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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.”

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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!

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I’m not feeling it.

This whole week has been a frenzy of activity. I’ve been reading, singing, coding, creating apps, brainstorming for hours at school, and doing my school work on top of all that. I guess you could call that a busy week for 14-year old standards. And if that wasn’t enough, I realized that I hadn’t written a blog post!

Today morning was extremely windy and cold and dark and rainy(which is what i love), and I was trying to enjoy the rain, but all my mind could think of was,”Uhhhhh, it’s Sundayyyyy. I gotta write some stuff, whyyyy?” No part of my body felt like pushing buttons on a screen and hitting Publish in the hopes that maybe, just maybe, I would get a solid 15 views on this post. Only to do this again next week. From scratch. I’m not saying I don’t like blogging (that is absolutely false), it’s just that I’d rather put my brain in a blender than write today.

Maybe I feel like this because I started blogging with the unrealistic hopes of getting a million followers in a year, and until now, I really thought it was possible. I am addicted to the idea of success and fame, and I used to believe that blogging would let me achieve my dreams as quickly as possible. And the realization that success isn’t even guaranteed, let alone easily achievable, has shaken me up considerably over the past few weeks.

So is success really achievable? Is it worth putting all your time, energy, strength and willpower just to make sure that your dreams are achieved? What if you don’t have big dreams? What if you just want a cheeseburger, and don’t care about getting a degree in experimental psychology? Is it okay to risk everything you know and have to just follow your passions?

Yes and no. But don’t just take my word for it.

It is valid to be obsessed with your dreams. It is not valid to sit on your couch with a coke in your hand and complain that your dreams haven’t been fulfilled. Work ethic is key to success, as you’ll see in next week’s post. So get off the couch. Work hard and enjoy the process of working hard. Work till your work pushes you forward. And once you reach your goal, revel in your success and find a new goal to work towards.

However, I think it’s wrong to get so caught up in one particular goal that you forget that there are other goals you can achieve. That’s very messed up. I used to be obsessed with learning to play basketball at school, but I never felt in love with the sport. Then last week I made the decision to change my sport to football, and I love it. I guess the key is to do as many things as possible at a young age, and figure out what you’re best at as you grow up.

That’s what blogging is to me. A chance to explore. I’m coming up on my blog’s 3-month anniversary this Saturday and I can’t begin to describe how happy I and grateful I am. I have learnt so much from this writing endeavor and I’m excited to see what I can come up with next. Sure, there will be rough patches. But no pain, no gain, right?

“I have to face life with a newly found passion. I must rediscover the irresistible will to learn, to live and to love.” —Andrea Bocelli

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A Guide to Surviving Freshman Year of High School

-From a high school freshman.

You’re not running a Fortune 500 company.

So stop acting like you have the world’s weight on your shoulders. These 4 years of high school do look extremely daunting. I feel it. And I’ve been in 9th grade for a week. But trust me: don’t stress. We’re gonna get through it unscathed. But:

These 4 years are gonna matter a lot.

So spend every waking, breathing moment either working hard, feeling great or being nice to others. These should be your top three priorities. Get in your best hustle game. Make the best and closest friends who lift your spirits up. Smile!

Notes.

Words simply cannot describe how important taking good notes are. Organized, neat and simple notes will become your best friends in these 4 years. So treat them write. Here are links to up your note-taking game:

Rihanna:*work, work, work, work, work, work*

Work ethic is gonna become key if you want to ace every one of your tests. It’s also very subjective. So experiment with different methods of studying, different locations, and create a timetable that lets you slay all your work and also leaves you energy to do other things. And do this in the first week of your new year. Once you come up with a plan, commit to it.

Do more than just textbook studies.

I know. Don’t virtually curse me. I know there’s also a truckload of stuff to do in our textbooks. But for the sake of your individuality, please don’t restrict yourself to the information in your textbooks. The world is bigger than your wildest imagination of it. Don’t live in a bubble. Expose yourself to as many new, wild, crazy, truly innovative things as possible. Google absolutely everything you see. Learn to play a musical instrument. Learn Calculus, Laws of Thermodynamics, Coding, World History or a new language. Experiment with your strengths and weaknesses. But please, don’t close yourself in a bubble of fear and call it comfort.

You are going to do absolutely amazing in your first year of high school. For sure. Trust me.

I just got in.

High school is neither a democracy nor a dictatorship – nor, contrary to popular belief, an anarchic state. High school is a divine-right monarchy.
― John Green, Paper Towns

P.S. What’s your best advice for high school? Leave your advice in the comments. They might just help me out:)