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.

The joy of learning

“The noblest pleasure is the joy of understanding”

– Leonardo da Vinci

#25/100

I still remember my oldest memory as a student. I had a little cursive writing book that had enthralled me. One day, I resolved to complete few pages of the book and was so engrossed in the activity that I didn’t budge even at my mother’s constant calls for dinner. I completed the task and proudly showed my mom the finished work.

But I didn’t feel the same way throughout my student life. Somewhere down the line, my mind stopped being in tandem with my brain. Studying became a burden as getting good grades was a requirement instead of an accomplishment. The concept of studying involved mugging formulas, long answers and chemical equations. Many a times I would completely zone out while studying, failing to understand the reason why we were made to do this.

I am a person who is inquisitive by nature. I enjoy learning about new things, understanding it’s background and everything related to it. But as a student, I had no idea of what studying really meant. It was just another routine that we followed, there was no greater meaning to it. When I think about it now, it just seems a waste of precious years of a human’s life. If a person isn’t aware of the purpose behind their actions, they’ll just grow into a clueless human being. It might strike them much later in life when they try to question the true meaning of their existence.

When I study or research about any subject now, it’s just out of pure curiosity for knowledge. It took such a long time for me to understand what my mind truly needs. My instincts and actions are in sync with each other and that’s why I can find joy in them. If a kid repeatedly portrays dissatisfaction towards learning, it might not be because he is lazy. I understand it’s very difficult to relay the importance and value of education for kids at a young age but a small step can be taken towards sparking a curiosity in them. Education needs to be more practical and interactive. Students need to be taught life skills from a young age. They need to be taught to be brave and headstrong to face any situation in life. They also need to understand psychology and how their mind works at a younger age so that they are able to judge their emotions well.

When we are young we have people to seek guidance and help us out. However, we are still ill equipped to deal with life and reality when we become an adult. We do learn with experiences but a little head start can help way beyond our imagination. It could help improve the quality of our life to a great extent, make us a little more happy and fulfilled with ourselves. Well, isn’t that a good thing to seek?

What’s your purpose?

#20/100

I felt like a motivational guru while asking this question. Isn’t this the hot topic of discussion amongst every motivational speaker? It’ll always revolve around these grey topics which might end up confusing people more rather than helping them. People like me feel motivated at first however when things don’t fall in place even after following all the vague rules listed out by the gurus, we feel more empty and lost than ever.

I’ve read a lot of self help books on various topics meant to improve the quality of our life. I’ve tried listening to my absolutely chaotic inner voice with no respite. I’ve watched videos of many successful people who have noticeably made it big in this world. I’ve tried to list down the common traits that exists in all of them. They keep saying, love what you do and everything else would be taken care of.

People talk about following your passion, finding your true self, doing what lights up their soul, but what about the ones who can’t seem to figure out the source that lets them experience these emotions?

Are you as confused as me in this matter? Should I let you on a little secret that I’ve discovered recently? I really like being happy. Happiness drives me to do better, it lights up my soul and I’m completely passionate about it. But my happiness is not restricted to a single source. These days, I’m learning a new language and that makes me immensely happy and fulfilled. A cup of hot steaming green tea, a sweaty workout session, my 20 minute meditation routine, reading a good book, watching a great rom-com, figuring out new things about myself, learning a little more about people and the world, the list is endless. I experience true happiness when I indulge in these activities.

I guess I might have finally figured out my purpose after almost losing all hope to never discover it in my entire lifetime. Can you see how dramatic I can be about these things? I have absolutely no clue how the future will turn out yet somehow I managed to beat myself up everyday for not finding out answers to these “unnecessary philosophical questions”. Yes, I called them unnecessary. Racking my brains behind these questions stressed me out, made me lose my confidence, forced me to look down upon myself and made me lose a lot of my precious time on this planet.

My purpose on this earth is simple, be happy and do everything possible to keep myself truly happy. I don’t want to bind my happiness with a rule book, I just want to be truly happy as much as I can during my time on this planet.

“Happiness consists more in conveniences of pleasure that occur everyday than in great pieces of good fortune that happen but seldom.”

-Benjamin Franklin

Thank God it’s Friday!

“Life must be terrible for working people, considering they spend every Friday night celebrating a two-day break from it.”

Robert Black

#7/100

When I was in school, we had 2 holidays in a week. One would fall in the middle of the week on Thursday and the other one was our beloved Sunday. I was so used to the 2 day holiday routine in school that adjusting to just one during my college days was bit of a task. As I was studying for Chartered Accountancy exams during those days, I had classes throughout the week, even on Sunday. However, the fact that I didn’t have a break from my routine even on a Sunday had little impact on me. Throughout the week I had work, studies as well as the company of my friends to keep me busy. I did long for a rest day or vacation or just some time to laze around however the lack of it didn’t make me unhappy.

Once I began my professional journey, I realized the true meaning and longing for the weekend. My only motivation to drag myself out of my bed on Monday was the lure of the weekend in 5 days. By the time it was Wednesday, I had already started celebrating the onset of the weekend. Friday became the most happy day of my life, no external situation or being could hamper my mood on a Friday. Usually there’s nothing that I plan to do during the weekend that I patiently wait for. Even when I note one mentally or physically write down a plan, I forget all about it on the Saturday morning. Weekend for me became a 2 day escape from my daily routine, the life that I’m required to live to earn a living.

Don’t get me wrong. My daily routine or rather weekdays aren’t that bad. I have a comfortable job. However, there’s something about what I do for a living that bothers me. Every night during the weekdays, I reluctantly fall asleep knowing that I’m not living my best life. Trust me, I wasn’t like this during my student days, I was oblivious to the situations around me and had limited worries to take care of.

So what’s the difference between my student days and now? Back then my only worry was preparing and excelling in my exams. That’s all I had to do. I truly believed that if I could just clear my Chartered Accountancy exams, I’d be able to erase the existence of stress, worry and negativity from my life.I felt that lack of money was the root cause of all problems in my life. As I became a full grown adult, I had the unpleasant realization that things don’t really work that way.

What is it in my current daily routine that I desperately seek a timeout from? My core personality highly disapproves my professional identity. I do not indulge in work on a daily basis that feed my mind, soul and inner child. That’s why they are desperate to be their true authentic selves during the weekend, when I don’t have any professional commitment. That’s why Fridays are special and weekends celebrated. I truly envy people who don’t experience such feelings, have a life they absolutely enjoy and don’t wish to escape from any part of it. For now I’ll try to find all those little things that maintain my sanity and keep me happy.

Thoughts to action!

How many times has it happened that you’ve been sitting on an idea or thought for a long time and never managed to accomplish it? Countless? Innumerous? I’ve done the same thing too. I’ve always had a huge “things to do” list on my mind which I’ve never managed to strike off within the estimated timeline. So, what goes wrong?

Well, there are two types of people in this world, namely :

  • Thinkers : As the name suggests, the thinkers are part of “day-dreaming” universe. They plan elaborate stuff with vivid details. All their thoughts are incredibly exhaustive with a timeline attached to it. Thinkers love to plan and spend a lot of time in designing the nitty gritty. However, they miss out the most important aspect of their plans – “Action”. Thinkers get so exhausted with planning the details that they are left with no motivation to convert their plans into action. Thinkers always find a lot of road blocks in their journey which stalls their progress.
  • Doers : These are the kind of people who have a string of accomplishments attached to their name. They always manage to kill procrastination and get a lot of stuff done within the same 24 hrs day. Doers come across as extremely focused and passionate individuals who can go to any lengths to achieve their goals. It feels like they have their entire life sorted. Doers manage to find quick solutions to any obstacles that may cross the path to their goals.

So what is it that special quality possessed by Doers that helps them get an edge over Thinkers? Why do Thinkers lag far behind Doers in accomplishing their dreams?

It’s the magic element called “Action
Both Thinkers and Doers are equally capable of completing the same task at hand, however Doers repeatedly emphasise on “actioning” their thoughts which provides them the edge in this race. Thinkers place the bets on their incredible planning skills and derive the same gratification level as if they have accomplished the task. Doers earn their sense of gratification after completing the task at hand.

I’m part of the “Thinkers” club slowly crawling my way to “Doers” universe by using a simple technique which helps me focus on the present task. Usually, I have a thought and within few seconds my brain starts churning up negative situations that deviate me from my initial thought and creates a roadblock. The longer I take to listen to my initial thought, higher is the number of obstacles I face in conquering it. Thus, I end up spending more time in the comfort zone which is the land of no return.

So the technique I use here is to follow the first thought I have. For example; you want to get up at 6 am in the morning, your alarm clock rings at 6 am – first thought “wake up”, within seconds your brain starts throwing overpowering notions such as “sleep for 5 more minutes”, “you slept late last night”, “you can wake up early tomorrow”. Thus, you end up following the massive outburst of negative thoughts and hit the snooze button. TASK UNACCOMPLISHED.

You need to follow the first thought i.e. “wake up” in the above scenario and act on it before your brains throws the negative influx of thoughts at you.

Try engraining this little change in your day to day tasks and notice the difference. This will help you to keep on increasing the number of accomplished tasks in your to-do list.

Welcome to the “Doers” club!

action plan picture

 

When the going gets tough…

Have you ever felt extreme hatred, negativity, dislike, distraught for a situation you are stuck in and can go to any lengths to get yourself out of it? Every single day you try your level best to stay positive and hope against hope to cling to that one good thought which brings you happiness and glimmer for the future. You turn on social media and are bombarded with your friend’s/colleague’s/acquaintance’s success stories, milestones and life changing events. You are happy for them as it strengthens your belief in dreams coming true although you cannot help but question the Universe; “When is my turn?”

I’ve read a lot of posts which says “Life is not in the past or future, it’s NOW!” If you feel unhappy in a situation it’s a massive sign yelling at you to get out of that condition A.S.A.P. However, the timeframe between realising that you are in an unwanted situation and getting out of it cannot be fixed to suit your needs. When you are in that limbo, you have to deal with a lot of stress, discomfort and our best enemy “Negativity!” You cannot just snap out of that limbo, it takes every last bit of your strength to deal with it. Yes, the end will be beautiful and worth all the pain you sustained, however, to reach there you need to stay put and have firm belief in your dreams and most importantly ‘yourself’!

Every single day begins with a positive thought to float through your entire life and then “life happens!”. The day throws innumerable problems, painful situations, puzzles, issues and what not! One by one you try to solve every thing that comes your way with the single most important belief in your mind, “It’s not going to last forever!”. You wish to go back to the days when you were carefree and didn’t know the meaning of “responsibility!”. Why is every situation dealt in a burdensome manner? Why has it become so difficult to stay happy? Why is happiness a thing you chase rather than a destination? What is it that I can do to get out of this limbo soon?

As I don’t know the timeframe of my limbo, I try to find various ways to help me deal with it and stay positive throughout. I’ve been reading Dr. Susan Jeffers “Feel the fear and do it anyway” which by far has been most effective in helping me stay afloat. The best takeaway from this book has been the simple affirmation “I’ll handle it”. Think about it! You always feel anxious, unhappy, upset, dejected when you believe that you are in a situation which you are unable to handle. It’s the fear of non-performance that scares you and not the outcome. If you trick yourself into believing that you CAN handle everything that comes your way, you get instantly energised and can see a way ahead even if it’s foggy. It’s all about perspective and not the problem that you are dealing with. Another great read has been “Who moved my cheese?” by Spencer Johnson. This one is a light read with great message. A question in this book made me question my entire decision making process, “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” Isn’t it a question to dwell on?

As of now, I’ll continue to fight hard, against all the brick backs that life throws at me! I know it’s difficult to sustain but the end is very beautiful and I can feel it. Whatever the situation is, I’ll handle it! I’m eternally grateful to all the positivity out there that strengthens my dreams. Waiting to cross this bridge and jump into the limbo-free zone soon.!

“When the going get’s tough, the tough get going….!!!

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Ciao!