Thursday, June 2, 2016

The Path of Awesomeness

Yes. Awesomeness is not a switch. It's not a magic potion or a silver bullet. It's hard. It's tough. It's a process. It takes time and it comes to those who invest in it. It is not for the fainthearted so if you are one, leave now and go back to your life and do what you were doing.

Awesomeness is a path. It is a paradigm shift and an alternate perspective to the SAME things that surround you. So how do we start our journey to awesomeness? 

#1 Variety
Don't do too much of the same thing. Variety is the spice of life. Monotony makes you the opposite of awesome. Try new things.

#2 Empathy
Read the news. Watch it. Learn what's happening around you. Locally AND globally. This gives you vision. Knowing is half the battle. Look around. See those people? No? Get outside and look at those people. Think about what they are thinking. Try to feel what they might be feeling. This is called empathy.

#3 Indulgence
Like something? Dedicate time and indulge in it. Love food? Cook. Instagram that. Clean them dishes. Don't forget to eat. Wanted to watch that movie? Take time out and watch it. Wanted to finish that book/game? Use that holiday and finish it. Stories and memories are important. Take pictures. Listen to stories attentively. Someone spent a lot of time creating them. Appreciate that. Tell your stories. Find ways to tell your stories better. Reflect upon stories and memories. This is where you learn valuable lessons.

#4 Respect
Respect people. You heard me right. I don't care who you are. There is a certain sect of people you hate. Respect them. Respect your opponent. Respect your enemies. Because they have dared to stand against something that is overflowing with awesomeness. That takes guts. Respect the shit out of that bravery. You must remember, people and their views are shaped by their circumstances. You don't know what they've been through. Read #2 again. Be presentable. Out of shape? Exercise. Eat healthy. Look at your wardrobe. Study basic fashion. Dress well. People want to take pictures with you because you are on the path of awesomeness. So look good in pictures. If you don't know how, learn to look good in pictures. If you respect people and are a respectable person, you will command respect.

#5 Passion
Have two passions at least. First is where you compete against others. Compete passionately. Lose gracefully. Keep calm. Don't rage. Read #4 again. Respect your opponents because they fought you. Because they taught you. Keep competing. Win. Read #2 AND #4 again. Be humble in your victories. Second is where you perform for others. Learn to play an instrument. Be a great storyteller. Do standup comedy. Get artsy. Write poetry. Write a book. Maybe a blog. Take pictures. Do something that you are passionate about, that you can show others and makes you interesting as fuck.

#6 Noobs
Do not bash noobs. Protect them from noob-bashers. Read #2 and #4 again. If they are trying, nurture and help them improve; if not, encourage them to try but they are not your responsibility.

There we go. These are rules that look simple but it takes a brave soul to follow them. Follow them and you will be on the path of awesomeness.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Unbiased Zen

There are times when you look at the sky, try to comprehend the size of stars, the distance that separates us from a possibly intelligent life-form, these facts belittle our existence. It's in this little world that we thrive. Struggle hard to get where we want to. We learn and keep moving forward.

Over the course of time, some bad experiences leave us bitter. Some things shock us, scar us for life, change our point of view or make us a completely new person. Traveling is useful. It shows you the way people live. It's how you would be if you were born and raised in a different part. That also gives you a reflection of what you are because of where you grew up. By that, I don't mean a geographic location. I mean the worlds you were exposed to. I grew up on the internet like many others around the world. Due to which, I have more in common with some guy living in Tunisia than I have with my offline neighbors.

What separates us humans from each other are the choices we make, the different ways we look at the same things, the way we picture an ideal world and many more things. It all comes down to choice. The other side of the coin is circumstance. Circumstances affect choices and choices affect circumstances. You are where you are because of what you did yesterday (circumstance). You did what you did yesterday because of what was practically possible yesterday (choice). Thanks to yesterday's choice you have today's circumstance. This affects your choice, today.

Some times, some people can be really inconsiderate. It pissed me off how less they thought of others. Hell, I might even be one of them! That was my moment of clarity. They are doing what they are doing because of the circumstances they are put into.

It's a loop. So here I was wondering, how can I make better decisions? (which would result into better circumstances and choices) What can get me thinking in the right way? That's when I found out about Ensou.


Ensō symbolizes a moment when the mind is free to simply let the body/spirit create. The brushed ink of the circle is usually done on silk or rice paper in one movement and there is no possibility of modification: it shows the expressive movement of the spirit at that time.

The moment of absolute expression. The moment when you can truly express your subconscious without anything shrouding the thought process. The moment where you can make the right choice for your desired circumstance. Now I know this sounds very much like Master Shifu from Kung Fu Panda but with distractions, it is difficult to think and express clearly. As he and Master Oogway once said, you need Inner Peace.

Bottom line being, accept the universe for what it is. Harness its flow. Don't hold onto grudges. Feed the white wolf instead. Overwrite destructive thoughts with constructive solutions.

signing off.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Living on the Beach and in the Mountains

This is more of a revelation post than a rant post. Although apologies if I'm not able to hold myself back. In this post, we are gonna discuss society. Yeah, the people that surround you. To you, that's society. To them, you are a part of their society.

Ever been told that you are special snowflake? We all were. So the answer is, no you're not.

So basically, I've started to classify people into three categories. Call me a stuck-up judgmental idiot but I don't really see a way around this issue without getting in harms way. Drastic situations call for drastic measures.

Humans - These are the people you can freely interact with. Your friends. You can have a non-egoistic argument with them and come to solid conclusions. Swear at each other without offending the other. You don't have to tactfully sugarcoat your point to get it through. These are your true friends and these are the people your mind truly see as humans.

How do we make friends? Some of us are socially awkward. Were we born that way? Hell no. We all had friends in kindergarten. We are born as social creatures. It's the interactions with society and the failures, obstacles and pressure we face over time that makes us socially awkward. Rather, I should use the more appropriate phrase, lose faith in society. Some of the smartest people in the history of mankind were known to be solitary, with a small circle of friends. That's right; SMALL CIRCLE OF FRIENDS.

Friends are people who share the same issues, situations, experiences or places as you. In short, to be naturally friends with someone, you need to have stuff in common. But that's not enough for your brain to treat them as humans. They need to see the world, the same way as you do. Of course, you won't have the exact same image in mind but as long as there is a common objective, you'll end up with allies in completely unexpected places. Your brain thinks of them as equals.

Animals - You know that acquaintance who you nod and smile to, when you walk by. We don't particularly enjoy it but sometimes you have to talk to them. This 'chore' is not as easy as talking to your friends. You need to be diplomatic in structuring your point to get it through. You can deem them as allies but not really friends. You can't really share yourself with them like you can with humans. They are the kind of people with whom you need small talk to be comfortable with. Here's a quote from Pulp Fiction to show you what I mean,

Mia: Don't you hate that?
Vincent: What?
Mia: Uncomfortable silences. Why do we feel it's necessary to yak about bullshit in order to be comfortable?
Vincent: I don't know. That's a good question.
Mia: That's when you know you've found somebody special. When you can just shut the fuck up for a minute and comfortably enjoy the silence.

That's the difference between a human and an animal. Most professional/formal relationships are of this nature. The animalistic nature. The 'I will not bite you if you do not bite me' kind of relationships. Let's admit it, we don't really like to deal with animals unless we have no other choice. You might occasionally indulge in small talk but you know it's not going beyond that. The most that can happen is you discover a common interest or a side of them. Not that it's impossible but it's just difficult for them to be your friends.

The reason why I call this group as animals is because they are animate. They move, talk and (are supposed to) think. However, our interaction with them is similar to the way we interact with animals. We pat their heads, with words. We try to pull the horse to the water, with words. We rub their bellies, with words. We experiment and see if our cat likes shiny objects or round objects more; all of this, with words.

You can never consider them as equals (unless you figure out something about them that changes their image in your head to a human). They will forever be the most obvious people and to them, you end up becoming some mysterious being from the legends.

Trees - When was the last time you smiled or waved to a tree? That's exactly what these people are to your brain. Ever had the feeling of being surrounded by people yet lonely without contact? Chances are you were surrounded by trees. Being surrounded by trees is similar to living in the mountains. You are surrounded by trees but there's nothing more to it; you will have people everywhere but you can't really interact with them. If you have lived for a really long time in a forest, even the sight of an animal can seem like a rare opportunity.

In a forest, you might as well talk to animals. They don't understand you and you don't understand them but hey! It's any day better than talking to a tree!

There ARE times when you have to talk to a tree. Like when you are buying something at the departmental store or taking a cab. Here our tree becomes an animal because you interact with them. You don't interact with them because you WANT to. You interact with them because you NEED something. Unlike animals, you don't really consider them as someone you can interact with but if you do, it's because you NEED something. In Indonesia, that guy working at KFC couldn't speak English but we still managed to communicate my meal and their price by pointing and using a calculator. So simply put, you can promote a tree to an animal.

To summarize all that, I would like to conclude, humans are the people closest to you, animals are the ones you interact with but they are still far from you and trees are the ones who exist but we don't really acknowledge their presence. Your mind can promote a Tree to an Animal via NEED. Your mind can also promote an Animal to Human via TRUST / SIMILARITIES. First impressions are important because that's when you deem a person as a Tree, an Animal or a Human.

With the nomenclature complete, let's get to the point I want to discuss.

The more humans and less trees you have in your life, the more popular you feel. Every person is important and every person has something to say, something to stand up for. There are a few animals but that's fine, we have more humans and barely any trees. That's the beach. You can see very far, very clear. Humans, even in the distance, are very prominent. You can see the occasional animals but very few trees.

This is the exact opposite of feeling lonely. In a state of loneliness it feels as if you are surrounded by trees and a few animals; almost like living in the mountains. You prefer company of these sad animals because talking to animals is better than talking to trees. Deeps inside you know you need human interaction but that's not happening; not here in the mountains.

When you are in the mountains, no one really watches you, except trees and the occasional animals. So you don't really care how you look or what you do. Not like the trees can make a difference to you. The animals can pester you but you can fend them off. This causes a sense of self-centered-ness. There's no human on this mountain except you. You let your hair grow. Stop looking at the mirror. Interact with animals. Even talk to trees because you need to. Times like these you wonder, if a human were to see you in this state... they would probably think of you as an animal.

At the same time, the mountain blinds you. There are so many trees, it's hard to see other humans. Just like you, they prefer to hide away and the cycle of loneliness continues. Even if they see each other, all they see is an animal starring at them. Self growth isn't required since there's no human to see/comprehend it. Helping the mountain become a better place isn't required because we are searching for the beach. If we wanna be at the beach, why even bother fixing a mountain (that can't even be fixed, to begin with)? You start treating your mind, body and surrounding like garbage. This is depression.

On the beach, when you are surrounded by humans, you want to be a better human because you see humans and they see you. You actively try to be a better person, thereby making the beach a better place. You might even see some animals as humans because that's what they seem like on the beach. You don't mind cleaning the beach because you are happy being surrounded by more humans than animals or trees. Every person has a happy place where they belong, where they are with people who are more like them. Where they can just be themselves, where trees don't blind and animals don't attack them.

So here's a question for you, are you living on a mountain too or do you see yourself on a beach?

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Parental Dilemma of the Mankid

Despite my efforts to live as a grown independent man, I find myself back at the place where I started. In my parent's home... as a child, I once was. The thing about being with your parents is, no matter how much you grow or how much ever you mature, to them, you'll always be a kid. Perhaps, it's because they WANT to see you as a kid. That's how their memory has registered you and less flexible humans fear change. So they disapprove or overlook it. I might just be harsh on myself but as a twenty two year old living with his parents, I call myself a failure. Feeling like a man-kid is something I utterly detest.

Being twenty something, it's difficult to live with your parents. You have your ideologies that have been well thought, carefully conceived, skilfully tweaked and sharply plotted. They have their own. Supposedly... things that 'withstood the test of time'. Even the animal kingdom teaches us, young ones don't live with their parents, once they can hunt for themselves. I read somewhere, 'The key to change is not in resisting the old but on channelizing all your energy into the new'. I mean, for a second here just wait. Stop whatever you are doing and think about it. If the Homo Erectus would've done the exact same thing as his parents, we wouldn't be walking on two feet.

Evolution teaches us not to mimic our parents. Now I'm getting off topic here; let's get back to that. So say, you are twenty something who just finished college and is having a hard time landing a job in this horrid economy. There comes a day when you realize, "Oh no, I'm gonna have to move back with my parents and life's gonna get ugly again." We love our parents. We really do. We wouldn't be where we are if they hadn't supported us (doesn't apply to all). But living with them is just not practical; not in your twenties. Especially, if you are one of those humans who is actively trying to evolve the human race. Yes, the Homo Erectus, of the modern time (with less homo and more erectus).

Now I was reverting back to my childhood habits and puny arguments with my parents. When I was living alone, these things didn't happen. Life was very peaceful. The thought process was simple and I didn't have to carefully sugarcoat my point fearing I would hurt someone's ego. It was so easy with friends, colleagues and the landlords.

The landlords. They didn't have kids. I was their kid. But they never treated me like one. Because my presence was an income to them. If I leave, they not only lose a source of income, they also lose an epic starcraft coach. Add to that, they have to search for a new tenant, which is a hectic process all together. So pissing me off was one of the last things they would do. They didn't have an ego. Maybe they did. But they never bothered me with it. There was this mutual respect. "If I be rude to my tenant, he leaves and I have to look for another one (who can play starcraft with me)" AND "If I be rude to my landlord, he kicks me out."

This landlord-tenant relationship worked out great. Hell, they cried when I left! Not even my biological parents did that. So what was so difficult about my parent-child relationship? Was I being immature? Was I taking my parents and their opinions too seriously? Why couldn't I have a relation with them like I had with my landlords?

That's when I thought, why not?

You are twenty something, have to live with your parents and are having difficulties coping with it? Change the nature of your relationship. Stop thinking of them as your parents and start thinking of them as your landlords. Pay them a monthly rent if required. Parents with a sense of humor would laugh it off and sensitive ones would be pissed when you suggest this concept of redefining your relationship and paying for what used to be free. Practical ones would accept the money and let you live with your dignity. Mine didn't; they were pissed.

Now if you think your parents might be too shocked with this, don't tell them. Just start acting like it. I mean, they DO reserve the right to throw you out if you do something really really stupid. That's the same as a landlord. Now if they don't accept the rent you were so willing to pay, why not pay them in services like, doing the laundry or cleaning up or setting up their wifi or anything that makes their life easier.

So if you are twenty something and are forced to live with your parents (for whatever reasons), don't imagine yourself as the kid, you are the tenant. Act like it.

Friday, February 8, 2013

The Stack of Life

Whenever you are to make a major move and you are not really excited about it or maybe even unsure of the move you are making, this principle should help you out. The Stack of Life principle.

Today, I met an old friend of mine and told him about move. He couldn't help but notice that I was sad. As a bro, he suggested I was thinking of this as a terminal thing. As if things are ending. He is right. This is not the end. There's more to life than moving back to your hometown. There are many other places to explore! So many things I haven't seen or done!

The way he puts it, the experiences you get in life can be considered as elements in a stack. There will be good times and there will be bad times. But they all go in your stack of life. So eventually, you'll have all these experiences in your stack.

The other thing was, you should judge what's on your stack and what it looks like but don't be judgmental of it. We should rather try to find out more things to add to our stacks. Get out of your comfort zone; try out new things. Find out things you would like to add to your stack.

Over time, you will have all these experiences and memories that you accumulated over time. It's these memories and what you make of them that makes you who you are.