Interesting discussion

The Sky Isn’t Always Blue and Other Things

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Originally posted; http://ahscribbles.com/sky-isnt-always-blue/

Once in my previous job, one of my colleagues used to complain about the lack of blue skies in the region…He flew from South Africa to the Gulf region, what did he expect in a world where summers get so hot, Alarabiya news once reported a video showing people frying an egg on the road? Of course, the sky isn’t blue because the hot sun dispels the blueness out of it.

But we stereotype for a reason; it makes our lives easier. If we didn’t stereotype, we’d always study a new design of a door knob suspiciously wondering what it was. But we understand that due to its location on a door, that thing is probably a door knob not a door blob.

The danger happens when we extend this stereotyping to people, putting them into tiny, tiny boxes and labeling these tiny, tiny boxes using tiny, tiny words. Because if we look at ourselves, we are very complex beings. Yet we fail to acknowledge the same thing about others. They’re either good or bad, kind or evil. We would like to believe we know how we would behave in a particular situation, and yet the truth is, we don’t know unless we find ourselves in that situation.

The other day I came to the realization that I don’t like overly sweet/friendly/perfect people. My first reaction is, what are they trying to hide? My second reaction is to run the other way. During one of our psychoanalytical sessions, I realized I’ve been burnt by this personality more than once. In front of your face they’re all sweet and friendly. Behind your back, they’re totally different people. And I end up feeling stupid because I ask myself; how did I not see it coming? But that’s blatant stereotyping over there and maybe I need to change that about myself.

In uni, we had a professor who would say this whenever we would complain towards the stressful end of a semester, “Now you’re in the middle of the storm, and your point of view is distorted. You might change your mind about this once you’re out of the storm.”
So here’s a conclusion; As much as we would like to simplify things and pretend to be rational beings, we’re not. We’re complex beings who experience the world in totally unique ways. As I mentioned in “Reflect on Your Defining Moments”, we’re the triple integration of our personal values, experiences and social conditioning.

So celebrate your unique and complex being, and acknowledge that others are unique and complex as well….

And that the sky is not always blue.

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Also, check out my short story collection, “All Bleeding Stops and Other Short Stories from the Kenyan Coast,” and the non-fiction book summarizing a lot of ideas in the personal development field if you want to change your life but don’t know where to start, “Mine your inner resources”.

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5 Things To Do While Facing a Quarter-Life Crisis

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So the other day, I asked one of my friends, “Hey, I’m looking for a new idea for a post.”

“I’m looking for a new idea for my life!” They quipped.

Are you in your twenties and find yourself confused about what you want to do with your life? Everybody is telling you the world is your oyster but you seem to be missing the know-how to open it? Well, congratulations, you’re having a quarter-life crisis! I personally think the main reason why people like us tend to have quarter-life crises is because we’ve been incubated (by parents, teachers…etc.) for so long that the moment we take the wheel, our reality doesn’t match the image in our heads of how it’s supposed to be and so….

PANIC ATTACK!

Besides panic, there’s also dissatisfaction, frustration, annoyance, and just about every other negative feeling in the book. You name it, we feel it. What’s worse, these feelings get compounded by our social media addiction. As we see our peers visibly checking off their milestones in picture-perfect moments, it’s very easy to feel inadequate and ‘left behind’. So what should we do when we’re facing a quarter-life crisis? To find out, read the rest of this article on my new blog; http://ahscribbles.com/quarter-life-crisis/

 

 

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Should you Follow Your Passion or Not

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The good thing about living in our age is that the internet is filled with career advice. The bad thing about living in our age is that the internet is filled with contradicting career advice.

The economic crisis happened the year I graduated, which meant I didn’t have to look far and wide to discover that “Go to school, get into a good university, get a good job and you’re set for life” no longer applied. All I had to do was go to work one day and see the empty desks around me. Apparently our peers in the Western world had discovered that a bit earlier but living in the Middle East, someone seemed to have missed the memo. 

So at some point in your life, it’s 6abee3i jiddan (natural) to type into google, “I hate my job wh…” and google totally gets you. The trick is to somehow find your way through the 264,000,000 results that come up.

 

Some people will tell you to follow your passion, and again, if you live in the part of the world where you’re branded an engineer or a doctor from the day you’re born, then there’s a high chance your passion is very much different from what you’ve studied. However, the main risk connected with following your passion is you’ll be broke — for a very, very long time — and following your passion — or doing anything in fact — is pretty difficult when you’re broke and hungry.

“Following your passion – or doing anything in fact – is pretty difficult when you’re broke and hungry.” Tweet this

Then Cal Newport entered the scene with his message, “Why ‘Following your passion’ is bad advice,” in his book So Good they Can’t Ignore YouHis advice focuses on how passion comes after working really, really hard on something, and being really good at it.

Personally, I support the second message, because of a few truths:

  1. Not everybody knows what their passion is
  2. The world might not be willing to pay you for your passion

So let’s say you’re really passionate about counting baby coconuts. The most that someone might pay you for counting coconuts is a free baby coconut drink. But the world might not be ready for your counting-coconut-services, so following your passion happens to be really really really bad advice.

So let’s say you’re one of those people who doesn’t know what their passion is.It’s very easy to read all this stuff on the internet and get pretty pumped up about quitting your job and hitchhiking around the globe to discover what your passion is. It’s easy theoretically, but pretty hard practically (read $$$$).

But here’s one thing to know about those successful ‘follow your passion’ stories on the internet. To each one, there are probably five failure stories that don’t get reported.

So before quitting your job, find out exactly what’s bothering you. You might not be having a passion crisis. Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Do you get intellectually challenged at your job?
  2. Are you building your skill set?
  3. Do you enter a state of flow while you’re working?
  4. Is the world ready to pay you for your services?

If the first three answers are no, then those might be your reasons for ‘hating your job’ not that you’re not passionate about it. Maybe if you find something else in the field that intellectually challenges you then you might throw those ‘Malaysia, truly Asia’ brochures out the window.

If you do know what your passion is, and really want to make money out of it, then work at monetizing it before you quit your day job. Ask the world if they are ready to pay for it and don’t be like that coconut-counter.

The trick is whatever you do, do not make rash emotional decisions based on one bad day at work. Even people who follow their passions will tell you it’s not always good in the ‘Living My Dream’ world. There are difficult clients, and tasks they hate doing but have to do it anyway. And if you’re not really convinced, read Cal Newport’s “So Good They Can’t Ignore You”. He definitely does a better job convincing than I do.

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This post previously appeared on my primary blog; http://ahscribbles.com/follow-your-passion-or-not/

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3 lessons in MYOB-ing

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Isn’t it funny how people seem to be experts at giving you advice on how you should lead your life, and yet when it comes to their own lives they seem to be unsure themselves? I think people in general need to enroll in a “MYOB” course. In case you’re wondering what that stands for, google it. Yet we’re all guilty of it at times; telling people what’s best for them or because we’ve gone through something similar or because we think we’re the experts. People always suffer from this close to graduation; “Get a job,” “Go to grad school”, “Get married”. Nobody talks about traveling to India and asking a young boy begging on the streets, “If you could have anything in the world, what would it be?” the answer to which inspired, “Pencils of Promise.” 

So what are the few lessons that would need to be enforced in an “MYOB” course?

1) Recognize that you don’t really know the whole story. A lot of times people reach conclusions and make judgments from the way things look like on the surface, but unless the person sat down with you and explicitly opened up, you’re really not aware of the whole story and you can’t really reach a conclusion or make a judgement.

2) Interfere only when you’re financially invested. So when a kid keeps on failing school, the parent needs to interfere because he’s paying for all that education. The problem is many people interfere, they do so under the claim of being emotionally invested. They care about you. They don’t want to watch you fall….yada yada yada….but you know what, their emotions? Their problem. Not yours.

3) If you really really really care about that person, then you need to ask two questions; “Are you happy? Can you stand on your own two feet?”

The follow-up to the second question falls under point (2). If the answer is no, and they financially invest in you, then they can hen you can interfere since their business becomes yours, technically.

Society has built this whole idea of how success needs to look like for everyone, they don’t realize that some people really don’t care about the mansion with the swimming pool, that they’re just happy with their own mud house and cow, so let them be. People are different. They’re motivated by different things. They want different things.

If you’re at the receiving end of all this unsolicited advice about how you need to lead your life, and you’re tempted to listen to them, ask yourself one question, “If tomorrow, you break your legs and you’re bedridden for two weeks, will they drop their whole life and nurse you back to health?”

If the answer is no, then you know what to do…