Sunday, March 17, 2013

The perils (and lessons) from living in a competitive home environment

Taking from the last post...

I'd like to make a few observations that I've had the privilege (or misfortune) of experiencing the past few years living in what I can positively, and objectively, say is a competitive home environment. What I mean by such a thing is this:

Within the home, there is only a certain amount of potential from which the environment in it provides for happiness, peace of mind, space (mental and physical) and all other factors that contribute to a happy living environment. It's limited and can only provide so much, and no more. The more you crowd it, the less it will offer for your happiness, peace of mind and mental and physical space and such.

Just to note the Environment Factor: We cannot live separate from our environment. Our environment is almost us, save our response to it. It half-defines our existence and ensures that we comply to it. On the other hand, it is not independently existent. We create it, almost by default - sometimes like walking around with our elbows out (intentionally or unintentionally), sometimes like treading carefully so that we don't step on the flowers, sometimes like desperately grabbing from a box we ignore/were ignorant of (gross oversight) which is why were driven to the said desperation.

The Lessons:

The sky will not fall on your head ever

Repeat this to yourself everyday. Hang it up on the wall. Maybe even paint it on the ceiling in case you end up taking yourself literally when you choose to believe so. It will never happen, like (literally) that's scientifically and mathematically proven. So entertain yourself in that fear, if you do, all you please, but it will not be of any profitable avail to you.

Don't fear decision-making moments

There's a certain vibrancy to life when it's real, and it's real when it's an actual reflection of the moment, actual need and necessity inclusive. To keep it real, in all respects, decision-making moments are as important as the decisions themselves as important as the quality of those decisions are. This factor will count in terms of efficiency as I will explain in the next point. The best decisions are the ones you take in the light (note: not the heat) of the moment, not the ones you take prior to the moment so that you do away with taking decisions, as you easiest can, which you percieve to be a burden. Keeping the decision process noble, pure and brave will bring decisions, more often than not pleasantly surprising and refreshing ones, that:

1) respond aptly to moment and therefore have a sharp, precise and efficient result
2) use all possible resources to make those decisions (and prevent the gross oversight of the box I mentioned earlier)        

Any soul without that healthy war going on inside of them is a dead soul, or slowly getting there. Life's not an inane cycle of mandatory events that each one must go through to gain the honour of it. Embrace that war and you will learn to be free from your walls. It will not stop raging. It will only pit you against more challenges that you will embrace as well and wear as you reveal to yourself a world of new things that you discover everyday. The true adventure of life is lived courtesy embracing these moments of decision where you really realise the potential of what you can do with resources (and the different kind of resources you have around you). If you don't know what an awesome epiphanic phenomenon that is, you have to try it. Once done that, you'll never preempt or avoid them but wait for those moments of decision and jump in and embrace it all the way to the next frontier, and the next one, and the next one, and the next one.... 

Give yourself thinking space: Mental space is determined largely by physical space and its quality. If you don't have any space at home that's simply inviolable, you're not helping yourself make better decisions.  

Fussing is the exact opposite of efficiency

What does a dog do when its threatened? Bark and howl his life away. We, who have lived in Bangalore, will be familiar with their late night affairs like this. This is the same for all organisms including ourselves. Being threatened is alright but, for us humans, we are surely worth our pompousness to be a little more worth than that. It is not intelligently human to dwell on a threat in a similar manner. That's exactly what fussing is - dwelling on the threat because that's the best you got. It's the exact opposite of dealing with it, and it's not healthy when you do it over and over again, every single time. It's the opposite of efficiency of action, in which case result and effort put in are equally proportional to each other. Fussing is a sign of ineffective functioning and inability to handle situations. You can do way better than to blow your trumpet and scream supremacy in claiming inability - anything better than fussing. Clue in the next point. 

Purposeful activity is the happy key

The problem is not with busyness or activity. It's about the efficiency of that activity. If it's one of those things you just need to do, it's best done away with quick. If it's one of the other things where the journey's more important than the destination, it can be always be enjoyed better. When your activity is filled with purpose, everything you do has a specific reason and your effort all goes into an outcome that is always equal, and sometimes more than equal to input. When you fuss, it just spills over and keeps your anxiety pangs cooled in its own strange way, only for that to happen over and over and over again. So decide what you want to do (specifically), figure out what it'd take, get yourself up to speed and get the help and involvement you'd require. Instead of screaming yourself hoarse about how you're not able to and that it's such a mountain of a task, use that energy effectively and you'll see the wonders it does. Think as much as you need, till you've got the perfect plan. The world doesn't need half-baked plans handled by incapability.       

The Human Race wasn't made for doom

Man has survived thus far and he will further more. He was made to adapt and survive and bare minimum is not asking for the Universe. All will be well because we are made that way. Men survived, grew, developed, and progressed that way for centuries. Denying yourself the privilege to adapt is like advancing a degression back to them Stone Age thinking days.

Like John Keats says in Dead Poet's Society: "Because we are food for worms, lads. Because, believe it or not, each and every one of us in this room is one day going to stop breathing, turn cold and die."

Fussing all the way through life is not how you see yourself envision that inconspicuous time on Earth, do you?

Practical steps to take:

Setup an activity meter and a permissible limit and swear never to cross it. Max. limit: 60%. Don't define yourself by your activity. Be something before you do anything about it - even if it's a dependent role that keeps your world stable. You are not what you do.   

Don't be scared by what seem to be daunting tasks. Life's generally simple because when it makes sense, it is a logical assortment of units/blocks, and better results can be achieved when you mix and match them so that you do what you want to do. Any combination that works will work.

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