To put things into perspective, you are only conscious and alive today.
You are not present in your past nor are you present in your future.
You can only be present in the present. So wherever your presence is that is where you are living right now.
To dwell on the mishaps of yesterday is energy and attention stolen away from today. Similarly you cannot afford to be reminiscing about the good ole days. Those are over too.
To worry about something in the future, it’s like worrying about old age while you are still young.
Well yes! A lot of people do worry about their old age when they are young. They are busy preparing for a less happening time and worrying about it when they can actually enjoy the happening life today.
I know it isn’t a very potent anology but I guess you got my point.
Something beautiful or something unfortunate in the future does not exist right now. It’s either all your imagination or an illusion. Created by your own mind.
All that time you spend living inside your head, thinking all those thoughts, being depressed or anxious because of it, is stealing away from the present moment.
Your energies are divided. Your attention is scattered. Your system is under stress. How do you expect it to deliver optimum results with such an ill management of resources?
Yes! Your attention, focus is a valuable resource. Whatever you focus on, you will make it happen.
An immediate practical example would be, “you are feeling shit because of focusing on the shit in your life.”
Whatever that shit is, it might just be a minute part of your life but by focusing on it, you are making a heap of it.
Now you might argue that it isn’t a minute part of your life, it’s really something important. But well if you want to get out of that situation asap, then you need some optimum performance, which, can be achieved through having an optimum quality of life.
Optimum quality of life can be achieved through positivity. You don’t have to day dream about shit that isn’t even there or gonna happen just to make yourself feel good but it will happen through really fine tuning your understanding and being appreciative of the beautiful things in your life.
You might have heard of an experiment where the researchers planted two plants and attached a tape recorder to their stems.
One recorder played positive affirmations to a plant and another was overly abusive and critical. The result as you may have guessed, the plant with the positive dialogue thrived and the one with the negative one died.
Such is the power of both the positive and the negative.
When you are happy and enthusiastic your whole system functions on a different level. A state of presence and flow.
Each appreciative nod leads to another moment of appreciation.
You are in a state where you are not living inside your head but fully enjoying and participating in the present.
Try this right now:
Keep everything aside, even your phone. Just observe how much you are thinking right now and in a motion of release try to release it.
Take a few deep breaths, exhale slowly and try bringing all your attention in the room or place you are sitting/standing.
Without registering a thought about anything, just attentively look at your surrounding, remember do not think about it, just look.
Observe the color, the light, the form and it’s shape. Let the breeze touch you gently if it’s present and inhale some aroma around you if some is present.
From inside your head try bringing your entire attention in your body.
Feel and see how it’s interacting with everything around you. Even the heat, the humidity, the foul smell or anything unpleasant.
And as you do that you will notice, right where you are everything is fine and okay.
You are conscious, alive, breathing and life is happening around you in a constant motion.
The only thing stuck, was you inside your head.
So, Which wolf are you going to feed the most?
A personal story
My personal or professional life isn’t going on too great right now. Just 2 weeks back I found my self stressed and worried to the point where I was deeply anxious and resulting I fainted while I was riding my bike.
The days leading up to the fainting event were filled with job searches, interviews, inner conflict and disrupt in my fitness routine.
Forget about meeting my calorific and nutrition needs considering my intense workout routine, I was eating so less and hurriedly I barely even met the general needs of my body.
I was interviewed by people who asked me whether the links under my “portfolio” lead to the content made by me?
I mean this was the first scenario where I saw people couldn’t hire a person because of their disbelief at how good is that person’s work, it must definitely be fake.
Some were concerned about the bank I choose for conducting my finances and wanted me to create a new one with their company.
They also had a form where they inquired whether the interested job candidate was okay with the shift timings of the company?
There were 2 options “Yes” and “No” I choose NO, thinking that this could be discussed with the HR before the final decision of recruitment is made. The HR told me, there’s no option, you just have to tick YES every single time. I said, then why even place an option there?
I was also sent assessment tests which tested my writing skills like they were interviewing a 5th grader.
where people who worship quotes from people like Steve Jobs, saying that you must acquire great talent when you see it, they, when they saw my competent body of work on my blog, all they could do was send me a childish test.
It was a 70 minutes test filled with childish jargon. I had plenty of freelance work on my plate while I took that clumsy test. In a righteous moment of anger I just clicked through the test randomly and got over with it.
In the feedback to that test I wrote “It was redundant.”
This was one professional wasting the time of another without acknowledging it and acting as if they know what they are doing.
Whoever created that test clearly did not even know English properly. It had words like “amazingness” written all over it.
I was so mad, I went out to make a few calls. One of the call was for the person who sent me that test and another was for a client I am currently working with. I was going to rant my way to glory with the both of them.
Luckily none of the calls got connected. Why I say luckily I will elaborate later in the post.
On the day I fainted I had skipped my breakfast, was plentily dehydrated and I was going around the city until 3 pm in the scorching summer heat of April here in India.
I was righteously mad and infuriated over a lot of things in my life that day.
Long story short, I fainted, I got so weak that I had to skip gym for 2 weeks straight, I had built quite a physique up until that point to level up my game in the gym. I also couldn’t work even a little my brain was just tired.
Deadline of the freelance project I was working on was quickly approaching and I had not even started working on it.
For April I was so excited, I was going to quit smoking somehow, write regularly here on Medium and Quora, bring in more work by approaching more people, get fitter and overall improve my life at least 5 folds in just within a month.
And what actually happened is the converse. It degraded at least 7 folds within those 2 weeks of sickness.
The doctor suggested me complete rest and told me not to even ride my bike for a few days.
Where I wanted to go out in the world and conquer it, I got stuck at home with not being able to do anything. Speaking and walking were a big feat achieved. What else could I even try doing?
When adversity turns into opportunity
I am a fairly laid back and optimistic guy. I barely get stressed but with this incident I understood, Life has a way of getting everybody by the hook some or the other time.
While I was recovering and focusing on my recovery here are 10 things I noticed, learnt and understood:
- Of all the things I wanted or I was worried or depressed about none came to mind while I was sick. All I wanted back was my health. I just wanted to feel strong again. All other needs and desires disappeared. All I wanted was the opportunity to hustle again with all my vigor.
- I remember watching a Gary Vaynerchuck video in-between all this, where he was saying, That if you are healthy, your family is healthy and you have the opportunity to hustle, then you have everything. I couldn’t agree more then and I agree with all my heart now.
- I got diagnosed with a vitamin B12 deficiency. which was partially responsible for the fainting event. A B12 deficiency is likely to occur among vegetarians, I am one, as the only potent source of B12 is through animal products and so I used this time to upgrade my knowledge about nutrition.
- I grew a lot more empathetic within just 12 days of sickness. I just felt utterly sad for the state of people who are in hospitals from months, cannot move, cannot work, nothing. I also understood my Mom’s condition from a few months back. She used to say “Please don’t make me speak I am extremely tired” and I was like come on! you just don’t have energy to speak with me.
- Everything is not in our control. My life mostly fairly remains in my control. I also used to say things like, only people with unhealthy habits get frequently sick, if you get the diet, nutrition and exercise in place you are good to go. This time, when I could not keep my own brain awake and it just shutdown, this reality dawned upon me. I could not even control my own brain from shutting down, how am I going to control life itself?
- Continuing from the point above, If you are healthy, your family is healthy and you have the opportunity to hustle then you have everything. You don’t have to exhaust yourself in the pursuit of your ambition. The pursuit of your ambition should give you joy everyday and if that pursuit does not even let you enjoy your downtime, family time or food, what is the use of such wealth and such name?
- First make sure you have enough and then slowly continue towards your bigger goals while you enjoy life everyday. Friends, family, hobbies, nature and sleep.
- I understood nothing is more important than our joy and peace in life. If you are not peaceful or joyful today, then you are really wasting your life. Today is the day you must be happy. Tomorrow is an illusion.
- With such heavy influx of experiences within such a short period, I at-least got 50 more meaningful ideas for my blog and the ideas focus around genuinely helping people from the ground up. If a sick or depressed person visits my blog, they should leave with a lot more energy and hope. On that I will start working soon.
- Whatever happens, happens for good. Everything happens in its own time. Patience is extremely important. This is what I learned after the 2 calls I spoke about earlier did not connect. Reason being, first, The person who sent me the test was not responsible for any of it, he would have been a victim of my anger for no reason at all. Which is not good. We should try to avoid putting people at the receiving end of our aggression. Second, the client who did not pick up the phone, called me later that day to offer me more work. Which wouldn’t have happened if I had said all that I wanted to before.
Another thing which I have not included as a point above but is equally important is that my smoking got quit on its own. I could not go out or smoke if I go out, because I noticed my nervous system was taxed. Smoking fidgets with the nervous system and even a puff or two would make me feel dizzy.
Its been 2 whole weeks since I have not smoked. Which was fairy difficult to stop on my own. As I have been trying to quit from at-least November.
Apart from the positive outlook I shared above here are 7 things you can practically do to make the positive louder:
- Do Pranayama
- Eat slowly
- Stay hydrated
- Focus on the good deliberately. Focusing on the bad is a habit we have mastered in the many years before, the habit of focusing on the good will take some time to form. Keep at it. Notice the good in your life and deliberately only think about it.
- Smile more often. The mind replicates what the body does and the body does what the mind believes. Use one to direct the other. Smile for no reason at all.
- Keep positive company. Avoid people who introduce drama into your life.
So many good things came out of one single adverse event.
The situation might not change so much but your outlook can bring about a ton of difference.
Everything else might remain the same and the only thing that changes could be your understanding.
So you might be playing the same game but the strategy can be different.
The change you have been looking for is the difference of understanding right there.
I have changed my statement above from “My personal or professional life isn’t going on too great right now.” to “I have my health, my family is healthy and I have the power to hustle.”
With that power everything is possible. Smile, take it one day at a time, trust your journey, be patient and always remember,
Focus on the good. You should be happy today as tomorrow is an illusion.