10 Choices You will not Regret.

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

Credits: Favim.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The key thing is to choose.

So choose.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Please don’t call me Spiritual.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It just is.

What is, is.

Coffee Conversations- Nothing to do with you.

 

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

I received this mail around a week ago:

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

This one is a tough cookie, eh?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let me give you an example:

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

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

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

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

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

This applies to almost all cases.

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

It is generally the expectations.

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

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

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

Deal both with compassion and kindness and sense of calmness.

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

You, in most cases, act as a trigger.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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On Not Being a Control Freak.

 

President_Gerald_Ford_meets_with_his_Cabinet_June_25_-_1975

 

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

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

All the people, they want to control.

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

Truth? You can’t.

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

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

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

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

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

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

And that’s the root of all the misery.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But can we truly control?

I say let go of the need to control.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And that’ll be the most freeing thing ever.

Fly. Flow. Dance.

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Living Without the Mask.

Masked people that Indian Minimalist

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

I met a friend recently.

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

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

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

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

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

So, I just listened.

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

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

Living with Masks.

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

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

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

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

It is tremendously overwhelming.

Easy solution?

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

Wear a mask.

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

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

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

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

For each time, we got scared.

For each time, we were afraid.

For each time, we feared what people would say.

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

For each and every time to replace a genuine emotion.

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

I have been doing it since the longest time.

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

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

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

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

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

Can you fool yourself?

I urge you to live without the mask.

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

But, you know what? It will be OK.

Be your real self.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It is OK to be miserable sometimes.

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

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

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

But who hasn’t?

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

Be your real self. And wear that.

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

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

Live without the mask.

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

But it is worth it.

Continuing the story.

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

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

And, I learnt a lot too.

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

I’ll keep working on it.

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

Answer it more genuinely than a fine.

Tell them, how you really are feeling.

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

Go now. Be awesome.

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

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

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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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 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/

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