Tag Archives: inspiration

Those Little Wins

Life is a series of ups and downs, successes and failures, heart throbs and heart breaks & hits and misses. We are elated when we are joyful and depressed when we are sad. But somehow, it is those times that we are down that we tend to remember the most. When we are down, we seem to find more and more problems around us. Beyond a point, this downward mood swing becomes unbearable. Why is that so? Why is it easy to become happy but very difficult to come out of depression? Why do we remember the bad things more instead of counting our blessings?

Don’t worry, you are not to blame. The monkey in your head is the culprit. Meet Mr Monkey, the little guy who helps govern your brain. You would’ve encountered him in your life – remember those animal instincts you had? It wasn’t you, it was this monkey saving your ass back then. You were just a dumb human. One of my favorite bloggers says that a relative of this monkey is the one behind procrastination as well, but that’s another post.

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This monkey has a heightened sensitivity towards unpleasant stuff. And when you are a highly sensitive person, this reaction by this monkey to negative stimuli is even higher. This is called the “negative bias” of the brain. Monkey was an ancestor of ours. As we evolved, this monkey’s survival depended upon avoiding danger. Hence the brain is wired up in such a way that it responds to negative stimuli better than positive ones. So what can we do about this? We cannot change the way we are wired. How the heck are we going to control an invisible monkey? At the same time we do not want to end up in a depressed state all the time as well.

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Now that you have agreed that the monkey is to blame, how do you make this information to your advantage? Monkeys love fruits. Kick these monkeys in their asses and point them towards the low hanging fruits in the tree. They will go and get it. The key to overcoming the negative bias is by grabbing the low hanging fruits that come your way. It is by getting those small wins in your day today life. People say that success is a habit. What they actually mean is that success is a series of small wins. A negative bias towards life makes us focus on the bad stuff more than the good ones. The only way out of it is to grab those small wins.

Exercised today? You became a tad more healthy. A small win right there. Solved a puzzle? You worked your brain muscles. Another small win right there. Completed a trivial task that was pending for a long time? A small win, yet a much needed one. Wrote a blog? You took time out of your schedule to indulge on your hobbies. This blog post for me is a small win too. The thing about these small wins is that they are easy to come by. So once the monkey grabs these low hanging fruits, dopamine gets secreted in your brain. It spurs you ahead, to take on the more difficult tasks of the day. The monkey can climb higher and higher and grab the harder fruits. Wins are addictive, just like depressing stuff are addictive as well, but in a more positive way. One win leads you to another. Success begets success. Your friends start rooting for you. Your family starts becoming supportive. The entire world conspires to make your dream come true. And that’s how you win. May the force be with you.

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How To Deal With The Downward Mood Swing

You must have observe how a single defining negative thought or emotion, rapidly snowballs into a huge depressing emotion. Within a matter of two hours, you would go from  being Happy to being Grumpy.

happy to grumpy

Negativity, similar to madness, is like gravity. All it needs is a push. It doesn’t matter if it is career related or home related or friends related. One problem leads you to see all other problems with a magnifying glass and soon you will be crushed under a whole bunch of them. You would feel that you are suffering from way too many problems at that particular moment – you have always been suffering from them, but everything gets magnified at this juncture. Now if you are a 20 something, add quarter-life crisis to that. Congratulations, you are now a complete wreck.

FML

So how does one come out of such a situation. Most of these situations are caused by small small things. They could ve been easily avoided. Some of them are massive – you need someone else’s material help, otherwise you are FUBAR. What i am about to suggest is for 90% of the cases  of downward mood swings.

Common wisdom suggests that when you are feeling down, you must go to your friends and speak your heart out. Your friends would encourage you and will help you bounce back. Lets rubbish all that – if you are down, shut the fuck up. Start your maun vrath (fast of silence). Do not speak to anyone – that includes facebook, twitter and whatsapp. close your doors and sit in silence for an hour. Brood over this silence and how your life sucks. Stop being an attention seeker and going to friends for consolation. You have no right to spread this negativity around in such a happy world.

Now what happens is beautiful – you realize that the basic nature of every human is to be happy and not miserable. When you are miserable and you go to your friends for venting, you are basically leaking your emotional energy and theirs as well. Once you arrest that, you realize that there is no one who will help you better than yourself. You do not need someone else’s hand to pull you out of the mess you yourself jumped into. All you need to do is standup and get out of that place. There is only a limit of negativity someone can bear. When you stop connection with the outside world, this negativity becomes too much, that you snap. You decide, in that fraction of a second, to fuck everything and become happy again. no matter what. no matter who says what. screw society. screw family. screw relationships. No one can stop you from being happy. You can go to friends for counsel at this stage, but not when you are depressed. Else, whatever they say will fall on deaf ears.

You will  be out of the mess in less than two hours – the same amount of time it took you to get into the depression. If you speak to your friends, you will be cajoled and coaxed. That’s what you have been doing all your life. Coming out of this mess will take around two days. And then on the third day, a new mess will pull you in and you are back to square one. Following this is a very difficult thing – it took me quite sometime to get out of messes on my own. I have always seen that the moment i confess to a friend, it gets far far worse. I start liking the feeling of attention I get and keep wallowing in self pity. Stop that cycle. Get your ass off the ground and keep walking. Only you alone can help yourself.

drown quote

Try it and let me know if it works!! I would love to see, if an insight i have gained through experience works with everyone else as well.

sad to happy

One Word To Rule Them All

I recently came across a book summary for One Word that will Change Your Life. It expounded a pretty interesting concept where you have to choose a word and let it guide you for the rest of your life. Choosing a word for the year will have far reaching effects than making resolutions. For example, say we choose the word “love”, we would use it as a guide to everything we do. Show some love to your near and dear ones. Feel their love. Fall in love.  Again. And again. And again. Love what you do, your work. Love what you eat. Love doing your dishes. Love the excel sheet you are going to send out to your boss, shower it with as much love you can and make it awesome.

The possibilities are amazing. It is not exactly a new year resolution, but something much more powerful than that. Something much more subtle yet effective. So I decided to choose a word for myself. In that effort, I tried crowd-sourcing my word from a private group where i shared this concept with them. I came across a lot of words,

  • Love
  • Discipline
  • Rest
  • Integrity
  • Smile
  • Finish
  • Kindness
  • Joy
  • Patience
  • Welcome
  • Relax
  • Open
  • Focus
  • Try
  • Increase
  • Enjoy
  • Observe
  • Progress
  • Happy
  • Change
  • Peace
  • Start
  • Surrender
  • More

For me i have been breaking my head over these words

Now & Beautiful

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But decided I need to live in the NOW more than i need to make life beautiful! I might be starting to sound philosophical, but in the NOW i will be able to relish the beauty. In the beauty, i will forget about time. So NOW will be my word for the next few months. I plan to stick post-it notes saying NOW in as many places i can. And a huge chart saying NOW in my living room. I plan to make the pic below my desktop background. Everywhere, everything i do, I will let this word will guide me.

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What is your word for the year?

Edit: Ashutosh, one of my best friends, gave me another insight – Think about it, isnt this what Japa is all about? You meditate on a word – On / Ram /Hreem/ Shreem / Kleem etc and see that word in every aspect of your life. You soon start experiencing that word and before long, you are that word. And when that word is a God of your choice, then you become a God yourself. Aham Brahmasmi. Tat tvam asi.

16 different articles you should read

The first step in developing your idea muscle is to read. James Altucher advises us to read a chapter from 4 different topics a day. Since i do not have 4 different books currently and A Feast for Crows has been eating my free time. So instead, here are the links i plan to read this week. Suggest me some on similar lines, would be grateful to you.

Inspiration
The Habits of Successful People: Thinking in Ratios
How A YouTube Sensation Beat Justin Timberlake And The Music Industry
God’s Wounded Ego
5 Unique Ways to Ensure a Positive 2014

Science
How Ambiguity Messes with our brains Brain Breakthrough: Scientists know what you would do
Scientific American’s Top 10 Science Stories of 2013
The 10 Best Science Stories of 2013
Business
GenX wants to blend, not balance, work and life: Chip Espinoza How BlackBerry Blew It
The Miner’s Daughter

A Tale of Two Drugs

General
Logical Fallacies and the Art of Debate
Facebook Feminism, Like It or Not
Apple, America and a Squeezed Middle Class
How I Hacked My Brain with Adderall