Following the herd will lead you astray


“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect” – Mark Twain

When I was in high school, there was a girl who everyone seemed to be fond of. She had even been elected to be a part of our grade’s student council. I hated her. I found her to be haughty, annoying and a downright brown-noser. Her loud and outspoken temperament perpetually rubbed me the wrong way. The mere sound of her laugh made me want to puncture my own eardrums. It baffled me as to why she was so well-liked amongst our student body. Continue reading

The most powerful form of reassurance


“It is said that the darkest hour of the night comes just before dawn” – Paulo Coelho

When we’re going through a tough time in life, we grasp at straws to find ways to ease our distress. Amongst other methods, we try distracting ourselves, numbing our feelings through alcohol and drugs, sleeping our sorrows away, or seeking out advice from close confidants. Several of us even turn to professional therapy. While some of these tactics are healthier than others, they have a common purpose: to help us find the light at the end of the tunnel.

What severely exacerbates such a dark period is irrational fear. We often become (consciously or subconsciously) fearful and insecure that we’ll never escape the tunnel. That we’ll be stuck in this distressing period forevermore. If we could shed this fear, and instead reassure ourselves that brighter days are to come, they would come far sooner. But in such a fragile state, many lack the wherewithal to harness such confidence for themselves. I’ve found that the best way to find reassurance is to engage with people and resources who can acutely relate to our anguish. Continue reading

To the victims of high-paying shitty jobs

“Money is a great servant but a bad master” ― Francis Bacon

Job satisfaction is subjective to one’s preferences, so there isn’t any universal scale on which we can plot how shitty a job is, right? Wrong. Let me introduce to you the job-shitiness scale, that has been built into society. Despite individual preferences, over time, such a scale has been established based on majority societal preferences. The more people that don’t want to do a particular job, the shittier it’s considered. And the more people that do want to do a particular job, the more preferable it’s considered. Pretty simple. Continue reading

Is happiness just a fleeting high?


“Never underestimate the human capacity for delusion” – Roger Cohen

The renowned filmmaker, Woody Allen, once said, “I feel that life is divided into the horrible and the miserable. That’s the two categories. The horrible are like, I don’t know, terminal cases, you know, and blind people, crippled. I don’t know how they get through life. It’s amazing to me. And the miserable is everyone else. So you should be thankful that you’re miserable, because that’s very lucky, to be miserable.”

Life is undoubtedly plagued with misery, but I question why most humans seem to crave it nonetheless. Is it because life’s happiness outweighs its anguish? I don’t think so. I think it’s because we delude ourselves into believing that life is worth it. Continue reading

Distract yourself out of depression

“I can’t eat and I can’t sleep. I’m not doing well in terms of being a functional human, you know?” – Ned Vizzini, It’s Kind of a Funny Story

In life, distractions often lead us to procrastinating on completing tasks that need to get done. They dangle in front of us like bait, tantalizing our minds until we give in to the temptation. It’s clear that distractions can take a toll on our productivity, leaving us scrambling to complete things at the last minute. Yet, many fail to realize that when used in the correct context, distraction can be an immensely powerful tool. Cultivating the ability to temporarily divert our often over-active minds can serve as a strong, and healthy, coping mechanism. It can act as a gateway to better managing our mental health. Continue reading

Weathering the shitty times in life


“When you stop thinking about yourself all the time, a certain sense of repose overtakes you” – Leonard Cohen

When life is going well, our eyes look past the happy people around us. We’re too caught up in our own contentment to notice them. But when life becomes shitty, and our anxiety and depression come barreling in, we can’t help but notice anyone with even the slightest semblance of a smile. They pop out at us like the giant eye sores that they are. The couple whispering to each other, hand-in-hand. The group of friends laughing uproariously. The family having a jovial conversation at the Thai restaurant down the street. Every damn person on social media. Those happy people suck, don’t they? Continue reading

Authenticity will set you free

Chef Gaia

“To know what you prefer, instead of humbly saying Amen to what the world tells you you ought to prefer, is to have kept your soul alive” – Robert Louis Stevenson, An Inland Voyage

Authentic people are few and far between. True authenticity comes with fully embracing one’s individuality for what it is; this means not trying to alter our beliefs or personality traits due to societal pressure. Authenticity is an achievement that, when unlocked, will pave our path to true success and contentment. And I don’t think success should ever be thought of in a monetary sense, but rather in a quality-of-life sense. Continue reading

Up for grabs: your individuality

“Don’t compromise yourself – you’re all you have” – John Grisham, The Rainmaker

When we go out for dinner, my mom will choose an item off the menu to order. But then, much to the waiters dismay, she’ll want to customize the shit out of it. I’m talking about substituting so many ingredients that she essentially creates her own dish. In the same way, we as humans, are pretty adamant on customizing the individual traits and beliefs that are a part of us. We seem to want to mold an entire new person out of ourselves. What we’re failing to realize is that we are human beings, not pad thai. Continue reading

Quit, God Damn It


“By working faithfully eight hours a day you may eventually get to be boss and work twelve hours a day” – Robert Frost

People keep telling me that weathering shit in life will make me a stronger person. That getting dragged through the mud will eventually toughen me up. It’s a cliche as old as time, long before Kelly Clarkson sang it. But I’m not sure that the theory holds true. Continue reading