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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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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On Not Being a Control Freak.

 

President_Gerald_Ford_meets_with_his_Cabinet_June_25_-_1975

 

“How would your life be different if…You stopped worrying about things you can’t control and started focusing on the things you can? Let today be the day…You free yourself from fruitless worry, seize the day and take effective action on things you can change.” 
― Steve Maraboli

I receive mails.  About how people are unhappy with parents, friends, relationships, life and some also mentioned God. And when I read those mails, there is a common pattern in most of them.

All the people, they want to control.

Control people. Control situations. Control things. Control life.

Truth? You can’t.

How often we set goals? And how often we fail?

How often we plan it all nicely and how often we realize that in all truth that the future is in all honesty completely unpredictable.

You don’t even know what will happen tomorrow and ironically, we try to control years in line.

Working in a youth organization with youth leaders gave me a tremendous experience. I have seen so many of them trying to control the people hierarchy wise below them.

How will we control people? We can hardly control our own mind. How do we think, we can control other people?

The world is chaotic and complex. And, we seek to control it on every occasion. We want to control our surroundings and people and future and situations and what not.

And that’s the root of all the misery.

We want to control, we want everything to be according to our egoistic expectations and when it turns out different, we are saddened and hurt. When people don’t behave in the way, we want them to, we get angry and whimsical.

I ask you. Why will they behave in the way you want? They’ll behave in the way they want.

Sure, you can try to understand them. Help them. Be with them. Probably, give them some words as guidance and help. Or put-forth your view too. But that’s probably the end of it.

You can’t control their thinking. You can’t control their being.

And what is this fuss about trying to control the future? We can be cautious about or be prepared but you can’t control.

How will you control a thing which doesn’t exist?

I say, let go. Let go of things, you can’t control. Let go of the desire to control. Live more freely.

Have you seen a bird? A bird flies. Most of the times without destination– it flies and sings and dances and mates and eats and prey, it does all of it. It either goes with the flow or deals with the wind, as and when it comes. It doesn’t try to control the wind, it can’t. It doesn’t try to control the other birds in the sky or the sky itself.

How can it? it sounds silly even with the thought of it.

We’re pretty much like the birds. Our culture of being overly aggressive and goal-orientated has made many of us into bots. We fix a target and start moving and we try to control everything in such a way that the outcomes remains the same.

But can we truly control?

I say let go of the need to control.

Flow with life for once. Truly live it, with all that is beauty and all that is ugly. How will you know beauty without the ugly? Accept both. Live openly. Love openly.

Drop expectations. What’s the point to it? It only makes us miserable. Let the life unfold like a beautiful book.

For once and all stop the try to control people, that leads to judging. How about just understanding and helping? Without the desire to mould them as we want, like some statue. They’re human and chaotic. That’s what makes them beautiful. Accept them as they’re.

How about letting go of ranting or feeling miserable about things you can’t control? When you come in a position to change, then change. Till then observe and understand and love. What’s the point of this futile exercise?

Plan but not way ahead. Step slowly, guided by the moment– the values of today, the passion of today and then take a step, slowly with a deep breath and a sense of belonging. Live in the moment, with the moment. Truly live.

Don’t try to change the situation. Change your reaction. Ever played a game of cards? You can’t change the cards once they’re dealt, that’s not within your control. How you play them, that’s in your control. So just play. Play for playing.

And many might not agree with it. And, that’s fine. We’re tailored in a way to look only ahead and not now. To try to control the future. To try to control every single bit.

Many will say, “Not plan for my career? What about money? What about this and what about that?” I say, plan. But plan for the moment. Not future. Plan guided by now, what you’re feeling now, what is your intuition now. Not future. Future will come when it has to, anyway.

Try this for once. Live freely. Break the chains of control. And fly like a bird and swim like fish.

Since when did bird started caring about the sky or who is flying? It doesn’t. It is in the moment, living the beauty that flying is.

A fish will just swim. It has no need to control the sea or other fish. It’ll dance and sing and swim, it’ll mate and eat. And deals with the flow as it comes.

Free yourself. Fly and swim. And sing and dance. For once, instead of trying to control everything, try merging and accepting and just flowing.

And that’ll be the most freeing thing ever.

Fly. Flow. Dance.

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Living Without the Mask.

Masked people that Indian Minimalist

“The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You trade in your sense for an act. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask. There can’t be any large-scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level. It’s got to happen inside first.” 
― Jim Morrison

I met a friend recently.

She left a text saying that she really wanted to talk.

We got to talking and soon she told me about how she is not really happy with the way, her life is going.

She is not liking it and she doesn’t feel the ownership of her life.

If it was me probably 3 months back, I would’ve judged and told her a rant of how people are like this and that.

But no, I don’t do that any longer. At least, I try not to.

So, I just listened.

And, I could get what she said. I could connect.

Because, I remember facing the same. And, there was a common problem over here.

Living with Masks.

Living in Indian Society, or for that matter any society, is tough.

You’ve countless opinions, suggestions, views bombarded on you, almost every minute.

Countless theories on what works and what doesn’t.  On what is right and what is wrong.

I remember being told so many things at so many times by so many people.

It is tremendously overwhelming.

Easy solution?

What I did and sometimes, to a fault, still do.

Wear a mask.

Feeling sad but don’t want to show? There’s a happy-go-lucky mask for that.

People tell that strong people don’t cry? There’s a Strong faced mask for that.

People don’t like something about me? There’s a pretension mask for that.

Look inside you. There are masks all over the place. Thousands of them, countless of them.

For each time, we got scared.

For each time, we were afraid.

For each time, we feared what people would say.

For each time, we wanted to follow the unconventional path.

For each and every time to replace a genuine emotion.

We took some mask, wore it and hide the real us.

I have been doing it since the longest time.

It’s easy and it helps us to hide amongst the crowd of thousands other people who wear masks everyday and go on with their life.

And the effect is that mask gets embedded so deeply within, you start taking it as your own self. The real you.

But that’s not the real you. It’s not. Your mind knows it, your soul knows it and somewhere deep down you do too.

So the important question comes out: how long and far can you pretend?

You can probably wear the mask in front of me and fool me. Probably fool your family, friends. Even probably fool the entire society.

Can you fool yourself?

I urge you to live without the mask.

Yes, it is a more vulnerable way of living. Yes, it is scary at first. Yes, it is stepping into unknown. And yes, chances are people will get uncomfortable because genuine emotions generally rattle those who wear masks.

But, you know what? It will be OK.

Be your real self.

If you’re sad, you’re sad. Acknowledging it will probably help you identify the root cause and work on it.

If you’re happy, you’re happy. Acknowledge it. Ravel in the joy. Amplify it and share it.

If you don’t like something, tell it. Be honest. Be genuine. Yes, don’t condescend or judge or look down or insult. But be honest. You don’t need to lie to yourself and the other person.

It is OK to have a different opinion. It is OK to have different personality. And it is OK to do something which certain section of people don’t approve.

Unless you’re not harming the interest of other people, you’re good to go.

You don’t need people’s approval for everything. You don’t.They might talk. Let them. They’ll anyway.

Who are you living for? Be genuine to your core. To your being.

It is OK to be miserable sometimes.

It is OK to not agree with most people agree with.

It is OK to not follow what majority feels should be followed.

Don’t put a mask. Don’t hide your real self. You’re beautiful, why would you do such a thing? Yes, probably you’re flawed. And probably, you’ve done mistakes.

But who hasn’t?

We’ll are flawed. We’ll are imperfect. That’s how you identify a human.

Be your real self. And wear that.

Keep learning. Admit your failings. Take a stand. Apologize if it is a wrong stand. Make mistakes. Grow out of your comfort zone. Accept your flaws. Be kind. Be compassionate. Don’t judge. Elevate people. Help people. Love people. Take the course you always wanted do. Quit the job if you hate it. Take that vacation. Write that book. Paint that masterpiece.Tell someone what you always wanted to. Be genuine. Be real. Be confident. Be love.

Let the individual that you’re shine. And shine gloriously.

Live without the mask.

Yes, it’s scary. Yes, it is a bit tough.

But it is worth it.

Continuing the story.

We talked a lot that day. And, it seemed that she genuinely wants to be her real self. To grow out of the masks. To come out of what would people say syndrome.

And, we made a rough sketch for her. A timeline, a sort of plan. Something through which she can shed the masks.

And, I learnt a lot too.

Probably, I still have scope of being more genuine and more real.

I’ll keep working on it.

And for you, next time when someone asks you that how are you or how have you been.

Answer it more genuinely than a fine.

Tell them, how you really are feeling.

Get fucking out of the standard mask templates of “I am doing fine”

Go now. Be awesome.

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

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The Power Of Solitude.

That Indian Minimalist

 

“It is only when we silent the blaring sounds of our daily existence that we can finally hear the whispers of truth that life reveals to us, as it stands knocking on the doorsteps of our hearts.”

– K.T. Jong

I’ll tell you a story.

Around three months ago, I was coming home from college.

My phone was switched off because of low battery.

And, it was hot afternoon and I was tired.

When I rang the bell of my home, no one opened. I waited for few minutes and I realized that no one is at home.

Ah, they must have gone out. I also realized that I don’t have the keys.

Fortunately, there was chair in the balcony.

Since I was exhausted, I settled myself over there.

And, I sat there. But there was no phone to connect with.

No Facebook, no Twitter, no Instagram, no Whatsapp, no calls.

And 5 minutes passed, 10 minutes passed and I started feeling uncomfortable. Really.

We’re not used to this, you know? We’re the hyper-connected generation. We have status to share and read, we have comments to be put up, we have instagram pictures to put and heart, we have jokes to share and we have people to chat with.

And here I was sitting alone on an afternoon with no such tools at disposal.

And I felt a different fear for the first time.

It was fear of being alone. It was fear of confronting your own thoughts and guilt. Fear of really reflecting on your actions, thoughts and life.

And, I realized that I never really do this. I never actually sit down and just spend some time with myself, in solitude. I never go for walks alone and just be with my thoughts.

And, I realized why. Because, it’s scary.

It was always easier for me, the moment I was left alone to take out the mobile and distract myself.

To send Hi to random groups and people, to see photos on Instagram, to take pictures, to share a status, to read facebook updates.

It’s easier. Much easier than just sitting in solitude. To confront your fears, doubts. To confront your life and thoughts. That’ll are tough. And really they are.

This post is not a technological rant of how Social Media is destroying and all that. Maybe it is or maybe it is not. Who am I to tell? I use it as much.

No, the point here is that in this hyper-connected world, we’re ignoring the power of solitude.

To curl up with a book and a good novel, to go alone on walks, to listen to music, to sit in front of sea and beaches and just stare into the horizon.

To really go deep into our thoughts and life. To reflect on our actions. To listen to the lone voice of intuition which gets subsided in the hyper-connectivity and chaos, we prefer.

To really think.

To really reflect, a space to create, a space to think, to unwind, to refuel.

To spend time with your own, to understand your actions and to ponder over thoughts.

And contrary to belief, solitude doesn’t equal lonely. No one is asking you to renunciate everything and become a monk. No one is even asking you to pack your bags and go to Everest.

No, don’t get me wrong. I love spending time with people, I love. Family and friends. And for that even strangers.

But we need to recharge on several occasions. We need to refuel.

And to your surprise, you might just become more positive and more real and understanding in your relations with people.

How will you have a healthy relationship with people if you don’t have it with yourself?

Disconnect with technology for sometime. Shut off your computer and Internet and phone.

Trust me, nothing would happen within the time that would collapse your life.

Just use some amount of time to communicate with yourself, to be alone and in solitude.

Go for a walk. Curl up with a novel. Sit by the beach. Sit by the sea. Meditate. Listen to Music. Contemplate your actions. Think about your learnings. Write. Paint. Sing. Dance.

But be in solitude. It might be scary at first. You’ll feel the urge to pick up your phone and start typing or send hi to the first person in contact list or see photos. Or update a status.

But don’t. Resist it. Stop it. Seriously, how will you hide things from yourself? Or rather for how long?

Confront the fears. Confront the demons. Confront the guilt.

Let it out in your thoughts. Let it vent. Let it get out of the system.

Listen to yourself. Be with yourself. The most inner of your being.

Do it everyday. Even for 5 minutes but do it. Just be with yourself.

You’ll feel more positive, you’ll feel more confident about yourself.

You’ll be able to create more. The deepest of ideas and thoughts will come out.

You’ll feel positive which in-turn would improve your life and your relations with others.

Win-win situation, I would say.

Oh, continuing the story.

I almost sat outside in the balcony for 3 hours, in solitude. And, I confronted a lot of things, lot of fears. And reflected a lot.

It was scary at first. But one of the most worthwhile three hours of my life. And they’ll remain so.

And those 3 hours created one of best things I have ever done, the little blog known as That Indian Minimalist.

Who knows what you might create?

Go now. Take some time out. A cup of coffee and a novel forms a good start, if you ask me.  Also, a walk around in the night.

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Beyond the Tyranny of Judging People.

people-walking-in-city

 

“I think that my job is to observe people and the world, and not to judge them. I always hope to position myself away from so-called conclusions. I would like to leave everything wide open to all the possibilities in the world.”
― Haruki Murakami

 

I wrote about Being Slave of Money around a month ago.

(To get the most grip of the post, it would be better if you read that post first and then continue reading this)

There I wrote about my cousin brother who is running madly behind the idea of money and is possibly leaving behind all the possible essential things behind- like relationships, being happy, being content or just living. And how is miserable. And cocky. And arrogant.

That was a month ago.

And after following the concept of Minimalism for almost another month and after failing in keeping up with it many times  or so, I realized that I was wrong.

Wrong not in the idea of that post, wrong not in the intention behind the post, wrong not behind the thought of the post. I still believe that no-one should blindly run behind money.

But I was wrong because I judged. 

Is judging itself bad? No, not really. But it is definitely a symptom of something that can be harmful.

I am saying ‘harmful’ and not ‘bad’, because rather than judging it to be good or bad, I prefer to observe it.

I realized that I am very ignorant of my brother is going through.

I realized that in a way I am stating that I am superior to him which I am not, I am being extremely self-centric.

I realized that I don’t understand the situation completely. I never can because I am not him.

I also realized that I am setting expectations from people. Unrealistic expectations.

I am not being curious as to why the other person is behaving the way he is, I am just judging him and dismissing him.

Also, I realized that I am not really helping him. And, I cannot help him too because I have already judged and dismissed him.

And I am kind of frustrated and unhappy with the way the other person is behaved.

It also affected the relationship with him because once you judge, you generally see the person in only that light.

I am unable to help, unable to take what the other person has to offer to me as a person. Among many such other harms.

And now, just replace my example with the countless time you’ve done the same with some other person. Fill it with spouse, lover, brother, parents, friends, strangers. Anyone.

You’ll notice the same pattern, mostly.

The question emerges-

How do you let go of Judging people?

The first thing to do will to be aware of that you’re judging.

Just be aware that you’re doing it.

Don’t judge yourself for it, don’t get angry on yourself.

Just know that you’re doing, that you’re judging.

That you’re indulging in an activity which is harmful, for others and for you.

This takes practice. This takes extra awareness. To know that you’re judging. To see it as a flag of something harmful.

There are symptoms which will tell you that you’re judging- if you’re complaining about someone, gossiping about them, dismissing them as a person.

Identify the symbols and know you’re judging. Recognize them.

After recognizing, try to understand why you judged in first place. Why? Be curious. Ask questions like-

How much do I know about the person?

Can you guess what other person is really going through?

Are you setting an expectation which is unrealistic?

Can you fit in other person’s shoes?

Can you imagine a time when you went through similar times?

Ask these questions.

Then ask yourself: How can I help?

At many times, people need someone to listen, someone who accepts them without judging.

Someone who can sit beside them and look in their eyes and talk with them. And appreciate them for who they’re.

Sometimes, they need more: advice, guide or a hug.

But I’ve realized something that you can’t help them from the place of judgement. It is only when you accept them. Appreciate them. Be empathetic towards them can you really help them. Be curious about them. Not before.

I realized that I’ve judged my brother soon.

I went to meet him one day and talked with him.

It took him a while to open up as himself.

But he did and he told me things.

Things like how he recently had a break up, things like how he has a will to support his parents, things like how he is tired of being obese and not having true friends. Things like how he goes to parties just so that he find some people who will accept him.

I just listened. Intently, curiously and with empathy.

And after days, I saw him happy.

As it turned out, all he needed was someone to listen and appreciate for who is and what he is.

And I felt happier in the process.  

Try it next time. You’ll change lives.

Not only of others but of your own. 

Other Awesome Reads-

A Simple Method to Avoid Being Judgemental– Zen Habits

 

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Minimalism- What makes you ‘cool’?

Spring-Party

“How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg? Four. Calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg.”

― Abraham Lincoln

One of my biggest flaws has to be pretension.

Really. I am still working on it, really hard.

I have improved though. A lot, considering how I was few months back.

I do admit that I was in a race to impress. And that was probably just because I wanted to look ‘cool’

I wanted a cool hairstyle and cool clothes and cool gadgets and you know just be cool.

I wanted to be the person who has most friends on Facebook with maximum likes on his DP and retweets and followers on twitter and hearts on Instagram.

I wanted to be the person who would have the coolest house and cars.

To have fancy decorations in my house and perfect furnitures and Rolex watches, not just one but many.

Because let’s face it, that’s how you get respect.

And that’s how you’re cool.

By your looks, cars, mansions and by your gadgets and stuff.

And what you need for that?

You need money, bwoy.

So, I never asked if that’s what I really want to do with my life. I just set my highest goal as becoming ‘cool’ and decided that earning huge chunks of money is the only way to do that.

So that I can purchase emotions, ask respect and add a layer of pretension to my self and look cool.

4 months later, I laugh on myself.

But I really wanted this for my life a few month back, just so that I can look cool.

There are few things which changed the entire definition of cool for and I realized being cool is not really being cool.

1) I came across authentic people

I stumbled upon Minimalism and through that I came across to personalities who do none of the stuff I mentioned above. But they inspire beyond words.

People like Leo, people like Joshua and Ryan, people like Joshua Becker, people like Colin.

These people have only one thing to them: they are authentic. They admit when they fail. They don’t pretend. And they’re perfectly happy with who they’re, with the flaws.  Honest and genuine.

They live unconventional life.

And they really inspired me. And millions others.

And that’s when I asked myself, who is really cool?

2) I realized ‘coolness’ is based on perspective 

Really. What is cool for me now was extremely uncool for me, few months back. It just took few months and change of perception. That’s it.

So there is no right or wrong about it. No objectivity. It is perspective based.

You can feel a small hut is cool or a big sprawling mansion is. Who knows?

So I urge you to not judge anyone. But I also urge you to not follow blindly what you think is cool based on other’s opinion.

Because it might turn out to be different.

That’s it in entirety.

3) Being cool doesn’t equate to being respected

If you respect me because of my clothes or gadgets or cars and other exterior stuff: likes on facebook and hearts on instagram and followers on twitter.

You respect the idea of me and not me.

I am not my stuff or things or something.

I am far much more.

And you don’t really care about that.

If that’s what you are ‘being cool’ for: not going to happen, mate.

4) Your people don’t give a fuck

Your real people- your real friends- don’t give a fuck about you being cool.

Really, I have people, my people and with them I do all sorts of stuff.

I send them crappy texts, I send them horrible voice-notes, I send them pictures of me with weird and ugly expressions.

And guess what? They are there.  Because they know me from inside and they know who I really am and they respect that fact.

Hell, I might run around in jockey someday on the streets and they still will be there.

For them, it is about who you’re. Not your stuff, not what you do but who you’re.

5) You start losing your authentic self

I was never into parties. Not that it is inherently bad to go partying, I just don’t like it.

I was never into EDM sort of music. Again, not that it is inherently bad. It’s just that it is not my type of music.

Same with clothes and many gadgets.

But in the start, I used to pretend to like many such things anyway because I thought that’s what will make me look cool.

And I started to lose pretty much all who I really was in-order to be who I am not.

And that’s pretty terrible thing to happen. So avoid.

Be authentic to who you’re. Because trust me, that is all really that is cool about you.

I won’t lie. I still sometimes slip and go back in the trap. I do, I am all human and I am all mistakes.

But with the difference that I immediately get aware and snap out of it. I try at least.

The question is to not ask what other people think makes you cool. The question to ponder is what makes you cool.

So tell me now-

What makes you cool?

Other awesome reads-

1) The Tyranny of Cool– This awesome New York Times article.

2) Ending the Tyranny of Cool– The Minimalist

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Minimalism- No Need to Explain Yourself.

“You have no responsibility to live up to what other people think you ought to accomplish. I have no responsibility to be like they expect me to be. It’s their mistake, not my failing.”
― Richard Feynman

I was pursuing a particular line of career.

I left it few months back.

I realized it soon enough that it is not my cup of tea. Not necessarily hard or bad but something which I find no interest in.

And, simply put, I couldn’t see myself doing that thing for my entire life.

So, I took the decision to not pursue it anymore.

Simple enough, right?

Wrong. 

For the initial months, I felt like some criminal where people were asking me questions and I was explaining myself in the court of law.

“No, no, that’s not why I left it..”

“No, that’s not what I meant..”

“But, I had valid reasons to do so..”

These became the initial dialogues with what followed was a defense as to why I was right in doing what I do.

And I don’t blame people.

The problem was with me.

I felt this unquenchable thirst to go around and explain myself.

To go around and justify my actions.

To go around and say and try to prove that I was right.

And, if you’re anything like me, you do the same.

You go around explaining as to why you are correct.

You go around justifying your words and your actions, even though it doesn’t have to do anything with other people.

You go telling in a hope that everyone would agree with you. And will support you. And pat your back.

Listen. Listen, hard. You don’t need to do that.

People who require an explanation from you, they won’t understand you anyways. You cannot control how they think, how they feel about you. You cannot. So let go of that need. Really.

And people who matter- really close people to you- they might worry about you for some days but they’ll understand you eventually. They will know why you did it. They will support you. They’ll stand beside you and they’ll stand behind you when you fall. Because for them: you’re enough.

You don’t need to explain your actions. Really. 

If you’re sure about what you’re doing. If you know what you’re doing. You’re good to go.

When you go and explain yourself, it seems you’re guilty of something. And, you’re explaining your way out of it.

Are you guilty if you’re taking control back your life?

Are you guilty if you’re letting go of shitty relations?

Are you guilty if you’re leaving behind the past and starting afresh?

Are you guilty if you choose happiness?

Are you guilty if you choose to follow your dreams?

No, you’re not. You’re not guilty. 

And, it is not people’s fault. They don’t live your life.  They don’t know how you’re feeling. They can’t understand.

They will think what they want to.

And, YOU can’t control that. 

You can’t control what people think.

In the process of trying, you’ll be destroying yourself.

Your beliefs. Your dreams. And, your own self. The self-confidence.

The only person who deserves an explanation of your actions is yourself. No one else. Just you.

Solution to this?

Stop explaining yourself.

Stop explaining who you’re. Stop explaining why you do what you do. Stop explaining and justifying each of your life’s action.

Really, you think they’ll understand why you took that divorce or why you quit that job or why you changed that career or why you went into a relationship with that person or why you let go of that relation or why you do what you do?

They won’t. They can’t. So stop trying. Just stop. Put an end to it. 

It is OK to explain sometimes, when you feel you’re misunderstood, or if you have hurt someone mistakenly: it is OK. But don’t feel obligated to explain yourself.

You’re not obligated to explain yourself to anyone.

You’re not obligated to justify your choices.

You deserve to be happy. And until your decision doesn’t harm anyone, you’re free to choose happiness.

And you don’t owe an explanation as to why you chose happiness. 

Just remember: You can’t control other people’s thinking. You simply cannot. So there is no point of explanation or justification.

And people who matter will understand without explaining or justifying.

Go now. Be awesome. 

Other Reads:

1) Stop Justifying your feelings– Tiny Wisdom

2) You Don’t Need To Explain Yourself– The Minimalists

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Minimalism- What’s up with all the buying?

‘There must be more to life than having everything!’

~Maurice Sendak

Six months back from now, I was a hoarder.

Hoarder of clothes. Hoarder of things, I don’t need.

Hoarder of emotions relating to buy things which I couldn’t buy.

I was a purchase freak. I admit to it.

I used to buy clothes. Buy unnecessary food. Spend so much money at unnecessary places and for unnecessary things.

It was all too much, when I look back now.

My regular pocket-money used to get over too soon. I had no saving. I used to ask advance from my parents almost too soon.

And, on some occasions, I remember picking money from Dad’s pocket.

When I look back, it’ll seem I was a slave. And perhaps, I was. I won’t deny.

I started to find happiness in stuff. I became attached to the idea that more stuff means, more happiness.

More food means, more happiness.

It almost became my like my therapy to avoid the void of emptiness.

So I started to fill that void with stuff. More stuff. And much more stuff.

I started desiring more stuff. And things. And more money.

And it was terrible.

It was a vicious cycle.

I got money. I spent money. I got more money. I spent more money.

It became a therapy for me.

To purchase things. To spend on clothes. To spend on gadgets. To spend on unnecessary eating out. And such unnecessary things.

And then I stumbled upon the idea of Minimalism. And it struck a chord with me.

And I decided, I’ll do this.

I decided, I won’t be buying for months now. Not unnecessarily at least.

That would be mean no random clothes shopping. No gadgets. Movies. New games. Excessive rickshaw travelling. Spending overly on restaurants and food.

It all had to be stopped. Really.

And it was terribly hard. I remember in the first month, I became cranky. And angry. And anxious. And sad.

Sounds extreme. But that’s how it was.

I felt like a drug addict. Really. For the first time in my life, I felt this much anxiety.

Whenever I used to come across a new gadget or fancy restaurant or food items or clothes, I used to get all sweaty. Worked up.

And I almost gave in many times to the urge of buying. That impulse rush.

And, soon, I realized the problem.

The problem was that I was trying to buy emotions.

You heard it right. Buying emotions. 

Whenever I used to buy clothes, I attached the emotion of comfort and emotion of being happy to purchasing clothes. I used to feel a momentarily rush. And, I became addicted to that rush and forgot that’s not real happiness. Or comfort.

Whenever I used to buy excessive food or overly expensive food, I attached the emotion of happiness and security and comfort to it. I was trying to buy the emotions.

The problem however was that emotions can’t be bought. Things can be. Emotions can’t be.

I realized this soon enough. And I was stunned. In shock. I never imagined what I have done to my mental process.

I started to associate emotions with hoarding. Emotions with purchasing. Emotions with consumerism.

So for me, more clothes was more comfort. More food was more happiness. More gadgets were more security and more fun. More shopping was more love.

But the reality is different. Such emotions wore off soon. They don’t stay for long and soon again, I’ll be anxious. That’ll again force me to buy more things.

This cycle would have never ended. Never, ever. 

That’s why, my first month was so difficult. There was no quick fix available to my mind. There was no purchase to be made.

It became better. And, I started to find real emotions seeping in.

I found comfort in a good friendship and good chat not clothes.

I found happiness in a good time spend with friends, a good cup of coffee over reading a book and being volunteer for the community.

I found security through genuine relations I have in my life and not through excessive eating.

It became better. It became good. It become awesome.

And, now I am healthier, happier and better than I ever was.

I am not saying there is inherently wrong with consumerism or buying things.

I am not even saying that, I don’t buy things now and have gone all sanyaasi.

All I am saying is that don’t try to buy emotions. Really. You can’t. You never were able to and you never will be.

You might feel a rush of pleasure after a shopping spree but it’ll wore off soon. What then? You’ll want to do another shopping spree. You’ll want to buy more things and stuff.

There is no end to it. 

And really. The idea of tying your self-worth to materials is something scary.

Imagine your happiness, security, comfort and all emotions being tied materials. To purchasing. To owing. To buying.

It is a scary, scary thought.

Don’t be a slave.

Come out.

We’re more than what we own. We’re more than where we eat or what we eat.

We’re more than what we wear.

We’re more than all these.

We’re not defined by these.

Don’t try to define ourselves by these.

There will be only loser. That is us.

Come out the shackles of excessive consumerism. It does you no good.

Get free from the cage. And be more.

Fly. Fucking fly.

Other reads- 

SHOPPING OR FINDING MEANING- The Minimalists

Breaking Free From Consumerist Chains- ZenHabits

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