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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Please don’t call me Spiritual.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It just is.

What is, is.

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?

 

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

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

*Part of Daily post challenge.

 

 

On Not Being a Control Freak.

 

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“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.

*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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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.

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

“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- 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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Minimalism and The Race To Impress.

“Even in social life, you will never make a good impression on other people until you stop thinking about what sort of impression you’re making.”
― C.S. Lewis

 

I have this really good friend of mine.

We have known each other since years now.

And, I really adore him.

His determination. His passion. His will to grow.

And his never-ending curiosity.

But yet he is not happy. He smokes. He is an alcoholic.

And, I have seen him cry over his life ample times.

And he comes to me for help. For words.

I wonder to myself: Where has he gone wrong?

I realized it recently. Really.

He tries too hard to impress others. In very superficial ways.

He doesn’t like pubs. But he will still go because he feels that’s the ‘trend’

He doesn’t like alcohol much. He has admitted it. He has told me.

But he will still drink because apparently that’s what makes a person ‘cool’

He isn’t really is comfortable with the clothes he wears.

But still. He wears it. Because he feels it will impress others.

And countless other things he does just in order to impress others.

And I realized it is not just him. It is not just you. It is all of us.

How much ever we deny, we all are at some point guilty of trying to impress others.

Not by being ourselves. But by trying and create a superfluous aura around ourselves.

This ‘Oh, please approve of me’ culture of ours is taking a hideous turn.

And, I give some credits to social media.

We try to impress others. It is a race.

Through status, through photos, through witty tweets. All this things.

Through big fancy mobiles, through big fancy bungalows, through big figure salaries.

Through all the glam and jazz. Through clothes and superfluous things.

Through how big your TV is and how many apps you have and which brand you wear.

Through how many degrees you have. And your achievements.

We wait for people to like our stuff.

We wait for people to approve of us.

I can almost listen them shouting, “Please like us”

I am equally guilty of this.

We’re social creatures. We want to impress people. We want people to like us.

There is nothing inherently wrong with it.

The problem starts when we start to defy our own values. Our likes. Our dislikes. Our taste. And follow what might just be ‘sale-able’ or what might just be a ‘trend’

I have seen countless people doing something which they detest just because they think it impresses others.

I have seen countless people working in a field they hate and earn money and buy material things  in order to impress or to maintain ‘status’, as they call it.

And, I have seen countless people and bragging and trying to impress me through all this stuff.

Listen hard.

You are not impressing me with all that.

Neither your job title of CA, CS, CFA, CPA or whatever ‘C’ nor your salary.

Nor your fancy cars or bungalows.

Nor your wardrobe or how much you party or what brand you wear.

Nor how many followers you have on twitter or how many friends you have on Facebook or how you’re the ‘life’ of every party and your friend’s group.

These things don’t impress me.

You impress me.

You the person impresses me.

Not your stuff. Not your salary. Not your fancy job titles.

You.

Your commitment to growth impresses me.

Your commitment to learn impresses me.

Your curiosity impress me.

Your kindness, your compassion, your outlook towards life, all these things impress me.

How you treat your fellow humans impresses me.

Your values impress me.

Your love impresses me.

Your warmth impresses me.

Stop trying to impress people with your stuff. With your titles. With things and titles external to you.

Some people will always have more ‘stuff’ and those ‘other things’ than you.

Impress with who you’re. Where you are. And where you want to be.

Impress with passion. Impress with laugh. Impress with love.

Impress with your life. Impress with how you live.

Impress with yourself.

Because trust me, there is only one you.

You’re fucking unique. So be that way.


Other awesome relatable reads:

YOU ARE NOT IMPRESSING ME– By The Minimalist

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Minimalism- What Is Success?

 

I attended a seminar recently.

From an apparently very ‘successful’ person.

He boasted all about his life.

He boasted how he was some Olympiad champion.

He also boasted how he holds such a brilliant position in some company.

He boasted about his cars, bungalows and packages. And trips. And many more such luxuries.

And not with much subtlety, he established that his life is like the benchmark of being successful.

Oh, don’t get me wrong, I was also inspired. He talked in a mesmerizing manner. And all that jazz.

His talk got over. He went out and I went behind him to ask few questions.

And, I saw that he was shouting at his driver.

He belittled him. He condescended him. And few seconds later, he slapped him. Apparently because the driver parked in the wrong place. And the driver was feeling humiliated and was on the verge of a break down.

This is success?

Probably for him, yes.

For me, no.

And I came back home and I pondered: What is success?

Is being rich and having many bungalows success?

Is having a chauffeur driven high-end car success?

Is occupying a big position in a multinational corporate house success?

Is being an entrepreneur success?

Is being a celebrity success?

Is starting a blog success?

Is converting a blog into online business success?

Is writing a book success?

Is being a teacher success?

Is thinking that neither of them is true, success?

What the fuck is success?

And, I realized I am thinking it all wrong.

Success for most of its part is subjective.

I probably might feel I am successful but you might not. You probably might feel I am successful but I wouldn’t think the same for myself.

The definition of success too will change from time to time for you.

Few months back, success for me was stacking up money and showing it off. Now, success is not the same for me.

The definition of success changed.

We have been led to believe that success is something generalized. That there is a fix success template: that is having loads of money, big bungalow, expensive cars and luxuries alike.

Now, this might be actually success for some of us.

For the rest of us, we just follow it blindly thinking that the world can decide for us that what success is. That the society is the ultimate judge of whether we’re successful or not.

And when that delusion shatters, it pains. Terribly.

The question still remains that what is success?

For most of the part, a myth.

Because no one can tell you what success is for you and the definition of success will change for you.

And so, I stopped aiming to be successful.

You heard it right.

I don’t want to be successful.

Instead now I aim to be valuable. 

Being valuable. Creating value. For yourself. For the people around. For the whole fucking world.

Something which will constantly push me to be a better person. A better human. And better at everything I do. Every relation. Every work. Everything. Not perfect. But better.

I’ll ask myself before doing anything, “Have I created value?”

If the answer is yes, I am on the right track.

If the answer is no, I am probably off track.

Value can be anything.

As small as giving someone a hug to as big as creating a multinational giant which fills in a gap of missing value.

As small as be true to all the relations you have. To be true to yourself. And it can be as humongous as solving a social need.

As small as just being there for someone. As small as loving someone. To as large as being a hope for someone.

As small as breathing and as large as living.

To create value.

Genuine happiness lies here.

We are humans: beings of creation. We want to create.

If this post affects one person also, I know I have created value for that person.

If I inspire someone, I know I have created value.

If I help someone, I know have created value.

Create value.

For me, this small change in perception has turned my whole fucking life tipsy curvy.

Every night, I look in the mirror and I ask myself, ” Have I created value?”

If the answer is yes, I sleep soundly.

If the answer is no, I go and create value.

Praising the deserving. Helping someone. Or just reassuring. Or making someone smile.

Creating value is not difficult, if you have the aim to do that.

I don’t know whether being successful equates with being happy.

I definitely know that creating value equates to being happy.

And being happy is anyways the whole point.

Isn’t it?

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