AWARENESS

  


PART 3

AWARENESS

Each time someone asks me what would my advice be, to my 20-year-old self, I have one answer: ‘Make sure decisions in your life are made from a point of view of awareness and not ignorance.’

Everything I do online is to help people make better choices through making them more aware.

That’s what I tell my team as well. We aren’t creating content. We are creating awareness which helps people make better decisions.

Hope my takes on awareness in the succeeding pages will help you get there.

If everyone did it, it wouldn’t need to be said.

Not everyone exercises. Thus, it needs to be said more often.

Not everyone spends time with their team. Thus, the best leaders say it more often.

Not everyone spends time journaling. Thus, the wisest minds help us to get into the habit.

Everyone watches TV, it needn’t be said.

Everyone eats pizza, it needn’t be said.

Everyone has a smartphone, it needn’t be said, possess one.

The things that are the most important and the least practised, are the things that are said.

Doing the things that are the most important are the things that make you important.

Most of my decisions in life were not made because of my confidence in the decision.

They were made because of my awareness of the situation.

I wasn’t sure if dropping out of my PhD was a good decision.

I wasn’t sure if going to ISB was a good one either.

Nor was I sure if giving up a corporate job for a startup was right.

I wasn’t sure if they were the right decisions.

However, what I knew for sure was that I was not ready to continue with things as they were.

I knew I had to make those decisions because I had explored all other options.

I knew I had to make those decisions because I would regret not making them later.

I didn’t know whether those decisions were right or wrong.

However, not making those decisions despite being aware of all other options was certainly the wrong decision.

Decisions are not for decoding destinations.

Decisions are for deciphering the path you want to demonstrate next.

Our actions are driven by our feeling of what people feel about us!

This begs the question, whose life are we living?

We take actions to oblige others, when we don’t want to.

When we hate our day job and have set aside the weekend for a job we like, we instead go out with friends.

We go to parties when we are trying to set up a fixed bed-time.

We say yes more often just because we want people to feel good about us!

We thus end up feeling worse because of these tiny betrayals.

In a world filled with people living their lives for someone else, a truly well-lived life, is the one where we stay true to our own selves.

That’s difficult. But not an inch more difficult than living someone else’s life.

Emotional debt has killed more people than financial debt ever will.

The debt of never saying ‘I love you’ to your parents.

The debt of never apologizing to the friend who was always there for you.

The debt of never living for your happiness, because you were busy pleasing others.

Money goes and comes.

We might be in a position to pay those debts off one day.

However, the emotional debt that piles on, will continue to kill us within every single day we live!

If unsure between two choices, picking both is almost always the wrong response.

Do you want money or power?

Do you want an awesome college or an awesome course?

Should you go after the salary or after the brand?

You can say both.

And live a life of compromise or indecision.

Or you can choose the one which you want to do.

And succeed at it.

Or if you didn’t succeed, learn from the courage you displayed.

Picking one, teaches.

Picking both, confuses.

Being calm is a skill.

Being calm when you are ridiculed.

Being calm when you are left alone.

Being calm when you are questioned.

Not because they were right. Perhaps they were. Perhaps they were not.

Because, if you lose your calm, you compound the unpleasant further instead of correcting it.

Anyone can be calm when things are calm.

Being calm despite the storm is a powerful skill.

Just because someone carries it well doesn’t mean it isn’t heavy.

Everyone carries a heavy load.

Be kind to others.

Fear has led to more procrastination than laziness ever will.

You don’t procrastinate because you are lazy.

You procrastinate because you are scared.

What if I fail?

What if I succeed?

What if my life is sorted after this?

What if I have to face rejection?

You aren’t lazy. You simply aren’t ready to meet yourself on the other side.

Because you won’t have those reasons then, and living a fearless life isn’t what you are used to.

Finding security in your own achievement is the biggest achievement.

Someone younger than you is always going to be making more money than you.

That’s the truth.

However, no matter how much success you achieve, if you are still envious, are you truly successful?

The world despises satisfaction. I believe satisfaction is the most powerful skill to have.

Satisfaction in your journey.

Satisfaction in how far you’ve come.

Satisfaction in all the unwanted parts of you you’ve scooped out.

Satisfaction in your satisfaction!

Only when you are truly satisfied, will you enjoy your journey on the other mountains to climb. Otherwise, you’ll always be looking on the sides and overlooking the majestic view your own journey has!

Do not confuse calmness with a lack of fire.

Calmness doesn’t mean lack of drive.

It rather means having the power to turn that drive into actions.

Calm people have the most fire, because they use their courage to do bold things. Instead of using up that fire to speak.

The calm IS the fire.

Because that is the fire that brings ideas to execution.

Thoughts to action.

And tangents to tangibles.

Your self-talk determines your self-worth.

We are all the stories we tell ourselves.

I’m a loser! I can never wake up early! I can never get along with people!!

OR

If I take small steps, I can do it!

I am enough!

I have handled more difficult things in the past!

Every morning we wake up. To live a life that runs through our stories.

While looking at ourselves in the mirror.

We can change the story we tell ourselves.

Not making a decision because you are scared of making the wrong decision?

If you don’t move, you would’ve already made the wrong decision.

When you make a decision, you will either succeed. Or you won’t.

When you succeed, you will know how life works.

When you won’t, you will learn a life-altering lesson.

Neither of this will happen if you stay where you are.

Movement brings momentum.

Stagnation amplifies sadness.

The best mental model for taking tough decisions in life?

1. Ask yourself, ‘What’s the worst thing that can happen?’

2. Close your eyes and vividly imagine it happening.

3. Then ask, ‘Will I be okay – mentally, socially, financially, physically, emotionally?’

If yes, go for it.

Who is the person you would disappoint the most if you failed?

What if you free yourself from the fear of letting them down?

For most of us, it is our parents.

We live our life in fear of letting them down.

But we rarely have a conversation with them.

A conversation, to seek permission. To fail.

When the one person we are closest to tells us that they will continue to love us irrespective, we find the courage to face EVERYTHING!

Speak to them today.

And tell them, ‘I want to know that you will continue to love and respect me, even if I am in the worst position possible.’

They will never say no!

If you are not having fun while doing it, people will see through it.

You can see it everywhere – the vegetable vendor enjoying their work to the well-paid executive sad as hell in their work.

Happiness (and fun) is a language that communicates through your face and your eyes.

It isn’t imposed.

It speaks through who you are.

The one thing that you can never hide.

That is the best part about it. And the worst.

That thing that you still haven’t finished and you are mad at yourself for not doing so?

It is simply because it is not a priority.

You think you still have time.

The unfinished art piece isn’t a priority for you.

That letter to your mom isn’t a priority.

So isn’t perhaps cleaning your room.

You think you have the time. However, the only thing you don’t have is time!

Priorities get published prima facie.

Procrastination gets promoted to problems.

Most decisions in life are reversible.

But we assume they are set in stone.

The second we think decisions are reversible, we start giving serendipity a chance!

We can change most decisions once we make them.

Most of us do not think so, because we attach outcomes to the decisions.

If we start making decisions knowing they are reversible, we will discover how much lies ahead of us just because we decide and act.

Serendipity happens to those who are not married to the outcomes.

Instead, to the process.

Knowing when to say no and saying it is a life skill.

If you are authentic, if you are truly yourself all the time – you don’t have any competition!

No one can ever beat you at being you!

Love to sing? Great! No one, in ‘trying to be you while singing’ can ever beat you!

You love having a job instead of starting up? No one can ever beat you at enjoying your days at work!

Being yourself in a world that is chasing a yo-yo-ed version of everyone else, is the ultimate reward.

Money, success, worldly pleasures – everything follows the person who chooses to be who they are.

Money, success, worldly pleasures – everything but happiness follows the person who follows inauthenticity to make others happy.

Merely knowing what you need to do is not enough for you to do it!

Awareness is the start of the decision.

Not the end of it.

Step 1 is Awareness.

Step 2 is Execution.

Step 3 is Rinse and Repeat.

You won’t go anywhere if you are aware but don’t do anything about it.

You will go everywhere if you are aware and take actions from that awareness.

You know. You act. You learn. You know better. And you continue.

It is better to be busy in the chase of finding yourself instead of being busy in the rat race and never know yourself.

Six months back perhaps you were trying your hand at music, along with your day job.

You used to like it back then; however, you were more driven by lyrics.

So now you’ve become a songwriter for small bands, keeping your day job.

The world may call it a chase.

So be it.

It is still way better than slogging at doing something you hate.

Just because everyone else does the same.

Better to be lost for something worthwhile. Instead of getting lost in everything worthless.

Comparing yourself to others is the biggest waste of time.

Everyone had different beginnings.

Different temperaments of parents.

Totally different interests and hobbies.

Different ways parents perceived success.

Different teachers who taught you to fit in.

And you expect yourself to outsmart someone else.

It is an insult to your journey. And an insult to what all you have endured to get here.

If you truly want to compare, compare yourself to who you were yesterday.

We always have two choices: 

1. The easy one

2. The right one

It’s easy to delay the submission of your work. It’s the right thing to submit within timelines.

It’s easy to gossip about a colleague. It’s the right thing to understand their point of view.

It’s easy to do the easy thing. It’s never ever wrong to do the right thing.

You will be rewarded instantly for doing the easy thing.

You will be rewarded eventually for doing the right thing.

We aren’t addicted to things.

We are addicted to the emotions that these things generate!

That car, that phone, that social media scrolling, those likes on social media, that brand of clothes, that restaurant, that gimbal, that cuisine – all of these things are what they are: Things.

What we are addicted to, is how these things make us feel.

About ourselves.

It is not the things that are wrong.

It is our inability to understand our emotions.

Don’t go to college just looking for a job, a title, a company, a function, a role, a salary.

Go to college looking for yourself.

‘What am I good at?’

‘What makes me happy?’

The purpose of college is not just education. Education is easily and massively available on the internet.

The purpose of college is to figure out what you enjoy.

The purpose of college is to explore different things, instead of ‘settling down.’

The purpose of college is to find yourself!

Take online courses. Pick up internships. Learn how to network. Join online communities. Freelance. Run a startup. Travel solo.

Sit on as many chairs as you can before you find the one chair on which you feel you belong.

If you don’t ask, the answer is always no.

We always have choices.

No one’s ever stuck.

We are just scared to make those choices.

We always know what to do. We are scared of what our best friend might say. We are scared of what our neighbour might gossip. More than anything else, we are scared of failing, or even trying.

So, we stay where we are.

Safe is better than sorry.

Nope.

Risk is better than regret.

Those in your 20s

Look around you.

People are full of regret.

Understand what led to that regret.

That will tell you what not to do.

Those beyond their 20s

Look at you.

You are full of regret.

You know what led to that regret.

Tell others about it, so that they know what not to do.

Do not choose the person you learn from.

Choose what you learn from them.

The most dangerous people in the world are not the ones who are ignorant.

They are the ones who are ignorant but BELIEVE they are right!

You don’t control what the world says about you.

You control what YOU say when the world says something about you.

The world is invariably going to talk about you. This shouldn’t come as a surprise.

The consequences of those conversations are what you get to decide.

You get to control them.

Because how you respond, is how the world will treat you further on.

So, in a way, the way you respond to the world is the way you teach the world how to treat you.

Spent years doing something that you do not enjoy any more?

Think of the time that lies ahead, not of the time that lies in the past!

Whatever has happened, has happened.

For good or for bad, you cannot change it.

But the day you realize what you are doing doesn’t work for you any more, you have two options to choose from: 1. Continue with it, because ‘I have already spent so much time doing it’

2. Consider what lies ahead

Every single second you continue to hold on to the time gone by is a second away from shaping your future.

The past, however hard-working, shiny and glamorous it was, if it doesn’t hold relevance in your present, it makes zero sense to drag it into the future.

People will help you only when you have helped them understand how they can.

The best way to get help is to make it easier for people to help you.

The best way to make it easier for people to help you is by being specific.

The best way to be specific is to reflect upon where exactly you need help. And why?

The distance between ‘I could have’ and ‘I have’ is regret.

I could have continued with my PhD in the US, done well in it, despite the fact that it did not make me happy.

OR

I dropped my PhD, came back to India, didn’t know what to do next, took up a job at Rs 15,000 per month, and joined a five-year-old business school taking a loan of Rs 14 lakh.

But what I did get was the self-comfort of abandoning the comfort zone, and going after a decision just because I felt it might make me happy. And it did!

What I didn’t want to answer was the question, ‘What if you had dropped out of your PhD because it didn’t make you happy, and instead explored what could make you happy?’

What I didn’t want to answer was the question, ‘What if?’

The hardest thing in the world is telling yourself that it’s not hard at all.

It is not hard to wake up early.

It is not hard to make money.

It is not hard to approach strangers.

It is not hard to express love.

It is not hard to send cold emails.

It is not hard to ask for a raise.

It is not hard to ask questions.

It is not hard to voice your opinion.

What’s hard is convincing your mind that it is not hard.

That you can do it.

If you are scared of losing

You have already lost!

Loss is a result.

Fear is an input.

You don’t control your results.

You always control your inputs.

If you don’t try because you are scared of losing, you have put in motion the input of losing.

Once you have decided your input, you have already created your output. Of losing.

The most memorable moments of your life would have a sense of freedom attached to them.

That moment of passing your exams, because now you would be financially independent!

Those moments of awe in meditation, when you figured it was possible to break your inner patterns!

The moment of simply getting out of the city on your car or bike.

We remember the moments not for what they are.

We remember the moments for what they make us feel.

We remember the moments not for where they take place.

We remember the moments for where they take us within.

Instead of worrying about what might happen, anticipate what might happen.

Our power to imagine is both a strength and a weakness.

We may imagine what if we fail in our dream project.

Or we may imagine what if our dream project takes off with flying colours.

We can build our own prisons through our thoughts, or let go of all bars, break ceilings and imagine the best outcome possible.

Stack by stack.

Moment by moment.

Story by story.

Our power to imagine comes to haunt us. Or help us.

The one we pick. Is the one we live with.

Life is full of struggle.

There will be a struggle in trying to live with the world by its rules.

And there will be a struggle in trying to build your own world and your own rules.

You get to choose your struggle.

. . .

A corporate job can be a great start to a career.

1. Teaches you the value of structure, processes and systems.

2. Teaches you how small individual actions come together to form a bigger whole.

3. Gives you stability early on.

You do not become cool by shitting on corporate jobs.

. . .

Do not mistake starting slow as starting small.

. . .

You are not the only one confused.

You are not the only one unsure.

You are not the only one struggling.

You are not dumb, inadequate, incapable.

Everyone is struggling.

Everyone is figuring it out.

Don’t be harsh on yourself.

. . .

When it comes to money, more information doesn’t make people more aware.

It makes them more scared.

. . .

Being grateful in life for what you have is precious.

As adults, the single biggest hurdle to learning is pride!

I’m a grown-up now. I know everything!

Most adults repeat this to themselves in some shape and form, thus living in a prison.

It’s okay to not know!

It’s okay to accept things you don’t know!!

It’s more than okay to learn even after you’ve become an adult!!!

Because those who learn, irrespective of their age, are the ones who continue to grow.

The greatest illusion is that life should be perfect!

People who are enjoying their lives are at a competitive advantage.

Imagine having all the money you want and being miserable!

Imagine living life on your own terms and enjoying it like no one else :) Joy is the ultimate advantage. Everything else just follows.

If you didn’t say it earlier, don’t say it during your exit interview.

Instead of giving vent to your anger at the time of leaving the company, it always helps to have a conversation with your management when you are a part of it.

The best companies get built by candid conversations, instead of irreversible irritations at the time of your exit.

A meaningful job need not be one that completely consumes your whole life.

You may love your job.

And find impeccable joy in it.

Yet if it leaves you with zero or little space for yourself, it is not the one!

It’s important to have your space.

It’s super important to not let your job encroach upon your life.

And it is respectful of yourself to respect those boundaries.

To find meaning in your job is beautiful. Your job being the only meaning of life is scary.

To not have a plan and be okay with it is the best plan. It will take everything to get to that point.

We are all told, ‘you gotta have a plan’.

If Plan A doesn’t work, then Plan B.

If Plan B doesn’t work, then Plan C.

So on and so forth.

‘Always gotta have a plan.’

However, imagine yourself being asked, ‘Where do you see yourself five years from now?’ and you reply, ‘I do not know.

And I am OK with that.’

THAT right there is liberating.

It is freedom.

That is being at peace with where you are in life, with who you are in life.

If you are comfortable dancing in public without alcohol or drugs, you are at peace with who you are.

If you feel high without being high,

If you are intoxicated by joy instead of substances, If you love to express yourself without numbing your senses, You are at a place of untouchable joy and peace.

The only intake you need is more self-belief that you are just perfect as you are!

The easiest way to learn from mistakes is to read books.

The next option is to commit them yourself.

Books are a great way to learn from mistakes someone else has made over their lifetime!

Why would you want to commit them again?

If given a choice between a Rs 300 book plus a couple of hours reading it or 10 years of making mistakes, what would you choose?

You can get anything back in life but not time.

And the best way to collapse the timeline is by deriving lessons from others’ timelines and making them your own.

Resisting the obvious is a great way to change your orbit. If you do what everyone else will do, you will end up like everyone else.

Here’s how I resist the obvious.

While making a decision, I ask myself, ‘What would most people do?’

Then I consider alternate options.

This one question has led to so many opportunities and different directions than I could have imagined had I opted for the obvious route.

Only when you go against the flow will you find your own flow.

Complaining has never ever led someone to a solution.

Complaining amplifies the problem.

It justifies why it exists.

Makes us feel the victim, the person subject to the miseries created by the problem.

All of this robs you of your power. And tricks you into believing that you don’t have any.

If you had to choose just one habit for the rest of your life, let it be of not complaining. And see how effortlessly you reach solutions.

The real problem was never the real problem. The real problem was the compound interest of complaining.

Working out teaches you discipline and patience like few other things do.

You can’t buy a fit body.

You can’t get fit overnight.

You can’t cheat to get to a fit body.

You can’t ride on someone else to get a fit body.

You can’t blame anybody for not being fit.

Neither can you ask someone to get fit on your behalf.

It is only going to happen if you show up every day.

And be patient.

And that’s a valuable lesson.

For life!

The most dangerous people are those who run away from change.

They are also the most energy sucking.

Don’t ever fool yourself to believe you deserve to be where you are in life.

Entitlement is a trap.

It makes us look into the mirror and believe we have worked hard to be where we are. That we deserve it.

The truth is, we don’t deserve it. We are just plain lucky.

Lucky that we were born and raised in a family that gave us love, food, care, shelter, education, value. An upbringing.

Because of which we sit on opportunities that we take for granted.

And few outside of our world will get to experience even for a second of their lives.

They work far harder than we ever will.

Are most likely smarter than we are.

Gratitude. Not entitlement.

How you treat someone who has nothing to offer defines your value system.

Your values don’t help you grow.

But in times of shit, they hold you together.

You will get what you seek.

Not what you desire.

Not what you dream.

What you seek. Fervently.

Do you seek validation? Or do you seek contentment?

Do you seek money and loneliness? Or do you seek money and happiness?

Do you seek social status? Or do you wish to be not known for what you do?

We may show to the world that we seek something different from what we truly seek.

Yet hand on heart, we always know what we truly seek.

And the universe has a beautiful system of landing what you ask for, on your plate.

The question is, are we seeking things that make us seek even more or seek less?





THANKS FOR READING EPIC BEING!





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