What I Learnt This Summer

This summer has been a whirlwind experience for me, really. I mean, now that I look at it, WOW, so much stuff went down in these eight or so weeks, it’s kind of hard to count. Shoot, I don’t even know when our vacations started. I don’t remember what my classroom lockers look like, and for some reason that worries me more than the fact that I’ve lost my sense of time? It’s probably cause if anyone tries to take my locker, their end is near.

Perhaps the greatest lesson I’ve learnt is that whether or not we realize it, things will turn out just as they need to be. I spent a good deal of the summer fretting about my motivation to study (rather the lack of it), thinking that I was wasting my time reading a novel instead of practising for, I don’t know, half yearlies? In September?? I like to plan ahead. I don’t like it when I’m not planning ahead. Hence my (ephemeral) anxiety.

I was watching Nathan Zed’s new video on YouTube (he just graduated!), and something that he says at the end really struck me. He said he found a balance between what he loves doing (YouTube) and what he needed to do (College), and he found happiness in both. That’s a lesson worth learning, in my opinion.

And so, as school begins in two days, I’m filled with inspiration to balance all my passions, I’m excited to meet my friends again (I hope they remember me), and I’m ready to defend whoever even tries to claim that my locker is actually theirs.

#OrangeArmy forever, if you know what I’m talking about
Filters are cool!
A bunch of journalist wannabes hitting the road in a big bus together. What more do I need
Hi Amrutha!
Whatever I saw the moment this pic was taken must have been really splendid
Reporting from the press
I always carry no less than 6 books in my bag
“Why are they called heels if you’re on your toes?”
English group project
Trophy number 39
Sarath City Capital Mall drove me WILD
drawings
Christmas in Goa
Goa rocks. Please get that
Rare sighting of me in my natural habitat
I love signs on mountains 2 km above the ground
No caption required, let the picture sink deep into your soul
Cable car take off
Flawfy dawg
I spent a LOTTA cash that night. Worth it
drawings
I’m an artist now where’s my money
Spot me: the exercise

On The Last Day of Summer

You know you’re cooked

When school starts tomorrow

And you still haven’t finished your homework

That you had to finish a month ago


But you know your procrastination

Was for a good cause,

Because the joy of completing homework

Could never replace the joy of the memories you made.


You remember

Lazily strolling across the park

And the early morning dew on the grass

Gently kissing the soles of your feet.


You remember

Going out and doing things for pure fun

Never caring about the consequences;

Just living in the moment and forgetting everything else.


You remember

Stepping out of your comfort zone,

Doing frightening things,

And coming out stronger than before.


But most importantly,

You remember

The friends you made

And the friends you let go of

Feeling grateful and happy for them all.


And at the end of the summer vacation,

After all the highs and lows,

After all the pure and crazy joy,

On the last day of summer,

You think to yourself,

“Summer wasn’t half as bad as I thought it would be.”


Photo by Heather Emond on Unsplash

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!

The Tyger

Tyger Tyger, burning bright,

In the forests of the night;

What immortal hand or eye,

Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies.

Burnt the fire of thine eyes?

On what wings dare he aspire?

What the hand, dare seize the fire?

And what shoulder, & what art,

Could twist the sinews of thy heart?

And when thy heart began to beat,

What dread hand? & what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain,

In what furnace was thy brain?

What the anvil? what dread grasp,

Dare its deadly terrors clasp!

When the stars threw down their spears

And water’d heaven with their tears:

Did he smile his work to see?

Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

Tyger Tyger burning bright,

In the forests of the night:

What immortal hand or eye,

Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

-William Blake

5 Ways to Strengthen your Willpower this Summer

This post is part of a collaboration with Jess from JessofEarth. We’re both writing blogs on improving work ethic this Spring/Summer season. Check out her post on tips to improve work ethic and give her some love! Actually, give her a lot of love. She deserves it.

OK. Listen. I’m gonna be straightforward here: I don’t wanna write this post. I feel like I’ve hit a blogging wall that’s taking every ounce of my energy to climb over. I am mentally strained and emotionally fatigued.”

That was me, two Sundays ago. Two Sundays ago, I had absolutely zero chill whatsoever and was at a dead end. And soon I came to a conclusion: There are two things that a person loses when they are at a dead end- appetite and their desire to live. Seriously. I’m not kidding. That whole Sunday was a rhythmic medley of passive starvation and passive, unhealthy introspection.

I knew I had to do something about my appalling state of mind. So I turned to the best person for advice, my one true friend: YouTube.

I spent the rest of the day binge watching some of the world’s biggest stars talk about work ethic and self-discipline and inspiration, but the one recurring core value I saw in all the videos was grit; specifically, willpower.

Willpower is the mind’s ability to stay focused and work tenaciously in the face of various challenges and hurdles. Willpower is basically the supremacy of the mind over the body. It allows us to stay determined, persevere, and achieve success in spite of the ups and downs. Willpower acts as your daily health counting bar. But it’s a finite resource and gets drained for absolutely every activity that you do in a day. So it’s essential that we utilize our willpower in the most efficient way possible.

I found an amazing video by Charlie Houpert on willpower, where he clarifies many common misconceptions about the value and gives really cool tips to strengthen it. Here they are.

Make decisions quickly.

Come on. How much time do you spend deciding which ice cream or soda you want? Or whether you’re gonna finish your work today or later? The answer obviously is a lot.

Not only does this waste your time and energy, but reduces your willpower, bit by bit, each time you deliberate over a petty issue.

Mindlessly going back and forth over multiple decisions only creates more trouble and confusion for your brain. So take it easy, make a snap choice and just do it.

Create ground rules.

It’s always easier when you have a set of predefined rules that you just have to follow. This can be as simple as “I’m going to wake up at 6 and that’s it” or something more serious like “no more than 2 chocolates a month.” Besides, who eats only 2 chocolates a month??

Setting an unfixed rule won’t let you reconsider any other option, therefore not letting you mindlessly deliberate over things and saving your willpower.

Create an environment that supports your work.

This concerns two things: your phone and your friends. But mostly your phone.

If you thrive on social media platforms all day instead of finishing your work, try deleting your apps. If you check Pinterest a lot (like me), try deleting it for a week.This will force you not to check for notifications or get distracted.  Unless you want to go through the gruesome task of opening your laptop and signing in again, which I’d really rather not do.

Changing your environment could also mean changing the people you surround yourself with. It is best to live with people who have the same dedication and willpower as you. They don’t need to have the same interests tho. As long as they work as hard or harder than you, you’re doing good.

Prepare for the challenging task first.

No matter how amazing your work might be going at one point, a speed bump is inevitable. And if you’re not ready for that reality, it’s definitely going to be a major blow to your mental strength. So do what you can to prepare yourself for the unwanted or negative outcomes in a situation, so that when they do happen, you’ll be ready to fight the battle. And it’s ok if you lose the battle, as long as you win the war.

Figure out your identity.

*sigh* Look, man. I hate to break it to you, but you’re…. you’re not Will Smith. Ok? So stop trying to act like you got that kind of Willpower(I hope you saw what I did there). Was that too cheesy or was it ok?

Trying to achieve your dreams by following the ethics of someone else is never going to help in the long term. In order to truly flourish in life, it is necessary to know yourself inside out. Know what drives you, your strengths and weaknesses, your flaws and frustrations, and figure out what work ethic works best for you. Because if you don’t, someone else will. And it might not fit you perfectly.

I know sometimes work might seem like a heartless, lifeless job, driving us to the edge of humanity and towards mechanical and robotic emotion, but if you mix your work and willpower with individual identity, that’s when work stops being work and becomes fun.

It’s not that some people have the willpower and some don’t. It’s that some people are ready to change and others are not. -James Gordon

The Hot Waves Come Calling

Guys. This is my first ever guest post and I couldn’t have been happier or more honoured to be collaborating with XlitpotX from LitPot. She writes amazing poems on abstract concepts. Check out her site too, it’s got some brilliant content, and show her the love she deserves!

Here’s a poem by her, titled ‘The Hot Waves Come Calling’:

The hot waves come calling

The sweat and the bright sun

The water splashing fun

The bad hair days

The active Sundays

The hot waves come calling

The cool ice cream slurp

The morning chirp

The light weight clothes

The tanned elbows

The hot waves come calling

The extended summer vacation

Oh, how we would eagerly wait for this dictation

The cool AC breeze

That would make our nose freeze

The hot waves come calling

The morning less lazy

The heat driving us crazy

Summer is almost here

Even with a tiny hitch, it brings a happy cheer.