Create A Kickass Life
I was very close to making the title of this post “the three steps to achieving world peace” or “improve human life in three easy steps”. Those would get me the clicks, but would they bring back my soul?
Jokes aside – this was originally a question on quora. I liked the question so much, I decided to put it up on the blog as well. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
I think I have the perfect solution to this question – and my gut says that it will work if we are willing to adopt it. My gut, and my past knowledge of humanity, also says that this will probably not be adopted.
Try to understand the other person. Do something for him or her. Try to get where they’re coming from, their motives, intentions, the why of their existence.
This goes a long way because you and I can quickly forgive those whom we know have a good intention.
This is not just about material ownership. This goes for the time when you say my wife, my child, and my thoughts. Yours is not yours. Mine is not mine. Your child has his own motives and intentions and the same mantra goes for your other half. Let everyone do whatever the hell they want – with a few rules. Don’t hurt others, Don’t be destructive and if you need to destroy 1 resource, make sure you plant 2. There is no I.
Lots of amazing things happen in the world every day. Lot of these amazing things we don’t even know about. I wrote in a previous post about how the chances of us existing at all are close to none – can you imagine what the chances of you existing are?
It’s crazy stuff!
The big stuff aside – focusing on positive is important because it makes us happier. And a happier human being is a happier society. “Im so tired” has become the mantra of our generation and is it really all that necessary to be all that tired all the time?
On the same lines, it is possible that we might not have come as far as we have today (space travel, energy innovation) if we didn’t have the innate need to own and compete for limited resources.
But if #2 is not possible, I am pretty damn sure that we can all still empathize and focus on the positive things in our life and world. That alone brings us 66% (2/3rds) closer to where you want us all to be. And if you’re talking about improving human life –.
I’m keenly aware that this answer focuses solely on the non-material aspects of improving human life, and in my opinion, it seems to be the most important at the moment.
I’m sure that you have heard of this quote widely attributed to Einstein:
“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by it’s ability to climb a tree, it will live it’s whole life believing it’s stupid.”
It’s quite apt in a situation where we tend to compare ourselves to others. Perhaps we don’t think you are stupid, but comparing our lives to others’ is a sign of looking externally for validation of our abilities.
I’ve been in the workforce, as have many others, for longer than I have been in college. Anyone of us can tell you that grades do not matter as far as ability to lead a successful life goes.
Ask yourself this question: why are you comparing yourself to others? Is it because it gives you a sense of satisfaction that you have done well? Is it because it’s very important to you that you have a better life than others?
If you answered yes to one or both the questions above – then consider this:
It’s great that you know that grades are important to you and want what they have. You would do well to focus on getting the best life you possibly can. Comparing can lead to temporary depression and it is just unnecessary stress you don’t really need.
Alternatively, compare your life and be happy when you get better grades than others. And when you don’t, make a mental note that you have another chance next time and you’ll do better.
These are the different alternatives you have. No one way of thinking is the best possible thought – life is subjective.
In most of life you will do well if you are able and willing to invest time into what you do. But you will do even better if you are able and willing to take others along with you on your journey.
In my opinion, comparing isn’t necessary. Life is a team game and.
PS. I had originally written this as an answer to a quora question on grades. I liked the question so much, and it was so apt to life, that I decided to answer it as a question on life.
Every person that I meet wants to read more. Two problems face us when it comes to reading. First, we don’t have enough time to read at all and second, when we do – there is so much to read and so little time.
Conversely, We don’t spend as much time reading as we used to. This story is conducted in the US, but the decline in reading is probably global.
There are people who don’t read books at all – and this was surprising to me. Until I heard someone on TV say that we read just as much as we used to. Blogs and tweets have replaced books.
While you can gleam peripheral and superficial knowledge about something in 140 characters or from a quote – what you don’t get is context.
So here’s the first golden rule: You choose what to read. And that either you can give yourself context as to why and how that book (or phrase, or chapter, or tweet) relates to the real world, or the author can give you context.
Context is important because it’s not about the what but also about why this book matters to your existence as a human being .
Saying a book is bad is an unnecessarily vague statement. Why is it bad? What’s so bad about it?
Whether or not you like a book is subjective to your own tastes of course. A history buff would love to read something about East Germany while someone into fantasy would think that same topic is oh-em-gee-so-boringggg!
So, no book is bad in it’s entirety. Coherently structure what is so “bad” about a book and try to look past it to get the ideas out. Concepts and ideas improve our understanding of the world.
Which leads me to the third point:
Invest time where your returns are more guaranteed. It’s your time. It is possible that one is not enlightened enough to understand the book – either unenlightened because the language is too elegant or unenlightened because the concepts don’t make sense.
Conversely, it is possible that a book is “bad”. Give the book a benefit of the doubt and see, if, perhaps it’s not the book but one’s understanding of the world due to which the book is unable to teach us.
Most of life is about reflection and to ask oneself whether one is living the best possible life.
So many people continue to reevaluate, turning away from job opportunities that are prestigious but not courageous, making families out of friends and neighbors, buying less, giving away more, sharing and renting rather than owning, reinventing rituals and ritualizing reinvention. So many people are looking compassionately and critically at their own parents’ lives and choosing to do things differently, sometimes even reclaiming edifying, abandoned elements of their grandparents’ lives. ~ The New Better Off by Courtney Martin
It is easy to leave your job or the things that bind us by thinking that they are limiting. But these same things, in some way or another keep us grounded.
It is great to read that our parents and those who came before us did so much to make our lives simpler. They worked hard doing things they didn’t want to, so we could work hard doing things that we want.
These days, everyone talks about passion. What is it that makes us tick? In this world of constant buzz of passion, there is something to be said about having the courage to stick to something even when you don’t enjoy it.
It is possible that we are too impatient, too thoughtless, too narrrow-minded. We don’t give something enough time and understanding to make it worthwhile because it’s not instantaneous. How can one know if something is worthwhile or not if one doesn’t give it enough time and attention?
When times get tough, many quit. “Passion” is not about the moments when you’re energized because the work is invigorating. It is about the moments when you don’t feel like doing it, and yet, you just do.
Some people call it the personal style document, because it sounds cooler: I’ll go with the personal vision document. The goal is simple: I want to be able to define who I am, as a friend, a human being, a brother, a husband and so on. It is very easy to lose ourselves in inter-personal conflicts or the humdrum of daily lives.
A good personal vision document will make sure that you hold true to your core values and beliefs and grow as a human being as you get older. I will share my personal vision statement with a few things removed so it helps one get a sense of what a “style statement” or a “vision statement” can look like.
Very simply, there are three things that a a vision or style document does:
1. Who you are at your very best, and why?
2. Who you want to be, and how?
3. How you want people to remember and/or think of you
So, let’s get to it.
Who you are at your very best?
1. Works out every day, rests once a week: Energized and ready to take on the challenge and reap the mental and physical benefits exercise provides.
2. Is in control of his emotions: stable, joyful and agreeable person. When an opinion presents itself that is not in line with mine, explains and let’s it go.
3. Gives people the benefit of doubt: Looks for the best in people, and that maybe they are going through things that are not “personal” to me. They have / are having their own issues and dealing with it the best way they know how.
4. Insanely, caustiously, optimistic: this is a possibility. you can be both insanely and cautiously optimistic. “HAG” or Huge Achievable Goal is insane, of course – but cautiousness will ensure that it is 1) achievable and 2) not risking personal, family, physical or mental safety for this goal. This also means using the correcf language and looking at situations in a positive AND non-judgemental light.
5. is courageous: I say it like it is. This is a double-edged sword – I’m not worried about what other people will think when I say what comes to my mind. I am incredibly grateful that I have been in a position where my opinion is accepted – and the office, the structure around me enables me to be more confident in my ideas and thoughts. Being Courgeous doesn’t only mean that you say whatever you want. It also means that you have the ability to say sorry when you’ve hurt someone or been indecent, that you can prioritize – is it more important that i “win this argument” or is it more important that I have mental peace, and finally, that you have the ability to stand up for something bigger than yourself
1. Be more patient: Cultitvate this by realizing that time is limited – and that means that time spent being impatient is worse than a few minutes spent thoughtfully listening to someone.
2. Be nicer to people: I can mean because I can be forthright. It is necessary for me to develop more people skills and more emotional intelligence. By being someone who smiles a bit more, laughs a bit more, I can (and want to) diffuse the tension in any given situation, and also make people feel comfortable around me.
3. Spend more time with the people I care about: I do this very little, mostly because I am drowning in to do lists. And when I don’t look at my to-do lists, it is usually because I am “so tired”. This comes down to priorities at the end of the day. What do I prioritize?
4. Worry and fear less: Pretty self explanatory. Going into a train of thought of worry and fear is behavioral – need to cut it down at the roots. Worrying doesnt do anything but pass time.
5. Start and run a successful business in two years: Also self explanatory. I have things I want to accomplish in the next few months before I can start a business. March is going to be about fitness, April is going to be about refining my eating habits, may is about time management and June is about meditating. Around May I will start working on creating a good business model.
1) A good listener: This is tricky. I know of quite a few people who I deem to be a waste of my time. It is possible to spend a few minutes listening to the people about whom I care, or tactfully steer conversations so that they have an “end point”. Vaguely aware of the irony here – being a good listener involves us beibng non-judgemental & open minded.
I can’t have both, so finding a balance here is key.
2) Joyful Personality: This ties in with brimming with insane, cautious optimism as well as being an agreeable person.
3) Responsible, will-be-there-when-you-need, Do-er. Do the first two words need an explanation? As for the do-er, a lot of people are either less than driven or very theoretical – being action oriented is very close to my heart. just talking about something is not enough – act upon it – and that’s the way I want to be remembered.
These is a lofty personal statement, and that’s what PSDs or PVDs are supposed to do. It is not something that you achieve in a month or two months (though if you can, that’s fantastic). This is something we do over the course of our lives – either revising and improving ourselves or revising and improving this document.
Create your own personal vision here.
“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.”
It was a brilliant book about optimism – with pictures and a whole lot of entertaining stories and facts – “The art of being brilliant”. The original goal of reading the book was to, of course, become smarter or more “brilliant”.
What I got from that book is something different entirely, and glad for it. It was a book about optimism and about the willingness to look at the positives of each situation, and eventually that culminates into an optimistic or positive outlook in life.
The fact that we need to read and write a book on why optimism is better than being pessimistic is worrisome. But, that is the state of things.
That we need to be on this diet, to eat sugar, don’t eat sugar, eat this not that, coffee leads to cancer (it probably doesn’t) or that we need to buy the newest version of that phone to be happy. That we need a bigger car and a bigger home to really feel like we’ve made it in life.
Outside of marketing directed at us to not make us feel good – we have the news and social media – when the news isn’t telling us about all the terrible things that are happening in the world, there are the ten social apps that show you how fancy your friends are and the beautified food that they’re eating or the beach where they went last weekend.
We know from countless sources and from the wisdom of aeons that 1) suffering is human, 2) that happiness is found in little things and that 3) materialistic, outward view of life isn’t enough to create a meaningful existence.