Month: June 2013

When You’re Upset

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We’ve all had our ups and downs. Sometimes there are more downs than ups. Learning to cope with such days is an important strategy or you would find yourself cracking mirrors instead of cracking smiles. So recently I came across a website that does two things:

1) It helps put my problems in perspective

2) It distracts me by having me intellectually engaged

Before I tell you about this website, I’ll tell you of another weird thing that I tend to do; Car-gazing. I don’t know what it is about streets and cars that can keep me occupied for a long time. Maybe it’s the fact that having a window looking down on a highway makes you see a different car every few seconds, but sometimes there are driving maneuvers that people attempt that I find quite interesting. Like yesterday, I saw a car driving the wrong way on a one-way four-lane highway. It made me really wonder if they just came back from a left-driving country like Kenya or India.

So the website I was talking about earlier helps me do something else; star-gaze. In a city with a gazillion artificial lights, star-gazing isn’t easy without a telescope so of course, someone in nasa thought of putting up this website, where everyday they post a different image from our fascinating universe. They post pictures of moons and galaxies and nebulas. The images are so amazing that as I mentioned before, they really help put your problems in perspective. You realize how tiny you and your problems are in comparison to these magnificent celestial bodies.

These images also exercise my imagination, and reading the text adds to my knowledge leading to the mental engagement I referred to earlier. For instance, putting aside the scientific nature of the nebula in the image below, looking at it makes me imagine a gate to another world that is a mirror image to our own so that the best friend is an enemy and the enemy is a friend and before long I’m more distracted by this new plot than I am concerned with what was bothering me to begin with.

The Ring Nebula (http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap130605.html) The Ring Nebula
(http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap130605.html)

A Journey of Revenge

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“Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.”

Digging two graves is a metaphorical way to telling you that even if you were as alive as you used to be when you started on that journey, you are no longer the same person. Revenge consumes you and it fills your mind to hurting the people who hurt you but the sad truth is that once you’re at the end of the journey, revenge doesn’t always make you feel any better. If anything you might feel even worse, because you would feel like you’ve lost the innocent you somewhere along the way. And sometimes this path can be filled with so much destruction that you can’t help but let other innocent people pay the price for your so-called satisfaction. And then those secondary victims might start on their own journey of revenge against  you so that the vicious cycle keeps on going on and on and on.

A better alternative is to actually induce guilt in whoever has hurt you by being extra kind to them. Or better still, to forgive and to move on with your life. Because with time you might realize that if you had spent half the effort to build your life instead of destroying the lives of others, then your life could be filled with so much beauty that it makes you forget whatever had passed before.

Let pain breed compassion and not more pain.

(c) Ross Griff
(c) Ross Griff

Out of Inspiration? Take a Walk

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You know how when someone walks into a room that already has two people and wants to kick one of them out, they say, “Take a walk. I need to talk to your friend here”?

Sometimes when you’re facing a white page trying to find inspiration, making that extra mug of coffee or wiping the dust off the keyboard won’t lure ideas out. So maybe it’s time to kick yourself out of your hobbit hole and take a walk. And if you are ready to lug things around you could carry your journal, a pen and a camera though your phone could probably play the functions of all of those.

I tried that today and by the time I was done from my walk I had a list of ideas to explore. Of course this list brought on a different type of problem; there were too many ideas, the question was which one to tackle first? And naturally that can be a procrastinator’s cue line to tackle none and go to sleep. But that mostly happens because we want whatever we create to be perfect and that daunting standard we set for ourselves becomes the very thing that stops us from doing anything at all. So another thing to remember is that anything imperfect is better than a perfect nothing.

Before I leave, a couple of days ago, the health and sports officials in the UAE launched ‘Start Walking’ campaign; a public health awareness campaign by the Imperial College London Diabetes Centre (ICLDC). Their message according to Khaleej Times was “A 30-minute brisk walk everyday can help, manage, reverse and even prevent diabetes. So, start walking.”

So now that you’re done reading this, take a walk. If you don’t get inspired, at least you could lose a few calories.

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500 unread emails

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This is a common scenario. You want something from someone urgently so you send them an email. They don’t reply and then you decide to go to them and ask, “Why haven’t you replied?”

They tell you, “Your email must have been lost in the middle of the 500 unread emails I have.”

The only reaction to this statement is to raise your eyebrows in suspicion.

a) we all come from the internet age. Okay some of us might not have been born in the middle of it, but at some point or another we did make the transition from the paper era to the computer era.

b) We know what constitutes a large portion of these emails;

1) They are facebook notifications

2) They are twitter notifications

3) They are daily or weekly digests of a blog we follow

4) Multiply point (3) by the number of blogs we follow

5) Forwards and other types of spam.

6) Work-related emails where you’ve been in the conversation loop since forever but you don’t need to open or respond to them

Therefore, most likely than not, these unread emails may remain unread, FOREVER. And for a  very good reason, too. While the internet is supposed to help us make communications easier and faster, it has also succeeded in giving some people a truthful excuse to evade work.  Next time you hear the “it got lost in the middle of the other 500 emails” ask yourself what’s the true message behind that statement?