Leave it all behind

You always hear clichés that you should trust your gut feeling, following your heart and blah blah . I’m turning 21 the next week and I realized that whatever I did during these years was normal stuff. Stuff that doesn’t make you feel alive. Always following a schedule. Study, eat, sleep, friends. The brain, a strong control freak wanting to have everything planned out. Everything seemed repetitive and monotonous until that day.
I get a call one morning from a friend. He  says: “I’m climbing the Himalayas next month!  Are you in or out?” Subconsciously I blurted out a Yes. Next thing I know is my brain freaking out. There can be no place for such randomness. How was I to manage my college, tests,  gym sessions and other stuff. It is not easy to just disappear off the grid for a fortnight just because your heart wants you to travel. You can’t just leave everything because that inner voice tells you to travel, right? There will come a time when everything will fall into place and you can travel without worrying about you boss or spouse or teacher or family or friends, right?
NO. Unfortunately you know it too. The time will never be perfect. You’ll either be too old or too young or too tired or too broke. I had a chance to try out a thing I always wanted. I trusted that the voice in me was strong enough to guide me through all the randomness. So today, I managed to schedule everything properly and I’m on my way to the Himalayas. Yes, a fifteen day break right in the middle of the working year. You never know what opportunities may open up once you trust your gut.
I’m currently on my way. Nothing is going as planned so far. There is so much randomness. I haven’t figured out where I’ll be staying tomorrow. I have the slightest idea where I’ll be eating my dinner tonight. I’m low on battery, without proper Internet access and can’t even pinpoint myself on a map. It’s 2 degrees and my fingers are freezing as I type every word. But there’s this adrenaline rush. For the first time in months I have nothing planned. This frenzy is amazing. I’m in love. In love with this chaos. After all life is a big bucket list and getting things done is the way, I believe, to truly make the most out of it.

Gone girl

It is hard to believe that a mere permutation of certain words read somewhere can make you scream out that this is what you’ve always wanted to say to the world. I came across such  an excerpt while reading the work of Gillian Flynn. And it was at this moment I knew that I was in love with that text.

‘Our society was utterly, ruinously derivative (although the word derivative as a criticism is itself derivative). We were the first human beings who would never see anything for the first time. We stare at the wonders of the world, dull eyed underwhelmed. Mona Lisa, the Pyramids, the Empire State Building. Jungle animals on attack, ancient icebergs collapsing, volcanoes erupting. I can’t recall a single amazing thing I have seen firsthand that I didn’t immediately reference to a movie or TV show. A fucking commercial. You know the awful singsong of the blase: Seeeen it. I’ve literally seen it all, and the worst thing, the thing that makes me want to blow my brains out, is: The secondhand experience is always better. The image is crisper, the view is keener, the camera angle and the soundtrack manipulate my emotions in a way reality can’t anymore. I don’t know that we are actually human at this point, those of us who are like most of us,  who grew up with TV and movies and now the Internet. If we are betrayed, we know the words to say;when a loved one dies, we know the words to say. If we want to play the stud or the smart-ass or the fool, we know the words to say. We all are working from the same dog-eared script. It’s very difficult era in which to be a person, just a real, actual person instead of a collection of personality traits selected from an endless automat of characters. And if all of us are play-acting, there can be no such thing as a soul mate, because we dont have genuine souls.’

Reading new things always holds the possibility amazing you to unbelievable extents and this was possibly one of those moments for me.

College taught me everything!

58081564_thumbnail-1080x675.jpgFor those of you hoping to land upon a secretive name of a place that would learn you everything you’ve always wanted to, there’s no such place! Perhaps conveying sarcasm over text is not my forte. Before you start labeling me as the ‘rebel’ and start bashing me allow me a brief explanation.

OK, entering the last year I did at least learn a few things. I learnt how to stretch a two day project for a month, I learnt how to function high on coffee to complete a whole semester’s worth of work in a night. I learned how to live with kids my own age and quite frankly I do best living alone. For the most part, when I reflect on the years I spent, I realize it was a colossal waste of time. I remember nothing of what I crammed up during exams and tests. What I remember though are experiences and not study stuff.

Now, of course it is important to get that piece of paper that says that you graduated. Telling the world that you were among the elite, the ones to pass the system(Congratulations). I’ve come to realize that no one cares where you went unless its the Ivy league. I see people studying computers and then getting a bank job. I mean seriously? People who are too busy to socialize just because they have academic pressure!

I never did learn to advocate truth. Never did I learn to back myself up when the world was against me.I did not learn to stand up against a friend for his well being. I did not get to know how to make others happy. I did not get to know how to make me happy. It is because we often want answers to be handed to us. We look for these answers but in reality they can only be known by experiencing and not by studying about them. Things like reason and logic can be learnt. There is no place that will teach you Empathy, Maturity, Kindness, Loyalty etc. We often try to understand the bigger picture and in process leave out important things such as these.

My attitude may seem lackadaisical but I am genuinely concerned about learning the real essence of life. Looking back, I realize I am not my grades. I am the unique composition of what I learnt through the “school of life”. I’ll always consider it a better educator than college.

 

 

 

The perks of being a generalist.

People often use the terms “Generalist” and “Jack of all trades” interchangeably. It is a common myth that generalists are less superior than their specialist counterparts. Being a generalist,people tend to see you incapable of achieving the “expert” status. As a generalist it is quite easy to be  misquoted and misunderstood. However, The perks of being a generalist are far too great to be ignored.

Being a generalist is by no means an easy task. It may sound fun to be able to boast about the various skills that you possess but learning those can be equally tough. A true generalist has his skill set varied over different fields which enables him to create some value out of what he has learnt. Their skill set may make them seem unfocused but in true sense having a working knowledge of everything around you is a must. They tend to see the ‘bigger picture’ and are more likely to know how different things interconnect with each other. They are better suited to adapt in almost every situation imaginable. In today’s world, you need to constantly upgrade yourself to keep up with its pace. Generalists therefore have an upper hand in this matter.

If you are in a workplace, you will realize that many a times you have to fill in the shoes of others. You may have to hold the fort if the need be. This is when the generalist mindset kicks in. They are easy to grow and can potentially be doing multiple tasks while being good at the one thing that they were hired for. Specialists on the other hand cannot be used beyond their area of expertise.

Identifying myself as a generalist too, I have found that it is handy to be fluent in a few fields and at the same time having a dozen other skill sets. The choice between generalists and specialists is mainly opinion driven. It depends on what the situation asks out of people.

When seeking accuracy of predictions, it is better to turn to “those who know many little things, draw from an eclectic array of traditions, and accept ambiguity and contradictions.”- Phillip Tetlock.

 

 

Is it too late to change?

never-too-late-to-change.jpg

Yet another year is drawing to an end. Its almost time for the ‘New year, new me’ posts to be popping up. It is an accepted paradigm that we are to set new year resolutions.But do we actually live up to those resolutions? Do we ever look back and reflect as to how far we have come down the road?Do we check if we lived up to our previous years resolutions? Sadly the answer to most of the cases is no. Whatever be our goals, we need to keep improving ourselves.It is better to try changing and fail inthe process rather than being the same old self. After all, being stagnant is as good as being dead.

Life is an incessant journey and the only way to keep up with it is through constant change and upgradation of ourselves. It’s never too late to reinvent yourself. We fear change because we are genetically programmed to seek out comfort and the realm of the known. Changing is hard and unpredictable. The fear of unknown is what limits us,keeps us telling that the thing is not worth pursuing.If you give in to the fear of the unknown you will never be able to fully unlock your potential. More than failure, it is the fear of failure that scares us.

There will never come the perfect day in your life. You’ll always be too busy or too exhausted to learn something new. Stop waiting for the perfect moment to occur. There is no such thing. You have to go out and get ready to learn what you want. As often said, you are never to old to try something for the first time. It is your inner critic that you have to overcome. Once you are ready to step out of your comfort zone then the magic will happen. Remember life changing goals take monumental efforts and commitment from your side. Months even years will pass before you notice some visible change. In the process you’ll want to give up a hundred times but each time you’ll have to pick yourself up. You have to magnify the voice in your head that says you can do it!

Changing yourself will not be easy but it will be worth every second suffering for. No one can put limits on you except yourself. The only person to conquer is yourself. You think people change just because they desire it. It is not. You have to want to change yourself more than anything. You have to dedicate every fiber of your being for that cause. If at the age of 66 the Indian prime minister – Narendra Modi can show up and put in 18 hours of work daily, what is your excuse?

If you are tired ofbeing stuck in the same place, new year resolution is the easiest way to get you to focus. Greet the new year with a cheerful and improved attitude and take on little goals. Over the time cultivate a habit and then move onto working towards bigger goals. You’ll be surprised to find that all it take to change is having an optimistic outlook towards it. Never settle.

“You’re never as stuck as you think you are.”

 

 

Why you should be reading more often.

big_thumb_e4a21754cc0d4b0ee446f41df2b2ed9d.jpg“Between the pages of a book is a lovely place to be.”

When was the last time that you sat down in the company of a good book and spent the evening reading it? Most of us usually get around to watching television or surfing the Internet but are always busy to read a book. Usually, the only time we spare for reading is when we travel but nowadays phones have replaced books from our hands.

If your daily source of reading involves only tweets or facebook posts, you are missing out a lot. There is no better friend than a good book. A good reading habit should be cultivated right from the moment you learn to read. Chances are that you even tried taking it up as a hobby and got bored soon. It is the lack of your own imagination that failed to entertain you rather than the book. There is no systematic way to fall in love with books. It just happens. You just have to keep reading till you find a book that influences you more than anything else and once you find that book, your appetite for books will just snowball.

Books are uniquely portable magic. I have never met an avid reader who was content of reading. There is always craving for more. Reading has several benefits besides being fun and stimulating. The biggest advantage, I believe, is being able to experience situations which would rather be impossible in your life. The stronger your imagination, the better you immerse yourself into the books. Reading a book is like having a glimpse at your own mind ,getting entertained by being held captive by your own imagination. There is a certain sense of freedom in reading. Stepping away from the screens every once a while and immersing yourself into books may very well lead to your soul finding tranquility.

I often see people struggling with conversations. They want to be a part of it but are excluded just by the sheer lack of their vocabulary. Reading is one of the easiest way to improve your grammar and vocabulary. You would be engaging actively in conversations before you know it. You would be able to convey your ideas more fluently and clearly. After you read you will realize that there is so much more to the world than you think. Every book that you read is a lesson learned and every unread book is a lesson yet to come. If you dedicate some time  out of your busy schedule to reading , you will realize that it provides you with a detox from the ever rushing lifestyle. It will make you appreciate the finer things in life.

There is no limit to the amount of books available these days. Practically, you will never run out of things to read. There are millions of books varying in genres which could fill your appetite and the best part about it is that books are easily accessible wherever you may be. Cultivating the habit of regular reading may be challenging in the beginning but is worth every second spent.

“There is more treasure in books than all the pirates loot on treasure island”

 

The bond of friendship

Often the most precious prizes of life are disguised as something very elementary. Things that we perceive trivial may very well be the things that keep us happy. Sharing an inseparable bond of friendship with a person is one of the fundamental joy of life. We all share that bond with a special someone. That one person occupies a special place in our heart . A bond that makes us realize that we need a pal to stand by our side, a pal that completes us.

Yes, we have hundreds of friends all of them different from the previous one. We share our life’s journey with them. However, there is that special someone we know that will hold our hand through the entire journey. We know that whatever happens they will be there for us. A true friend is a blessing. We share a bond more stronger than anything in the universe. It is impossible to fathom the value of a true friend in our life. They act various roles throughout our  time together. Sometimes acting as a big brother or a sister and at times filling the role of a guide and a companion.

A true friendship helps you to pour your heart out to that person. You know that whatever be the odds, that person will always hold your back. You are most comfortable when you are around them. You  most do not have to pretend to be anyone because they accept you for who you are. When you are feeling down, you can count on them to cheer you up. Even everyday activities turn to special memories when you are with them. No geographical separation is large enough to shake the foundations of a true friendship.

I have to use this opportunity to thank that one person in my life who is very dear to me(I know you will recognize that this is meant for you when you read it).To a pair as flashy as Batman and Robin,as inseparable as Han and chewie,more compatible than Joey and Chandler and as crazy as Butch and Sundance.

Don’t drop tears

don’t have fear

I know the pain you can’t bear

that is why I am always near.

Every time you fall

I will be there to catch you

I will jump any all to save you and hold you.

I ask you to hold my hand

hold them so tight

and don’t feel sad

because I am going to take you

to the light.

When you look back in time and reflect, you will realize that the memories you make along the way are far more valuable than the material things of the world. If you are thinking about someone as this this goes on, take out the time to say a simple ‘thank you’ to your very special person.