Micro 3

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry’s standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged. It was popularised in the 1960s with the release of Letraset sheets containing Lorem Ipsum passages, and more recently with desktop publishing software like Aldus PageMaker including versions of Lorem Ipsum.


Micro 2

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry’s standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged. It was popularised in the 1960s with the release of Letraset sheets containing Lorem Ipsum passages, and more recently with desktop publishing software like Aldus PageMaker including versions of Lorem Ipsum.
Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry’s standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged. It was popularised in the 1960s with the release of Letraset sheets containing Lorem Ipsum passages, and more recently with desktop publishing software like Aldus PageMaker including versions of Lorem Ipsum.



This is a test micro blog. It works. Or maybe it doesnt.


Do you have too many identities?

Who are you? 
If I met you for the first time and asked you that question, what would be your most likely response? Your name? But who are you beyond your name? At this point you may proceed to tell me your occupation or nationality and start to wonder who the hell I am and why am I asking you all this. But the question still remains … who are you beyond these identities?

The layers of our identity

There are several layers of identity that we carry and they are accumulated over time but none of them is fixed and they can all evolve, change, grow and sway.


The most base level identity we have is a name. Something we recognise and answer to. Most of us have had this since birth and recognise our own selves through this name. However, a name can be changed. If your name changes, then who are you? What do you answer to? Do you need to establish a new internal identity too?


Much like a name, gender is something we have had since birth. We identify with it and enact all the qualities and traits of this gender. But this is not true for everyone. Ask any transgender person who has always had a mismatch of what they feel and what they are expected to be. Much like a name, gender can be changed too — internally and externally. Privately or openly.

Nationality / Ethnicity / Origin

I was a Pakistani. Now I am an Australian. I am both right now. Or am I? But who am I again? What does it mean to be Australian? What does it mean to be Pakistani? What values, morals, cultures and beliefs do I need, to be classified as one or the other? Or both? Even though I was born in Pakistan to ‘Pakistani’ parents, I have never lived there as an adult and every time I visited, I felt like a fish out of water. I could understand the language and the culture, I could understand the problems, history and tradition but not relate them to my personal life. My life and understanding of the world are very different. My problems, issues, struggles are very different. So am I really a Pakistani then? And on the flip side, I have not grown up in Australia, I have an understanding of the culture and I play my part in it but am I really an Australian? What does it actually mean to be an Australian?


Now, this is a tricky one. For many people, this is one of their strongest identities. They feel they are a Jew / Christian / Muslim above and beyond everything else (even a human, unfortunately). For many people, religion is their fixed identity — something that cannot waver or change or so they think. Perhaps not that easily but religion can be changed (or dropped altogether). It is a choice. People choose to be Hindus, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists and they can choose not to be. The faction you leave calls you an apostate and the one you join calls you a revert. Go figure.

By default, most people have the religion of the household in which they are born — being a ‘proud’ Muslim is nothing more than being born in a Muslim family, the same person would be equally proud to be a Christian had he/she been born in a Christian family.

Occupation / Career

Outside of gender, religion, ethnicity and perhaps even a language group, a career or occupation is probably the most important identity people wear. They identify as doctors, engineers, accountants, lawyers and so on. The work people do stops being a verb and becomes a noun. However, based on McCrindle’s research in 2014, an average person changes career 5–7 times and this number is expected to rise in the coming decades. I am already on career number four and I am 35 years old at the time of writing this. So am I again?

In all of these identities and many that I have not detailed (language groups, sports teams, hobbies, interests, chronotype, being a father/mother, personality type, sexual orientation, lifestyle choice and so on), there is nothing fixed. I was a pescetarian for four years which was a strong identity for me and now I choose not to be. Each and every one of our identities can be changed, swapped, evolved or forgotten. So if none of these is fixed then who are we really? Our world views, dreams, goals, aspirations are constantly evolving and with that so is our personality and identity. We are malleable. Ever-changing, ever-evolving. And that’s okay. Who says our identity needs to be fixed?

We grow up watching lots of fixed objects with fixed jobs and purposes. The job of a pen is to write and it doesn’t change. The job of a chair is to offer us a seat and comfort. The job of a cup is to hold our drink and so on. We grow up watching these objects with fixed purposes and (wrongly) assume that as a person we have a fixed job too and will remain the same throughout our lives. If you are born in or before the 90s you have perhaps seen your parents perform the same job for most of their lives. My dad for instance worked in the same company for over 30 years and my mum was a homemaker — all her life. Fixed ‘jobs’.

The truth is…

Our identity is dynamic. Always changing and always in a state of flux. Our core principles and value can be fixed but not identity. Our dreams, hopes, aspirations and goals are changing. Our priorities change, our peer groups change, the culture changes and all these things contribute towards building our identity. We can always start new because we are not fixed like the pen or the chair.

So much of us and our personalities are shaped by culture and peers that in the end, we don’t really know who we are. We emulate to gain acceptance and win social approval but is it truly what we want?

Six years ago I was a completely different person. With a very different worldview, with very different values, morals and principles. What changed? I grew, I evolved and everything changed. I realised going through my process of transformation that I can be whoever I want to be. Nothing in this universe is permanent not even my identity. I don’t need to cling to it so dearly as it will change before I know it and more importantly, I don’t need to pigeonhole myself to any identity. I can choose not to be any of the identities. I have a choice. My past doesn’t define my future. Only what I do in the present moment and in this present moment, I have a choice and I choose to be nothing and everything.

“Shapeshifting requires the ability to transcend your attachments, in particular, your ego attachments to identity and who you are. If you can get over your attachment to labelling yourself and cherishing your identity, you can be virtually anybody. You can slip in and out of different shells.” 

Zeena Schreck


Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom – Book Summary



A book that teaches us what is truly important in life, providing perspective on the little things and big.

Date Read: July 26, 2019
My Rating: 8/10

The Book in 3 Sentences

  1. An old man, a young man and life’s greatest lesson.
  2. When we learn how to die and realise we are going to die soon that is when we learn to truly live.
  3. Everyone seems to be chasing the wrong thing in life, things they think are important but they are not!

Overall Thoughts

Mitch Albom found out that his college professor from 20 years ago, Morrie Schwartz, was dying of ALS – or motor neurone disease – Mitch visited Morrie in his study every Tuesday, just as they used to back in college. Their rekindled relationship turned into one final ‘class’: lessons in how to live.

Mitch has this incredible gift of making the reader feel so connected to the people he writes about. Like all his other books, this one is absolutely amazing and I highly recommend it.

Who is this book for?

Anyone who is going to die – at some point. You skip this one if you are immortal or a god.

On a serious note, anyone looking for perspective in life and the important things in life should definitely read this. If you are feeling a little lost and unsure of life, read this book. Also, if you have a loved one going through this process – it will help you understand the journey.

Main Points & Ideas

(Told from Morrie’s point of view)

  1. Death
    • The world goes on. No matter what you are going through, the world goes on. Even if you are dying or getting the news that you are dying, the world will go on. It has done so before you and will continue to do so after you. Don’t try and chase after the world so much and give yourself to the world. It will not return the favour.
    • There is nothing negative about death. It is as natural as life. It is part of the deal. If you live, you must die. Everything in nature dies.
    • When we make peace with the idea of dying, then we do the hard thing – make peace with living. It is only when something gets taken away from us that we truly start to feel its value and importance.
    • “Death ends a life, not a relationship”.
    • When you are facing death, you want to do the mundane that you escaped in your healthy life; sitting in traffic, making dinner, making plans, going to work.
    • Only in the face of death or that of someone else do we realise how much time we actually had and how much time we squandered.
    • Death is a great equalizer. Sitting beside a dying person and listening to them makes you forget about all the busyness of your own life it melts and falls away.
  2. Ageing
    • Being young is hard. We have lots of struggles and uncertainty and we are not wise, we often make poor decisions and believe everything that is told to us. Ageing is growth. We learn and become wiser.
    • People who long to be young again – it reflects unsatisfied lives. Missed opportunities, regrets. If you have meaning in life, you don’t want to go back – you would want to go forward.
    • When you are older, your every age lives inside you. You know what it’s like to be 20, 25 and 30. You are every age, up to current all at the same time. You shouldn’t be envious of younger people, because you have been that age.
  3. Money
    • Mitch writes about trading his dreams for a paycheck. For a life that society tells him that he should be living. His days were full but his heart was empty. He broke all the promises he made to himself and gave up all his dreams.
    • No matter how much money you have, you can’t take it with you.
    • Ultimately we are all looking for love and we accept substitutes for love in the form of things. We think people will like us and love us if we have nice things. Nothing could be further from the truth.
    • There is a big difference between what we need and what we want but most people can’t tell the difference between the two.
    • Status gets you nowhere. People at the top will look always look down and the ones below will always envy you. So what’s the point?
  4. Love & Marriage
    • What we take from the world, we must replenish.
    • “The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in”
    • Pay attention to the people, real attention and give them all your focus and they will always remember you.
    • Why are we all in such a hurry in life? Perhaps to find meaning?
    • People either rush into a marriage or often delay it. This is not about age, but about understanding yourself and what you want. People often don’t know themselves, they don’t know who they really are hence they don’t know what they want in a partner.
    • Having a common set of values, morals and goals are important in a marriage. If you do not respect each other or cannot compromise for each other – there will be trouble. In a marriage you get tested, you find out what you are made of and what the other person is made of.
  5. Culture
    • Most people understand that when we are infants, we need others to survive and when we are old and frail, we need others to survive. But what most people don’t understand is that in the middle, we also need others to survive. However, most people can be mean and cruel. How do we deal with that?
    • People are only mean when they are threatened in some way and the culture makes everyone scared for something, losing a job, losing money, a house, a loved one. People, then, only tend to look out for themselves.
    • The culture around us is always reminding us that we are not enough. Not good enough, not rich enough, not thin enough … always reminding us that we could be more. We shouldn’t let the culture decide that for us, we choose who we are.
    • If the culture around is toxic, we can be the catalyst for change. We don’t need to wait for others to start the change. We can do it. We can create our own culture.
  6. Forgiveness
    • Pride, anger, grudges, hatred – you will regret all this when you are old.
    • Forgive people before they die and you never know when that might be – so forgive them now.
    • Before forgiving others, you must be willing to forgive yourself first, for all your past misgivings, for all the things you did and didn’t do. Make peace with yourself.
  7. Detachment
    • People think detachment from emotions and experiences is a bad thing. It is not. In order to detach from emotion, you must first allow yourself to fully feel it, embrace it. You have to let it penetrate your soul. Know it for what it really is, experience it, live it and only then you can detach from it.
    • Mourn what you have lost, give yourself a good cry if you need to. Feel sorry for yourself but once you are done, balance it with remembering and appreciating all the good you still have in life. Think about all that still remains that you can relish and enjoy.

My Favourite Quotes

  1. “I buried myself in accomplishments because with accomplishments, I believed I could control things, I could squeeze in every last piece of happiness before I got sick and died.” Mitch Albom
  2. Upon finding out he is terminally ill and going to die soon – “I’m going to live-or at least try to live the way I want, with dignity, with courage, with humour, with composure.” Morrie Schwartz
  3. “People see me as a bridge. I’m not as alive as I used to be, but I’m not yet dead. I’m sort of . . . in-between.” Morrie Schwartz
  4. “So many people walk around with a meaningless life. They seem half-asleep, even when they’re busy doing things they think are important. This is because they’re chasing the wrong things.” Morrie Schwartz
  5. “Maybe death is the great equalizer, the one big thing that can finally make strangers shed a tear for one another.” Morrie Schwartz
  6. “The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in” Morrie Schwartz
  7. “A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.” Henry Adams
  8. “Everyone knows they’re going to die, but nobody believes it. If we did, we would do things differently.” Morrie Schwartz
  9. “To know you’re going to die, and to be prepared for it at any time. That’s better. That way you can actually be more involved in your life while you’re living.” Morrie Schwartz
  10. “The truth is, once you learn how to die, you learn how to live.” Morrie Schwartz


How I find a balance between order and chaos

The more order I try and create in my life by building routines, structures and predictability the more I have the propensity to move towards chaos, disorder and dysfunction. Why is that? What is this other side of me that prefers chaos over order? Does this exist in all of us?

I have been struggling with this for a while and it is one of the reasons for falling off course and routine every now and then. I have read every piece of advice under the sun ranging from having more willpower, motivation to having better systems and routines. But I feel there is something else at work here.

*A side note about my willpower

In my personal circles, I only know one person with truly amazing willpower — and that is me *blows own horn*. (Maybe I need better circles). 
Mentally, I am very tough, when it comes to things like abstinence and willpower. Physically, I bruise like a peach. So if my willpower and motivation is questioned for the rest of this article — remember these points:

  • After smoking for nearly 15 years (sometimes, up to 30 cigarettes a day), I quit — cold turkey.
  • In a test of my willpower, I quit all processed sugar for 8 months (lost 12 kgs in the process but that wasn’t the objective — story for another time).
  • I became a pescetarian overnight which lasted nearly 4 years and with my meat-eating ethnic and cultural background — it was socially (and emotionally) very difficult. (Yes, I started eating meat again — also, story for another time).
  • I made waking up at 0400 a norm in my life. (Much to my wife’s dismay — sorry)
  • I made taking cold showers a habit (yes, even in Canberra winter).
  • I completed multiple 10-day silent meditation ‘retreats’. (emotionally, physically and mentally the toughest thing I have had to do — yet)


We all try to move our lives towards order. Creating order in our homes, personal lives, work lives, teaching order to our kids and above all, we try to conduct ourselves in an orderly fashion. Order is defined as the natural state of a civilised society. Anyone without this order is judged as uncivilised and disorderly.

Most of our early life is about teaching us to conduct ourselves and our lives in order. We learn the order of things as well as how to be orderly. But what is order in this context?

What you and I consider as order today may not have been order yesterday and certainly, the order of yesterday is not the order today. Order is whatever we agree to, collectively, as a culture, as a society. Much like laws, money, social status, success and anything else we attach meaning to. Whatever we agree to is the order of the time.

Then what separates order from chaos?

Order is predictability, it is a certainty, it is comfort. It is repeatable and replicable. It is the calmness that we all try to aim for. It is organised, it is structured. Order signifies a linear progression of things — to put things in the correct order. Life is dictated by order — our learnings and stages of life are defined by this linear passage of time, by this order.

But don’t let the calm and composed demeanour of order fool you. It is not as innocent as it appears. The origins of order are far from its current form. Underneath this calm and serene facade brews something far more ominous which can surface at any moment. Yes, you guessed it right — chaos.


Chaos has got a bad reputation. It is thought of as all that is wrong in the world and has been wrong throughout history. Why is chaos negative? Why are we told and taught to avoid chaos at all costs? What exactly is chaos? Why are societies so afraid of chaos? Why do we long to create this order in our lives, when we all have this chaos brewing and burning just underneath the surface?

In Greek mythology Chaos, also spelled Khaos, was the first of the Protogenoi (primeval gods) that precedes the universe. His name means ‘the gap’. He was followed in quick succession by Gaia (Earth), Tartarus (the Underworld) and Eros (Love/Life-bringer).

In the cosmic and ancient sense, chaos is a void. An endless, uncertain, unpredictable, unknown, deep, bottomless abyss. In the modern sense, chaos means disorganised, unruly, sloppy, dysfunctional or broken.

However, Chaos/Khaos also happens to be the first and foremost, preceding the universe itself. The original and natural state of the universe, and if you think back at the time of the big bang — which created this universe, it would not have been a very orderly time and things didn’t come together in an orderly fashion. It was utter chaos — in the true sense of the word. This is the state the universe is naturally returning to thanks to our friend; Entropy — the second law of thermodynamics. The universe has the predisposition to go from a state of higher organisation to a lower one. From order to chaos. Then how did we get the order in the first place? Evolution literally goes again the natural flow of the universe and reverses entropy.

Chaos is the primal force that created everything, chaos gives rise to order and only out of chaos comes order and out of chaos came life. Everything we have today has come from a state of chaos. But is there a balance?

The Balance

Should there be one? Should life exist in the realm of chaos or order? Or should it oscillate between the two? Is chaos the yang to order’s yin?

Order ultimately emerges from chaos. To have order means nothing unless there had been chaos. To know order means to have known chaos before that. Life needs contrast. A point of reference and comparison. Just how, in the seed sleeps a mighty oak, in all of order there is potential for chaos but more importantly, in chaos, not only is there potential for order but there is an underlying order. We may not see it, but often we can feel and sense it. This is the balance. This is the yin and yang. Unlike the dualistic nature of things, that we have grown accustomed to throughout mythology and religiosity — good vs bad, God vs evil, Ra vs Apep and so on — Order and chaos are the two sides of the same coin. One does not exist without the other. It is coexistent, coinciding not dualism.

The dualistic teaching of religions has forced a perspective on our history and our understanding of the world where we always look for a balance between the right side and the wrong side. A balance between good and evil. Between moral and immoral. Between light and dark. Between order and chaos. Whether it is Seth and Horus, Zeus and Typhon, Buddha and Mara. Always looking for the triumph of good over bad.

Personal lives and habits

Hidden deep within every disciplined human is the seed of chaos. Which sprouts every now and then. I have both of these forces at work within me almost all the time. Beneath the facade of what I show to the world, I have a sense of chaos within — each and every one of us does. Some are better at hiding and suppressing it than others. Chaos is our true nature but we are forced to tame it by the world, by civilisation in pursuit of order. Look at any child under 3 years of age and you will see it. This deeper chaotic self is the reason why people become ‘bad’ over time and after some milestone or a liminal event in their lives — they stop caring and become completely ‘irrational’ and we call it a midlife crisis.

In my personal life, I try very hard to create order but there have been times when chaos has taken over. It is not a question of willpower or motivation, as mentioned at the beginning, I have plenty of both, it is the propensity of the primal force of chaos to manifest and take root.

I try to keep the chaos contained by doing something I call The Week of Balance.

The Week of Balance

This is a rather recent practice I have started but I am already seeing the fruits. It is a simple practice where I divide my week into two; 4 days of chaos followed by 3 days of order.

I spend the first half of the week doing everything that I have been suppressing, to go loose and not follow my routines, diets, obligations and responsibilities — where I can just binge eat, drink, watch and do whatever to my heart’s content. Stay up till 0500 watching Netflix? Sure. Eating a pack of TimTams in one sitting? Sure. Sleeping till noon? Sure. Not seeing anyone and not writing, producing any work? Absolutely. You get the idea. Once I get this chaos out of my system I can then focus on coming back to my orderly self, where I will start meditating, journaling, taking long walks to shake it all off and slowly reintegrate back into my life over the next 3 days.

Having learnt from my past episodes of destruction and chaotic sprees, chaos is a part of my personality that lives inside me and I keep it in control by winning some and losing some. By feeding it a little bit without letting it completely take over my life and destroy it. I have the disposition to gravitate towards self-destruction, self-sabotage and suffering. So I need to walk a fine line.

I know some people who have repressed this force for years on end have had their entire lives completely destroyed, over and over. They deny its existence and its power over them. Don’t repress it. It is a part of you, mysterious but certainly stronger than your willpower and motivations. It is in fact the primal force of the universe. Give some and take some.

Organised chaos

In the end, life is just organised chaos but chaos nevertheless. There is so much unpredictability and uncertainty in life that on a long enough horizon it is all random and chaotic. We try and create all sorts of order, predictability, certainty, explanations, meanings and purpose for our life and the world around us. We use science and theories to explain the natural world around us and when one theory stops being relevant or accurate we come up with a new one to explain the phenomena and course correct. There is so much we don’t know about the world, universe and our own self. Sheer chaos. No matter how much we try to define our lives and how much control we try to put in place there will always be things we cannot foresee and control.

Let us not try too hard. Let us enjoy the ride and position ourselves for the optimum results. And let us find the balance between our order and our chaos.

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How to be successful while being a procrastinator

I have been a procrastinator for as long as I can remember. If there is anything that needs to be done, I would rather do it ‘tomorrow’ or ‘later’. The two magical and mystical realms where all the possibilities of my potential exist. And in writing this article on procrastination, I had to deal with and overcome a good deal of procrastination. What should have been a 3-day job (tops) turned into a 5-week on-and-of ordeal. At the end of the article, you will find a list of the many thoughts, distractions and procrastination I had while writing. Maybe you can relate to some of the thinking patterns.

Some people call procrastination an addiction some disagree. Being a life-long procrastinator myself, I can testify that it is NOT an addition — feel free to disagree for now but read the full article — it will change your mind.

In spite of being a lifelong procrastinator, I have managed to get an astonishing number of things done in life. How did I manage that and why do I still procrastinate?

What exactly is procrastination?

Procrastination is an automatic, negative, habit of, often needlessly, postponing and/or delaying a timely and relevant activity. The act of delaying or postponing a task or set of tasks. It is the force that prevents us from following through on what we set out to do even though we know it is good for us.

Now I want to reiterate this oxymoron; I know it’s good for me yet I still delay it and find ways to not do it. What kind of ridiculous behaviour is this? And people have been doing for centuries? What madness!!

Why do I do it?

I procrastinate not because I am lazy or lack motivation. People who know me personally will testify that motivation is not something I am short on. In my research and understanding of the problem, I have uncovered that I procrastinate, like most people, because there is a problem with emotional regulation. That is what it really is. Poor regulation of emotions about the task at hand.

People feel procrastination is a time or task management issue, it is not. It is in fact an emotion management problem.

Any task/chore I take on produces varying amounts of emotions. These emotions are often linked to the uncertainty of how well I am going to do, what the outcome is going to be and how it is going to impact my life, which in turn creates anxiety. And that, my friends, is why we all procrastinate.

But the problem doesn’t stop there. Once I start to procrastinate, I feel good momentarily as it helps alleviate some of the negative emotions. However, shortly after that, I start to feel bad, as delaying the task (which has to be done sooner or later) starts to create even more anxiety as it keeps looming over me. So I get stuck in this vicious cycle where I procrastinate because I cannot handle the negative emotions and the procrastination produces even more negative emotions. The obvious course of action would be to just get the bloody task done, then why don’t I?

I procrastinate, so what’s the big deal?

If you are anything like me, then you have various goals for your life. Things you want to do, achieve, have and become. Procrastination is my dream killer because everything on that list needs to be done — by me. I need to make things happen. One of the worst things procrastination has done is to cause me to lose integrity with my own self. When I commit to something and I end up not doing it, I lose trust in myself. It affects my self-esteem and confidence. That is detrimental to my dreams as it forces me to keep changing timelines on my tasks, project and ultimately my life.

Different Types of Procrastination

As mentioned earlier, procrastination is ultimately caused by negative emotions around a task. Emotion could be frustration, anger, boredom, worry, anxiety. And the type of emotion I feel defines the type of procrastinator I am (in that moment). There are 6 different types of procrastination behaviours. (Taken from this book by Linda Sapadin and Jack Maguire).

  1. The Worrier; Worries they are not good enough and will not be able to finish the task at hand hence they find it very hard to start the task. Motivated by anxiety and fear of failure.
  2. The Perfectionist; Wants the task to be done perfectly hence they often find it hard to start based on a fear of failure or incompetence.
  3. The over-doer; Commits to doing too many tasks and fails to prioritise and finish them on time. This is the one I can relate to the most.
  4. The crisis maker; always needs the pressure and stress of a crisis or a short deadline to do their work. It helps them fight their own boredom.
  5. The dreamer; dreams of a good life and grand ideas but does very little to make them a reality. They want things to come easy to them and they feel they shouldn’t have to work very hard at life hence they don’t put the effort into the tasks.
  6. The defier; feels they shouldn’t have to do this task, they are perhaps better than this. They are angry and frustrated and in these emotions, they keep putting the task off.

Which one can you relate to?

Where do distractions fit in all of this?

Distractions are some of the coping mechanisms that we use to deal with the anxiety, frustration fear, and all the other emotions that go with procrastination. We use distraction to get away from the task and there are two types of distractions, external distractions and internal distractions.

External Distractions

This one is pretty self-explanatory, these are all the pings and dings, notifications, noise, kids, pets, amazon deliveries and everything else that can take your mind off the current task.

Internal Distractions

An internal distraction results from your own internal drives, they are intrinsically generated — like random fleeting thoughts, constant worries, physiological and emotional states, your conflicts and so on.

So, how do I overcome my procrastination?

Before we get into the strategies, tips and techniques, there are a couple of psychological steps I needed to take.

The first thing I needed to do was to admit that I procrastinate. Admit and accept that I have an emotional regulation issue that needs addressing. Once I was able to accept that, the next thing was forgiving myself for what was already done and the time that was already gone. I couldn’t change that. Only after going through this emotional and psychological acceptance was I ready to focus on preventing it from happening in the future.

Here is a list of techniques and tools I (still) use to deal with my procrastination:

Internal Strategies / Emotion Management

  • I tackle internal distraction and emotional regulation with meditation. I spend 10–30 minutes first thing in the morning meditating. This helps me set the tone for the rest of the day and keeps me calm (mostly) throughout the day.
  • Journaling. Followed by meditation is 10 minutes of journaling practice. This helps in 2 different ways
    – Writing helps me get clarity on my thoughts and encourages me to think clearly and succinctly.
    – It helps to get emotions out of the head and onto the paper, clearing the mind for the work that needs to happen.
  • Defining my goal and purpose. What am I trying to achieve and why? This is a very important beginning step of any project. I need to know where I am going with this and why. It helps give me perspective and the initial burst of motivation required.
  • What do I have to show for my time? I have a review process at the end of the day as well as the week. This is where I check on the progress of my various projects and cross-check with the to-do lists. I am conscious about spending my time and doing the work as I know I will get audited at the end of the day/week.
  • Lower the bar. Sometimes showing up is more important than making it perfect. So I focus on getting the task done rather than doing it perfectly.

External Tools / Techniques

  • Setting shorter-term goals. Parkinson’s law state that a task expands to fill the allocated time. If you give yourself 3 days to clean your house, you are going to take 3 days. However, if you give yourself 3 hours, you can probably do it in 3 hours too.
  • Breaking goals into smaller steps. Once I have a big goal, I break it down all the way to the next actionable step. As small as possible that I can start doing immediately. For example, if my goal is to write an article on healthy eating, the next step is not to research but the next step is creating a new page in Notion and putting the headline.
  • Taking action. Once I have my next actionable step and it takes less than 2 minutes to do, I am going to do it right away. I won’t schedule or delegate anything that takes me less than 2 minutes. I will do it and get it done right away.
  • Time blocking. Not only do I put my tasks on a to-do list but from the list, I transfer them onto to calendar. I allocated time for them. Having a to-do list is good but blocking time for the tasks on the calendar ensures it is going to get done.
  • Pomodoro timer. When I need to do focused work I set myself a 25-minute timer and turn off all notifications. I work in 25-minute chunks, punctuated with 5-minute breaks.
  • Unplugging. I turn off as many notifications as possible, on the computer, phone and watch. I also regularly unsubscribe to email newsletters to not get distracted.
  • Keep a distraction list. Even during the focused work time of 25-minutes, I get random thoughts, questions and queries pop up in the mind. For this, I have a distraction list where I put all these random questions and thoughts which seems very important in the moment and in my dedicated distraction time, I go through the list.
  • Rest and recovery. I try and build time in my day to rest. Whether it’s watching a documentary, reading a book, going for a walk or just listening to music. 20–30 minutes to give my body and mind a break.

Although it may sound easy as steps 1,2 and 3 it can be hard. Developing this list of tools and strategies comes after many iterations, frustrations and missed opportunities. In spite of all these techniques, I still procrastinate but these strategies definitely help me deal with it in a more structured and planned manner and I hope you find them valuable too.

Stay awesome 🙂

Some thoughts, distractions, random searches, procrastination while writing this article:

  • Why am I making so many typing errors today, hmmm, maybe I should do some typing practice? Looks for typing practice websites and starts practice
  • Oh lemme check Instagram (for the 49th time today)
  • Oh, I wonder what Nadine (my daughter) is doing… goes to check on her .. and starts playing with her
  • I should find more Alfred workflows
  • This music isn’t working… I need to find better playlists
  • oh, I haven’t done my core workout today. Goes to do a core workout
  • I am hungry (again)
  • I wonder what Nadine is doing (again)
  • I should watch some inspiring documentary
  • I think I ate too much .. maybe I need to go for a walk .. Goes for 30 min walk
  • Maybe I need to do a poo
  • Wow my backyard is so dirty … I need to get rid of all these leaves
  • I should read more about procrastination so I can distil my learning better
  • I wonder what are the specials on Dan Murphys
  • Let’s see if there are any interesting new podcasts episodes
  • Is this the best writing app for blogs? Maybe I should research a better app
  • I should check my Amazon subscription and see if I can automate more deliveries
  • Man, my beard is getting messy, I need to trim this
  • How come I haven’t had any messages on WhatsApp for 20 mins .. Lemme open it and check if it’s working
  • If I had bought bitcoins 10 years ago I would be a millionaire today
  • I should research what are the best investments for 2022
  • Wow, this room is dirty. I need to vacuum it. Now.
  • Perhaps I need a different keyboard to make me type faster … lets research
  • Maybe I should sit in bed and write or even lie down
  • I need to do my piano scales practice. Now
  • I ought to meditate and calm my mind for 20 mins
  • I should check out the new Coke Studio season
  • and on and on and on

Anything to avoid doing the task at hand. Research, it seems, is my ultimate and best form of procrastination 😃

Can you relate to some of these thought patterns?


The End of Year Reflection You Need

’Tis the season. The year is coming to an end, everyone is thinking about holidays, food, putting up a tree, buying gifts, finalising travelling plans (now that we can do it again), losing weight, not wanting to gain too much weight during the holidays and everything in the middle. Some of us are also thinking about our new year plans and resolutions. Thinking about making 2022 our best year by doing away with bad habits and picking up some good ones from the 1st of January. Ahh, 1st of January — that magical, mystical time of the year filled with endless possibilities and opportunities.

But in order to make our plans successful for the new year, we must also capture and review how we did this year. Without it, how do we know we won’t make the same errors again?

What is an end of year practice?

Have you ever had a plan not come through? Something went wrong somewhere and all the pieces didn’t fall into place as you anticipated? I’m sure you have, there is no such thing as a perfect plan in real life — only in the movies or in project plans (I am a project manager, I should know). The thing about plans going sideways is that we often look back and think how we could have avoided it but few of us actually think how we can avoid it the next time. Very few of us reflect and take a lesson that can be implemented in the future. Well, how about multiple plans over the course of a year? Or the year itself? How many of us actually sit down at the end of the year and reflect back on the year to capture all our lessons learned and analyse how some, if not most mistakes can be avoided in the next year?

This is where the end of year review and reflection comes into play. Think of this as a grade on the year. Looking at different areas of our lives to figure out how we did and how to improve for the next year.

This is a practice I started doing in 2018 and it has paid astronomical amounts of dividends over the years. I used to have new year resolutions much like everyone else; get in shape, read more, eat healthily, make more money and so on. But instead of having new year resolutions I started defining new year’s projects and started detailing goals around those projects — that however, will be a topic for another article but also equally importantly, I started reviewing my year to capture all the ups, downs, frustration, struggles, wins, joys and everything in between.

In this practice, I spend a few days asking myself various questions, that have evolved over the year based on practices of other people, to determine how the year went and what could be done better the next year. This is also the time where I audit the various projects from the year and bring them to a close in addition to defining the aforementioned projects and goals for the next year.

Why bother with it?

Some of the benefits that I see in my life from this practice:

  1. I reflect on the year to capture an overall feel for how things went.
  2. Learning from the experiences, mistakes, decisions and judgements of the year.
  3. Ensuring those learnings and lessons are incorporated in the coming years.
  4. Bringing the year to a close — to get closure on things finished and unfinished.
  5. Zooming in on different areas of my life to ascertain the performance, attachment, efforts and struggles.
  6. Reflecting on my efforts and the produced outcomes in the various projects I had taken on.
  7. Reflecting on my plans and their progress.
  8. Simplifying my life by letting go of too many commitments, plans, goals, attachments and people.
  9. Reflecting on what is working and what is not.
  10. Assessing my habits and taking a tally of the good, the bad and the ugly.
  11. Being conscious of spending my time in the coming year more intentionally as at the end, there will be a reflection where I want to have more wins than failure. More finished than unfinished projects.
  12. Remembering the wins as keenly as the failures and lessons — creating motivation to keep going and do more in the new year.

What does my practice look like?

There are as many ways to do this as there are people. Everyone has unique aspects and circumstances in their lives so my examples below may not work all the way but they will be a good starting point.

I have divided my life into 7 distinct categories, some with their own subcategories, this is a slightly modified version of Stephen Covey’s Wheel of Life.

The categories are:

  • Health
    – Physical
    – Mental
    – Self Care
  • Mind/Intellect
    – Knowledge and Learning
  • Family
    – General (parents, siblings and extended)
    – Partner / spouse
    – Child/ren
  • Social
    – Friends
    – Community
  • Work & Career
    – Financial / Investment
    – Business / Job
    – Personal projects
  • Spiritual / Grounding / Connection / Religion
  • Environment
    – Physical environment around me (home, office, gym, work zone, recreation zone and so on -
    the physical places I use to create my work and life)
    – Holidays / Break / Down Time

In each category and subcategory I capture:

  • Highlights of the year — free text to capture as much or as little as needed, this is like an overall field for that category to journal my thoughts.
  • What went well?
  • What could have gone better / What could I improve?
  • What do I want to avoid next year?
  • What did I learn?

Once I am done asking the above questions I then progress to answer the questions below for the overall year which are not category-specific. Some of it may feel like a repeat of the above but the idea is to reinforce and repeat some of the key positives and negatives to drive the points home. These questions are asked for the overall year.

  • What went well?
    – Highlights
    – Achievements & Successes
    – What am I grateful for?
    – What would I like to appreciate more?
  • What were the best decisions over the last year?
  • What were the bad/worst decisions over the last year?
  • What are five habits I would like to leave behind in this year?
  • Am I holding onto any;
    – Grudges?
    – Frustrations?
    – Resentments?
    – Emotional baggage?
    – Attachments?
  • What were the low points and how could they have been avoided?
  • What were the major
    – Struggles?
    – Frustration?
    – What were the lessons of these struggles and frustrations?
  • Things I want to let go or leave behind in this year
    – Too many commitments — can I let go of some to narrow my focus?
    – Too many goals and aspirations?
    – Pleasing everyone, comparing myself?
    – Worrying about everything?
    – Anger, past injuries?
    – Judging myself or others?
    – Complaints?
    – Perfectionism?
    – Procrastination?
    – Hiding, playing a smaller game, doubting myself?
    – Trying to control everything?
  • What were the major fears this year?
  • What were the limiting beliefs this year?

To complete this entire review process, I allow a week. I prefer not to do it all in one sitting, which could be done but instead, I want to come back to it over a few days with different emotions, feelings and perspectives to try and get a wholesome picture. The idea is to capture as much as possible over multiple sessions as opposed to this being another chore that needs to be quickly ticked off the list.

I have developed a Notion template for this, which you can find here. Or a website version here.

I hope you find as much benefit in this process as I have — not just this year but for the years to come. If you have never done something like this in the past I strongly encourage you to start and give it a crack this year. These last two years have been long and rough due to the pandemic, take the time to start this practice.

If you end up modifying this template to suit your life, please do share it with me. I would love to hear your thoughts and feedback on this practice template.

Now go and be awesome.


The Road Less Travelled by M. Scott Peck – Book Summary


Love is a complex topic that many fall behind in. The Road Less Travelled explains how with spiritual growth, one can understand love better.

Date Read: 9 August 2021
My Rating: 8/10

The Book in 3 Sentences

  1. Life is hard – accept it.
  2. Love is not what you think it is. It is far wider and complex than language can describe and no one has been able to accurately describe it.
  3. The purpose of any relationship in life is the spiritual growth of the people involved.

Overall Thoughts

Although I have read similar wisdom in other books over the years, this book changed my life. This book is by far one of the best books I have read in many years on the topics of love, parenting, spiritual growth, psychology and philosophy. There are so many complex ideas in this book that need to be read, examined and understood individually. I have tried to distil my understanding and learnings from this book in the summary here.

Who is this book for?

I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone. There are so many insightful lessons in this book, this is definitely a book I will be revisiting over and over.

Although the author recalls stories of his psychotherapy patients – the points that he makes are far-reaching and much broader than just patients with mental illness. As you will read below, the book covers topics such as life, parenting, marriage, love, spiritual growth, religion and much more. And he covers all these from the lens of human psychology and philosophy.

Main Points & Ideas

  1. Life is hard. Once we understand and accept this truth, the fact that life is hard does not matter anymore. Life is a series of problems. We can either solve problems and move from one to another or we can complain about them. Problems do not just go away. They need to be worked on, solved with time and attention. Most people try to avoid problems as they are not equipped to solve them because most people simply do not take the time necessary to solve life’s intellectual, social and spiritual problems. We must accept responsibility for a problem before we can solve it. If I say ‘this is not my problem’ and it is caused by society or other people then I have thrown away the responsibility and with it, the solution.
  2. Parenting
    • Undisciplined parents are poor role models.
    • Parenting can either follow the ‘Do as I say’ or ‘ Do as I do’ model … if you do not (cannot) do it, then don’t expect your child to do it either. Monkey see monkey do.
    • For a child, the beginning of self-discipline starts with self-disciplined parents. “If a child sees his parents day in and day out behaving with self-discipline restraint, dignity and a capacity to order their own lives then the child will come to feel in the deepest fibres of his being that this is the way to live.”
    • The feeling of being valuable and feeling ‘I am valued’ is a corner store of self-discipline. When you feel valuable, when you feel that you can create value for others, you will naturally take care of yourself because you are valuable because you are important.
    • We spend all this time teaching kids how to read, write, do and but very little time teaching them how to listen, how to speak and how to be.
    • When children watch their parents interact with and navigate the world, that becomes their truth. How their parents do anything is how they think it is done – throughout the universe.
  3. Ego boundaries
    • Ego boundaries must be hardened before they can be softened. We must have something to lose or give up. An identity must be established before it can be transcended.
    • True reality is oneness. We see ourselves as discrete objects in the universe separate from all others; stars, rocks, planets, trees etc. Mysticism claims that these boundaries are misconceptions and an illusion. Maya. The only way to experience oneness with the universe is the dissolution of these ego boundaries. An infant has no ego boundaries, in his/her perception they are not separate from the universe. He/she is in the state of pure sainthood and in order to become one – we need to go back to the state of being an infant. One with everything, mother, father and the universe.
    • The world is constantly changing but so is our view of it. Our vantage points keep changing depending on our circumstances (poor, rich, married, a father etc) We need to constantly update the map of reality. We must be willing to get challenged and change our viewpoints. Be open to criticism. Nostalgia is seldom about missing the old things but more about missing the old self. For us to develop a new idea, concept, theory, understanding or self-image the old must die first, there is no other way.
  4. Love, marriage and relationships
    • The definition of love in this book; the will to extend one’s self for the purpose of nurturing one’s or another’s spiritual growth.
    • The act of ‘falling’ in love is sexually motivated. The agenda is terminating our own loneliness and we insure it with marriage. Falling in love is a temporary collapse of our ego boundaries – driven by the need to procreate and have sex. No matter whom we fall in love with, sooner or later we fall out of love too if the relation goes long enough – we don’t stop loving that per person per se but the feeling of honeymoon and static lovingness soon fades.
    • At the beginning of the relationship, we become one with the beloved but over time we have differences; different opinions, ideas, friends, plans and preferences. We suddenly realise we are not one with our beloved and our individuality comes into play. Our ego boundaries go up immediately – that’s when lots of people fall out of love and start to fall out of the relationship – but that is also when the real work of loving starts.
      The genuine lover encourages the individuality of the beloved. True love is the commitment towards the spiritual growth of another. A major aspect of genuine love is the separateness of the self and the beloved.
    • Love is an expression of freedom. The exercise of choice. When someone claims (or acts in ways that says) they cannot live without someone, it is a necessity – it is not love. That person is a parasite.
    • The problem with the modern-day image of marriage is that one person needs to be everything for the other – friend, husband, lover, partner, companion, support, guide and so on. This is simply not possible. The author makes a point that open marriage is the only mature marriage that is healthy and not seriously destructive to the spiritual growth and health of the individuals involved.
    • Passive dependent individuals get their identity from others and their relationships. They want to be loved all the time and seek it so desperately and spend all their energy pursuing love that in the end, they have no energy left to give any love. If your goal is to be loved – you need to become worthy of the love you seek. You cannot be a person worthy of love if all you want is to be loved passively.
  5. Everyone has a religion.
    • Religion here is greater than a factional membership. Greater than being a Hindu, Muslim, Jew or a Buddhist. Everyone has some understanding of life and its purpose, some worldview, some perspective on how they look at life and the world – That is their religion. How someone chooses to see the world (just, fair, dualistic, karmic, random, chaotic, etc) is their religion because based on this religion is how they interact with and operate in this world.
    • Very few of us have distinct personal lives – most of the things we believe and carry with us throughout life are hand me down from our parents – including our worldviews and religions. Second-hand information of God and religion – we are taught by someone else based on their views and experiences. True religion should be a personal one – based on our own experiences.
    • Spiritual growth is the journey from the microcosm into the macrocosm – we must be willing to learn new things in order to do this and let go of our old ideas and self. People find new information threatening because they have to work and revise their maps of reality.
    • You cannot give up anything you don’t already have. You cannot give up winning before you have won – you are still a loser. You must forge an identity before you can give it up. You must have an ego before you can lose it. You must have an opinion before you can change it.
    • The process of spiritual growth is much like the process of evolution. They both run contrary to entropy, against the natural laws and forces. They both go from a lower form of organisation to a higher one.
    • People at the top are often alone. This is true in business, athletics, or spiritual evolution – not many have reached that level.

My Favourite Quotes

  • Neurosis is always a substitute for legitimate suffering – Carl Jung
    We must learn for ourselves and teach our children the tools and techniques through which to allow true suffering. As neurosis ultimately becomes a bigger problem than the suffering itself.
  • Good discipline requires time.
  • It is death that provides life with all its meanings.
  • Throughout the whole of life, one must continue to learn to live and what will amaze you even more, throughout life one must learn to die – Seneca
  • The best decision-makers are those who are willing to suffer the most over their decisions but still retain their ability to be decisive.
  • Two people love each other only when they are quite capable of living without each other but choose to live with each other.
  • A good marriage can exist only between two strong and independent people.
  • True love is not a feeling by which we are overwhelmed (like sexual attractiveness). It is a committed, thoughtful decision.
  • Love anything that lives – a person, a pet, a plant – and it will die.
  • If someone is determined not to risk pain, then such a person must do without many things [in life].
  • Great marriages can not be constructed by individuals who are terrified by their basic aloneness, as so commonly is the case, seeking a merging in the marriage.
  • All human interactions are opportunities either to learn or to teach.
  • The path to holiness lies through the questioning of everything.
  • Science is a religion. A religion of scepticism.
  • We are almost always less or more competent than we believe ourselves to be. The unconscious, however, knows who we really are.
  • The culture that nourishes us in childhood is nurtured by our leadership in adulthood.
  • Evolving as humans, we carry humanity on our backs. And so humanity evolves.

Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. They come through you but not from you, And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts, For they have their own thoughts. You may house their bodies but not their souls, For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams. You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you. For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth. The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far. Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness; For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.

Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet


Why Your Future Planning Isn’t Working Out

An Imagined Future

What hasn’t yet come to pass is always an imagined future – it can be exactly how you think it will be or starkly different. Sometimes we can predict with a fair degree of certainty yet other times we are so utterly wrong that it is sobering and shakes us out of our delusions.

The error in our planning is that we think the future will be an extension of the present. We think it will be similar to right now and we try to account for the fact it will be later in the linear progression of time. This ability, unique only to humans as far as we know, to think about the concept of future and past, to think of time in a linear manner, thanks to our prefrontal lobes. It takes cognitive ability and training to think of time in this way – to think of the concept of later (or before). It is an abstract concept after all. My 4-year-old daughter, for instance, still struggles with this concept. For her, everything in the past is yesterday and everything in the future is tomorrow and it is not a limitation of her vocabulary, it is in fact a limitation of understanding this abstract idea.

“Children have neither a past nor a future. Thus they enjoy the present, which seldom happens to us.” — Jean de La Bruyère

However, we must always be thinking about and planning for our futures, we are constantly making decisions and choices that cannot be undone and can potentially impact the rest of our lives. Those are serious responsibilities with serious consequences. How do we do this right? Considering the future can be quite uncertain and unknown.

The planning fallacy

When we plan for the future we mostly think that past experiences will indicate future performances. We think how things have happened in the past is how they will continue to happen in the future – with a few different variables. We are not able to take into account all the unknown variables and of course, we don’t know what we don’t know, how can we?

One of the key factors that we forget to take into account when we plan for the future, perhaps the biggest black swans of all – is ourselves. Our ever-evolving, ever-changing personality and self-image. Our view of the world changes, perhaps as quickly as the world itself and as we know, if we wear rose colour glasses then, to us, the world appears rosy. It is a common error we are all prone to make, yet that is the only vantage point we have – our own. Which is subject to our own biases and limitations.

Do you feel, think, act, and behave exactly as you did five years ago? If you do, then, unfortunately, you have not grown or learnt anything in this time. But my guess is you don’t feel, think, act, and behave exactly as you did five years ago. Your preferences, likes, dislikes, thinking, worldview and self-image have all evolved somewhat over this period. Having said that, what you planned five years ago with your old preferences, is perhaps not as applicable to you today – because you are essentially a different person.

“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.” – Heraclitus

Future and delayed gratification

Delaying gratification means choosing something uncomfortable now, for something comfortable later. Doing something hard now, to enjoy something easy or pleasant later. This literally goes against every fibre of our being. We are biological creatures and by definition, we are always seeking comfort and pleasure and avoiding pain and discomfort. To actively delay our comfort and pleasure is going against evolution, yet, in the modern world, we do that every single day, day after day. We are the powerhouses that are locally reversing not only entropy but evolution as well – go us!

Delaying gratification takes a lot of willpower, planning and foresight. Again, thanks to our prefrontal cortex we have this ability to plan and imagine a future where we are in pleasure so we decide to endure the pain now. Whether it’s staying up late, giving up sleep to finish a project or continuing our diets and running on the treadmill for a leaner self, or working now in a job we hate to retire on the beach or the golf course in 25 years – we operate with both short term and long term delayed pleasures.

Compromising the present for an imagined future.

“Be happy in the moment, that’s enough. Each moment is all we need, not more.” — Mother Teresa

Imagine delaying gratification for a lifetime of discomfort and discontent, and never actually arriving at the promised (read: imagined) land. Never actually getting the pleasures and comforts. What a shit deal! Right?

Life very seldom goes as we plan. It is always more complicated and complex than we imagine. There are always unknown variables and hidden problems, challenges, predicaments and pleasant surprises along the way. Life has a way of showing us reality in ways we could not have imagined. Which, again, can be quite sobering and shocking.

Now let me ask you this, how much of your life has turned out exactly as you planned?
People get divorced, lose a job, or a house, or even a loved one – we don’t plan for these things (perhaps we should) but what we do plan for is a rosy future – with our rosy perspectives. Where everything will eventually turn out alright. Isn’t that what we are taught as kids by our teachers and preachers? That in the end, everything will be fine. Everything will be just as it is meant to be.
And this is further reinforced in adult life via trashy self-help books and (fake) gurus and coaches – that in the end, everything will turn out fine. It is all part of a bigger plan!
Here is the thing about hindsight – it is always 20/20 and most times when we get to a future that is far from what we imagined – our minds make up these stories justifying our actions and the outcomes – making us believe that we did under the circumstances was the best course of action – making us feel good about the future at which we have arrived.

Many of us compromise our present for an imagined future. We think we will like something in the future – a job, a retirement, a car, a bigger house, a new wife – only to arrive at that future as a completely different person who has a very different understanding of the world. We have spent all this time, of our one and only life in this universe (sorry my Buddhist and Hindu friends, I still don’t believe in reincarnation) in the hope and pursuit of a feeling and emotion only to realise it is not what we want anymore. This absolutely sucks!

Recently I had an opportunity to discuss and advise a high school-aged family member on her career and university options. Her interest is in fine arts – painting, colouring, drawing, illustration and she’s quite good at it too. However, the (career) options she had narrowed down were things like; biochemistry, genetics, pharmaceuticals and the likes.
I asked her what’s going on? Why these options as opposed to arts?
The answer; an imagined future.
Because career prospects are better when you are a biologist, geneticist or pharmacist. In her mind (and she is not the only one who thinks like this), it is better to be an unhappy biologist who has an easy life than a happy artist whose life perhaps is not as easy.
At a collective societal level, we are all compromising our presents for an imagined future – and directly or indirectly, it is what we teach our kids too. We all suck at planning and predicting the future – no one knows how the future is going to turn. We advocate that safety and security are more important than desire and passionate pursuits.
The COVID-19 pandemic, if anything, has taught us that nothing is safe and secure, not your future, not your job, not your career, not your house and perhaps not even your life. Anything can happen at any time.

In the end

I am not advocating quitting your job, emptying your bank account, and moving halfway across the world to a beach. What I am suggesting is that you stop compromising on your present for an imagined future – a future you think you will like which is most likely based on someone else’s truth.

The present moment is all that we have. It is all that we can experience. We can reminisce the past, or imagine the future but not live in them nor experience them. Don’t think happiness is something that will happen in the future. Happiness, joy and contentment can only happen in the present. You can only experience it right here and right now. What can you do now to make your life more pleasant and enjoyable?

As Tim Ferriss suggests; we shouldn’t wait to make a million dollars to live a life that we think we want. What does the million-dollar get you, other than security? Think about how can you live that life – without having a million dollars.
More importantly, don’t operate with the assumption that what you like now is what you will like in 15, 20, 25 years. You may hate those options in the future. If you like them now, then design your life in a way where you can enjoy them now – don’t wait for your geriatric years, where you will have less energy and patience.
Delay your gratification as far as disciplined pursuits are concerned, where the pleasures and comforts are guaranteed (for example; go to the gym before you eat dinner with dessert) but don’t delay your happiness based on an imagined future which is not guaranteed and mostly out of your control.

Now go and be awesome and don’t compromise the present moment.