Examined Life?

The legends of philosophy and spirituality have one thing in common apart from their weirdly grown long white beards. They recommend an examined life. To savour the infinity in the present moment and live in deep reflections and ruminations.

But even a 5-minute meditation done over an app or contemplating about life’s purpose while having your coffee reveals the beauty and the beast, the sun and the moon, the light and the darkness of it all. It holds a yin-yang that delights us with a sense of calmness and dazzles us with the ugly dissatisfaction of life.

Conscious living is hard. It reveals the hallowed nature of life and makes us scratch our heads on the “Whole point” of this existence. This is fine and we can tolerate it.

However, past the 5-minute timer, the examination uncovers our own life’s shortcomings. The insecurities, anxieties, emotions all come for a ballet dance and play on the tunes of “pity” streaming in the neurons of our mind.

It’s like walking on a hotbed of coal or get repeatedly stung by a hornet. Why go after these musings? Just for a temporary soothing?

That turns us into the woods of unconscious living. This too has its shortcomings. It’s easy to get by in this mode but after a while, it becomes robotic and repetitive. You become a passive boat wandering in the waters of weariness. One eventually becomes a bystander and a nodding machine to the choices of life.

There is no juice left in the fruity life. Just counting seconds in a zombie state.

In the end, both states are hard thorny roads to make a living. The way ahead could be a conscious-unconscious or unconscious-conscious mode. But then—()


3 Ideas from Brendon Burchard To consider Now

Brendon Burchard is regarded as the world’s leading high-performance coach and an excellent writer who topped the New York Times list of best-selling books 3 times. He is often quoted, googled, watched, and googled on the internet by productive bees who want the best in their life.

His online courses, videos crossed millions and Oprah Winfrey considers him as one of the most influential personal growth gurus of all time. Most people know him through the Brendon show, a wonderful podcast if you want to listen.

There’s a ton to learn from him and here are a few of my favorites—

  • 1)Owning Ambitions 100%

Brendon says that most people never own their ambitions 100%. This is a powerful idea and a truth. We usually own it a 50-60-70%. For instance, you want to write a book, run a blog, make YouTube videos and inspire millions of people online and you invest your resources and time on it but we do it half-heartedly. We don’t accept it but deep down you know it in your bones. I failed many times to do hard things like building a rock-solid body, write a novel. Sure, there are many reasons why I failed but after a lot of reflection, I think Brendon is right.

With just 60% ownership and liking, dreams are hard to come by. So never do this mistake. Chase your dreams only if can own them 100%. Here’s a nugget for you—
“personal power is directly tied to personal responsibility, which most people avoid.”(Brendon Burchard)

  • 2)Guilt is good

Brendon comments that guilt is a sign of learning and the first indication that you have a growth mindset. Trust me if you don’t feel guilty after binge-watching that Tv series all night, there’s something seriously wrong with you. Or you failed to make that blog post deadline possible, you should think and feel about it. That’s how you realize what your next baby steps are.

I always feel bad when I procrastinate on my Wednesday essay day. But guilt makes sure that I write the next day itself. Own guilt and achieve your dreams by course correction.

  • 3)Teach to generate positivity

“You have a clean slate every day you wake up. You have a chance every single morning to make that change and be the person you want to be. You just have to decide to do it. Decide today’s the day. Say it: this is going to be my day.”—Brendon Burchard.

Every morning is a choice to bring positivity to your life. No one can come inside your head and clean it. And positive thoughts won’t come unintentionally. You have to do it deliberately. That’s because the human brain is hardwired to create fear and anxiety. So the machine’s job is to constantly chase you down with 0% probability issues.

This man is worthy to be followed and take note of him. Go ahead. Great ideas can move you, only if you let them.


The Mandela Way of Life is What we need.

Nelson Mandela is the first black president of South Africa. But that’s just a Wikipedia fact. What we should think about Mandela is how well he lived his life, how he could heal his hating heart and how he faced his fears despite life’s gruelling setbacks and a prison term that would crush him and throw his dreams into an impossible pit.

His “Long Walk to Freedom” teaches how to be optimistic, how we learn to hate others, how a nation should act, and how to lit the kindness flame that burns in all our hearts. His life is a valuable book that one can learn if one opens the mind a bit. Here are the seeds that I value—

  • 1)Courage and Fear are twins.

One fundamental error in our thinking is that we assume being courageous means no fear and show a spartan face. But that’s far from true. Courage is coping with fear and waging a constant battle which we never win but only make a sound peace with it.

It’s an honourable pledge that we take. Yet we cannot defeat. The example is the man himself we’re talking out. When Mandela was flying on a plane. The engine failed and everyone was in panic mode. His bodyguards were running around with fear. But Mandela was reading a newspaper with courage. But here’s the thing Mandela after the emergency landing admitted that there was a fear but he merely did not show it.

This shows that being courageous is a choice that we need to make and can never defeat like a big Hercules.

“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear—Mark Twain.”

  • 2)Contradictions define life.

We never get
Either this or that
But
A choice hanging
In between.
We never get
Neither this nor that
But
A paradox moving
Up and down.
We never get
A personality or
An individuality
But
A docile identity
Buttered by both.
We never get
Kinky morals or
Dinky ethics
But
A badly blossomed conscience
Or deeply twirled dilemmas.
We never get
A hulky heart
or
A bony brain
But
Just a sad belly.
Ah—
Black or white?
I wish it were that simple.

—No black and white

This is a poem I wrote a while back that captures the idea well. Life is neither black nor white but grey. We need to accept the contradictions, the ifs and buts, and tread along.

Nations accept this. For example, it cannot follow ruthless capitalism nor ruthless socialism. And balance traditions and modernity, which Mandela did in treating AIDS in his country.

Life is an ethical dilemma with not a yes or no. But a yes-no. No wonder, Soren Kierkegaard remarked—

“I see it all perfectly; there are two possible situations — one can either do this or that. My honest opinion and my friendly advice is this: do it or do not do it — you will regret both.”

  • 3)A literate tongue or pen matters a lot.

We Know the famous quote of Mandela—
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

But the idea of Mandela is much more than that. Education brings out the best in you. It’s the best weapon we can use to battle against the raging hate in our hearts and purify ourselves.

That’s why he inspired many prisoners to read and as they say— He turned the cell blocks to study halls and made Robben Island a university.

And education, Mandela believed, save democracies, protect the rights of people and tames unethical leadership of so-called good men and women. As hatred of immigrants, blacks and the vulnerable are on the rise and people easily falling prey to a demagogue, education is the stick to control it.

and about education and personal development, here’s what Mandela says—

“Education is the great engine of personal development. It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, that the son of a mineworker can become the head of the mine, that a child of farm workers can become the president of a great nation. It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another.”

Pick out that book on the kindle or if you prefer the old way, then the shelf.
I will go for— The Second Mountain by David brooks.


The Aristotle code in 3 sayings.

Aristotle, the greatest student of Plato and the man who tutored the famous Alexander can teach us a lot. He is the father of many disciplines—Logic, Political Science, Zoology, Rhetoric and a whole bunch of others.

And Aristotle is probably the greatest philosopher of all time and a polymath who surpasses all and hence a worthy man to look into. Let’s dive in—

  • 1)Golden Mean in life

“Monks, these two extremes ought not to be practiced by one who has gone forth from the household life. There is an addiction to indulgence of sense-pleasures, which is low, coarse, the way of ordinary people, unworthy, and unprofitable; and there is an addiction to self-mortification, which is painful, unworthy, and unprofitable.
Avoiding both these extremes, the Perfect One has realized the Middle Path; it gives vision, gives knowledge, and leads to calm, to insight, to enlightenment.”—Buddha.

Aristotle and Buddha have something in common. That is the Middle way or the Golden mean. It is a powerful spiritual tool and a practical way to live life.
The mean path says to avoid extremities in life. Not to be a Hippie avoiding life nor a Materialist who’s sucked into life. Not to be a Moralist who doesn’t care about money nor a Capitalist whose life is run by dollars.

In life, not to show cowardice nor rashness but a sign of reasonable courage, And balancing passions and reality. The idea is neither to be in excess nor deficiency but moderation.

Next time, someone snaps at you, don’t be silent nor dynamite exploding on him/her but deal it with reasonable disapproval.

  • 2)What is good parenting?

“Those who educate children well are more to be honored than they who produce them; for these only gave them life, those the art of living well.”—Aristotle.

The Greek thinker opines that good parents educate children and that’s the only property that they can give which is worthwhile. A good inheritance is worthless unless your daughter is a woman of character and has prudence and probity.

Parents should teach what a good life is and how to be more empathetic and avoid being envious of others. And how to be more courageous, intelligent and compassionate.

A good education imparts humility and many virtues that act as a shield to evil vices around us. It shows how big a responsibility being a parent is and what matters to a child’s good governance of his life.

  • 3)Intellectual Humility

“The more you know, the more you know you don’t know.” —Aristotle.
Bertrand Russel, who’s another giant head, wittily said that stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt.

Once you have a cultured tongue and a reasonable amount of ideas in your head, that should not make you arrogant. We mortals can never knowledge that is full and complete. The more we empty the cup, the more we can fill as Bruce Lee would say. Despite so much advancement in science, we could not even unravel the nature of any single atom!

We are still 90% blind to reality and could just figure out some basic things to live.

Another part is to admit we are wrong. Graciously admit where you went wrong and how miscalculated the estimates and move on. Only cowards never accept the mistake. The brave and the wise know that out of 10 things we do, rarely the number crosses 1.

Still, doesn’t have the guts? No problem, at least be the criminal in your court of conscience and do the inner sentence.


My Brother’s Gift changed My Life—It’s a book.

My brother gave me “On the shortness of life” book to read a while ago. This book though a short one changed the course of my river. Seneca’s brilliant words pierced like a thunderbolt though I’m not a stoic as such.

I never knew that there’s such thing called as the “Art of living” until I met this great thinker. It inspired me, it brought an existential crisis to me, and in a way crucified and resurrected me.

And it also brought a sense of urgency to my hibernated-slumber life. And every page of the book washed my soul and put me in deep meditation and contemplation. Here are a few of them for you to burn the flame—

  • 1)Life is not short.

This sounds contradictory to the title of the book but this is the first truth that Seneca hammers on your head. He says—

“It is not that we have so little time but that we lose so much. … The life we receive is not short but we make it so; we are not ill provided but use what we have wastefully.”

We waste so much time on things that don’t matter or on things that don’t matter now. We feed on Insta posts, drink YouTube scrolls, and sleep on Netflix-ing. If that’s not enough, we binge-envy on others and reflect for far too long on why life sucks though we exactly know why it does.

In fact, we tik tok our lives and finally think on the death bed—How has life gone by?

That’s why Lucius Annaeus Seneca pushes you to grab hold of your time and act like a mortal who is a simple slave to the silly fates.

  • 2)What is the proof for a long life?

“Often a very old man has no other proof of his long life than his age.”—Seneca.

This is a saintly saying if you think about it. Long-life doesn’t mean we add more numbers to our life but add more meaning to them. Consider Indian freedom fighter Bhagat Singh who was hanged at 23 or Bruce Lee who died due to Cerebral edema(That’s what Wikipedia says) at 32, they didn’t become oxygenarians or nonagenarians but their life was well spent.

Both changed the world in ways we cannot. And that matters a lot. Mere existence and sleepwalking to our tombs won’t do any good either to us or anybody.

Every living minute of our life should have some wonder and awe like a shining star.

  • 3)Choose your parents

I’m talking about intellectual parents, not birth-parents. Seneca says that we can choose to be educated by brilliant minds and great thinkers of history.

History is full of philosopher kings and queens, realists and stellar rebels who can teach us a lot. In other words, you can choose your mentor and be a mentee by sitting in libraries or swimming in the pools of wisdom.

Pick the classics and have talks with Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Buddha, Confucius, Lao Tzu, Hannah Arendt, Simone de Beauvoir and forge yourself under their guidance and light.

“You should rather suppose that those are involved in worthwhile duties who wish to have daily as their closest friends Zeno, Pythagoras, Democritus and all the other high priests of liberal studies, and Aristotle and Theophrastus. None of these will be too busy to see you, none of these will not send his visitor away happier and more devoted to himself, none of these will allow anyone to depart empty-handed. They are at home to all mortals by night and by day.”—Seneca.

This is the true “Walking with the dead,” we all should do.


3 Things from Rocky Balboa that changed everything.

We all know the famous Rocky speech which he gives to his son about life and how it knocks you down.
The resilience and hard mindset of Rocky are truly inspiring and life-changing indeed.

I saw the movie when I was high in school and since then the wisdom has been around in my ears. Here are a few of them

  • 1)Quitting is never an option.

Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it.

You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you are hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!—Rocky Balboa.

This is perhaps the most inspiring line I’ve ever come across. Rocky teaches about the value of persistence. it’s easy to quit if you think about it. Life knocks you down with that business failure and you go on alcohol and drugs. That’s simple and a safe way out to your La-La land.

But to continue to dream and standing up is hard because it forces you to accept the responsibility and mistakes you made which almost and always shatters your ego. Being sedated is secure and un-troubling.

No one is immune to failure and has a vaccine shot to prevent hits that life throws at you. It’s part of the process and remember the world is NASTY and very mean. People will stab you and put you down unless you take the charge.

Drink that bitter cup of responsibility and be a champion.

  • 2)The Doors of change are open to all.

“The snake which cannot cast its skin has to die. As well the minds which are prevented from changing their opinions; they cease to be mind.” —Friedrich Nietzsche.

This is probably the only idea that matters in your life. It’s not Lao-Tzu type old irrelevant philosophy but a noteworthy one. Once decided, you can be whomsoever you can be and do whatever you can.

Gandhi was an ordinary lawyer but when he was kicked out from a whites-only carriage in Pietermaritzburg, the incident changed him completely. He changed himself into an activist to stand up against racism and subjugation. That change later liberated millions of Indians from the colonization of the British empire.

Likewise, Siddhartha vexed by life’s shallowness decide to change and sat under a Bodhi tree. well, he became the Buddha by finding enlightenment and went on to be the light of Asia.

“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” That’s what Albus Dumbledore wants you to hear to change your life.

  • 3)It’s never about winning.

“The journey is the reward.”—Steve Jobs.

Winning matters but what matters more is the process and the journey. Because journey changes you like nothing else. Take Elon Musk and Tesla. Even if he had failed, his insane work had already transformed him and place him in the peak where the 1% are.

Suppose you worked for 5 years and the blog didn’t take off as you expected. You still have less traffic and don’t have enough money. But think about your skills. Five years surely means something. The writing skill made you a better thinker and no one articulate words as brilliantly as you can among your peers. And you can still go freelance or work for a magazine with that skill you got there in the mind.

Never think that all was a waste in the end. You never know how the dots will be connected in future.

Hang on!


BOREDOM—The Superpower everyone ignores.

We all feel bored not just sometimes but usually almost every day. The way out is YouTube scrolling or Instagram feeding. It’s done automatically and subconsciously now.
We can’t sit quietly and do nothing, though this is what philosophers or spiritual gurus say.

We search endlessly on Netflix or Prime to watch some weird Tv show or Productive lazy bugs jump into books or cheap intellectual talks.
The List is endless.

As Albert Camus in The plague remarks—
“The truth is that everyone is bored, and devotes himself to cultivating habits.”

What we don’t understand is boredom is this mysterious force that comes onto you to shake up your life in little ways. But every day we brush it off. The result is we never tap and get on with it.

Well, not anymore. Here’s why

  • 1)Boredom puts your busy brain on a pause.

In this digital and social media age, we are constantly being hit by news, celebrity gossips, ads, and life-advice videos that are simply overwhelming us.

With no time to take a pause, we are losing the right headspace to these bots and algorithms. In the end, we over-fire our neurons and blast our heads with overloaded engagements.

That’s where boredom comes to the rescue. It can put you in sweet solitude protected by dopamine hits. Too much stimulation is hurting your body and mind like never before. Henry David Thoreau could go into the woods but we cannot in our concrete jungles.

If we can use boredom and stay with it instead of binge-watching and binge hitting clicks on phone, it can heal you.

It’s high time we listen to Thoreau advice—


“I find it wholesome to be alone the greater part of the time. To be in company, even with the best, is soon wearisome and dissipating. I love to be alone. I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.”

  • 2)Boredom makes you a creative genius.

Sandi Mann, a senior psychology lecturer at the University of Central Lancashire in the UK says boredom is an essential part of the creative process and should be applied to our day-to-day lives.

Boredom allows mind-wandering and that’s when creative juices flow like the mighty Nile river. And when you are bored, there’s no pressure on you to meet your self imposed ideals. You simply don’t care and trust me that create miracles.

Here’s what famous Neil Gaiman says about boredom—

“You have to let yourself get so bored that your mind has nothing better to do than tell itself a story – Neil Gaiman.”

His advice for upcoming writers is to get bored and embrace that crushing boredom to kickstart that never-ending novel that you are planning to write.

  • 3)Boredom means you don’t like something.

Boredom is a reflective-contemplative mirror that’s showing that probably you don’t like something.
If you are bored in the office, then it means the work is not exciting for you.

It means boredom is asking to pursue what you like. It has pulled you out of the matrix. But we engage in what Danckert and Eastwood call—“Maladaptive remedies,” like couch surfing, abusing drugs and alcohol or go out for some adventures like skydiving or trekking mountains.

It’s a wake-up call that you need to hear. Not a distract-yourself call that you need to engage. Hence they advice neither to mask it nor try to outrun it.

As Jon Kabat-Zinn says—when you pay attention to boredom it gets unbelievably interesting.


These 5 Rules changed “How I see the world.”

Some pills are hard to swallow but only once they get into the system can we grow high in life. We all want to touch the sky and get into that 1% league, for that more than anything we need to first embrace their mindset and then the skill-set, heart-set, and spirit-set, as Robin Sharma puts it in his “5 A.M.Club.”

These truths are not for doubters but for ready embracers who are filling to find their “Ikigai” in life and get unstuck of the rut they are in.
They are discomforting to the core and can unleash mental vomit.

Nonetheless, if you are someone who can and want to endure short-term pain for long-term pleasure, then they are for you.

  • 1) You should be able to handle the criticism.

Nicholas Klein, a trade union activist, said in a 1918 speech, saying, “First they ignore you. Then they ridicule you. And then they attack you and want to burn you. And then they build monuments for you.”

The world is full of Skeletors who want to pull you down no matter what you do. It’s a lifelong tussle and hassle that never stops. Get this into your head—you will be judged even when you do the noblest of things in the universe.
Even if people don’t do that, circumstances will belittle you. Bad finances, bad health, unsupportive partners all come like a storm ready to lift off your pale foundations.

Your baby steps will be hunted down and stopped like highway patrol police. You want to chase your dream but your boss nags you with deadlines that don’t matter.

No, energy will not support you either. You are not a sun to constantly get the support of photons to shine on. And you won’t find any ladder that can pull you up.

The fact is this B.S. doesn’t stop and you should bury this truth deep down in your neural space. The law is—things get worse and worse just at the time when you feel that things are getting a little better.

The good thing is you are not alone and you never will be. Even Buddha had got meditation issues. So when you can’t justify that headspace subscription, don’t worry.

Johnwick has them, Thor has them, and Thanos had them. They all struggled and are struggling to get what they want.

Your job is simply to find a way around, find that little start around that problem. This is not idealism but very very practical. No matter what, it’s your job and your job alone to pull off that rose-tinted glasses and search for a solution like Tintin or Sherlock.

This is easy once know that—
1)shit storms come at you
2)I should not be surprised
3)I Simply need that one way out and one hook that I can hang on to.

Look, it’s a skill that we master over time. You need to be aware of this. Only after Nth time we get knocked down, we scrape the surface of it.
Put that helmet on and you will be safe.

  • 2)Idealism happen to exist only in books.

You never get to choose in life. I’m not talking about your coffee or clothing choices but the life-changing ones, if you know what I mean.

You prepare for the test but the questions are off the chart. You do an all-nighter yet the presentation doesn’t impress the clients.

You think merit alone matters but injustice waits around the corner wearing many hats—racism, harassment, and whatnot.


“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” That’s Lao Tzu for you. Yes, the old man got the message.
Accepting what is, is not some esoteric-philosophical-fresh from ass wisdom. The point is you cannot do anything else.
Yes, we need more money in the account. That’s not happening anytime soon. Yes, you were promised a promotion but it slipped away. And Yes, you of all people deserve a big success but I’m tired of using buts here.

it’s more than clear now that reality differs from movies and fairy tales.
Chris got it in “The pursuit of happiness” finally, however, it’s not for us.

What should we do—save the shit for yourselves and save the mental energy. Whining and Weeping hard only makes things worse.
1)Correct flaws, if any.
2)Wait for the next opportunity.
3)Stick for a long time. In other words, the “Persistence.”

  • 3)Messiah is not coming for you.

Mentors won’t come for you. The dream job won’t fall in your lap and no leader or government will come to save your little ass.

As Winston Churchill remarks—the price of greatness is responsibility.
No Jesus is coming out to change these bad fates for you. It’s been 2020 years and that’s long enough proof for you.

The employer won’t magically recognize your work and give that raise that you’ve been eye-balling. The point is you alone are responsible for your growth. No devil demon is haunting you and no sweet angel wants to help you either.

Accepting this is kind of liberating. And no need to search for blame-shifting. Recognize that you are the trouble maker and it’s you who sabotaged it.
“Only you can pull yourself off the hell.”

  • 4)Regrets kill you, like for real.

“Many of us crucify ourselves between two thieves – regret for the past and fear of the future.”—Fulton Oursler.

This self-crucifixion doesn’t move the needle much. Yes, you couldn’t put the efforts that were needed into that job interview and yes, you couldn’t read much when you were supposed to in college.

But that shit happened like aeons ago and you’re still pity-partying over it. Now, that kills your now and future. Do you really think your ideals made this far without mistakes? Are you really that naive?

No one rejected you, they rejected your idea in that sales pitch. No one said “No”, they said “No” only to your mediocre version. How you handle it depends entirely and almost entirely on your ego.

Use the rejection to bring out the best in you.

  • 5)Luck never finds you, at least not in my case.

“Diligence is the mother of good luck.”—Benjamin Franklin

Only by regularly working and knocking on every damn door you can find makes you lucky. This means getting lucky is some very ass-hardening stuff.
Newton saw the apple and could find gravitational stuff only because he’s been into it for years and aha-moment came to him when that red thing fell on his head. That’s it, I promise you there’s no divine intervention here.

Inspiration comes only through perspiration. So, don’t get fooled when someone utters the word inspiration from their shiny mouth.
it’s very logical if you can wrap your head around it.

Blogging ideas come only when you constantly blog. Poetry comes when you always read and write poems. The interview offers come only when you apply for lots of them and do your networking thing.

Finally, I leave this hard burning quote so that your hearts never find sleep by Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Shallow men believe in luck or in circumstance. Strong men believe in cause and effect.”


Life Advice from Luke Burgis

  • Understand your desires, they are not yours in the first place.
  • Learn to desire the career and the things you already have in your life.
  • Sometimes winning leaves you unfulfilled because you achieved a desire that wasn’t yours.
  • Maintain critical distance from an issue helps you to think deeply and independently about it.
  • Be with people who have different kind of thinking from you.
  • Taking a pause helps us to avoid emotional reactions.
  • Having a contemplative life is the best.
  • Always detox yourself and get into right headspace.
  • Don’t do something just because you can.



9 Life Tips from Novak Djokovic—The Tennis Legend

  • Discipline is the primary virtue to accomplish your goals.
  • Look backwards to remember your “Why”, that’s the biggest motivator.
  • Greatness is about altruism—selflessly helping others and taking care of them, than your pride or personal achievements.
  • Hatred makes you a prisoner of your emotions.
  • Greatness is finding your life’s purpose and giving purpose to others.
  • 3 truths—
    Live freely
    Breathe freely
    Love fully.
  • Sharing and friendships can help us overcome adversity.
  • Goals should always be supported by reason and logic.
  • If you love life, then life loves you back.