Please pay attention dear friend, this is crucial as I am bleeding, bleeding out. I might not have much time left. You might be the only person who gets to hear this. Even if you do not believe my sole truthful account or rather call this a confession, then I might go away from the world without having said a single word of truth.
On Women – By a liar
I am a liar. And, when I say this is the only time I say the truth. This entire text which you will be reading is an honest account of my lies. I do not want you to believe me as I am a liar. Yet, I will continue sharing my truth.
I am a liar.
I loved a woman and I claimed to be a deserving man.
I made vows. Honest vows and I broke those vows, why you ask! Because I am a liar!
Were you not listening!
Please pay attention dear friend, this is crucial as I am bleeding, bleeding out. I might not have much time left. You might be the only person who gets to hear this. Even if you do not believe my sole truthful account or rather call this a confession, then I might go away from the world without having said a single word of truth.
I resume this honest account by me a liar.
So, there was a woman to whom I claimed (lied to) that I loved her. Profoundly!
It isn’t painful lying. Not initially. Then I felt suffocated. Suffocated in the relationship.
Then I think I tortured her both spiritually, mentally, and maybe a little existentially. And then she had no choice but to leave and then she left. And then before she left, I lied that I will wait for her.
I often lie to myself. Quite frequently.
Once you start lying, you start believing your lies too. It is a spiral. A man who lies to himself is a dangerous man. That man is a failed man.
I am a failed man. I am a lair but please hear my honest account, please do as I am bleeding out and I might not have much time left. You might be the only person who gets to hear my honest account, an honest account by a liar, oh! the irony of this.
So she left and I chased the next beautiful thing that came my way. See, how I casually used the term ‘thing’. It came so naturally. I didn’t use the term woman or person. You see how terrible that is and I claim to my mothers and sisters that I love and respect them while using the term ‘thing’ to describe the female kind. I lie to them.
I am a failed person. I don’t think I can respect anyone as I do not respect myself. Why would I? I am a failed person. I am a lair. Glad I am bleeding out.
Honestly, the world doesn’t need more people like me. It is already fucked up as it is.
So, I did the same to this wonderful woman. Then came the other. And the next one.
No, I am no Casanova. I am a liar.
Lying has its own perks and disadvantages
Perk being you can lie your way in and out into anything you want.
Downside: you start believing your lies. You lose the ability to distinguish false from reality, your reality which is already a virtual construct. But that’s another discussion. I don’t want to get into that at this moment as I am bleeding out.
So after lying to countless women about how beautiful they are and believing the lies at the moment helped me destroy, ravage and act as a savage with many beautiful flowers. I am positive that the term flower is currently being used by me in a sexist manner as I am a degenerate. A spiritual degenerate but nonetheless a degenerate.
Then came a day, I thought I will mend ways. I decided to become whole. I decided to live the lie. I decided to truly love someone and then she left, like everyone before her. And I think I have bled out.
She left leaving me here to bleed out.
What an ending!
This is magnificent.
I am a lair and I deserve to die. And every drop of my blood is in the drains and now I say goodbye and my lying, degenerate, sick heart will stop beating.
Sorry to all but then why would you believe my apology, after all, I am a liar!
If the people around you are mediocre, average, low in openness and unwilling to learn, they will induce toxicity in your life. We all have seen enough examples in the world wherein inefficient people tried to pull down those who did commendable job. To some extent that’s the story of humanity!
How are you?
I think this question doesn’t have any integrity as I already know the answer.
You are fucked up!
Which then is alright. It is not that big a deal to feel a set of emotions ready to burst out in material form. All this pain you feel, your pain, all this hurt, injustice, betrayal, humiliation, psychosis, all this are mere bodily fluid driven.
These are a construct through which your mind continues to trap you inside this feeble body of yours.
Your body does have limitations despite your superhuman operational capabilities. Your limitless mind too like others is bound to fall for shiny illusions.
Now, let’s not dwell in philosophical questions as they are something we can discuss lifelong. However, your current misery if not alleviated today, will ruin my tasks. You are not performing.
So, listen to me very carefully as I tell you the correct narrative.
Everything is a story. You purposefully told yourself a false story because you never wanted to hurt anyone. Maybe it is because you are a good natured fellow or maybe you are just a timid coward. Whatever be the case, today, dear friend, you must bear the truth.
Are you ready!
Whether you are or not, here we go!
Before we begin, how about you try and release those bio chemicals. How you ask!
Sweat, shit, puke, masturbate, get high and repeat. Try this cycle for 8 times and then comeback.
(3 hours later)
Good to see you. Glad to see that yellowish tint fading away from your face. Good job!
Now let me without any further delay tell you what’s bothering you.
At this moment, you might wonder, “Shouldn’t I be telling him my story and he then suggesting me the right course of action!”
To which I say,‘NO!’
It is only me who will speak today. Not you, not her, not they, not them. I have sat idle for a very long time witnessing others disintegrate you with a steady pace. And I wouldn’t have given much of a fuck either but you are my best employee! And, I need to build an empire. I need people like you, not broken people like you but efficient people like you! So, listen!
There is no problem.
There is no pain.
Nothing is missing.
Stop imagining shit!
You are perfect in every little manner.
To this you will say,‘No! I have troubles.’
And, what might those troubles be?
Let me, Let me:
You have enough wealth to live a decent life. You have mildly lived up to your parents’ expectations, which is huge! You are sensible, intelligent, creative, caring, honest and kind. These are A-behaviours. You are an A player!
Now let me tell you where does the misery stem from!
The misery comes from you surrounding yourself with B and C players.
If the people around you are mediocre, average, low in openness and unwilling to learn, they will induce toxicity in your life. We all have seen enough examples in the world wherein inefficient people tried to pull down those who did commendable job. To some extent that’s the story of humanity!
So your first problem is your circle.
Now, I could have asked you to change or shuffle the people around you. However, it is extremely time-consuming and anyway you work better in isolation. So, the first change you need to make is: STOP TALKING TO OTHERS WHO ARE NOT ADDING ANY VALUE TO YOU!
And, now comes the only problem you ever had: GIRL TROUBLE.
I wish there was an easy way to say this but there isn’t one. So, here we go –
THERE ISN’T ANY WOMAN ON THIS PLANET WHO CAN MAKE YOU FEEL COMPLETE.Stop trying to find love, fulfilment, completion and all those false concepts you cling to so dearly.
At the risk of offending millions, let me tell you – whether it be Helen of Troy, Draupadi of Mahabharata, Sita of Ramayana or Rose of Titanic, many ships have sunk because of LOVE.
You are the kind who loves to sail on troubled water. You don’t want your ship to sink, do you!
Walk alone. Towards the sun, towards the moon and the stars. Chase truth not a woman. If you truly desire to be fulfilled, walk alone.
Don’t look for love. Look to serve!
In serving others lies the real happiness. Love is selfish. Lovers are selfish. Failed men and women are selfish!
You my friend are not selfish. And, that is why you will find love but love will never find you.
Be Celibate dear friend. That’s the only way out from this hole you have gotten yourself into!
(He sat in silence, head hung, tears rolling, lifted his head and said: ‘Yes sir, I understand!’.
Life is precious, not just for us humans but for every living organism with a beating heart and inanimate objects crafted with love by the creators. You must add something to the world you came in. I would suggest you add value, add beauty, add art, add philosophy, add inventions. Catapult your civilization towards a golden era. You have this one life given to you. It is a must you make the most out of it. Those who think life is misery blended with tons of suffering, at least live long enough to watch those space colonies and bully your grandkids. Least you could do!
Good Morning Planet,
How are you doing?
I am fantastic, as always. My goal is to remain so until I hit the 125 mark.
Yup, you heard it right! Staying alive until 125 is one of my goals.
I understand if at this moment you feel an urge to label me a lunatic. However, I will change your perception by the end of this essay.
At the age of 18 (it could also be 19, I wasn’t keeping journals back in those days, I was young and titties were more appealing than pens), I listened for the first time – “The end by Jim Morrison.”
“This is the end, beautiful friend
This is the end, my only friend
The end of our elaborate plans
The end of ev’rything that stands
No safety or surprise
I’ll never look into your eyes again
Can you picture what will be
So limitless and free
Desperately in need of
some strangers hand
In a desperate land
Lost in a Roman wilderness of pain
And all the children are insane
All the children are insane
Waiting for the summer rain……..”
I had recently started smoking up. If you are or ever been a stoner, you know what this song does to us. “The End” acted as a doorway to an unexplored cosmos waiting to embrace the madness inside me. That day sparked a rock revolution in my veins, which still demands all of me, all the time.
Back in those days Internet wasn’t as readily available as it is for Millenials. Most of these fuckers perceive it as a birthright. Glad they weren’t born in Kashmir. Nonetheless, I always was a very resourceful person. Twelve months down the line, I had a personal collection of more than 1200 hits. I had posters of every star. Mick Jagger shook his hips on my walls while Cobain played with his needles in my library.
This rock revolution introduced me to Club 27!
In case you lived under a rock for your entire life, let me introduce you to Club 27.
Club 27 is where you go when you are so talented, this world appears to be beneath you.
When your art is unparalleled, when your creativity knows no bounds, when you achieve all one can dream of before you are 26 years old, and when you realize people, riches or fame cannot fill the void inside you, what do you do?
You insert a needle in your veins, and you tap out.
You tap out to a place where there’s no torment left.
You tap out from a place reeking of selfishness.
You tap out from personal miseries, pulling you down.
When all you want to do is fly higher, you tap out!
You go to a better place. You become a part of Club 27.
Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse are few of the woke individuals who became a part of Club 27.
We all need obsessions. Becoming a part of Club 27 became my obsession. The day I decided I wanted to be a part of Club 27, a transformation happened. I was free from the afterthought of what others think about me. All that mattered was writing a revolutionary book before the age of 27 and bidding goodbye.
I wrote less and prepared for my membership more. There wasn’t a substance I left untried. I didn’t consider debauchery a sin. I was a loose cannon. I feared none. All I cared about was to complete a book before 27 and embrace death.
Death should be celebrated. All else is just a passing affair. This was my modus operandi.
It still is!
The only difference is I am no longer chasing the inevitable. Now, I am an ocean. The moon will shine, the tides will rise. I will wait for it. I am not going to sing to the moon.
I did my part.
I wrote my legendary work – Broken Radio. It didn’t bring the immediate recognition I had hoped for. But that didn’t matter much. I knew what counts is leaving a legendary work behind, which will stand the tide of time.
So, phase one was complete. Now, all I had to do was tap out.
My lifestyle was already in sync with my goal. My daily diet was 6-9 pints, 4-5 joints, 2-3 boiled potatoes, and few paint shots or glue whatever was available. Within a month of my book getting published, I had two seizure attacks, which I welcomed with a smile. I knew I would make it to the Club 27.
Finally, the day arrived.
I was staying in Tosh, Himachal Pradesh. I used to spend my afternoons wandering in the mountains, having intimate dialogues with flora and fauna. This particular day, I and mother nature were engrossed in a demeaning argument. I constantly challenged her authority. I made vile threats ensuring she understood her place in the dominance hierarchy. I (a stubborn passionate individual) will always be at the top and every other force beneath me.
I hated the fact that she had created mountains laden with vegetation in a futile attempt to stop me from completing more miles.
So, we locked horns.
I saw an excellent spot a few miles ahead of me. The challenge was an unscalable mountain rich in vegetation.
I was persistent. Like a loving mother, she warned me not to pull any stunts. Like a spoiled brat, I ignored her and began my ascent. The ascent took me close to 2 hours. I unleashed the savage within. A sheer brute force encompassed all of my being. I started climbing like a manic. I had no gear, nothing to make things easier for me.
Two hours later, I was at the top of the mountain. Once I was at the top, I identified a narrow pathway that could have made my descent a child’s play. But my stubborn self decided to create his own path.
While I was mentally preparing for a challenging descent (mind it, till now, I had no such prior experience of scaling mountains. I was just a pumped up entity under an illusion that my sheer will can bend all the rules of nature/physics), a native woman appeared out of nowhere.
Till now, I had figured out the operational mechanism of the universe, or at least thought I did. I knew she was sent to stop me.
This lovely female asked me about my destination. She very helpfully offered her assistance in helping me go down the path. However, the arrogant “me” refused her assistance. I hopped away rhythmically.
I yelled, “I will do this on my own.” A thunder flashed in the sky. That was mother nature’s fuck off!
After munching on a small piece of crumpled chocolate, I began my descent.
The challenge in front of me was too much vegetation crowding the mountain path. There was absolutely no way to use that path. Yet, I did not flinch.
I am not a flora expert; therefore, I cannot tell you the grass and plants’ names blocking my way. I will describe them using their color.
The mountain was filled with orange color smooth, slippery grass. That formed the level one vegetation. Beyond that, there was level two, which had firmly rooted plants with elastic branches and huge leaves. The level three vegetation was of big trees that appeared now and then.
Thinking about Dashrath Manji, the mountain man, who single-handedly tore mountain’s heart, I began my descent.
I decided to slide on the orange grass, grabbing every twig and branch in my way and breaking my impact using the big tree trunks. It seemed like a good strategy at that point in time—a classic rookie’s mistake of assuming that we know shit.
Things worked in my favor for maybe a kilometer or two.
I slipped in a controlled manner, grabbing branches to navigate and finally using my feet as an anchor to rest whenever a tree trunk appeared.
Suddenly shit caught up. It was bound to.
One wrong step, and I found myself hanging from a branch with no ground beneath my feet. I looked down horrifyingly. I could see a river bed. If I fell, little chunks of my flesh would have painted the bank red.
This was the first moment I experienced fear. Till now, an overwhelming force pumped courage into me. Now, I felt abandoned. All I was left with was a horrified, racing heart.
I had a bag pack on my back. I forced my brain to find an escape. I had been in shit situations all my life. Even in a terrified, frozen state, I tried to find a way out. I could see a horizontal tree trunk a few meters below. However, for me to reach there, I had to go for a freefall. And then hopefully pray that I balance myself and not slip from the tree trunk. It was too big a risk. But I had no other alternative.
I let go of the branch. I took a leap of faith. A few seconds in the air and I landed on the trunk, slipped, fell, and somehow caught the tree trunk with my arms. Now instead of hanging to a branch, I was hanging on a tree trunk. The branch was rather easier. It was easy to grab. The trunk was too difficult to hold on to.
Till now, I was thoughtless. I felt like an observer seeing myself go through this epic shit!
Some reflex kicked in, and I pulled myself together. A few seconds later, I was resting on the tree trunk. I had managed to pull myself up and take a seat.
Phew, that was a relief. But nothing had changed. I was still in the middle of my descent with no place to go. Few minutes of rest activated my thinking brain. The inner dialogue resumed.
“So, this is it! This is what you were waiting for. Your moment of glory! Now is your time to join the Club 27.”
And I broke into tears. I started crying like a kid with no presents on a Christmas morning. I hated Santa, but it hurt that he abandoned me.
For the first time in my life, I realized I was nobody. I had somehow scrambled a half baked book. Very few people knew me as a writer.
I asked myself, “Is this it? I don’t think I have achieved anything; if I die today, will anyone remember me or even miss me?”
Faces of my loved ones flashed in front of me. I entered a dream-like reality.
I tried the other side of the argument too. I wanted to put myself at peace. Surrender to the circumstance and just jump with a smile. But the coward inside me couldn’t gather the courage.
So, I and my different projections agreed to live. The moment I decided I wanted to continue with my miserable state of existence, something flipped inside of me. I left my bag lying on the tree trunk. Stood upright, closed my eyes for a second, and prayed to all the gods. Shiva, Jesus, and Allah!
What happened next is incomprehensible. That’s one of the reasons I never shared it with anyone. Today is the first time I am narrating this.
I opened my eyes, and I felt a power within. A different kind of savage! This savage had brain cells intact. He didn’t seem to be overwhelmed by emotions. He was in sync with the environment.
Without any thought and for sure (not my imagination), I jumped in the air. Even monkeys couldn’t have sustained such a leap; the next thing I saw was me climbing upwards on the loose ground using only my fingertips and toes. It was surreal. I was climbing straight on a downward slanting mountain with nothing to hold on to. Every step I took loosened the soil and chunks of land started to fall beneath me.
There was no thought inside my head. I was just an observer.
After a while, I reached the top.
Few steps later, I fell on the ground and passed out. I have no idea how long I remained unconscious. The women whose assistance I had refused woke me up and offered me water.
The most surprising part was she asked no questions. She woke me up, offered me water, and went away.
After some time, I gathered strength and resumed back to my station.
I had this newfound understanding of the importance of life. I promised not to throw it away and devote myself to uplifting the society. I felt reborn.
So the moral of the story is – you can’t die until it’s your time. You got things to do. We got things to do. For all of that, we need to live. Live healthily, live happily, live with a purpose, live with compassion, live a meaningful life.
Now, when we are hell-bent on living, why shorten our lifetime by doing shit?
Therefore let’s learn how to stay alive till 125!
That’s the topic of the day.
Why should you live longer?
There are countless reasons why we should be alive for at least 125 years. More than a luxury, it is our duty. Most importantly, at present, we live in one of the most exciting times of human species. Whatever we think is likely to become a reality in the next five years. In such terrific times, if we do not survive to witness the history in making, it will be a terrible loss on our part.
What does the future have in store for us is a frequent topic of discussion among the circles I float in.
In my opinion, in around 40-50 years, Amazon will be mining asteroids for rare minerals. We would have established alternate sources of energy, and essential resources would be available for all. However, the price we will pay for our growth and development would be the destruction of our environment. The air will not be breathable. The water will not be drinkable. The soil will be barren.
That won’t still change much for our species. We would find out alternate ways to survive. After all, we are one of the most resilient viruses. [It’s fun to call ourselves mammals, when our actions are virusian in nature. We have zero regard for our host (earth). All we care about is the multiplication of our species. Mammals tend to love their environment. Nonetheless, that’s another debate.]
Amazon and Google would create pods for us. We will remain suspended in space. If you are claustrophobic, you might want to train yourself to live in tiny places. The future belongs to people who can crouch and bend, not those who stand tall.
Don’t worry about jobs and money. The masses have always been eternal slaves. The corporate lords would find an exciting use for us. If not any, then there is always organ harvesting and medical experiments. We would get opportunities to earn our keep in the future.
On earth, there would be dedicated zones with the environment intact or preserved by artificial means. These would be habituated by the ultra-rich while you and I stay in a pod staring at the blue dot in the universe.
Do not even trip about shit like agriculture and livestock! Thanks to technological advancements and our ability to create an artificial environment, everything will be made available.
Breaks my heart to paint such a bleak picture of the future; however, it doesn’t matter. Ramdass said, “we all are walking each other home.”
Wherever we go, it’s the journey that matters. And that’s why we should live longer, to experience, to witness and in my case to say – told you so!
In case witnessing a dystopian reality is not in your bucket list, there are other reasons to stay alive.
More or less, every religion, sacred text, arts and humanities, and several science streams agree that we are a combination of two entities.
A physical one and a soul.
The soul is part of the collective consciousness of the universe. Once we die, we just become a particle of the eternal light brightening this universe. We become the one.
Even if you disagree with this version, you must know that we have a physical body that helps us experience the outer world differently from our thoughts and dreams.
Our physical self is so powerful that it controls our behavior, reaction, and, to some extent, our future or destiny, howsoever you wish to interpret it.
If we are blessed with a physical self which can help us experience a ton of emotions, why deprive ourselves? Here, I am not talking about hedonistic behavior. I am not asking you to fuck thrice a day just because your body is capable of doing so. I am talking about filling your sack of bullshit with rich life experiences.
You haven’t lived if you didn’t jump off a rock! (of course, use a parachute or a rope)
You haven’t lived if you didn’t swim with the whales.
You haven’t lived if you didn’t fly in a hot air balloon.
You haven’t lived if you didn’t cycle South East Asia.
You haven’t lived if you didn’t taste maple syrup in Canada. (unlike a lousy person ordering online)
If you haven’t kissed your girl at the top of the Effiel Tower, you don’t love her.
If you guys didn’t lock lips with the Taj Mahal in the background shining like an eternal witness to love in a pastel moonlight, what have you done with your life?
If a Rhino did not chase you during an African Safari, Fuck off!
If you weren’t committed to a mental asylum,… (okay maybe we can skip this and prison too)
So you get the vibe!
There are tons of things for you to do, and you got to do them. How would you?
Well, you gotta live longer, buddy!
You gotta live longer!
There’s so much to do, and there’s so little time. Let’s extend the time, how about that!
Factors which impact aging
Let’s split the factors into internal and external. Internal are the ones that are totally in your control. If you are not a big fan of acting like a victim, there isn’t any internal factor that you cannot conquer. External ones lie beyond your scope of fixing, yet, even they can be defeated if planned meticulously.
Internal factors are mostly habit dependent. If you adopt a set of healthy habits, you can steer clear of the internal catalysts.
Your sleep-wake cycle plays an essential role in aging. If you are someone who thinks they are making a difference in the world by supporting the owl community, hooting and cheering till 2 am, more power to you, buddy!
If you think you are fucking things up by staying up late, then that’s what you need to work on.
Every mammal on this planet respects nature’s routine. They understand that nights are for rest, and mornings are when you roar. We need to abide by the basic routine.
The sun rises and sets at a specific time, not varying intensely. The same is the case with the moon.
The seasons follow a specific routine. Even when we have fucked the environment in the ass, the seasons still more or less follow the same routine, they did centuries ago.
So, practically every other force of nature follows a cycle, yet you somehow think, you are above the law of nature, and you will sleep and wake as you please. You assume it a birthright. You think you deserve to stay up late and wake up when the sun is above your head, expecting, I don’t know what sort of extraordinary rewards.
Well, you might want to study and understand the impact of an internal regulatory body called the circadian rhythm. This circadian rhythm is a natural, internal process that regulates the sleep-wake cycle and repeats roughly every 24 hours.
In simple words, your body keeps track of what you are doing and flushes you with biochemical accordingly. Suppose you are an excellent chimpanzee and wake up early, roughly around the same time daily, and you also sleep around the same time. In that case, your circadian rhythm is likely to reward you with happy hormones, and you will stay healthy and stable.
On the other hand, if you are a lousy chimp, you make your own rules, your warden, circadian rhythm will punish you by flushing you with unwanted biochemical, making you moody, frail, inattentive, and smelly at the same time. (Smelly matters, because it means you will no longer be secreting the pheromones needed to attract the opposite sex and, for that matter, impress the same sex. This, in turn, will translate into not getting laid in your personal life and not getting access to opportunities in your professional life. Even your unhealthy boss will be able to smell your shit and deny you the promotion you think you deserve.)
You see, how a simple wake up and sleep routine alone can easily destroy your life force. Slowly and gradually, you will be nothing more than a dead sack of rotten human flesh. Someone who could have seen centuries might not see their 50 because their pacemaker gave up while having sex on Viagra.
The remedy is as simple as it sounds. Set a fixed time to wake up. Let’s suppose 5’o clock. You start waking up every day at the same time.
Now, there is another catch to this. You need to make your mornings exciting so that you have something to look forward to.
If you wake up only to get ready for a dead beat job, you might not wake up. Just die already.
Wake up early, have a morning routine, line up activities for the morning – that’s how you make your mornings interesting!
Diet is another essential element you need to be wary of if you wish to beat aging. A wise person once said, “You are what you consume!” And consumption is not necessarily limited to food. It extends to every chemical ingested by your body and every toxic thought embraced by your mind. We would cover toxic thoughts later on. In this section, we will limit ourselves to food.
All those lazy afternoons when you were seduced by those plump donuts, thick waffles, and slender snickers did knock out a few months off your life calendar. I understand the argument that you only live once, and if we cannot even eat things we enjoy, what’s the point of such a life. However, we need to see through the flawed nature of the argument. Living a life indulged in hedonism will lower the life expectancy. It is fancy to say, “My life, My rules”; however, it is not our lives. Our lives are just a small node among billions of connections. Even if you are in no mood to be lectured about your obligations to the society and the universe, you cannot deny your role in the lives of people surrounding you in the immediate vicinity.
There is an old Japanese story. Of course, the Japs would be able to tell it more charmingly. I am just going to puke a half baked version. Here we go –
“A man loved his wife a lot. When she passed away, he was left alone. He missed her intensely and was always in sorrow. One day he visited an old friend. His friend asked him how he would have felt had he died, and his wife was left on her own. He replied, “Devastated!”
“There you go, my friend, you should be happy. Now, be happy because you are alive, and you can cherish her memories. Instead of her crying for you, it is your turn to be happy for her,” said the friend.”
The point being, you need to stay alive for your family, for your children, for your grandkids, for your society. Be useful to everyone. Don’t be a selfish ass who enjoyed his life, sucking the world’s nectar, and when came the time to pay a little back, ran away with all the might. This isn’t healthy!
If you genuinely wish to live longer, you need to make drastic changes to your diet. You need to eat real food—organic vegetables, sustainable meat, fruits, nuts, seeds, and food rich in antioxidants. A simple rule of thumb is anything which has a mother or grows on earth can be consumed; everything else is crap.
Any person with a little bit of common sense knows that food created in factories is not intended to meet your nutritional requirements.
If every time you feel hungry, you grab a pack of Cheetos and soda, you are killing yourself slowly.
Also, if you are eating after 8 pm, that’s another disaster for you! Your body clock wants you to eat your last meal before 8 pm, or else not only would it exert unnecessary pressure on your digestive tracks, but it will also speed up cell degeneration, which speeds up aging.
For those nights when you end up staying up late, do not fall prey to hunger pangs and start munching crap you could easily lay hands on. Try smoothies, shakes, or any other liquid substitute. Late-night sweet treats such as chocolates are only permitted if you are going to make love or else drink a vegetable juice instead.
To wrap the section up, few easy tips –
Make a list of healthy food items readily available to you
Create a diet plan/chart
Stick to your plan
If you are obese or food addict or you easily give in to cravings, try food journaling. Write about every meal you eat and whether you should be eating it or not
Remember, the marketplace is filled with sugary and unhealthy treats designed to tempt you. Stay away from them. They kill you slowly!
Sleep is one of the essential bio functions which regulate your hormones. Lack of sleep disrupts your mood, concentration, digestion, and overall performance. The biggest drawback of not getting enough sleep is aging.
You will see a consistent opinion by health experts around sleep. Everyone agrees you need around 7-8 hours of sleep every day. However, at the same time, it depends on your lifestyle. If you are into biohacking, you can manage optimal performance just by sleep of 4-5 hours each day and maybe 1 or 2 10/15 mins power naps.
Arnold, David Goggins, Jocko Wilinks, Tim Ferris, Gary Vee, and the list goes on; these achievers only sleep for around 5-5 ½ hours daily. I sleep about 5-6 hours daily. Yes, lack of sleep causes aging. However, if you are in control of your mind and body, if you are at a higher level of awareness, sleep might not hit you that bad.
But if you are a beginner and just begun sorting your life, stick to at least 7 hours of daily sleep.
Stress is your biggest enemy. It is the cause behind nearly every disease and the most prevalent reason behind our daily miseries. Ideally, stress should be categorized as an external factor but blame it on Epictetus that we consider stress as something internal –
It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.
Whether it be the Buddhists, stoics, yogis, or modern-day philosophers, everyone agrees stress isn’t real. It is caused by our insecurities, which fuel our anxieties and, in the end, causes stress. It doesn’t matter what life throws at you, if it’s an apple discover gravity, if it’s a lemon, make a margarita. Stop overthinking!
We, humans, are blessed with problem-solving skills. It doesn’t matter how difficult a situation is, we are mostly adequately equipped to handle it. In rare cases, if we fall short of the essential skills, we have plenty of knowledge floating around to acquire the required skills.
You have books, gurus, and the Internet, what else do you need!
Do not focus on the problem. Focus on the solution instead.
Stress, fear, anxiety, all of these are lies which we tell to ourselves. These lies manifest in weird ways. One of those ways is rapid aging. You must have seen those specimens which in their 30’s have worry lines like Shar-pei.
Mothers unable to deal with the massive responsibility of raising kids age faster because of undue stress.
Employees who are unable to meet the challenges of their work profile age faster because of unwanted pressure they take on themselves.
On the other hand, mothers who take it light and easy, go out with their daughters and get those (maybe fake, maybe not) compliments about looking like sisters and what not!
Employees who realize there’s more to life than mental masturbation inside a cubicle- take vacations, do adventure sports and live longer.
Don’t let stress slide its penis into your ass. Be vigilant. Save yourself from anal rape!
Just take it, easy man! It’s just a ride.
As Bill hicks said –
The world is like a ride in an amusement park, and when you choose to go on it you think it’s real because that’s how powerful our minds are. The ride goes up and down, around and around, it has thrills and chills, and it’s very brightly colored, and it’s very loud, and it’s fun for a while. Many people have been on the ride a long time, and they begin to wonder, “Hey, is this real, or is this just a ride?” And other people have remembered, and they come back to us and say, “Hey, don’t worry; don’t be afraid, ever, because this is just a ride.” And we … kill those people. “Shut him up! I’ve got a lot invested in this ride, shut him up! Look at my furrows of worry, look at my big bank account, and my family. This has to be real.” It’s just a ride. But we always kill the good guys who try and tell us that, you ever notice that? And let the demons run amok … But it doesn’t matter, because it’s just a ride. And we can change it any time we want. It’s only a choice. No effort, no work, no job, no savings of money. Just a simple choice, right now, between fear and love. The eyes of fear want you to put bigger locks on your doors, buy guns, close yourself off. The eyes of love instead see all of us as one. Here’s what we can do to change the world, right now, to a better ride. Take all that money we spend on weapons and defenses each year and instead spend it feeding and clothing and educating the poor of the world, which it would pay for many times over, not one human being excluded, and we could explore space, together, both inner and outer, forever, in peace.”
External factors consist of Toxic people, toxic environment, and toxic relationships.
Some people grow tall, some remain 4’9 throughout their lives, some shrink too. You can only be around people who are growing at the same pace as you are.
Your drinking buddy from your college days might not be the best company for you when you have a family, and he still is enjoying boozing and whoring.
Your best friend who taught you how to roll a doobie shouldn’t be around you when you are sober, and he’s hooked to the needle.
We need to understand that all in all, we are the average of 5 frequent people who surround us.
If your inner circle is filled with losers and victims, don’t expect a bright future for yourself. Our company not only influences us but also defines our choices.
Humans are extremely gullible. They can be easily swayed from their goals. It is essential to maintain a circle of people who share common goals, vision, and support each other in times of need.
You had your 20′ to experiment with friends. Remember the catchy advertisement slogan – Harek friend zaroori hota hai (every friend is essential), that shit is no longer valid in the current context. You have very limited time, and if you end it up wasting on people who do not add value to you, you will not live the life you want for yourself.
The shit doesn’t end here!
Toxic people have an unnecessary need for drama. They will somehow drag you into their misery, disrupting your life. If you are on a path, you need order in your life. Toxic people thrive on chaos. Also, it is not your job to fix anyone. Everyone has to bear their own sorrows and delights. Do not be overly empathetic and dedicate yourself to improving a toxic individual. You will not be able to, and they will undoubtedly ruin your happiness.
Choose life. Stay away from toxicity.
Toxic people are easy to get rid of. You can ignore them, block them, or just confront and bid goodbye. Toxic environments are a real challenge. It is not always feasible to uproot yourself entirely from a toxic environment and find an attractive spot in a nurturing environment.
Any environment could be toxic – a toxic workplace, a toxic family, a toxic society, or a toxic country.
You always know when you are unhappy. And we are talking about real unhappiness, not the one which we purposely manifest from within just because we are inadequate, that’s another story.
If you are in a workplace that demands extra hours, offers no appreciation, doesn’t value you as an employee, finding a better job is always a good idea. At the same time, if you are someone who thinks these are essential for you to rise up the ladder, if you find yourself up to the mark to handle such an environment, then it’s alright. The definition of toxicity also depends on your tolerance level. What might be toxic for you might not be toxic for me and vice versa.
I feel adequate in dealing with an insecure boss. Even though it’s toxic, I can work my way around it. You might get flustered dealing with such an individual. For you, finding a suitable workplace should be a priority.
There is no thumb rule to define toxicity. I cannot tolerate my relatives. A friend of mine lives in a joint family and is surrounded by toxic relatives. With time, he has learned the art of dealing with nincompoops. He can deal with attacks and counter-attacks. I would perish. He doesn’t thrive either, but it doesn’t bother him.
We all have our buttons. Some are easy to press, some not so. What really matters is if it is toxic for you, you got to quit!
There would be thousands who would ask you to compromise with the situation at hand. At times even you will conclude staying is better than starting fresh. If it’s a gut feeling from within backed by bulletproof logic, rely on your instincts. If it’s a plead by a lazy and weak mind, break your shackles, fly free! But remember, however appealing the consequences might sound, leaving any environment is challenging.
On another thought, challenge is what drives all of us. If any activity is too simple, we get bored; if any activity is herculean, we get tired and give up. It is essential to maintain an adequate level of progressive challenge to our controlling life activities.
Coming back to toxic environments, leaving a job where you feel suffocated might be a good idea for some. You can leave a job, recover, and find a better one. You could find a job and then quit. Whatever you do, do not stay around in toxic environments eternally. They will tarnish your soul and suck the marrow out of your bones.
In the case of toxic families, you must escape. Families have huge control over us. Stronger than the hold of your fav porno chick. Freeing yourself from such dependency, control, exploitation, abuse, and misguided love is a tooth to nail struggle. If you have decide to leave your family because you can no longer bear them, make sure you do not start as a rookie. A rookie mistake would be to go solo immediately. If you are used to people living around you, living alone can be daunting. You might get lonesome, which would induce anxiety, leading to depression, and finally, you will start questioning your decisions. Do not fall for this trap—Move-in with a friend or at least in a hostel or a shared dwelling. Once you get used to being without them and relishing solitude for longer periods, you are free from the chaos and toxicity.
No reason is sufficient to cling to a toxic environment. It’s not at all cowardly or selfish to uproot yourself from toxic environments. Not doing so is instead a cocksucker’s move.
Go where your heart takes you. Don’t let them tell you otherwise.
When we discussed toxic people, we covered people in your first level inner circle and extended circle. This section is for your immediate inner circle. In bureaucratic terms, those who influence your policy making – parents, loved ones, three friends with whom you bared it all, and a special someone who abused you and said it’s their way of loving. These are the ones who are mostly responsible for the beautiful mess we all turn out to be.
So, the question lies what we should do when our loved ones are toxic for us?
Should we bail on them?
My advice is yes!
Just pick a fancy bag, stuff it with all of your essentials. Get rid of the extra baggage in your life. Pick your bag and leave the interaction grounds, which are limiting you from becoming your best version.
Now, that’s my advice, which comes with a disclaimer: Only apply if you are a little cuckoo in the head.
I understand the importance of family. No bond which we develop in our growing up age or adulthood or later in life can match the intensity of what we create in our formative years. There is no denying that despite being toxic, relationships with family and childhood friends are mostly selfless and purely laid on the warm bed of unadulterated love.
However, it doesn’t matter how beautiful a flower is, it is always at the risk of infestation. Every fresh crop deals with its own issues of pests. That doesn’t mean that a family is a parasite that eats away the host, yet yes, that’s what it means.
It is essential to keep a safe distance from such toxic relationships so that you can develop a thick bullshit resistant coating.
We tend to suffer for our loved ones. It’s a great way to deal with toxicity. Bear, bear until you snap. However, the best way isn’t always the right way. If you have taken driving instructions from the Google map lady, you know what I am talking about.
Suffering induced by parents is a twisted form of love, there’s no denying this fact. However, the more toxicity you experience, the higher are the chances of your breakdown. If you breakdown or experience irreparable wear and tear, you won’t be able to alleviate your parents’ misery.
On the other hand, if you escape, grow resistance, and build a life for yourself, you can then spill over your goodness in their life, which can dull down their toxic selves.
In the same manner, siblings love us in their own twisted way, despite them stealing our clothes, money, and, in rare cases, love interests. We can breed hatred towards them for the rest of our miserable existence, or we can break free from the clutches of such insecure emotions and lift ourselves as human beings. Then we can invest our cognitive energy in making our life better, which in turn will make the lives of everyone around us better too.
If your childhood friend is now a divorced drunkard, there is no good you can do by associating with him/her. You can get them admitted to a rehab, send them for therapy, help them occasionally with a handout, and show them the right path, yet you cannot devote the rest of your life caring and nurturing for them.
Everyone has their shit to deal with. Lending our crutches to an able-bodied person is a terrible idea. Let them go through their struggle of life. Do not bail on them completely but do not get intertwined in their shit. That’s how grown-ups deal with issues. If you are a baby, then please continue being friends with your delusions and insecurities. If not, keep a one-arm distance.
Before you pounce on me with assertive remarks about how irresponsible it is to let go of such important ties, do a little introspection. You have clung to them for so long, how’s that working out for you?
How to beat aging
Damn! Feels so good to finally reach this section. I love it when we have laid down all the problems, and we are confidently steering towards the solution. The answer!
So here we go.
No major revelation coming your way. It’s the same old centuries tested way popularly known as Healthy Living. Yup, living a healthy life (both physically and mentally) is what improves your chances of seeing your grandkids smoke their first doobie. Just stick to the basics – Exercise, do what you love, learning, adventure, sex.
Physical activity not only improves your fitness, slows down aging, increases longevity, promotes healthy bio functions, but it also protects you from neurodegenerative conditions/diseases. To increase your stay on this godforsaken planet without paying extra rent, you need both – a healthy body and a strong mind. You won’t enjoy a long life if you lose your grip over reality as you age. Neither will you enjoy it if you lose your mobility. Physical workout takes care of both the bases.
Do strength training, yoga, tai-chi. Once you have mastered these, move on to learning a fighting skill. Learn taekwondo, judo, martial arts, boxing, or any such means of contact sports.
Pedal your way through your daily shit.
Run to avoid the clutches of overthinking.
Squat away your miseries.
Yes, it works!
Do what you love
Drudging what you do corrodes your soul and your body. Doing what you love causes elation, adding years to your being.
Mikhail Chiznametzy, in his bestseller “Flow,” introduces a trance-like work state, which we all can access provided the task at hand is just difficult enough to keep us engaged. Fortunately, flow doesn’t restrict itself to creative streams, as many other philosophers claim.
You don’t always have to paint, write, dance, invent, or create art to be happy. You should do if that’s what you are fond of, but it is not the key to happiness.
You can be happy stamping postcards, as Bukowski did. Motherfucker, spent half of his miserable life drunk, sitting in a post office stamping on husbands pleads to hypersexual wives apologizing for not making them cum often (ever). He still managed to lead a fulfilling life, not too long, but he was happy most of the time. Then again, he whored and gambled also, you shouldn’t be doing any of that, or maybe you should.
The bottom line: if you are not hurting anyone, if you are not wasting your time in idle pursuits, if you are not letting clouds of worry hover over your head 24/7, if you somehow manage to find something not too difficult to make your mind rule it out as impossible and not so easy that you do not get the essential level of stimulation, stick to it. Do it daily.
Find joy in what you do.
Try spending your time doing what you love. If you haven’t figured it out, love what you do while trying new things to see which one arouses your core. The moment you start this, you will feel like living longer, and that’s the breakthrough we all need – a desire to live. A gut feeling that life is priceless.
Also, keep in mind, work is worship. Pray Daily!
Read a book daily.
Listen to podcasts. (not one of erotic stories, ones that provide knowledge would be sufficient)
Read tech news. (AI just came up with an original dark joke. How fascinating!)
Watch porn. (just checking whether you are paying attention or not. Here’s let me spell it out, don’t watch porn! Whoa, now that we are talking, I think watching porn isn’t such a bad idea provided you don’t get addicted to it. Anyhoo, we will discuss this someday soon.)
Learning is food for the soul. As your body needs food, your soul does too!
Every new original thought fires a neuron in your brain. New connections are made. New patterns emerge. You let go of the rusty past and beam with joy in hopes of countless new possibilities. The shit doesn’t end here. It is also essential that you continue learning as it protects you from many neurodegenerative conditions.
Don’t forget to learn innovative tech upgrades. Tech’s going to be the future. It already is. You won’t enjoy asking a snotty millennial how to access “only fans” on your VR. Will you?
You have the spirit of an explorer. You were meant to climb mountains and swim oceans. You weren’t supposed to sit in a 6’x8 cubicle tapping on a keyboard for 12 hours straight until your carpal tunnel syndrome diagnosis comes through.
I am not pushing you to quit your job and begin a spiritual quest (I will be delighted, if you embark on such a journey and inspired too). There’s always a way to balance things. Maybe do a little yoga; it does increase the flow to your fingers. You might get saved from the carpal tunnel. Not from your ill-fated boredom. Sorry, no escape for that.
Our souls will wither and die if we do not feed it with novel experiences. There won’t be any trace of YOU left if you do not tune in with the gypsy within. All that will be left would be a copy of a copy of a copy. You don’t want that. Do you? You want to retain the illusion of your uniqueness. The best part is, yes you can, brother, yes you can!
Every Saturday morning before the first rays shower my side of the planet with a warm blanket of healing sunlight, I am off on my little bike; traveling into the unknown with a terrific speed of 12km/hr, without any destination in mind. It is not the destination which counts; the journey is what matters. (Whoa! These clichés at times fit so damn right in!)
We must supplement our lifestyle to include such regular moments of adventure. It will add color to your life. You don’t need to plan a vacation if you feel like getting a kick. Add little doses of exploration now and then. Yes, in the busy city streets. That does count!
You don’t even realize the city which you despise so much because it is nothing more than a stinking corpse inside a cemented cemetery, does have tons to offer. I remember days when I used to write pages criticizing how cities are ruining lives. Yet, the reality remains the same. We need them. We need them for dwelling, we need them for survival, we need them for our civilization, of course, at least until something groundbreaking comes along (maybe the space capsules we talked about earlier). Now that I have explored at least more than half the city on my cycle, I can proudly say – I love Delhi! It has all the colors one can ask for. There’s white, and there’s red, shades of green, a little beige, and holy shit, I know a secret spot, they have hidden a rainbow at one corner.
Damn, fuck! Isn’t that something to cheer for!
The point being, the traveler, inside needs to develop a stronger personality. Don’t keep him locked in only to whip out once a year (like you receive blow jobs only on your birthdays) when you go for your annual trip, with sanctioned leaves approved by your pot-bellied boss.
Feed the explorer regularly. I demand it!
Fuck, man, fuck! It’s a beautiful thing.
Lose yourself in love.
Cum and cry.
Cry and cum.
Making love is a beautiful act. Intimacy with a considerate soulful partner alters the fabric of your being towards better. An orgasm restores your biochemical balance. Of course, sex alone won’t solve all of your problems. It’s the wholesome relationship package that makes the real difference. Yet, sex in itself also is magical. Even if the act is casual, it will still offer you joy.
Love and sex-starved homo sapiens tend to leave the planet early. They do not have much to hold on to.
I am not going to make a strong case for sex. Whatever we do, we do it to get laid, a widely accepted theory mostly among biologists. Let’s just face it – we are base creatures, and sex is the most pleasurable base act.
Till the time you are enjoying a healthy sexual relationship with a partner, chances are your heart will stay more active and healthy. (oh, these matters of the heart!)
A healthy heart will ensure healthy blood flow into your arteries, making you disease and worry-free, adding more years to your life.
But a word of caution – you might be young today, and sex for you might just be a passionate act of fucking and punching. But please keep in mind that as you grow older and realize the ways of the world, sex, as shown on TV, won’t be the one you will be practicing in the sheets. It’s the intimacy that will matter the most. The little things. Those fingertip boops! (you bring your fingers on your partner’s nose and then make a sound boop) Those affectionate hugs! Those cute cuddles! At the same time, don’t let the beast inside of you die. Unleash it every now and then.
Create havoc in the bedroom. Love like you have never before. Love like it’s your last day. Love hard. Live long!
A bright future awaits you
The possibility is relatively high that today all you can think about is paying your bills and making a name for yourself. There will be days when you will be utterly broken and lost. There will be days you will feel like ending these shenanigans. You might feel an urge to jump out the window or just try hanging in from the ceiling. Go ahead, hanging isn’t bad. Till the time you are hanging in there.
Jump out the window from a 122 storey building with a wingsuit strapped to your body.
Life is crazy.
Life is beautiful.
Life is brutal.
Life is nurturing.
Life is a shady cunt.
Life is a delicious piece of calorie-free cake.
Life is what you make of it.
And undoubtedly, life is precious, not just for us humans but for every living organism with a beating heart and inanimate objects crafted with love by the creators.
You must add something to the world you came in. I would suggest you add value, add beauty, add art, add philosophy, add inventions. Catapult your civilization towards a golden era.
You have this one life given to you. It is a must you make the most out of it.
Those who still think life is misery blended with tons of suffering, at least live longer to watch those space colonies and bully your grandkids. Least you could do!
I guess that will be all for today.
Thank you so much for reading.
Have a healthy and happy life.
If not, at least smile every time you breathe, totally free, I swear. You won’t receive any bills of goods ever.
How long do you think you will survive? Comment below!
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Anxiety is one of the most widespread forms of mental health disorder. Every third person on this planet suffers from some form of anxiety. If we plan to live a purposeful life in a functional mental space, it is essential to understand anxiety and learn how to deal with it.
How are you? I am fabulous!
Our intimate conversations are being appreciated by many. The feeling of positively impacting someone’s life is pure bliss. Thank you for being a part of my journey.
Great, now that niceties are out of the way, let’s begin our today’s discussion. Today we are going to talk about anxiety. Anxiety is one of the most widespread forms of mental health disorder. Every third person on this planet suffers from some form of anxiety. If you do not suffer from anxiety, it is almost certain someone in your family does. If we plan to live a purposeful life in a functional mental space, it is essential to understand anxiety and learn how to deal with it.
What is Anxiety?
Let’s cover the basics. Anxiety is a feeling of worry or fear about an event that might occur in the near future. Note the use of the word – might.
“Might” separates anxiety from fear. We will explore the correlation between anxiety and fear later.
Anxiety is a crippling emotion. Those who suffer from severe forms of anxiety can get overwhelmed imagining consequences, and false narratives. Examples of anxiety disorders include panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Ideally, anxiety only occurs if we are inadequate to deal with a given situation. Weak coping mechanisms fuel chronic anxiety. Stage fright, interview nervousness, exam fear, fear of nudity, fear of public speaking, agoraphobia, fear of crowds are few mild forms of anxiety.
Instead of facing their fears, head-on, anxious people choose to isolate themselves from situations that make them anxious. If unchecked, basic phobias with time metamorphose into a full-blown disorder.
If anxiety can make our daily lives miserable – why do we have a mental system which triggers it?
Ideally, as an evolutionary advantage, we should only have mechanisms that help us survive. Evolutionary biologists have proven many theories regarding elimination of unhelpful traits. If anxiety doesn’t help us in any manner, why do humans have to endure it. Let’s find out!
The biological need for Anxiety
We are homo sapiens. Humans, as the kids call it!
Neanderthals were our immediate ancestors. As the evidence indicates, Neanderthals also painted a few cave walls, which shows, they did possess creativity and intellect. If you can paint, you can very well enjoy the tiny moments of life. You will learn to appreciate trees, water bodies, the sun, the moon, and the stars.
We are all familiar with the survival of the fittest. Nature only allows the most resilient species to move ahead and eliminates the weaker links.
Now imagine two Neanderthals living in a cave. Let’s name them. How about Jack and Joe?
Jack has a higher sense of awareness. He doesn’t see things like others do. He is akin to Dolores of Westworld.
“Some people choose to see the ugliness in this world—the disarray. I choose to see the beauty. To believe there is an order to our days, a purpose.”
~DOLORES ABERNATHY (WESTWORLD)
Joe, on the other hand, is a simpleton. He knows his place in the ecosystem. He is efficient in the game of prey and the predator. He spends his days focusing on what’s important, which for him is – survival.
Let’s see how do they both proceed with their mornings:
Jack: Upon waking up, Jack listens to bird songs. He then strolls to a nearby stream and washes. Upon relieving himself of bodily functions, he stares at the sun admiring the glowing ball of light that blesses the world with much-needed light and heat.
After having a relaxed morning, he gathers fruits from the nearby trees to prepare breakfast. He makes sure to leave a portion of his food as a symbolic sacrifice to the gods, which is later consumed by herbivores animals. All in all, Jack is a cool dude and doesn’t worry unnecessarily.
Jack doesn’t realize, but he has an evolutionary disadvantage as per his era.
Joe: Joe wakes up in a state of paranoia. He quickly scans his surrounding for threats and dangers. He carefully observes the grass around his cave, searching for footsteps of lurking predators.
While heading to a nearby stream of water, he is highly vigilant and alert. Even while drinking water, he continuously scans for predators. He then sharpens his tools and heads towards a hunt.
Joe is well adapted to his era.
One beautiful morning when Jack wakes up and comes out of his cave, a tiger pounces from a nearby bush, marking an end to Jack’s career as a painter.
The same morning when Joe wakes up, he too is attacked by a tiger. However, he is alert. He quickly grabs his tools. Rather than becoming the tiger’s meal, he makes the tiger into his breakfast. Joe will continue living longer, as he is only focused on his survival.
Jack wasn’t well suited for his time. Those were dangerous times. The price for not being vigilant and alert was life. No doubt, Jack didn’t last long.
Importance of Fear
Jack was not driven by fear at all times. Joe, on the other hand, harnessed the power of fear, which made him a winner.
Fear is a beneficial emotion. Every species on this planet experiences fear. Fear makes us alert and triggers a flight and fight response.
Jack was unprepared to deal with the danger of a predator. Joe, on the other hand, was alert at all times. His alertness made him focus on defending himself against predators. He developed better survival skills.
Joe was well adjusted while Jack lacked essential survival skills.
For a Neanderthal, there was always a danger of getting hunted. Those who did not adjust to the threat level adequately were wiped off by nature’s law of survival of the fittest. Those who adjusted and got proper nourishment further evolved into – Homosapiens – us, the humans.
Our brains have a fear detector referred to as the amygdala. Its primary job is to scan nearby surroundings for threats. The moment risk is identified, a level is assigned to the threat. Depending on the threat level, the brain determines our response.
Our breath intensifies. All non-essential bodily functions are shut down. Energy is diverted from systems responsible for digestion and sexual arousal to your thigh and calves. As per the nature of the threat, either you run away from the danger or charge on towards the danger.
Without fear, our ancestors would not have survived long enough to reap the fruits of evolution.
Anxiety can be referred to as a pre-cursor to fear.
Anxiety helps us analyze future threats and prepare an emergency strategy. If we are well prepared, then in the state of fear, we would be more efficient to deal with the threat.
At times fear makes us freeze. If we are prepared for the event, we won’t freeze out of fear. We will deal with the situation.
Both fear and anxiety are a helpful tool for all of us to deal with imminent danger.
The systems we have talked about so far were adequate as per the Neanderthal era. However, with time, our environment changed. Now someone like Joe would not survive for long because he would be exhausting all him physic energies scanning for non-existent threats.
He would anxiously scan his surroundings each morning on waking up and begin his day on an unsatisfactory note. His state of mind would slip from morning to his entire day, making him highly inefficient in productive tasks. His stress levels would always be high. His heart rate and blood pressure would be skyrocketing. Joe would never calm down. Joe would never be at ease.
It breaks my heart to say that all of us are JOE!
I am Joe.
You are Joe.
Your best friend is a Joe too.
Had we been Jacks, we won’t be having this discussion. We would be creating art leisurely.
We have evolved a lot from Neanderthals. Our surroundings have changed rapidly. Our lifestyles have transformed. But our ancient brain still has all those primitive systems running in full gear.
For someone suffering from an anxiety disorder, life is a never-ending threat. The only difference between anxiety and fear is – fear is a response to an immediate threat, while anxiety is a response to a perceived future threat.
Now and then, we need to compute our efforts and progress to identify a strategy for a better future. It is a helpful activity. It helps us get better in all aspects of life. However, people suffering from anxiety disorders do not have their systems in control.
Anxiety worsens because our brains cannot distinguish between the imaginary and the real. It deals with every situation as if the situation is happening in the present. For an anxiety patient, constant threat assessment builds a negative mindset, deteriorating their quality of life.
Suppose you are not performing well in your studies. The only reason behind this is your weak skills. These could be any number of skills. You could have a low attention span, you could have low levels of intelligence, you could have comprehension issues, and the list goes on. You will always be anxious about your performance. Now, ideally, you are supposed to sort yourself out.
You will sit down calmly and identify the reason behind your lag in studies. Then you will formulate a plan. Maybe you need to get more disciplined, perhaps you need a tutor, maybe you need access to better study resources, maybe your home is toxic, and you cannot focus. Keeping the issue at hand in mind, you will strategically prepare yourself to proceed ahead in life.
This is how a reasonable person deals with anxious thoughts.
People like you and me do not process anxiety in this manner.
The moment we get anxious about our studies, we will think about it obsessively.
We will create imaginary narratives in our minds.
We will blame ourselves for our inadequacy.
In moments, the walls will start to close in. Our hearts will start racing, our palms will sweat, and we will experience a panic attack. Our minds will consider this as a fear sensation, and begin pumping adrenaline into our veins. We will need to run, but there is nowhere to run. There isn’t a predator from which we need to escape.
Dealing with anxiety is a fundamental life issue. We must be well equipped to conquer anxiety.
Over time our anxiety will worsen. The mere sight of study books or classrooms will make us more anxious. To save ourselves from angst, we would binge-watch or loiter. Do anything else to avoid thinking about studies. Unfortunately, this ostrich mechanism doesn’t work well, not even for the ostrich.
The only way to deal with anxiety is by becoming competent enough to deal with the issue, which fuels anxiety.
If you are always anxious about spending money, then start a systematic savings plan.
If you are anxious about your job, add more skills to yourself.
If you are anxious about your looks, spend time grooming yourself.
If you have social anxiety, expose yourself to crowds in a controlled manner. Get habituated to people.
If you have a fear of small spaces, practice staying in tiny places daily for 2-3 minutes.
The only way to efficiently deal with anxiety is to let your mind know, nothing awful would happen to you. You are well placed to deal with the current threats. If you are not, then you must.
Easier said than done, I know!
Don’t worry. I will lay down a step by step plan to deal with anxiety towards the end. However, let’s first realize that we are not the only generation suffering from anxiety. Nearly every civilization in the past, even the mighty Greeks and the Romans suffered from anxiety.
Anxiety in ancient times
With the advent of the internet and social media, many people are now becoming more and more aware of anxiety disorders. This gives the impression that anxiety is growing.
However, that is not the case at all. Statistics indicate that the percentage of people who experienced anxiety in the ’70s and those who suffer from it today is more or less the same.
We have always experienced anxiety and have dealt with it using more or less the same old tools – medication, intoxication, meditation, self-mastery.
Greek and Latin physicians and philosophers distinguished anxiety from other types of negative affect and identified it as a medical disorder. Ancient Epicurean and Stoic philosophers suggested techniques to reach an anxiety-free state of mind that are reminiscent of modern cognitive psychology.
Latin Stoic philosophical writings, such as Cicero and Seneca’s treatises, prefigure many modern views concerning the clinical features and the cognitive treatment of anxiety.
In the Tusculan Disputations, Cicero wrote that affliction, worry, and anxiety are called disorders on account of the analogy between a troubled mind and a diseased body.
Seneca, another Stoic philosopher, taught his contemporaries how to achieve freedom from anxiety in his book Of Peace of Mind (De tranquillitate animi [DTA]). Seneca defines the ideal state of “peace of mind” as a situation where one is undisturbed.
According to Seneca, fear of death is the primary cognition preventing us from enjoying a carefree life (DTA, chapter 11. “He who fears death will never act as becomes a living man”).
This thought anticipates the future developments by Kierkegaard, Heidegger, and existentialist philosophers about the fundamental anxiety caused by man’s realization that his existence is finite. One way to escape from the clutch of anxiety is to devote one’s attention to the present instead of worrying about the future. In his book On the Shortness of Life (De brevitate vitae [DBV]), Seneca’s recommendation is to combine past, present and future in only one time. Today, this focus on the present moment is one of the critical objectives in techniques such as mindfulness meditation.
Epicurus taught that the objective of a happy life included reaching a state called ataraxia where the mind was free of worry. One path to ataraxia was to get rid of negative cognitions about the past and of fears about the future since the only existing reality is the present moment.
In the 18th century, medical authors published clinical descriptions of panic attacks, but they did not label them as a separate illness.
In the late 19th and early 20th century, anxiety was a key component of various new diagnostic categories, from neurasthenia to neuroses.
Freud separated anxiety neurosis from neurasthenia.
In the centuries separating classical antiquity from the emergence of modem psychiatry in the mid-19th century, typical cases of anxiety disorders kept being reported in medical writings. Freud coined many of the terms used for various anxiety disorders in DSM-I and DSM-II. DSM-III introduced new disorders such as panic disorder, GAD, and PTSD. Significant contributions of DSM-5 are (i) a grouping of the anxiety disorders into three spectra (anxiety, OCD, and trauma- and stressor-related disorders) based on the sharing of standard features, and (ii) the grouping of developmentally connected disorders in the same chapters.
So yes, we are not unique. Anxiety has always been there and will continue to plague us until eternity.
How anxiety disrupts life
The primary symptoms of anxiety will appear insignificant. But the way these symptoms cripple our day to day functions is alarming.
A quick look might not make these primary symptoms appear acute. We all suffer from such symptoms once in a while. Enduring such symptoms daily makes lives difficult for people suffering from anxiety disorders.
Daily anxiety can lead to psychosomatic fever.
Around 40% of the working population takes sick leave very frequently. The statistics are similar for teenagers around school attendance. There is no denying that these individuals feel feverish, which is why they think they cannot work or study. However, their fever is not a by-product of a physical issue. No bacteria or virus is responsible for such illnesses. These are fatigue induced psychosomatic illness which happens due to the high level of cortisol in the body.
Anxiety raises levels of stress. Each anxious thought contributes to the levels of cortisol in the body. The more anxious you are, the less will be the secretion of serotonin, which is essential to maintain elevated mood and energy.
Anxiety-prone individuals are less efficient and productive despite being creative or competent. There is no denying that small effort accumulated over a considerable period helps us reach a desired positive outcome. However, anxiety-prone individuals suffer weekly or bi-weekly setbacks and cannot perform for at least 4-5 days every month.
If your competitor is a healthy individual with balanced biochemicals, they will easily outwork or outsmart you.
Anxiety not only hijacks our professional lives but also disrupts our personal lives. Anxious people have trouble trusting others, or they trust everyone. Both the cases are damaging for an intimate relationship.
They are either hypersexual or have extremely low sex drives. Once again, both of these can destroy your relationship with your partner.
Anxiety in today’s times
Anxiety is undoubtedly perceived as more common nowadays because we are vocal about mental health.
In the past, there were a lot of stigmas attached to mental illness. Nowadays, weakness is the new sexy. Shed a few tears, and the world will be at your feet.
This weak society encourages everyone to be mediocre so that others will not be threatened by competency. We have started glorifying every inadequacy. Fat people are beautiful and slender women are accused of setting unacceptable standards of beauty.
Progress and inclusion are essential. However, romanticizing disorders aren’t. If you suffer from an anxiety disorder, yes, you are not less competent than an average person. But being anxious doesn’t give you an upper hand either.
There is no glory in weakness. I want this on record.
If you suffer from anxiety, do not expect the world to treat you kindly. Instead, you should work on yourself and get better soon to be a more productive member of society.
Modern lifestyle contributes a lot towards anxiety. Even if you experience mild anxiety, alcohol, drugs, weed, lack of sleep, poor eating habits, and procrastination can worsen your situation. Undoubtedly our fast lifestyles are responsible for added stress which fuels anxiety. However, each time demands a different approach to deal with issues.
Joe’s approach is not going to work anymore. Jack is who our inner beings need to model.
Role of Technology and Social Media
Despite anxiety being an age-old issue, there is no denying that social media contributes a lot towards anxiety.
Every app on our smartphones is addictive. Once again, this is not a new phenomenon. The blueprint is the same as it was in the times of email.
Why do you check your emails?
First, you get a notification. It works as a trigger.
You are intrigued to know the details about the email.
It also gives you a chance to prove your responsiveness. That’s an added personal gain.
The more we wait after the initial notification, the more anxious we get.
Delay in checking email can make us anxious.
We worry that we might miss something important, which is rarely the case. But we can’t make our brain understand this. We will continuously feel a trigger to check our email.
Once we give in to this feeling and check the email, we experience a tiny amount of satisfaction. Dopamine is released. And we feel relieved. The contents of the email are no longer critical. Even if it was a spam email, we get our hit. Over time our brain gets programmed to derive pleasure from checking notifications. It acts as an escape.
Slowly and gradually, the trigger, which is a notification bell, is replaced by an internal trigger. Instead of getting anxious after the notification bell, we start checking for notifications, whenever we feel anxiety.
Giants like FB, Instagram, Twitter capitalize on this human weakness.
Anxious people spend a lot of time on social media, scrolling. Every scroll gives them a little surge of dopamine without them realizing they are exhausting their valuable cognitive energy in an activity only meant for leisure.
We must understand that social media doesn’t reduce anxiety. If you are already anxious, you are at a higher risk of being more anxious after your social media visits. When you witness pictures of other people’s picture-perfect lives, it induces a sense of incompleteness, and you feel more worried about your future.
But then again, we cannot blame technology and social media for our problems. In the end, we have control. The same technology also provided many solutions. We can quickly turn off notifications in our phone settings or assign a dedicated time frame for such activity. Not more than 15-25 minutes daily. We do have the capacity to change. What we need is a willingness to change.
Social anxiety is the most prevalent form of anxiety we witness in modern times. A lot of us are scared of social situations. Whether it be going to the college, a new workplace or a party, we all have experienced some form of social anxiety at least once.
Fear of a stranger marks the beginning of social anxiety. Ideally, for kids, fear of a stranger is a helpful trait. Kids shouldn’t be trusting everyone they encounter. They are vulnerable and do not possess adequate skills to judge a person’s character. However, if this underlying fear turns into a phobia, you are fucked for life!
If you were humiliated publicly as a child and you weren’t able to process your negative emotions healthily, your adult life can worsen. You might feel challenged in social situations due to unresolved past trauma.
People experiencing stage fright or fear of socializing are afraid of embarrassing themselves in front of others. This fear freezes them, and they get more nervous.
If a socially anxious female goes to a party, all of her survival mechanisms misfire. She considers herself a prey in between a group of predators. Imagine a rabbit in between a pack of hungry wolves. You won’t blame the rabbit for acting a little weird.
Anxiety is the reason why alcohol is served in parties. Alcohol, also known as liquid courage, calms your nerves temporarily, and you blend in. Though any sort of substance worsens your anxiety, in the long run, they are effective in treating the immediate symptoms.
The easiest way to deal with social anxiety is by exposing yourself to social situations more often. The more social gathering you will attend, the more confident you will get dealing with uncomfortable situations.
Managing social anxiety is paramount for a healthy and peaceful life. Once you start blending with people, you will realize that neither are you a rabbit nor they are wolves. People are mostly lovely, even if evidence point to the contrary. If you are socially anxious, start with small groups. Interact with people. Gradually, build a bigger network of people to commune with. Never choose isolation over someone’s company.
Isolation and me-time are essential, but it shouldn’t be the most desirable time of your life. You must balance your me-time and social company.
Never forget what “Into the wild” taught all of us –
“Happiness is only real when shared”
― Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild
My battle with social anxiety
It is a little awkward for me to share this personal story; however, keeping in mind the greater good, I will be as honest and forthcoming as possible.
I was a skinny, dark-skinned man. I was far from the acceptable definition of attractiveness. My grooming skills were also poor. I had no idea how to dress well and look good.
At the age of 18, I met a charming Kashmiri girl. In terms of physical appearance, we were poles apart. She was one of the most divine females Allah ever created. I, on the other hand, was made during rush hours.
Whenever we went on a date, I was always obsessed with my looks. I used to glance at every reflective surface to catch a glimpse of myself for reassurance of my decent looks. I understand that we all check ourselves now and then. But I was obsessed. I used to check myself at least ten times every minute. That’s a glimpse every 6 seconds.
We frequently visited a KFC outlet in V3S Mall, Laxmi Nagar. I always choose a seat in front of a mirror so that I could continue reassuring myself.
Back in those days, I didn’t even know that it was a symptom of anxiety. Fortunately, as I grew older, there were other things to be obsessed about. I realized that looks don’t matter, competency does.
Even today, I am obsessed and anxious. If I do not complete an essay every 3-4 days, I start getting anxious. But this is a healthy obsession. It helps me get better in my craft.
My underlying anxiety was cured by a healthy diet and a stress-free lifestyle. We will discuss every step which you can take to get rid of your anxiety.
How to deal with anxiety
Like most of the mental disorders, anxiety, too, is manifested by self and punishes self. In case you are looking for a quick remedy, you can visit a local physician and get on prescribed medications. The only challenge is most of such medicines are highly addictive. They build a dependence, which is hard to shrug off later. Popping pills for the rest of your life doesn’t sound like a good idea.
The only alternate is healthy living. It is imperative to design a daily routine filled with activities that keep your mind stable and anxiety at bay. The below mentioned guidelines, if followed correctly, can transform your anxious being into a sober self.
Make a Routine
Anxiety is fear of the unknown. It only happens when we are unsure of the consequences of any particular action or event. The best way to deal with it is by making your life less impromptu and more structured.
A routine might appear monotonous, but that’s what we need to be in control.
Set a morning routine for yourself.
Wake up and sleep at the same time.
Keep spare time for physical activities.
Allocate time to do the things which you love.
Take small breaks during your day.
Do nothing during those breaks. Breathe and Relax.
Make a to-do list every morning for your professional responsibilities.
Maintain a timesheet.
Similar to other organs in your body, your mind needs nutrition too. A poor diet will result in a starving brain, leading to a troublesome mental space.
I am sure all of us have seen the snickers commercial. Despite being overly melodramatic, it closely resembles the truth. Hunger does make us crazy!
If you are anxious, you shouldn’t stay hungry at all.
Take small meals every two hours.
Do not eat junk, chips, and other processed items.
Eat dairy products and meat.
Reduce your carbs intake.
Do not consume sugar.
Eat a fiber-rich diet.
Never eat after 8 pm.
Always eat within 2 hours of waking up.
Physical activities are not only healthy for your body but also essential for your mental health. If you are eating food, your body needs to burn energy. A workout provides a healthy outlet to get rid of built-up energy.
A lot of you masturbate frequently. It is also a way to get rid of extra energy, though an unhealthy one. People facing sleep issues, often report better quality of sleep after masturbation. The same people experience similar results after 20 minutes of workout.
If you do not get rid of extra energy, it will turn negative, and overthinking will follow. A racing mind is an anxious mind. You won’t like to go to bed after a hard day of work only to realize that you can’t sleep.
Go for a morning walk. Jog.
Visit the gym at least thrice every week.
Run or cycle.
Mindfulness activities are a must for mental health. The one and the only way to make your mind calm is by practicing mindfulness. However, we shy away from practicing mindfulness because it appears tedious initially. The practice is tough in the beginning.
As per ancient Ayurveda, toxic substances can be removed from the body by consuming bitter melon and drumsticks. They both taste horrible.
It is alright if something appears distasteful. We need to focus on the benefits. Despite being tough initially, mindfulness is a miraculous way to transform your mental wellbeing.
A mentee of mine once said he would rather listen to Morrison than meditate. You, too, can listen to pumped-up numbers and avoid meditation but remember you are looking to calm your excited mind, not push your boundaries of excitement. Practicing calmness is the only way to tame your anxious mind.
Take a mindfulness walk in the park.
Meditate for 20 minutes daily.
Download Headspace today to begin guided meditation.
Practice breathing exercises.
Do not Binge Watch
If you strive to get meta, then you shouldn’t consume any sort of entertainment. If you are only looking to manage anxiety, do not consume entertainment for more than 30-45 minutes daily.
Any emotionally charged TV show or movie zaps your senses. The more television you will consume, the higher will be your anxiety levels.
Try this on an off day. Just sit and binge-watch the whole day. Make a note of how you feel afterwards.
The very next day, do not consume any entertainment. Do your work and stick to your routine. Make a note of your mental state.
You will sense a vast difference.
Binge-watching is taking small doses of unwanted anxiety. Why would you do so if you are already anxious?
We watch movies and TV to feel emotions that we do not frequently experience in our daily lives—wonder, excitement, sexual arousal, grief, horror, fear, anxiety, happiness. The more profound is the cocktail of emotions served by a piece of entertainment, the higher will be the engagement.
Well, in your case, you are already experiencing a lot of unwanted emotions. You do not need more doses. Refrain from any sort of entertainment consumption. Just starve yourself. Read books instead. They also entertain without overloading your circuits with an emotional charge.
Stay away from Toxic People
Healthy surroundings help maintain a healthy mind. We often are angry with our parents, siblings, and relatives. We blame them for most of our problems. What we ignore is they only constitute a small percentage.
Yes, there are many people we cannot choose.
It’s hard to choose a desirable boss.
It’s impossible to control parentage.
But almost every other person in our life is selected by us. We should be careful in our selection. We must choose friends who help us move ahead in life.
We are an average of our five friends. If your five friends are drug addicts and nihilists, you cannot expect yourself to be an innovator. You, too, will fall short of your goals if you continue keeping an unhealthy company.
Our surroundings play an essential role in our success. Surround yourself with positive, goal-oriented people. Bid goodbye to toxic people to begin an anxiety-free life blossoming with positivity.
Anxiety laden life is horrible. You will never realize your full potential if you do not break free from the chains of anxiety. You can choose to engage in distractions and temporarily manage your anxiety. Or, you can practice healthy living and conquer anxiety. As always, the choice is yours. Choose wisely!
Hope this helped.
I would request you to share this essay on your social media if you liked it. Obviously, you are free to accept or deny my request.
See you next week with another novel, fresh and exciting topic.
Leave comments and suggestions. I need them to improve.
The pursuit of happiness is a flawed concept. You cannot pursue something which lies within. To be happy, you must be present. Once you start being in NOW, you will enjoy every moment to its full. You will be alive.
Hope you are fantastic.
Today we will discuss about one of the most sought after feelings – happiness!
Before we begin our discussion, let’s understand how great men perceived happiness.
The textbook definition suggests, “Happiness means feeling pleasure or contentment.”
Below are the views of great thinkers on happiness.
“Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence” – Aristotle.
“The happiness of those who want to be popular depends on others; the happiness of those who seek pleasure fluctuates with moods outside their control; but the happiness of the wise grows out of their own free acts.” ― Marcus Aurelius
“The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.”― Socrates
“We don’t even ask happiness, just a little less pain.”― Charles Bukowski
“It is by being fully involved with every detail of our lives, whether good or bad, that we find happiness, not by trying to look for it directly.” – Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
These were the most extraordinary men of their time.
If you observe carefully, you will notice how their views on happiness are in contrast with the popular notions embraced by our modern culture. Great men did not view happiness as a state induced by worldly possessions, achievements, personal success, or a community. Each of them using their signature flair described happiness as a fleeting state that can only be made permanent by living each moment to its full. Whether these moments of our lives are good or bad is irrelevant.
Good or bad has always been a relative expression.
What might be right for you could be awful for me.
For you, drinking a glass of whiskey every night before heading to bed might be a sensible practice.
For me, sleeping with a high head will cause a hangover the next morning, which then will impair my writing skills, leaving me in an undesirable, miserable state for the entire day.
You might toss and turn the entire night in the absence of your soothing alcohol, while I might experience nightmares due to the presence of alcohol in my blood.
What does this indicate?
Is alcohol good or bad?
I wish there was a way to deduce that. But unfortunately, there isn’t one.
People’s outlook towards alcohol depends entirely on their perspective and, to some extent, their past experiences.
Alcohol can be good, good and bad, or just bad. It depends on the person’s point of view.
Similarly, an event that will make you happy can make someone else extremely unhappy.
You will be happy if you get a promotion for which you had worked hard. At the same time, the other contenders will be unhappy because their dream to get closer to the top is shattered.
Similarly, you will be elated when you buy your first car. However, a friend who already possesses multiple vehicles will not experience the same joy from his new acquisition.
When virgins get laid for the first time, they get ecstatic. The novelty of a sexual experience brings extreme joy.
Research studies indicate that proclivity towards sex decreases after repetitive encounters with the same person. Repeated sexual intercourse with the same person will not give you the same high which you experienced on the first day. However, if a new person walks into your life, the cycle renews. Sex with a new partner will again be exhilarating initially. You will trick yourself into believing that it was the best sex of your life, due to the novelty of the experience. You are oblivious to the sexual preferences of the new partner. This element of surprise will make you feel each sensation to its extreme, heightening your pleasure senses.
You will be more attentive in the moment. You will be present.
The same applies to every external source.
There are two states of being happy.
One in which you are happy from within. This state will not demand an external stimulation. Yogis, expert meditators, philosophers, and creators are always in this blissful state.
For ordinary folks, happiness will depend on their interaction with the outer world and how their brains perceive an event.
Whenever you visit a new place or try a new cuisine, the result is mostly positive. You feel happy. However, after repeated experiences of the same nature, the event loses its charm and stops making you happy.
So far, we have deduced that happiness is relative. It mostly depends on our outlook.
As simple as this might sound, novelty-induced happiness will transform our lives into an endless pursuit for fulfillment. We will continually chase new experiences to uplift ourselves from the state of misery. Yet, suffering will continue to pile up. Even if we spend decades practicing hedonism, we will eventually run out of new things to do or objects to buy.
There has to be a way to find happiness in our day to day lives without going to extreme extents, only a few can.
“The soul is healed by being with children.”― Fyodor Dostoevsky
I am positive that you must have interacted with newborns and little kids who cannot speak and are not fully aware of their surroundings. Even if you haven’t, you must have at least seen cute baby videos on the FB timeline of your friends or while fanatically scrolling Instagram.
A newborn baby has few basic needs. It needs a mother’s milk. It needs to be kept clean, and it needs things to play with.
Why are babies so happy?
The only time babies are unhappy is when they experience any sort of physical discomfort or if an idiot like me purposefully annoys them.
Undoubtedly, they are tiny bundles of joy!
Whether they crawl on the floor, eat dirt in the park, watch an animated comedy, play with a pet, or a toy, they are elated.
Why are these fuckers so happy?
Once again, the explanation lies in their outlook towards objects and events.
Due to a lack of experience, every event is unique to newborns. That’s why any playful act make babies elated.
If a baby sees a furry animal for the first time, they will get extremely curious. They will try to interact with the animal. If the animal behaves in a domesticated manner, the baby will enjoy the animal’s company. After a few weeks or months, the baby will slowly lose its interest and then graduate to barbie dolls, motorbikes, or a fire truck.
No one is more hedonist than a newborn.
They continuously find ways to interact with objects around them. And this process is not a result-oriented or an outcome-based activity. The child doesn’t even know what he/she is seeking. By merely being present in the moment, a baby experiences a sense of fulfillment and happiness.
However, with growing age, the child is corrupted by an unwise society and loses his/her ability to be mindful of the present. Like all of us subpar humans, a child too forgets how to stay happy and begins an endless cycle of suffering and misery with few occasional bursts of joy.
Today’s discussion is about true happiness which is not dependent on any event or object.
As we will proceed, you will realize how, by being present even in a dull moment, we can experience joy. This temporary state of happiness can then be extended to our entire day. Once we master this act, even if we are trapped in a concentration camp or a torcher cell, we will be in bliss.
The Burning Monk
One of the most remarkable sights of human bravery is the event known as the burning monk.
Thích Quảng Đức, a Vietnamese Mahayana Buddhist monk, burned himself to death at a busy Saigon road intersection on 11 June 1963. Quảng Đức was protesting the persecution of Buddhists by the South Vietnamese government.
There are various incidents documenting self-immolation attempts throughout history. Lighting yourself on fire to register your protest is a powerful act that never goes unnoticed. However, Quảng Đức’s sacrifice is remembered till date due to the extraordinary nature of the event. While on fire, he neither moved nor twitched a single muscle of his body. He was calm, and composed as his physical body burnt itself to the ground.
Photographs of his self-immolation were circulated widely around the world and brought attention to the policies of the Diệm government. John F. Kennedy said about a photo of Quảng Đức on fire, “No news picture in history has generated so much emotion around the world as that one.” Malcolm Browne won a Pulitzer Prize for his photograph of the monk’s death.
David Halberstam wrote:
“I was to see that sight again, but once was enough. Flames were coming from a human being; his body was slowly withering and shriveling up, his head blackening and charring. In the air was the smell of burning human flesh; human beings burn surprisingly quickly. Behind me I could hear the sobbing of the Vietnamese who were now gathering. I was too shocked to cry, too confused to take notes or ask questions, too bewildered to even think … As he burned he never moved a muscle, never uttered a sound, his outward composure in sharp contrast to the wailing people around him.”
Here we witness a man who set himself on fire in the act of protest against the ruling autocratic regime. What makes the incident memorable is that he did not even twitch a single muscle while burning to death. Such a level of personal mastery of bodily sensations is unparalleled.
What do you think?
What was the burning monk experiencing?
Was he happy while burning to death, or was he miserable?
We will explore the answer to this question in the later sections.
I will also like to bring your attention to the fact that this is not a stand-alone incident. Thousands of revolutionaries imprisoned throughout the world, including the unfortunate victims of the holocaust, have displayed similar personal mastery over their emotions while bearing extreme levels of pain and suffering.
I know, a lot of you are wondering, how is this relevant to our discussion on happiness. Please don’t get perplexed; an appropriate explanation will be provided to you.
From a child-like state, we graduate to being kids and then adults. As we progress, our understanding of happiness changes. A child who used to get elated by the sight of a beetle stops getting any pleasure from weekly visits to the zoo. What went wrong?
We all are a victim of our surroundings. Until and unless we learn the right way to interact with our surroundings positively, we will continue being so. As the child grows, it sees the world, not through his own eyes but through society’s pair of glasses.
If parents continuously compare their wealth or the child’s worth with others, that’s what the child will learn. Whenever he/she sees a rich person, he/she will assume that they are happy because of their abundant wealth.
When he/she sees a confident or attractive person, he/she will assume that successful people are more confident or beautiful people are more successful, depending upon the experiences and the shared values of the immediate society around him/her.
We are not discussing the case of one odd kid. All of us go through the same. Even kids of yogis experience the same emotions which we do.
In a natural progression, these kids grow into adults. Once the forced period of initial learning is over, then the adult is left to make a mark on the world. They pursue happiness as per their flawed understanding.
A female might pursue a well-settled husband.
Another might pursue a good-looking man.
Someone else might wish to have a career in modeling or corporations.
A man will run after possessions.
Another man will chase skills.
Someone else will be obsessed with the number of matches on Tinder.
As per our previous interactions with our surroundings, we will attempt a basic goal setting and pursue a path hoping for some reward at the end of all the fiasco.
The hunt is on.
The hunt gets over.
Unfortunately for the majority, the reward never arrives. For those it does, realize that it only provides momentary happiness.
This stage of life is extremely vulnerable. All of our beliefs, while growing up, indicated that if we pursue something passionately, in the end, we will be happy, which we aren’t ever. At least not for an extended period.
The Mid-Life Crisis
Imagine you wish to get married to a desirable and wealthy partner. You spend your lifetime grooming yourself, learning mannerisms, and adding value to yourself. All of these said activities are done, keeping in mind the final goal.
Now suppose you get married. What’s next?
Will you be in a perpetual state of bliss for the rest of your life?
Absolutely not. The very next morning, you will lie in your wedding bed, pondering what’s next.
You got what you wanted, yet you will not be able to stay happy for long.
What will you do next?
Maybe you will bring a kid in the world.
Then maybe you will destroy the kid or shower it with affection, in an attempt to feel good. The kid will grow up soon enough.
What when your kid moves out?
You have already lost more than half of your life searching for happiness following the formula laid down by your ancestors. Yet, you remain unhappy.
In a rare case (which never happens), assume your partner turns out to be world-class. Your kids turn out to be the best in the entire milky way galaxy, then also daily worries will continue to plague you.
Some days, you might think your partner is having an affair.
Another day, you will come to know your kid smokes.
All of these events will continue to torment you. You will not be happy for prolonged periods.
If your goal is professional success and you sacrifice everything for that goal, what would happen when you reach the age of 50 only to realize, even though you have all you ever wanted, emptiness plagues you frequently.
How would you feel then?
Happiness on Billboards.
“Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need. You buy furniture. You tell yourself, this is the last sofa I will ever need in my life. Buy the sofa, then for a couple years you’re satisfied that no matter what goes wrong, at least you’ve got your sofa issue handled. Then the right set of dishes. Then the perfect bed. The drapes. The rug. Then you’re trapped in your lovely nest, and the things you used to own, now they own you.”
― Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club
In a one of a kind phenomenon, happiness is now sold on billboards.
Buy a new I-phone. Happiness guaranteed.
A new pair of Levis jean is a sure shot mantra to delight.
A brand new push up bra will undoubtedly make you joyous.
Buy a new Audi.
Get a new laptop.
Get those clothes at a discount.
Today the gods are offering a limited period discount.
Offer valid till stocks last.
Hurry, get your pill of happiness.
Happiness, happiness is here. Buy stuff.
Hey, why ain’t you buying?
No money, don’t worry.
Get it on credit.
Here’s a brand new shiny plastic for you.
Now you must buy.
Buy this and that and then buy some more.
Buy and be happy!
There is nothing wrong with this approach.
I am not asking you to be a minimalist.
1 black tee, 1 black shirt, 2 black trousers, black shoes, black socks, a white towel, is all you need. Though that is true, I am not asking you to do so.
You should definitely indulge in need-based shopping.
Imagine you go for a run every day. To make the most use of your time, you can buy a pair of Bluetooth headphones. Then you can get yourself an audible subscription. Buy audiobooks and listen to them while running. That’s a good purchase.
Buy expensive raw food. You should spend as much as you can afford on your diet. Buy dry fruits. Buy meat. Buy Tofu. Buy vegetables.
If you want to practice mindfulness, buy a headspace subscription.
Buy a bicycle so that you can cycle your way through misery.
If you are a painter, purchase expensive canvases.
If you are a writer, buy a typewriter. Buy a MacBook. Buy a supercomputer. Whatever makes you love the process!
These are need-based shopping. It is a requirement.
But buying an expensive watch, jewelry, cars, mansions, if not required, won’t make you happy.
If you are not living inside a cramped dump bin, you don’t really need a huge mansion.
If you have a working car, you don’t need a new one.
Jewelry is a sheer waste of money. It is not even a wise investment.
But then if you have tons of money, what else would you do?
This might break your heart, but the answer is – charity.
Yes, social work, charity, philanthropy will make you happy.
A new mail bride, a blow-up doll, expensive alcohol, 1/2 a kg of coke, for that matter even if you buy Greenland, you won’t be happy.
You will feel good for a week or so, and the emptiness will return.
Research studies indicate that whenever people think about helping someone in need, their portions of the brain, which associates with happiness, gets triggered. If the thought of being helpful to someone can delight you, imagine how the action will make you feel.
Now, I am not convincing you to donate all your money to causes you believe in. You can smartly put your money to good use and experience satisfaction.
You can open a study center for impoverished kids. You can charge 50% less than other study centers. You might not make tons of money, but at least you will be touching lives.
You can finance a food-truck which will feed the homeless and the poor at throwaway prices. Once again, maybe a little less profit but happiness guaranteed.
Similarly, there are a thousand other ways to put your money to good use, wherein it will empower society and bring a change.
The result will be your personal delight. That’s a priceless commodity!
The Marshmellow Test
The Stanford marshmallow experiment was a study on delayed gratification in 1972 led by psychologist Walter Mischel, a professor at Stanford University. In this study, a child was offered a choice between one small but immediate reward, or two small rewards if they waited for some time.
A kid was locked in a room with an oreo. He was left with two choices. Either he could eat the oreo and go, or he could choose not to eat one oreo but wait for 15 minutes and get two cookies. Scientists continued to observe the kids who participated in the study throughout their high school and graduate studies.
The study indicated that individuals who delayed gratification were more happy and prosperous in their lives as they grew old. While those who ate the marshmallow, mostly had a difficult life as adults.
You might wonder, where did this come from?
How is the experiment related to happiness?
All of your non-essential shopping is an attempt to seek immediate gratification. You are not thinking straight. You are under the assumption that the act of buying will make you feel better. Though retail therapy works, it is not a permanent fix. The same concept of a novelty applies here as well.
You will enjoy your new car for a few weeks and then return to your old miserable self.
Fuelled by emptiness, you will then start chasing some other piece of silver.
This is a never-ending pursuit. The worst part is, you gain nothing out of it.
Bottom line, if you are unhappy, goods will not make you happy.
If you have been told in the past that once you own a bigger house, a bigger car and a huge bank account, all of your worries will fade away, well, you have been lied to. But have some respite in knowing that you are not the only one. We all have been sold a false dream.
The True Definition of Happiness
If what we have discussed so far makes sense, then at this moment, you must be utterly confused.
If wealth, success, possessions, and social status doesn’t bring happiness, then what does?
If we are not supposed to chase novelty, then what’s the right answer?
Well, the right answer, my friend, is excellence!
The only quality worth chasing is excellence. The pursuit of excellence will make you happy.
At the same time, remember that you can never achieve excellence.
I know exactly how this sounds.
This sounds like another loop.
You were chasing novelty, hoping to be happy someday. Now you agree it isn’t a working model.
So, the alternative is to chase excellence, yet you will never achieve excellence. How will then pursuing excellence make you happy?
Every learned person has once in their lifetime expressed that life is endless suffering. There isn’t happiness anywhere to be found. We, humans, are doomed to be unhappy.
Before being sent on this planet, our consciousness was questioned by our makers.
They asked us, “What do you choose – Happiness or Life?”
I am sure you can figure out your answer.
We all chose the feeling of being alive over feeling happy.
What does this indicate?
It means we do not need to worry about happiness in this lifetime because we are never going to be happy. We traded feeling alive for feeling happy.
So, the question is – do you feel alive?
This is where all of us go wrong. We have no idea what being alive means. Being alive doesn’t mean waking, shitting, fucking, sleeping, and whatever else happens in between.
Being alive means being present.
Being alive means to feel.
Being alive means to be in NOW!
Our consciousness is not confined within the boundaries of our body and mind. We are all one.
To whom we refer as god is the ultimate feeling of oneness of all things that live and breathe.
We have been blessed with this physical body to experience matter. Yet, we never do so.
The only way to be truly happy is by experiencing every moment of your life to its full.
If it’s painful, it is what you are supposed to experience in the NOW.
If it’s a trance-like working state, you are experiencing flow.
When you are with a toddler, you are experiencing an undiluted life force.
The burning monk experienced death by fire. He didn’t twitch any muscle because he was in the moment. He was fully present.
There is a wide misconception among people about what yogis feel. A lot many folks think yogis are numb. They never feel happiness, nor do they feel sadness. That is incorrect.
Research studies indicate that expert meditators feel pain or joy more than ordinary folks. What makes them unique is their continuous practice, which blesses them a higher tolerance level.
If you try to burn an ordinary person, they will start experiencing pain even before the touch of a burning iron rod. They feel pain in anticipation of pain. Then they feel pain. And then they feel more pain as an after effect.
Holy fucking shit! That’s too much of pain.
If you bring a hot iron rod to the palms of a yogi, he will feel no pain before the contact of the burning iron on the surface of his palms. Upon contact with the burning surface, he will experience 1.5 times pain than an ordinary person. But he won’t react abruptly. He won’t shout. He won’t yell. He would just feel. He has mastered the art of feeling whatever life brings in the moment of now. Once the iron rod is taken off from his palms, he will not feel any after-effects.
Those with heightened awareness are always in the moment, irrespective of whether it is a pleasant or unpleasant moment.
Buddha said, one must be aware at all times, even while shitting, pissing and eating.
At this moment, we must also understand that happiness depends on our outlook.
Outlook Towards Events
Three years ago, my friend and I used to go for a walk in a community park. He used to stroll leisurely, looking at plants, trees, bugs, kids playing, and all this while he used to smile. He was happy being in the park.
I, on the other hand, despised this activity. The park was always crowded, I hated that. It was summertime, so the air was hot, and I felt sweaty. I saw mosquitos swarming over my head. It wasn’t an experience I enjoyed.
He felt happy in the park.
I felt unhappy in the park.
This example reveals a lot about all of us.
An external factor cannot make you happy. Happiness lies within. By being in the present, a simple act of walking in the park becomes enjoyable. You are engrossed in the ecosystem. You feel your breath. You feel the mild breeze. You see how plants, trees, and the soil are communicating with each other. You can join that conversation and immerse yourself in nature.
Yes, there’s noise outside. There will always be noise outside. Silence, peace, tranquility, happiness lies within our self.
Nowadays, when I practice Tai-chi in the park, after my session, I notice how flies swarm my face. Yet, during that trance, I don’t feel it. That’s the beauty of being in the moment.
Happiness is being in a constant state of bliss, irrespective of what is going around you.
There is a lot of noise going on in India around a “NEW INDIA“, “Hindu Rashtra” and crap like such.
What breaks my heart is the religion which these ignorants are fighting for, they do not even practice it. They disrespect our ancient culture.
Ancient Indian yogis inspired both Asia and the West with groundbreaking meditative practices. The so-called Hindu holy books are filled with references of sages who meditated for decades to achieve self-mastery. A state of Nirvana!
Countless tales narrate how ants and termites made their homes in the bodies of yogis. Yet they never woke up out of discomfort from their meditative trance-like state.
Now, youngsters who want immediate gratification, indulge in drugs to achieve a temporary state of Nirvana.
No one is willing to spend a few years practicing the art of Nirvana.
We want Nirvana, and we want it now. Well, Cobain died in misery. You can still save yourself.
The Power of Now
Now comes the last part of our discussion. Let’s do a quick recap.
Life is endless suffering.
Wealth and possessions cannot make us happy.
Chasing novelty will lead us in circles. We will be back where we started.
True happiness lies in the moment.
We can be in a perpetual state of bliss all the time by mastering self-discipline.
Now, comes the question, how to achieve and sustain a blissful state.
How to be happy in day to day life
A piece of standard advice which fake self-help gurus offer is doing what you love. This is then translated into quitting your job and starting fresh in a field of your liking. Undoubtedly this is a promising option. I tried it in the past.
I worked in corporations such as Barclays, Dell, American Express, to name a few at mid-level and senior-level executive positions. But I was unhappy. I quit my job to pursue a career as a writer in 2017.
I was moved by the atrocities exerted on Kashmiri natives. I spent around a year traveling in Kashmir and Ladakh, studying ground reality. I felt happy temporarily only to realize that I was again chasing novelty.
There are also practical elements, one needs to worry about.
I was shit-broke and lived a poor quality of life. Even if I wanted to help someone, I did not possess the resources to do so. This inadequacy heightened my unhappiness.
Finally, I learned how to stay in the present and be blissful.
You do not need to do what you love to stay happy. You need to love whatever you do. That is what makes us happy. Being in the present.
If we are not fully immersed in every moment of our lives, we will be plagued by anxiety and stress. Our physic energies will not get a constructive outlet, leaving us with a negative set of emotions. Even pleasant moments will appear dull and mundane.
Once we begin living in the moment, we are always immersed in reality. We are not dwindling between past experience and a future dream. We are enjoying every moment by being alive.
Don’t forget we traded eternal happiness to experience this feeling of being alive.
Techniques to be Happy
If you look at a beehive, an ant colony, swarms of birds or a school of fish, all of these creatures are in the moment. Doing their tasks diligently.
Ants mostly live for weeks or months. An ant colony lasts for years, growing strong with each passing day.
Each bird flies immersively using their own wings, and a unique flight pattern occurs. The same is the case with fish.
Every honey bee is doing the assigned task and in return, the hive thrives.
We need to do the same. We need to immerse ourselves in every moment we experience. Once you begin practicing being in the present, you will experience a better mood or the so-called elusive state of HAPPINESS.
It is not going to be an easy task. But with regular practice, you can achieve a better state in less than 18 months.
Below are five ways that you can use to raise your state of awareness. I have researched, spoken to zen masters, and ordinary meditators, and everyone agrees that these options are comfortable and practical.
As kids, learning is forced on us. As adults, we learn to get better prospects and high paying jobs. A very few among us enjoy the process of learning.
Learning requires attention and concentration. If you have stopped learning, you need to begin.
Victims seek entertainment. The wise seek education.
Anything which excites you, you can learn about it.
If history bewilders you, read about ancient civilizations, world wars, territorial disputes, lives of great emperors. There are tons of resources that you can utilize to improve your knowledge.
If bikes fascinate you, make sure you know about every sort of engine ever created.
If cutting grass fascinates you, learn about grass. You will be surprised to know that there are over a thousand books written about the grass in your lawn.
No piece of knowledge is a waste of your time.
The more you will learn, the better will be your concentration, focus, and attention. Once you are more attentive, you will notice tiny moments of happiness in your day to day lives. A simple thank you said by your colleague will give you a surge of dopamine. Even during bad days, you won’t feel any discomfort as you will be immersed in your task at hand, whether it is driving, working, eating, sex, or any other activity.
Each morning or evening, go for a walk in a park. Walk extremely slowly. Observe your surroundings carefully. If an unwanted thought comes in your mind, put it off by focusing on the ants, squirrels, birds, or dried leaves. The idea is to be present in the park. Immerse yourself fully. Practice this for 10-15 minutes daily.
Initially, you won’t be awestruck, but a few months later, you will realize how blissful this experience is.
As your awareness will rise in the park, your awareness outside will also grow. You will be more present in your day to day activities. You will enjoy simple tasks such as taking a shower, eating food, watching a cat cross the road. You will be fascinated to see toddlers interact with their surroundings. Every moment will appear breathtaking.
With a heightened sense of awareness, mundane activities will appear novel. You will no longer need to chase novelty to be happy. Awareness will make each experience novel, in turn, making you happy.
Alternatively, you can watch sunrise or sunset.
You can dance.
You can ride a bicycle in the woods.
Do whatever pleases you, but do it slowly, observing your surroundings. Get immersed in the moment.
There are countless forms of meditation that you can practice. For a beginner, the easiest will be observing your breath at all times.
Our breath controls our bodies. Try not to breathe for a minute, and every organ of your physical being will start to deteriorate. Breath is life. Be mindful of your breathing.
Whenever you are stressed, tense, angry, or hurt, your breathing either rises or becomes shallow. By being mindful of your breath, you can put a stop to anxious and worrisome thoughts. When you focus on the breath, you will be in the present moment. Being in the present is the key.
Initially, it will be tough. Your monkey brain will always irk you, swarm you with unwanted thoughts. As Zen masters say, if the monkey brain takes you away a million times, bring your attention back to the breath a million times. After the millionth time, the monkey brain will surrender. The goal is to keep practicing until you tame your monkey mind.
Not all of us can learn meditation from a zen master, so it is better to embrace technology. Headspace and Calm are two great apps using which you can begin your journey. These guided meditation apps will give you the same experience as learning from a master.
Tai-chi is a form of Chinese meditative trance. In tai-chi, you move your body swiftly using well-orchestrated steps that help you channel your energies and attain a peaceful mental space.
Tai-chi might appear a little tough initially as you need to be mindful of your breathing and body movements at the same time. Multitasking mostly puts us off. But once you are over with the initial phase, you will see faster results in comparison to regular meditation.
You won’t find a good tai-chi master easily, so it is better to resort to technology. Various masters offer You-Tube modules free of cost. You can use them for initial learning and then graduate slowly. There are also online courses that will benefit you.
Whenever we practice any activity for long, it becomes a habit. Habits do not require cognitive bandwidth. That is the reason you can think and brush your teeth without hurting yourself. Your brain knows all the steps of brushing and completes the activity in an auto-pilot mode without needing any assistance from you.
As much as this is effective from a mental point of view, it leaves room for your mind to wander.
We do the same with all of our daily activities. Once we are habituated to a job, a task, or an activity, we stop paying attention and let our minds take us on a ride.
The human mind has a negative bias to protect us from danger. If your mind is not focused on the task at hand, it will wander exploring false narratives, which will make you anxious and worrisome. Your state of happiness will be compromised. The only remedy is to be present.
Work trance is a state wherein everything ceases to exist.
During work trance, writers complete books and painters paint masterpieces.
I write such essays in two hours because I am in a state of work trance. Even if the roof falls over my head, I won’t realize it, I am so engrossed in this intimate dialogue.
Work trance is not limited to creative activity. And for that matter, every action is some form of creation.
If you are a call center executive, get in a work trance. Talk to as many customers as possible. Know them, speak to them, connect and bond with them You will be charismatic, confident, expressive and will strike a chord with your customers because you will be present in the moment. You will not be thinking about paying bills or a toxic colleague. The moment in the present is about you having a conversation with your customer.
Similarly, if you are a sportsperson, your focus should be on the game. Nothing else matters. That is how David Goggins ran a 100-mile marathon on broken legs.
Work trance is tough to induce, as it requires you to be completely honest with yourself. You need to be mindful of your internal dialogue. You should be aware of your motivation.
You are in the moment doing the task at hand because this is what the present moment demands. Nothing else matters. Everything will wait until your break.
Work trance will improve your productivity, efficiency, and overall happiness index because you are not paying attention to mindless chatter.
The pursuit of happiness is a flawed concept. You cannot pursue something which lies within. To be happy, you must be present. Once you start being in NOW, you will enjoy every moment to its full. You will be alive.
Remember, we all traded an eternal blissful life for this feeling of being alive. If you are not in the present, you have already died. Dead men can only feel pain, not joy.
Hope this helped.
I would request you to share this essay on your social media if you liked it. Obviously, you are free to accept or deny my request.
See you next week with another novel, fresh and exciting topic.
Leave comments and suggestions. I need them to improve.
If you believe that your kind and loving attitude will help you qualify for the big boys club, you are profoundly mistaken. Nice, kind, loving, caring, empathetic, sensitive – all of these are default settings. Being nice doesn’t make you unique.
Good morning planet,
How are we this lovely morning?
I am fantastic!
What delights me the most is our intimate conversations about human excellence.
We have covered a lot so far in the previous essays.
Taking things forward today, we will discuss an essential human trait – kindness.
A lot of us, when face to face with a calamity, ask either ourselves or a supreme being – Why me?
Why am I going through so much of trouble in my life?
I am a good person.
I have always been kind to others.
Why did my girlfriend leave me for a jerk?
Why doesn’t my wife respect me?
Why was I not awarded a promotion?
Why is the world so insensitive to me?
Why don’t people take me seriously?
Why don’t my kids listen to me?
Why am I bullied?
Why the fuck me?
I am so nice, always!
Trigger Warning: The content ahead is too honest. Please proceed if you can handle the truth. You have been warned!
As much as I want to sugar coat things for you, this is something that cannot be expressed with mitigated speech. I need to be blunt. If that hurts your feelings, be it.
The first step in creating a better life is self-realization.
You need to realize that you must make changes in your personality. With your current outlook towards the world, you are not best suited with the optimal qualities which can improve your life.
This self-realization needs to stem from within, without any influence from an outer body.
If I tell you today, that you suck, that won’t make much of a difference. You need to realize that you suck.
Hopefully, by the end of today’s essay, you will realize what you lack and begin your journey on the path of self-improvement.
First of all, if you consider yourself nice, it means you are agreeable. You haven’t yet formed your own opinions. You are just a yes man!
A yes man is a weak man.
If you believe that your kind and loving attitude will help you qualify for the big boys club, you are profoundly mistaken.
Nice, kind, loving, caring, empathetic, sensitive – all of these are default settings.
Being nice doesn’t make you unique.
It doesn’t make your more qualified.
It doesn’t make you more appealing.
Kindness has nothing to do with attractiveness.
Niceness is not the measure of your abilities.
If you see a dog and pet him, that doesn’t translate into success.
If you buy your girlfriend expensive stuff, that isn’t an indication of your love or respect. Maybe you are trying to buy her love. Perhaps you are so insecure that you think presents are the only way to secure her love. You are so high in self-loathing that you know someday she would leave you. You are trying your best to delay that inevitable outcome.
You must have heard about Pablo Escobar. He was one of the first drug entrepreneurs. He terrorized the DEA for more than ten years. He was responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of innocent people. In this context, responsible means, the kill order came directly from him.
Not from his organization.
Not from his associates.
But from him!
Once upon a time, Escobar, while escaping authorities, found himself trapped in the cold with his sick daughter. He had no means to keep his daughter warm. All he had was millions of dollar bills. He started burning those. He flashed dollar bills worth millions in a single night to keep his daughter warm.
Now that’s kindness. Will you not agree?
You might claim that he was one of the wealthiest people on the planet; money didn’t mean shit for him. Yet, see this from a father’s perspective. He did all he could to keep his daughter warm when she needed it.
If that’s not kindness, then I don’t know what is!
This is a man being nice to his children.
You can’t get any sweeter than that.
If a barbaric, homicidal maniac like Escobar can be gentle when needed, what makes you so special. You are just an ordinary fellow who has no capacity for violence. Being nice is your default setting. Why do you expect to be treated differently if you do not have anything out of the ordinary to offer?
There’s an old poetry by a renowned Hindi poet Ramdhari Singh Dinkar which I studied during my formative years. These lines got imprinted in my mind.
क्षमा शोभती उस भुजंग को जिसके पास गरल है
उसका क्या जो दंतहीन विषरहित विनीत सरल है
Translation: Forgiveness suits a venomous snake, not a toothless, spineless, simple-minded fucker!
Jordan Peterson says the same in different words.
“A harmless man is not a good man. A good man is a very dangerous man who has that under voluntary control.”
You do not assign the security of your home to rabbits. You entrust it to dogs, ferocious dogs who will rip the intruder’s throat. You trust them because these are not mad dogs. These are loyal dogs.
A weak person is not a loyal person by choice. He’s loyal because he has no other option. He must be loyal or face dire consequences. He is acting faithful, driven by fear.
A strong person makes a choice. He is not scared shitless. He has the capacity for violence. He has the capacity for evil. If he chooses to follow someone, he does it out of his own will, either because he’s inspired by the leader or out of internal motivations. But he isn’t doing it out of fear. He is making a choice.
If you consider yourself nice and yet you fail a lot, it is a possibility that you are stuck in the victim mindset. Before we move forward, you must write this down on a piece of paper and stick it in front of your study table.
The world owes me nothing.
No one owes me anything.
I don’t deserve shit.
I need to earn my place.
I am no longer in the past.
I need to create my victories.
No one is going to handover success.
I am not what happened to me.
I am what I choose to become.
I will become the best version of myself.
This ‘why me’ mentality is toxic. It is a cognitive bias. You have a presupposition that awful things shouldn’t happen to you. Just because you have a default setting of being nice and kind, no harm should come your way.
I hope you are aware that Jesus was the son of god.
I am positive you know what happened to him.
Jesus was a miracle worker literally. He created miracles. He was the human embodiment of kindness. Ideally, by the culturally acceptable definition of nice men, he was the nicest of em all!
They nailed him to a cross and executed him.
He was the son of the god, for fuck’s sake.
He had the right to say – why me father!
But he chooses not to.
Instead, he pleaded forgiveness for his captors from god.
Jesus, being the son of the god, was tortured to death. Yet, he held no ill-will.
Ever wondered why?
Well, he wasn’t only nice. He was also a strong person. He knew the world is filled with apple orchards and snake pits. Our actions lead us to one or the other. He was a strong person. Countless weak, flawed, spineless maggots feared his glory. Crucification, murder, rape, riots are what so-called nice (weaklings) individuals do when they feel threatened. They breed resentment and hatred. They will go to any extent to hurt whom they dislike.
This fact of life is what you are oblivious of if you consider yourself nice. You are as non-deserving as the person next to you. Your competency will make you efficient and worthy, not your compassion.
A famous ancient text in India reflects upon few strategies to get your way with people, institutions, hierarchies, and complex social structures.
It talks about – Saam Daam Dand Bhed (साम, दाम, दंड, भेद), which translates to –
Saam: This translates to flattering or appeasement. When things do not go our way, we can always try to smooth talk to obtain desired results.
Daam: This indicates monetary benefits. If mere words are not fulfilling your goals, you can always buy the other person.
Dand: This contemplates punishment. You can threaten the other person to subside your way.
Bhed: This is threatening. If nothing works, you will politely make the other person understand that this might be the last day for their loved ones.
You get the gist.
These methods were taught by ancient sages to rulers and emperors so that they can manage procedural complexity attached to running a realm efficiently.
None of them suggests you be nice and rollover.
If you are extra nice to people, you might want to reflect inside and identify which nasty part of yourself are you trying to hide with this bullshit. Furthermore, you should speak to that shadow of yours. Understand his motivations and drive. Tame him.
You can’t ignore your insufficiencies with the excuse that the world is an ugly place, and you, only you, are nice. Everyone else is an asshole.
You must have heard about the book of knowledge – Gita.
Gita is a spiritual text. It, in its entirety, talks about consciousness, soul, the human spirit, and how to discover a higher purpose. Surprisingly this profound non-violent text was narrated by a king named Krishna to a warrior named Arjun during a devastating battle.
Arjun’s family considered themselves true heirs to the throne, which was in the control of their cousins. In order to win back the disputed kingdom, Arjun must slaughter his brothers. A critical situation like this can make any sane person a little reluctant. Arjun was battling his mind about the consequences in the middle of a war zone. That’s when Krishna intervened and poured an endless stream of wisdom in which Arjun basked to glory.
Even a profound text like Gita, which preaches peace and tranquility, advises means to achieve nirvana, was brought to light during a violent conflict.
Aggression, violence, and kindness need to go hand in hand.
You must be aggressive in the pursuit of your goals.
Being docile will not lead you to greatness.
A cow can’t hunt.
A cow is sent to a slaughterhouse where she doesn’t even put up a fight.
A cow is nice.
A lion, on the other hand, is the king of the jungle.
Even a captured lion is regarded as a treasure.
It takes balls to tame a lion.
That’s why it is respected and feared even inside a cage.
A cow is never feared.
I am not asking you to intimidate weak people.
I am requesting you to be competent.
You must possess the ability to stand in front of a bully.
You must have the physical strength to put up a fight if life throws one at you.
You must have the mental strength to navigate stressful times.
Only being nice will not lead you to glory.
Mahatma Gandhi was nice.
He was also a warrior.
Everytime oppressors beat him down, he came back again.
He broke the spirit of his oppressors without even raising a finger.
That’s a unique form of bravery.
That isn’t plain niceness.
When Britishers subjugated him and India, he didn’t complain to other countries. He took a firm stand. Believed in himself. United people and inspired the masses to rise.
Every achiever is a dangerous person. They battle their demons and adverse circumstances daily. They are not some whiny bitch who blame their failures on circumstances. They rise above the bullshit, learn from their failures to destroy every obstacle between them and their goals.
Before we talk about achievers, it is crucial to understand how this victim mindset stems.
A tit-sucker or a newborn baby, as the decent folks might say, sees the mother as an object. He assumes that he is training his mother to provide him gratification. Whenever a tit-sucker is hungry, he yells and cries, throws mood swings. The mother then comes running, offering him a pair of boobs. The tit-sucker comprehends this phenomenon as a ground of possession. He thinks that the whole purpose of the mother is to provide him with what he wants.
The mother becomes an object of pleasure.
Now, if on a given day, the mother is not available or delays the gratifying response anticipated by the tit-sucker, he gets mad. The tit-sucker throws a fit of anger. Even when he is starving, the tit-sucker tries to enact revenge. When the mother offers her boobs, the baby bites her. The tit-sucker is more concerned about the power dynamic than hunger pangs.
Now, I am still studying how the female brain functions, so I don’t have examples for the ladies. But, this same behavior is translated by men in the later ages.
We all are aware that after break-ups, a majority of men leak private pictures and videos of their girlfriends. A lot many distribute the phone numbers of their girlfriends on social media so that trolls could harass her.
Men go to terrible extents when they feel rejected.
Weak men assume that women are their property. Unlike abusive men, they do not exploit the women during relationship. However, once the female tries to break free, all hell breaks loose. Weak men act like an agitated tit-sucker, meticulously planning ways to hurt their ex.
And these are mostly nice men. They can’t handle rejection.
These are men who love their women more than others could. At least that’s what they think in their head. They consider themselves loving, caring, and supportive. However, that’s not the case.
Feeble men and women never deal with their emotions. They escape confronting conversations that are essential in a healthy relationship. Now and then, couples fight to resolve their issues. This is not a flawed approach but rather an effective strategy. Disputes are essential and unavoidable. If two people are together, they will have conflicts. There is no workaround.
Feeble men and women act nicely even during conflicts, feeding themselves a faulty narrative that they are acting nice out of love. That is never the case. They avoid conflicts because they are not apt to pursue honest conversations. They have sugarcoated things their entire life. The very idea of conflict makes them shiver. Their brain goes into a panic mode. Instead of resolving issues, they only focus on diffusing it temporarily in an attempt to avoid a loud conversation.
All this while they are under the impression that they are nice, that’s why they avoid conflicts.
However, in reality, they are weak; that’s why they avoid disputes.
You will mostly see weak individuals throw emotional tantrums because they have nothing concrete or factual to add to a dispute.
Weak men and women will argue with leads such as:
I have been so helpful to you. Why are you mean to me?
Do you not love me anymore?
I have done so much for you, why are you behaving this way.
Please don’t fight with me. I can’t take this anymore.
I am sorry, please forgive me.
Please, pay attention to the phrases mentioned above.
None of them offer any sort of solution. Each of them is only meant to appeal to the emotional side of the other person. The bottom line of such sentences is the belief of the weak person that they do not deserve a stern treatment because they are nice.
Please understand that I am not asking you not to be kind. I am asking you to balance your niceness with toughness. That’s the recipe for being successful in life, relationships and all you do.
Consider your life a game.
If you are nice, you are a beginner stuck in Stage 1. You will need to be tough to beat the boss and get to Stage 2. Every stage is more complicated than the last one.
Nice people stay in the first stage for the entirety of their lives.
You need balls to fight your fears and move to the next level.
Do you think you and Elon Musk are playing the same game?
Do you think Robin Sharma is in level 1?
Do you think Jeff Bezos is even playing?
These masters have unlocked bonus stages for themselves.
They are highly competitive, goal-oriented individuals shaping the world for a better tomorrow.
Robin Sharma is a very kind person.
So are Elon and Jeff.
But they have the capacity of evil inside them, which they have conquered. These are not angry warriors running around creating havoc, high on testosterone. These are methodical, meticulous geniuses. They are nice when it is needed. They are also highly combative when it is need of the hour.
Being nice will not make you successful.
Niceness doesn’t pay bills.
A rapist will not leave your sister because you are nice.
A scoundrel will not return your money out of pity for you.
Your partner will not stay with you forever because of your kind attitude.
Kindness is a must. But it alone cannot help you much.
I am in charge of 12 people. If they make errors, I give them stern feedback and track their improvement. I can’t improve people by showering them with rose petals. At times a strict approach is essential.
The so-called friendly people hate those who can act decisively when needed. They resent achievers because such individuals make them feel inadequate.
If you or someone among your friends and family are stuck in such a mindset, you must coach them about reality.
Being nice will not take you anywhere. Being competent and responsible will!
You might want to read this before moving to the next section!
I was born in a small town called Muzaffarpur in Bihar. We were the only middle-class family among a colony filled with rich folks!
During my formative years, I experienced a lot of bullying.
I was sexually abused on multiple occasions.
Those days kids did not talk about rape. If it happened, they had to bear the trauma themselves. I had nobody to talk to. I isolated myself, found recluse in books.
As I grew, I became more socially inept. I was an anxious tiny male who hated himself the most. Yet, in my eyes, I was virtuous, nice, and kind.
I didn’t have the capacity even to defend myself when bullied.
I thought of myself as a practitioner of non-violence.
Little did I know, that I was just a rabbit with no claws to defend myself from wolves.
It is essential to stand up to bullies, not to give in to them.
I got abused, beaten, bullied, made fun of, yet I endured all of that.
Trauma, if not appropriately processed, becomes a part of you.
I and my trauma got entwined in my personality.
I lacked confidence.
My posture was hunched.
I spoke meekly.
Never challenged authority.
Always expected people to be nice.
I was like this for at least 25 years of my life before I started working on myself, one step at a time.
I specifically remember an incident which was a pre-cursor to my transformation.
A good friend of mine always warned me about my poor posture. He coached me on how to improve it, but he wasn’t aware that it is a mental issue and not a physical one.
During one of our conversations, he posed a question.
“Nishant, what will you do if you become the CEO of this company. Will you still walk with your shoulders bend?”
I confidently replied, “Yes, of course! I do not want to throw attitude to others or come across like an oppressor. I think my posture depicts that I am a humble person.”
The conversation continued for hours. I had every arsenal to prove my point. I glorified my inadequacy. Finally, my friend gave up.
Once I got some time to reflect on our conversation, I immediately knew that all I did was blanket my inadequacy with faulty narratives.
Instead of accepting that I do not come across as a confident individual, I gave in to my feeble self, ranking my niceness above every other quality. But that made me think.
I knew my friend was right. I knew I had to do something to improve myself.
And thus began my journey.
I always read, and I always wrote. But back in those days, I considered non-fiction as useless crap.
Fiction was what fancied me. The amount of pain a writer goes through to pen down an epic text is unparalleled. I assumed that writing non-fiction didn’t require mastery. I was wrong.
When I shed my presuppositions regarding non-fiction, I fell in love with the process. Every non-fiction writer researches for years before compiling their work. They, too, suffer during the process of creating their art. Just because their suffering didn’t meet the standards of my poor interpretation, I regarded it as useless.
Finally, I realized my faulty approach and embraced non-fiction researched texts.
I studied NLP, mindfulness, lucid dreaming, stoicism, tai-chi, eco-meditation, emotional intelligence, and the ways we can rewire ourselves to unlock the limitless potential of human minds.
I spent quite some time in Ladakh practicing meditation. It transformed my life.
I began with self-authoring, wherein we tear apart our past on paper to identify toxic patterns, followed by getting rid of those poisonous shadows.
Mindfulness helped me stay in the present.
I finally realized that I am not what happened to me as a child.
I altered my present.
I became a better version of myself.
I am still a flawed individual, but I am no longer suffering.
I put in work daily.
I get better daily.
I fail daily.
I try the next day again with a better approach.
After self-authoring and mindfulness, I felt a lot healthier. I then turned my focus to physical activities and a healthy diet, which increased my focus, concentration, productivity, and efficiency.
I consider myself a student.
I will continue to be one for the rest of my life.
I study for around 5 hours daily to add value to myself. Every free minute of my life is dedicated to learning and helping others. At the same time, I expect nothing in return.
A smile on the faces of the people whose lives I touch positively is my reward.
If you consider yourself nice, yet you have an expectation from the world to treat you in a better manner, you are ugly, my friend.
You are weak.
You must get strong.
Try these five steps to organize your life:
Stop being a victim.
Be kind without expectations.
Stand up for yourself.
Stop being a victim
A victim mindset is a toxic mindset. Even if you were abused, cheated on, backstabbed, disrespected in the past, it was in the past. You can no longer live in the past. You must break free from the chains of trauma that have enslaved you for years. You must sculpt your destiny. The first step is to make peace with your past.
“Don’t fight your demons. Your demons are here to teach you lessons. Sit down with your demons and have a drink and a chat and learn their names and talk about the burns on their fingers and scratches on their ankles. Some of them are very nice.”
Write down your most terrible memories—ones, which haunt you daily. Accept them and acknowledge that you are in control. Forgive the people who wronged you. This is where your niceness should play a dominant role. Forgive the wrongdoings of others. They hurt you because they were themselves in pain. They did not know how to deal with it. In their ignorance, they projected their insecurities on you.
Hold no ill will.
Get in terms with your past.
And begin a new glorious journey to a bright new future.
Once you have accepted your life, you need to change it. The first step is being responsible for yourself. You will need to be accountable for every activity related to your being.
Set goals for yourself.
Wake up early.
Write a daily journal.
Cook your meals.
Wash your clothes.
Take care of your loved ones.
Spend time learning new skills and be a master of ones you already possess.
Keep distance from toxic people.
Have no expectations from others.
Have high expectations from yourself.
Do not waste a single minute.
Do not indulge in activities that don’t bring you closer to your life goals.
Once you have done these, then take on new responsibilities. The whole idea of being responsible is having no time for mindless pleasures.
Be kind without expectations
Being kind adds happiness to your being. The more generous you are to others, the more adequate you will feel inside. But, many of us are helpful because we expect something in return. That could be as little as a thank you. However, the world doesn’t follow your rules.
It is not necessary that everyone will be grateful for your kindness.
A few years ago, I overheard a conversation wherein a driver was begging his employer for money as his kid was admitted to a hospital. He frantically pleaded his case.
The kid had suffered a brain injury, and the doctors refused to operate without advance payment.
His employer asked him to wait for a day or two.
The driver was baffled. His kid could die if not provided immediate medical attention.
I didn’t think twice before emptying my savings. I gave all I had. Though it was a small amount, yet it was sufficient for the greedy doctors to get the procedure started.
The driver took my number and said he would return me the money.
Now, I did not expect to get that money back.
But at the same time, I wanted him to make me feel better about myself.
I waited for weeks. He never called back to thank me.
After a few months, I grew sour. I felt cheated.
Even after doing an act of kindness, I wasn’t happy.
I recently realized my mistake.
Though I was kind, my actions were self-motivated. I was high on self-loathing. I thought a kind act would make me feel better about my inadequacies. That’s where I went wrong.
We cannot do nice things for others, hoping they will be grateful.
We need to be kind, selflessly.
Buy your partner expensive gifts, but don’t expect a lifetime commitment.
Feed your kids while you starve, knowing that you will be alone during old age.
Take care of your family. Elevate their lives. Do not expect gratitude in return.
Work for longer hours without expecting a raise or promotion.
Help your friends when they are in need. Do not expect that they will return the favor.
Have high expectations from yourself
Do not expect from others. Expect from yourself.
All of your expectations should be from yourself.
You are one. Yet, you are not one.
You are your body.
You are also your mind.
You are your feelings.
You are your surroundings.
You are your soul.
All in all, you are a bright fucking universe in yourself.
Expect things from yourself.
Expect that your mind will wake you up early.
Expect that your body will be strong.
Expect that your soul is pure.
Expect to be fearless.
Expect to be innovative.
Expect to impact lives.
Expect to be the best version of yourself.
All of your expectations should be with yourself. Take the proper steps to fulfill your expectations.
If you expect yourself to be loyal, then do not engage in adultery, no matter how tempting it feels.
If you expect yourself to be ultra-productive, do not subscribe to Netflix. Read books instead.
Relationships fail if partners don’t listen to each other. Companies disintegrate if they do not listen to their consumers. Work culture turns toxic if leadership doesn’t listen to employees. Art is worthless if not made while listening to our hearts. We must be better listeners before we can be a better person.
How are you? I am doing great.
I have a question to ask. What do you understand by “listening”?
The textbook definition suggests – give one’s attention to a sound.
Is that what listening means to you?
As we have been told multiple times, hearing means we are in an auto-pilot mode. We are gathering sounds around us but not attentively. While listening is the act of hearing carefully, wherein we devote our self to the source of a sound entirely.
To further simplify, listening makes our lives a little better because when we listen, we are present in a conversation.
We are present in the moment.
We are not lost in a past memory or dreaming of a future event.
We are there, in – NOW.
Being present in a moment changes our life for the better. And that is our topic of discussion for the day.
You don’t listen.
We don’t listen.
We don’t listen as individuals.
We don’t listen as collective units.
Your mother doesn’t listen.
Your siblings are never paying attention.
Your friends pretend to listen as they have their own stories to tell.
Your local politician doesn’t listen.
Your government doesn’t listen.
Your prayers are unanswered.
Your sobs get wasted.
Your cries get muffled.
All in all, nobody cares about your yap.
We don’t listen. We wait for our turns to speak.
That’s the only reason we go through this charade of pretending to listen to what the other person has to say.
And I totally get it!
I am not holding you accountable for being a poor listener. Listening isn’t an easy task for anyone. The more chaotic your mind is, the harder it will be for you to listen.
Listening doesn’t come naturally to us.
We are no longer trained to observe silence, pay attention to essential and non-essential sounds.
If you compare data from the ’70s, you will see a sharp spike in the overall noise levels in the entire galaxy. We are producing tons of megahertz of noise every second.
With abundant chaos environing us, it is impossible to differentiate between essential and non-essential blabber. So, we decided to shut everything out.
We are no longer stuck in a hunter-gatherer setup. We do not have to spend hours in peace and quiet, relying on our listening abilities to sense the footsteps of an approaching predator.
We are god-fearing people.
We believe in rituals and worshiping deities.
We visit places of worship to share our list of expectations with our gods very frequently.
Even when we are clueless about our desires, we always have a list of essential objects which we share with our supreme being, hoping that he will assist us and make the pursuit easy.
Ever wondered why all of your prayers go unanswered?
Simply because no one is listening!
The god you are praying to doesn’t lie in a place of worship. It lies within you. It continuously speaks to you. Lays down paths for you to walk.
You never hear him, because you have lost your ability to listen to those voices/sounds/patterns. Now, the profound art of listening has been degraded to a base level communication where a speaker will share his so-called vital feelings, and the listeners will wait for their turns to speak.
This is what listening has been reduced to.
We no longer listen to ourselves.
We do not listen to our bodies.
We do not listen to our minds.
We do not listen to our soul.
We do not listen to this planet.
We do not listen to the universe.
And, we are least bothered to listen to what the other person is saying.
For centuries we have relied on listening to reveal hidden patterns around us and simplify our lives.
Now we have degraded ourselves to a big chunk of fart machines.
We don’t talk. We don’t speak. We don’t communicate. We fart!
That’s all we do – generate incomprehensible unpleasant noises.
Today, we will discuss the importance of listening in improving the quality of your life and the lives of the people around you.
We will begin with the first event which occurred in this universe.
The BIG BANG!
For fuck’s sake, the very first event is named – The Big Bang!
I don’t think I need to emphasize the importance of listening when the event, which resulted at the beginning of our stories, is described as a loud noise.
The universe spoke. We listened. Life began.
Centuries passed by, we lost the art of listening. Now, we are miserable, suffering deeply, always in pain.
A simple act of listening attentively can magically transform our lives.
That’s what we will explore today.
Somewhere in the middle of 2017, I used to own an art studio in the heart of Delhi – Malviya Nagar. A few months ago, my debut novel – Broken Radio – had released. I was living a dream life, hoping that this will be a new beginning.
For the first time in my life, I was appreciated for my words and thoughts.
Before becoming an author, in my previous roles, I was recognized several times, either because of my skills to drive results or my ability to meet deadlines. However, writing is an altogether different ecosystem.
When it comes to any form of art, there are no set metrics on which you can be judged.
Even art schools do not grade students on a long list of set parameters.
Art is extremely personal.
I remember an episode of Seinfeld. If you haven’t ever watched Seinfeld, you must. It is one of those brilliant comedies which won’t just make you go ROFL but also uplift you as a person. It is an excellent piece of work by renowned comedian Jerry Seinfeld.
In Seinfeld, we have a unique character named Kramer.
Kramer is either an eccentric genius or maybe just some ruffian bottomfeeder, depends on your outlook. Now, I am a little foggy on the details, but the way I remember it is either Kramer conned a painter into creating a giant portrait of himself or the painter got mesmerized with Kramer and created one.
Nonetheless, the outcome is a brilliant painting of Kramer.
When the painting is unveiled to an art patron couple, they have brazenly contrasting views about it.
The women:I sense great vulnerability, a man-child crying out for love, an innocent orphan in the post-modern world.
The man:I see a parasite—a sexually depraved miscreant who is seeking only to gratify his basest and most immediate urges.
And it goes on and on and on….
You might want to watch this tiny clip, laughs guaranteed.
The point I am trying to make is there isn’t a formula to define art. Art is personal, and that applies to any form of art, whether it be music, cinema, painting, poetry. The success of art is based upon audiences’ perception.
Bukowski, the infamous literary avalanche, was considered a fucked up writer with no class. Today, there isn’t a modern piece of art that isn’t inspired by Bukowski in some manner or the other. All of these nihilist heroes (angry young men) whom you adore on the silver screen, smoking, gambling, and wasting their lives away, in love with their pain and suffering, are in some manner or other inspired by Bukowski’s alter ego – Henry Chinaski.
Dostoyevsky, the genius & the gambler who penned down the most complicated literary works, wasn’t celebrated during his lifetime. So-called literary geniuses weren’t too impressed with his work. They didn’t even enjoy hanging out with him. He wasn’t invited to their grand parties. Now, his work is considered as the most brilliant representation of our inner struggle. Today petty writers like me pray to Dostoyevsky for strength and courage. It takes great courage to rise above our mediocrity, pain, misery, suffering, to create art.
Someone posed a question to Jordan Peterson about how to truly judge art. His response was to wait for a few centuries. If people talked about a piece of work even when centuries have passed, it is truly genius.
So, while being alive, there is absolutely no way to be sure whether what you are creating in the name of art is beauty or just random crap. We need to rely on other people’s feedback to ascertain our worth. Even a flawed writer like me can be proud of his work if there is one single person to whom my work spoke.
If we can touch a single life through our art, it is worth all the pain and suffering.
I try to upload videos frequently on YouTube and my social media channels.
An acquaintance once asked how do I motivate myself to create videos when I only get 100-150 views?
I chuckled. I said 100-150 people are watching my work, listening to me, reading what I write. That matters to me.
For you, its just 150 views.
For me, these are 150 people who have taken out their precious time to interact with something which I created. I feel proud that 150 people watch it. It is an achievement for me.
It is not about numbers.
It has never been about numbers.
It has always been about influencing lives positively and destroying beautifully decorated chains of slavery.
It’s about liberating the human mind & soul.
It is not about numbers.
That’s not how you grade art.
That’s not why you create art – to get viewership.
You create art because it serves as an escape from your misery.
You create art to breathe, to live, to exist.
It has never been about numbers.
So, once again, there isn’t a formula to define art. Art is timeless.
If my words can transform or help one individual, I consider myself blessed.
A painting that I admire might be a piece of crap for you.
A novel that you cherish might be utterly stupid in my understanding.
A poetry which I find profound, you might consider it shallow.
A person whom I regard as a genius might be a pretentious fuck as per you.
An ideology that I find liberating might be constricting per your understanding.
It is all about perspective.
So, coming back to 2017, I had released my book. I leased a building and created a dream art studio for myself. I used to stay in isolation and create art the entire day. On a good day, I wrote a minimum of 7-8 thousand words and destroyed one canvas.
It was an ecstatic experience.
The only trouble was I felt alone. I was too lonely.
I did have visitors now and then, folks who enjoyed my work. They shared kind words, and I listened attentively to praises.
However, I was least bothered about anything else that anyone said.
If it was about my work, I was all ears.
Anything else was dull woo-woo for me.
Mumbo Jumbo that didn’t deserve my attention.
As weeks passed by, this became my default setting.
Before this, I was always a good listener. I paid attention. It was never about me blabbering my thoughts. It was about striking a meaningful conversation.
But now, it became all about myself.
Even if I was listening to others, my mind was busy framing the next set of sentences that I could puke.
For instance, a friend brought over his colleagues at my place. One of them was a naive 22-year-old guy who was in love with his job and thoroughly enjoyed his high pay scale. He shared details about his career.
A good listener should have appreciated his enthusiasm and acknowledged his journey, maybe wished him good luck for the future. But not me. I wasn’t a good listener then. I had to make everything about myself.
I began a rant against consumerism and toxic corporate culture. I had no idea the impact my words could have on that poor soul. I wrecked his narrative. I made him feel bad about what he did. I became a bully, then.
After puking shit out, I felt relieved, but that guy had a bad awakening.
A few days later, I was told that he became depressed and stopped going to work.
I have yet not forgiven myself for being so toxic to someone who deserved a sanctuary.
This is why listening is essential.
If we do not listen and wait for our turns to speak, we are making everything about ourselves. It makes us less considerate to others, unkind to some extent. We get driven by false ego and attempt to uplift ourselves by demeaning others.
It is toxic for us and people around us.
Relationships fail if partners don’t listen to each other.
Companies disintegrate if they do not listen to their consumers.
Work culture turns toxic if leadership doesn’t listen to employees.
Art is worthless if not made while listening to our hearts.
A journalist’s integrity is compromised if he/she doesn’t listen to the truth.
Kids turn into bullies if their parents don’t listen.
Partners cheat because they feel unheard.
Employees leave when they realize there isn’t anyone who is paying attention to what they say.
We change brands if they do not evolve after listening to our feedback.
Our cognitive abilities deteriorate if we do not listen to our thoughts.
This entire universe will collapse if we continue this trend.
We must be better listeners before we can be a better person.
Fortunately, I got back to my old self and started listening again.
Shortly after the incident mentioned above, I packed my bags and left for Kashmir to research for a new book. In Kashmir, I found myself among people who valued the importance of community. Everyone was empathetic to each other’s suffering and always listened to one another. The novelty of the experience shut my mouth and opened my ears.
I was experiencing something which I had only witnessed in a diluted manner on a television screen. Observing first-hand atrocities put me on the back seat, reuniting me with my listening self.
Not everyone gets such second chances. A lot of us spend our lifetimes only hearing and forming our narratives to vomit the next chance we get.
We are so impulsive that we do not even wait for the other person to complete explaining/narrating their side. We like predators, wait for the speaker to take a breath so that we could talk.
We talk over other people.
We interrupt others.
We barely hear what they say.
We never paraphrase.
All we care for is dominating the conversation.
I remember during my corporate slavery days, whenever I used to approach a leader to share a problem, they made no eye contact. They didn’t interrupt, but we can sense when we are being heard. And I am positive, they were not listening.
In toxic corporate cultures, leaders are coached to nullify an employee’s concern. Acknowledging a concern will require work on their part. And this is no surprise that we do not want to work. Maybe 2% of us do, but 98% of us just want a paycheck. We will get distraught if that doesn’t arrive.
It won’t matter if we are not delivering results.
What matters for us is to get paid.
To be successful in any avenue of life, you must listen.
If you want to nurture a relationship, you must listen to your partner.
If you want to raise successful children, you must listen to them.
If you wish to get healthy, you must listen to your body.
If you want to achieve glory, you must listen to your thoughts.
If you want to build an empire, you must listen to your advisors, employees, and consumers.
Even someone as stupid as Trump listens to his advisors.
Authoritarian Modi listens to his parent ideological institution RSS.
If failed individuals can listen, we still have the upper hand.
We haven’t sold our souls yet.
Hope, I made a convincing case.
Before I reveal to you a zillion benefits of listening, let’s decode the art of listening.
First of all, listening doesn’t mean paying attention using your sensory organs. (in this case your ears)
Listening is an art. It involves every fabric of your physical and spiritual being. You will need to be present in the moment to listen.
It isn’t an easy task. That explains why people don’t listen.
How to listen:
There are three stages to listening.
Listening To The Speaker
These three elements combined flawlessly will then reciprocate a healthy conversation.
Let’s understand each element.
Listening To The Speaker
The first step is listening, which means paying attention to the speaker’s words, eyes, expressions, body language, and breathing patterns.
Whenever a person is talking apart from spoken words, there are a bunch of other things you need to pay attention to. Words are easy to catch. Even when distracted or disoriented, chances are pretty high that you will correctly get a gist of what the other person is trying to communicate.
Until and unless you are absent, meaning your physical body is in front of the speaker, but your monkey mind is busy swinging from one branch of thought to the other, you won’t miss much.
But this is where most of us go wrong.
When people communicate honestly, they are not speaking only through words. Their entire body is communicating. They are expressing through their eyes, facial expressions, hands, every part of their body.
They will sway forward when they feel empathetic.
They will bend backward while narrating a horrifying experience.
Their hands will be constrained if they sense an unwelcoming response from the listener.
Their arms would open up in a relaxed manner if the listener’s gaze is affectionate.
A ton of emotions will ooze out from the eyes.
Eyes are a powerful medium of communication. For centuries we have passed messages just by the movement of our eyes.
Even in regular communication, our eyes can give out a lot.
Our brains are split into two sections – the left hemisphere and the right hemisphere.
Vaguely, the left hemisphere contains memories and logic, while the right hemisphere is the creative side which imagines, a dreamer as some may say!
During a conversation, if a speaker is looking to the left, it indicates they are recalling a real experience. If they are looking towards the right, it suggests that they are adding elements of imagination – in short, they are lying.
I am not claiming, this is a thumb rule. However, multiple researchers agree with this.
Adding to the eye movement are hand gestures and broken speech (nervousness).
If the speaker takes long pauses or breaks in the middle of the speech, it can indicate that they are unsure of what they are saying.
Similarly, their facial expressions, their muscle twitches, everything points out to something.
You do not need to train yourself to observe all of this. Ideally, this should be your default setting.
If you are willingly in a conversation, it is highly disrespectful if you do not listen properly.
You must be present in the conversation with complete silence.
Listen to the other person, observe their mannerisms, their body language. The only action needed from your end is to maintain eye contact and give verbal nods now and then, to reassure the other person of your mindful listening.
You cannot interrupt and say – sorry for the interruption.
It is obscenely rude.
While listening, you do not have to create narratives inside your head about what you are going to say next. Even if you are in a debate, trying to prove your point, you cannot stop the other person to share your objections.
Hold your horses!
If you have even a shred of respect for your thoughts, you must respect the other person’s outlook also. Please hear them out.
Once the speaker has completed what they wanted to express, the next step will be paraphrasing.
We barely paraphrase. High performing individuals paraphrase but not always. Even they paraphrase only when engaged in a scholarly debate or discussion, not in their daily lives. This is where most of us go wrong.
We do not paraphrase.
Whenever someone is narrating a story, presenting their opinion, making a point, if it is not a scripted output, they use a wholesome bouquet of words. Even if it is concise and you feel that you grasped all of it, there is no way to be sure. Therefore, paraphrasing is optimal for your conversations. Else, we will keep on running around in circles, unable to comprehend the essence of each other’s words.
If you paraphrase, not only can you verify whether you correctly interpreted what the other person is trying to communicate, but you also lay the groundwork on which you can start forming your part of the speech.
There is a universal challenge of articulation. There’s no surprise that we have not only lost the art of listening, but our speech is also compromised.
We rape words continuously.
Juggle incomprehensible slangs.
Communicate in broken speech.
Jumble our word order.
Use excessive fillers.
All in all, most of us bark.
A listener’s job is to identify the melody in all that chatter and then comprehend the real meaning.
Due to such poor articulation by most of us, it is more than essential now than ever to paraphrase; else, we will not understand the core of someone’s speech.
Wife:I don’t like a bit that you come home late every evening drunk. I do not have groceries for the morning breakfast. I have to wake you up daily and request you to go grocery shopping. While you are out picking groceries because I don’t have much to do, I get anxious waiting for you—that kind of screws up my entire day. I am unable to focus at work, and my boss is not happy with my performance. My life is getting shitty with each passing day.
Response 1 – Should we see a doctor for your anxiety?
Response 2 – How about we stock groceries for the entire week on Sunday, will that make things better?
Response 3 – Hmm, if you are not enjoying your job, why don’t you switch to a different company?
Response 4 – I think we need a baby. You are too lonely.
Response 5 – What I understand is my alcoholism is driving you crazy. I don’t think it is a healthy practice for me to get drunk every day. Can we talk about this in detail? Maybe I need a little assistance from you to figure out what’s going wrong. Will you help me, please, honey?
Which one of these is the right response?
Yes, you guessed it right. It’s the fifth one!
It’s always us who is at fault. Fixing ourselves can fix everything.
If you will not paraphrase and jump to your part of the speech, you will never be able to understand the other person’s pain point. You will diminish their argument in your small-mindedness, giving way to alienation and unpleasantness.
And then talk!
After you have attentively listened and paraphrased to understand, comes everyone’s favorite part of the conversation. Now, you are free to talk!
But remember, just because you can talk doesn’t mean you have to.
Most of the conversations do not need much input from your end.
People want to share, and you will be amazed to see how open even strangers can be.
Speaking is also a manner in which we straighten our thoughts.
A lot many influential speakers do not prepare their talks in advance. They are present in the moment and improvise as per the audiences’ pulse.
If you do not have anything ultra-relevant to contribute, refrain from speaking just for the sake of it. If you have listened, then you must have identified the goal of the conversation.
Either the person is trying to share their misery.
Or, they will be expressing a moment of profound happiness.
Sometimes, people just talk to kill the silence.
Many times, they are trying to figure out a solution to their problems.
Intellectuals discuss ideas. Such conversations demand your input.
Others just require you to play the role of a listener.
If someone is sharing their misery, you do not need to top their experience with your personal stories.
Woman:Hey, my purse got snatched today morning.
Man: Yeah, we live in a terrible society. You know what happened a year ago. I was coming back from a party at 2 am, and two boys came in front of my car. They wore hoodies and had a baseball bat in their hands. They tried to stop me. I feared for my life. I ran my car over them. I was not going to bow down to hooliganism. (yap, yap, yap, yap, yap, yap, yap)
Ideally, the person was supposed to probe more details.
Maybe talk about the next steps—future strategies to avoid such experiences. But no, we just won’t leave a chance to make everything about ourselves.
Every conversation needs to be about Me, me, and me alone.
I have been there, done that, hence I speak from experience.
Guys, you do not have to do so.
Just listen and listen some more.
Listening will open you to new possibilities that you never thought existed.
Listening will help you improve current relationships, including your relationship with yourself.
Listening will help you foster new friendships and bonding.
If you do not listen, you end up missing on so much of life that it is not even worth living.
We are not unhappy because the world doesn’t listen to us.
We are miserable because we don’t listen to ourselves and others.
Listening can uplift us from our chaotic state to a stable platform.
Here are few never discussed benefits of listening –
Listening improves your cognitive abilities.
Listening reduces anxiety and stress.
Listening helps you to be more mindful of the present.
Listening promotes healthy habits.
Listening improves your cognitive abilities
We use our cognitive abilities to deal with the problems we face. We have a very limited daily cognitive bandwidth. If we exhaust it early in the day, our days will appear as an endless ordeal. We need to ensure that we preserve our energy and not expend it unnecessarily.
Most of our daily lives occur in loops. We do the same set of activities over and over again. With time we develop habits, so, we do not have to invest energy in executing basic tasks. We can then use our cognitive abilities to solve critical issues that can improve our lives and the lives of others.
Now imagine this.
You are in the habit of making your daily breakfast. You have a set ritual. You chop first, followed by cooking. Suppose one day, your knife loses its charm, and you cannot chop. Now, your mind panics. It is used to operate in a set fashion, and that course is broken. For our minds, this is a significant disruption. It will unleash a storm of anxiety, irritating you to the core. If you are not listening to yourself, you will give in the chaos and either go to work empty stomach or use tons of energy trying to find an alternate.
This might sound like a petty issue to many of you. But trust me, an anxious mind blows everything out of proportion. I have seen people ruin their days for lesser shit than this.
However, if you are listening to yourself, you will acknowledge your inner feelings, only to paraphrase and probe yourself – so, what you are saying is my day is ruined because my knife is not sharp enough? That doesn’t sound right. How about I just boil my veggie instead, it would require lesser energy.
There you go. You solved a problem without banging your head on a wall.
You did not expend your cognitive bandwidth unnecessarily, and you are ready to take on the world.
Listening is not limited to others.
It begins at home.
The home of your soul – You.
The first step is to listen to ourselves, acknowledge, and paraphrase. Once you do so, you will see a pattern of panic in your thoughts.
With the right acknowledgment, you can control your feeble self and make it stronger.
Buddhist monks do not speak. They barely talk.
The reason is their sense of tranquility.
They do not have to chatter endlessly because they can easily sense underlying emotions.
Some people talk when they are sad.
Some when they are nervous.
Some talk to express happiness.
Some to terrorize.
Those who listen to themselves, talk to the higher being inside them.
That being at present is buried beneath tons of subconscious rubble.
You will need to sort it out.
The first step is to listen to your breath.
The sound of your beating heart – lub dub lub dub lub dub dub
Once you are in sync with yourself, you won’t waste in the mindless chatter of imaginary problems. You will listen to what is essential, leading to enhanced cognitive abilities.
Your focus will improve. You will be more confident. Your productivity will increase—all in all, better cognitive abilities.
Listening reduces anxiety and stress.
Anxiety happens when we are in uncertain waters. Anything which doesn’t have a set outcome sends our mind in panic mode. It starts weaving possible outcomes. There are always a million of those.
So, you imagine countless outcomes of a given event you are involved in.
We also have a negative bias to protect us from danger. Therefore most of these possible outcomes will be negative, further fuelling panic and anxiety.
All in all, this happens because we are not listening to ourselves and others.
If you listen to others, they often share remarkable insights about their issues. You can very well learn a lot from anyone, even your adversary, if you are paying attention.
If you are carefully listening to your thoughts, not just chasing them, you will develop intuition.
Your subconscious is highly potent and has a binary configuration to solve any problem you might face. But at the same time, you need to identify the right idea.
I create content for a US-based cannabis company.
I am their subconscious.
Whenever they need a creative, I, at least, provide 7-10 options.
They pick the best one.
In this case, they are you. And your mind is me.
Your mind will continue to give you countless options, and few of them will be apt for a situation, but you need to listen to the way these thoughts feel.
Which one made your stomach ache?
Which one added to your frustration?
Which one made your eyes shine?
Which one made your calves quiver?
Which one made you calmer?
A seemingly tricky path.
An overly complicated way out.
Or a well thought, tough to execute but an intelligent solution.
If you are not listening, you are wasting energy, damaging both your mind and body.
The anxious mind will keep on pumping cortisol (stress hormone) in your veins.
A few minutes later, catastrophic fear will consume you.
Your amygdala (fear sensor) will start throbbing.
Your body will think of it as a sign to fight or flee.
It will begin to pump adrenaline; you won’t be able to sit idle.
You will start shaking your legs, fiddling your fingers, smoking a pack of cigarettes, until you are too exhausted even to think.
Why go through all of this daily?
Save this for the actual crisis.
Today just listen.
Breathe and pay attention.
Acknowledge, paraphrase, and strategize.
Listening helps you to be more mindful of the present.
Whenever we are not focused on the task at hand, all we do is time travel.
We go back to an incident in the past, whether joyful or depressing, mostly depressing, or we will plan for the unknown future, that too not in a constructive manner.
We are not noting down anything.
We are not preparing a strategy.
It’s mindless strolling.
If we replace this with being in the present, our lives can change for the better.
Imagine you are sitting in a room. But you are not sitting in the room.
You are thinking about a toxic ex.
How they ruined your life!
Dwelling on it for some time, you start imagining a future with Nargis Fakhri or Sunny Leone.
You are not in the room.
You need to be in the room.
You need to be in the present.
Try this wherever you are, right now!
Listen to all the sounds around you.
The ticking of the clock.
The electronic hum of the fan or the ac.
The humming sound of your PC’s motherboard.
The non-audible buzz of your phone.
The sound of the breeze.
You will be surprised to find that once you practice this for five minutes every day – just listening, plain listening, you will stop being a psychonaut.
If you are not worried about the past or the future, you can pay attention to what is essential in the present.
Now look around you, what do you see – Is your room in order?
Is it clean and sorted?
Check those unpaid bills lying in the corner.
How about you clear them today? They have been pending till long.
What about that book lying on the table. You promised to finish it three weeks ago.
How about you read the book.
Slowly and gradually, as the days will pass, you will not dwell on the past, which doesn’t matter. Or worry about a future you have no control over.
You will start living in the present to its full, making small improvements to yourself and your surrounding, leading to a better future automatically.
You don’t need to be a pendulum and keep on swinging between the past and the future.
Listening promotes healthy habits.
Habits are activities that we do so often that we no longer need to pay any attention to them.
Habits are an excellent way for the mind to preserve precious energy and stabilize the mental spectrum.
Habits run in an auto-pilot mode needing no assistance from us.
As much as they are helpful, they can also be toxic in case of bad habits.
Consider smoking, for example.
Countless smokers have no idea what their triggers are or why do they smoke.
We repeatedly talk about nicotine addiction. We discuss how difficult quitting nicotine smoking is. We have already conditioned ourselves that quitting smoking is an impossible task. Many of us do not even attempt to break free from such toxic habits.
Overthinking is also a toxic habit. So is any sort of addiction.
Once we have mastered the art of listening and we are present in the moment, we will be able to see things that we do not ideally.
We will be able to see how we make our habit of smoking so convenient that it become a natural act.
Smokers always carry smokes and light with them.
If they stop carrying smokes, higher are the chances that their mind won’t send them on an extra stroll of buying cigarettes every time they feel a craving. Many smokers can reduce their smoking just by not carrying with them the medium of their destruction.
If we take the right efforts, we can get rid of any toxic habit.
All we need to do is listen to our bodies.
When we feel a craving to smoke, we start losing focus.
Our heart rate spikes and we feel unable to do anything in the right manner before satisfying this craving first.
Sex addicts often end up having 5-6 intercourses daily to satisfy this feeling.
If we are listening to our bodies, we will be able to hear the rustle of our lungs, which signifies its rotting from within. Every puff of a cigarette makes our chest clogged and breathing heavy.
We never pay attention because we are not in the moment.
We are not listening to our bodies.
If we do, we will realize how much pain our body goes through each time we smoke.
We will sense the loss of energy and the utter wastage of time.
A nicotine addict assumes that all he is losing are 10-15 minutes. But that’s an incorrect assumption. The reality is horrifyingly bleak.
Not only smokers lose precious minutes, but smoking also drains a lot of their energy. Each smoke reduces our work efficiency by 20-25 minutes (also dependent on the diet of the person).
Which means someone who is smoking 8-10 cigarettes every day, is losing somewhere around 3.5 hours daily. This time alone, if invested in self-development, can help anyone reach unscaled heights.
The same is the case with overthinkers. They spend around 4-5 hours every day dwelling on unimportant thoughts. Even if their thoughts are consumed by something crucial, their problem-solving skills get compromised due to brain exhaustion. The outcome is an utter waste of time and energy.
Instead of overthinking, if we listen to our inner being who always guides towards the right path, we can solve the most critical issues in minutes.
And like any other skill, you cannot improve your listening overnight. It is going to take time.
Patience is critical to quit bad habits and instill new ones.
If you wish to live a fulfilling life, better listening skill is a must.
Regular mindfulness practice can assist you in developing and mastering listening to self and others.
Plants talk to you
Breezes have something to say
That bee on the flower hums for you
The flowing river calls your name
The mountains robustly communicate
This whole universe has something to say.
You are missing on life if you are not listening!
Pay attention, buddy.
Relax and listen!
That will be all for the day. My fingers hurt.
See you next week with a brand new essay.
Please share your feedback and suggestions.
If you think this essay can help somebody get their life in order, I will request you to share it on your social media. But you are free to accept or refuse my request.
We are wired in such a manner that whenever we write, we face ourselves in the nudest possible way. All of our fears, disappointments, failures, shortcomings bleed on the paper, freeing us from unwanted clutter.
Good Morning Planet,
I genuinely believe that those who can read, write, and speak are unstoppable.
Almost every literate person knows to read. Surprisingly we barely use this skill during our lifetime. More than half of you do not even read one book per year. That’s deplorable.
Those who consider themselves readers are basing their opinion on the fact that they read tweets, Facebook writeups, propaganda news, and a Quora answer on a beautiful day.
No wonder we are getting dumber with each passing day.
I have discussed the importance of reading in previous essays. In case you missed it, here’s is it again.
Today our topic of discussion is the importance of writing.
Once again, those who claim to be writers are busy composing tweets, Facebook writeups, a blog once in a month, and a Quora answer on their best day of the year. If self-proclaimed writers are writing so frequently and excessively, imagine the number of words a non-writer pens down each year.
We are not even writing down our financial expenses and budget, let alone daily journals. I am appalled by the fact that I have to write down an essay on the benefits of writing. I always assumed that everyone knew what a powerful tool writing is. However, the evidence points to the contrary. So, here we are.
As a kid, my mother asked me to write daily diary entries. It was a mundane task. I have clear memories that I did not enjoy it much initially. However, after practicing the same for around a few months, I developed a fondness for it. It became my safe place.
I waited in anticipation, the entire day to get back to my diary.
It was my only true friend.
It didn’t matter how the day went by.
Whether I learned something new at school, or just idled the entire day
Whether I got bullied by a senior or appreciated by a teacher
Whether my lunch was made fun of or shared among friends
Whether my math teacher made me kneel or patted my back
Whether my school’s director gave me a private tour of his library or felt insecure because of my wandering glances at his beautiful wife
Whether I established dominance by ratting out a teacher or my plan failed miserably with me ending up in the principal’s room
Whether I was made the editor of the school magazine or my story got rejected due to profanity
Whether my love interest took a break with me or was found kissing a senior behind the school bus
Every event culminated with me sitting on my desk, pouring my heart out to my dear diary.
Life was beautiful!
Occasional rape, beating, rejection, a delusional mind, none of it made my life difficult. I had someone to talk to.
This habit of daily journaling changed when I was 17.
Puberty transformed my entire life into a quest for a suitable member of the opposite sex. I learned about boobs. For a 17-year-old, nothing is more precious than boobs. Boobs are the most beautiful creation of this entire planet, which also resemble BOOBS.
Yeah, earth, moon, sun – they all fucking look like boobs. So yeah, life became all about boobs.
My fondness for writing got replaced by a tangible item that I hoped to touch and feel someday.
Beyond that, life took its turn – once you move away from your best friend, you are bound to be lost in the barren deserts of life.
With time, I also realized that to get access to boobs, you must be employed, responsible, and trustworthy.
In short, you must become the best version of yourself.
A better person.
Boob fascination got over, giving way to new obsessions.
Making a name for myself became a priority.
Being of value to others became the goal.
There were days I didn’t believe that I had it in me.
There were days I was too confident about having all it takes to be a legend.
Then came the – GOD IS DEAD – phase. As I grew, I realized that religion was a well-propagated lie.
That threw me off balance for quite some time. I resumed writing to straighten my thoughts. I realized that I had no idea of who I was because every idea was confined within the boundaries of religious mumbo jumbo I was raised with.
It became essential for me to rewrite my story. So, I got back to writing.
Daily journals helped me manage my nihilistic tendencies. I was getting back to my original self—someone who is filled with positivity and ready to take on the world. I started going out again. I tried enjoying little moments, creating my own happiness.
Then a friend came along. He introduced me to a magical plant called weed.
There you go; it felt that I found what I was looking for my entire life.
I already knew that no amount of women, riches, or objects could fill the void inside me. Writing did offer respite, yet as Vincent said – “the sadness will never go away.”
It always hurt.
Weed made it hurt less.
A month later, weed put a stop to the pain entirely.
Little did I know that it was making me more miserable without me even realizing it.
Suppose you are responsible for a bickering couple.
Oh, and if you have no idea what it means to be responsible – check this out:
Ok, so, suppose you are responsible for a bickering couple.
Ideally, to keep things going, you need to counsel them every evening.
You would encourage them to spit out the hate, making them see things from the other person’s perspective.
They will yell, somebody will get hurt. Someone will cry. It is a problematic mess to manage.
What makes the task awful is that every day you will need to start fresh.
Even if you resolved their issues last evening, something new would sprout up the very next day.
Life is a never-ending set of problems. If you solve the first set, you will move to the second and then the third. The problems will never end.
Neither can you stop solving them. It is essential for your survival.
If you are stuck with the job of keeping things in line among a bickering couple, you will do it daily, whether you enjoy it or not.
Now what weed does is, it makes you careless.
Earlier, you counseled this couple every evening because it bothered you.
You resolve whatever bothers you.
If your financial status bothers you, you start finding out ways to make more money.
If your social status bothers you, you start looking for better professional standing.
If your relationship bothers you, either you talk, resolve or move on.
If your health bothers you, you see a doctor.
If your fitness bothers you, you go to workout daily.
If your weight bothers you, you upgrade your diet.
We are programmed to resolve things that bother us.
Weed steals that away from you. Nothing will bother you.
Sounds like a state of bliss, but it isn’t.
Now you are not resolving the issues of the couple assigned to you. It doesn’t bother you anymore.
They are arguing daily.
After a week, arguments turn into angry spats, followed by physical violence.
What begins with something as simple as throwing an empty glass or a comb at your partner, transforms into slaps, kicks, and punches.
A week later, you are waiting for a catastrophe to happen.
Either someone will break the other person’s head on a kitchen slab, or stab them in the neck.
They might throw each other from the top of the building. They might burn down the house.
All in all, a disaster is waiting to happen.
How did you reach here?
Well, you smoked up daily, and nothing else bothered you.
You didn’t take any action when you were supposed to.
Now, replace the couple with the voices in your head.
And imagine what would happen if you leave unresolved issues for so long, because you are intoxicated, and nothing bothers you.
We are not talking about taking a chill pill now and then.
I am talking about troubled people who resort to addiction to avoid dealing with the constant noise inside their minds. They mess up their lives badly due to ignorance.
While my weed frenzy lasted, life appeared highly exciting and pleasant. Little did I realize that all these unresolved issues will manifest into a terrible mental disease.
I got diagnosed with bipolar disorder in the middle of a manic high episode. I started seeing things that weren’t there while experiencing auditory hallucinations.
Now, today we are not discussing the effects of drugs on your psyche. So we won’t elongate this further. But in a nutshell, I recovered and then had to rewrite my story again. Therefore I got back to writing.
So far, we have discussed how life took twists and turns, and every time, I found solace in writing. Whenever I stopped writing, a catastrophe happened. Whenever I wrote, things became better in my life and the lives of the people around me.
Writing on and off for my entire life, I realized the power of writing in making our lives better.
It breaks my heart to see a skill which each of us should be more skilled at, being wasted by almost everyone.
The question is, why don’t we write?
That’ easy. Let’s cover this first before we discuss why we should write.
Why don’t we write?
Writing is difficult.
Writing requires a level of effort and attention, which many of us lack. Watching Youtube takes lesser cognitive bandwidth and is more entertaining than composing a well-written essay.
Lack of Awareness
Nobody told us that writing helps. This fact might come as a surprise to you, but everything we do today is only because we are aware of the benefits.
You don’t brush daily because you enjoy the feeling of freshness inside your mouth. You brush daily because, during your formative years, you were told that brushing your teeth is a must needed habit. If you had any doubts left, many appealing advertisements depicted how members of the opposite sex will be attracted if you have shiny, white, clean teeth.
I haven’t seen a single advertisement in my life, which points out that men/women will be more attracted to you if you write daily.
Yes, there are a few stories about wildly successful writers who are well accomplished and are desired by all. Yet, there isn’t any motivation thrown around about the benefits of daily writing.
Even during our schooling, not much weight is given to developing the habit of writing among kids.
No Immediate Gratification
All good things which impact our life positively never provide any immediate benefits.
If you want to build a magnificent physique, lifting dumbells one day won’t make even the tiniest difference.
There are no immediate rewards for studying. You will need to study daily for at least one year before your grades improve.
If you begin a business, you are not going to make any profit in the first 2-3 years. Initially, you will be at a loss. You will meet expenses out of your pocket and maybe, maybe, after a year and a half, you will reach a break-even point. (No profit, No loss). Sustaining that phase for about another year might then bring a little profit. Building a lasting empire takes at least 15-20 years.
Before tik-tok, no one was making videos daily, starring in the same. Everyone knew that making videos require a lot of effort with no immediate gains.
Before such platforms, if you needed to make a video, you should have at least a script, a good camera, talented actors, and the necessary infrastructure. Then maybe you could shoot a documentary or a pilot for a new TV show.
Even then, either your work must be extraordinary, or you should have relevant contacts; otherwise, your work will never see the light of the day.
Now all you need is dead brain cells along with an abundance of free time to become an online entertainer.
The modern society has dazzled us with the fancy, peddling a false promise of instant happiness.
What we do must provide results within two minutes, or else we lose interest.
If today Tik-Tok decides to change its interface and makes it a little more complicated, half of its users will quit.
If Twitter changes its guidelines, making every tweet a bare minimum of 3000 words, 90% users of this microblogging giant will stop using it.
Mediocre individuals want things effortlessly.
They will not put in efforts for anything.
Building a relationship takes time. Why go through so much of arduous activity – Just swipe right and get laid.
Why install an app, upload pictures, and swipe right – Just watch porn, masturbate, and get over with it.
Why take the pain of cooking a delicious meal for children – Pack their lunchboxes with 2-minute Top Ramen.
Why bother talking to your kids, just put them in front of a bright screen and let the Youtube play – Papa and Mama love you.
Television tells us to buy a deo or a bra to get a better mate.
We are sold the idea to drive a fancy car to get a promotion.
We are asked to dress scantly to please others.
We are forced to act in a pretentious manner to make friends.
We want things, and we want them now.
At the same time, we do not want to do anything to achieve what we desire.
It is a fucking loop.
We don’t write because it provides no immediate benefits.
Your life won’t get any better just by writing a journal one day. If you write an essay about your problems, it requires you to take some action. Why would you? They just released Money Heist on Netflix. It’s more exciting and entertaining than you writing an essay about a problem which bothers you.
Those who get overwhelmed by the writer trapped within, jot down a few lines on Facebook and Twitter, obtain few likes from dumb folks, get a surge of dopamine, trick themselves into believing that they achieved something, before getting back to their miserable lives.
Lack of Encouragement
Surprisingly nobody will encourage you to write. Apart from my mother, no one during my formative years urged me to write.
I pitched the idea of a school magazine to my principal. He liked it. He found my writing interesting. Even though he rejected most of my work due to profanity, he allowed me to proceed with the magazine.
Yet, he never asked me to write more often. He never shared his hidden age-old wisdom about the fantastic snowball effect which writing ensues in our lives.
Also, please understand that I am not complaining, I am not cribbing.
None of us needs any encouragement to do what we love. But, a little support has never hurt anyone.
Once again, I am not cribbing. I am not complaining. I am just pointing out a toxic trend.
During college, I was a student of English Hons., yet our professors never discussed the positive impacts of writing. All they talked about were prescribed course books and how we should submit our assignments. They did not explain the importance of those assignments.
No one discussed the benefits of completing assignments. Students used to pay others to write for them. Teachers should encourage students.
Tell them the never discussed reality.
The simple act of you completing your assignments on your own positively impacts you, the people around you, the society, and ultimately everyone’s lives.
People will constantly tell you that writing is just a hobby.
Even if you are a successful blogger, writer, author, they will frequently ask you – why do you write?
Well fucker, because it’s a way of life.
As Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Writing is a religion.
The grandeur is every writer who writes daily is a PROPHET.
Each decade a troubled individual will rise through the mediocrity and send high vibrating pulses around the world. Everyone will talk about the person. He will be remembered for the rest of his life.
Yet the same people who celebrate legendary writers will never offer a word of support to a budding pensmith.
Writing Is Not GLAMOROUS
There is no glamour attached to writing.
If you go to the gym and build six-packs, you will have something to show for.
If you invest your time in pursuit of material wealth, you will have the stuff to validate you.
You will have a mansion, a swimming pool, a luxury car, DSLR, an I-phone – all the glitter to sprinkle.
Fuck I-phone, fuck DSLR, Fuck your bloody expensive car!
If you write daily journals or problem-solving essays, you don’t have much to show apart from thousand filled notebooks. What are you going to do, hang them around your neck and roam on the streets? Obviously not!
So why take the pain to write.
There you go, I have summed up why we don’t write.
Now let’s discuss why should you write daily –
Writing helps you to sort out your thoughts.
If you have a busy, chaotic, obsessive mind, what will you do if you encounter a problem in your course of life?
You will think.
You will create multiple narratives and lose track of most of them, running around in circles like a dog chasing its tail, not even coming close to the solution which was right in front of you.
The thinking brain is unsorted.
It is surrounded by tons of subconscious triggers and false memories.
Each time you recall or narrate an event, your mind tweaks it a little to make you the hero of your story.
You continuously lie to yourself.
If you do not have an accurate record of your life, you are fucked, and so is your mind.
When such a mind comes face to face with peril, it will exhaust itself like a hungry rat with no smell sensors trapped in a maze.
The rat will run.
The rat will yell.
The rat will scratch the walls.
The rat will bang its head.
The rat will never find the cheese. His sensors are compromised.
Without writing, your mind is similar to a rat with no smell sensors. You are directionless.
Writing is an intimate dialogue with yourself.
You just cannot be dishonest to yourself on a piece of paper.
We are wired in such a manner that whenever we write, we face ourselves in the nudest possible way.
All of our fears, disappointments, failures, shortcomings bleed on the paper, freeing us from unwanted clutter.
If you shy away from your professional responsibilities, you can’t come back home and write, “I hate my job.” It doesn’t work like that.
The moment you will express dissatisfaction about your job, your mind will question you. And, You will need to answer.
You: I don’t enjoy my job.
Mind: Why don’t you enjoy it?
You: It is a demanding job.
Mind: What are you going to do about it?
You: I have these three options –
a. Upgrade my skills
b. Quit this job
c. Find a better job
Once you have your options ready- you will battle your choices only to realize that you have poor work ethics.
No, you can’t blame your job, or your boss – It’s you, buddy!
You don’t like working.
Even after battling inside your mind for 1000 straight hours, you will not be able to reach this self-realization, which you can, only by investing a few hours sorting out your thoughts on paper.
Writing will make you a better person.
The more honesty you will practice on paper, the better your life will be in the real world.
Writing will help better your problem-solving skills.
An average person facing a dire problem gets fearful.
He fears that his partner will leave him.
He will be jobless.
He will lose his wealth.
People will not respect him.
For him, every problem is the end of his life.
I have seen people breakdown into tears if they lose their phones. They think they have lost something essential. And the same people upon losing their peace of mind won’t mind it at all and indulge themselves in frivolous spending, boozing, whoring, drugs, binge-watching, and mindless scrolling.
Human beings are not born with problem-solving skills.
All we are made for is to pump out some kids, pass over our genetic garbage, rot, and die.
We were not made to conquer mountains & cross seas.
We did that because we adapted.
We developed skills.
We made ourselves strong.
We became the best version of ourselves
We realized never to give up.
Nothing comes easy. In the face of a problem, instead of considering it a life-ending threat, all you need to do is grab a piece of paper.
Grab a piece of paper to write down your problem.
Problem:My wife is cheating on me.
How did I reach here? I disrespected her many times. I did not pay attention to her thoughts and wishes.
No, wait, that’s not true, I did. But did I?
Okay, yes, I did not. I ignored her for a very long time. We grew apart. I started finding ways to avoid her because we didn’t have much in common. I didn’t work on our relationship.
What should I do next? It hurts a lot. She cheated on me. It is excruciating. I think I should end this.
Wait, we have been married for 20 years. How can I just end this? There has to be an alternate.
How about I confront her in a non-threatening manner? Okay, that sounds good.
I will tell her, “I haven’t been a good husband, but I do love you. My ways of expressing might have been inadequate. I fucked up badly, but we are not at a point of no return. We can work on this. Let’ give it one more shot!”
I will request my wife to end the affair if she isn’t sure about it. We can start fresh.
If she still decides to leave me, then I should wish her luck and end this in a dignified manner.
We have kids together. We can’t breed hatred or resentment among ourselves. We need to support each other even if we split up.
There you go, you just saved tons of hours on marriage counseling.
You did not react foolishly or invite a fight. You found a plausible solution.
There are chances that now, if you approach your wife with honesty proposing a solution, she will respect you for that.
Years of hatred will melt away. You guys might begin working on your relationship.
The same technique can be used to solve any of your life problems.
You are unsatisfied with your life.
You are unhappy with your physical appearance.
You are not getting paid what you deserve.
Your business is failing.
Writing two pages discussing the problem will help you reach a working solution.
Give your thinking mind some direction.
Grab a piece of paper instead of buzzing nonstop inside your head.
Writing puts a stop to overthinking and negative thinking.
We have zero control over our thoughts. At the same time, what we think we become.
This puts us in a very tough spot.
We are addicted to thinking. We daily encounter negative thoughts.
Whenever you scroll your Instagram feed and see those picture-perfect females, you get in comparative analysis. You feel inadequate.
Whenever you see the pictures of your friends enjoying vacations in Goa, Mauritius, Thailand, and Bali on Facebook, you feel you are missing out on life. You get stressed.
If you keep on pondering about it for long, you might end up fighting with your partner or your parents because you feel unfulfilled.
You will project your insecurities on others or find someone to blame.
Few days of overthinking can lead you to depression.
A week of depression will pave the way for chronic depression.
You will get trapped in prison created by your mind.
Well, I have a solution.
Pick a damn piece of paper and start writing.
What did Forest Gump do when he experienced any issue?
The fucker ran!
You need to do the same.
Send your mind running on paper, instead of going around in circles. Circles will lead nowhere.
A dialogue on paper will always point in the right direction.
Writing is far less exhausting than endless thought ponder.
Take a look at history, every great legend read and wrote.
Markus Aurelius, the greatest roman emperor, wrote the most philosophical account ever.
Seneca, the famous thinker, wrote daily.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote.
Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru wrote.
Swami Vivekanand wrote.
Nelson Mandela wrote.
Martin Luther King wrote.
Jordan Peterson writes daily.
Now take a step back and look at a few leaders of today.
Have you ever read anything originally written by Donald Trump?
No, because he’s stupid.
Have you read anything written by Narendra Modi?
No, because he is crooked.
Have you ever read anything penned down by Vladimir Putin?
No, because he is dishonest.
Writing forces you to bare yourself, see the truth and be the best version of yourself.
Failed individuals don’t write; that’s why they fail so often.
I do not deny that many people who write daily also fail. Yes, they do.
But, their outlook is different.
They see failures as a learning opportunity because that is what daily writing does to you.
It makes you stronger.
It makes you better.
It saves you from unwanted stray thoughts.
You are focused and ready to take on whatever life throws at you.
Writing helps you quit bad habits.
Whether you are struggling with substance abuse or self-abuse, writing helps you deal with it.
If you are an alcoholic, a drug addict, a porn addict, addicted to masturbation, negative thinking or self-loathing, writing is a mechanism to assist.
Bad habits are ingrained in your neural pathways. Whenever you experience a trigger, your mind will automatically push you toward the pattern.
Feeling stressed, let’s smoke!
Feeling rejected, let’s watch porn and frap!
Feeling inadequate, let’s indulge in self-loathing!
Feeling invalidated, let’s gossip and blame others!
Feeling overwhelmed, let’s dope!
After a few such cycles, these habits become automated. You lose control.
It doesn’t matter how hard you try, you won’t be able to quit smoking.
If you are into porn, every night a new naked lady will open her legs for you.
If you are trapped in a victim mindset, it’s always the world that is at fault.
You will continue losing your battles.
If you try writing, you can escape these ugly shadows of yourself.
I will not smoke.
Smoking is making me unhealthy.
Smoking is making me undesirable.
Due to excessive smoking, I experience a loss of energy.
Smoking is responsible for erectile dysfunction.
I must quit smoking. Today I will not smoke. I will avoid those with whom I smoke.
If I feel nicotine cravings, I will take a walk.
I did well towards the beginning of the day. I did not smoke until 4 pm.
But after that, I had no will power left. I ended up smoking.
I don’t feel good about it.
I definitely don’t enjoy smoking.
It appears when I am exhausted, my self- control gets weak.
How about I replace smoking with eating something healthy?
Today the moment I will sense nicotine craving, I will eat fruits.
It will give me the energy to fight. Let’s try this today.
You see, where we are going with this.
After a week or two weeks, trying different strategies, you will be able to quit any bad habit.
It is tried and tested by me and millions of others.
Go for it, don’t let your bad habits enslave you.
Writing will set you free.
Write motherfucker! Write!
Writing reveals your true self.
Do you know who you are?
You might think you know, but reality begs to differ.
None of us have any idea who we are. Writing reveals you to yourself.
We have multiple shadows of ourselves trapped behind the same mental barriers.
A part of me is a sad poet.
Another part of me is a motivational speaker.
A part of me is a drug addict.
Another part of me thrives and follows a healthy lifestyle.
A part of me wants to become a millionaire.
Another part of me wants to donate all I have to charity.
A part of me hates politics.
Another part wants me to lead people into making a glorious nation.
A part of me is revolutionary.
Another part is a self-serving bastard.
All of my parts are broken.
I am not whole, neither are you.
The only reason I wake up daily with a smile on my face is due to my awareness of all my shadows. I keep them in check.
I am not the only one. Countless individuals around us have uncovered all of their identities. They nurture the ones that can help them achieve their goals.
I want to be a legend, leave a legacy behind.
I can dope my way to it. I can overdose and maybe get featured in a newspaper. People will talk about me for at least months. That’s my nihilist self.
I can also spark a revolution. The time is ripe. I might be jailed, captured, and maybe shot to death – a desirable outcome. My name will be listed in history books. That’s my delusional self.
I can build a company, generate employment opportunities, make money, do charity, help others, build a better tomorrow for myself and others, that sound like the best option. That’s my sensible self.
My daily writing habit revealed all of my faces. I choose to enable the one who made the most convincing case. I rejected all others.
It’s not that I don’t dope when I occasionally visit my friends or go on a trip. I do. But I keep that guy in check.
I know it is a very dangerous guy. He can easily ruin all I have ever worked for.
Even today, I daily battle my demons each morning on a piece of paper.
It’s all worth it.
It’s a journey to become the best version of myself. And I enjoy every step of it.
Write, my friends. Please write.
Writing is a magical power.
It alone can transform your life.
A ray of light in your heart will disperse the dense, dark fog clouding your mind.
You will feel energetic and always ready to take on the world.
Your ancestors were Romans and Vikings.
It is your moral duty to honor them.
Build an empire.
Create a better world.
All it takes is a piece of paper and a pen.
Three years ago, I spent quite some time in Kashmir, researching for my novel. Before leaving Delhi, my father said – Son, anyone can pick a gun. Not everyone can choose a pen. Remember that when you are there!
I say the same to you today.
“My friend, you have endless potential. If you get a chance to choose between picking a girl, a cigarette, coke, weed, Netflix, and a pen, please choose the pen. That is the only right choice for you and the world.”
That will be it for today.
Hope this helped.
If you enjoyed my writing, please share this on social media so that my work reaches more people in need.
I welcome feedback. Leave comments. Give suggestions.
Also, I would love to know your views – Do you think writing helps?
Depression isn’t bad. It is a crucial phase. When our psyche realizes that our current self isn’t our desired self, we experience depression. It is a wake-up call to make necessary changes for building the base of a fulfilled life. When you tackle your depression the right way, you come out as a winner.
It was April 2018. I was working a dead beat job in Gurugram to support myself financially. I was a published author, and a handful of folks loved my writing, yet writing never paid the bills. I always had to secure a paying gig to keep the water running.
I was living alone on the 5th floor of a shabby apartment. My pay was meager, and as usual, I hated what I did. Though I was working for a global giant, all in all, it was a mundane job. What made the situation worse was a prevalent culture of lying to paying customers. Instead of focussing on problem-solving, we were encouraged to make false promises. Promises which were never fulfilled.
I always had an issue with lying. It complicates life unnecessarily in ways we can’t comprehend. Once you start telling lies, you are sucked into a vacuum of insecurity. The idea is to win the trust of the other person by the assistance of a well-formed lie. You see the irony here!
Honesty untangles life. You do not need to keep track of your past statements. Your soul remains pure and untarnished. That’s why children are considered innocent. They haven’t learned the art of deceiving yet. In the coming years, they will ape the people around them, slowly pushing their divine consciousness into a bottomless pit filled with pitch-black darkness.
That guy who coined – honesty is the best policy – he was an embodiment of the god himself. It’s truly profound. If you imbibe honesty into the fabric of your being, you will be unstoppable.
Try being totally honest with yourself and the people around you. It will change your life. You will witness an awakening as you slowly rise miraculously from the depth of the abyss, hurling towards a glowing ball of light.
Honesty isn’t limited to speech.
Your thoughts need to be honest.
Your deeds need to be honest.
So, there I was, lonely and broken, in a tiny room, crying myself to sleep every night. I was caught in an endless loop.
Every morning I broke my promise to myself.
Each night before passing out, I made the same promise to myself.
I pledged to wake up early, and prepare my breakfast, give my day a healthy start.
Each morning I failed. I found myself struggling to open my eyes. The courage to kick off a splendid day wasn’t inside me. I struggled, only to give up, adding a ton of pain to my misery.
Now, at this moment, you need to understand that there was nothing really wrong with me. Apart from underlying mental health issues, I had everything in control. However, due to my personal failures, I was sliding into the dungeon of depression.
Ideally, I had everything one could ask for.
I had a place to live in.
I had a job.
I had books.
I had a TV.
I had utensils to cook food.
I had a few friends too.
People listened to me.
I was getting laid also.
All was going well!
Yet, I wasn’t living up to my potential. This unfulfilled sensation inside me got heavier with each lie. I was dying. It was a painfully slow death.
I could have easily quit my job, but the kind of person I am, I prefer giving things a little time. After all, I am just a chimpanzee in clothes, what the fuck do I know about what’s right and what’s not working!
Every morning I woke up late, marking the beginning of an average day. Chocolate bars became a lifesaver. They were my breakfast and my dinner.
At work, I peddled lies, surviving on processed junk.
I had a few friends. We were a small support group. We used to listen to each other complain while getting high. I was aware that all this accomplished was added misery. Yet, I continued!
What else could I have done? A little weed, made the day bearable! I couldn’t let it go.
After work, upon reaching my den, all I was capable of doing was binge-watch some random brain dead TV show, waiting for sleep to overwhelm me.
I had no strength to cook. I cursed myself every night while munching a chocolate bar.
I badly wanted to write but couldn’t gear myself up to such a demanding task. With each passing day, my loathing for myself intensified exponentially. I had no self-esteem left. I was totally broken.
The turmoil within me was no longer in my control. The voices in my head grew louder. They had me convinced to jump from the top of my building.
I casually shared my suicidal thoughts with a dear friend. He’s a sensible guy. He gets me. We have shared a bond for the past 15 years. He patiently explained to me the downside of jumping from a 5 storey building. The chances of getting crippled were extremely high. There was barely a possibility of me ending up dead.
I could have ended up being a cripple, not dead!
Well, that’s not a desirable outcome.
To increase possibilities of instant death, one must throw themselves from at least the 12th floor. Anything lower than that will break your back but won’t kill you.
This fact alarmed me even more. I simply wanted to put a stop to my life, not complicate it further. Jumping from the 5th floor wouldn’t have been ideal!
At this point, I had completely given up on life. I was more excited to end it than bear a never-ending ordeal.
I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2010. Living with such a terrible disease is exhausting. There are constant highs and lows. Even the tiniest moment of pain or happiness appeared as an event. I endured it for 10 long years. I wanted to give up now. I had no bravery or courage left in me anymore.
Now, to a lot many folks, ending your own life might sound easy. However, it is more complicated than killing someone. If you have to kill someone, all you need is a time, a place, and a method. But, when you are trying to kill yourself, you must devise a result-oriented painless strategy.
Added responsibility, you see!
I couldn’t shoot myself. (Didn’t have a gun)
I couldn’t stab myself. (Not enough strength)
I couldn’t jump. (My building wasn’t tall enough)
I couldn’t light myself on fire. (Too brutal)
I didn’t want to drown. (Tough to execute)
I didn’t want a chance street accident. (Low success rate)
How about poisoning, I asked? It seemed like a good idea at that point in time!
At this point, I need to skip a few details to protect my sources. Just understand that I am a highly resourceful person. If I am motivated to get something, I get it!
So, a few days later, I have in my possession a highly potent poison.
A day later, I decide – today is the day!
I write a detailed suicide note mentioning how much my parents loved me, repeatedly pleading the world not to judge me.
I follow the guidelines and ingest the recommended dose.
30 minutes later, the poison gets to work.
I experience stomach cramps.
I vomit all over my bed.
I hallucinate for more than an hour while shitting and puking myself.
Liquid was oozing out of every hole in my body.
There was a moment when I almost felt dead. I had an out of body experience. I saw myself leaving my body. This could have merely been a hallucination, but it seemed real.
While my soul was roaming my room in the middle of tons of puke and shit, I posed a question to myself – am I dead?
And the next moment, I see myself back in my feeble body. I knew it wasn’t going to happen. I wouldn’t die.
Every fabric of my physical being resisted death.
Now, this is a fact which a lot many goal-oriented aspiring suiciders aren’t aware of. Irrespective of how firm your resolve might be, you won’t achieve your desired outcome because your mind and body aren’t in sync.
You, in your thought, want to die. However, your physical being and your primitive brain are programmed with survival as a primary directive. Their job is to protect you from danger. And, when it comes to their primary task, they do a perfect job. This is an area they won’t disappoint you.
I drank a lot of liquid and continued with my experience.
An hour down the line, I was almost dead but not dead.
I gathered whatever strength I had left, cleaned myself and my room, hid the suicide note, and sat in the middle of my stinking bed with a renewed understanding that I won’t succeed in killing myself until it’s my time to die.
The next day, I emailed a resignation to my boss, called an Uber, informed my landlord that I need to leave, and headed to my parents in Vasundhara.
I took a break for a week. Ate healthy and worked out.
A week later, I was hunting for a co-working space to start my own content marketing firm.
I am not sure how many of you have experienced depression and suicidal tendencies, but I know its quite prevalent.
A lot of advice is floating around ways to deal with depression, yet there is no credible resource. I am not a health professional, and you probably shouldn’t listen to me either, yet my battle of more than 10 years of managing highs and lows has taught me a lot. I will love to share it with you all. That’s my goal for the day.
First of all, depression isn’t bad. It is a crucial phase. When our psyche realizes that our current self isn’t our desired self, we experience depression. It is a wake-up call to make necessary changes for building the base of a fulfilled life. When you tackle your depression the right way, you come out as a winner.
The question remains, what’s the right way?
In my experience, there are five central axis which we need to work on during depression.
1. Physical Fitness
2. Healthy Eating
3. Productive Activity
5. Thought Process
We will discuss all of these in detail –
Morning Routine – If you are feeling depressed, the first thing you must do is establish a routine. Our biological processes depend a lot on circadian rhythm. The moment things are not working your way, make sure you start waking up and sleeping at the same time. And that doesn’t mean sleeping at 2 am and waking up at 1 pm. We need to respect the nature. You should wake up with the sun and sleep around the sunset.
I am not asking you to wake up at 4 am and sleep by 9 pm. However, you should wake up before 7 am and sleep before 10 pm. This is elemental to your recovery.
Exercise – You cannot be stuck in a state of inertia. You must move. Whether a walk in the park or regular strength training, your body needs to burn energy. The easiest way would be to go for a morning run the moment you wake up.
Begin with keeping your sneakers at the side of your bed. The moment your alarm yells, charge forward, out of the house.
Get A Job – Unemployment clubbed with depression can be a deadly combo. Whether you enjoy your job or not, your mental wellbeing depends heavily on your daily work output. Trust me, you might feel you are better off at home, yet you should go to work. Working daily will make you feel a little better, even if your mind tells you otherwise.
If you are jobless, eat a healthy breakfast and go out daily for job-hunting.
Food – Your mood is defined by your diet. Eating healthy is essential even on regular days; however, during the depression, you must be extra cautious of what you consume. Do not consume sugar or high carbs diet. You should eat a protein-rich diet and ensure the intake of essential fatty acids. Protein and omega-3 fatty acids are necessary for a healthy mind. Depression makes life unbearable. Healthy eating can change that.
Substance – Any sort of substance – alcohol, weed, or cocaine – will make your depression worse. Indulging in substance abuse seems like a great idea during the depression, yet using substances will delay your recovery. Avoid any sort of intoxicating agent, including nicotine. They will make you foggy, further deteriorating your already flawed thought process.
Do What You Love
Hobbies – Dancing, singing, painting, gardening…. Whatever lights up your mood, invest at least 30 minutes daily doing that. Even if you are in a dead beat job, these few moments of delight can give you the hope that not all is lost.
Journaling – Daily journals are an intimate dialogue with ourselves. Depression messes up our thought process badly. We experience low self-esteem and barely think straight. Daily journals can act as a helpful tool. Writing down your plan for the day and reviewing yesterday, gives a sense of accomplishment, presenting you with a real-life picture rather than a monstrous morphed image, your brain is hell-bent on producing.
Don’t give up on your dreams – My dreams kept me alive. Our aspirations push us forward. Never ever give up on your dreams. If you enjoy doing something, do it daily.
Get better at it.
Make realistic plans.
Track your progress.
Work on your dreams. Dreams are important.
Don’t let the world steal your dreams away!
Don’t plug out – Human beings are social animals. I am not referring to a herd mentality. I am not asking you to fit in. I am not asking you to behave like others. However, you cannot deny the underlying need for affection and love.
You might have experienced a rough childhood, had your share of heartbreaks and backstabbing, resulting in a negative outlook towards people. Yet, you have good friends, you have family, you have that special someone – reach out to them. It is hard to reach others during depression, yet you must do so.
Send at least 5 texts, make 3 calls, and speak to a person face to face daily.
Human contact matters!
With Yourself – Someone must have chuckled in the last para, claiming they have none. No family, no friends, no special someone, no neighbors, no pets either. Well, buddy, you still got yourself!
Our relationship with ourselves matters the most. There are two people inside you.
Oh, please don’t panic, you don’t suffer from multiple personality disorder! All I mean is there is the logical side and the emotional side. Make them talk to each other. Find common ground.
There’s one who says you are awful, good for nothing!
Talk to him, understand him, plan with him.
Talk to yourself. Don’t overdo. Don’t go deranged. But fix your relationship with yourself. Love and respect yourself.
Find your strengths and weaknesses. Find what you love and hate. Improve. Be a better version of yourself.
Once you start talking to yourself, you will identify flaws in your thinking. Either you will see yourself being a victim or being irrational. You would be right many times also.
Depression messes up your thought process. You need to reclaim your control.
Always be mindful of your inner dialogue. Don’t let it misguide you. The world owes you nothing, and you owe yourself a lot. That’s the base you need to begin on. Further, nurture your self by consuming the right content.
Listen to Dr. Jordan Peterson, Robin Sharma, Joe Rogan, and other sensible people. Learn from them. Stay away from religious cult leaders. They are always on the lookout to recruit depressed individuals as they are easy to convince.
Depression is more than a disease. It is a phase of your life. The way you deal with your depression will determine the person you will become in the future. Do not take it casually. Neither let it engulf you. You are way stronger than you think.
In the end, everyone beats depression and comes out a winner.
You will too!
Finally, two golden rules –
Never hesitate to see a doctor!
When things go out of hand, you need an expert. There is no shame in visiting a specialist. Medicines are a necessity to manage chronic depression. If society has worked so hard to develop medications that will ease your pain, you shouldn’t avoid them.
Don’t waste time listening to Johnny Cash!
“I hurt myself today
To see if I still feel
I focus on the pain
The only thing that’s real!”
Yes, pain is real.
Yes, pain is potent.
Yes, pain is profound.
Pain alone can give you enough push to transform your life.
Yet, you don’t need to be in pain 24/7.
It is another form of self-abuse if you intentionally allow yourself to be in pain for more than the period it is needed.
Don’t turn into a pain addict.
Never attempt suicide!
Buddy, you do not have free will when it comes to choosing the time of your birth and death. These are independent events that occur beyond the control of us petty humans. Instead of wasting time on well-laid plans around ending your life, spend your time wisely on restructuring your life in an orderly manner.
Believe me, death isn’t the end of your misery. Death is a curse.
Life is a chance to be happy. And you only get one shot at it.
Don’t waste this golden opportunity!
Remember, the sun shines the brightest once the dark night ends.
The dark night always ends.
The sun rises daily!
Hope this helped.
Tell me about your depression. I would love to know.
Let’s talk about what you should do, now that you are doomed to stay inside your homes, and your incompetent government has no respite to offer you.
How are you doing?
I am perfect.
The only challenge I was facing was a lack of meat in my diet. 21 days had passed without a chicken being slaughtered for the pleasure of my taste buds. Fortunately, that spell broke yesterday, and finally, I relished the taste of an innocent bird raised on a farm, with a so-called family and a small tribe of like-minded birds.
Let’s call this bird, “Neo.”
Neo was a bright chick. He was curious.
Neo had a good life. He was cared for by the farm owners and his family. He was admired for his intelligence among his community.
However, there was something that bothered Neo and gave him sleepless nights. He often wondered what happened to the adults. Every week few of the grownups were taken away by the farm owners, and they never came back. Whenever Neo enquired, he received contradicting answers. Somebody told him that the adults are sent to a better spacious farm. Another chick said to him that the adults were misogynists and adulterers, therefore they were being sent to a reeducation camp. Neo doubted all these explanations as he feared that something might be terribly wrong with this joyous and comfortable community.
Finally, the judgment day arrived. Neo was an adult now. He looked magnificent and weighed 2.4 kilos, ideal for slaughter. The farm owners came and took Neo away in a black truck. Neo’s heart was thumping louder than the vehicle’s engine noise. Finally, the vehicle stopped in front of an establishment called Freshos.
Neo was horrified to see different bird parts displayed on the establishment’s wall with adjectives such as –
Succulent Chicken Breasts
For the first time in his life, Neo experienced the truth. He realized that he was nothing more than food for humans. His first reaction was to fly away, but he knew he couldn’t. He was immediately placed in a small cage and kicked off on a slaughter ramp. Neo remembered his gods and asked for forgiveness. He closed his eyes and requested God to spare his family a similar fate. In the middle of his prayer, a pair of hands grabbed his neck and slashed it with a fine cut.
Finally, a few hours later, Neo’s succulent breasts were lying on a frying pan, and I was sprinkling salt and black pepper on it for taste.
Well, so there’s that.
Now, a lot of you would be wondering why I shared this story with you.
Few of you would be feeling awful for Neo, and many of you baffled about the significance of this story.
Well, this was just a gentle reminder that life is short. In the end, you will also lie, fortunately not on somebody’s plate (I do not entirely deny this possibility) but either 6 feet beneath the ground or on a fire bed. If you belong to a superior civilization, you might be sent off to meet your gods, in a water canoe and eaten by fish instead after vultures feast on your vital organs.
So, so far, we have established that life is short, and you are a stupid puppet in a complicated cycle of events that you can only interpret on your death bed like Neo.
Great, so now that we are on the same page, let’s talk about what you should do, now that you are doomed to stay inside your homes, and your incompetent government has no respite to offer you.
I have 101 things which you must do in the coming weeks to make your homestay exciting and fruitful. I will share 15 of them today.
Before that five things you must not do –
Do not beat your wife and kids – I understand that beating the shit out of your kid is therapeutic and kicking a woman might be empowering for you, however, if you can try other ways to channelize your violent outbursts, it would be better for you, else who knows, maybe accidentally your wife slices your throat while shaving you. Accidents happen, you know!
Do not cheat on your partner– The most liberating feeling is infidelity. If you were in an affair before the lockdown, you might miss your secondary partner now that you are locked only with your primary partner. But if you are caught cheating in such critical times, things can get way heated, and both of you would still be beneath the same roof with nowhere else to go. Therefore, cheating might not be a good idea at the moment. I am not asking you to practice loyalty. It’s alright. It’s your life. Do as you please. Win an award in debauchery for all I care, but for now, suspend your affairs. You can get back to your steamy, raunchy, false hope once the world is back on track. It’s not that difficult. Give it a try!
Do not attempt to fool yourBoss – Now, this is coming from a personal wound. A lot of you working from home are under the assumption that your boss is an idiot, and you can just pretend that you are working and things will work out for you. Well, unfortunately, your boss isn’t an idiot, or else he wouldn’t be signing your paychecks. These are tough times for businesses worldwide, and the least you can do is pull your weight, or else soon enough, you might be without a job.
Do not spend more than 30 minutes on social media – Social Media is a toxic addiction. If you get in the habit of consuming social media content, either you will be filled with hatred, resentment, and anxiety, or you will get stuck in an endless loop of scrolling through feeds and tapping on stories whenever you feel a little low. At the same time, governments all across the globe are using COVID-19 as an opportunity to monitor your social media and related activities. You could be a right-winger, a leftist, or a neutral, but none of you would do better if you land under a government scanner. If you have doubts, remember Neo, the chicken. In the end, you are Neo, and the government is an institution in the business of peddling lies.
Do not spread hatred – A lot many of you are losers, which is alright, there is always a population of losers in every community. It is not something to be ashamed of. You people create the bottom so that legends like us can get to the top. So I respect losers also! Now, some of you might be a Trump supporter and hate immigrants and Muslims, a lot of you would be Modi supporters and hate Muslims and Dalits; well it is okay, I understand the phenomenon. People who live unfulfilled life are filled with hatred and resentment for others because that helps them not to hate themselves. So you can continue hating, however, at least in these times of crisis, try and take a break because you could die tomorrow and so could your family from respiratory diseases. Do you really want your last thought to be that a Chinese Virus killed you and Tablighi Jamat infected you? These toxic thoughts will kill you before any illness does. So take a break from hate.
Awesome, so we are done with things you should not do during the COVID-19 crisis.
15 things you must do during COVID-19 crisis:
Wake up early – Before you yell at me, give me a chance to explain. I realize you may not be in the habit of waking up early, and now due to inactivity and binge-watching, you sleep around 3-4 am. Why on earth will you wake up early? Here, read this –
Meditate daily – Meditation is essential to stay sane in these challenging times. A lot of you would be struggling with mental diseases and issues, life could be chaotic without proper support and medication. Practice daily meditation to stay on top of your mental health.
Exercise Daily – And I see a sinister gleam in your eyes. I know what you are going to say, you excuse laden sissy. Well, even if the gym is closed and going to the park is risky, you can exercise indoors. Yes, you heard it right. Climb stairs, do burpees, do crunches, do squats, do chin-ups, do push-ups, there’s so much you can do inside. Move Motherfucker!
Brush your teeth – You might give in to the temptation of nihilism and argue with yourself that there isn’t a good reason now to brush your teeth….. Well, buddy, there’s something called personal hygiene. You brush your teeth, you shampoo your hair, and you trim your nails. Be a good boy! Don’t be a bad dog.
Eat healthy – Once the lockdown is over, you won’t enjoy your pot belly. Stop eating junk and processed food. Read this.
Connect with people – Posting status on social media is okay if you are a dim-witted person, however, if you want a real life, talk to people, talk to friends, relatives, and co-workers. Speaking to people keeps your sanity intact and will also help reduce anxiety.
Dedicate specific time slots for shows/movies – You cannot spend entire days binge-watching unless you have tons of weed and endless pizza delivery, therefore, plan your day and do not dedicate more than 1-2 hours consuming entertainment.
Masturbate – It is alright, nobody will judge you! You can masturbate twice a month, it’s normal.
Sleep well – Do not cut or exceed your sleep duration. Sound sleep governs your mood. If you sleep less or more, chances are you will be irritable the entire day. You don’t want that, do you?
Plan a video date – There’s an old Indian song – “Zinda rehne ke liye Teri Kasam, Ek mulakat zaruri hai Sanam” (To stay alive, I must see you!) Well, well, well, you got Video Call feature. Go for a video date. Going outside might kill you, but trust me, staying inside won’t.
Invest in yourself – You wanted to play guitar, learn to code, learn Photoshop, write, create your page…. You never did all that claiming you didn’t have time. Well, now you have. Do your shit!
Get your finance in order – Now you cannot overspend, consider this a blessing, and use your funds wisely. Pay off all those high-interest credit cards and be debt-free.
Clean your room – Nothing is more critical than a tidy house. If your room is in order, your home will be in order, and your life will be in order. Grab that broom and get started.
Help others – If there is a day when you really feel, you have nothing to do, be a volunteer. Countless people are suffering in misery, help others, and feel better. Nothing can beat the feeling of being of assistance to someone in need.
That will be all for today!
Leave a comment about how you will spend this lockdown and win a Rs 2000 amazon voucher. Winners will be announced on 3rd May. Cheers!
(Contest open for Indian Citizens only, but you can still comment.)