Existential crisis

#86/100

“I don’t know if what I’m going to say will hurt or help, but screw it. Do you know what’s really happening right now? You’re learning what it is like to be human. All humans are aware of death. So… we’re all a little bit sad.”

-Eleanor Shellstrop from The Good Place

I’m watching an absolutely mind boggling American TV series these days called “The Good Place”. The show is witty, quirky, funny and the theme also involves a fantasy element which is a big win-win situation for me. What I love most about the show is the underlying philosophical interpretation of every human’s life in general. I’m drawn to philosophy and finding out the greater meaning of life, any person, show or thing that connects me over and above the basic knowledge of our existence has all my attention.

In one of the episodes of this show (I don’t want to give out any spoilers, watch it, you’ll be mind blown!), they discuss the concept of existential crisis, in a witty and funny manner of course. The show has an immortal being who doesn’t have a conscience. The concept of having regrets or guilt doesn’t apply to this being as they live on forever. They don’t have to deal with these feelings at the present moment as it disappears with time which they have in abundance.

Humans on the other hand have a fixed shelf life. Our biggest fear is the fear of non-existence. I always felt that I feared many things above death, but that’s not true. When I say I fear public speaking, I am scared to make a fool of myself and end up in an embarrassing situation. This will cause me to lose face in front of others and become non-existent in a manner that I won’t be acknowledged, respected or considered unworthy of attention. We constantly feel pangs of sadness, guilt and episodes of depression all through our life as we believe that we aren’t making the fixed time of our existence on this planet, worthwhile. At the end of each day I feel upset for not having a remarkable day, wasting my time is considered the biggest sin by my mind, I constantly fear the future, I feel like I would eventually die without living an extraordinary life.

The fear of non-existence can make us do crazy stuff at times. But it’s high time that we slow down a bit and pause to pay attention to the present. There’s no yard scale to measure an extraordinary life. You don’t have to do everything that’s considered cool or awesome by others to feel cool or awesome yourself. As long as you do every single thing that makes you happy, you are doing a great job! It’s time I lift the heavy burden of this self imposed deadline on my life and cut myself a little slack. I don’t wish to feel sad every Sunday evening for not having spent the weekend productively, upset before any big event for not having prepared well or empty at the end of my birthday for having to wait another year to feel special. I don’t know if we can truly be unbothered by fear of the unknown or regrets of our past, I will try to divert my attention to the present at every single opportunity I get. That’s what I learn in my meditation exercise every day.

Distractions are everywhere. Notice what takes your attention, acknowledge it, and then let it go.

-Headspace

Yes or yes

#58/100

The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.

-John Milton

There are so many things I wish to do in life. Yet, I don’t do most of them. Some things are beyond my capacity or reach, for everything else, my heart and mind are never in sync.

There have been many situations in life where I wished to do my best. Like giving a presentation in front of a room full of people (which I have rehearsed many times), performing a choreographed dance sequence in front of an audience (after many hours of practice) or doing well at a job interview. I have a fear of public speaking. I’m unable to perform well when I know I’m being watched and “judged” by other people. What is this fear really? For years, it has made me lose many opportunities to excel in life and upgrade my personality. Why do I fear public speaking so much? Why does my mind only say “no” to any opportunity that requires me to be in the limelight?

My oldest memory of public speaking was the fancy dress competition event in school. My costume was up to the mark yet when it was my stage to deliver the dialogue on stage, I stopped mid sentence as I forgot the rest of the sentence. But I didn’t fear anything at that time, I didn’t know what fear was. As years passed by, my fear of being judged by other people increased multi fold. I started caring way too much about what other people thought of me and desperately wished to hide myself whenever I was asked to speak in front of other people.

My weight loss journey also helped me to shed my insecurity and self esteem issues. That’s when I realized, my fear of public speaking stemmed from the fact that I was extremely conscious about my weight. After I lost my weight, I forced myself to do my best under the limelight whenever I got the chance to.

I understand that our mind (rather gene’s) primitive instinct is to survive and avoid death under any circumstances. And I had read somewhere that human beings tend to feel inconsequential when faced with negative remarks. We fear that we might make a fool of ourselves when we don’t perform well. This would make us lose face in front of the society which would render our existence as futile. We have a inert fear of non existence on this planet, which co relates to our gene’s prime most need to survive.

Fear is important, only in case of a real threat to our existence. In all other cases, our mind creates a psychological illusion of fear whenever it senses a situation of treat towards it’s existence. Let us try to be aware of our emotions, understand what situations affect us and in what manner and work towards not missing out real opportunities in the name of fear. Let’s love ourselves enough to work on ourselves.

Bow down, be humble

#49/100

“Leadership is about empathy. It is about having the ability to relate to and connect with people for the purpose of inspiring and empowering their lives.”

Oprah Winfrey

When I joined my current workplace, the one person I admired the most was my boss. His work ethic is impeccable, is extremely passionate about his work, is polite with his peers and subordinates and has a vast knowledge on any topic. But my admiration for him didn’t take time to turn to loathing the moment I encountered a part of his personality that shocked me to the core. He lacks empathy. Now, sympathy and empathy are two emotions that are extremely crucial to judge a human being’s personality. Most of us are sympathetic and disguise that as empathy. If you are sympathetic, you would listen to someone’s troubles, try to console the person and leave it to that. But if your empathetic, you will imagine yourself in that person’s shoes, lend a helping hand and try to work out on a solution.

My house is almost 56 kms from my workplace. I’ll not even discuss the part where my organisation is gas lighting us into coming to office just because they don’t consider work from home as an effective means of working (the pandemic can’t be used as a reasonable excuse here). It takes 8 hrs each day to travel from my house to my office to do the same work that I can complete in few hours at home. I’m grateful to go through this ordeal only twice a week but the sadist reason behind making the employees suffer in the name of employment is infuriating.

The best way to identify a true leader from a boss is the presence of empathy. In the scenario I explained above, a true leader would have understood the employees troubles, made genuine attempts to listen to their concerns and make an informed decision which favors everyone and keeps the company operations smooth. Instead, my organisation devices new ways each day to make their employees more frustrated and angry. They don’t understand the severity of the situation and make no attempt to do so.

I’m trying to sail through this situation by focusing on being happy and positive to the best of my ability. I wish and have an ardent hope to get out of this mess soon. I don’t know when that would happen but I do know I’ll be much stronger in my actions, thoughts and grit by then. As they say, every dog has it’s day. I’m waiting for my day to arrive sooner than I can imagine. The world can be a scary place sometimes, we can make it better by being empathetic, kind and humble towards one and another. The people helming the decisions at my workplace lack all 3 of these crucial emotions. I pray for their well being when each of the dogs they’ve bruised has it’s day.

Source : Grammarly

Venturing out of your comfort zone

#47/100

“By leaving your comfort zone behind and taking a leap of faith into something new, you find out who you are truly capable of becoming.” 

-Anonymous

Comfort zone for me is similar to that cozy little corner of my home where I practically live in. While out of my comfort zone, the only thing I do is strive hard to crawl back into it. I remember when I had joined my current workplace, the first 3 months were absolutely horrible. I had no friends, ate lunch alone, counted every millisecond till the end of the day and just prayed that the weekends would never end. My life got better after I made a friend there and had someone to talk to everyday.

So what’s the deal with venturing out of our comfort zone? It’s so scary, boring and noticeably uncomfortable. As humans we hate the feeling of being uncomfortable with anything. We like to be prepared and aware of our surroundings. Surprises are welcome only with birthday gifts or holidays, any other kind would rather shock us than be pleasant. Also man is a social animal, as repeatedly taught to us in school. Being solo is best reserved for trips. I haven’t come across a single person who would prefer living under isolation their entire life. So every new venture or event forces us to leave our known environment and deal with uncomfortable interactions, awkward silences and negative mind chatter.

That makes the comfort zone a gold mine, why would any one in their right mind venture out of it? The answer is “growth“. Growth in our thoughts, behavior, actions and personality. In the first 3 extremely awkward and boring months of my current workplace, I forced myself to initiate conversations with random colleagues in my department just to have people to talk to. Now this was a huge deal for the shy, introverted person like me. I had barely anyone to talk to in office and no one in my team, this was my last resort to kill the 9 excruciatingly boring hours in my office. Turns out, now I can easily talk to strangers (barring the slight inertia and anxiety in the beginning which I guess is unavoidable). I engaged in conversations with like minded people and found out about the amazing weight loss transformation and fitness journey of one of my colleagues. Her success story motivated me daily to work hard on my own weight loss journey. My weight loss journey has been the source of my current level of confidence and happiness in life. It also helped me deal with my anxiety and low self esteem issues.

Though it’s a difficult task, stepping out of our comfort zone is the best way to fulfill all the goals we’ve set for yourself and the key to changing our life for the better. Let’s get it!

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!!

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.

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!