The ultimate goal

#99/100

“One of the keys to happiness is a bad memory”

-Rita Mae Brown

I just completed watching the series “The Good Place” on Netflix and I loved most part of it. One of the genres of this show is philosophical fiction and I’m drawn to everything that is connected to philosophy. Few of the dialogues and situations shown in the series were so profound, it blew my mind. The show touched on topics such as existential crisis, happiness, ultimate goal, moral obligation, life and death, sadness, mediocrity, growth and every single topic that raises questions that don’t have a well defined answer attached to it.

Almost every human being feel the emotion of sadness and experience all the negative feelings in life. This is caused as they fear an end to their existence without having the chance to experience everything that life has to offer. However, have you thought of what would happen if all problems and limitations are wiped out from your life? You can fulfill any dream you can possible imagine without having any conditions attached to it. Sounds blissful right? Almost like paradise? Does this seem like the perfect life you wish to live? Turns out, this kind of life isn’t ideal either. Even if you can do whatever you wish to do, once you have gone through all the experiences you’ve possibly imagined, what will you live on for? You might become happiness zombies if there’s absolutely zero inconsistencies in your life. Life can get boring really fast once we stop having a reason to live for.

The struggles, pain, sadness though difficult to experience, give meaning to our life. We find a new purpose, a better goal to aim for, a reason to wake up in the morning each day. Another great thing about human life is the innate desire to become a better version of themselves, every single day. Since we have a finite timeline on earth, we desperately wish to make it extraordinary and try everything possible to do it. If these things are handed out to us on a silver platter, life won’t have any meaning attached to it anymore.

The next time you face a problem, don’t curse yourself into believing that you are being punished for something. You face a problem, analyze your best possible options, try again after each failure and find the solution! Life makes sense because of every single element that makes up for it, the happy moments, sorrows and hardships are equally responsible for making our life truly exceptional.

A little extra effort

#77/100

Go the extra mile, it’s never crowded.

-Wayne Dyer

I remember watching a show as a kid that had left a lasting impact on me. In the show, the main protagonist was a little girl who was an average student in school and had no friends. On her birthday, she invited her entire class for a party but not a single one paid visit to her home. Just before the end of the party, her doorbell rang. It was her favorite aunt who gave her a surprise visit. The little girl poured her heart out to her aunt and asked her why she was unable to make friends? Her aunt thought for a while and searched her purse to fish out a beautiful necklace with a butterfly pendant. The aunt told the kid that this was a magic necklace. The wearer of this necklace will have all their wishes fulfilled. But there’s a catch. In order for the magic to work, the the little girl had to ensure 3 things on her part :-

  • Always be kind and helpful to others
  • Be thankful for everything that you have in life
  • Work a little extra hard each time

The little girl was overjoyed with the gift and tried putting it to use right away. The next day in school, she offered help when a fellow classmate was stuck at a math problem. She smiled and said thanks to her teachers for looking after her in school. At home, she studied for an extra hour than usual to put the third rule into practice. Nothing really happened for the first 2 days. On the third day, a fellow classmate asked if she could sit next to her. She finally had someone to talk to in school!!! When the end term results were announced, she was surprised to find that she had topped the class. All the extra studying hours had finally paid off. Her kindness left a lasting impact on everyone and she quickly became everyone’s favorite in school.

We already know the benefits of being kind and grateful in life. I wish to elaborate on the third rule. This story sounds very basic now, but as a kid it motivated me to do well in school. A little extra effort today works a long way. Every human being has a self imposed limitation set by their mind. Yet, we find few people in our day to day life, who are way ahead than the rest and at the top of their game every single time. Are they born this way? Not exactly. Some people are surely born more talented than the rest. But, if they don’t work on their talent each day, someone else with average skills will move past them in the race of life. Talent cannot be developed but skill can be. We can learn and be good at any thing we put our mind to, only if we are willing to run the extra mile for it.

If you wish to live an extraordinary life, be prepared to work extraordinarily hard for it. I don’t want you to lose your food and sleep over it. Remember the exact moment when you feel like giving up or calling it a day, push yourself to sustain past this feeling for some more time. This can be applied to any aspect of life. Be it an extra lap during your morning run, reading few more pages of a book, reaching work a few minutes earlier than the rest or simply studying an extra chapter for the day. A little extra than your mental limitation, that’s all it takes to turn ordinary into “extra”ordinary!

Extra”ordinary” me

#33/100

I’m watching a brilliant k-drama these days. The concept of the drama just blew my mind and the story line keeps getting better by each episode. The drama is about characters in a “manhwa” (South Korean graphic novel) who become self-aware and realize that they are not real. When one of the characters becomes self aware, she feels that she is the protagonist of the manhwa. However, she is in for a rude shock when she comes to know that she’s just an “extra” character who is meant to bring the main protagonists together.

The concept of this drama is such a creative masterpiece. This “extra” character hates her personality in the manhwa and is diametrically opposite to the writer’s creation. Her character is a terminally ill high school student who has a crush on an arrogant guy for almost a decade and is used as a plot device to bring the main leads closer. Since she is aware that she has limited time to live (survive in the manhwa), she wishes to change her story line to focus on herself than spending all her time for the protagonists.

This drama’s story line has so many parallels with our reality.

Characters who aren’t self aware and have no clue that they are merely playing a role in a fictional world : Many people tend to live their life on auto pilot mode. They have no clue why they do what they are “supposed” to do in life. They spend their life living according to the terms defined by others or the society in general and do not question them at all.

Characters who are self aware yet have no issues with their personalities : There are people who tend to be happy and make others happy in every situation. They are those kind of flowers who bloom wherever they are planted. These people are known as “optimists” or “happy go lucky” and tend to find happiness in small things. They try to make things work according to their wishes but don’t fret over it when it doesn’t pan out well.

Characters who are self aware and wish to change their story line : They are those breed of people who question the norms. They fight for themselves and wish to live their lives on their own terms. They do not agree by the path set for them by others and fight tooth and nail to get it changed in their favor. Some manage to get things done because of their perseverance, others don’t, but one thing remains the same, they never stop trying.

Characters who are self aware, do not agree with the proceedings yet do not go against it : These are the ones who never fight for themselves and dissuade others from trying as well. They try to crush the hopes of the rebels and optimists who wish to change the world by saying that everything will happen according to what the author decides anyways.

The author : The author here could be a metaphor for the society, the rule makers, authoritarians or even God.

I don’t know if I fit in a specific character description here. Over the years, my story line has had many character developments and I’ve got to live like each of the characters in the manhwa. What I wish to do in future is to live for myself more and go past the self and society imposed restrictions that hamper my growth.

Can you relate to any of the characters specified above? Do let me know in the comments below. I’ll go back to binge watching the drama.

To those who stick around..

“The most beautiful discovery true friends make is that they can grow separately without growing apart.”

-Elisabeth Foley

#26/100

As an introverted and shy human being, it has always been very difficult for me to maintain relationships. I don’t recollect being socially awkward as a child but I eventually picked up that “skill” as well during my teenage years. I remember meeting my now best friend in school and having a great time with her. I never really detested school but she made it way more fun than it used to be. However, when she wanted to make me her best friend, I rejected the idea. There was a lot going around at my home at that time so I really didn’t want to open up myself to an outsider. But she didn’t budge and never left my side even when I tried to avoid her. She stuck around and realized the reason behind my distant behaviour. During those days, I was also very submissive and didn’t know how to say no when I really wanted to. I used to bottle up my resentments and ended up holding grudges against my people for a long time. Yet, some of the people who have seen me through my worst are still around.

One of my other closest friends had to bear my silences and absences for long period of time. She is the most selfless person I know and has been my constant source strength throughout all tough times in my life. I have a tendency to hide in my shell and detach myself from the world whenever I’m going through a difficult phase in my life. She always reassured me of her presence and patiently stood around me to get my act together. There were times when I had lost all hope for the future, she made me see the light ahead.

When I was younger, I always felt that I wasn’t enough for people, I wasn’t funny or witty. But somehow I managed to make some great friends back then who are my biggest strengths even now. I might have done something right to be blessed with such incredible souls in my life. The only thing I have always practiced is to be true to myself. During my teenage years I did try to adapt to what was expected from the society but quickly realized that it wasn’t my cup of tea.

Everyone has a family who loves you beyond limits. When you manage to create a second one outside the blood tie, life becomes truly remarkable. My friends add the “extra” to my ordinary life.