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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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.

 

 

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.

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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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“You Will Remain Incomplete Until..”

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“Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes. working jobs we hate, so we can buy shit we don’t need.” 
― Chuck Palahniuk

 

Look around.

No just look.

Look on the internet, on the Television screen, in books, in papers, outside on road.

Look in the mirror.

You know what is common in everything?

Advertisements.

Brands and logos and taglines and fancy typography and jazzy arts.

Look at those fancy audio ads and visual ads on TV or the big billboard outside your house or in the ad box in newspaper.

You know what are they saying?

You know what every advertisement is saying?

They are saying- “You will remain incomplete until..”

Now fill in the blank with the product name.

You’ll remain incomplete until you’ve this phone.

You’ll remain incomplete until you wear this brand.

You’ll remain incomplete until you use this thing.

You’ll remain unhappy until you use this cream.

They even go to the lengths of telling that you are incomplete until you don’t wear a specific brand of inner-wear.

That’s not what I believe. That’s what advertisers would like you to believe.

That you’re incomplete.

So what’s the solution to this?

Obviously, buying the product and feeling complete, feeling adequate.

That’s what we do, right?

We got out and buy the product. And feel ‘complete’ for a while. Then a new products come along and again we’re showed how we’re still incomplete. Then, we want that product. And this cycle never ends. Never.

We let the stuff define us. And advertisers love it.

Only problem- consumption is an unquenchable thirst. Really, we all have been through this. Haven’t we?

We always want more. We keep on creating desires for more stuff. We keep on feeling inferior or superior to other people on the basis of who owns what.

We keep on feeling ‘incomplete’.

These advertisers will always be there. And so will their tricks.

And they’ll always want you to believe that you’re incomplete, that you’re inadequate, that somehow owning their product will fulfil you.

But, can I tell you something?

You’re already complete.

You’re already adequate.

Realize that you’re already perfect.

You don’t need stuff to know your worth. You don’t need brand’s approval to know that you’re a good human.

Your stuff don’t define who you’re. You actions will, your kindness will, how you’re as a person that’ll but not your stuff.

Never your stuff.

Unless you allow your stuff to define you, they can’t and they won’t.

It is you.

It has always been you.

You- the person.

You- the human.

You- the individual.

Let yourself be defined by your actions, by your growth, by your kindness and compassion, by your will to learn.

And, when you do, you feel complete in real sense.

You’re not stuff. You’re not cars and brands. You’re not creams and sunscreens. You’re not mobiles and PSPs.

Stuff doesn’t make you happy. Not long term, for sure.

Never did, never will.

You make you happy.

Go now and be more.

Fly, fucking fly.

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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 and Expectations.

“There were two ways to be happy: improve your reality, or lower your expectations”
― Jodi Picoult

 

I haven’t written anything this past whole week.

I have reasons. But, as a person, who promotes choice it will be unfair to give them or even to believe that they are valid enough as reasons.

I didn’t write. Plain and simple.

The problem however lies where I expect myself to write.

The bigger problem is that people expect me to write. And that too in a certain way and context.

And, it did weigh me down to not be able ‘stand’ up to it.

For this post, I have a gentle request.

For the next 8 minutes or so, forget all about what you already know about expectations. Allow me to bring another face to it.

You might agree or disagree. That’s completely fine.

But try reading the post with the least preset ‘expectations’ about the word ‘expectation’ in particular.

Expectations.

Without even consciously thinking, this word has become one of the most dominant force in our lives.

How?

We expect. A lot. From the life. From our world. From people around us. From ourselves. From Government. From organizations. From every single one and thing around.

Really. Think about it. Look around and try finding one thing or one person from which you don’t ‘expect’. It is a dare.

So what is wrong with that?

There is nothing wrong with it. We’re not thinking about what is wrong and what is right and so on and so forth.

We’re thinking about what impact does it create on your life.

We are thinking whether it amplifies or reduces your happiness level.

We’re thinking that.

I have had many fall outs with many people.

And part of the reason always has been that we both ‘expected’ certain things from each other that we would do or not do.

And, I let many people go. And, I now realize that, many beautiful and gorgeous soul go because somehow they didn’t meet my expectations.

Chances are you also have let many people go.

The question: Are they liable to stand on your expectations?

Bigger question: Did those expectations make you happy?

In a way yes, It is that old clichéd writing about expect less.

But there is a reason, it is clichéd. It has been used and told so many times that we don’t remember its importance anymore.

Refreshing the memory a bit.

Are you asking us to stop expecting from people? That sounds insane.

Well, no. I don’t ‘expect’ you to do that.

But let’s consider it for once and see.

What will the world look like if there are no expectations?

Your relations will be healthier because you have not created a standard. Things that should make you happy will make you happy. Things will surprise you. You’ll be always excited about the relation.

Your life will be so damn good. Imagine, you have no expectations from your life. Better, neither does anyone else. You’re free to do what you love. No one expects something out of you. And neither do you.

The world will be better place. There is no society expectations to shape you in a manner they find appropriate. Everyone can breathe. Live their individuality. And love like never before.

Sounds radical. I know. But sounds good. At least to me.

I do agree that many place to expect is necessary. It is genetic. And often serves as a base. But we misuse it. Abuse it. To the point where it hinders with our own being. Our own happiness.

Apply minimalism to expectations, that’s all I ask.

Replace the word ‘expectations’ with the word ‘quality’ wherever you can.

What does applying minimalism to expectations looks like?

Search for quality in life. Search for quality in relations. Search for quality in every single individual.

Don’t expect from life. From things. From relations. From people.

They are not liable to fulfill it. They don’t owe you anything.

Don’t let false expectations run your life. You’ll be unhappy.

Because you’ve created that egoistic expectation bubble around you. That bubble inside which you sit and think that people owe you something. That the world owes you something. That life owes you something.

Reality alert: It doesn’t.

That bubble will break eventually. Like every other bubble. And it will hurt, badly.

Let everyone breathe their individuality. Things that make them who they’re. Not things that you want them to do. Or not how you want them to be like.

How they’re. Accept it. Because life, world and people: they’re beautiful regardless of your expectations.

In those whole expectations, there is only one loser. That is us.

The one who expects.

It is difficult. Obviously. We have been molded into beings who expect. I am myself yet to let it go, completely.

But it works. Like charm.

With less expectations, life surprises you. People surprise you. The world surprise you.

Because you let them breathe.

You let them breathe their complexities.

You let them breathe their individuality.

You don’t ask them to be how you think they should be.

You let them be.

You accept and acknowledge the beauty in what and who they already are.

You don’t try to change them according to how you think they should be.

You see quality and beauty in what they already are. And how your relation already is.

And this feeling, this experience is gorgeous and mesmerizing.

Because you see everything in different light.

All you need is to try to lower your expectations and to replace the word expectations with QUALITY on all occasion.

Go now. And be awesome.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_writing_challenge/great-expectations/

*That Indian Minimalist crossed more than 100 readers few days back, I really feel inspired by this. Thank you and keep reading, sharing and commenting.

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