Perpetual Perplexing Inertia

There must be a lot of people who suffer from inertia; yours truly included. At the mid way point of my life, I am yet to come up with a game plan that effectively mitigates it. Actually, that is not quite right. A game plan is there but this inertia is so advanced and developed that it requires another game plan to execute it! Ultimately, there has to be genuine reason that resonates so perfectly that it can truly displace deep rooted inertia. The reason itself could be the joyously uncomplicated which is intriguingly perplexing. I can recall many such occurrences. It strikes inertia when it least expects it. Ultimately, it depends many aspect of a person’s state of existence. Dislodging this hideous mass has a lot to do with timing. The trigger will only resonate if it cuts across multiple dimensions of pain point accumulating enough momentum to go over the tipping point. That’s the “shock” point; a jolt if you like to the entire system that shakes it all up.

Recently I have injured my right deltoid. Predictably, for a middle aged man it is a rather slow road to recovery. This has been a perfect reason to support and sustain my inertia that has stopped getting to gym. Injured right deltoid does not mean cardio work cannot be achieved. It does not mean glutes cannot be worked. It does not mean that back and the core cannot be worked. Naturally, it took me until today when I finally encountered that moment when the trigger resonated! I got into the Lotus after almost a fortnight of not driving it. As I fell into the seat, strapped myself with the harnesses, I could not help feel that the seat have shrunk ever so slightly… That was it…, that was jolt that resonated. All because I had watched Fiona Bruce interview Lewis Hamilton where Lewis said 1kg extra weight is roughly 0.05 seconds per lap. Over 66 laps that’s almost 3.3 seconds. Now even I know that 3.3 seconds, in motorsport; especially in F1 terms is huge. Being a massive F1 fan and racing enthusiast that was a jolt I needed. End result was that the trigger resonated and inertia dislodged.

That’s a frightening prospect. Imagine the progress humanity would make without this perpetual perplexing inertia.



Infinitesimally Small Corridor of Shadows and Lights

How does it feel to finally have turned that corner? That elusive corner, that frustrating milestone that tantalisingly lay just out of reach. You could almost touch it with your fingertips. It’s so close that you feel it breathing on your face and yet somehow it remains out of grasp. Sheer bloodymindedness and endless gusto gets you there one day. All the pieces begin to fall into place. You almost cannot believe your fortune. Years and years of sediments of frustration and bad luck washes away and life begins to take take turn in the right direction. You motor along meeting the right people, being at the right time and right place. You find yourself saying the right thing. And “it” just happens. Those fortunate enough to experience this will tell you how ridiculously this flip side feels.  You get the right job, you meet the right girl/boy, the complications almost sort themselves out… and yet there lingers something eerie in the deepest and darkest part of your mind.

This happens to a lot of people. Smokers who have successfully quit, alcoholics who have stayed away from the bottle, addicts who have lost that craving… and yet occasionally a sliver of unconquered desire/lust/temptation (call it what you will) lures you out through the infinitesimally small corridor of shadows and lights. At times it is a slow and torturous process that one has to live through. It feels like sand slipping through fingers. Or perhaps a faint fragrance snaking through the surrounding air. Eventually it begins to tighten its slithery grip, dragging you through its slimy chambers and stimulating those hedonistic tentacles of your cells along the way.

That is the time you need to be strong. Stronger than you have ever been. A resolve of that is tougher that steel. Because once it has you out of lights and back into its shadows, it will be that much harder to rise up again. Don’t be fooled. March forward!

Moving on

And so the day came when I quit work. It was on the cards for some time but for one reason or another it took time to make that decision. This post isn’t so much about quitting my work but quitting in general and especially moving on thereafter.

Moving on is an essential life skill that comes with time. We are creatures of habit. A long habit is difficult to shake off. Think of smoking which, at its most granular level, is nothing more than being occupied for a few minutes and getting away from it all. At least that is how it was for me. But change is the only constant you will find out there. Everything is changing. Everywhere you look you would find changes… constant changes. Just because something has been right for you in the past does not mean it will be so in the future. This applies to everything you can practically think of…. a job, a relationship, taste in food and music, your own characteristics. It happens to you as you grow old en route to a better understanding of what you want out of life. And you hone in on these elusive few bits and bobs that you want out of your life you make  deliberate changes to facilitate the process. You orchestrate your habits and behaviour around this particular need. There are a few obvious reasons why one should move on. These pretty much depend on one’s tolerance threshold. In other words – when enough is enough it is time to move on…  However some of the others are difficult to get to grips with. For instance…

  • goals and needs have changed

Realigning yourself to your new goals and needs can be difficult. Ironically the most difficult part isn’t ‘letting go’ but an intrinsic acceptance that you have changed and that itself necessitates other changes.

  • fear of change

This is the most humane of all factors. Most of us like stability. Unknown is always difficult to embrace. However, this sense of seeking adventure and sailing into the unknown is what made humans prosper. Fear of failure and disappointments can often be factors for not wanting to change. However, imagine living in that way – without any sense of excitement, drama, adventure. It’s a dull life. And if that is what you want then be it. Honestly, there is no wrong or right way. What works for you best is often the right way. That being said… oh the dullness of routine… imagine living life eating soup and never tasting grilled smoked salmon and crab… Seek out adventure… You will win some and you will lose some. Dealing with failures and disappointments to rise above it all is what distinction is all about. Rise and rise high.

  • stagnation

This is a stage that often stems from the inability to deal with the previous two (or perhaps others) facets. Life is all about discovery. Good and bad. All discoveries are learning processes that shape your decision makings and survival skills. If you are not learning, you might as well not bother living. This is especially true in the context of one’s professional career. If you feel you have not learned anything new in the last 6 months to align your career to those aspirations then it is time to move on. Don’t be afraid… move on, discover… the only constant is change and you know it.

Accept the truth and be thankful. It is never late to make a change. Focus on what can be changed. Don’t try to change the world. Start with realistic targets. People say winning is a habit. Once you make small changes successfully, you will be that much more likely to succeed with bigger changes. Control what you can control and stop worrying about the rest. Man in the Mirror is a wonderful song for it shares the fundamental truth – if want to make the world a better place, then take a look at yourself and then make a change! Go on take a chance, make a change, seize the day, let the past go, rise higher than before and move on…

Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday

Is it possible to rid of worries completely? Is it possible to let absolutely nothing bother you? How difficult would it be to achieve complete imperturbability? The trouble is things such as stress, anxiety and worries pretty much define relaxation, calm, peace and relief. So it appears that you can’t quite have one without the other.

The real issue here is that of habit. Worrying by itself isn’t a problem, however, once it is habituated it can throw up concoct of side effects. Like most things it is a learned or conditioned behaviour that is bestowed upon us by the society at large. Age old cultural conditioning has made us believe that happiness must be “earned” by grovelling through a period of misery. This scaremongering eventually percolates through the physiological fabric and as a result becomes the de facto method for negating happiness.

The trick is to learn to rearrange the mental clutter. Cultivate a habit of postponing worries and thus begin the process rewiring the brain not to dwell on worries in the present. Plan to worry later! It is a technique that has known to work as it bypasses the physiological obstacle of negating happiness. The mind is tricked into thinking it hasn’t given up worrying. The result is that you lose the habit of worrying in the present.

I am not for one moment suggesting that one should not deal with pressing matters and genuine concerns that causes these worries… A little anxiety is a useful thing – if it wasn’t for the motivation of a little anxiety, we would never catch a train, pass an exam or meet a deadline. But is there such a thing as too much anxiety? The answer is, there certainly is. There are people who constantly worry about money, their job and their health and anything else they can think of. Their anxiety becomes so all-embracing that it takes over their whole lives.

The simple truth is habitual worrying only leads to inertia. Certain types of worries and anxieties need reprioritisation and remedial actions whilst other types require acceptance. An ability to disconnect, disengage and a bit of stoicism often helps.

Life is a journey and it is not the arriving at the destination that matters but the process of the journey itself. So reprioritise, take positive actions and accept the inevitable for today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday.

Further information on General Anxiety Disorder (GAD).

Play up! play up! and play the game!

The thing about trust is, despite all the bits that are grey in between, it is pretty simple. Or at least it ought to be. Like flicking a light switch on and off. Some of the grandest heartaches in life usually rear their ugly heads when trust is decimated. Magnitudes of this pain are several factors higher when trust is systematically decimated. Of course no heartache is more painful than the one that involves the ones you love.

For individuals unfortunate enough to have experienced such meticulous obliteration of trust, it is somewhat paradoxically and deliriously delightful to be able to trust again. Perchance you are a lucky one to have escaped such terrible and dreadful malaise of life; then on the flip side you most certainly are very unlucky not to know just precisely how it feels to be able to trust again. One might argue it is an irrational point of view but it is a valid of point of view nonetheless. Life is a wonderfully epic journey simply because of the experiences and emotions one encounters – bad or good. Be assured there is no other feeling better than the sense of sheer relief and utter gusto one feels when failures of the past are finally overcome and success is tasted. It is one of the most delightful and bittersweet of feelings.

The most important lesson is not to give up. Play up! play up! and play the game.

Sir Henry John Newbolt knew it and we will all do very well to remind ourselves the importance of just playing the game and not giving up… be it love, be it life, be it a simple game of Cricket…

There’s a breathless hush in the Close to-night—

Ten to make and the match to win—

A bumping pitch and a blinding light,

An hour to play and the last man in.

And it’s not for the sake of a ribboned coat,

Or the selfish hope of a season’s fame,

But his captain’s hand on his shoulder smote—

“Play up! play up! and play the game!”

The sand of the desert is sodden red,—

Red with the wreck of a square that broke;—

The Gatling’s jammed and the Colonel dead,

And the regiment blind with dust and smoke.

The river of death has brimmed its banks,

And England’s far, and Honour a name,

But the voice of a schoolboy rallies the ranks:

“Play up! play up! and play the game!”

This is the word that year by year,

While in her place the school is set,

Every one of her sons must hear,

And none that hears it dare forget.

This they all with a joyful mind

Bear through life like a torch in flame,

And falling fling to the host behind—

“Play up! play up! and play the game!”

Cliveden House

The other day I went to photograph Cliveden House. Even though the day appeared to be bright it was still damp and sometimes wet in places. Certainly a very early spring day in England. Here are some shots…

Spring at Cliveden House

Majestic Clivden House

Glorious views around Cliveden House

You must choose

It is perversely amusing to watch someone, who up until now has been used to meandering through life perfecting the art of choosing from a range of options from terrible at one end to less than average at the other, to appear utterly clueless when presented with options that are both blissfully pleasant and strikingly attractive. These are uncharted territories. The selection criteria for preferring one over the other are confusing & unclear. The only aspect that is clear is each option is as good as gold and both exhibit the potential to transform into be what this person has been yarning for.

Going by previous decision making processes, it is clear to see that this person  has a tendency to choose options that require greater amount of effort and discipline. As if the twisted inner psyche somehow yields in inversely proportional levels of satisfaction to the overall effort required and likelihood of eventual success.  His/her previous such rationale defying act of indulgence (does sound like that – doesn’t?) ensued a spectacularly unfavourable outcome. What will he/she do now? What are the odds?

What do you do when heart is equally split? You can’t have both. You must choose.

If you are reading this, I’d love to hear your thoughts

One of those days

It’s been one of those days. A day that begins perfectly well with all its intents and purposes but then slowly and surely begins to fall apart. Typically speaking these types of days rarely occur just out of the blue. Throughout the week a certain theme develops. Perhaps a bad day or two at work, perhaps a torpid, dormant yet deep frustration with something or somebody, perhaps an unceasing sequence of misfortune – these all build up to an unsustainable level and thereby manifest themselves by piercing through that general happiness bubble. The worry free bubble.

Feeling down and stressed at the end of the day does not resolve the very thing that causes them in the first place. What is really needed is an analysis of the situation and an action plan. Things that you can do that will remedy the situation, that will have a positive impact. If you find yourself in a situation where you cannot see a way out then that is indeed bad news. However, truth be told, it is extremely unlikely. Life is all about constant adaptations, adjustments and tweaks. There is no magic formula that will keep the mojo going forever. One always has options. It may not always be an option that is strewn with jasmine and lavender leading you to a land of plenty; but an option nonetheless.

I have no complaints. Things are better than yesterday and I am glad for that. Tomorrow could be much worse. And whilst I don’t subscribe to, for want of a better phrase, the idea of seizing the day and choking on the bone at the cost of tomorrow, I do recognise that there needs to be a balance. At times a philosophical approach is needed to resolve a rut like this.

I strongly believe that there is nothing particularly wrong with worrying and feeling stressed or depressed for a length of time. These are necessary evils… for without them happier times aren’t fully appreciated. Imperative is a sense of resolute commitment to the cause, the cause of transcending. Astute and incisive actions in order to mitigate the rut and facilitate the means to excel. Call it whatever you like, but without making these positive strides you are likely to go nowhere.

As they say when the wicket is up and down, get a good stride in and play with soft hands. It’s been one of those days…

World is not enough

Life sometimes can be such a mystery. At times it can be sickeningly and delightfully joyous and yet at times so frustrating. It is only when we accept its mysterious ways that we can begin to feel comfortable. It is perhaps no coincidence that quantum physics underpins it all.

One cannot apply calculations and come up with prediction models to try to explain its mysterious ways. Easier said than done. Pragmatic as though we may sound most of the time, we still endeavour to do just the same. How foolish. As if “Murphy’s Law” simply didn’t exist. How dare they?

There isn’t really any mystery to it so long as one does not try to decipher the perceived mystery in the first place. Take a chance. Go on, take a God damn chance. No matter how precariously stacked the odds might be against you; take a chance. Likelihood is an infuriatingly disadvantageous concept since it’s very definition gives you a shot. Unless you give it a shot, the chances of likelihood squashing all hopes is remarkably and overwhelmingly high.

Oh… mmm, I don’t know her/him enough yet” is simply a false economy for you could never know someone enough. And when you think you do it is either too late or even worse you’re proven embarrassingly and more often than not, painfully wrong. Past experiences profoundly shape the cognitive side of human psyche – quite rightly so. No one enjoys being burnt twice. However, the flip side of it is that past experiences should not stultify cognition out of recognition. Not everyone is the same. Not everyone is out there to get you. No two experiences are ever the same. Sometimes if it feels right, then it is probably right. Don’t be afraid. You can never know somebody enough by sitting on the other side of the fence. Go on, step out, be positive and reach out for sometimes even the world is not enough.

Onwards and upwards

Another year comes to an end and oddly unlike previous years, I am not in a reflective mood. It is quite a tradition for many to sit back, breathe in and evaluate the year gone by and set targets and goals for the year ahead… including making a few mental notes of what worked and what didn’t.

I am not in a reflective mood today mostly due to the fact the year presented ample opportunities to do just that. Mostly I learned two things. Things that I knew already…

  • freedom
  • love

Freedom is such an important aspect. Without freedom living is as amusing as an asthmatic going on a holiday in an incessantly suffocating island in hell. In other words… rather pointless. Freedom exists in many different forms and guises. Financial freedom is one such imperative kind. It is an awful and sickening feeling to get paid at the end of the month and within the very first week face the prospect of various direct debits and standing orders reducing the wage to a bloody pittance. So personally it was finally a great relief to finally get to the other side and smell the fragrance of financial freedom; although not quite 100% but close enough. 2012 is all about being studious enough in order to finish the job once and for all.

Almost three years of utter cynicism finally came to an end during a summer holiday trip. Although I did not quite a fall in love but an incident of great significance took place. I understood that you can delay it, you can fight it off for a while but eventually love will get you. And what a wonderful feeling it was. As the curtain finally begins to fall on 2011 it feels as if it is indeed beginning to get me. Oh yes.

Adieu 2011. Hello 2012… onwards and upwards!