Category Archives: Observations

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).

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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.

Procrastination

Procrastination cannot be a good thing when it comes matters close to your heart. After all, moments and opportunities come and go. So many of these are simply lost because you don’t act upon them. Truth of the matter is that not all those opportunities will be fruitful… not all of those moments will be significant in time! But some of them can be. However, if you never pursued them nothing will come of them. Don’t let the moment go by. Don’t let the opportunity pass you by.

If you see that shooting star tonight and you think of somebody then don’t let it just slip away. Act! Act now for you never know what may come of it. Certain amount of beating around the bush is always necessary. However, when that moment arrives put away procrastination and grab it by the scruff of the neck. You will win some and you lose some.

Make sure you don’t lose them all. Be done with procrastination when the heart is involved!

Read this very insightful article on beating procrastination!

Try caring instead of judging

Judging people based on set of rules and laws you have devised may not always be the brightest policy! Sure, it can be used as a yardstick that helps you quickly determine how the person might fit into “your” world and perception but by no means this is a universal mechanism.

New research is revealing that these split-second judgments are often wrong, however, because they rely on crude stereotypes and other mental shortcuts. Last year psychologist Nicolas Kervyn and his colleagues published studies showing how we jump to conclusions about people’s competence based on their warmth and vice versa. When the researchers showed participants facts about two groups of people, one warm and one cold, the participants tended to assume that the warm group was less competent than the cold group; likewise, if participants knew one group to be competent and the other not, they asked questions whose answers confirmed their hunch that the first group was cold and the second warm. The upshot: your gain on one [trait] can be your loss on the other.

This “compensation effect,” which occurs when we compare people rather than evaluating each one separately, runs counter to the well-known halo effect, in which someone scoring high on one quality gets higher ratings on other traits. But both effects are among several mistakes people often make in inferring warmth and competence. We see high-status individuals as competent even if their status was an accident of birth. And when we judge warmth, rivalry plays a role: If someone is competing with you, you assume they’re a bad person.

The good news is that if you belong to a stereotyped group or otherwise know how people see you, you can try changing your image. A competent politician who strikes the public as cold, for example, can draw on his warmth reserves to better connect with voters. After all, everybody comes across as warm or competent in some area of their lives.

There are many ways to determine fitness for purpose. But mostly it takes time. Time to gather all the facts, eliminate emotions and finally analyse and conclude in a sensible fashion. Attempting to judge loosely based on a few observations is simply not the right thing to do for you may not deduce the root cause behind these observations.  We are all perfectly aware of this and yet there are countless moments each day when we violate this basic principle. Sure… there are times when further analysis is not required.

In any case, who are we to judge people after all?  Try caring instead of judging, it will be a much better place to live in!!

I came across a wonderful article called “why we judge” by Alicia Smith. It’s worth a read!

Thoughtfulness

Thoughtfulness has mostly left our psyche. It is a precious commodity that harks back to pre iphone/ipad, facebook/twitter era. In those days face to face nature of daily interaction almost made it mandatory to apply a generous sprinkle of thoughtfulness. It was essential and unlike the world today, you could not forego it quite so easily. A little humble slice of thoughtfulness kept every single local community ticking over…. plodding on.

Fast forward to today and its remnants are mostly tucked away outside the cities where people still know who their neighbours are. Recently I went to London to see some friends and was genuinely flabbergasted by an apparent lack of courtesy, thoughtfulness from all concerned. From the little kid on the street for whom respect for elderly and grown-ups was scant to the grown-up himself for whom respect for fellow grown-ups was non-existent. It was bizarre to say the least… as if everyone had taken an oath to actively weed out courtesy and thoughtfulness from the day.

Imagine London underground, which at best of times resembles a can of packed sardines in an oven, on a muggy summer day. People breathing on your face, leaning on every single support structures and thereby preventing others from using them, kids and grown-ups listening to an appalling brand of booming noise through their headphones utterly oblivious to an nearby elderly struggling to stand up and a pregnant woman staring into a fictitious space quietly wishing someone would just give up their seat. It is a truly sorry state of affairs.

These may require a grand gesture of selfless bit of courtesy; but consider this… what has happened to the old smile and wave… a gentle query as to how one’s day is progressing… a courteous “let’s hope you don’t get run over by a rutting rhino and die and instead have yourself a nice day…”.

No… none of that exists these days. Instead what you see are bunch of self centred, self pleasing bastards for whom calling the fire brigade if your house was on fire would probably cause inconvenience of untold volume.

So a day that had began in such a fashion that it had all the potential for serious depression to kick in rapidly, sap out the early morning optimism and ultimately wreck the whole day was miraculously rescued by a lovely bit of unexpected thoughtfulness from somebody! Thank you.

Give a little

Why do some find it difficult to give? Why do some people give and give and then give some more? When I was a kid, like most kids, giving (within a social context like playing games) disguised the ultimate motive. There was nothing sinister about it. A simple unwritten yet well understood doctrine. Anyone who violated this ran the risk of being left out. It worked rather well. Isn’t it amazing that no one teaches you this most basic of human trait.

But is it a sustainable model in the world of the grown ups? I suspect giving shouldn’t always equate to a right to receive. Fast pace of life together with toxic side effects of capitalism makes us live in a weird bubble where goodwill struggles to permeate through. Each act of kindness masquerades an ultimate motive.

So what happened to giving or helping just for the sake of it? Fortunately it is not all doom and gloom. There are plenty of people for whom reciprocity of giving does not weigh them down. It is a beautifully altruistic gesture. Its delights may not be obvious to the giver at first until he or she receives a similar selfless gesture, an act of pure kindness from somebody else. All of a sudden the floodgates open and the realisation sets in. Being in a position to offer hope and help (no matter how insignificant) to the needy in such a selfless fashion is one of the most enchanting characteristics of being human. It is this fundamental heart warming quality that makes us humans so special.

Just imagine how you would feel by an act of “no strings attached” pure kindness at a time when you needed it the most. I guess what I am trying to say here is help and support those in need… for the act of giving never diminishes contents of the bucket you give from. Give a little!

There is a wonderful article on BBC’s site that sheds some light on capitalism. Have a read…  A point of view: The revolution of capitalism!