Posts tagged self-improvement

What Travel Has Taught Me – About the World and Myself

This is not one of those articles where I suggest you leave everything and travel and quote Robert Frost that the road less traveled is the one I took.

Why do so many people change their careers and lifestyles to travel? Sometimes even indefinitely?

Do they travel to see new places and eat different food? Or to fill their passports with stamps? Or to be able to say at their deathbed that they have seen the world?

Could be. But it is more than that.

Let me take you through what travel has taught me.

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Traveling Through Thailand – And Realizing What Was Wrong With Me.

Thailand was my first completely solo trip.

I pre-landed in Bangkok at 5 AM. In the on-arrival visa line, a friendly attendant helped me skip the line and processed my visa faster. The airport was far out of the city and having decided that I would take a public transport, I climbed into an about-to-crumble bus to go into the city.   

In the three-hour-long bus ride, as long as the flight from Bengaluru to Bangkok, a lady passenger helped to hold my bag and told me that I was beautiful as I managed to not-faint in the crowded aisle. The bus crawled a kilometer in almost an hour. Due to my skepticism of being able to explain the situation to the angry and rude lady ticket collector and the bus driver, I didn’t leave the bus to hop into a taxi. She kept buying weird looking dumplings for him from the street while I craved and my stomach growled. 

The bus ride wasn’t enough torture that I had to climb four levels of steep, dingy stairs with my suitcase to reach my just-enough, single, air-conditioned room.

Tired, hungry, and lonely, I went down for food and ate a mediocre Pad Thai. Having grabbed a few cold water bottles from the fridge downstairs, I climbed back up again. Sudden rudeness and a hint of racism coupled with the sleep deprivation and loneliness made me sleep for almost 5 hours.

It wasn’t just that.

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Why is the Process of Learning More Important Than the Result

 

When we wake up, how many of us think of what we want to do today? Almost all of us.

How many of us think of improving at what we do? Not many.

The presentation should be ready at 2. The code should get deployed. Author’s biography should come under every article. Let’s put in a hack. Grammarly shows that this pronoun doesn’t make any sense in the sentence. I don’t understand why but let’s get rid of it. Spaghetti over boiled again. But at least we have dinner.

As Josh Waitzkin, the chess and Tai Chi Push hands world champion, said in his book The Art of Learning, “We focus so much on the outcome that the intrinsic details of the learning process are lost on us.”

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An Open Letter to My Mind

Dear Mind, 

I am your human. 

How have you been lately?

We communicate — sorry, I listen to your orders — throughout the day. But I wanted to talk to you about a few things.

I want to start by thanking you.

You make me enjoy life. You have trained me to be alert, passionate, independent, healthy, and hard-working. You need me to be a good daughter and a loving sister and an understanding girlfriend and a reliable friend. 

Now let’s come to the main point.

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How to Make a Bad Day Better

 

Some days are harder than others. Everything seems to fall apart on these days.

I could not sleep last night. At 2:50 am, the hour of deepest sleep, I woke up when an intruding mosquito buzzed in my ear. I went to the bathroom, came back, drank some water, and lied down. I was drowsy and it hurt to keep my eyes open. But the first step to sleep was killing the mosquito. After many desperate attempts, I took its life away.

Meanwhile, the brain kept at its activity. The ideas of my mother about me (unmarried, jobless, homeless) encroached me from all directions. If I think about me the way she does, I start believing that my life is doomed. Then I judged the nooks and corners of my romantic relationship.

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Friedrich Nietzsche: How to Choose Between Ambition and Happiness?

After an hour or two of the daily evening walk, I tell myself that I should go back home and read. But sometimes, I want to keep walking with my friend. I want to sleep at 4 am after Netflixing zombie movies back to back. I want to wake up late and then write and let the day design its schedule.

But during those zombie movies, I keep looking at the watch. The MacBook throws the battery low warning, but I don’t plug in the charger as I want the computer to sleep its natural course. And then we can sleep too. But then we stay awake some more and talk about our lives.

As every hour passes by, I realize that my waking up time is getting shifted by one hour and that I had to sleep early and start the next day with a fresh run in the morning. But I continue the conversation as that was what I wanted to do at that moment.

And the next day, when I start writing at 11, I brood over the valuable time that I lost by getting up late.

Also Read: How to Make a Schedule – To Live and Work Better

 

Why can’t we do what we want to do when we want to do?

Why do we think about the future  —  the most uncertain and unpredictable   and not about now?

What do we want out of life?

Why do we wait for Sundays for lunch with our family? 

Why do we make a house and live in it and go to the office and come back to do the same all over again?

 How do we choose between ambition and happiness?

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15 Things We Care Too Much About

In today’s noisy world, choosing what to care about is essential.

Our brain neurons still keep sending messages even when we want to stop thinking. Sometimes, we cannot control our thoughts.

We hang out with our friends on a Wednesday evening or a Saturday night. We listen to music or Netflix and drink — to take our mind off things we do not want to think about, anymore.

Imagine — if we could be in that chill phase all the time. If we could block the redundant noise.

We think about two kinds of things:

  1. The ones that are important
  2. And the ones that are not

Unimportant things cloud our mind like the winter fog. Except that they never clear out even when the sun shines out our window.

Let us look at some of the fog that can be lifted.

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20 Life Lessons We Can Learn From Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin needs no introduction.

We all have heard about him, but I am not sure how much we really know about his life and activities.

A thinker, inventor, scientist, publisher, writer, diplomat, advisory, soldier, founder of hospitals and libraries, designer of bills, member of the assembly, and more.

You might have skimmed through these words without actually reading them.

I do the same when I read about someone great on Wikipedia — they always seem to have accomplished so much in different areas.

But when you read about their personal life, sometimes their autobiography, you understand that they were also humans like us. You start relating to them.

Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography was one such read.

His disciplines and manners — if practiced — can shake up the current world and our restless generations.

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Why Starting Over is the Answer Sometimes and How to Do it?

I went to Chile in July 2016, and going to South America was the best decision of my life. That vibrant continent added an additional layer to my personality. It was like discovering rosemary suddenly.

I learned so much in those nine months that I would not have in many years in my home country India.

I started speaking a new language — Spanish, made friends from all over the world, taught English, lived with complete strangers from different continents, ended up loving them, experienced the Latin American culture closely, traveled to places that I had no idea existed, and met people who continue to love me.

The Spanish accent in Orange is the New Black was the initial pull but there is a difference between the fictional world and the real one. In fiction, everything looks glamorous. In reality, it is not.

Except that it was.

South America gave me a new energy and a new outlook.

I did not know all of this when I left. Then why did I leave?

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What is Mindfulness and How to Achieve it?

What is mindfulness? What can we learn from Buddha’s mindfulness to live a better modern day, practical life?

The meditation, Yoga, and spirituality guru Osho said that when you are not thinking about the past or future or now contains all the time and there is no then — when a cuckoo calling, a train passing, a dog barking, is all you hear — when this is all and there is no that — when the world here is your whole reality and there is no there — you are in the state of sammasati or mindfulness.

You are absolutely present. Then you reflect and engage in reality without any distraction or expectation.

Mindfulness or awareness is to know what you are doing and why you are doing it.

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30 Life Lessons I Learned in My 20’s

I thought this day would never come, but I am six days away from turning 30. I would have to change both the digits of my age in all the pre-filled internet forms.

A twenty-something me was working for software and finance giants, drinking way too much, vomiting often in pubs and on Karnataka – Tamil Nadu highways, angry with family, running after people, quitting work, roaming around the world on my own when my mother thought I was at home or traveling with a friend, falling in love too many times, living in with someone knowing the relationship was not going anywhere and feeling shattered when the obvious happened, cooking in restaurants and my own kitchen for hours, leaving for Italy to attend a culinary course, dragging strangers to dance floors in pubs and bars, stranded at South American borders, taking lifts from random people on streets at random times, and saying things that should have been kept private; I was unsure of what I wanted.

Also Read: Why should you let your life flow – Lessons inspired from Rainer Maria Rilke.

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