Good news, bad news

#55/100

I used to be a very cowardly and superstitious person before. It took a lot of understanding, reading, listening and soul searching to overcome my fear of the unknown. I can’t say that I’m completely over it yet, but I try my best in every situation to think practically before coming to any conclusion. I try to question every tradition and custom and do my own research to find out the source of these practices.

Today started on a great note. I had applied for an IPO (initial public offering) for a company which was oversubscribed by 73.3 times. In layman’s terms, the odds for landing an allotment for this IPO were 73:1. The system is lottery based, there is no particular criteria to land an allotment for such IPOs, it depends totally on your luck. People tend to apply multiple lots through separate accounts to land up getting at least one lot. Even after going through so much trouble, many people tend to get nothing. I applied for one lot and to my pleasant surprise, got allotted!!! The universe is in my favor today, it has been in my favor for a long time now. I got allotted for shares that were vied by 73 other people. I shared the news with my closed ones and somehow started worrying about being the lucky one here. I couldn’t shrug off a feeling of uneasiness after being truly happy with my luck.

A while later, I got a phone call from my mom in the afternoon saying that she had slipped and injured her hand. I was very worried but she assured me that she wasn’t in pain. Why did this happen today of all days when I was celebrating my good luck?

I don’t understand why I still tend to be scared of being too happy. I don’t know if others too feel the same way. My friends do. They fear the “evil eye“. I know it sounds really old fashioned and lame. Even I used to believe in it before. We fear people’s attention on our happy times, a good relationship, prosperous life or any success for that matter. We fear that bad times will follow good ones. However, when we are going through a low phase, we believe that the phase is never ending and there’s absolutely no way out of it. Why does the mind behave in the exact opposite manner when we are happy? Why is being happy considered a luxury?

Over the years I’ve become extremely stubborn and gritty with my beliefs. Nothing good came to my life by being fearful and superstitious. So now I behave in the exact opposite manner and don’t care what happens. I go with the flow, take life as it comes and learn from my experiences, the good, bad and ugly!

I got over it!

“If you’re going through hell keep going.” 

Winston Churchill

#35/100

No, I’m not going through hell right now, life is pretty cool. However this quote is apt for the experience that I’m about to share today. For as long as I can remember, I’ve suffered from anxiety issues. Anxiety is a prolonged state of fear caused due to stress or negative thought patterns. Since I’m an introvert and shy person by nature, I have experienced anxiety everytime I’m under the limelight. I’m not talking about the actual limelight on a stage or for a performance. Holding a conversation with a new person, talking on the phone, going to a new place to get some work done, anything and everything unfamiliar makes me anxious and jittery. For the longest time, I have never been able to face a crowd of even friends or family, forget familiar people. Playing a game of dumb charades used to send a chill down my spin as I had to think on my feet while having everyone’s eyes fixated on me.

When I had started looking out for jobs after my graduation, my biggest fear was to attend an interview. It used to give me sleepless nights, I was never able to prepare for it as my anxiety would always get the better of me. I have bunked countless scheduled interviews just to avoid the fear and anxiety that I need to face before and during the interview. There were situations where I could literally feel my heart thumping and mind going blank. In one of my very first job interviews, I could barely speak!

Eventually after attending many job interviews, I got better in facing my fear. Yet, I’ve never been able to control my anxiety before an interview and have ended up cancelling many such schedules in the recent past.

I had an interview scheduled yesterday after almost 2 years.When you are in the process of attending interviews, you gradually get used to managing the fear. But when there’s a prolonged break and you have to face your fear after a long duration, the nervousness and anxiety tag along as if they never left your sight. Till the last minute, I felt like cancelling the interview. I could barely prepare for it because of my OCD related to preparation for any new event. When I need to prepare for anything, especially interviews, I put unnecessary pressure on myself to know everything under the sun. I really admire people who end up doing their best in every situation despite the fears and jitters. I somehow have to struggle really hard in this area.

After fighting rampant thoughts of cancelling it, I decided to attend it. I tried to convince my mind to play the role of a person who is confident and can handle such situations very well. I guess that’s the beauty of acting, when you persuade yourself that it’s not you who has to face the situation, you somehow muster enough strength to get over the performance anxiety. Also, the best way to conquer your fear is to face it. You might make a complete fool of yourself, but if you manage to get past the initial hesitation, you become better with each subsequent fear inducing situations.

Attending the interview, without thinking about the outcome, made me extremely happy and proud of myself. Life certainly is a culmination of all our experiences and the spirit to keep yourself happy despite the outcomes.

Getting out of my comfort zone

It was my first day at my new job today. This place is everything I wanted my dream job to be like. Extremely knowledgeable people, great office environment, fixed timings, great brand, yet, I feel weird.

There is this intense feeling of discomfort that is plaguing my mind. I just can’t come to terms with the fact that opportunities lie outside the comfort zone. In my previous organisation, I knew everything and everyone, everything and everyone knew me. I didn’t like the people there nor the office timings, yet, I want to go back and hide myself there.

What is wrong? Why do I feel so uncomfortable at a place that feels so right! Well, that’s the cost to pay when you venture out of your comfort zone. The comfort zone is a place which protects you from any kind of fear. New places brings with it unknown situations, uncomfortable meetings, it tests your knowledge and your ability to deal with new surroundings. All this ain’t pretty. Especially, for an introvert like me. Introverts like to conserve as much energy as possible. They lose energy and hope as soon as they have to encounter a new situation.

It’s time to be more positive and embrace my reality. Living my life one day at a time might help. I either live in the past or find myself dreaming about the future. Present is never an option for me.

Embracing every moment of the present situation will help me recuperate and that’s what I am going to do. It was my decision to move out of the situation I was in and upgrade my life. Now, I need to be more mature and responsible about my decisions. Happiness is a continuous process. You cannot wait for it to find it’s way to you. Happiness sometimes requires effort. Your mind needs to free and clutter free in order to create a nurturing house for it to stay in for a long time.

While I go back to my reality, I urge you all to give the uncomfortable situation you are currently facing, another chance. Just remember, this feeling too shall pass. It is just an illusion created by your mind to protect you from prospective fearful situations. And believe me, you are stronger than that! So, fight the FEAR.!

Hand drawing unhappy and happy smileys on blackboard

Why do I procrastinate?

Oh well! Not again!!

I know there are thousands of articles on the internet and a million books written to tackle the massive issue of “Procrastination!” However, even after reading and learning about them in depth, I still haven’t been able to wad off procrastination completely! WHY?

We all know that procrastination brings with itself unwanted anxiety and negativity. Somehow, I’ve become too comfortable with it. Every single day I wake up with the single most thought of completing my work and leave office ON TIME. However, even on lean days I find myself working till the last moment and reach home late…YET AGAIN! What the hell is wrong with me?

Another example that comes to my mind is preparing for any big interview or work assignment. I’ll try to get as much time possible to prepare well and end up wasting (with enormous guilt!) all the time I have on hand. I find myself preparing and working at the last moment as usual and blow up the big opportunity.

2014-07-16-procrastinator.png

So, why do I keep on repeating the same mistakes again? Am I too dumb to understand what’s going wrong and not able to apply corrective measures? Or am I happy with the way things are and don’t want to change anything?

The answer is NONE OF THE ABOVE!

Well, while dealing with procrastination, the biggest mistake everyone makes is to connect it with laziness. I agree, there are people who do not get things done because they are too lazy to work straight away. However, there are few people who genuinely crave to get rid of procrastination and are still unable to do so. Here’s a little glimpse of their thought process in advance of a new assignment :-

  • STAGE 1 : THE BEGINNING – A new assignment!! A clean slate for me to work on. Let me gather all the neccessary tools to conquer this! I’m going to slay this!
  • STAGE 2 : ERROR ALERT – You make a little unimportant mistake somewhere and your mind starts churning “ALERT” messages. You try to ignore them and keep working.
  • STAGE 3 : ENTER “FEAR” –  The big “F”. The biggest villain in anyone’s life. The reason why people quit things midway and are happy in the comfort zone. It makes people believe “IT’S BETTER NOT TO TRY THAN TO END UP FAILING”
  • STAGE 4 : I QUIT –  The well known result of extreme procrastinators. Quit everything you do midway, do it at the last moment as it gives you a solid support in case you fail. You can always end up blaming your “procrastination” for the failure instead of embracing it.

That’s it. You do not want to accept “FAILURE” and stick to procrastination as it saves you the trouble of believing that you’ve failed because of  your incompetancy. You want to live in a bubble where failure doesn’t exist. Even if you fail, it’s because of “procrastination” and NOT because of YOU! You can always hear procrastinators say “If only I did not procrastinate, I would have succeeded!” That’s their defence mechanism churning nonsensical excuses to help them deal with reality.

So, how do you get over this?

ACCEPTANCE & REHEARSAL

ACCEPTANCE – You need to accept the fact that failure is a part and parcel of life. You can try your best for all the assignments you work for and still end up failing it. That doesn’t mean you are not doing well. Each mistake is a learning opportunity. Try not to repeat the same mistake again instead of avoiding it completely. Committing a mistake provides you an opportunity  and experience to correct it the next time. Avoiding it keeps the ground wide open to commit it again. So, it’s always important to try!

REHEARSAL – Instead of blowing up the big chance that comes your way, why don’t rehearse for it? Try working a little each day to prepare yourself for the big event. Anticipate the future course of action and start preparing for it. You always have a faint idea of the opportunities that could come your way in alignment with your goals in life. Utilise each day to prepare for it so that your fear is weakened on the D-day. Fuel your strengths not your fears!

Hopefully this summarises the thought process of procrastinators and provides valuable insights to deal with it in a better manner.

More power to the procrastinators!!

Ciao!