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 flashed his good-natured smile. “But what happens if you don’t get it?”

“You’re supposed to be my friend!” I said, finishing the pizza. “Tell me that I’ll get it. Don’t play devil’s advocate!”

“I can’t tell you that, I’m not God,” 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.

You are not a burden on someone

You can make a difference. You can impact people’s lives. Whether you impact two lives or two thousand, depends on you. I know what you’re thinking. Two thousand is a make-believe number used for added effect, right? You can never be heard by two thousand people, let alone impact them. If that’s how you feel, you’re right.

Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right. – Henry Ford

You can be a torchbearer of hope. Or you sit alone in your bedroom, moping over why nobody cares about what you say. Just one aspect will decide which way of life applies to you. Whether you consider something a burden, a challenge, or a responsibility.

what to do when you are feeling helpless and alone

“For some time now, I have been telling a close friend to try something. It will make his life better. He agrees, but keeps making excuses to avoid it. It’s so frustrating. What should I do?”

I want to ask MS Dhoni this question. I think, I know his answer, though. He will curl his right palm into a fist and cover it with his left palm. Then he will say, “After one point in time, there is nothing you can do. Simply focus on yourself and hope that your friend comes around.” Again, I’m speculating. With Dhoni, you can never be sure. When the Indian team performs dreadfully and expects a dressing down from him, Dhoni just drops his kit bag and walks off to his room. WOW!

Twitter tips for beginners

In the previous post, I wrote about the significance of Twitter and how the platform functions (read it here). Responses were diverse, ranging from people mentioning that they are addicted to it also (like yours truly), to saying that they don’t understand the platform, but want to give it another shot.

Snapchat has eclipsed Twitter in daily users (source). Frankly, that isn’t surprising. Because I believe that people who optimally know how to use Twitter, are lifelong learners. They aren’t looking for an instant dopamine and oxytocin rush (well, not to the levels of other platforms anyway). But that doesn’t stop Twitter from falling in the list of social media platforms being used monthly.

Use Twitter

“We must help children on the autism spectrum to get in touch with their emotions,” Kamini Lakhani said one day. “Because it’s difficult for them to understand emotions, they do and say things that people find ‘abnormal’ “, she explained. “Addressing this will make it easier for them to build genuine relationships and lead more fulfilling lives.”

Kamini is a brilliant woman. Each time she speaks, I listen in awe. Just like a million other interactions with her, this one was a revelation for me. It gave me deeper insights into autism. I shared these thoughts on Reddit to get opinions of others who know about the condition. One of them (on the autism spectrum herself) knocked the wind out of my lungs with her response.