Life And The Boy

And the boy set out
On the wayward paths of life
Eyes brimming with dreams
Heart cherishing ambitions
Challenging fate with the smile on his lips
On the first bump he bounced back up
"Ah, I didn't see that stone
No matter, I will not fall again"
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Not So Mainstream Motivators

Recall the last time you were faced with a task that you just wanted to give up on and you needed just one reason to continue? What did you fall back on? Was it some famous motivational quote? Did you sit down and think why you need to do it? Or you are always so inspired that you don’t need motivation? (I am jealous of you then!)

No, I am not some world class authority on motivation, in fact, I belong to the normal class of people who get huge doses of motivation that slides off them like water off a duck’s feathers. I thought I would talk about some weird motivators I have come across (not necessarily my strategy)

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To ego or not?

Few weeks back I had written about ‘Self satisfying adages’ where I spoke about how people use some well-known proverbs to justify their ends and means. My intention was mostly about poking fun at people who hide behind all these adages, however, a few replies to that post opened my eyes to the other aspect that somehow eluded me while writing that post – Ego! People pointed out that often, these adages are used by people when their ego is hurt. While that does make sense, it got me thinking…

Ego is actually one of the things that has a bad reputation just because people use them as missiles. ‘It’s your ego talking!’ or ‘If you were not so egoistic, you would not be argumentative’ or ‘Your huge ego is making a normal situation difficult’ and the best (or worst depending on if you are the speaker or receiver) ‘Your ego is bigger than you’. (I never get that, I mean, how do you go around measuring the ego and then how do you measure your actual worth for comparison?)

Problems arise when ‘ego’ is freely exchanged with ‘arrogance’.

Mukti De Chaudhari

The problem arises when ‘ego’ is freely exchanged with ‘arrogance’. By definition, ego actually means a person’s idea of his self-worth or importance. It does not mean arrogance or pigheadedness or superiority complex as some people assume. And a good idea of one’s self-worth is not at all a bad thing. At a basic level ego is something necessary, it is something a person should have. A level higher, a self-respecting person is someone we all appreciate and adore.

Ego is a problem when it crosses some boundaries and when the idea of a person’s self-worth blinds him to how others feel and to the fact that they are human and make mistakes. Of course, it is difficult to deal with such people who can’t accept that they might be mistaken or wrong. Basically, someone with a superiority complex. But how often does a person who can’t accept his own mistake, accuse the other person of being egoistic? Imagine two people at loggerheads, both not giving way to the other’s point. Finally, one accuses the other of being egoistic. And there’s the ego missile launched!

If you read my post about adages, you might see how I pity ‘excuses’ as they have been branded in a negative light thoroughly. I feel ‘ego’ has also suffered the same fate. It is so badly misjudged that it no longer comes in the list of things we consider for ‘Too much of a good thing can be bad’. No, ego has been branded all bad and we even have teachers preaching how to get rid of ego!

Personally, I feel some ego is necessary, some pride is necessary so that we know what we are worth. Accepting our mistakes and being kind to other’s feelings are qualities to be developed independently. Not developing either a superiority or inferiority complex is also independent. And accusing someone of being egoistic just because they don’t agree to you or refuse to back down in face of your convictions doesn’t make you a better person, it just makes you better at name-calling. Maybe next time, try to understand the other person and try some other route to get your point across (or understand theirs?) before jumping to conclusions.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments!

Race to checkout

The mini-market near my flat has one huge disadvantage – people don’t understand the concept of getting in a line. At any given time, there are at least 2 parallel lines. You might plonk down your stuff on the counter while waiting for the cashier to bill the person in front – and hey; someone else just moves beside you and plonks their stuff down too. And if you are stunned into speechlessness like I was the first couple of times; then it’s a long wait for you.

So, when I had just a bar of dish-wash soap to check out, I also decided to try edging out this guy standing there with a whole bunch of stuff and ignored him and put the soap on the counter. This guy took a look at the soap and said – “oh you have just one stuff to buy? Then go ahead, I have already been waiting for so long, might as well wait a little more.” I was so embarrassed I could barely thank him.

What is it with us, the race to finishing line? Do we get some kind of extra credit if we finish buying our stuff and get out before someone else? How much time does it really save? A few minutes saved by rushing about vs a few peaceful minutes, what’s more important? I think over all the times that I have made ‘tsk-tsk’ noises just because someone in front of me was taking too long. Then I think of the times that was done to me and I felt like turning around and telling the other person to order online if they don’t have the patience to wait in a line. What changes when I take one step ahead to bill my purchases?

I used to be patient in queues – I used to pass my time watching kids bother their parents (yeah, at supermarkets there’s no cute way to put it, they do bother their parents!); observing newly married couples try to understand each other’s shopping styles; hear middle-aged people judge others and so on. But over time, observing all the impatience and race around me has influenced me too and now I also just try to get the shortest line; maybe try to edge out someone else (“because hey, even I can also do it!”). I had got so used to accepting that edging out someone else was normal, I forgot how unfair it is and how it feels to be on the receiving end.

I know it’s a busy world and standing in queues is not exactly what makes a day brighter but maybe we can skip on the unkindness? Yes, some people are terribly slow but mostly not on purpose. The next time you ‘tsk-tsk’ someone; remember the time you held up a line (everybody has one time). The next time you try to edge out someone; try to remember how it felt to have it done to you. (And of course when it is done to you, don’t go mute like I did the first time – that’s when you let out your frustration. Just kidding. Or not.) Because it’s not just about the queues you see. It’s about everything else in life that we just race through and don’t even look left or right. More about that later!

What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.

Does more technology mean dumber us?

A few days back when I was exchanging numbers with someone, I was asked – “oh, this looks like a Mumbai area Vodafone number..?” This person was able to recognise the first few digits and remembered what that meant! And that took me back to the times of the curly wire landline phones. It was a great time when every home had a landline, the rates were beginning to drop which obviously meant a lot of calls. But you had to dial every number. So eventually you had the regular numbers memorised. Mobiles were introduced and since not everyone had them, we learned many mobiles numbers too.

Fast forward to today’s world where those landlines are fading away, mobiles numbers are backed up to our Google accounts eliminating the need to ever write them down on those tiny phone books, (I haven’t seen a phone book in ages, do they even make them anymore?) which means people normally have only one number memorised – their own. And more often than not, nowadays we just save our own number too. That’s all great but when your mobile is stolen, how do you call your family/friends to let them know what happened? Continue reading “Does more technology mean dumber us?”

Is gossiping all bad?

Having spent two years in a girls hostel, there’s one thing I know for sure – Girls gossip less than boys! Yes, that’s true. In spite of girls being accused of being the gossip mongers in the world, I found that we used to get most news about the happenings in the girls’ hostel  – from boys! And frankly, they were a much more reliable source of information.

Now that I have made it clear that I am not trying to clear the bad name of gossiping for feminist reasons, let’s proceed! If you are one of those people who feel very strongly against gossiping, please read on, hopefully, you might be more lenient in future. If you already adore gossiping, take it with a pinch of salt, I am sure you don’t need any more incentive!

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Lessons on Morals

When we were kids, we were taught that we learned dos and don’ts, ethics, morals etc from our parents, family and teachers. Maybe we learned a little by observing others around us. Maybe a little by experiences.

Nowadays it seems people learn things from TV series, celebrities. Maybe more so than they learn at home? Yes, I know these things play the role of influencers, but is it rational to expect that everyone around us should display ideal behaviour just so that us poor impressionable beings don’t get influenced by any negative ideas?

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Rigidity In Viewpoints

The fever that gripped the country is finally toning down and people are coming to terms with results. In case you are confused, I am referring to the elections and not IPL.

When I say people are coming to terms with the results, I mean that people are going from badmouthing the politicians to badmouthing the voters of the country. And that’s normal, I suppose. It does not matter what the results are, no person can understand how could the other person vote differently. And that’s not just Indians, that’s true all over the world. Last US elections saw almost equal number of people voting either way and the debate continues to this day about which half had it right.

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Ideal Traits

Some personality traits have always been held up as ideal or the preferred traits in people. For example, right from childhood, we have been told to display leadership qualities. Or to strive to achieve a bubbly, extroverted personality. Entrepreneurs have always been held on a high pedestal as compared to salaried people. There are countless people offering advice on how to achieve these qualities. (Providing this advice is also a rampant business idea.)

But, if everyone starts their own business, who would work for them? So many seminars preach how important it is to be different and start a unique business. They demean salaried people saying they are servants who don’t dare to dream big and are basically idiots.

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Language – The Bridge??

I always thought that languages were meant to bridge barriers, they were the means to ease communication between people. I thought if two individuals shared a common language, they would find it natural to start talking to each other. And hence, people who are comfortable in English would talk to each other.

But I recently realised that there are a lot of other factors at play. I had the misfortune to make a 35 hr long journey with a total of 13 hr layover (in installments), so I got the chance to observe this language dynamic.

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