Shravanbelagola

Year 2018 End Blog Post

*cough*

What a year 2018 has been! I mean, seriously. This year, I had some experiences which I have never felt in my life before. Most of the experiences were life-altering. I will come back to them later in this post but first, let us look at the so-called resolutions I had promised at the end of the last year. And their outcomes, of course. I don’t make resolutions-resolutions per se but everyone has some things in their minds they want to tick mark every year.

Here’s the breakdown of how my objectives of the year fared.

Resolutions 2018

  • Write daily. This is really important. Seth Godin, here I come.
    • Outcome: 33 blog posts. About 300 posts short but highest blog posts in a year by me, ever!
    • Verdict: Fail
  • Take more photographs. Edit them better. Make better stories. Be a better photographer, better editor.
    • Outcome: About 150 Instagram Posts. I crossed 1000 posts this year. And I didn’t use Photoshop this year at all.
    • Verdict: Pass
  • Be a better storyteller. Better speaker. Better. And don’t let anything distract you from that.
    • Outcome: I completed by Toastmasters Advanced Communicator Bronze which included Storytelling. So technically, yes! Still a long way to go.
    • Verdict: Pass
  • Indulge in Video making and editing. Tough task but time is now! Casey Neistat and likes keep inspiring and sharing new people to get motivated from.
    • Outcome: Video editing is a tough job. I didn’t start a Vlog yet but getting there slowly.
    • Verdict: Pass (barely)
  • Learn something new every week. New technology, science, history, word, technique, skills, something! And write about it.
    • Outcome: Huge scope in this task. I certainly could do a lot more. I will consider myself failed.
    • Verdict: Fail
  • I didn’t have an actual big cycle when I was a kid. I had a small kiddy bike until I was 13. But then my younger brother got a proper bike. So I used it. But not as much as I wanted. So, if all goes well, I will buy a Bicycle soon and just ride it.
    • Outcome: Big fail.
    • Verdict: Fail
  • Overhaul the overall brand. Come up as a person people should look up to. Learn from others. Teach what you know to others. Learn more, be more!
    • Outcome: Long way to go. It is better to stay perpetually fail as this.
    • Verdict: Fail
  • Basically, just do. Don’t complain. Don’t indulge in politics. Don’t share irrelevant details. Don’t consume bad stuff.
    • Outcome: Subjective thing. But I am still sane.
    • Verdict: Pass
  • Don’t intake negative vibes. Just do your thing and be better!
    • Outcome: Same as above
    • Verdict: Pass

Experiences

Chanakya wrote,

A man is born alone and dies alone; and he experiences the good and bad consequences of his karma alone; and he goes alone to hell or the Supreme abode.

Karma is a funny thing. It is certainly the outcome of your actions which you deliberated yourself or someone made you do it. Nevertheless, you must face them at some point in your life. The year 2018 left me with some experiences (which were not my doing necessarily but still I had to face) which were quite new. I am going to jot down these experiences in the classy Health-Wealth-Wise trio format which made me ponder about life a bit more than I would have. This is going to be somber like all previous year-end posts.

Health

I traveled to Goa in the beginning of the year and needless to say I was not interested in sharing my beach pics. I have put more pressure on the weighing scales this year than I ever have. Some of this could be blamed on me living alone for 5 months and using Zomato, Swiggy, and FreshMenu to the fullest. I was, in fact, happy to note that Google Pay got me a lot of cashbacks. But then I fell sick later in the year so the medicines evened out the cashbacks. The silver lining was that I was able to keep the clothes still fit my waist. This sounds all negligible experience actually. This is not life-altering by any stretch of the imagination, to be honest. In more seriousness, the truth is that most of us take health for granted. Only when either we ourself or someone close falls ill, then only we understand the importance of taking care. Some of the people around me kept on falling sick or fell into the trap of diseases which are life-threatening. Even if when you are not suffering yourself, when people around you suffer, that hurts a lot, if not equally. And the fact that one cannot do anything about it, is a tough bullet to chew. To say the least, healthwise 3 of the major experience happened to me this year was:

  1. Having to take someone to a hospital in an ambulance when they had just collapsed and getting to know that it was the case of D.O.A.
  2. Still dealing with the ongoing ordeal of a close one suffering from the monster called Cancer. It sucks the life out of one in all possible ways but you still have to deal with it.
  3. Got to hear about someone giving up on life due to Depression. Enough said.

Wealth

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#development

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Till July of this year, I went to the Airport every month. Sometimes, more than once a month. I am not at all a frequent traveler but circumstances made me do it. That also brings me to the fact that, one, everyone knows how painful it is to travel to Bengaluru airport so many times, and second, the amount of money which gets consumed in traveling is immense. People get so much impressed by Travelogs but what about unplanned travels? Who budgets that? So, the first experience was to think about money. Frankly, I have never paid any attention to it. I have been privileged enough to not to worry about it, yes! But also, how much more do I need to be more responsible and be ready for the unplanned things. I finally started investing. Nothing fancy but even investing in FDs and RDs was the first time for me. (I am so posh or what?). But seriously, I should have started this a decade ago. The one thing nobody teaches properly is how to use your money. Those who actually professionally teach have ulterior motives I guess. One important thing I did this year though was to travel to Shravanbelgola and attend the once in 25 years Mahamastakabhishek in proper attire. I don’t know if I will ever get a chance like this.

Wise

With all of the learnings from above, the only take away is that we don’t really have much time. How we spend the time we have makes us who we are! We can get bothered about the events on social media or politics, or we can try to make small differences in anyone else’s lives. We can either Netflix and chill (and that is important too to stay sane but in limited quantity) or we can try to boost confidence and morale of someone by sharing a good positive quote or just talking and listening to them. We can stay in one place or travel.

All in all, 2018 was a somewhat unusual year which sets the tone of future too. But since we have less time in our hands, we can try to be optimistic and just do something about it than letting life happen to us.

The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails.
– John Maxwell

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Half Time 2018

We have just crossed the mid-way of the year 2018 and are in the proverbial Half-Time period. I thought of pausing and reflecting on the journey so far in the year 2018, so the following in an effort at that.

As it is pretty clear, I didn’t live up to the promise of writing a blog post every day. I had totally intended to write at least something every day but even on the free-er days, I didn’t. So, I am going to write, in simple points on how do I feel about things after the first half of 2018 getting over in this post itself.

Good Habits are difficult to sustain

I tried a lot of things from the beginning of this year to date. Some of them and their outcomes follows:

  1. Blogging Daily – I couldn’t do it. Reasons and excuses are many but they are not important. Can I do it? Certainly yes. Will I try again? Of course.
  2. Bullet Journaling – Actually achievable and makes your life better. There is nothing new about journaling and planning your days ahead by writing them down but Ryder Carroll actual made it a lot systematic and formal, yet totally customizable. I started off by jotting out 5-6 things I wanted to accomplish every day before leaving for office. This was not done on an app, but I sat down and wrote them in a small notebook which could be carried without any hassle. Once I got through the planned activities, I could strike them off or if I couldn’t, I could postpone them to next day or any other suitable day. This is a good way of planning and executing. Believe me, writing things on paper and then striking them off gives you a sense of calm and helps build confidence which apps cannot. I did stop doing this when few things happened in life. But I can restart any day. And let Any day = Today. Restarting it right away! See, pausing and reflecting helps!
  3. Toastmasters – I finished my Advanced Communication Bronze module in this May. This means I delivered 7 advanced communication speeches in 5 months this year. I learned a lot of Storytelling and Speaking to Inform and it helped build my confidence in Public Speaking further. I am now going to try to new educational program called Pathways. I haven’t set a goal yet but I do see myself finishing at least till Level 3 of this. Oh, and I made my club win the Best Social Media presence award this year out of 200 odd clubs. IFTTT rocks.
  4. Health – I think right now I am the fattest I ever have been. My weight has been consistent since last 2 years but this time I felt the fat. So, I stopped eating sugar a few weeks back and now even after starting it again in last 2 weeks, but in lesser quantities, I don’t feel the fat. The bottom line is, I need to do more about this and continue to cut the sugar out of life.
  5. Reading Books – When one habit derails, all the other good habits around that also derail. My Book Reading spree came to a halt but all is not lost. Let’s begin again, shall we?

All of the above also helped me end my Social Media stint. It is easy if you try.

Life is fragile

And you must handle it with care. People generally overlook problematic things in life and take everything for granted. We have limited time and it should be told to everyone every day. This year, I have been through some experiences which were the 1st time for me. To be very precise and not melodramatic, it can be summed up in 2 points.

  1. I sat in an Ambulance for the first time for a relative who was being rushed to the hospital after collapsing suddenly. I delivered the news of the person in the ambulance passing away to the kin by myself. The passing away part happened in seconds, right before my eyes, without me even realizing it that it had happened. It happened so fast that I couldn’t even gather any thoughts about it before or after. It just taught me one thing that the transition between being alive and being dead is so small that if understood, a lot of us unnecessary efforts about unnecessary things can be avoided.
  2. I had to experience a very close family member being diagnosed with cancer. All I could do is to motivate and instill all the positiveness I could. The family member is still fighting the battle and I hope and I wish the battle is won.

The above 2 points are so contradictory and ironical that I don’t have any conclusion about the dilemma that should we worry about death or should we let it be?

New Chapter in Life

Just a handful of days ago, I entered my 4th chapter in life if we divide life into a group of years for simplicity’s sake. Considering, we live first 0-13 years as kids and then things change. We live next 10 years i.e. 14-23 towards really jumping on to the career-building education bandwagon and then eventually crafting our careers and setting the tone for the life ahead. After 24 or 25, we reach a position where we do have a faint idea what of what we can accomplish and what we cannot (I know some people are more determined than others, and some don’t know what they want till they’re 60 too. So, I am just presenting my way of looking at age). After 30 or 32 years of life, you actually think that you know a lot and now you could give life-advises to people. Like this blog post. So, I am in that zone now. Sigh.

Alright, Half-Time Up! The 2nd half has started already and time is running out. We have some goals left in 2018 to be attempted. All the best to all those who have goals!

Featured Photo by Willian Justen de Vasconcellos on Unsplash

Year 2017 End Post, or is it?

New Year Resolutions are something which I never pay attention to. They’re not for me. I stopped thinking long-term a while back and took life as it came. That worked most of the time but there are times for which one should also be prepared. But if I have to rate no-long-term-thinking-theory, it would still be one of the best decisions I made to stay happy. Fewer Expectations, Better Life.

This time, however, I am thinking of taking a Strong New Year Resolution which requires full-time dedication. We will come to that in a minute or so. The year 2016 was a fine year by the way. Although I changed my ‘status’ that year, still I lived alone for 8 months. The latter part of 2016 was not good though. I got to know that Depression was something real when it happened to one of my close ones. Also, I had a motorbike accident which left me with not being able to use my right hand for more than 2 weeks. Plus, in my journey to be a more confident speaker, I came across an obstacle which made me question my decision itself to become a more confident speaker. Long story short, as I was entering 2017, I was not in my best state of mind and body.

So, let’s have a thorough look back at the Year, Twenty Seventeen was.  Did it turn out okay, did it turn out alright? Boom! Here we go…

  • Firstly, I am very proud of this year. I learned a lot of things, both professionally and personally. The thing which was bothering me at the end of 2016, I took it head on and instead of running away from it (Public Speaking), I decided to confront it. I got my Competent Communication module of 10 Speeches done by May 10th. And that was the time (January-June) when I was peak busy at Work. This taught me a lesson that when one is super busy and focused at work, that is the time when the brain is at its optimum energy level to do things which can give you a break from work.

Lesson Learnt: If you’re busy with work, that is the best time to do things which are totally unrelated to work. Break the monotony

Break Monotony

Break Monotony

  • I also gained enough confidence to recite poems (in my case, these are just words put in an order to rhyme, after every line) in front of a live audience. Although, the audience was known me, reciting a rhyme, in public, is a feat.

Lesson Learnt: Let some skill, which you always have been shy about, come out in public. Some might like it. Overcome inhibitions!

overcome inhibitions

overcome inhibitions

  • For the first time, I traveled to Kerala i.e. Kochi, Alleppey, and Munnar. It was such a wonderful trip which left us wanting for more.

Of course, needless to say that the lesson here is travel more. Anyone has anything to say against travelling?

Some pics here:

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#Houseboat #boomerang

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  • I took over as the President of a Toastmasters Club which had 31 people when I started and my term ended (will end on Dec 31) with 24 people. Heh! Now, have I failed? Have I embarrassed myself? Have I lost the cause? Well, actually no. This experience of serving so many people is a humbling experience. This isn’t managing people. This is more like leading people to something they want to do, but they probably aren’t as enthusiastic as you are. I would say, being a President of a corporate Toastmasters club is a difficult task. But I am proud to say that I didn’t give up at all. I didn’t fail because I kept at it. I, with the help of some other people, always kept my members on their toes. Surely, we could do a lot better but I hope the wheels of motion are now set. I was commended by few people for the job I was doing. I was also praised by some that there won’t be anyone like me in future. But I would like to believe that at least one a couple of people would have taken some inspiration and would continue to work for others. Working for others give a pleasure which is immeasurable.

Lesson Learnt: Experience Selflessness. Do something for others and enjoy their success.

experience selflessness

experience selflessness

  • Now some selfishness. I bought a new phone after 3 years. I was using Moto X2 since October 2014. The only issue with that phone was Battery. I had no issues otherwise and quite enjoyed the phone. But there was one caveat. The camera quality was not very exciting. So, I got myself a new One Plus 5t and since then, I am spamming Instagram almost daily. And I feel good about that kind of spamming!
  • I read more numbers of books this year than I have ever read in my life. Isn’t that awesome? This number also included so many superb books. I have written some reviews of those too. Kindly check them out here.
read more

read more

  • One important thing also happened this year. I didn’t miss Twitter. I didn’t miss TV news. That reaffirmed my belief that most of the social media and other media I have been consuming is a farce. I deserve much better and my time deserves the much better use of media. I don’t even want to spend any of my words here about how Twitter and stuff are full of crap. I would rather suggest a Chrome Extensions here: Nudge. This extension helps you to unfollow everyone and everything on Facebook. And block Twitter and all addictive social media sites. I installed and did exactly what it was supposed to do. Unfollow everything. Now, that’s something you should try!

So that was mostly it! Enough about 2017. Now, it is time to share

Thoughts on 2018

Day One

Day One

The above poster is inspired by this post by Ryder Carroll: https://www.instagram.com/p/BSeYbRPhDNs

There’s one thing I have been meaning to do for a long time. That is to write daily. There is also a HUGE GAP in my usage of Adobe Photoshop this year as my laptop had crashed. Plus, this year I discovered vlogging and scope of me learning video editing. Also, I also have started to indulge in jumping on to the bandwagon and sharing ‘Stories’ on Instagram. So, I am looking at following things this year:

  1. Write daily. This is really important. Seth Godin, here I come.
  2. Take more photographs. Edit them better. Make better stories. Be a better photographer, better editor.
  3. Be a better storyteller. Better speaker. Better. And don’t let anything distract you from that.
  4. Indulge in Video making and editing. Tough task but time is now! Casey Neistat and likes keeps inspiring and sharing new people to get motivated from.
  5. Learn something new every week. New technology, science, history, word, technique, skills, something! And write about it.
  6. I didn’t have an actual big cycle when I was a kid. I had a small kiddy bike till I was 13. But then my younger brother got a proper bike. So I used it. But not as much as I wanted. So, if all goes well, I will buy a Bicycle soon and just ride it.
  7. Overhaul the overall brand. Come up as a person people should look up to. Learn from others. Teach what you know to others. Learn more, be more!
  8. Basically, just do. Don’t complain. Don’t indulge in politics. Don’t share irrelevant details. Don’t consume bad stuff. Don’t intake negative vibes. Just do your thing and be better!

My Mantra for 2018 is going to be: JUST DO. If I get some more motivation, I will probably get a T-Shirt made out of this.

Just Do

Just Do

On second thought, I think Nike has already done something similar. Nevertheless, I am going to follow-up on this motto and show up more often here.

I am psyched!