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Excerpt

“……he is at that point of his illness, where only a blurry line remains between his reality and hallucinations. The voices have become frequent too, and so is her presence. It’s been three years since he started imagining her. Three years since he fell in love with her. A lot has changed since then, so much that he has forgotten about his existence before she came to his life. He has forgotten his reality, his identity; his life, a concoction of dreams and imaginations now.

In her, he now sees the disapprovals of the society. That’s why he hates her now. He cannot believe how could this person not support him in his aspirations. He is disappointed, but more devastated. The daily fights are weighing down on their relationship. His love for her was on the verge of shattering into pieces again, he is not sure if he would be able to put them together this time.

He doesn’t know whom to turn to now. His friends think he is going crazy. No one bothers to put up with his made up unrealistic stories. They were emphatic before, but now everyone seems to be ghosting him. They don’t answer his phone calls. They make up excuses whenever he invites them over. His parents do not understand why he is sad. What is it that he is unhappy about?”

 

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The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck- a book review

“The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck”, is a debut book by a popular New York based blogger, Mark Manson. The author is extremely knowledgeable, witty, and has a great sense of humour. No doubt, his debut has gained so much popularity in such a short time. It was also in the list of most read books of 2017.

This is a self-help book. However, by calling it just so will be a grave injustice. What sets it apart from other books of this genre is its narration style. As already written on its front cover, this book is about a counterintuitive approach to life. The writing is crisp, hilarious, and yet brutally honest. At times you would both want to laugh out loud and hang your head in shame at its on point sarcasm. It is a light read and doesn’t require the reader to have an analytical mind. Mark successfully explains all the concept in the book with live examples, thus making it easier for the reader to grasp and remember.

The book teaches you to prioritize your life. To value only the things that matter to you, and to discard the rest. As Mark writes, “In my life, I have given a fuck about many people and many things. I have also not given a fuck about many people and many things. And like the road not taken, it was the fucks not given that made all the difference”.

The best thing I liked about this book is how it doesn’t preaches about positivity and motivation. It doesn’t try to sell you the old “feel-good-about-yourself” shit. It teaches you to be honest. It tells you it is okay to be mediocre, to be in deep shit, as long as you accept it, take responsibility for it, and make honest efforts to come out of it.

Anyone who wants to change their life will find this book extremely helpful, refreshing, and effective. And, you don’t necessarily have to be a self-help book lover. Read this book to use your fucks wisely (both literally and figuratively).

4/5

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About crazy races

I saw him coming from the opposite direction. A boy of about eleven-twelve years, maybe. He was running bare foot at a great speed, his lanky built swaying rhythmically. He was out of breathe. Although, there was a distance of few steps between us, I could see he was perspiring. He sat down, with his legs extended out freely, on the side of the road. His head was shining under the light of the lamp post. Perhaps, he was playing with his friends and running for fun.

I thought it would be fun to challenged him to a race. I was really hoping he would agree and make me do my warm up. He laughed at first. When he realized I was serious, he refused politely. He got up, and sat on the road side iron bar with his legs dangling. He said he needs to go to the market. I was disappointed, but I didn’t show it to him.

I had hardly walked a few steps, when I saw another young boy walking towards us. His loose t-shirt and oversized sleepers made him look tiny for his age. It turned out these two were friends and they’re heading to the market together. “She is challenging us for a race”, the bare foot informed him. The tiny one looked at me, as if for confirmation. When I nodded my head, he agreed.

“From where to where?”, he asked with an amused look. I made them walk to a huge speed breaker, and asked them if they would cover a distance of 1km. Afteral, my intention was to run till the ground, where I was going for my workout. They said they are running late and can do only a short distance. So, we settled for a 400 m race. But, our ideas of 400 m were different from each other. After an elaborated discussion, we successfully decided on a finish line. The tiny one picked his oversized sleepers in his hands, and we all took our positions.

On the count of three, we broke into a race. It was exciting. The last time I ran a race was probably in school. After a few minutes, they were running ahead of me. It was funny how they turned their heads every other minute to check if I was still running. Perhaps, they thought I would give up. I am not running for the last 4 month for nothing, fellas. A grown up lady racing with two young boys in the middle of the road, was quite a sight!

I was running with full concentration. I was taking bigger strides, fully opening my hips. One foot and then another. Suddenly, I was Monica Geller and was desperate to win. I swear, I was very close to running past them, when a gang dogs suddenly decided to join us. Barking and jumping, they scared the shit out of me. Why did they have to come and ruin the race? I was almost winning!

No regrets, however. The boys had a good laugh. And, I got a good story to write about.

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A little note on self-motivation

When was in my early twenties, everything that could go wrong was going wrong. Career graph wasn’t satisfactory, love life was a big joke, there was a huge (I thought so at that time) family issue, I thought I was letting everybody down, and was on the verge of ruining my life with constant comparison with my peers. I wasn’t depressed, was just demotivated about life in general.

I was disappointed in myself. I was scared. I didn’t know how to get back on my feet. I was ashamed to ask for help from anyone. I was a ‘judgement fearing‘ person back then, and others’ opinion of me mattered a lot. Luckily, a few warm people were around, who took the responsibility of putting me on the right track. I remember spending hours on the phone with them, with words of encouragement flowing continuously from the other side. It’s only with their help that I decided to take charge of my life again.

I started spending more time with myself. I would spend hours in front of the mirror and say positive affirmations out loud. I would write motivational notes to myself. I gave up doing things that didn’t make me happy. I started doing activities that I love and enjoy. I learned to say ‘no’ to people that didn’t matter. I surrounded myself with kind and positive people, who would lift me up. Slowly, I started seeing good changes in my life.

However, it wasn’t easy to motivate myself constantly everyday. Motivation doesn’t always appear when you look for it. Some days you feel like conquering the world. And, on some, you cannot even drag yourself out of the bed. It tends to die out soon, and you have to refuel it again and again. As rightly said by Zig Ziglar,People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.”

Let me enlist here a few simple strategy that I do daily to keep myself motivated and happy.

Practice Gratitude

This one tops my list. I do this unfailingly every day. If you think you cannot follow many strategies, than just follow this one. I assure you, it will make things right instantly. I practice it daily, by making a list of 10 things that I am grateful for. You can also write down these things in a journal. You can mail it to yourself or to a friend. You can say these things out loud. You can share this list with a friend or husband or anyone in the family. Now, these things needn’t be always significant like a successful recruitment or clearing of exams. It can be something normal as a cup of coffee, a breezy night, clean clothes to wear. It can also be things we take for granted, for example a good healthy body or having enough ration in your kitchen or 24 hours water and electricity supply.

Believe in your journey

We humans tend to compare ourselves with our peers all the time. My friend is getting a job, so should I. My neighbor has bought a house, I should too. Someone else’s achievement or growth jolt us from our happiness and we start to grieve. Especially, in the age of social media where everyone’s life is up for showcase, we compare our life all the time. What we forget is that our journey is different, our goals are different, and our struggles are different. There is no point being sad if someone is getting married, when what you want for yourself is an around the world in 80 days trip. It is absolutely absurd feeling depressed over a friend’s career growth when you desperately want to be a sit-at-home mom.

This is my second most favourite strategy. To believe in my journey and my goals. I believe that I know what’s best for me more than anyone else. I don’t let someone else’s journey crush my plans and destinations. Instead, I only take happiness and motivation from others’ success stories, and apply to fuel my own.

Set small goals

It’s great to set bigger goals and targets, but they could be daunting and scary at the same time. Biggest target makes you procastinate. Let me site a personal example here. For a long time I have harboured this secret desire of participating in a marathon. I was not a runner. I was not even a physically active person, yet I wanted to run a marathon. It was a big task. It looked impossible to achieve it. So, I never tried. Then this year, I changed my thought process, and set a tiny goal. I told myself that I would just running. I did. I am running for the last four months. I feel more motivated now. I am even planning to do my first serious 5k within a month. After completion a couple of successful 5ks, I will move on to 10ks. And, soon one day, maybe a marathon. This made me realize that tiny goals are easier to start with. Chunking down of a big task into a lots of small tasks makes it more attainable.

Surround yourself with positive people

This one is my favourite. I surround myself with positive people. People who encourage me to give my best efforts in everything. People who pat my back for even the tiniest of achievements. People who talk, think, and act positively. These people not only congratulate me on my success, but also help me look at the brighter side during adversities. Because sometimes, we need someone else to believe in us to help us believe in ourselves.

Keeping a positive circle of people changes your attitude towards life. It makes you more happy, productive, and peaceful. It helps you in dealing with stress and frustration. If you are positive, then you are always in a good frame of mind. You are more focused in your life, you fear less and develop a go-getter attitude.

Step out

Another miraculous strategy is to step out of your house. Just go out for a walk. Go out to meet someone or buy yourself a cup of coffee. Go out for a quick run around the block. Go to the beach. Go to see the mountains. Do whatever, but just go out and connect with nature. There’s only a few things which could motivate as much as nature does. We are genetically inclined to find nature soothing and helpful. Our environment helps us to become more aware and mindful. Nature’s beauty and energy can have a profound effect upon our senses. We feel rejuvenated, more alive, and more capable of achieving our dreams.

Motivation doesn’t come in one size fits all. It works differently for everyone. What works for me, may not work for you. Some may find motivation in books. Others may find it in movies and musics. I have just enlisted what works for me. There are millions of other ways out there. So, find out what sails your boat. Carpe Diem!

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My second

On 18th of July, I woke up to a mail from Women’s Web. It said I was selected as the author of the month. I was in a sweet slumber when I read it, so I dozed off again, keeping my phone aside.

I do keep dreaming about weird stuff all the time. It’s normal. I sleep on it to make myself realize that all dreams are not necessarily true. And, later, I forget about it for good. So, I had completely forgotten about this mail until I sat down with my first cup of coffee. That’s when I usually check my mails. Corporate jobs taught me to check them first thing in the morning. And somehow, the habit stuck.

It was just the usual mails that morning- bank statements, LinkedIn notifications, interview calls, Coursera reminders, WordPress notifications, Event reminders, Brain picking posts, and so on. As I was browsing through all these, I again saw the mail from Women’s Web.

I read it again. Author of the month? Yeah, right! There was even a questionnaire attached. They were asking me to send them the answers at the earliest. I was absolutely sure that the mail came by mistake, and they would send an apology mail by afternoon. I didn’t even see the attached questionnaire. I was so sure it wasn’t for me. I finished my coffee, and went about with my daily work.

After lunch, I received another email from them. Aaha, here comes the apology, I thought as soon as I saw the notification. I was only a tiny bit right. It was an apology mail, yes. But, for sending an old questionnaire. What? They apologized for wasting my time, and requested me to write the answers again.

This time, I forwarded the mail to my fiancé. He was elated. He checked their website and sent me a screenshot to prove that it’s not some kind of joke. They had indeed put up my name under the ‘Author of the month’ section. His only complaint was that they didn’t put my picture. He then asked me to start writing my answers.

I opened the mail again. I read it slowly this time, and let the news sink in. A feeling of immense happiness and gratitude engulfed me. My heart was all warm, and I was thinking what have I done to achieve this acknowledgement.

My mind wandered off to that June afternoon, two years ago, when I had written a long message to Paromita baa, whose writings I adore. I don’t remember the message in detail. I just remember that she wrote back beautifully, telling me to write until I write better. It took me almost 6 months to follow her advice.

Little did I know then that in two years I will be writing answers for an interview. I downloaded the new questionnaire, made myself a cup of strong coffee, and sat down to write the answers. You can read it here, my second interview in two months.