Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The truth about the demise of reading

No one reads any more. NO ONE. But I've known that for a while now. And I've been slowly (albeit sorrowfully) coming to terms with it. So I'm not particularly surprised when people dismiss words or entirely skip reading something.

What shocks me though, is the reason behind this dismissive attitude.

I've always assumed that people don't have the time to read. Or that they're lazy. Both these reasons I've made peace with. I can even reconcile myself to the 'short attention span syndrome' (SASS) excuse.

Why? Because these reasons point towards the fact that people have the inclination to read, but lack a conducive setting to do so. These reasons hold hope.

But the fact of the matter is that it's not about time or distractions. This whole premise of 'inclination' that I had pinned my hopes on, it doesn't exist! Our world is on the brink of an 'all style, irrelevant substance' state of existence. People don't WANT to read. Mainly because they're losing the ability to understand the importance of words (and functionality).

This habit of spoon-feeding that we've gotten into, it's making the mind dull. People are slowly losing their ability to think and process things that are beyond the obvious. And since 'visuals' are the most obvious (and easy to process) form of perception, all that has begun to matter is what it looks like.

This means that we have stupid-ized people to a point where they can't look beyond what they see (pun intended). And that paints a very bleak picture for mankind.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Anaesthetize

It's time to cut
away that which grew to be cancerous.
Time to cut
deep, before the onset of the rancorous

thoughts; before you drive yourself
crazy with self doubt.
So anaesthetize,
to dull, to drown out

the pain, temporarily,
so you can weed
out every little soft spot.
Before it can bleed

and dry out,
to form sharp edges,
razor sharp,
putting in wedges

between you
and everyone around;
numb it down.
Anaesthetize to unbound.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Positivity Trap: Reason vs Excuses

I am SO tired of people saying this - "If we're positive, then (some ridiculously lofty goal) will get done!"

Right. Sure. Because 'being positive' magically changes the laws of nature and allows you to bend the time & space continuum, so you can achieve the impossible.

Which means you can set absolutely unrealistic goals, be all 'woopie' about it, and *voila* it will be done!

HAVE PEOPLE COMPLETELY LOST THE PLOT?!

Whatever happened to good old logic? And assessment. What is making it so hard for people to have a good think about things and then coming to a conclusion, instead of just jumping the gun with an emphatic 'YES' before even grasping the intricacies of what they're setting out to do/create?

Because when you start with a 'no', or even a 'maybe', they hit you with -"And don't gimme excuses!"

Excuses? No. These are called reasons. There is a difference between the two.

Unlike excuses, reasons are actually backed by logic. Reasoning something out involves understanding, then overcoming. Excuses are a way to avoid things. Reasons are justifications for changing them and making them better.

But they can't see that because they're basking in the afterglow of their 'effervescent positivity'.

People seem to have completely forgotten that positivity, by itself, achieves nothing. It makes the task at hand bearable, is all.

And I'm all for doing something with a positive attitude. But if you're going to say 'yes' to things without listening to reason, you're never going to get anything done. Or worse, get something half-assed up and believe that you have created something extraordinary.

You HAVE to handle problems with the harsh gloves of cold, hard facts first. Only then must you put on the mask of positivity that adds a warm glow to what you're working on.

You HAVE to prepare yourself to say no to things that are unreasonable and learn to admit that some things are not doable.

If you can't, then all the best living in your bubble! Just pray that sharp edges don't come your way.


Saturday, August 30, 2014

The 'Middle Path'

I have issues; Not issues (kids), issues (problems)! And they mostly revolve around control. There are times when I just cannot give control up. And that would've been manageable...if only there weren't times that I wanted none!

It's almost like I am two people who are polar opposites.

Now if you ask people around me, they would definitely say that the second me (the one who hates any semblance of control) doesn't exist. I am, after all, known to have major panic attacks when things aren't planned. But the thing they don't understand, is that the panic is the result of the two 'me's giving out conflicting signals.

It's a mess in my head, thanks to these two - one telling me to obsessively hold on to reins of control, the other telling me to let go and walk away. It's like tying together a wandering gypsy (is there any other kind?) and a control freak corporate professional with an unbreakable rope and sending them out into the world.

I'm being pulled in two directions ALL THE TIME!

I've become the middle point in a constant tug-of-war between two equally strong opponents. And because of this I'm living a ridiculously average life - where I'm not a kickass, super-comprehensive, structured plan creator, nor am I a free-falling, super chill, wild child (and I know I'd be awesome either way).

And it's not fear that holds me back. Cause if it was fear, it would've been easy. I would have a direction.

The problem is, unfortunately, that I have an inherent love for order AND chaos. And until (if ever) one wins over the other, I will be in this lost state...on a middle path to nowhere.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

'Ante'social elements

I'm not a particularly social person. But I can be when I want to. (I believe the term for this personality type is 'ambivert'. I found this word, indirectly, through this article, which I think describes me quite perfectly.)

Lately, though, I haven't had particularly good (gross understatement!) experiences with people. And this spate of craptastic interactions was kinda pushing me towards not just introversion, but the 'I-hate-people-and-I-WILL-NOT-be-around-them' branch of anti-socialism.

Unfortunately, I discovered that Aristotle was right. And I am neither a god nor a beast to pull this 'anti-social' thing off. At least not if I want to get ahead in life (which I do).

So what I did, was I came up with this set of 'Ante'Social elements, that might prevent me from becoming 'Anti'Social.  Which means, I basically created for myself a 'pre-interaction checklist' of sorts, that would help me be social without letting things get sticky (and, in turn, upsetting).

How? Well, it all revolves around one basic fact that I have come to realize - People, when they associate with you, have agendas. Without exception. These agendas differ, of course. Some agendas are unselfish; some not so much; some are even mutually beneficial. And they keep changing. But they never go away.

The key is to successfully determine these agendas, and then align yours accordingly.

Sounds cynical? It is.

But it is an armour as well. One that protects your interests. And your sanity.

Of course I'm being selfish. I have to be. Cause everyone else is. The day that changes, so will I.

For now, however, I'll take selfish and happy over altruistic and miserable. Wouldn't you?

Monday, June 30, 2014

Borderline Narcissism: Why it's good for me (and maybe you!)

That is possibly the longest headline I've written for this blog. But then again, a long headline is better than a misleading one. 

Anyway, so I was talking to a friend the other day (telling him about this blog actually), when I realized that I like things to be about me. Not every time, but often enough to just barely qualify as a narcissist.

A couple of years ago, I'd have been appalled by the realization and done my best to try and be un-narcissistic. Because, you know, 'people' say it's not a good trait to have. And I'd have complied, cause I was such a sucker for general acceptance.

But not now. Now I think for myself. About myself. So I take better decisions. And that's the first good thing that my acquired semi-narcissism has done for me. It has helped me get rid of the 'what-will-people-say' syndrome to a great extent.

Now, I'm not saying that being full of yourself is good. Not at all. Cause I'm not talking about that sorta full-blown form of narcissism.

Notice that I've said 'borderline'. This category of narcissism is elective. And so, it is aware. It is a sort of mixture of 'focused awareness' and 'semi-selfishness'.

This narcissism is not inherent. It is the product of circumstance. Gone are the days when people put others before themselves. And when others stop, you have to stop too. Unless you're strong/meek enough (depends on how you see it) to be secondary to everyone, including yourself.

But I'm neither. So I choose to put myself first. Borderline narcissism.

It's made me a happier person really, because when I'm focused on myself, I'm not bothered by the insensitivity, the judgement, the hypocrisy that is all around me.

I'm not plagued by self-doubt all the time. And I'm not too hard on myself when I make tiny errors.

This borderline narcissism makes me want to keep getting better, so I don't get bested. And what makes me better can't be such a bad thing, can it?

Friday, May 30, 2014

Thoughtless

I thought I was going to miss this month's deadline. It's a self-imposed deadline, but aren't those supposed to be the ones you MUST keep? Cause, you know, no one sets deadlines for trivial crap. If you've set a deadline for something, it must be something serious. And if you miss even one... well, you're 'something' is pretty much never going to get done.

But, I digress.

So, that niggling feeling that I won't get anything up in May was not because I'd remembered too late and didn't have enough time. It was not even because I was too lazy/busy to write. In fact, I'd begun this particular post in the beginning of May. But for some reason, I wasn't able to think of anything to write about.

And that made me realize the very important role that thoughts played in my writing. Quite a relief, this.
Because, lately, I've been coming across too many 'writers' who give more importance to words than thoughts. Who write for the sake of being a 'writer'.

This breed uses complicated words to show off their vocabulary, not to express something. They use word play to show their mastery over linguistics, not to add another dimension. Their words are perfectly put together, but they don't mean anything.

Just to clarify, I am not saying that words are unimportant. Not at all. What I'm saying that words strung together without thought are shallow and pointless.

Why pointless? Because words are meant to communicate. And without thoughts, what are you communicating really?



Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Politics: Why I don't have an opinion

So, the elections are coming up. And suddenly everyone wants to know my PoV about all things political. And all this questioning made me realize, that I don't have an opinion. (This does not mean that I won't/don't want to vote. It simply means that I do not have an opinion.)

It's surprising, really, because I usually have opinions about everything, quite strong ones at that. So it got me thinking. WHY don't I have an opinion about politics?

Is it because politics is boring? Au contraire, I actually think I'd find it quite entertaining. Enlightening, even (not sarcastic, here).

Is it because I lack interest? Nope. That couldn't be it either. Because I always make it a point to be interested in matters that can affect my life. And, however tangentially, I know that politics certainly can.

So what is it, then, that keeps me from having an opinion? Very simply put, it is the lack of facts and figures I can trust.

When it comes to politics, everything is obscure. All I have is a whole lot of 'he said, she said'. And I find it ridiculously hard to form an opinion based on others' opinions (and yes, they are opinions till they can be proven beyond a shadow of doubt). Who do I believe? What part of what they claim do I believe?

In the world of politics, everything can be (and often is) fabricated. Even 'achievements'. He has accomplished so and so, it's there for everyone to see. Sure, but have people actually gone and verified this? Are those people trustworthy? And even if the answer to both these questions is a yes, there is still the matter of how much should have been achieved vs how much actually has been achieved (you know, how much was allocated to the project and how much towards 'personal' benefit).

Despite all the 'sting' operations, and (sometimes) really good reporting, we are just not privy to 'inside details'. We might never be. Nothing is transparent, nothing is 'out there'. Hence, my opinion cannot be an 'informed' one, where I am armed with the truth of the matter. Neither can it be 'instinctive' or 'experiential', like it often is for things I can experience, like music or movies.

An opinion that is based on any factors other than these, I believe, is half-baked. And that can be quite dangerous. Especially in waters as murky as this. I'd rather not have an opinion till my vision is clear.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

#OverReact

I have a tendency to overreact. I have been told this repeatedly, by a whole bunch of people. And I admit, I do make 'mountains out of molehills', so to speak, more often than necessary. I blow things out of proportion, then work myself into a frenzy over it.

Most of the times, the things I overreact to, turn out to be non-issues. But in that state of mind, I imagine the worst possible outcomes/connotations. Then, I proceed to drive myself (and everyone around me) crazy, till the issue is resolved. But at least this meant that things got resolved. And so, I always let myself believe that my 'overreaction' was a good thing.

But what I didn't realize was the fact that I've been 'overreacting' to people as well. I've been happily creating 'best friends' and 'archenemies' on the basis of connections that didn't exist anywhere but in my head.

Because that's what you do when you overreact. You obsess. You overthink. That's how things get amplified. And you begin to see signs (positive and negative). But it's all in your head (And by your, I mean mine).

So yeah, apparently, my habit of overreacting has this side-effect of (possibly) completely fabricated social equations. Such an eye-opener, this. No wonder my 'best friends' are barely even my friends anymore. And people I thought were out to get me, turned out to be quite alright.

I'm beginning to see a pattern here. And it's not a very comforting one.

Must. Stop. Overreacting.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Fear of Mediocrity

You know, a lot of people are held back by the fear of failure. I guess at some point of time, I might have been, too. But the fear that plagues me now, at this stage of my life, is a different one. And maybe in many ways, this one is much worse.

I'm just going to come out and say it. I'm afraid of being ordinary.

Yeah, yeah. I've heard the hype. About how being ordinary is 'ok'. But it really is not.

It's bloody scary.

It's scary to think that you're going to be stuck in a rut. Doing average things. Averagely.

It's much scarier than, say, attempting something awesome and failing at it. Cause even if you fail, you can move on to other awesome things. And you grow. And you learn.

But when you're stuck with the ordinary, there is always that chance that you succumb to mediocrity. To the 'things-are-getting-done-so-why-bother' school of thought. Once you do, you're done.

So that's scenario one. Where you get sucked in and brain-washed. Scenario two is worse. It's where your bubble goes *pop* and you land on your mediocre ass, painfully. Aware that you're forever doomed to just be, not excel.

Failure I can deal with. Because with failure, there's a chance at redemption, a chance to grow. With failure, you can still believe you can do better.

But mediocrity doesn't allow that. Mediocrity simply limits. Then it stifles. And suffocates. Till the spirit is all but gone.

Mediocrity is a disability. Something you have to fight to overcome everyday, for the rest of your life. And even if you manage to do that, there's no guarantee of your being extraordinary.

Many would argue that people who do overcome their disabilities are extraordinary for simply having done that. And yes, that is probably true.

But then, it would mean that my faith in myself was misplaced. That I have, all this while, been (to put it politely) delusional.

Knowing that would break me. Totally and irreparably. 

So yeah, I'd take failure over mediocrity any day. Unfortunately, though, mediocrity isn't really a choice.

So I'll have to wait. And watch. And keep my fingers crossed. And pray to the powers that be, that I don’t turn out to be ordinary.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Nemesism

I sat down to write today, after quite a while. Naturally, my first instinct was to open my blog...this blog. One look at it, and I am stunned by my sloth.

Not one piece of writing for an entire YEAR! Did I not have a single free hour in 365 days?! Bloody unbelievable. And utterly shameful. How can I call myself a writer when I cannot be bothered to take out even a couple of hours to sit and write something that is not 'required' of me?

My excuse so far has been 'My words run dry, I use them up at work everyday'. And then I complain about how I'm not getting anywhere. How can I expect to excel when I cannot muster the drive to write a single measly blog piece?!

It's like that joke about the guy who keeps complaining that he doesn't win the lottery...when he hasn't even bought himself a single lottery ticket in his lifetime. Except, this is not a goddamn joke! It is my life. And I'm making a mockery of it.

All these years, to get through the drudgery that my life has been, I've been telling myself that I'm meant for great things.That I'm capable of inspiring awe, if only I was given that one chance. And I probably could. But I won't know I can, till I do.

And till I do, my belief in myself amounts to nothing but absolute BS.

If I continue this way, I let everything I've made myself around, be reduced to a pile of crap. 

So, this has to end. Now.

No more excuses. No more whining. No more EXTERNALIZING.

I need to channel that rage, and direct it at myself...for making excuses, for talking big and backing it up with jackshit. I recently even came across the perfect word for that feeling. (Words have a funny way of showing up when I need them, apparently.)

That word is Nemesism. It means "frustration, anger, or aggression directed inward, toward oneself and one's way of living." And this is precisely what I need right now.

Yeah, I know. Doesn't sound very healthy. But I have a reason.

You see, if I am pissed, I'm not complacent. And when I'm not complacent, I will get shit done.

So, for now, I shall let this Nemesism fuel me. And hopefully, this fuel will light a fire. Because sometimes you need to burn things down, to build them back up. Bigger, better and stronger.