Vox — Part 1

April 15th, 2019.

It’s the morning. I wake up at about 7:30, and with this unfazed focus in my head. I guess I was expecting it, cause it had been on my mind for quite a long time. I was going to get off of Instagram. Completely, permanently and indefinitely, quit social media.

For what must have been the 50th time.

In a previous post, I think I briefly addressed my love-hate relationship with Instagram, but this is probably the first time I’ve taken the time to actually write about it. I don’t hate Insta. I love that it has connected me to my friends, given me a platform to share my content with a wider and more vibrant audience, and I love, love, love the memes that bless my feed.

However, the constant flow of information, that Instagram as a platform so happily and overtly encourages, is what often throws me off my balance and sense of self-integrity. I am happy to interact with people over the internet, as long as I know that this is only a secondary form of communication with them, and that the dynamic we have created is solid in real life. I enjoy finding out what’s going on in other people’s lives, as long as I don’t feel any obligation (consciously or otherwise) to do the same.

In a nutshell: I like sharing with the world, but only in small amounts. That’s how much my brain can take before my teenage self-image starts to shatter.

As a teenager, there are some expectations placed for me that I gladly exceed. I do impeccably well at school. I am kind and helpful and considerate and understanding towards everyone, irrespective of whether they reciprocate those traits or not. I stay within the limits set by my parents, my immediate society, and even myself, because I know that there is a lot of time for me in the future to break those limits and go beyond them. I don’t even consider them expectations anymore, rather just the basic rules of my life that I choose to live by.

What I don’t understand is when people place teenagers as nothing more than a liability to the greater good of the “stability of society”. It’s almost as if we’re expected to mess things up. And the only two ways to resolve this conflict is either by telling teens to hold back their feelings, or punish them afterward.

Where is the space for me to make mistakes? When is it okay to say “I did something wrong, I hope we can make it right”? How is a growing child expected to do anything of purpose if there is absolutely no way for her to find out on her own? To mess up and still recover?

Is this all we are, as teens? Problems that need to be fixed asap, or even worse, problems that shouldn’t exist at all? Is anything we’re doing worth it, or is everything, by default, just wrong?

What I Love and What I Need To Do – Finding Balance.

Photo by Andreas Dress on Unsplash

A lot of people my age have this issue of being disconnected from their passions and their everyday lives. Luckily, I don’t have this problem. At least, not all the time.

I am so grateful to say that I do what I love, and I absolutely love what I do. These things vary from trigonometry and evolutionary biology to music technology and blogging. And if we’re being honest, it also includes dancing to This is America when no one’s around. Honestly, Donald Glover’s moves are SICK.

I also have the pleasure of connecting and collaborating with people who love the same things that I do. This is true especially in the blogverse. Over the last one year that I’ve been blogging, I have talked to people from all over the world and we have shared ideas that help everyone. I have become more self-reliant, self-confident and I have learnt how to make a mark for myself. The fact that I can now change people’s minds with what I write is the biggest achievement of my journey so far as a writer.

And this feeling of love has also made its way into another part of my life which I don’t really talk about much on my blog-school. I have taught myself to stay strong in the face of adversity and extreme boredom. I have learnt to push myself to new limits without burning out in the process. Over the last few weeks, I have come to love and appreciate myself more strongly than I EVER have in my life. And I love this feeling that I love everything I do.

I have a feeling that I’m going to change this soon. For good.

By the time you read this, I will have been in 10th grade for about a week now. Remember that time when I made a post about 9th grade? It’s the same experience all over again-just now there seems to be a deathly aura all around us at school. Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely love being in 10th grade, I love learning new things again, I love being able to organize my life and focus on something new. I love cleaning out a slate and starting fresh with a year’s worth of wisdom to help me get better and smarter and stronger. It’s just that the idea of 10th grade tends to stress us out. Primarily because of the boards. Really, there’s no other reason. And no matter how much you want to just ignore this anxiety that everyone seems to have, it will get to you soon. Better to acknowledge it than fight it.

I, too, acknowledged this way before I even entered into 10th grade. I know that I’m going to have to work harder than I ever have this year, not because it’s hard, but because it will feel hard if I don’t push myself a little bit above the rest.

But the key here, as my mum said (love you ma), is to work hard with a sense of ease. She said, “You can be successful and still be as happy as you want.” I know this might seem very obvious, but this is very hard to put into practice. Believe me, I know. When you put your heart into something, you tend to perceive the situation as a high-stakes battle. That’s just not the case.

So, for 10th grade, my main goal is to combine what I love — learning — with what I need to do — step way out of my comfort zone and sphere of knowledge to really excel at studies more than I ever have.

And what will the status of this blog be?

Honestly, I don’t know.

I know for sure that my weekends will be filled with extra studying and mock tests and olympiad preparation and I don’t know how I’m going to fit posting into that hectic schedule. But what I do know is that I love this as much as I love myself. And when you love something that much, you always manage to do it.

Cheers,

Udita.

Goodbye, 9th grade — 3 Things I’ve Learnt This Year

Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash

You can be successful without killing yourself.

This, I think, has been the biggest lesson I’ve learnt this year. I have learnt that you can do everything you want to (and soo much more) without having to sacrifice your self-worth or self-love. Just because you have a goal in mind, it shouldn’t mean that your existence must depend on its completion, no matter how basic or ambitious it might be.

Being a bit of an autodidact, I do happen to be hypercritical of how I use my time while studying or learning anything. I turn even the dumbest things into “work” because giving my tasks that label seemed to make it easier to handle. But somehow, draining emotion out of my tasks seemed to drain the fun out as well.

Somewhere during this year of high school, I realized that doing this leaves me dissatisfied and exhausted, and so I chose to stop it.

What you do doesn’t matter as much as who you do it with.

This is actually a direct steal of a quote by John Green, but tbh I had no other way of saying this except, maybe, “Don’t ditch your friends just because they don’t do the same things as you do.” Something like that, I guess.

I’ve talked about before, but it still seems like an alien thought to an introvert like me. I grudgingly admit, however, that it is true. It really doesn’t matter what you do, if you don’t do it in a way that lifts you up. and 99 per cent of the time, it’s people who lift other people up. Not circumstance, not the beautiful trees out the window (although those definitely help). And you might be saying, “I lift myself up.” Dude, you’re a person, too.

There’s a quote by Kurt Vonnegut that I want to share.


“What should young people do with their lives today? Many things, obviously. But the most daring thing is to create stable communities in which the terrible disease of loneliness can be cured.”

Kurt Vonnegut

This sums up everything I want to say. You have friends, and most probably, you have a lot of them. Go talk to them! Find out what keeps them awake at night. Talk. Just CONNECT. Make memories. They don’t need to be good, or comfortable, or everything you dreamed for. You just need to make them.

Love is a kind of magic.

No, I’m not directly addressing the romantic kind with that statement cause if I did, I’d be dead. Instead, I’d like to focus on the more one-sided love you might feel, usually with respect to your passions and dreams.

For a long time, I felt that to love an idea meant to completely devote yourself to its cause and leaving no scope for that idea to slip out of your reach. I felt this a lot with respect to the two things that matter to more than school: writing and music. Over the last year, I’ve gotten myself more and more into the world of the arts, but there used to be a nagging feeling whenever I took a break from life to listen to my favourite song or relax and write without any restrictions. Something felt inherently wrong about the fact that I was taking so much time to do the things that I cherished. Self-love seemed to be a concept of indulgent behaviour, rather than normal behaviour.

And I know that it’s clear when I say it like this, but at some times, I used to feel guilty for loving something so much.

I’ve changed.

Thanks to some undiscovered (i still looking for it tho) shift in behaviour, I don’t feel that way anymore. I’ve listened to the people that I idolize from all fields of success, and all of them practically preach the idea of loving your passions like your love knows no bounds. Sure, you should definitely love in moderation, but I have learnt to not love with guilt in my heart.

Cheers,

Udita.

Looking for Purpose-It’s a Challenge

Before you start reading, I’d like to thank Idy Tanndy for this amazing guest blog post! With absolutely no brainstorming whatsoever, she sent me something that was so in tune with what I write here, I just had to post it. Please, please, please go check out Idy’s blog, because it is SO COOL and she deserves so much love from all of you!


| SO MANY LIFE QUESTIONS |

There are a thousand and one questions to ask or consider before doing anything or going somewhere.

I wonder which of these questions comes to mind first before taking a step forward or backward.

What to do?

What should you do with what? Your love life? Career choice? Parenting? How the hell am I supposed to know or have the answers to that seemingly important question? Why are you asking the wrong person? Sincerely, I do not have the answers for you. Have you tried asking the mirror? I heard talking to it helps put things into perspective. It answered most of my questions, especially when it refused to talk back. It got me thinking about the next logical step on whether to buy a large pepperoni pizza or save that money and make myself a sandwich instead, from my kitchen.

Where to go?

The direction of your life is, unfortunately, none of my business, however, we all need guiding every now and then. So, what I will say is that you should always keep an open mind though, the course of your life will change over time and it will be your sole responsibility to see it coming and act accordingly if not, you are dead meat. So while you are fantasizing about becoming the next manager of your stationery shop in the next five years, you should also ask yourself if you will have more time for what matters the most in your life. You know? Things like family, and all that sentimental bs that makes us humans and not robots.

When to do?

I am not a time expert but I’m pretty sure, now might be the best answer. Okay, use me as your guinea pig. Every time I plan to do something, every time I have an idea which clearly aligns with my values, I always find a way to talk myself out of it. I tell myself all sorts of things like; I am not ready, that idea already exists, or that people will hate it, there is always time…lots and lots of reasons excuses in order to procrastinate that into the future. Then when I finally come out of my shell and attempt to venture to do it, I realize that all that fear was only in my head the whole fucking time. And then, I will curse myself for not beginning earlier. So when you ask? I’d bet all my money on NOW!

Why should you do it?

Why do you do anything? Why do you get out of bed in the morning? Why do you feed the dog? Why do you tell the people in your life how much they mean to you? Why do you save money? Heck! Why are you even asking why? Let’s start there. I read a book called ‘Why Ask Why’ when I was very young and I thought it was brilliant. In the book, the author talked about the importance of asking the right questions. Without asking the right questions in life; you may never find the right answers. “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and only five Minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you will do things differently.” – Warren Buffett. So why should you do what you want to do? I do not know but you should know before starting.

How to do?

In my opinion, this is by far one of the seemingly difficult life questions you can ever begin to answer. It makes sense when you begin to answer the questions like which path your life should go, as it questions your core values, and prompts you to think about what kind of future you are planning to have. As for the question of how to go about doing what you wish to do with your life, it depends greatly on your skills and ability. Sometimes, it depends on your talents, but I greatly doubt that an untrained talent will do you any good. Then there is the issue of taking a leap of faith in the direction you have resolved to go. It can be hard to assert your confidence in the skills acquired, but how else will you know if you do not try?

Which to choose?

Finally, you which option should you go with? How about you choose what is best for you? That should be the core of every choice you make because, eventually, you will have to deal with the consequences of your choices. Good or bad. And as much as I do not want to scare you, the choices will be hard and you will still have doubts, but you will end up making a choice and will have to live with that choice for the rest of your life. So choose what you think is the best for you at that particular time and don’t look back. You may be given lots of chances to make new choices, but the past decisions you made in the past will always live with you. Choose your poison right. I guarantee that taking this last step and choosing will be very easy as soon as have taken the time to answer all the other questions.


I will like to guess that it is not easy to answer all of these questions before venturing to do anything in life, but with time and practice, it gets easier and easier. There will come a point where you do not need much effort in answering any of these questions and they come to you naturally. So relax, take your time and do not be too hard on yourself. Just keep crossing those bridges as you reach them.

4 Ways to Start Your Year Right

Photo by Matt Duncan on Unsplash

Be grateful and move on.

As Ariana Grande so eloquently put it:

“thank u, next.”

This is going to be my motto for the entire year, because it captures the act of gratitude so well. Being grateful and moving on doesn’t apply only to your exes, but rather any situation in life, whether good or bad.

No matter what happens in life this year, promise to yourself that you will say thank you as a mark of respect and gratitude, and let it go. No matter how good or bad. No matter how happy or sad.

Be grateful and move on.

Call your friends.

It’s the new year! Go out and be social! You’re only going to be able to enjoy the New Year’s Eve of 2019 once, so please don’t waste it by saying you’d rather spend it all alone. I’m all in for peaceful solitude, but only when human interaction becomes too much. If you feel like this on NYE, find yourself a group of friends who make you feel better.

No matter what you do, DO. NOT. BE. ALONE. Not when people matter.

John Green once said, “What you do doesn’t matter as much as who you do it with.”

Do yourself a favour.

Listen to John.

Be okay with boring.

Too often we find ourselves in a heightened state of emotions, and we believe that this is how our life is going to be forever. On a high. Full of adrenaline, and things to keep you up at night and wake you up in the morning. But the moment you see that life isn’t always as exciting as you expect it to be, you go into a state of withdrawal. And that can be painful. Really painful, if you believe that being boring is as good as being, well, not alive. I’m not saying that being boring is the way to live life.

I’m just saying that being boring is okay.

This year, choose stability over constant uncertainty. Choose balance over too much of one and too little of the other.

Dream as big as you can.

Being boring doesn’t mean you need to make your dreams down to earth too. As much as possible, make sure that your dreams are so big, that they even scare you sometimes. Make your dream the most real, most beautiful version of your life you could think of. And please don’t be afraid to dream big. I’m not sure who said this, but they said, “Most dissatisfaction in life isn’t because people couldn’t reach their goal. It’s because people thought of a goal and people only reached that much.”

Don’t try to justify your dreams to everyone. Just don’t forget them.

Life Is One Big Young Adult Novel.

You know, I often feel like my life is just one big young adult fiction novel, stuck forever in the middle. I’ve been thinking that thought for the last couple of days. 

Today, my story started its new chapter. Or, at least, the biggest plot twist. 

It involves sports. Wow, I never thought I’d say that in my life. 

My sport of interest has never been consistent for more than, say, half a year. Ever since we were allowed to pick a sport in 4th grade, I have jumped from tennis, to athletics, to basketball, to football, and now finally taekwondo. So when I stick with a sport (basketball, in this case) for more than two years, I know that I actually like it.

Soon after moving to my new home, a gated community, I joined basketball coaching classes on the weekdays. The basketball court, in the most basic sense, is the ONLY place where kids my age meet. We have close to no other social life outside of basketball class, trust me. So, obviously, the people who I’ve stuck with in there are nothing short of my best friends. But that still doesn’t stop me from feeling like I need to be on an edge in the court.

Look, whether I or anyone else in this universe admits it or not, I am a nerd. I enjoy solitude with a book in my hand, walking peacefully in the winter sun. I listen to podcasts about the kilogram being redefined, or John and Hank Green joking about death, all while finishing Telugu notes or preparing for my finals (which are a month away-i know, it’s too soon) downstairs.

Doing random things way outside of my comfort zone is definitely something I enjoy once it’s done, but something I absolutely dread while it’s happening. That’s how I felt with this basketball match. I know that there are other, better, actually dangerous things for me to be afraid of, but sue me for being concerned that my heart might pop out of my chest due to nervous tension.

I have never played an official basketball match outside of school, so I am awfully nervous when I go down to play. We start out okay, with a lead of 12-6, but then the good guys(including me) get substituted, and soon the score is 19-25. I am beyond shocked. I am devastated. I am beyond exhausted. I played so well, and so hard, but now we were embarrassingly behind.

I’m on the verge of giving up. Not just pressing-pause-to-resume kind of giving up. The kind the where you stop and have to start all over again. 

Here’s something:

I. have. never. given. up. Ever. 

Not on people, not on tough situations, and definitely, DEFINITELY not on myself or my friends. 

So I don’t.

I push. And push. And push. And push harder and harder and the hardest I could and I fight back my fears and my tears and the pain and the despair and I just give it my all. I run into people, snatch the ball, pass, scream until my lungs burned and I’m 100% there in that moment. 

I know the situation is more and more like something out of a movie, because after 40 minutes of play, both teams are tied and we go into 3 minutes of overtime. I think that this is do or die. But nah. We both score, and we go into overtime again, this time for two minutes. And I think that this situation is as unpredictable as walking on a tightrope 20 feet up in the air with the wind blowing right at me. 

But I hold on. We all do. 

For the last 2 minutes, I hold on to whatever hope is left in me and I give it my all. 

7…6…

I don’t know how, but we suddenly have the lead. 29-27. The ball is, literally and figuratively, in the opponent team’s court right now.

5…4…

But our hope rises just enough for one last boost of energy, and we fight back. 

3…2…1…

It’s inevitable. 

The whistle blows.

Time stops. 

Long enough for us to realize that we actually won. 

The screams are loud and roaring, and they fill me with the voice to scream too. 

I’m running towards everyone. I hug my friend, Akshita, who was sitting on the bench, cheering for us.

I’m hug my friend, Ishaan, who was the reason we won. 

The specifics don’t matter because this success wasn’t about individual glory.  People told me I was really, super aggressive and I defended like a  boss, but that’s not the primary cause of my immense, overwhelming joy.

I often think that my life is one big young adult fiction novel stuck in the middle forever. It’s not always easy, or fun, or even kind.

But goddamn it, it’s good.

Cheers,

Udita.


“I have realized; it is during the times I am far outside my element that I experience myself the most. That I see and feel who I really am, the most! I think that’s what a comet is like, you see, a comet is born in the outer realms of the universe! But it’s only when it ventures too close to our sun or to other stars that it releases the blazing “tail” behind it and shoots brazen through the heavens! And meteors become sucked into our atmosphere before they burst like firecrackers and realize that they’re shooting stars! That’s why I enjoy taking myself out of my own element, my own comfort zone, and hurling myself out into the unknown. Because it’s during those scary moments, those unsure steps taken, that I am able to see that I’m like a comet hitting a new atmosphere: suddenly I illuminate magnificently and fire dusts begin to fall off of me! I discover a smile I didn’t know I had, I uncover a feeling that I didn’t know existed in me… I see myself. I’m a shooting star. A meteor shower. But I’m not going to die out. I guess I’m more like a comet then. I’m just going to keep on coming back.” 
― C. JoyBell C.

Encouraging Embarrassment

The ball is right in front of me.

I’m standing as the goalkeeper, eagerly waiting for the ball to come in my direction.

“Catch it, catch it!”, my teammates are shouting at me.

The opponent kicks it straight at me, it’s in my hands…

Then a gust of wind distracts me and I let go of the ball.

My mishap let the opponents score a goal, and my teammates are screaming out in despair and disappointment.

Yeah, this wasn’t how I expected my first football game to go.


That evening, I was basically on the verge of a nervous breakdown, going over the dreadful situation all over again in my head, wishing deeply to emigrate to another country, preferably one that didn’t know what football was. I was drowning myself in thoughts of embarrassment and disappointment.

To make things worse, my mum locked me in the balcony for fifteen minutes, which was AMAZING, thanks ma (note the sarcasm), and after that, I couldn’t take it anymore. I felt the weight of the world falling on my shoulders, and I felt beaten.

I’m a perfectionist. There. I said it. I’m certainly not afraid of it. I take immense pride in excelling at something, irrespective of my interest or experience in the particular craft. Whatever it is, I tend to drive myself to physical and emotional limits in order to be the best at it.

My inability to hold on to a ball (that was already in my hands) shook me to my core for some weird reason. It reminded me of a truth that I buried deep inside my mind; a truth that I wanted to forget – that I’m not good at everything.

No one really ever is, though.

So if you’re going through a phase of excruciatingly painful embarrassment, read the following tips to deal with the pain.

Let it wash over you.

Don’t resist the pain. That’s the last thing you should do. Instead, just take a moment to relax, and let the feeling of embarrassment pass over you. By doing so, the feeling won’t run all over you for a long time. The sooner you deal with the pain, the sooner the pain will subside.

Talk.

With anyone! On the evening of my (disgraceful) failure, I spent thirty minutes having a conversation with my mom about everything that happened. It really helped me clear my head about the whole situation and I felt infinitely more confident in myself afterward.

Fail fast, fail often.

The most important thing I learned that day is that if I want to get better at something, I must be willing to mess up. Badly and often. The only way to know how far you can go is by going as far as you can go, and going a little bit further until you crash. The only way to understand your full capability is by first knowing your shortcomings. I learned that I sucked at catching a ball. Thanks to that dreadful experience, I now know that with proper training and practice, I can learn how to catch a ball properly, which will, in turn, make me a better football player. Which leads me to my next tip:

Understand that it’s for your own good.

In time, you must learn to trust your mistakes, for they teach you exactly what you need to learn.

Realize that this is normal.

It is normal to feel inadequate and beat up from time to time. So give yourself space to breathe whenever you feel like you’re not good enough. Take a step back and tell yourself that whatever it is you’re going through, it will pass and that you are not alone.

The world is like a reverse casino. In a casino, if you gamble long enough, you’re certainly going to lose. But in the real world, where the only thing you’re gambling is, say, your time or your embarrassment, then the more stuff you do, the more you give luck a chance to find you. – Scott Adams

Let’s Deal With Disappointment, Shall We?

The tension in the room is palpable.

Everyone in the class is eagerly waiting for the bell to ring.

5…4…3…2…1

*ringggg*

Once the teacher leaves, we all rush to the nearest bulletin board on our floor. All of us want to know whether we cleared the test, or failed.

No, we weren’t looking at the results of our final exams.

We were looking at the I-Section entrance test results.

Every year, our school conducts an entrance exam for secondary school students to test their smartness. Then, they segregate the “smart” kids into a different, Integrated-Section.

Yes, I’m in this section. No, sometimes (such as now) I don’t like it.

So our results are on the bulletin board, but I already know my marks- 45 out of 50.

I don’t want to say this, but – oh god – I was disappointed with my marks.

Sometimes I wonder whether I could be the definition of a typical Indian teenage nerd- smart, constantly worried, over-analytic about marks, overpressured and overburdened. Ok, the last part is a bit of an exaggeration. Seriously mom. I’m fine. Don’t send me to the counsellor or to math tuition.

The funny thing is, though, that even though I got through by a big margin, I still felt kinda uneasy. Like I hadn’t done enough to prove my nerdiness to other people. Even though I had accomplished my goal, my mind was too fixated on the smaller picture. Marks.

My whole day went past me like a blur, while all I thought about was how bad I was at acing tests and how much I sucked at them.

That afternoon, during my bus ride back home, my history teacher, who’s a very sweet person (I’m not being paid to say this), asked me if I was sick or something. ‘Cause apparently I looked like I had a fever.

I told her about my rather disgraceful test performance, and she just broke into soft laughter.

“Don’t worry so much, ma. If the teachers are happy with your results, then it’s fine! Don’t take it so seriously.”

Those words gave me just the perspective my naive mind needed. My mood went from sullen, brooding, contemplative and disappointed to accepting, and ready to make a change. I was ready to change my day into one full of opportunities at my disposal.

Here are 5 things I did that evening to lift my mood. You should try them too.

Talk to a friend.

If you’re feeling low, pick up your phone and chat up with an old friend. The feeling of having someone who listens and talks to you can be therapeutic at times.

Tell yourself that it’ll pass.

Because it will. You know that. Stop for a moment, tell your little irrational brain to shut up, and remind yourself that whatever you’re feeling is perfectly normal, and your despair with come to an end.

Throw your responsibilities away for a day.

One primary reason for disappointment is high expectations. From anyone. So since you can’t control what others expect from you, the best you can do is control what you expect from yourself. Don’t push your limits for a few hours. Just. Relax.

Play a sport.

Sports are awesome! They are also scientifically proven to reduce stress and depression. So if you have a basketball court or just a park in your neighbourhood, call a couple of your friends down and play for a while!

Write about it (as I am now).

Writing helps because nothing provides perspective through self-realisation quite like writing. The minute you put a sad feeling on paper, it loses its dramatic, overestimated impact on your mental wellbeing. There’s no need to amplify a situation through writing. As long as you write down the bare facts about what happened and how you feel, this works.

That day, I learnt that no matter how bad a day goes, I can always change how I feel about it with a simple shift in mindset.

I learnt that if I just change your mindset from one of disappointment to one of acceptance and growth, everything will be okay.

Hopefully, you learnt that too.

“I’m sad, hurt, angry, mad, disappointed. But you know what? I will put on a happy face and move on. It will hurt but I will survive.”

How to Steal Ideas

Stolen from Austin Kleon.

Nothing’s original.

There is nothing new under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 1:9)

Originality is undetected plagiarism. Nothing, absolutely nothing in this world is original. “Original” art is just connecting the same old dots in a different pattern. And the best way to get more of these dots into your life is to steal them. There are bajillions of things to steal in the world, and many people to steal it from. Use what you find interesting, appreciate what you don’t, and move on to the next thing to steal.

You are your own remix.

You are a mashup of your mom and dad and your ancestors. Your ideas are a mashup of the people you surround yourself with, the friends you make, the music you listen to, the movies you see and the blogs you read. 😛 In the same way, your ideas are a mix of other people’s ideas. You might feel like the ideas in your head are 100% yours, but that couldn’t be more far from the truth. Your job is to pick the sources and ideas that you want to be influenced by.

Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. -Jim Jarmusch

Build your own creative lineage.

One good way to keep the art flowing is to consider yourself as part of a big creative family tree that has all your role models in it. Start with one thinker. Study everything there is to know about them. Then find three people that thinker loved and study them. Grow branches of your tree as far out as you can. Seeing yourself as part of a bigger picture gives you a sense of purpose, makes you feel less alone and more empowered to continue doing what you’re doing.

Putting up pictures or quotes of your favourite people in the world is a great way to do this. They’re like friendly ghosts, pushing you forward.

Teach yourself.

Curiosity might have killed the cat, but it also cured polio. Keep your eyes open for anything worth Googling. Whenever in doubt, Google. Google your dreams, your nightmares, your problems and absolutely any random thought on your mind. It’s sure to either give the right answers or lead you to better questions.

Write it down.

If you’re in the hunt for ideas, there are two things you’ll need to carry with you all the time: a pen and paper.

If you see something worth remembering, chances are you’ll forget it in the next twenty four hours. The difference between a genius and a normal person is that when a genius comes across something cool, she notes it down.

See something worth your attention?

Steal it.

It is better to take what doesn’t belong to you than to let it lie around neglected. -Mark Twain

Sorry this post is a bit short. Next week will be better, I promise!

What do you want to see next? Any ideas on your mind? Leave a comment below!

5 Things We Can Learn from The Mentalist

Okay.

So, as I write this, it’s the 30th of April and it’s been 3 days since Avengers: Infinity War released. And whether or not you know me personally, one thing you should know that is that I LOVE MARVEL. I love the movie storylines, the cinematography, and the cast and characters of the MCU. I’ve been a fan for the last 5 years and I’ve devoted a lot of time towards the fandom. Suddenly I started thinking about the other fandoms I follow. And lemme tell you this – there are only 2 main things I strongly fangirl about: Marvel and Crime TV.

I love many crime and political drama TV series, but the one I love the most is my newest obsession: The Mentalist.

The Mentalist is a show starring Simon Baker as Patrick Jane, a former psychic and conman. He joins the California Bureau of Investigation after a serial killer named Red John murders his wife and daughter. Jane uses his wit, intelligence and cold sadism to choke–no–to make the suspects choke the truth out of themselves until they either walk away in anger or get arrested for murder. And by doing so, Jane pretty much single-handedly closes most cases (with, of course, some help from his 4 teammates).

I’ve known this TV show for quite a few years now (thanks to my parents who love the show too), but only now now have I truly understood how good and precious it is. Not only is it one of the most successful TV shows of its time, but it also showcases good characteristics and advice that you may not have noticed in the show before. Here are 5 things that I’ve learnt from Patrick Jane, the Mentalist:

Read books more often.

In almost every episode of the series, at some point you’re gonna see Jane on his sofa, reading a book or solving a sudoku puzzle. SUDOKU. This guy solves mysteries, fearlessly outs criminals and frequently puts his life and career on the line to save lives. And what does he do in his free time? HE READS. We should all do the same.

Don’t be afraid to catch the bad guys.

Or question the norm. Almost every case ends with Jane trapping the criminal in such a way that they are forced to confess. And he does this so effortlessly and unambiguously, that no one knows what’s coming their way. The way Jane outs criminals and frauds with such finesse and fearlessness is something we can all learn from. In the world we’re living in, with corruption and violence growing, the number of people supporting and participating in illegal practices is only getting bigger. The same goes for autonomous and dogmatic authorities, whose sole intent seems to be to eliminate anyone who steps even an inch out of line. If you manage to take down or change even one of such people, you will have succeeded in making the world a better place.

It’s good to get inside other’s heads.

For good, of course. Jane’s biggest strength happens to be his ability to accurately read people’s minds. Like, honestly, he will read your mind faster than you can say CBI out loud. The mind is the most powerful source of information and inspiration a human can have. And to decide someone else’s mind could quite be the biggest advantage you have over them. That’s because getting to know what drives and vexes people is a clever tactic that you can use to influence people towards a certain cause. But you can’t read a stranger’s mind without training your own. So training the brain to look past the obvious physical details of a person is an essential lesson Jane has taught me. Speaking of details–

The devil is in the details.

Jane is a master at looking beyond the obvious and ordinary and catching anything that looks out of order. His expertise in noticing the smallest of characteristics and behaviour teaches us that the key to solving any problem is mostly to pay REALLY GOOD ATTENTION.

Your tragedy can define you or destroy you.

Patrick Jane worked as a conman and psychic for years before joining the CBI. When he was a psychic he occasionally used to help the police find Red John. While talking about Red John once on a live TV show, Jane arrogantly called him “an ugly, tormented man. A lonely soul.”

That very night, Red John murdered Patrick’s wife and child. He slit their throats and painted their toenails and the wall in their own blood.

This was Patrick’s tragedy. He lost the two people he loved the most because of his ego. He had a serious nervous breakdown soon after and was in dire need of psychiatric help. This moment of despair was the lowest point of Jane’s life.

But he didnt give in to this tragedy and drown himself in self-loathing and self-pity. Instead, he swore not to stop until he avenged his wife and daughter and killed Red John.

Tragedy will, at some point or another, fall upon every person on this planet. It will taunt us. It will test us. And it will scare us. But by all means, when it comes, we mustn’t give in to defeat for the comfort of safety. Even if it takes every ounce of your energy, time and self-worth, we must fight back until what we need is ours.

There are a hundred things I’ve learnt from The Mentalist. I could go in for a long time talking about them all. But hope, I think, is the most important.

Who knew a TV show could be so influential, eh?

When you’re dead, you’re dead. And until then, there’s ice cream! -Patrick Jane

Like this post? Leave a comment to start a discussion! I’d love to hear your reviews and suggestions!

5 More Podcasts You Need to Listen to Right Now

BrainStuff

The creators of this podcast strive to explore the everyday world through the lens of creativity and give it to us in bite-sized episodes that are easy to listen to. BrainStuff is a podcast that you can binge on while doing the dishes driving around town, or when you’re craving for some inspiration!

Nerdificent

OhMyGod. Nerdificent is my new favorite podcast and it should be yours too. Hosts Dani and Ify are super nerdy, geeky and so much fun to listen to. Their podcast is an opportunity for nerds to thrive in their natural environment and immerse into different worlds through exploration and experimentation. If you’re a nerd, THIS IS YOUR PODCAST.

Ungeniused

Have you ever found yourself lost on Wikipedia? One moment you’re on the page about thermodynamics, and the next you’re reading about British life in the 16th century. Wikipedia has almost 45 million pages, covering topics that you never knew existed. Stephen Hackett and Myke Hurley discuss the weirdest of these topics. Ungeniused is a podcast where the creators share interesting knowledge that you’ll certainly never use, but who knows, it might come in handy!

The Unmade Podcast

This is an amazing podcast by Tim Hein and Brady Haran, where the two talk about unpublished podcast episodes and ideas for future ones. This podcast is my go-to for some relaxed self-brainstorming when my creative juices are guaranteed to flow.

Ben, Ben and Blue

Ben, Ben and Blue is a great podcast by Grant Sanderson, Ben Eater and Ben Stenhaug. The three of them have insightful and stimulating about education and content creation. Some of their podcast content includes color illusions, poker psychology, and middle math teaching. Ben, Ben and Blue deserves to be on everyone’s Top 10 list of resource podcasts. And I’m not lying.

5 Podcasts You Need to Listen to Right Now

Am I the only one who feels like podcasts are super trending?
I’ve been a podcast listener for a while now, and the quantity and the quality of podcasts have risen unimaginably. As of Feb 1, 2018, Apple Podcasts had 500000 different podcasts in over 100 languages. If you listened to a new podcast every single day, it would take you over 1300 years to listen to them all. With this kind of information overload, it can get hard to filter the great podcasts from the mediocre. So here’s a list of 5 absolutely remarkable podcasts that you should listen to:

Dear Hank and John

If you’re reading this and you’re a nerdfighter, you’ll understand why this podcast is at the top of my list. Created by vlogbrothers and YouTube influencers John and Hank Green, this podcast is a life-saver for anyone in desperate need of advice. Packed with tips that are more helpful than you’d imagine and weekly news from Mars and AFC Wimbledon, Dear Hank and John is a mixture of comedy that you can’t handle and general awareness that you never asked for.

Rants and Randomness

From blogger, TED speaker, and side-eye sorceress Luvvie Ajayi, Rants and Randomness is a podcast that covers all things pop culture and relevant to our lives. Luvvie chats with amazing people and talks about books and shows that she loves. She shares her most pressing rants, raves, faves and fails from her life. If you like informing yourself about the world and also being high-key shady, this podcast is for you.

Hello Internet

CGP Grey and Brady Haran discuss anything and everything that’s worth their time- tennis balls, earthquake zones, cute puppy photos and the psychology of self-checkout machines. This is one podcast that you’ll feel comfortable listening to and you’ll always come back for more.

IRL: Online Life is Real Life

IRL is an informative podcast that discusses various aspects of the online world that we surround ourselves with, such as the growing problem of conspiracy, the use of algorithms in social networking, biometric technology in Snapchat filters and the battle of net neutrality. This podcast is essential for anyone who wants influence people towards the greater good through the internet.

Delete This!

This podcast is so good, it’s a gift from heaven. Hosted by Katherine and Hank Green, this podcast recaps and scrutinizes Hanks twitter feed over the previous week, while also talking about the things that matter in today’s world (according to Hank, at least). Delete this is a podcast that provides you with healthy doses of education with equal amounts of entertainment.
If you found these podcasts cool, stay tuned for next week’s post where I give you 5 more great podcasts!
“People are really listening and want to consume all of the content that is there and available. There’s a level of dedication that comes from podcast listeners that you otherwise don’t find. And now the numbers prove it. Podcasts aren’t a bubble, they’re a boom—and that boom is only getting louder.”