Prospect-Retrospect

 Things seem difficult in prospect but easier in retrospect

My mind blows over the idea of what lies ahead in life, but before I psych out and punch walls, my brain does a reboot to shunt itself out of the heated moment by craving for external stimuli, i.e. TV or video-games. That’s how I roll these days. If you are wondering to what the intro line really means and how have I gone about establishing a context with my panic moments, well, that line actually defines you and me, and the rest of the 99.9% people on this planet who are aspiring billionaires. We all want to be rich, eat great food and date wonderful people, but have no idea of how to translate those ideas into action. I, for example, have a tendency to spell out a thousand reasons not to do something and then curse my fate of not getting it, inspite of being worthy of it. There is a paradox in what the mind believes and what it is willing to do, constantly telling you to get your shit together and act, yet not letting you budge your feet another inch on the morning jog. I hate the brain.

Anyways, lets delve deeper into the realm of inaction, where the likes of us trod into anonymity, letting our complacency make of for what is lost. I have been indecisive for so long that I struggle at the thought of having a career for myself. I had to retake an exam a year back, which I am yet to do. I planned taking it again about six months back, set out on finding the right set of coaches and even payed one in advance for a couple of classes. However, I cancelled all that and now six months on, I am back of square one. So ensnaring is my fright of action, that even when I take action, I feel trapped by my own decision.  Then I try to wriggle out of it like, seeking validation for my wrong judgments.

Well, just in case you are planning to write me off, I would like to establish that not every aspect of my life has gone astray due to my resilience in choosing to be in the shell. I have been progressing in the health domain, and I now can boast of running around 6kms at a stretch, without blacking out every time . My hospital trips have been less frequent, and the I no more spend time at the gym staring rolling over the medicine ball.  Though I am scared to do things, I have come to realise that to revel in genius , I need to get things started off first. Its tough, but then its better than being no where at all.

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Instant Gratification

“You have completely lost it.” the rapacious December Playboy issue on my desk spoke out loud.
“You need to get things back in control man, its high time you do” the TV remote control added on.

“Yeah. That also means that you need to stay away from that girl, she seems to be an awful distraction to your life. ” came a sound from  nowhere.

As I looked around to check the source, the JBL Pulse flinched. It then stretched out its hand shyly, and pointed to the computer. The Computer was rather rampant in defending itself, and gyrated about to shake itself out of screen saver. The culprit taking a jab at my girlfriend was in sight, FACEBOOK.

“You of all the people talk about distraction” I asked it.
“C’mon, the onus lies on you. I wasn’t the one who dragged you onto me, and had you slay over and over, viciously clambering over the lives of others.” said FB
“First of all, that just sounds wrong. Second, you are due for deactivation now”

Such was my irritation, that in a sudden blip, the screen went off . I didn’t want to listen to it anymore, and then power cord was just a plug away

Another interview, and another rejection. They weren’t mutually exclusive events anymore, but buddies who seemed to be too pally. Poor academics and a pathetic ECA seemed to add-on to the already near abysmal existence.

Except for the JBL, the rest of the folks had all seen me grow up, and now were concerned about the way things were in my life. It was only in the past few years that I had befriended these wretched souls, who were otherwise stationery pieces of the living room set. From an ace student to a grace student,what had gone wrong in the past couple of years, was I not good enough or was I too scared to deal with the increasing pressure. I no more juggled between assignments and commitments, rather left them all than just choose one. I have lost my capability to slug it out for hours and hours, to practice and to improve. 

The TV remote is right, I do need to take things in control. But where exactly am I going wrong?

I don’t think I have to think too hard along these lines. The reason sits right there on my face as I write this article, patience and instant gratification. I lack the patience to give words to my ideas and I want immediate results in the form of quality and good reviews. Patience is a virtue, when exercised reaps benefits, when abhorred leads to loss. In my case, my patience in pursuit of goals, combined with my love for instant gratification seemed to have swayed me on a different line altogether. My efforts are diluted in quality and quantity, my goals are utterly vague since I have no means to believe that I can do better. Since I no more believe in myself, I am here surrounded my bunch of unnecessary distractions which offer no potent solution to any issue in life. It’s like delayed reaction to problems as a means of instant gratification. Defer the problem now, enjoy the moment and who knows, something might magically work out in the future.

TV, computer and mobile are my best friends, while the books bite dust in the corner of the room.I remember reading that the TVs are like lullabies, which force the mental activity to zero down. In contrast, reading a book is more challenging, since it involves observing, contemplating and inferring. Like panda on streak, I have been scratching off work off my list, and making room for more pleasure than working towards a better future. That’s the disease of instant gratification

 

 

 

Enslaved by habits

On the epitaph of a noble soul, read the lines

“Herein lies the soul of the one who couldn’t get up at 5, and hence life pushed him into eternal darkness”

Well, that is what the world will put up on my grave. No matter how much I try, I can’t gather myself to wake up at 5. It’s like a curse that seems to stick, with no likeliness of ebbing away. Bad habits are hard to get rid off. No matter how much you try, they catch onto you regardless of what you do. Like a bad case of drug addiction, you initially try , but later when things get hard, you find yourself justifying to why having it is boon than bane. Here are a few tips to avoid bad habits and inculcate good ones :-

The dreaded 5’O clock club

I keep coming across articles which aim to summarise the ideal way to success, and there always lies the point “Be a part of the 5’O clock club”. It seems appalling and in simple ways, absurd to think that the only thing between me and a six figure salary is an alarm clock which doesn’t work that well. Well, this is just me trying to justify things. I am lazy and I know that. I usually get up at 10 on a holiday, with no sense of shame for the lost time. While I was sleeping, the so called 5’O clock club must have already jogged through the entirety of Dwarka(Suburban Delhi), taken a bath, had breakfast and probably in the middle of a movie when the sleepy me walks in on them , smudging my eyes. Well, that basically a scene featuring me and my parents.

Its a shame that I waste my time sleeping, when I can do something productive like writing this article, which btw is being written at 9 pm IST, and not in the morning as planned. If you are like me, and end up sleeping a lot not because you love sleeping, but because its usually dark outside at 5 in the morning, and you don’t like the idea of running in the dark, then high-five.

Post-its 

Again from the diaries of wannabe Bill Gates and Zuckerbergs, the need to manage your tasks is a crucial point. One idea is to maintain a list of what you want to do, a TO DO LIST. Its hard to manage one, and I don’t say that writing it on any piece of paper will help you with achieving it, but then its a necessary step. I as of now, have a piece of paper pasted on the wall right next to my bed. It carries the schedule that I have to adopt during the course of the day. Unfortunately, the schedule starts of at 5:30, hence impossible to achieve. But there is one good thing that comes by it, I do wake up even before my alarm goes off. Call it magic or I am a genuine freak of nature, but ever since I have pasted that schedule next to my bed, I do wake up at around 5:30, lie awake for about an hour wondering whether it would be a good decision to head out in the dark and cold. This deliberation doesn’t help me much with getting out of bed, but certainly exhausts me enough to fall back to sleep.

Avoid ego-depletion 

Well, this term isn’t what you think it is. No, I don’t mean to validate your behavior of being snobbish or acting haughty in front on strangers who don’t know you well enough to see who you really are. Ego depletion is a psychological term and is used to refer to a state wherein we exhaust our will power. If you are wondering how the hell does one deplete their will power. Its not a fuel or food, but just a state of mind. Well, think clearly then.

Will power is a potent force that can make a cripple walk and in your case, help you get your daily chores done. Its all psychological, since what you think on the inside is what you manifest outside. If you think that you can do something, you tend to become happy rather than being distraught and this in turn releases a set of hormones in your body which eases the bodily function and provides impetus to your efforts. So it is necessary that we preserve our will power and don’t go about exerting ourselves over everything and anything that comes across. It would be a shame that you have to exert yourself to get your ass of the bed on sundays to get the grocery from the nearby market. You have to make a habit of things, where deliberation is to be killed, and initiative is to be weighed upon.

So learn to make a habit of things than to force yourself. Will power is exhaustive and should be utilized when the situation requires it.

Delayed Gratification

I am a commerce grad, and recently while learning about financial management, I came across this phrase stating that shareholders of a company may prefer dividends now than in the future. This is inspite of the fact that the company invested in may have a growth potential and may utilize these very funds for capital appreciation. This is true in all the other cases as well. Everything is for now, a job now, money now, pleasure now and nothing for later. Rationality is too obscure an idea, when gratification is involved. Its like being a fly, too enticed by the light emitting mosquito killer. You see the other flies dying as they near it, but then who cares, that white light is so cool.

Whenever we aim to do something it involves a level of hardwork, lot of pain and sweat. You do so with a hope that maybe what you do now, will reap greater dividends in the future. Delayed gratification helps you maintain a level of momentum in life, an inertia which helps you sail through hardships. Its upto you whether you want small bits of gratification, which amount to nothing, or wait and work enough for it to become big enough.

 

Follow the mantra if you want to wriggle out of the quagmire boring life, or you can choose to bash on regardless.

Pro at Procrastination

Dates and deadlines, Misses and Goodbyes. It’s not the schedule that’s scarybut the idea of having to do it is what sends shivers through the body. Procrastination is a contagious disease, that spreads across the college dorms or at the fraternities. It is the Sunday morning that is replicated throughout the year, just maybe without the beer or a bad case of hernia which just doesn’t go.

As the sages of the past would like to put it ‘prepare for the outcome with a plan in mind, stay true to your motive and it shall become a reality should you try.’

Not too much of a task, is it.Then why the hullabaloo over the art of delaying tasks. Well, it’s probably because delaying hard work to make merry in make-believe trivialities clogs your mind. As the line goes, “Addiction to distraction, destroys creative production”. The only thing that requires delaying is the gratification. When you delay gratification for another day, and work for what is now and what is done, you become stronger. As I write this, my mind ploys against me as my hands wriggle away to the toggle pad to close the tab outright. My grey cells don’t seem to ponder about what is right, but for what I am missing out on.

What am I missing out on?

Well, right not I am missing out on a movie that I have opened on the media player, maybe the book I have opened up beside me, or maybe the assignment which was due last week. If my schedule pad was a person, it would right now be either cursing me or curling up in shame to how ‘used’ yet unused it feels.

You see, the pleasure loving people that we are, are probably born to regret things in life as we strive towards happiness. Life is like the undulating stream of line, which pitches over like a heartbeat, stretching across the entire canvas, from one end to another. There is no middle ground attained ever, especially for the procrastinators.

Is there actually a middle ground?

Well, there is a middle ground. That is a way is a no-man’s land too. It isn’t dominion of utter happiness or complete sadness, but the area of an emotionless endeavor of tireless hard work. It not instant gratification but habits that count. Habits are few things that stay. When you are lazying around, wondering how to push off work and find the next movie to watch, it’s the subconscious mind which creates a surge of a magical energy that flies you off the couch to the study table. Sometimes, it’s like being on a automatic mode, doing things without having to will it.

In order to succeed, you must will it. But then, how do you go about actually doing it?

Well the statement about will power is to an extent right. But if you have to will everything, then the obscurity of the task will only exhaust you will power. You shouldn’t have to will it desperately everyday to be able to get up at 5 AM. If you do, then life will be a pain. As you are constantly nudging the dreamy head to fight against the routine, you are pushing yourself too hard. After a point of time, that willingness to get up early, study early and better, run more and sleep less just amalgamates to an exhaustive mind play of constant discomfort. Maybe it will work initially, but then should you loose it once, coming back to it will not be a possibility.

To develop a habit, one must start small. It’s like being that toddler once again, who took the staggering steps towards mommy with an enthusiastic laugh of accomplishment as it took it’s first steps.The baby doesn’t reel under the pressure of having to replicate it again later, but just enjoys what it does. That is exactly what one should do.

Maybe when you have built up a robotic mind with an SSD mind, and a RAM strong enough to work quick and easy, you will get things done easily. Procrastination will no longer be your forte, and you will be not sitting on the couch watching a channel you don’t like, just because the remote was too far away.

Dream big, start small and start NOW.

The Vindictive Approach

Success and failures are considered to be two sides of the same coin, though one is a little shiny and the other a little rusty. Everyone wishes for that shiny part, but do little to to achieve it. The reality of the matter is that, it’s not the shiny part you inherit, rather you smudge of the rustiness of the coin to make it shine. It’s failure that leads to success, without there being an absolute achievement of things being otherwise.

Being the fallible human beings, that we are, the failures sometimes plunge us into grim darkness. In such situations, it is up to us, whether we want to allured by the darkness or let our vision of the distant light guide us out of complacency. Sometimes the fear of failure reached disturbing level of magnitude, so not only to  ignore the light, but let the darkness clog our thinking.

I find myself in situation wherein I fail miserably yet don’t let myself become distraught. It’s not a facade of nonchalance, it’s just that to believe in the inevitability of things, and coming to terms with the consequences helps one wake up to the harsh truths in life. For a number of years, I have seen myself become a person whose competitiveness wasn’t restricted to the mental imagery of my victory, but equal happiness in other’s misery. It wasn’t a happy indulgence as it subconsciously blinded me so much, that I started basing my life as per the opinion of other people. Living in my own insecurities to find validation from others, was my chance at peace.

As you experience more and more in life, your perception undergoes transformation from being superficial to being profound. As you learn to weigh upon your own potential, you learn to care less of other’s opinions and everything isn’t a race anymore. From being vindictive, you become the exuberant being who is immune to trivia of life which immiserates you more. It’s not a fight to become the best so as when comparisons are drawn, you can stand there and smile. There is more to life than thinking about others ;think about yourself, but not in a selfish way, set personal goals, not career ones.

 

To forgive and forget

Sometimes few people just get to you and rage you up to an extent that you flare up through out the day. But most of the times, it’s not the unknown stranger who brushed you aside on the bus, or the unforgiving boss who gave you a pep talk , but the people who are very close to us who hurt us the most.Then, it’s difficult to decide whether you should just forgive and forget or get back at them. The dilemma is that, you can’t hurt the ones you love, because if you did, it would hurt you instead. So, we go about hurting ourselves basing it on the same principle as in the previous line, hoping that it would in turn hurt them. Now, this is a gamble in a way. Reason being, if you were put in a really disturbing grim situation by a supposed loved one, chances are that they didn’t actually love you or care for you enough. SO, when you go about sacrificing yourself, inflicting pain upon yourself, with a hope of evoking a response wherein the person feels that they are responsible for you current condition, you are on the losing end. If they don’t respond, you would have not only ended up hurting yourself, but would be worse off than you earlier were, as the act establishes the apathy from the other side. To know that a person who loved so much at a point of time has no concern whatsoever for you, is one of the worst feeling ever.

To make sure you aren’t the playing the ball game to lose, make sure you don’t make the situation a ball game in the first place. It’s not always about getting back at people for what they did to you. Sometimes the best is to forget for it is the quickest way to alleviating ourselves from the pain, rather than to reel under it, agonizing and antagonizing. Don’t go about killing yourself for what they did, rather concentrate on what you did, and what you must do. Time plays a part in healing as long as you are wiling to use it to fill your life with happiness. The continuum of sorrow and merriment, isn’t misery and inebriation, but a series of fruitful wondrous moments.

A ‘ Wilder’ way to life

“Don’t take life too seriously, you will never get our alive” – Van Wilder

Good movies do inspire you, they do connive and consume you into doing the inevitable. Today I watched Van Wilder again, after a really long time. Now, if you think that I am trying to draw inspiration from a movie which basically revolved around a character with his party planning schemes and eternal frat boozing, well ,you need to watch that movie again too. The movie isn’t about ‘Jesse’ from breaking bad(oh..he was in it ) looking as creepy as ever, or about Howard from Big Bang theory(…Him too), it’s about a guy and his confusion with reality, or lets just say, with himself.

 

As i watched the movie, It may made me somehow realise that in order to feel unlimited, we end up limiting ourselves.  We all dream of unlimited amount of money, unlimited amount of power and unlimited amount of luxury, all because we feel that all these will in turn bring us unlimited amount of happiness.Is that the truth, the real truth to life? I guess not.

When we think of a future, we don’t necessarily place my passion as a means of drawing that happiness, instead, we choose an ambition. Mind you, I said ‘choose  an ambition”, rather than the follow what interests you. Many a times we let go of our dreams trying to fit into the society, for at a point of time we dared to think the unthinkable, but when it came to doing it, the society caught on with us. We fool ourselves into believing that we are pursuing every avenue worth pursuing, and grasping every opportunity as comes, but then we end up being bereft of that lively feeling, a feeling of happiness, a feeling of fulfillment.

Mr Van Wilder didn’t place a career as a goal, rather he placed the experience drawn in life, living it day by day. The movies showed examples of how a very well pursued, calculated life might end up with a disaster if we place our goals as the utmost priorities in life whilst giving up on our ideals. This is because as we place our goals above ourselves, we feel a pressure to fulfill it, fearing that failure will diminish our being, our very existence. But that isn’t true at all, it isn’t even close to it. Sometimes its okay to be normal and okay to be average. Why fall in the rat race of the world trying to finish a race, which isn’t even yours. Do race in life, do wish to succeed, but before you do that, at least figure out ,what lies beyond that finish line is something truly yours to achieve.