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Thoughts Viewpoint WordPress

To Follow Your Heart Or To Follow Your Brain?

Almost 90% of motivational speakers, self-help books and billionaires advocate one constant ideology. It has many forms, but the version I like the most is this quote from Steve Jobs‘ from his famous Stanford University Speech:

You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.

steve jobs

I must have heard the Stanford University speech a thousand times now (<- not an exaggeration). I still get  goosebumps, every time I hear Steve’s soft voice hammer the point deeply into my head.

So, the heart of this theory (if you will pardon the pun) is that, if you follow your heart by choosing a career/doing things you love – you will succeed in life, right?

Conventional logic begs to disagree.

There are many arguments against the ‘follow your passion’ school of thought. Allow me to shed light on a few of them:

  1. What if your passion is in a field that is too competitive, and what if, despite the best of your efforts your efforts fail to materialize in achieving your passion?
  2. The career you’d like to follow is, to put it subtly, an economically unrewarding one (say, the liberal arts). Would one be able to make a living out of, say, quoting shakespeare? (Teaching jobs are few and far in between)
  3. Is the career that you’re about to choose based on your passion really your passion? Once you’re midway in a field, changing lines may be close to impossible at times.
  4. You could always follow a more economically rewarding position. As your primary job gives you enough money, you could follow your passion in your free time.

I can cite a dozen more points against the ‘following your passion’ platitude, but I stop here.

Picture this: You’ve just realized that you’re exceptionally talented in a particular field. You’ve listened to a couple of motivation speakers/read a few books/were inspired by a close friend or a teacher. And you’re all set to do what you love.

And that’s when someone – a skeptic (usually a parent or a close friend): asks you these gut-wrenching questions, which you fail to answer. You lose confidence. Your dreams are shelved. Boom.

My dear friend, if you are one of those hapless folks who have given up on their dreams due to mind-numbing logic…

SHUT OUT ALL THAT MEANINGLESS LOGIC AND BLOODY DO WHAT YOUR HEART TELLS YOU TO DO!!!

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart […]

[…]Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

This part of the Steve Jobs’ speech sums things up for you.

You have one life. If you live the rest of your life, doing things just because your grandmother or your uncle’s best friend told you that ‘this is the best way to make the most out of your life’, you should probably kill yourself right now, cause your life’s going to do it for you otherwise. It’s going to lead you to a slow and painful death – which is an entire life of disappointment and depression.

Oh yes, you can always follow your heart and choose to live too. A life of happiness, and joy!

As for the ‘logical questions’ – All these questions have a ‘what if’ part, that showcases the negative side of things. Okay, you’re starting out on something new and the first thing you hear is the plight of somebody who has tried and failed. The negative thought is planted in your mind, and the seeds of failure have sown themselves. Erase your mind, be positive – for every person who has failed, there is another person who has achieved spectacular success (the proverbs about failure are bloody wrong, I tell you!) Look around. Start your venture – with a positive mind and concentrated effort. Success will follow.

To answer each question one by one:

What if your passion is in a field that is too competitive, and what if, despite the best of your efforts your efforts fail to materialize in achieving your passion?

Honestly, if you’ve put in the best of your efforts – YOU WILL SUCCEED. Nobody said it won’t be a life without hardships, though. The challenge is to stay put, cause, if your mind is well-oriented and if your efforts are prudent and in the right direction – success will be yours! As for the rare chance of ‘what-if’, life has a habit of surprising us in the most heartening of ways. In the rarest of rare case where your efforts fail to bear fruit, life will open up a new path for you. Trust me!

The career you’d like to follow is, to put it subtly, an economically unrewarding one (say, the liberal arts). Would one be able to make a living out of, say, quoting shakespeare? (Teaching jobs are few and far in between)

What if I told you that liberal arts graduates earn more than their counterparts and some of the corporate majors in fact prefer liberal arts graduates? There are a lot of misconceptions about education in the society – and half baked opinions from grossly-misinformed passers-by only makes things worse for a student/job aspirant. If your passion/expertise lies in a particular field, you should go for it, no matter what! Success will follow.

Is the career that you’re about to choose based on your passion really your passion? Once you’re midway in a field, changing lines may be close to impossible at times.

True, interests change as people change… but passions rarely do. You have to find what you really love to do. Something that excites you and even gives you sleepless nights, an idea that consumes you… If you choose to go for a job that merely interests you, the axiom in question holds true. But once/if you realize your passion (no matter how late it is), you can always implement it… No matter what!

You could always follow a more economically rewarding position. As your primary job gives you enough money, you could follow your passion in your free time.

This is the biggest joke ever! This story will make you realize what I’m trying to say.

So, to cut a long blog post short… Try to find out what you love. It’s not that hard… as life unrolls before you, it gives you plenty of hints. Ask the right questions, and you’ll find the right answers. If you have not found it yet, keep searching. The answer is just another question away. You will realize as soon as you find it. And once you find it, do not let it go – no matter what. It’s never too late.

Follow your heart, no matter what.

I’d like to sign-off with with a quote from Matt Mullenweg – the doyen of Automattic, and one of the founders of WordPress. I’m one of Matt’s biggest fans alive, and this post owes a lot of inspiration to him. 🙂

Matt Mullenweg

 

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Life Personal Thoughts Viewpoint

8 Things 2013 Taught Me

By all means, 2013 was a roller-coaster of a year; so much to the extent that I’d like to borrow an oft-abused cliche to describe the year – ‘life changing’.

Yes, 2013 changed the course of my life.

And what a year it was! From exhilarating highs to excruciating lows, from dizzying successes to debilitating failures – my life kept zig-zagging through a trajectory of the most unpredictable occurrences. Today, as I look back at the year that has sped by, I realize that I have changed. I’m not sure whether it’s for the better or worse, but the life-lessons I’ve learned over this year have been amazing. Things suddenly make more sense than they used to, and I’m sure these vital life lessons would go a long way in helping me live my life in a better way. I’d like to share some of them with my dear readers. 🙂

Life – As you know it

Here’s a list of 8 things that 2013 taught me:

  1. Stay Detached – I know, detachment is easier said than done. But, trust me, staying detached will solve a lion’s share of your problems. And by detachment – I certainly do not endorse living life in your own little shell (we’re all social animals for God’s sake!) Complete detachment practically impossible too  for lesser mortals like us. That said, we can definitely curb our desires. Give that overpriced, fancy new phone you’ve always craved for a miss. You’ll slowly notice your life changing for the better. Speaking from experience.
  2. Find time to do what you love – Thanks to economic pressures, we all end up doing day jobs we hate. We don’t have other options, many among us need to code our way to glory to earn our daily bread! It’s necessary evil. Yet, we all get our share of spare time – which, sadly, we end up whiling away doing the most unproductive of tasks. I hope I don’t sound like a management guru when I say this – but, try finding time to do what you love. Even if it’s for thirty minutes a day. If you’re a bibliophile, grab that John Greene book, if you’re into arts and crafts, start making seasons-greetings cards for your loved ones, in your spare time. These little joys of life have helped me survive the most traumatic of experiences all through this year. I’m sure it’ll work out well for you too 🙂
  3.  BE Selfish! – Okay, I know some of you guys are gonna beat me up for saying this – but trust me, you HAVE to be selfish to survive in these cut-throat times! For a person who virtually ruined his life trying to do good for his loved ones, this nugget came as quite a revelation! No, I’m not asking you to step on others shoulders and put them down so that you could climb up. Just realize this fact – at the end of the day your life is YOURS ALONE  – so is your happiness and your problems. So the next time you make that sacrifice for that friend, just think twice: Is what you’re about to do worth it?
  4. NEVER Stay Idle – How often have you been in debilitating situations, all your life? Situations which pull you down to your worst… As they say, “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade from it!”. Never ever let your depression leave you paranoid. The idle mind is, and will forever be the devil’s workshop! So whenever you’re down, or whenever you’re idle with nothing to do – find something to engage yourself. Preferably indulge in tasks that excite you. 🙂
  5. Never Take Anyone for Granted –  Oh, so you have that super-awesome buddy who has been with you through thick and thin. You consult him/her for your life decisions and you pretty much tell everyone that he/she will be with you till you dying day, right? Well, brace yourself – it’s easier said than done. This, my friend, is the age of unpredictability. People change, and before you know it, your ‘best friend’ will leave you for reasons that could be downright silly! Of course, all your love and care, all the sacrifices you’ve done for them will vaporize instantly. Be prepared for that loss – it might come any day. Practicing detachment will help ease your pain too.
  6. Brace yourself… The Sky is about to fall! – Yes, you read it right, my friend. With the randomness of life destroying all existing rules of probability, you’ll have no idea what’s about to happen to you in the days to come. Life has a habit of surprising you ever day. The surprise may be for good or bad – if it’s good, you rejoice. But what if it is bad? What if it destroys your life, as you know it? Always be prepared for the worse – you never know when your world comes crashing down. Quoting my dad: “Expect the best and prepare for the worst.” 🙂
  7. “Love your job… But NEVER fall in love with your company!”  Thus spake one of the front runners of the Indian IT Revolution.  Even whenone of the most-renowned CEO’s vouched for this axiom – I always rebutted this… only until I realized the bitter truth. If you’re employed, you are just a RESOURCE for your company. (In fact 99% of the IT companies publicly refer to their employees as resources). And like all resources, once you’re depleted, you must be set aside (read: kicked out!). Just make sure you do your job without fail and also ensure that you actually have a life outside work. And there’s absolutely no harm in changing jobs for a better package. When you’re nothing but a ‘resource’ for you company, what’s the point in being loyal to it?
  8. There is a better life outside the social network – This was one of my biggest lessons from 2013. Those of you who know me personally know how addicted I was to the whole concept of social networking. True, it did add a lot of brownie points to my resume – from introducing me to the career of freelance journalism to making me a professional social media manager. But at the end of the day, my life began and ended in the internet. I did learn the hard way about the dark side of social networks. That said I haven’t abandoned them; that would be sheer escapism – but I decided to ‘disconnect to connect’. And I must admit – I am happy. 🙂

The Last Ink Drop:

Just a disclaimer for some of my ‘intellectual’ readers – these realizations that I’ve had, these ideas… they’ve been around for a while now. They are not strictly speaking, ‘original’. But they have been discoveries for me personally. I can’t speak for you, but they have changed my life for the better. 🙂 If you feel like implementing any of them in your own life, be my guest. 🙂 I’ll only be too happy that I brought a smile to your life – if it makes you feel better.

And, I know an update here was long due. My apologies to those who still come back here searching for new posts and were left disappointed.  I’m going to be regular from now on. 🙂 Have a few surprises ahead for you guys too. Do keep checking back.

Season’s greetings, folks! Here’s wishing you a great year ahead! 🙂

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Thoughts Viewpoint

Shiney Ahuja: Another Celebrity goes down!

Shiney Ahuja -The  Euphonic, talented actor with curly hair (and a vague similarity with me, to boot!), has more or less become the ‘gangster’ of bollywood, with the recent turn of events. The ‘gangster’ tag wouldn’t have given much of a dismal appeal some three years ago, where the actor was applauded for his sterling performance in the hit movie of the same name. Ahuja’s career, already on a wane of sorts, hit a rock bottom with his arrest following allegations of rape by his housemaid on June 14th, Sunday.

shiney_ahuja_002_300x356

CC Credits: Buzz 18

To say I was shocked would be a gross understatement – I was left dumbfound, for I’m a frontrunner among the (dwindling) community of the actor’s fans! 🙁 If you ask why, well, I’ve no specific reason. 😀 Ahuja hasn’t carved a niche for himself when it comes to acting – his best debutant filmfare award seems to be his  sole credit. Strangely, Ahuja happens to be a half Malayali! His mom hails from Kerala, but that’s not a reason why I’m his fan. The steely facial expressions, the depictions of existential angst in Gangster and Life in a Metro, the ‘Kya Mujhe Pyaar Hai song’ (among my favourites), and of course, the facial similarity might’ve given him brownie pints in my list. But that apart, I’ve always felt that this actor has a huge repository of unseen talent within.

No one (except Shiney and his 18 year old maid) can ascertain the veracity of the allegations. Shiney has apparently confessed having consensual sex with the maid – a fact corroborated by medical reports. The victim has alleged that Shiney ‘raped’ her between 2 and 5 PM at his Tarapore Gardens residence in Andheri while his wife (Anupama) and daughter (Arshiya) weren’t home. Shiney has a lot of support from the world of celebrities with people like Mahesh Bhatt, Mukesh Bhatt, Mohit Suri, Anurag Basu and actors Shakti Kapoor, Aman Verma and Chitrangda Singh supporting him. Even his wife believes in him, and dismisses the situation to be a frame up (Bravo, Anupama! 😀 )

Given the media blitzkreig and the attention the case has received, any commoner would feel a pang of cynicism – we have celebrities who still walk scot free after running down 4 people. With hush-hush rumours about Shiney being given ‘special’ treatment by the police (a statement, the police were quick to rebutt), Shiney today is at the other end of the media.

But just imagine, ninety nine percent of  country’s rapes go un-noticed, and even those cases that make it to the court have downright-abysmal conviction rates! With the might of a celebrity pitted at the other end, the (so-called) victim must really be applauded to move the court to fight against the morally-debasing injustice meted out to her! She refused to be cowed down  by the muscle power of her celebrity-‘molester’ and decided to fight it out, kudos to that. Her fight for justice will be fractious nevertheless, the process will be tough and long drawn. With the trillion loopholes in the IPC, it won’t take a great effort from Shiney’s advocate to get a trademark kurta-aviator-glass-shaded-jeans clad actor out of gaol.

I feel there is some truth in Shiney’s consensual-sex statement. An actor of his stature needn’t force an unattractive,  hapless house maid against her will if he had the urge to ‘make out’. He’d get the girl of his choice without much effort, assuming the worst  (yes, even when he’s married and has a kid!). In that context, the rape argument doesn’t hold much ground. Interestingly, the girl runs away and ‘speaks out’ to the media exactly the same day, within hours of the ‘incident’! Too much coincidence? Could it be that the whole incident is a frame up of sorts with the girl seducing Shiney (or vice versa, maybe) and later crying ‘Rape!’?

In any scenario, the case is a major setbackl for Shiney Ahuja, who we won’t be seeing in the silver screen for a while, even with all the celebrity endorsement backing him. In a media blitz to make the most TRPs out of an ignominous quagmire, many lives will be in peril (especially the girl’s, if this isn’t her work).

Another day in the life of a nation of contrasts!

The Lask ink drop:

Preeti Jain (yes, the actor who said ace director Madhur Bhandarkar raped her 15 times) was arrested while protesting against Shiney Ahuja and burning his effigies with fifty odd people! 😛 Read the full story here.

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Musings Thoughts

Vote for India!

Within three days,  seventy hundred and fifteen million Indians would exercise their electoral franchise in the world’s biggest democratic exercise. Indeed, a proud moment for all of us Indians. The power of democracy showcased in its sublimest way. Yet, there are many amongst us, people who call themselves ‘skeptics’. People who’ve decided not to vote for this elections, citing a feeble argument that it wouldn’t make a difference.

Vote!

CC Credits: piccadillywilson

Trust me, if you’re a person like that, you’re making a VERY VERY grave mistake!

In fact it’s incumbent on us to do something for our Motherland. “Us” as in, you, me and the people around us. That’s why India is  called a democracy. The best thing we can do is to vote out the present government and give someone else a chance. Someone once said that  in a democracy, no government is brought to power – always, the ruling government gets thrown out. We are responsible for our leaders and our country – the best thing we can do is to “vote” and make sure we are heard. If you say that doesn’t make a difference – then please open your eyes! To quote the Jaago Re ad, you are SLEEPING!  It really does make a difference. By not voting you are allowing a corrupt government to continue in power/you are not allowing a progressive government to continue the process of reforms (depends on how you view the current political milieu). If you vote against a corrupt government, you are at least “trying” to push them down and vice versa. Does that ring a bell? People often say:  “None of the candidates I’m goanna vote for are good. Then why even bother?”. Unfortunately, that is truth – it’s necessary evil. The situation can be changed only by getting more and more people to involve in politics. Politics is not a bad thing. It’s one of the best jobs in the world. It gives immense power – the power to make the world a better place to live in! It’s just because of a handful (understatement, yes!) of selfish, power-hungry ‘leaders’ that politics has lost its sanctity . Get involved in politics of the country so that you make yourself heard and not leave the fate of the country to some party leaders. Who are party leaders after all? They are just citizens of the country – you are as much responsible as they are – the only point is that you need to VOTE!

Why do things like reservation come up? Its minority appeasement and nothing more! Everyone knows that. Why do they have to appease the minorities? The facts are simple. Its only the minorities who vote – and the guys in power know that. Whatever the govt does against the majority; the majority assumes to be blind and “curses” destiny/fate/God. But we bloody do not ealise that, we need to show them that we are also a part of the country – and we should show that not by celebrating the victory of Abhinav Bindra and Dhoni’s men but by voting and say “Hello! We are also citizens of this country”. The same applies to the minorities who’ve been suffering from the yoke of oppression since God knows when. They should realize that they’re as equal as the people who exploit them. They should stand up against hunger and poverty. They don’t realize the potency of the weapon in their hands… The power of electoral franchise!

Terrorism – India bled and hung its head down in shame at Mumbai on 26th of November – when ten-odd people held the commerical capital of India to ransom. More importantly, they did it where the most elite people of the country assemble! The Taj and Oberoi – the supposed hang out place for the guys who run the economy. The terrorists were making one fact clear. “Hello folks – see we got into your Taj and killed people. We can EASILY walk into your residential area and do it! Get it? So please stop iritating us for Kashmir – give that part to us” . They could have killed lakhs from the slums of Dharavi with half the investment. Then why did they choose to kill a few hundred and attack just the rich? The answer to all these riddles lie in the sole press of a button. The button that could change world. The buttons of the electronic voting machine!

You’ve time from April 16th to May 13th. Analyze the performance of your candidates, run a background check, and go vote! Spend 2-3 hours in the queue and elect your leader. You spend the same amount of time to watch a Bollywood movie. Time is precious. Use it… to vote!

Stand up. Speak out. Change!

P.S.

Heavily inspired by an e-mail from a friend. 🙂