TED Talks make better life

“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily”, Zig Ziglar had popularly said.

We read countless self help articles and books, and watch hundreds of self-pep videos. These are wonderful exercises. They keep us motivated to pursue a better life for ourselves.

But some philosophies go deeper – deeper than enhancing the external aspects of self improvement. They take the perspectives we harbored all our lives, crumple them into paper balls, and fling them into the fire by the mantlepiece. The stirred up fire makes us feel warmer. These philosophies go beyond inspiration.

You have heard many popular TED Talks. These talks, viewed and shared tens of millions of times, give you strength to pull off yet another day. But some not-so-popular talks possess the ability to make you question how you lead your life, and stretch the limits of your imagination. You never feel the same again.

quotes to make your life better

Don’t deny it. You want to improve. You want to make your life better and do something you enjoy.

Since long, you have been dreaming of it. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know what you want to do. You long for the feeling of fulfillment. Of being in control. You came here to do more than pay bills, retire and die, right? If you can find time, you will figure out what the ‘more’ is.

And yet, time is one thing you never get. Your tight schedule doesn’t permit you to breathe, forget learning something new. Life sucks!

Some people, on the other hand, do fulfilling things often. Not just that, they also rub it in your face by chronicling it publicly. That sucks even more.

how to become like Dhoni
image source: (INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP/Getty Images)

Gary Kirsten walked into the dressing room to see him padding up.

It was the 2011 World Cup final. Sachin Tendulkar had just been dismissed. Almost 1.25 billion Indians were crestfallen. They prayed for a victory that now seemed unlikely.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni had encountered a poor run in the tournament until then. But, here he was, promoting himself in the batting order, ahead of the in-form Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina. It seemed stupid, almost suicidal… like committing deliberate hara-kiri. And yet, Dhoni said to Kirsten, “I think I should go next.”

“Yes, you should”, Kirsten said. The team looked at Dhoni, a million questions running through their heads. He walked out to bat at the fall of Virat Kohli’s wicket.

tips for being a lifelong learner

You want more of it. Badly. Sleep. But you force yourself out of bed. The mornings get to you. Everything is disorderly, the shirt you want to wear isn’t ironed, and everyone is edgy. Somehow, you finish your daily routine and leave for work – sometimes after fighting with your partner, or scolding your child, or without eating breakfast.

Office is no better than the commute. The same dull meetings, the politics, the mundane work, the water cooler gossip, waiting for your boss to leave for the day so you can go home. Evenings, whatever are left of them, are as boring. You watch television, or downloaded series, or look for something to outrage over on social media.

how to be happy in life if you are alone

“I need this job! If I get it, I’m all set,” I said.

“What does ‘all set’ mean,” he asked.

“It means I’ll be happy! Where is your mind today?” I snapped.

“Chill out, I’m just kidding,” he smiled. “But what happens if you don’t get it?”

“You’re my friend, right? Don’t play devil’s advocate!” I said.

He laughed. “But seriously, will your life get worse?”

“Of course. I don’t have a job. I need money. You’re paying today’s pizza bill too, remember?”

“And you’ll never be happy again?”

I shrugged. He spotted the ‘you-just-don’t-understand’ look on my face, and dropped the topic.

Things are different now. Though I’m not old enough to justify my white hair, I’m wiser. It’s taken seven long years, but I understand what he was trying to tell me.

how to make your boss listen to your ideas

I can’t figure this situation out,” I said.

That’s because you’re not focusing on the right thing,” he replied.

Which is?

You must start doing what we do.

Why?

Because that’s the only way you can achieve what you want.

The note of finality in each of his statements was distinct. The conversation continued, but I kept smiling politely and nodding. I didn’t want to be part of it, but he didn’t get the hint.

when you should not say sorry

“You know, you didn’t apologize to me.”

“For what?”

“For having spoken rudely to me two days ago.”

“When?”

“When you got angry and insulted me when I said that you shouldn’t ride bikes because they’re not safe.”

“Well, I love riding. And you persisted despite me explaining how integral a part of my life it is.”

“That doesn’t allow you to be rude.” Her voice grew louder.

“I wasn’t rude. I just told you that I wouldn’t stop riding and that you should back off.”

“So you won’t apologize?”

“Nope.”

“THEN YOU DON’T DESERVE ME!” she cried.

“Fine.”

This occurred in a mall. She violently pushed away her chair and walked away in a huff. I finished my burger, got up and walked quietly, mentally fist-bumping every man who gave me a look of admiration (feminists, please keep your judgement to yourselves).

expectations-versus-reality-in-life
(image source: Martin Parr)

The internet is filled with it – memes and GIFs of expectation versus reality. Each time you see one, you go, “Ah! Story of my life.” Why does it have to be so? Can’t life, for once, turn out the way we want?

This a subjective question.

How do we want life to be? Do we want everything to pan out in our favor? Must every wish be fulfilled? Must everyone fawn over us regardless of how we behave?

sharing a secret with others

My family was going through a difficult event. Relatives and my parents’ friends kept giving me ‘tips’ on handling it. Nobody cared to ask how I felt. I couldn’t focus on studies. I had no real friends. Well, it wasn’t my classmates’ fault. Nobody wanted to talk to me because I was such a bore. Everything about me spelt the word ‘L-O-S-E-R’.

He was the only one standing by my side. My true friend. When everyone ordered me to keep aside my feelings and focus on the greater good, he said, “that sucks. It’s shitty how elders are so apathetic.” I loved music, but Britney Spears and Enrique Iglesias rocked the charts in those days. And I hated them. So he introduced me to Metallica. It changed my life. It made me want to become a musician and quit engineering. My parents looked like they had seen the ghost in The Conjuring 2. Neighbors and relatives were horrified. But my friend said, “If you want to do it, you must do it.” He was with me when I bought my first electric guitar with my own money. He kept saying that I would do something big someday. Then we lost touch.