I DON’T WANT TO GIVE UP ON MY GOALS

Well, it has been a long time since I wanted to be a famous writer. Yes, I have a few 100 blogs, a published book, couple of other published stories – but I am far from where I imagined myself to be at this age. Is that bad that I couldn’t make it? No, I won’t judge myself. There have been reasons and there have been responsibilities that kept me from focusing on my goals.

When I was in my 20’s, I used to maintain a document wherein every year end I would write down what all I achieved in the last year and what are my goals for the next year. Then I would break them into monthly goals and plan on how to achieve them. I haven’t done this since last 8-10 years at least. I didn’t have the time or the energy to put in so much effort towards my personal goals. I just let life happen to me.

With the responsibilities of parents, a child, running the house, getting that promotion, meeting those impossible deadlines; I forgot to keep track of how many books I want to read, how many kgs I want to shed, how many stories I want to write, how many dance performances I want to do, how many paintings I want to make. It all takes a backseat.

Recently, I went through a serious bout of depression. It was only because one fine day I woke up and after some petty arguments with my family members, I realized that I am not myself anymore. I have become this subdued person who is ready to take any sort of nonsense from others just to keep peace at home. And when I thought about my own goals, there were none – absolutely zero. It was a huge setback to me to realize that I have come so far in life to discover that there is nothing that I have for myself.

That realization woke me up, as if I was in some dream world – and just got aware of some of the harsh realities. And now when I wanted to have my own goals and start working on them, I realized that I had no confidence at all. I couldn’t think straight and I didn’t trust my talents anymore. I cried, I blamed myself and everybody around me, I fought with myself and my husband, I got nightmares and woke up sweating on my bed, I got really anxious and had palpitations as if my life is over and it was a complete waste.

And finally my husband said, if you know that you are overthinking everything – then force yourself to take an action. After arguing with him for hours together, I did take an action; it was a simple action to just go for shopping for myself at 9 pm in Dehradun (the city sleeps before 9). That action led to something else and a chain reaction took over me. I started taking actions one after the other. That helped me build myself again.

I am not there yet. I am not as confident as I used to be. I am still not sure what my personal goals are, where do I want to land up a few years from now. But I know that even though my goals might change, I might not resonate with them now – I need to have them always. I cannot afford give up on my own goals in life – no matter what kind of responsibilities I am loaded with at work and at home.

I knew this at some level of conscience, still I ignored this aspect of life for almost a decade. And now it feels like I have to build myself up from scratch. I hope my readers find some inspiration in this article and never make this mistake in life.

AM I RESTING OR BEING LAZY?

The statement, “if we take a day off, the world will not stop turning on its axis” suits perfectly for those who work day and night and are sincere to the tasks they are assigned to. But for those who are lazy, this statement is nothing but an excuse only.

An article on Psychology Today says, “A person is being lazy if he is able to carry out some activity that he ought to carry out, but is disinclined to do so because of the effort involved. Instead, he carries out the activity perfunctorily; or engages in some other, less strenuous or less boring activity; or remains idle. In short, he is being lazy if his motivation to spare himself effort trumps his motivation to do the right or expected thing.”

The Lazy Me:

Looking at my life, I found areas where I have been lazy in the name of resting. Procrastination being my favourite word in life, I kept postponing that are important and do what are easier and pleasurable to do. That’s the very meaning of Procrastination – “an act of delaying or putting off tasks until the last minute, or past their deadline“. I am working on those areas to discipline myself on a day to day basis.

Rajnandini continues to poke me about the book I have been longing to publish for over a year or so. We decided on the title of the book and the content of the book even yet, I am procrastinating or being lazy to do the selection of articles and rewriting them. Usually, I work hard as the deadline come closer and finish it. But in this case, there’s no deadline so I am all the more lazy about it.

My spiritual father, Dr. Rev. Niranjan James asked me to make a routine of what I have to do and what I have to accomplish in a day’s time. He also told me to “forgive all my past failures, forget all my past successes and start afresh“.

The Busy Me:

I have always tried to follow the Bible verse which says, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom“, I have mentioned about it many times. My focus has always been on the first part of the verse; I have tried to do everything that my hands have found to do and I was blessed. But today, I was trying to think about the last part of the verse which says, when we are dead we won’t be able to WORK, PLAN and ACQUIRE KNOWLEDGE as well as GAIN WISDOM. So those who are not lazy they don’t take rest for granted but they rest for regaining their strength to work, plan, acquire knowledge and gain wisdom. Whereas, those who are lazy they continue to excuse themselves away from working, planning and acquiring knowledge.

I believe God has given us different talents, assigned us tasks and brought many people in our lives for a special purpose. Unless we rest our body, mind and soul in God and understand the call, we will be running errands like all others, participating in the rat race without a specific aim in life. It will never be fulfilling, trust me.

Resting Vs. Laziness

We need to know that God gives importance to Rest which we see in the Bible. In the beginning, God was busy creating for six days; then He rested. He rested not because He was tired but He wanted to set an example for the mankind to follow. When we don’t take rest, we disobey as it was a command to rest. The Ten Commandments mentioned in the Bible declares the seventh day of the week or the Saturday as Sabbath or a day of rest to be observed religiously without failure. It was a law. The command to rest was not an excuse to be lazy but to get to the Sabbath there’s six days of hard work before it. And there’re six more days of hard labour following the rest day. Thus, rest is a state which prepares an individual for future activities and our efficiency.

But what about laziness?

The Bible says, “The way of the lazy man is like a hedge of thorns”. Laziness leads to devastation (poverty). Rest is restorative; laziness drains energy. Sometimes we think we are resting when in reality we are draining our energy. Let’s not confuse rest with the excuses of a lazy person. That’s why the Bible warns us again and again about laziness.

Where I stand today, – a man busy with a lot of ideas for the Lord in heaven and the fellow beings around me? Am I working on all those ideas day and night with proper rests in between or I am procrastinating and lazing, thinking there’s still time? Am I making the most of every opportunity, knowing the days are evil or taking the word rest as an excuse and for granted?

I am working on it? Are you?

Stay blessed!!!

(Understand REST by clicking HERE)

BANE OR BOON

I sit, and I type
Byte by Byte
My processor is slow
I got nothing to show

My memory is full
I’m trying to pull
Motherboard is outdated
All content is R rated

I empty Drive D
But all I can see
Are files I don’t need
It’s slowing my speed

My head has no space.
Says my Database
I look for the source code
to share some of the load

My heart is a brute
I have to reboot
I run such a risk
of burning my disc

I am run over by Malware.
I wish someone would care
Please unzip my smiles
Add happy chip to my files

If life had a solution
like screen resolution
Just change some setting
and see what you’re getting

I search, and I browse
For my perfect spouse
But this firewall
I should uninstall

The bugs are still here.
The cookies gimme scare
And Captcha onslaught
prove I’m no robot

I need my domain
Plus unique username
A name to standout
on Insta and Hangout

View live in the Zoom
And Friends in chatroom
All smileys no smile
Can’t open this file

Turn to PDF to DOC
And close that CAPSLOCK
No emotions are spared
By emoticon software

This new virtual land
of bandwidth broadband
I wait and watch while life is buffering
Can’t say if its fun or am I suffering

HONESTY CAN STAND ONLY ON THE PEDESTAL OF COURAGE

The question put to me today is ‘Do I have the courage to be honest?”

Oh not at all! I am the wrong person to kick start the week about ‘courage to be honest’. See, the thing is that I from my very childhood have been a people pleaser. I mean it mattered a lot to me to what others think about me. I have gone to great lengths to avoid conflict, to not rock the boat. Overlooked a lot many things to avoid argument. 

But over the years I have realized that going along with other’s plans even when we don’t agree with it usually back fires on us. Keeping quite at the start to avoid a conflict eventually leads us into a bigger mess.

For a long time, I have been part of the cultural committee which plans all big celebrations in our society. There have been times when a deco idea or dance idea doesn’t feel right but we still go ahead with it because the person who is suggesting it is very enthusiastic and we don’t want to break their heart. But then eventually when on the D Day there is a debacle or things don’t work out the whole team is blamed, we all become the fall guys. At that moment I realized that its better to be brutally honest right at the start.

Imagine you are in a meeting and your boss suggests an idea. You think it’s an absolutely bogus idea. Do you have the guts to say that to your boss? I have gone along with ideas suggested by my seniors or super seniors which I didn’t really like. And the end result is that if things don’t work out it’s the team which takes the beating and the senior gets away scot free. Why? Because we agreed with it. 

So in my personal opinion in the long run its better to be honest and tell the person why we thing that what he or she is suggesting wont work. I still don’t do it with brutal honesty. I put it forward with a little diplomacy but hey… I am trying…

What happens if your being honest could have an adverse effect on you or your work? Do you still have the courage to be honest? 

Here I will give you an example of my husband. He owns a start up company. Now imagine the scenario. Their company really needed a certification from a government organization. He applied for it and after the due process he was called to the office to collect the letter. The guy in charge said the letter is ready you may take it and also hinted that he was excepting an X amount as bribe… The bribe amount was not very huge and the value of that letter to the company was much greater. My hubby returned the letter to him and said that he will not pay a single paisa and walked out of the room. I can only imagine the dumbfounded expressions on the officer’s face. Not that’s courage to be honest. He put a lot of future contracts in line by refusing to pay but he didn’t regret it.

Eventually that courage paid off, our company did get that letter eventually and we benefitted from that also.

So I guess being honest and pointing out something wrong does feel like a negative thing to do at that time but in the long run it is better for our own sanity, our work and our relationships. And I feel when it comes to honesty, courage is required by both the teller and the listener.

AM I A GOOD KEEPER OF THE PEARLS PLACED ON MY PALMS?

Have you seen pearls or diamonds or some very costly stones or jewellery? Do you keep them on a table or juggle them in your hands? Do you not try to keep them safely and securely in a safe or locker? 

Remember, the same way, our emotions and feelings are like those precious pearls which we need to handle or preserve or keep with utmost care and security. 

In 2013, I attended a 10 days Training program on Trauma Counselling. The trainer addressed us and warned us about one thing which impacted me a lot and I treasured that statement in my heart every time someone shares her/his heart with me.  She said, “Whatever we all are going to share here and pour out our hearts talking about our vulnerabilities, our emotions should not go out of these four walls of this room. Treat everyone’s emotions and vulnerable moments as precious pearls“. And I truly am very careful when someone shares his or her heart with me afterwards. 

A few years ago one of my friends who is a doctor and was in Kolkata at that time requested me if I can counsel a lady suffering from schizophrenia. I was 30 years old then and the lady was 42-45 years old. She was rich being a wife of a businessman. His driver used to come and pick me up from my place to her house and after the counselling, I was dropped back at my place.  

What I wanted to point out here is, why my doctor friend asked me, a man with no counselling background to counsel her own client? I asked her out of nervousness and fear, “What made you ask me to do that favour for you? I have no such degree or license to counsel a schizophrenic patient“. 

Because the way you helped me in my times of trouble, the way you made me feel happy and comforted when I was so discouraged, I believe you can do the same with my client. So I have trust in you and your attribute to make people feel important and comfortable.” She responded and that made me understand why I should sharpen my skills further to help many others in future. 

Lynn Carol Miller, at the University of Southern California, explored the psychological profiles of openers by creating a questionnaire to assess the degree to which people are openers.

According to her –

If you endorse the statements below, then you’re likely to be an opener:

  1. People frequently tell me about themselves.

  2. I’ve been told that I’m a good listener.

  3. I’m very accepting of others.

  4. People trust me with their secrets.

  5. I easily get people to “open up.”

  6. People feel relaxed around me.

  7. I enjoy listening to people.

  8. I’m sympathetic to people’s problems.

  9. I encourage people to tell me how they are feeling.

  10. I can keep people talking about themselves.

I see myself as an Opener after I went through the list given above explaining the character traits of the same. At my workplace, I always complain jokingly, “Am I a temple bell that whoever comes rings it? Why me always? Why do you people always try to go through me?” And I know the answers to those WHYs – because I never send anyone with a NO, instead, I make them feel comfortable. I am very approachable to all. That’s my nature which I further tried to sharpen it more for the benefit of the people around me.  

Sadly, it takes just one human folly that turns an Opener into a Gossiper. If we read the number fourth point about maintaining secrecy or confidentiality, we understand what I am trying to say. The attribute of keeping people’s secret distinguishes an Opener from a gossiper or a slanderer. Once people mistrust a person with the way he or she handles their secrets, all other 9 points become immaterial or useless to them afterwards. So an Opener’s credibility is based on that number fourth attribute before everything else. 

THREE things, I always remember when someone opens up to me: 
1. I make them feel Comfortable with me by not judging them.
2. I Listen to them with utmost Care by giving Importance to whatever they say. 
3. I maintain Confidentiality by preserving their emotions, vulnerabilities as precious pearls. 

I try my level best to be a good keeper of those precious pearls which they place in my palms with so much trust and belief. 

How do you manage? 

Keep pondering and keep reading the articles of this week…

Stay Blessed!

ARE YOU A PRISONER?

Imagine you are in a jail and you are desperate to get out of it. You try really hard. You cry. You beg. You scream. You hit your fists on bars. You shake the bars with all your energy. But nothing happens. Nobody comes to help you. Nobody even acknowledges your presence. You see people around you but they are totally oblivious to your situation. You are exhausted. You can smell urine around yourself. The jail is filthy. You don’t even want to eat at a horrible place like this. However, there is no help that you are getting.

Doesn’t it sound like a worst nightmare?

What if I tell you that in spite of your desperation, you haven’t chosen to walk around the jail. You haven’t chosen to look to your left and right. If you do, you will see that there are wide open doors in left and right side of the walls and if you take those openings and go out – you will be free forever.

Sounds crazy, isn’t it?

What if I tell you that maybe you did look at the openings on the left and right side walls but you ignored them. You know it very well that path will lead you to freedom but you don’t take it because you are scared of dealing with freedom. The jail, however filthy, is comfortable for you. And worst case is that your misery and crying is dear to you. You don’t want to give that up. You blame the whole world for imprisoning you but you still don’t find any jailors who could free you from this jail.

Well. You must be thinking what sort of weird story is this? Why would anybody want to be imprisoned in a filthy place and live a life of misery?

Let me tell you that a lot of people do. They imprison themselves. They are their own jailors. They love to live in misery and self-pity. Not willing to see the doors that lead them to freedom. The doors are just there, wide open. All they have to do is to take steps towards it and feel the fresh air.

Still not believing me?

Have you ever been chronically sad or depressed or anxious or stressed? Might be because some relationship that is not working, relationship with spouse, parents, siblings, and friends. Stressed because there is hell lot of work and you are not able cope with work-life balance. Sad because your in-laws aren’t treating you well. Anxious because you feel horribly guilty of the mistakes that you have done. Worried because your kids are growing up and have their freedom – you know that they can get into trouble. Grieving because your loved one died unexpectedly. Angry because a colleague is being a complete idiot and doesn’t listen to you. Jealous because your neighbors go on an international vacation twice a year and you are not able to save enough money for even one. Frustrated because even when you are putting in a lot of hard work, your management or customer doesn’t appreciate you or the money is not flowing into your business.

There are plenty of such situations in and around us. Frankly I have been guilty of almost all the above scenarios one time or the other. These feelings are the prison. They are filthy and you are always desperate to get out of them. You blame the rest of the world for imprisoning you. But the reality is that you are your own jailor. You have imprisoned yourself and you expect rest of the world to get punished. You are the only one getting punished by suffering. All you have to do is to look around you and you will find a door wide open, just walk out. World will be beautiful again.

This blog is inspired by the book “Maybe you should talk to someone”

HAVE I EVER INSPIRED ANYBODY?

I once affirmed to myself that I wanted to be a possibility of Inspiration. What did I mean when I affirmed so? I meant that I want people to be their best when they are with me in whatever relationship I have with them. This was quite a huge aspiration. But this aspiration continues to drive me every single day. 

So did I succeed? That is really difficult to judge because I cannot really say that somebody in my life is becoming a better person because of me. That would be just unfair to everybody to take away the credit of somebody else’s evolution journey. I can know this only when people come and tell me that something that I did helped them in their own journey to be the better version of themselves. 

Inspiring my readers

I have received a lot of feedback from my readers’ time and again about my articles helped them in their particular situations. Even if any article that I have written makes somebody change their mindset from negative to positive – I consider it a huge success. 

Recently, one of my ex-colleagues called me after reading one of my articles. I spoke to her after really a long time and she mentioned how the lockdown was wearing her out and reading this just changed the her perspective. And now she was willing to explore this dimension a lot more along with me. The article was about something that I learnt while reading an amazing book. The article was this one.

Even this particular article that I got quite a few texts and calls on was this one.

There have been many such instances where people called me or texted me specially to let me know that my article made a difference to them.

Inspiring my students

I was a teacher for a very short span of time. I took up some volunteering work when I was working with GE Healthcare. As part of this work, a group of volunteers taught basic computers and spoken English to 11th and 12th standard underprivileged kids. These kids were studying in Kannada medium government schools and most of them could not communicate basic English and teaching them computers was mainly a language issue. 

I took up the challenge of teaching them English communication and stumbled upon one big obstacle. These kids didn’t know English and I didn’t know Kannada. So, there was absolutely no medium for us to communicate at all. Still I took up the challenge believing that this would probably be my path to learn Kannada as well. So I struck a deal with them – they teach me Kannada and I would teach them English. Initially, it was quite a challenge mainly because I am not at all a quick learner of languages. But we figured out ways to communicate with each other. 

We discovered and played different mixed language games. We learnt together in this journey and I really grew close to this class of not more than 10 students. So close that they started sharing the stories of their teenage crushes with me. 

One of the girl’s parents decided to get her married to a guy 10 years older to her when she just turned 18. I was furious because this girl was really smart and was quite determined to take up an Accountant’s job.

We volunteers met her parents and surprisingly after a few meetings with them – we convinced them to wait for at least 2 more years and give her a chance to pursue a job. This girl and her friends were in tears of gratitude when her marriage was called off. 

This whole episode turned out to be great inspiration for many other volunteers. This wasn’t just my job, we were a team of 4 volunteers that was working determinedly for the future of those kids. And I believe this was probably the biggest difference I have made at the community level. 

Inspiring the people I work with

When I was interviewed for an entry into the current organization that I work with – I was asked a very deep question by one of the very senior members of the panel. He asked me “Apart from your technical skills, what value can you bring to our team?” And I replied “I will make sure that my colleagues work at the best of their ability”. I replied so because I was coming from a team that was highly toxic and was a reason for me to move on. Later on this senior member became a good buddy and he told me that this particular answer made them sure of their decision to hire me. 

It is extremely important to have a calm atmosphere at work. As a junior developer, I have worked in toxic environment for a few years and I realize how crushing that workload is. I decided when I grow up to be in senior position, I will do my best to keep toxicity out. 

The person who tends to respond to a situation instead of react to it – makes the best out of the situation no matter how negative it is. I have seniors who inspire me in this act of responding wisely always. When my team performs at their best and are full of appreciation for each other and me – I know that responding to the situation wisely works always. 

Inspiring my family

There is a lot that I want to write in this regard. I have seen my family members transform from very negative to very positive when I have been practicing responding to them instead of reacting. 

I know my behavior has inspired them to change their mindset. Unfortunately, I cannot allow myself to write more on this area without giving out the details of their lives. So, I will keep at it. 

Possibility of being an inspiration

As a child if somebody would have asked – how can you become an inspiration for people? I probably would have replied that I need to be somebody like Indira Gandhi or APJ Abdul Kalam, maybe I will have to do some great acts and have my biography published or maybe I will have to write many books. 

But now I realize, that all of us inspire each other in many different ways. It is a continuous transaction that happens in our lives with every other soul. A simple act of kindness or compassion can trigger a wave of inspiration in somebody. I get inspired by many and I do inspire many. We just need to notice these little things in life. 

One need not be a VIP to be an inspiration. A mere common person of this world is capable of inspiring by the little acts of humanity.