The many options life throws at us

How many times have you in your life said this: “I can’t decide!”? I know, infinite times. Decisions are the toughest part of our lives. They are the heaviest stones thrown at you when you are at your weakest. They are the double-ended sword trying to cut you and drain all your blood at once. It’s analogous to when you are driving in your car, without GPS of course, and you are stuck on crossroads. One of these roads will turn into the largest pits you would have ever seen as you move along. And you’ll die, certainly. Funnily, you don’t know which road that is.  Now make a decision. See how tough that is?

I was never good at making decisions. I couldn’t even decide what to order in a restaurant. Any menu is a few pages long and if I hadn’t been there through a recommendation from a friend, it was even worse. I didn’t have any other choice but to experiment and eat the consequence of my choice. And people asked me to make career choices! Could they have been any crueller? I don’t think so. The problem with making a decision then was that the other alternative always felt better. And every alternative had an ‘other’ alternative. And so I used to get stuck there. The availability of alternatives itself gave me anxiety and the fear of picking the wrong option. I was, always, prepared for the fact that the option I did not choose would be the correct one. And guess what? I always turned out to be right while in fact I was wrong.

My decisions always became what I let them become. Whatever I chose, I did not put my heart into it because I always thought what could have been had I chosen the other option. Would it be better than what it is now? That regret destroys the immense possibilities that the present has to offer. And we all know Mr. and Mrs. Regret. Well, they aren’t the nicest people to live with. They live with you for the rest of your life but give you nothing in return.

After all these years of making the wrong decisions, I think I now know how to take the right ones. That’s because there are no right decisions. You make them right. And while you may have chosen the wrong one today, you can always drop it and choose the other one. It’s not that difficult, trust me. It’s just your readiness that is required. The only necessary and sufficient condition is your willingness (Math reference like a boss!). So anything you choose is going to be the best alternative if you believe in yourself.

I wrote this poem which summarizes my thoughts. It seems more like a rap. (No, I am not beginning to feel like Rap God!):

Decision, better make it with precision,

Of many options, you have a provision,

Consider your ambition and life’s vision,

Whether it is to become a physician or a mathematician,

Don’t hesitate or have any inhibition,

Just do whatever says your intuition,

Because you don’t require anyone’s permission,

But my friend, there is only one condition,

Once you choose it, it must become your only mission,

Only then will your dream turn into fruition.

So go ahead because your choice is the right choice.

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Laugh, both ways

There is an ongoing cricket tournament in my college (because ICC Cricket World Cup 2015). In one of the practice session, my teammate came with one of her friend. But she wouldn’t practice until he was gone. She feared her friend would make fun of her game. The coach said a philosophical line to her,”First they laugh at you, and then they drool over you.” I laughed but agreed to his point of view.

But that is not what I want to emphasize here. My point here is some people are scared to be laughed at. Some get angry. Some are too egoistic to not defend themselves.  Some get away with silence during that humiliating time, at least they feel like it. I wonder why it hurts so much when others laugh at you and not so much when you laugh at others. I, for instance, was one of these kinds. I didn’t like being laughed at. When I couldn’t defend myself, I would choose silence. I used to get angry, too, sometimes.

But I am now a changed person, one year and a friend later. My friend has an amazing sense of humour. He can pick a word from your spoken words and use them against you, in a humourous way, of course. Now this is not about him so I would stop here. This is about how he helped me to learn to laugh at myself. He increased the threshold of my tolerance by one level every single time. It was annoying initially, but later it didn’t bother me because I learnt to laugh at myself. That is a liberating feeling. It sets you free you from anger, ego and whatever other negative stuff you have inside you. Moreover, you don’t feel guilty anymore for laughing at others because you do the same to yourself.

We, humans, are complex creatures. If a machine is used again and again, abrasion would affect its performance. But that is not in the way we work. Our bones might wear away with time, but not our brain. It gets better with more and more usage, and so our mental strength to handle situations. The more we face difficulties, the more able we become to tackle them, and better. We learn to tolerate. And we should. That is when growth begins.

I am grateful to my friend for teaching me an important lesson of life. Jokes don’t bother me now. I have come a long way, almost a journey from 0 to 99 within a span of a year and a half. I’ll try to reach 100, too, soon. I only want to convey through this post that some people test your patience, but these are the only people who will help you grow. You think you can’t bear it (and that is just your thinking, not reality), but you can. And soon you realize you have become a better person than before. We are here to become our better selves each day compared to yesterday.So laugh, both ways, on yourself and others!

Know yourself

This poem is dedicated to anyone and everyone.

Don’t love yourself, for you are full of flaws,
Admire in others what you don’t have,
Look down upon yourself and loathe your existence,
You aren’t slim enough, you aren’t fat enough,
And you’re the epitome of imperfection,
You aren’t smart enough, not strong enough,
You’re going in the wrong direction,
So don’t love yourself, for you deserve only abhorrence.
Adulate others; emulate others, because you are,
were and always will be less than them.

This is what people tell you always and they will forever,
Don’t believe them, for you were imperfect never,
Listen to them and your life is fated to doom,
Their life-goal is to shake you, break you,
Don’t believe them, not once, let them see this flower bloom,
Your belief in yourself is enough to make you,
If only they could be you, they wish and pray,
They criticize you and try to change you, in a way,
So let me give you an advice, if I may,
Give all the love to yourself, no matter what they say.
You must know you are one of a kind,
Those who tell otherwise, give them a piece of your mind!
You are unique, exceptional and exclusive,
Conforming to others is destructive and illusive,
I think you got my point and I need not speak more,
Throw all inhibitions out of the door!
Every day, feel like you have won a prize,
Adore and love yourself, treat yourself nice!

Let nobody tell you who you are and who you aren’t. Show them!

Right from the beginning

It’s a month until I complete my studies and leave my university. So everybody is attending all the classes and isn’t bunking. Yes. You heard it right (even though bunking is a virtue of any student). One of my friends told me not to bunk since we don’t have much classes left to us. He said, “You must enjoy these last sessions, as you wouldn’t get any more after this.” And I wasn’t surprised by his advice. We all cherish moments only at the end. It’s a Universal truth. The last day of summer vacation, the last hour of 31st December, the last piece of cake, the dinner just before you leave for your flight to another country, the last 1% of the battery of your cell phone, the last episode of the sitcom you have been binge-watching, the last 10 minutes of sleep after snoozing the alarm, the last mile of a pleasant long drive, and all such last things. They are all so precious. The first ones aren’t because you know there would be many more to come, the poor ones are taken for granted so much! There is none after the last. So the last one is all you have got.

To understand this, think from the perspective of a moment. Imagine if you were moment “first” and people gave you no importance at all, like you were nothing. And your friend “last” was treated like the king/queen of the world and was worshipped by people. Now how would you feel? Here, in the world of moments, nobody wanted to come first.

Or if you are a math fan, like me, consider this. Say you have (1, 2, 3,…, n) moments to enjoy. But you are enjoying only the nth moment. So you are wasting (1, 2, 3,…, n-1) moments. If only they were infinite, it wouldn’t have mattered, but that’s not the case. They are finite in number. Yet you wasted all but one. My only question is: why?

Why waste them and give them away? You might undervalue them now, but might regret after you lose them. So it’s better to value them right from the beginning. I would say, don’t enjoy moments like they are your last. Enjoy them like they are your first. Make the first, second and every one after that, your best one. If you treasure all your moments right from the beginning, you wouldn’t have to worry about their non-existence. So, from today, give yourself a ‘present’ every moment!

What are you afraid of?

What are you afraid of? This isn’t a rhetorical question because I know it does have an answer. You know it too. Every one of us is afraid of something. Afraid to take risks. Afraid to say what we want to say. Afraid to express our feelings. Afraid to follow our hearts. Afraid of making a decision fearing it would be wrong.

Scared. Frightened. Terrified. Anxious. Nervous.

An equally important question to ask yourself is: Why are you so afraid?

Do you fear you will fail? Fear they will say no? Fear they will judge you? Fear what if your intuition is wrong? What is holding you back? Why is there a fear to pursue your dreams? After all, it’s only one life that you have. No one else can chase your dreams. No one else can execute your ideas for you. No one else but you can live your life. Yet, you waste thinking and fearing so much. Stop thinking so much, squeezing every situation till the last drop.

And have you ever wondered where do these fears come from?

Our past experiences implant fear in us. And the rest of the times, it is the society that makes us fearful. And we happily accept and imbibe those fears. We don’t even have a hint of doing that. Yes, it is that unconscious and effortless! The fear is so deep-rooted, most of the times you don’t even know it exists. You do not fully believe in your fear. Deep inside, you know you are capable. But the people around you would tell you, you are not. Consequently, you become afraid and you cannot perform in fear. Being afraid makes you weak. People around you now have a “told-you-so” lecture to give you. They got what they wanted. You gave them a chance to do that. You listened to them.  What made you afraid? Mere words spoken by feeble creatures! Why listen to them anyway? Trust me; those nosy inhabitants of this earth do not matter in your life. Not even a bit.

If you want to enjoy and live the life you have always thought of living, lose those inhibitions and fears. Take the path less traveled, let yourself face some failures, let people say whatever they want, let them judge you. Only way to overcome your fears is to face them. And please, do whatever the heck you want to do, always. Have an amazing life!