Wish I knew this earlier

“The past is a place of reference, not a place of residence; the past is a place of learning, not a place of living.”

Roy T. Bennett

Although I haven’t ran the whole course of my life yet, there are some lessons I learnt pretty late. When we are young, we are filled with confidence and optimism about the future and believe that we can move past any challenges in life. However, we end up giving up the reins of our life to fate during the later stages in life. As we grow older, we realise that we could have channelised that high amount of confidence and optimism into something productive and fruitful that would help us be more in control of our life.

These are some lessons I’ve come accross either through internet or bitter experiences or analysing the life led by people around me. Although I wish I knew this earlier, I’m really glad that I’m aware of it now and have worked on it to improve the overall quality of my life.

  • Join a sport or participate in that extra curricular event :- I was a big time nerd and truly believed studies are the only thing that I should be doing as a student. I was horribly wrong. I realised the importance of fitness and communication much later in life. Learning a sport helps not just in developing strength and stamina but also becoming more disciplined, learning from our failures and facing challenges headstrong. We live in a very sheltered environment as far as school and college is concerned and have people around to help with our requirements. Once we are thrown into the real world, every new situation seems life threatening and we fail to blend in with the crowd. Learn to make new friends, talk to more people, learn about their experiences, participate in events that force you out of your comfort zone. That’s how you realise that every single person on this planet is dealing with their fear and insecurties and you learn to feel less intimidated by people, especially strangers.
  • Be financially independent : It’s very important to chase our dreams and passion and figure out the purpose of our existence. However, we also need to find a way to be financially independent along the process. Unless we have unlimited financial resources left to us by our ancestors, everyone needs to work for their survival in this world. Make sure you incorporate the golden habit of saving early on in your life, learn about financial planning, take advise from experts to grow your corpus, make financially sound decisons when it comes to material purchases, know your long and short term financial goals. Once you feel financially sound, you can take all the big decisions in life with more confidence.
  • Make meditation a part of daily routine : We all know the wonderful benefits of meditation however it can take a painfully long time for us to visibly see the changes in our life. Till that time, we are required to meditate cosistently without expecting any instant gratification. And that my friend, is an extremely difficult task. It’s better to think of it as a part of daily routine that we need to follow without fail like brushing our teeth or taking a bath. Yes, meditation is undoubtedly the best tool available within our control which can help in maintaining a sound mental health. And making it a daily routine is the best way to reap it’s rich rewards later on in life.
  • Everyday is equally important : Most of the days in my life are a waitlist for the special ones/the D days/an important day to look forward to. We feel happy on these special days and dread to get back to the “normal routine” to be followed on the other days. If we can learn to tweak this mindset, there will be a visible change in our happiness levels. The best way to do this is by maintaining a daily journal. It’s just a 5 minute daily practice that requires you to revisit your day and write down whatever made an impact on you that day. This small practice can help you be more grateful and pull your attention back to the present moment. Document your day, focus on making daily progress, make memories, click pictures, life certainly isn’t about those few special days, everday is equally special.

And that’s all I’ve learned and try to implement in my day to day life to feel at peace and more happy in general. Hope it helps you too!

Shit happens!

Image source : https://www.pinterest.com/pin/282037995391689852/

Today was sort of an important day. I had an important professional commitment call in the evening that I had been mentally preparing for a while now. Needless to say, I had to be in my element for it. But my body and the universe had another plans. Aunt Flo decided to strike today at the most unwanted time. I was in pain throughout the day, the cramps were somewhat severe (according to my threshold).

Coming to the professional commitment, I’m really glad that it’s over! I don’t know how I performed as I was unsure of the other person’s reaction. I felt like I did the best I could yet my reviewer seemed unimpressed. I leave it to the Universe to decide, if it’s meant to be it’ll happen. For now, I feel like a huge burden has been lifted off my shoulders. It feels so good, my mind is in a celebration mode. I want to read a book, watch a movie, eat good food and do absolutely nothing all at the same time. It feels so good to be anxiety free. I wish I can work hard to have better control over my anxiety in future. When I look at extremely confident people, I have complete admiration and respect for them. It is unimaginable for me to be bold and confident at occasions that demand the best out of me. I feel jittery and nervous to the extent of giving up. There are people who live up to the challenge and do really well under stress and I’m in awe of such individuals. They are the real rockstars.

All I can do is try till the time I can imbibe at least some portion of such confidence. I am in a much better phase now compared to my teenage and young adult years. There has been a noticeable change in my personality and I would love to grow further even if it’s at a snail pace. Some change is better than no change after all!

Enlighten me

#92/100

“It may sound paradoxical, but strength comes from vulnerability. You have to ask the question to get the answer, even though asking the question means you didn’t know.”

Majid Kazmi

Asking queries to people, this is something I’ve struggled with all my life. When I was in school, I avoided asking any doubts related to studies to my teachers/professors. The memories go back as far as my kindergarten days. I was asked by my class teacher to give a book to a teacher from another class division. I was in kindergarten, I had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t exactly complete the task as required and was slapped by my class teacher in return. A few years later, I was appointed as the class monitor in 4th standard. I was just 10 years old, yet I felt an unnecessary burden on me to be best at everything I was asked to do. I have no clue why I pressurized myself with this unnecessary expectation. I had not completed many tasks in the manner my teacher wanted to and was taunted/scolded by my class teacher. I believed that I was incapable and inefficient to take up the role of a class monitor. I truly believed that my class teacher couldn’t count on me for any work and hated me for not being “the absolute best” at my role. She never spelt out this herself but my mind overanalyzed the situation and gave me every reason to believe so. This further crushed my self esteem that was hanging by a thin thread. I really don’t know why I had zero confidence in myself right since I was a kid.

I could never muster enough courage to ask my teachers for help of any kind. Asking questions in a classroom in the presence of other students freaked me out to another level. I was terrified of asking a silly question or even a non-relevant one and end up being ridiculed by my classmates. My mind forced myself to learn everything on my own. I don’t remember many instances of asking queries to my friends too. I truly believed that my questions made no sense and I would be able to solve it on my own. I couldn’t stand the thought of being made fun of or looked down upon. I carried this behavior with me to my workplace as well, which is probably the worst thing to do!

I cannot possibly have an “I am supposed to know this, I’ll try to figure out a way anyhow” attitude at a workplace. Everyplace I go, I have an unreasonably high expectation to know everything that I am asked to do. When I was a fresher, I had the tag of being a Chartered Accountant. I feared asking questions will get a “You should be knowing this!” answer in return. I am scared of making mistakes, of any kind. I am petrified of asking help from my colleagues and get a judgy look on their face in return. Asking questions makes me feel like a lowly being who doesn’t deserve any respect.

I don’t know if it’s supposed to be this hard or if I’m wired differently. Asking questions starts from admitting the fact that I don’t have the knowledge of this subject and am willing to learn it. I probably had a lot of traumatizing experiences from childhood owing to my shy nature and low self esteem that made me into a fearful adult. I cannot blame my childhood self as she had little to no control over her life back then. The situation is different now. It’s time to take responsibility of my life. It’s time to accept and be okay with the fact that “not knowing things” is fine and completely normal. It’s time to take help and support from my friends, peers and colleagues to learn more about the my work, life or the world in general. It’s time to gain strength from my vulnerability and forgive myself for not being “perfect” all the time. It’s time to strengthen my self esteem by acknowledging my weaknesses and working on it.

To anyone who is reading, next time someone asks you a query, unless there’s a very strong reason to do otherwise, encourage them, enlighten them and give them strength to do better in life. Acting judgmental, angry or haughty wouldn’t do anyone any good. Let’s build a safe space around us which promotes growth and upliftment.

Change is the only constant

#83/100

“It’s never too late to be who you might have been.”

– George Eliot

I was talking to my colleague today and ending up learning a lot of things from him in what started off as a casual discussion. There has been a lot of changes in my office recently. The colleague I was talking to is a sales professional who handles a clientele belonging to a particular sector in the industry. The changes I was talking about relates to shuffling of these sectors and the client base in the process. While other sales team handle sectors and clientele that have been part of the organisation since a long time, my colleague used to handle a sector that was newly introduced in our department. He along with his teammate were responsible in setting up the sector from scratch and building the client base.

I asked him if he was upset that his sector was taken away or if he had any apprehensions about the change. His answer just blew me away. He said, “Not even a bit. I would have had a regret had I not been able to give my 100% to my work. I sowed the seeds, watered the plant diligently and was blessed enough to enjoy the fruit of my labour. Now, I seek a change in the routine, a new challenge, a new adventure.!” He also asked me if I see myself working in the same organisation 6 months down the line, although my reply is a glaring NO, I chose not to comment. If you cannot see yourself working in the same place even for the next 6 months, what is the point of being so attached to the work you do? I was astounded by the clarity and ease in his replies.

I still remember my attitude towards work in my previous organisation. The attrition rate was very high causing a lot of team shuffles and changes in work profile. I dreaded it every single time. I was too comfortable with my daily routine and couldn’t bring myself to test my skills in a new and challenging environment. Basically, I had zero confidence in my ability. I have outgrown this phase however still haven’t been able to develop a thick skin to any big change in life like my incredible colleague. He did tell me it takes time and patience, all I can do is work on it consistently.

That is all I can do. Work on my skills consistently, learn whatever I wish to learn, be attentive in the present moment, do what makes me happy, make time for myself and celebrate my life. I might not be able to predict any big changes in my life but I can be prepared by striving to be the best version of myself, each day, every day!

Be fit 2.0 : Milestone 1

#38/100

Yay! I hit the first milestone of my 2020 fitness resolve. On 10th August, I decided to do everything possible to get into the best shape of my life. August has been a month of hits and misses however I’m pretty happy with my overall fitness progress. After having a fairly chilled out first month of the journey, I’ve realized I need to buck up to meet my target in the next 4 months. The goal is completely doable but demands a little extra focus and determination.

Here are my achievements for this month :-

Weight :-

Starting weight (10th August) : 62.9 kgs

Milestone 1 (31st August) : 62.5 kgs (Lost 0.4 kgs)

Workouts :-

Was regular on most days with a one rest day in a week. However, the first week that I had to attend office for 2 consecutive days (13th & 14th Aug) and had to travel almost 11 hrs each day, I missed 4 consecutive days of workouts (13th to 16th Aug). I made it up the next week by rope skipping early in the morning on office going days.

Meditation :-

Have not been meditating at all for the past 2 weeks. I plan to resume it from tomorrow on wards. I somehow stop meditating once I start feeling better and happier in my life.I am aware of the amazing benefits of meditation in our overall growth and well being and will try my best to make it a daily habit tomorrow on wards.

Food :-

I’m pretty proud of myself for eating healthy as much as possible. I did indulge in cakes and ice cream once a week but my portion size was limited. I’ve outgrown my sweet tooth and do not enjoy extremely sweet desserts. I also indulged in few cheat foods during the weekend and enjoyed them thoroughly.

Key achievements :

  • Longest rope skipping session of 2000 skips on 23rd August
  • Attempted a 10 km indoor running session for a virtual marathon event on 30th August. Although I took double the amount of time to complete the distance as the indoor are made me feel more tired and suffocated (1.42.15 hrs), I’m extremely happy to have completed the run.
  • Attempted two different 30 min difficult HIIT sessions in the same week.

Goals for Milestone 2 (30th September):-

  • Workout 6 days a week
  • No refined sugar
  • Limit cheat meals (Fried, processed food)
  • Rope skip every evening at least 500 times
  • Attempt 10 push ups
  • Run at least 5 kms every Sunday
  • Meditate at least for 5 mins everyday

See you until the next milestone!!

Be fit 2.0

#17/100

About 2 years back in September 2018, I embarked on my weight loss journey. This wasn’t the first time that I was attempting to lose weight. I’ve been insecure of my looks and weight ever since I was teased and mocked about it by my cousins during my childhood. I have been overweight all my life with absolutely zero association with sports and fitness.

In September 2018, I was fed up of my insecurities and low self esteem issues connected to my weight. I decided to give an “all or nothing” attempt to lose weight. I forced myself to do everything possible to lose weight till 31st December 2018. The deadline was very important. The countdown to 31st December gave me immense motivation to be on track. Every time I faltered, I convinced myself to bounce back by saying that I only had x number of days left. The first month was extraordinarily difficult but I managed to sail through all the hurdles till the end of my self imposed deadline. Needless to say, I hit my goal weight in December.

I learnt a lot after my weight loss journey. My initial attempt was only to please the society. I badly wanted to fit in, be called beautiful and get acknowledged for my looks. Newsflash, nothing of that sort happened. I was told I had lost too much weight, looked weak, that the weight loss didn’t suit me at all and I looked better before.

It hurt me a lot. My post weight loss experience was nothing like I had imagined. But I kept on going with my fitness schedule. My weight loss gave me a new found confidence, improved my self esteem to never seen before heights, made me happy, strong and fit physically and mentally. It was like being bestowed with a new life and I wasn’t ready to go back to the old, pitiful one. Despite being disapproved by the society, I decided the only approval that mattered was my own. And I wasn’t ready to give up on myself this time.

2 years later, I wish to embark on a new journey. I wish to be in the best shape of my life physically and mentally. This one also has a deadline, 31st December 2020. As I said before, deadlines add a fun element as well as provide a sigh of relief on this journey.

My goal : Lose 5 kgs (I weighed 62.9 kgs in the morning today, my goal is to hit 58 kgs)

Below are the ground rules that I’ll strictly follow on this journey.

  • No refined sugar ( They bloat me up and add empty calories that are difficult to burn)
  • Workout everyday (Mix of HIIT {High Intensity Interval training} as well as low intensity workouts, skipping and running)
  • No junk food (Healthy alternatives cooked at home allowed)
  • Meditate everyday (Best way to improve my mental health)
  • Weigh in and progress posts at the end of each month
  • Set new workout goals for each month and crush them

I guess that’s it. This is random but my last random attempt was the most successful one so I can count on this one to yield favorable results too. Let’s do this!

I’ll upload my first progress post on 31st August 2020. Till then, let’s work to be the best version of ourselves.