Quiet – Power of silence

The monotony and solitude of a quiet life stimulates the creative mind. – Albert Einstein

I was reading up and came across several references which say that being quiet helps in boosting creativity. Thinking of my own case, ideas seem to strike up more often when i’m alone and pondering over the problem. Walks  help in reclaiming that bit. Albeit i don’t get the time to do it more often. There are several days where we are embroiled in discussions with the family / neighbors / relatives or colleagues. We’d like to believe that we can come up with a solution in a jiffy. But that isn’t always the case. Sometimes all we end up with are short term solutions. More like fixing tape when we really need to glue things together.

At times like these, i feel its better to soak myself in solitude. That involves switching off the tv, silencing the phone and slipping in to a quite corner. Some people may count it as meditation, but for the life of me i haven’t been able to figure out how to meditate. What works for me is diverting my focus to something less complex. Like what i see around me, something as simple as nature or kids playing in a park. Add classical music as a background and i would be sorted for the time being.

Some of the really quiet people who deafened the world with their ideas were Einstein, Mozart and even Tesla. Of course there is the more enlightened lot such as Buddha who chose to roam in the wilderness to find the answers to his questions. Most of us may not be on to such pursuits, but in the meanwhile we need to value the time we have with ourselves to push the self beyond the frontier of the obvious.

Outside the comfort zone

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Stepping out of the comfort zone is one of the hardest things to do for most. I face the struggles too no matter how much I motivate myself to be. Rigidity is what we partake as stability. Change is the hardest bit to deal with.

Maybe all we need to do is broaden our horizon and be open to newer experiences. At least that’s what one can believe in not knowing if they could be good or bad. But whatever they maybe they would bring a good amount of learning. Another important aspect is of trying out things that challenge / scare you. Personally I have read this tip and I’m yet too scared to try it out. But one bit at a time, I’m trying my best to make the change required.

Just like a warm cup of coffee on a cold morning, we tend to soak in all the comfort of where we think we’re best accustomed. But there’s a whole world out there begging to be explored.

‘Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new’ –
Brian Tracy

Misfits Galore

No matter what walk of life, you will come across the square pegs being fitted in to a round hole. Or vice-verse. Reading a recent article i wondered how we try to be a part of a group through school /college and so on. At the same time we’re striving for our own individuality. Somehow, we don’t like the extremes. So loners get castaway and the extremely outgoing person is labelled the party animal. There somewhere in the middle is where everyone wants to be. Socially accepted and noted for who they are. But how can you be know for who you are unless you stand out / apart from the crowd? Contradicting isn’t it?

On that note, here is a favorite of mine from Green Day called “Walking Contradiction” that relates to the exact same feeling:

 

Judgemental

“He’s not going to make the cut” / “She’s obviously never heard of class” / “This entire thing is doomed for failure”. Quite often we come across people who are resorting to a quick judgement about people or situations. The way we have been brought up, our society has kind of baked this system in to us. From early school days, parents will be cautious about the friends you make. “Company maketh a man”. Or so they say.

As we grow older, we tend to draw out of our experiences and begin to stereotype people. Notions are widespread about the community one belongs to / experience they bring. Then you have qualitative ones. The kind of people you feel uncomfortable around for no good reason. “I have a bad feeling about this”. Many a times situations prompt the same response.

It’s quite natural for us to jump to conclusions. Some highly opinionated individuals take it upon as their birth right to have an insight on just about everything. Makes me think about how much can one know to really have a point of view about nearly everything. But, what i wonder most is that when people are drawing these judgements and passing them off unaware people, why does it mostly have to be negative? You could also come up with a real positive one. I think one needs to think ahead of themselves, in the larger perspective to really think on those lines. Just to think about it, if all of us were to just spend one entire day appreciating each other, wouldn’t the world seem like a much happier place? To me, it would sure would. Even with the judgement bit thrown in.

Hidden

I’ve always wondered how much of what we think we see is hidden. Ditto for the kind of situations we try to understand. I’m sure many a times, we think we have understood the crux of the problem. Only to discover there were more strings attached. To me, anything that’s hidden works wonders to spark my curiosity on the subject. Maybe that’s why i kept reading up on Astrophysics and quantum mechanics from middle school. While people around me were reading comics or Sidney Sheldon novels, i was deep diving in physics. My interests kept changing all along. But it was the unexplored that had me intrigued.

There are a lot of aspects that are hidden from our daily frame of things. I once read that our subconscious mind keeps eliminating thoughts to help us focus better on what’s important. Typically these thoughts manifest themselves in to dreams. In case these are unpleasant we then embark on a journey to understand the hidden messages. All of this makes me wonder how much of control we really have over stuff in our lives. While you may choose to know as much as you can, take additional degrees or courses, work in different sectors / roles and take on as much as you can within your family, there will still be things that are hidden. I don’t know what could be good given the circumstances. Maybe sometimes, we should just let it go and believe what’s not obvious is for our best interests.

Get Lucky

More often than not, i come across people who talk about others having all the luck in the world. Such thoughts baffle me because i think that we create our own luck as we go along in life. That also is what we learn in spiritual lessons, that all of life is your karma. What you sow, so shall you reap. But scientifically, research has proven that successful people tend to drive luck in their stride by doing some things. I love reading up on behavioral psychology so here are a few things i picked up worth noting:

1. Seize the opportunity: It’s common to feel overwhelmed with the number of things going on around you. Successful people try not to look at obstacles and rather approach every problem with solutions. In short they look at problems as opportunities. This does require an attitude shift, but it looks promising to try out. Even if you do fail, that will be a learning.

2. Pay attention to the world around: I was reading a book by Richard Wiseman and he talked of an experiment where they asked people who considered themselves lucky or unlucky to look at an article and count the photographs in it. The lucky ones finished faster with the correct number ’cause they spotted a line early in the article mentioning this information. The unlucky ones kept counting and finished late complaining. The point is they weren’t focused on what they were looking for and feared failure.

3. Use your gut instincts: Very often you do get a gut feeling about a person / situation and its always got something more to it. I firmly believe gut instincts must be trusted. Somehow we subconsciously know of the outcome just when we are going to start something. So we must trust from the larger experience our minds are offering indirectly.

Apart from the regular keep a positive attitude and appreciate change kind of tips, i felt the ones above are more effective. At the least these are backed by years of research so i do hope these help you!

Get-lucky

Doubt me not.

Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd – Voltaire

I remember seeing this quote and wondering if its safe to doubt everything around me. We do feel a false sense of certainty at times and when routine kicks in we fear stagnation. That is a worrisome thought and hence i constantly seek out new tasks or routines to put myself through more experiences. The doubt is that little nudge that pushes me to explore more.

Certainty being absurd according to the witty french philosopher is something i completely agree with. With just six degrees of separation online how frequent it is to come across people you don’t know and connect to work on something bigger. In a city like mumbai where one could face strikes / delays / torrential rains or even more pleasant things like someone returning a lost wallet / helping you find your way back / offering directions its more often to see doubt at the base of things. Maybe we doubt more because we know and understand more. After-all, more perspectives could add to doubt, but the collective view will be of more value than a singular distorted opinion. In a democratic society like ours i must say the elections are a classic example. Individuals more certain of a win are looked at with suspicion. There is no dearth of internet memes surrounding the upcoming voting season.

In my case, i choose doubt more over certainty. Its good to know some things for certain but when you begin to think everything is for certain, then ‘Houston, we have a problem’.