for people whom they can trust, someone who has a reputation of being trustworthy, of being good. Are you that? Become a trustworthy person.

Jack of all and master of one. Have skills and not just one. You can write? That’s awesome. What about public speaking? You can design? That’s brilliant. What about coding? The idea is to have the willingness to diversify your skills.

In these times, you can hardly depend on one thing. To achieve the most, diversify yourself. But be known for one thing. Something which many if not all believe that you’re extraordinary at. Identify that. Build that. Right from now.

Read books. Watch videos. Take courses. Seek a mentor. Keep learning. Never stop.

Understand your mind and how you think. Probably, the most important point of all. Each day make efforts to know how you think and how your mind works. How you feel, why you feel, what you feel. Everything. On what basis, does your mind identify right and wrong, why it identifies so.

Know how your mind works. And know why you do what you do, why you say what you say, why you think what you think and why you are what you are.

Keep your eyes open for opportunities. If you’re doing all this, chances are so many opportunities will present them in front of you. It can be anything from writing a book to starting a new business to collaborating with someone. The point is are your eyes open?

Keep looking for opportunities in every sphere. Remember, you’re way ahead of the game. So keep looking. If still you don’t find any. Create one.

Finally: The point of all this is that you can’t find what to do with life. For the simple fact that, you can’t determine what you’ll do in future, what you’ll become in future, what your passion will be, what your opportunities will be and how the world will be like.

But you do know that if you’re prepared, you can do anything. Achieve anything. Be anything. In any sort of future.

I dare you to be awesome.

Fly, you. Fucking fly.

*If you want to discuss anything. I will love to respond to it. Through mail or blog. You can mail me at hardik94nagar@gmail.com or send me a message over twitter.

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20 Things I am glad I know before turning 20.

I’ll be turning 20 in a month or so.

And life till now has been beautiful even though chances are that I have not seen half of the things, life has to offer. It is still beautiful.

I have failed– a lot. I can’t even remember all the times, I have failed. In life, in organizations I work, in relationships– everywhere.

But all the failures left lessons. All the people who were in my life or are in my life, left a lesson. And it has been beautiful.

Probably, as a pre-birthday thing or as a new series named– “List It Down”, here are 20 things I am glad, I know before turning 20:

  1. Everyone won’t like you. And that’s OK. You’ll always have people who don’t like you. There will always be people who will apparently hate you. There will always be people who don’t even like standing near you.  For no rhyme or reason. And you know what? That’s OK. You can’t connect with everyone.  So let this go deep into your soul and agree with it. Not everyone will like you. And that’s OK.
  2. You’re not your job. Or degrees. Or your cars. Or your mansions. Or your stuff. You’re not these things.  You’re probably how you love and how you care. How you’re humble and how you treat people living in worse condition than you. You’re what you feel, what you think you feel and what you’ll feel. You’re how you behave when everyone is shouting. You’re all these. Keep this in mind. You’re your passion and how you live.
  3. You’ll go through unimaginable pain and trauma and you’ll think you’ll never come out of it. But guess what? You’ll and it’ll be OK. I know, I have had moments where I completely broke down, cried, shouted my lungs out and thought that I’ll never come out of it. But, I have. Yes, the scars are there. Yes, it still hurts sometime. But, it has made me stronger. And, I know more are yet to come. But, I know I’ll come out of it and all will be OK.
  4. The world outside is cruel and sick.  It is true. The economy is at all times low, the society structure is being desecrated, people are fighting and killing in names of so many things. Empathy is at all times low and egoism is what drives half of us. Accept it. You know why? Because ranting doesn’t solve issues. So go out and change things in however small way, you can. Trust yourself. You’re the hope, this world has. Don’t give up on it, as yet. Love more, trash less.
  5. Take responsibility of every action of yours. You’ll fuck up so many times, you’ve no idea. You’ll hurt others, you’ll impact lives negatively and you’ll have to make it straight. Accept it and work towards it. Also, you’ll impact lives positively and you’ll have to defend yourself so many times. No one else will do it for you. So, accept when you fuck up but don’t let anyone ride over you. Find the fucking balance.
  6. People will tell you’re a crazy loser and will do everything they can to bring you down. This will happen. Some people only remain by your side as far as, they feel comfortable. As soon as you do something they’re not comfortable with or you try to do something they never thought you’ll, they’ll call you crazy. They’ll call you fucked up. They’ll call you thousand other things. But if you believe yourself, if you know what you’re doing. Keep at it. Don’t listen to them. Weed them out.
  7. Forgiving and letting go are crucial, if you want to be at peace. Really forgive, move on and let go. Many people have done me wrong, I have cried because of them and my entire life got upside-down because of them. And, I have kept hating them. Seeking revenge and whatever. But it is worthless. And will destroy you. Nothing is as liberating and freeing as forgiving and letting go. And they don’t have to ask your forgiveness. Just give it to them. And fucking LET GO.
  8. Never fuck with people who genuinely love you. Really. Please don’t. You know who I am talking about. The people who are always beside you, your best friends, your family, your lover– whoever it maybe. Never and I say NEVER, fuck with those who genuinely care about you and your being. Be with them, support them and love them. They’re truly precious and one of a kind.
  9. Go easy on the need to get validated. It is very tempting, I know. I have been there. With all the social media tools available now, it has become easier than ever to get validation from people. Likes, hearts and mentions. Go easy on them. Never, ever give someone or something that much control that it can easily impact your mood. Remember if good comments make you jump, what will bad comments do to you? Go easy. It is good to get praised. But don’t over-do. Find a fucking balance.
  10. Go easy on the Ego and “I” syndrome. A lot was achieved before you and a lot will be achieved after you. So go slow on the egoistic and ‘Holier-Than-Thou’ attitude. Yes, you might be smarter than everyone. Yes, you might be witty and funny and Bill Gates. But it doesn’t matter. Be humble. You’ll learn more. You’ll appreciate more. And you won’t be a jerk.
  11. Never beat yourself up. Never. You might be in the thick of the world’s most fucked up problem, but never hate yourself. Or say, you’re not worth it or you deserved it. It is not other’s duty to love you, it is yours. So trust yourself. You’ll come out of the rut. You’ll be OK. But, never not for one second, hate yourself. That is the worst thing you can do to yourself.
  12. You’ll make mistakes. More mistakes than you think, you’ll and that’s good. If you’re not making mistakes, you’re stagnant and not moving froward. Make mistakes. Make more mistakes and accept each and learn from each of them. Really. Don’t be afraid of mistakes. I know, I was initially so afraid. Still am, somewhat. But it is absolutely gorgeous to witness the change in you after a mistake. Just remember the golden rule– Never, ever repeat the same mistake.
  13. People will talk. A lot. More about you than with you. So accept it and move on. Really. People talked when I left the course I was doing. People talked when I devoted my time to a voluntary organization and people again talked when I started this blog. So, it’s OK. Don’t fear their talks. Do what you want to, with love and passion. They’ll talk. So never fear what people will say. They have said a lot of things and they’ll say some more. Don’t let it stop, you. Go and be awesome.
  14. It’s OK to let some people go. There will be some people in your life and their thinking and your thinking will never match. They’ll always do the work of pulling you down, telling you how you suck and are good for nothing or you just can’t connect with them and feel negative. And, it is completely OK to let go of such people. Just let them go. Not with hate or revenge. With forgiveness and a feeling of moving on. It’s OK. Not everyone is meant to stay.
  15. Don’t fear change and let go of the need to control. In the initial phase of my life, I was always sad or irritated because things never went as I thought they would. And too much was changing too quickly. And, I tried resisting it. That was worthless. Change will happen, you want or no. And people will change and do as per their wish, not yours. You can just decide, how you’ll react to the change. Let go of this need. You’ll be happier. Much happier.
  16. Find what you love. Do what you love. Life is too short. I can’t stress on this one enough. Life is short, like really short. There is no point of doing something you detest. You’ll die with all the regrets of the world. And that’s not a very healthy process. I know, there are so many factors. But always be on search of something you love. Do it part-time, do it after office, do it before. But never let it go. Hold it tight. And follow it in whatever capacity. But do follow. And never stop searching.
  17. Be selfish but at the same time lookout for the people in need. People have either told me to be selfish or be completely devoted to community. I say don’t do either. Find a fucking balance. Be selfish. Learn new things, explore and put your happiness ahead because you can’t do anything for anyone until you’re happy yourself. But lookout for the needy, the community problems– Poverty, education, hunger. And do something for them in whatever capacity. You’ll feel fulfilled. I promise.
  18. Learn to Listen. That’s the single-most crucial and best quality to have.  And when I say, listen. I mean really listen, not with the intention to reply, not with the context to what it means to you. But just listen, with the intent to listen.  This will mean considering everyone as equal, everyone as only one thing, without judgement– Humans. Learn to listen to others. Learn to listen to yourself. Empathy cannot exist without that. That deep listening skills. To feel every word. That type of listening.
  19. Always be curious enough and willing enough to learn. And never stop. There are so many things we don’t know. And chances are there will always remain things, we’ll never know. But be curious and willing to learn new things. Be willing to make a difference. Be willing to take on new adventures and see life as it really. That is what will keep you going. And probably, that is how wisdom comes into being. Be willing to love. Be willing to learn.
  20. You are fucking awesome and you are valuable in yourself. Don’t let anyone say otherwise. There will be people in your life, who will make you question your value, your worth. And they’ll come, if they haven’t yet. At that time, always remember, your being human is valuable in itself. And whatever happens. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Ever.

That’s it, I guess.

What are some of the lessons you think should make a part of this list?

 

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*Part of Daily post challenge.

 

 

Minimalism- The Trap Of Security.

Minimalism and India, Minimalist, that indian minimalist, security, illusion

“If you want total security, go to prison. There you’re fed, clothed, given medical care and so on. The only thing lacking… is freedom. ” 
― Dwight D. Eisenhower

I left a course I was pursuing months back.

It was not something, I found interest in. Not something I had a heart for. Not something, I could do for life.

It was a hard decision to quit though and often met with judgements and lots of criticism and questions, till date.

I realized soon enough on why I was sticking to it.

It gave me a false sense of security. I felt secured. I could answer very proudly if someone asked me about my life.

I could wear masks and go on with my life without ever admitting that I really don’t like what I am doing.

But, the place was secured. Known to me. Known to my brain. I was acquainted to the misery. It was my friend. I made my peace with the unhappiness and over-time turned it into a shadow.

I got mails where people tell me they are unhappy with their lives, their jobs, their relationships– basically everything.

Simple question, I ask them and I ask you,  “What stops you from moving ahead? What stops you from moving forward?”

It is that sense of security. That false sense of security. That fear of losing the cover.

That is stopping you.

That is putting you in misery.

That is stopping you from blooming.

I say bloom. I say step out of the comfort. I say let life unfold.

What’s the point of sticking to misery when you can fly?

Why are you not flying?

Ask yourself.

Why are you still in that relationship which is making your life miserable?

Why are you still in the job you detest?

Why are you still studying something you hate?

What purpose does it serve?

I am not saying to be irrational and take decisions. I am saying a simple thing which is that security is an illusion.

How can you be secure in life?

What security you talk about?

For what purpose? Why? We wear masks and say yourself everyday that we’re secured. And, we make friends with misery. Make friends with unhappiness. And we keep dragging ourself till the end. Still in the illusion of security.

There is no security. We’re too depended on so many countless known and unknown factors to be secured.

Snap out of it. Freedom cannot go with the illusion that security is.

Stop being friends with misery just because it is known.

Come out, be more than that. What are you doing?

We both know you’re so beautiful. We both know you have so much potential. We both you’ve survived so much and have grown so strong. You are listening?

Break that relation. You say, you see security. But what about misery? What about unhappiness? What about dependency? What about freedom? Come out, you.  Be more. Since when you need other person to be happy? Be love.

Leave that job, you hate. Not instantly, plan and figure out. But know that, false sense of security is no reason to let go of dreams. Yes, we need money. To live. To eat. To survive. So okay, do that but at-least cultivate passion. Be love. Someday, you’ll come out it. I promise. But, accept it first. What security you talk about?

Step right out the comfort. Give yourself time. What’s the hurry? Let your being rejuvenate and figure out what it wishes.

As for the security, that will remain an illusion. Don’t let yourself fall for that. Go and dare. What will people say? They say many things. They’ll say one more thing. The important question, what will you answer yourself at the end of your life? Have you given it a thought?

Prison is a prison. Decorate it with colours and flowers and watch television with popcorn, it’ll still remain a prison.

And you may not agree but I say this, be insecure. Let yourself be insecure. Let yourself be searching and seeking and finding and loving. You ought to be insecure, how else will they know about your throbbing heart? Your mind will decay with all the security. Let it grow. Don’t make it stagnant.

Are we so dead? No, live. Live with the pain and suffering. And all that is beautiful and ugly. Just live. I promise, it is good.

Do whatever. Take that trip. Leave that course. Fall in love. Leave that job. Paint and sing. Dance and write. Draw and love. Do whatever. But do it. Don’t get into the dogma of security. For fuck’s sake, stand from the rut. Move that body. And create. See the universe? It’s so gorgeous. Go out and serenade it with your love.

Next time someone says, you’re insecure. Say you’re. We’ll are. Who’s not I ask you that? What’s this mask of security everybody wants to wear?

As for security, leave that for those who’re in grave. They earned that after a meaningful life.

As for you.

You go and fucking fly. And live. And breathe. And dance. And sing.

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Coffee Conversations- Nothing to do with you.

 

*If you’re new to Coffee Conversations, check out the introduction and first post of this series over here

I received this mail around a week ago:

“Hey, Hardik! I am 24-year-old girl living in Dayton, Ohio and I love reading your writing. They really inspire me! I wanted to have a conversation with you about how one can still be compassionate and kind in a scenario where the other person is shouting and is extremely angry and is criticizing you. I try hard but more often than not, I end up shouting and getting angry as well which really makes the scenes worse than they already are. What do you in a similar situation? Waiting for a reply! Thank you.”

This one is a tough cookie, eh?

We all often advice and are advised to be calm during a fight or an argument or a scenario which is getting unnecessarily heated up. But more often than not, we give and start shouting and howling ourselves which in all honesty makes the scenes worse than they already were.

I am working with a youth organization since years and when you do work with people with varied interests, there are bound to occur differences in opinions and I can remember so many occasions where situation could have been handled in a much better way than it was.

Also, when it comes to my parents, I believe that things would have been better with them, if instead of arguing rashly and fighting, I could have just been calm and patience in the situation.

So, yes. This is the arena where I myself have faltered a lot.

But, I am growing out of it. I am learning.

And for that, I follow one philosophy, one thing which helps me to stay calm and handle the situation in a so much better manner.

Whenever a situation gets worse– where people are blaming me, shouting or getting angry or all in all behaving in an extremely horrid manner, I deal with as if it has nothing to do with me.

Yes, that’s the key. And it has truth to it.

Let me give you an example:

Imagine XYZ is your boss. He comes to the office and started behaving rudely to you. He shouts on you, argues with you, throws files on your table and tells you lot of things. What is the general reaction? You’ll probably want to rip his head, which is fair. But think about it does it have anything to do with you? Most likely not. He must be having a bad day. Probably fought with his wife or lost some money in share-market or something of that sort.

You’re just the trigger. So if it has nothing to do with you, why you want to get into an aggressive mode?

You can be calm and compassionate and try to understand the entire situation. I am not saying that let him treat you badly. But you definitely also don’t want to start howling that would just make the things worse.

So be calm, think peacefully, form a proper statement to give him, probably ask him if everything is OKAY or not. Chances are he’ll cool down.

Whenever I travel in Local Trains, I see so many people shouting on each other and howling and abusing, all on a stranger. They’re just venting it out. It has nothing to do with the person. He was just a trigger.

This applies to almost all cases.

Even when it is directly related to you, it is not you.

It is generally the expectations.

So when people see that or feel that, you haven’t fulfilled their expectations, they go nuts and start shouting and howling. I am not saying, they’re wrong or something. But the fact is, it has nothing to do with you. It is do with them and their expectations.

So why are you taking it personally and losing your cool?

There will be cases where you know you aren’t at fault and there will be cases where you know you are wrong.

Deal both with compassion and kindness and sense of calmness.

Know that the opposite person’s screaming and losing the temper has nothing to do with you.

You, in most cases, act as a trigger.

So don’t lost your calm. Don’t lose your cool. Handle the situation with compassion and ease. With a cool mind. Apologize where necessary and be firm on your point in a calm manner when you feel you’re right.

But don’t get angry. Or abuse. Or howl. Or throw things. Or beat people down.

That is futile. It just worsens the situation and chances are you’ll regret it later.

Deal with such situations as if you’re an outsider. And in all honesty, you’re an outsider.

It has to with them. Their anxiety, their problems, their life. So deal with compassion, deal with niceness, deal with calmness.

And always remember, It has nothing to do with you.

*If you want to discuss anything. I will love to respond to it. Through mail or blog. You can mail me at hardik94nagar@gmail.com or send me a message over twitter.

* Before posting anything, ThatIndianMinimalist always takes prior permission from the person.

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