Quote Challenge- Day 3

Final day of the challenge! My third quote from Paulo Coehlo’s The Alchemist.

Quote-3

Be thankful for your health, before you start falling ill.

Be grateful for your family and friends, before you start losing them.

Be thankful for your present moment, before you start fearing the future.

Be grateful for your hair, before you start turning bald.

Be thankful for the roof over your head, before you start realizing a life of homelessness.

Be grateful for every grain you eat, before you start starving without food when needed.

Be thankful for your monotonous boring life, before you start begging for things to get normal when life takes bad turns.

Be grateful for this very existence of yours, before you start realizing it’s end!

Everything is a blessing in every way possible. The list of blessings can go endless, if given a proper thought. Embrace them, thank them, acknowledge them, before it’s too late!

 

 

 

P.S: Any blogger who is interested in this challenge or anyone who wants to write regularly but is unsure of what to write about, this challenge is a good start. Please feel free to take this up!

Quote Challenge- Day 2

Thank you Gary of Fiction is Food, for nominating me for 3- Day Quote Challenge. As I mentioned during the first day, I will be quoting few favorite lines from Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist.

Quote-2

How many times have we grumbled about things going wrong in our lives, while doing nothing about them? Though it doesn’t require any effort to lament and blame the circumstances when something goes wrong, complaining hardly makes us feel better. In fact, it makes our state worse. The reason for screwed up lives may not be us always. Yet, there are certain ways to make our lives better irrespective of the pain caused by us or others, or the situations. One such way is self-improvement.

Consider disruptions in relationships between individuals due to differences in attitudes or misunderstandings. During this phase, people either stop communicating due to the sudden eruption of their egos, or slowly turn a victim of emotional breakdown due to the distance from their loved one. Making efforts to amend the situation is the best way to handle a stir in relationships. What if nothing works? You’ve tried to make the situation better, but in vain. The problem might sometimes be beyond the capability of both the individuals involved. What can you do then? Will you keep pondering over the ruined relationship and curse your fate? Will you drench yourself in agony and pain since you are helpless? Thinking of any of the above stated options will not only deteriorate yourself, but also make you weak and vulnerable.

The right way to handle crisis, when situation gets out of hand or when you feel nothing else would make it any better, focusing on improving oneself is the most effective option! Each of us have ample scope for improvement in one way or the other. If you can’t think of any ways to become a better person, then you might have to re- evaluate your perception about yourself! You may get apprehensive as to how can improving oneself make everything better, when the problem isn’t about the individual but external factors? Yes, the dark phase of your life is not an outcome of your actions. It might be because of someone else- Someone’s attitudinal  deficiency, their health issues or circumstances. Irrespective of the reasons for happenstance, improving thyself makes everything better!

How? Focus on improving yourself. You may be good at many things, but may be lacking certain traits or habits. Try to spend time on developing such habits, especially during hard times. It may be exploring a hobby that you always wished to learn, improving public speaking skills that might help you become a better communicator, inculcating discipline in your life to get rid of laziness or focusing on your health by initiating a fitness regime which you never had. The list can go endless on proper analysis! These may sound lame and ineffective at the time of crisis, but the impact of improving ourselves can make a huge difference on our outlook and our lives. After a good number of days of being involved with making yourself better, you will notice that your life will magically turn better! The circumstances that resulted in your pain, will slowly start vanishing for whatever reasons. This is no wizardry! You were so involved in making yourself better, that the time invested in self- improvement has never made you realize the time that has gone by! Which otherwise would have appeared ‘forever’, if spent lamenting, worrying and depressed!

Time heals everything. Every pain, every obstacle, every fear, every failure that you are going through now is as temporary as the season. Meanwhile, strive to make yourself better and everything will fall in place eventually, magically!

“Strength doesn’t come from what you can do. It comes from overcoming the things you once thought you couldn’t.” – Rikki Rogers

Quote Challenge- Day 1

I was nominated for 3 Day Quote Challenge more than a month ago. Thank you Gary for giving me a way to keep myself motivated to get back to my blog after being dormant for a while.

Rules of the Challenge:

  • Post 1-3 quotes for three days
  • Nominate three other wonderful bloggers to the challenge
  • Thank your nominator

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho is one of my all time favorites. This book never fails to raise my spirits after an unexpected failure or hopelessness. I planned on writing about few favorite lines from the book through the three day quote challenge.

Quote-1

Everybody has dreams and aspirations, but not everyone achieves them. What could make the difference? There might be ‘n’ number of factors that drive success/ failure, but the most important of them all lies within us. Our ‘psyche’ or the mind is the true culprit. As I keep citing at every opportunity possible about the greatness or the incompetency of the human mind, this is no different. This quote from the Alchemist refreshes on reminding us, that we may eventually become our own hindrance in our path to success.

The fear of failure is dangerous than the failure itself! When we have ambitions that appear or sound impossible, it is quite hard to progress towards achieving them with a doubtful, fearful mind. While the fear may be an outcome of evaluation of the risks involved, it can definitely make us lose the motivation to achieve. The ‘What-if’ phenomena never stops haunting us, if it is a dream involving lot of risks and liabilities. Plan B may not always be the solution, hence the fear of failure. But this fear impairs our true potential and holds us back from moving forward towards our goals.

Do your duty and never bother about the result.”- Bhagawad Gita

One way to handle the fear of failure, is to follow the above principle as cited in the Bhagawad Gita, a sacred text for the Hindus. To achieve a goal, the right amount of hard work needs to be invested without thinking about the results. Thus diminishing the fear of failing, as we work without being conscious of the outcome. If the result is positive or a success- Well! The determination and hard work paid off! But if it is on the contrary, there is something lacking in the amount of work needed. Trying again with the same or much higher amount of work, is definitely hard for most of us to do. This is where the difference comes. Success does not come in a day, nor does failure last forever. Working and struggling each and every time with the same and escalating amount of motivation, irrespective of the result drives way to success eventually.

I haven’t failed. I just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”- Thomas Edison

Thank goodness, this great man, never feared failure! Else, we would’ve been living ignorantly in the dark!

Zootopia- #AtoZChallenge


If there is one alphabet that I was sure of what to write about during the AtoZChallenge, it has to be Z. Ever since I watched the movie Zootopia two months ago, I wanted to put down my thoughts about it. It’s been a while since I felt like writing about any movie, especially animated. For some reason, I get more influenced by animated movies with animals in them. May be because I feel more stimulated with emotions, when portrayed through animals. One such movie that moved me after The Lion King, was Disney’s Zootopia! This is not a generalizing review on the movie, but about why I liked it.

Image Source: Google

Anyone can be anything” in Zootopia.

This being the theme of the movie, Zootopia is a big city where every creature, from the biggest elephant to the tiniest rodent live in harmony. The city is presented more or less like New York, with high skyscrapers and busy lives.

There is this bunny, Judy Hopps living in the countryside who dreams of becoming a police officer, inspite of the society threatening her that it’s no good for bunnies. Judy moves to Zootopia for her first job posting and is the only tiny animal and the first rabbit cop in a class full of bulls, tigers and muscular carnivores who fit the bill of belonging to the Police Department. Given her size, she is underestimated and is assigned with parking duty, even though she graduates as a topper at the Policy Academy.

With unfavorable events turning up, Judy encounters a case and is challenged by her boss to take up the case. In order to be considered seriously at the Policy Department, Judy agrees to solve the mystery. Now, she is forced to work with a witty street smart Fox, named Nick Wilde. He helps her with the case and an ample number of twists turn up as the case is solved, eventually leading to a bigger mystery than expected. How Judy solves the case and emerges a hero with Nick’s help is an old wine in a new bottle. But there were certain aspects that I loved in the movie:

Busting the stereotypes:

The movie was all about showcasing beyond the typical. First, a female protagonist, next a bunny. A female rabbit who wants to become a police officer, something very unsual. The societal pressure of discouragement when an underdog wants to achieve something beyond their clan’s imagination was aptly captured!

Why should a Fox be always considered a cunning animal? Breaking this stereotype, the movie depicts how a fox suffers all it’s life due to lack of trust and just with the fear of being labelled as cunning by all the other animals. Something synonymous with the real world. Humans are pretty good at labelling or judging, specially based on established standards and perceptions. This movie tries to bust that notion.

Attention to detail:

Zootopia is no way less than New York! They have the busiest transportation system feasible to every shape and size of the animal world. There are special areas for special breeds. The malls, streets sound similar to those of real big cities. For instance, little mouses shop at Mousy’s just like our Macy’s. The Police Department very well imitated the NYPD. While our world went crazy with the evolution of Apple and it’s half eaten apple logo, Judy Hopps skypes her family once in a while from Zootopia in her iPhone with a half eaten carrot logo! May be they too had an evolution of a Carrot company that has been a pioneer with innovation! I felt giving importance to such tiny details that just pass over in a jiffy and usually go unnoticed, was impressive.

I would do no justice while talking about this movie and not mention the ‘Sloth’ episode at DMV. This was the most hilarious scenes I have watched in recent times! Genuinely entertaining, without pretentious humor. I bet no one would watch this scene without bursting out into laughter!

Motivational theme:

Anyone can do anything! How cool is that! The movie wonderfully showcases how an underdog emerges a hero against all odds, with mere determination and positive outlook. The society never stops reminding us about who we are and where we come from, but our ability to think and achieve beyond what society labels, leads us to real victory!

If you haven’t watched this movie, please do watch it! It’s fun and enlightening.


WordPress World – #AtoZChallenge

W

WordPress has been one of the best things that has happened to me in recent times. Like everyone else on WordPress, my passion to write landed me here. However, I had no idea what I had in store, nor did I know what to expect. All I knew was that I have too many things running in my head and I need a medium to let it out in a ‘structured’ manner. I wanted to share personal stories and experiences that motivated me to be a better person and also made me gain a better perspective of life. Also to remind how powerful our psyche is and how it is the ultimate solution to every problem. This was my sole reason for getting here on WordPress, apart from the writing bug. Also, how can someone be good at something without actually trying? Thus I began blogging, to hone my writing skills, to get inspired from others work and to keep learning in every way possible!

All I thought about WordPress was that it is a platform to pour in your thoughts/ opinions/ arguments/ discussions, DIYs or a web space to showcase your talent in photography and art. Little did I know that it was way more than what I assumed. Once I created a WordPress account, I started digging in the innumerable themes and options available. Being a web application developer, I know the pain behind the scenes of these fancy themes and the user friendliness of this website. I could not stop admiring how such a complex application was developed to appear so simple and ‘easy to use’ to the user. I got inspired and was reminded of my distant dream of having a web space of my own (created/developed by me) on my own domain. Until then, WordPress it is! 😀

Once the developer in me subsided, I got back to wearing my creative hat. I started exploring and following fellow bloggers. It was wonderful to see how everyone is not only unique but also like-minded at the same time. As I started getting used to this new routine of mine and took to the ‘impossible’ of writing regularly, I was astounded by the community spirit that WordPress offered. I felt encouraged, relieved and most of all secured! Something that I don’t find other social networking sites offering.

I always believed I had some meaningful thoughts that I need to share. Thoughts that might help others to perceive life better or motivate them towards optimism or gratitude, just like how I got inspired from reading others work. But I never dared to post such thoughts on Facebook/ Twitter or any of those social networking places with hundreds of friends, who I have known for long in my real life. Why? Is it because of my fear of being judged? Or my feeling of being abandoned? Or may be I was just insecure? I don’t know. It is a naked truth that no matter what we write, we want someone out there to read. It is an irony, that I feel more secure sharing here on WordPress among strangers, rather than among real people I know or through my social media profiles. I wonder if it’s the power of anonymity or the positive atmosphere in WordPress or both!

The community here is so very encouraging and inspiring which I find lacking in other social platforms. Networking and ‘give-take’ policy is another important aspect that I’ve learned and enjoyed during my 2 month stint with WordPress. Just like many others, I got to meet some amazing people from across the globe, read their awesome work and learn from their writings.

500 likes- This has been my first accomplishment in 2months since I started here on WordPress. I don’t know if it’s considered an achievement as per blogging standards, but it indeed was overwhelming for an amateur like me when this popped up in my notifications. It is indeed a great source of motivation for someone who had no idea what WordPress was all about, or how wonderful people are in encouraging you and letting you inhibit all your fears and doubts.

500

I’d like to thank WordPress and all my fellow bloggers for making this a part of me and my world, for encouraging and inspiring me to take up things that I always wished to, but never dared to.

Validated Values- #AtoZChallenge

V

“Values are like fingerprints. Nobody’s are the same, but you leave them all over everything you do.” – Elvis Presley

Values are deep rooted. There is significant influence of culture, religion, upbringing and awareness on values one develops as an individual. Hence they are prone to differ from person to person. But values are contingent. They are subject to change as we get older. Values are the core beliefs we trust in and believe to be ethical. As children we believe the set of values our parents and families practice. But as we grow older with increasing awareness of the world, we tend to modify our beliefs. This is because, the definition of ethical undergoes metamorphosis based on our experiences and understanding of the world.

There are instances where children from the same household or family grow up to have their own set of beliefs. While the roots are the same, their values are molded based on their different life experiences. Values are often misinterpreted and interconnected with opinions. This is a vast area that has been subject to various theories and conclusions. Opinions are the way we look at facts. But values are not based on facts. They are developed and evolve as we grow older. As long as we grow not just with respect to age, but as an individual, changed ethical values are acceptable.

But once we are clear on the set of beliefs we value, there will come a number of occurrences, that will try to make us lose them. Our values are validated. Now this is not a scenario, where we are trying to grow as an individual, but an opportunity to prove how strong we can hold on to our values. Every firm irrespective of the industry it belongs to, swears by it’s core values. There are several examples of failed companies that could not stand up to the values they believe in. The same applies to individuals. Giving preference to personal cravings over values may lead to unfavorable outcomes. No matter if the entity is a group, a firm, a family or an individual, values/ beliefs are always put to test. This is when we need to prove how strong we stand by the values we believe in, irrespective of the circumstances.

Because, “Integrity is choosing your thoughts and actions based on values rather than personal gain.”

 

 

Testing Times- #AtoZChallenge

At some point in our lives, we are prone to encounter a continuous series of unfavourable events. One after the other, as if they have all planned to come in at once! Testing times are more often presumed as bad luck or ill fated life events rather than an opportunity of instilling the endurance seed in us. Ofcourse, who would consider it to be positive, when a failed career, followed by a ruined relationship ends with the demise of a loved one? Who would ever think about these events occuring in row to be a test of patience rather than an ill fate or bad timing?

While we cannot blame ourselves for most life events that occur out of our control, we still can accept the fact that few events in life are inevitable. It’s extremely hard to get over losing someone beloved, especially during the rough phase of our lives. The blow strikes so hard, that helplessness and voidness creep into our minds to stay. It is unfair to assume that we are the only ones undergoing pain and hard times in life, when the world out there is no different. The only difference that makes to emerge out triumphant is patience!

There might be situations where the inability to take in unfavorable events anymore may even make us think of taking extreme steps. Ability to sustain hardships is not a gift, but a stubborn state of mind that needs to be developed during these testing times. As more bad incidents keep coming to your life, it’s only a way of making you stronger than you ever were! Life tests our strength to sustain, and to emerge victorious, we need immense endurance and determination. The moment you develop this, nothing can stop you! Learning to hold on is an ever evolving phenomenon.

The continous occurance of adverse circumstances should only make us develop an attitude that says, “Oh! I’ve seen worse than this! This shall pass!” In my opinion having a smooth life with a sudden bad circumstance may be too hard to sink in. But a life with hardships make us so strong, that no matter what happens in the future, the blow isn’t strong enough!

So during those testing times all we need is a badass attitude that reflects, “Bring it on life! I know I’m superior than what you’ve got!”

Selfie Stigma – #AtoZChallenge

S

When was the last time you visited a new place and left without taking a ‘selfie’? If you somehow never really cared about the need for a selfie, well good for you! But if you did, err..there might be an issue here. I wouldn’t deny the fact that I’m afraid I’ll soon be a part of the latter bandwagon. The world is going insane with selfies since 2013. It turned out to be the easiest way to blur out the thin line between self-love and self-obsession.

I remember going for vacations to enjoy the scenic beauty or click a picture or two with a camera. Taking photographs never really appeared to come in the way while enjoying the place I was in. I used to live the moment by experiencing the atmosphere and feeling astounded by nature’s beauty. I could cherish my moments at the location without any deviation or distraction. But I’m no longer able to take pleasure in the place I visit. I feel urged to take a selfie. Even if I don’t, I’m unable to appreciate the place I’m in due to the innumerable selfie sticks and selfie circus going on around me. The aura and the vibe that a tourist spot is supposed to radiate is lost. There is some sort of commotion resulting out of the selfie mania that keeps taking away peace. It is acceptable to take a selfie or two for remembrance. But the urge to keep clicking until we get the right one and the urge to post it on various social media platforms, kills the pleasure we need to take from the atmosphere around. The enjoyment slowly turns to stress due to the inability to click satisfying selfies. We no longer care about the destination we are in. We start bothering more about the number of ‘likes’  we get for the posted selfie rather than cherishing the moment amidst nature’s beauty.

Selfie has become a mandatory trademark or advertisement of anything and everything people do. No matter what activity they indulge in, no matter where they are and with who they are, a selfie has become a ‘the must’ aspect of everything. It’s pathetic to realize that few people even started working for a social cause only to advertise their selfies for fame or for an applaud of their good deeds. Selfies have also turned out to be the new autographs. People no longer care for a signed autograph on their books when they meet their favorite author. All they look forward for is a selfie with them!

The selfie revolution has some adverse impact on the younger generation. Youngsters are turning out to be so obsessed with it, that whatever they do, buy or wear or visit, it’s only for one sole reason- The selfie! Various theories stating that selfie obsession may indicate narcissism have already started emerging.

Though it may sound more like a fun and self- loving phenomena at the beginning, the extent to which it is being used is a matter of concern. It no longer signifies self love but is paving way for unnecessary mental disorders.

The need of the hour is not a selfie, but a phone without a front camera! Because too much of anything always turns out ruinous.

Random Acts of Kindness- #AtoZChallenge

R

The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention- Oscar Wilde

It was a snowy day with fast blowing wind. My friend and I were walking down the road, against the windy snow to make our way to Walmart. It was one of those initial days of being an international student in the U.S. After a couple of weeks of enjoying and fulfilling our dream of experiencing a snowy winter, we actually started hating it! We had no choice, but walk in the snow to buy groceries.

As we strolled through the never ending racks of Walmart, we found ourselves converting the price of every item we came across to our currency back home. Typical of someone who just moved to a new country. The conversion and calculations made us realize that the items considered basic, actually turned out to be expensive and vice versa. We wanted to buy a lot of things, i.e., basic grocery stuff, but had to limit ourselves, given our financial situation. For an international student who does not have a job, every dollar counts!

As we continued our stroll through the store, we halted at the dairy and eggs section. I handed over a case of eggs to my friend and asked him to check for any broken ones. To our surprise, when he opened the case, we found this:

Kindness

We were awestruck!! We jumped out of excitement, happiness, amazement and could not stop smiling at each other. Wow!! This was something I never experienced and such an act happening on an alien land brought in a lot of joy. Our intention of buying as many groceries was fulfilled with that gift card. It meant a lot to us and we were very thankful for this random act of kindness. “God bless those ladies!”, I kept uttering with joy, while my friend couldn’t stop smiling either.

A small act of kindness has definitely made a big difference to us. Kindness knocking your door, when you needed it the most, is extraordinary! It only made me realize the extent of happiness and delight a small act of kindness can bring to others lives. This experience encouraged and reminded me of the need for kindness. As mentioned in the note with the gift card, this random act definitely did brighten our day. It made us realize how lucky and fortunate we were to be a recipient of such kindness during our time of need.

After a satisfied grocery shopping, we headed out to walk back home. “Now I think I’m gonna enjoy the snow again!”, I said with elation, walking effortlessly against the windy snow.

Perfectionist Problems

P

Do you think this is alright? Or should I put in more color for a pop in the background? Err, may be I’ll just leave it, sometimes simple is beautiful. Oh, wait! But it’s too simple. How will a cosmetic brand like something without enough color? Arghh, God! I just want it to be perfect!!, cries Nita while showing her work to a colleague.

Nita is an assistant creative director at a budding advertising & media firm. Being a perfectionist, Nita loved delivering the best and the perfect work. She wanted to put her best foot forward for her first task at her first job! She has to come up with a poster design to be presented for a client meeting. Since it’s her first assignment, she wants to get it right and for the perfectionist she is, she is not easily satisfied by what she comes up with.

I wish I had more time! I’m unsure if this is right or if it is what they expect?”, she whined, rubbing one of her hands on her forehead, while restlessly clicking the mouse with the other. “Why don’t you give this a shot and see how it goes?”, suggested her colleague. “Nah! I’ll research some more and come to a conclusion by end of day”, Nita assures herself. She stayed up all night researching and editing drafts. She feels she made progress, but something isn’t right, her inner conscience tells her.

Constant self doubt is a perfectionist’s uninvited guest! Especially when they are dealing with something for the first time and are in a dilemma if they met their ‘perfect’ definition. This predicament and self doubt often lowers confidence in whatever they accomplish. A perfectionist’s craving for something better never ceases. But the good thing is they put in their heart and soul to produce the best results. However, the feeling of ‘not really satisfied’ leaves them perplexed.

The next day, Nita heads to the meeting room all prepared for the presentation. However, the constant doubt in her head continues to haunt her. She has no choice now, but to present what she came up with. As the clients walk in to the room with her boss Jack, the creative director, she smiles nervously and starts her PowerPoint presentation. She continues to explain the concept behind her poster design in a ‘not so confident’ voice. Once she is done with the presentation, she noticed the clients appear happy with what they were just offered. “Well designed! We like the attention to detail that you put in. Slight modification on the intensity would make this perfect!”, one of the client members commented. Nita sighed in relief as nothing huge was requested and appreciated their feedback.

Once the clients left the room, Jack acknowledged her work and commented, “Good job! But I noticed you were not confident, any issues?”

I was not really satisfied with what I came up with, I wanted it to be perfect with no flaws”, Nita said with a twinkle in her eye. Jack nodded and replied “That’s okay. It was great work for a first timer. Nita, confidence means the ability to do mistakes without fear. It does not necessarily mean being perfect. How will you know what is meant by ‘perfect’ when you don’t know the flaws?” Nita appreciated Jack’s thoughtful suggestion. She felt she realized where she was going wrong.”Very true, I’ll keep this in mind. Thank you Jack!”, she replied while walking out of the room with him. “Don‘t forget to email me a copy of the design!”, Jack reminded her while entering his cabin. “Will do!” Nita smilingly replied as she headed to her desk, satisfied after a successful presentation.

 

P.S: The words on confidence were one of the best suggestions I really received from someone. But I don’t work in the Advertising industry 🙂

 

Discover Challenge- A Piece of Advice