A Fulfilling Life

Some of people live a very fulfilling life. In their life, they set various goals and work hard to achieve them. They are known as the achievers in our society. They are recognized as the successful ones. And then there are some who did not know when and what hit them. They just go through their life without ever thinking and wondering what they have achieved and what more they can. But some, as per Thoreau, live a life of quiet desperation. In other words, their lives could be more fulfilling.
What do you need to accomplish in your life to feel fulfilled and complete?
Had this question been asked to me 15 years ago, my answer then would have been different than what I would answer for it now. If I think back, my answer to this question 15 years ago would have been exactly what my current state is now. Back then, I thought that having a good education, good career and being able to satisfy my own needs and those of others dependent on me would be considered a good accomplishment. Well, I did not really have any lofty goal or aspiration. And that is my present state. But the irony is that though I should have been contented with my life accomplishments, I am not sure that I really am. The goal posts have changed in the last 15 years. Though today my needs are more or less the same as they were 15 years ago, my goals are different. My priorities have now changed. And they will keep on changing as long as I am a living, thinking human being in an environment that keeps changing and I keep on adapting. As for feeling complete, my take on that is different.
For all who want to break free from the life of quiet desperation, there is one solution. It is to identify your goals and strive to achieve them. As for me, now my goal is to live well, love much, laugh often, learn everyday and leave a legacy. I understand that daily progress in each of those components, no matter how small it is, will make me happy. I have broken each of those components into actionable items that I have taken up. I have taken up a few of them and not the whole laundry list of action items. I am striving to work daily on each of the chosen action items. They include taking care of my health by exercising, taking care of my family by caring for them and spending time with them, reading and writing for my intellectual growth, meditation for internal growth and socializing for friendship. Also, I have a desire to be a teacher, mentor or coach to help young people be prepared for life. To achieve that, I need to prepare myself first and all that I am doing now is part of that preparation. As of now, I think that if I see myself on the path of reaching my goal, I will feel accomplished.
Not sure, when that actually happens, may be 15 years down the line, will I still feel fulfilled? May be or may not be. I am not sure. By then my goal post might have changed. But, would I feel complete? Yes for sure. I will be complete just as I am complete now and I was complete earlier. I will be complete all the time in the future. No doubt about that.
In life, if you take concrete action towards your goals and see your progress in terms of actions taken, you will feel fulfilled. If you strive to see progress in terms of results achieved, you may not feel fulfilled. Thus, we can change our point of view and live a fulfilling life.

Who or What Holds You Back?

Who or what holds you back?
If you really want to know the answer to this question, you should get the premise to this question clear. Now, let us even assume that something or someone is holding you back. We will delve into that later. But the presumption here is that you want to move from your current state to some desired state. So, first you need to identify what is that desired state that you want to be in and then comes the question of who or what is holding you back.
Then, what is the desired state that you want? As for me, I want to lead a good life till a ripe old age, love others as much as I can, laugh often during the journey, learn as much as I can and also leave a legacy, by teaching others. I have arrived at this philosophy which I have adopted for my life after deliberate thought and reflection. Breaking it down, I want a simple love-filled life, want enough money to address my needs (needs to be defined though), and my dream is to teach young people various skills that help them develop their own potential.
And there is actually nothing that holds me from reaching the desired state right now. I can become a teacher or a mentor or a coach for others. Then why am I still not in the desired state? I will address this shortly.
Now, what is my current state?
I am healthy. I am married. I have a small kid. I have a large extended family. I have a circle of friends. I have a good job at a good MNC. I earn enough for my needs.
With this current state, I should be able to effortlessly move to my desired state. Moreover, given that there is nothing that stops me from reaching my desired state, why do I still crave for that desired state? Why have I not tried full heartedly ever to reach that state. What is stopping me?
I have thought about it a lot. And I have come to the conclusion that there is primarily one impediment that holds me back from reaching that desired state. And it is not only applicable to me. It is applicable to all of us who hold ourselves back from our dreams. It is a small thing actually. But it takes a large proportion of time and space in our mind. It is ingrained in our mind. It is an emotion. It is fear. Fear holds me back. Fear holds you back. It holds most of the people from taking the steps towards their dream. It paralyzes us from taking action and moving forward towards our dream.
Fear takes many forms. Fear of failure in professional goals, fear of rejection in love, fear of financial difficulties, fear of being a social failure and many others. It is such fear and many other fears that hold us back.
Imagine yourself when you were a kid. Boy, weren’t you fearless? I bet you were. Everything was a new experience for you. You were game for everything. So was I. We tried anything that we fancied. We did not hold ourselves back from anything. But through our lives as we grow, we keep gathering experiences - good as well as bitter. We learn to avoid risks. We look for immediate positive payoffs in everything that we do. We avoid actions with negative repercussions. Though nature has ingrained fear for our own safety, we take it a bit too far. In the process become failure averse. Whenever there is a small chance of a failure, we back out of fear. And this becomes ingrained in our adult psyche.
Fear - so, this answers what is holding me back. Fear of losing a comfortable life that I am ensconced in. Fear of uncertainty, fear of 'what next', and fear of the unknown is what is holding me back.
That answers the ‘what’ part of the question. Now the ‘who’ part. So, who is holding you back?
It is not someone or something out there.  There is no one else who holds you back. Not your wife, not your child, parents, family or society. It is ‘You’ who is holding you back. You do not really need permission from anyone to do whatever it takes to achieve your dream. You just need your own permission to do that you want to reach your goals. Give yourself that permission and soar high without fear!

4 Ways to Calm Your Thoughts

The mind is like a very thin liquid. It is most beautiful when it remains still.  But, it can break into simmering ripples, undulating waves or even an unbounded tsunami with the slightest of disturbance. The mind is also like a transparent, clear liquid. It can become colored. The color can be anything. Any thought is like a color. Thoughts can be worrying thoughts, pleasant thoughts, thoughts of gloom and doom, desperation, happiness, elation and many more. These are the different emotions which color our thoughts. This evening, after coming back from the office, I was not feeling fully alive. Some irritating thought was running as a background process which was kind of slowing down my mind. I could feel it. But I could not put a finger onto it. I could not trace which thought process was slowing it down. There were a zillion thoughts flashing in my mind and it was in all a state of chaos. It was like a giant muddy wave - unclear, uncontrollable and unorganized.
I tried to gather my thoughts to control and stabilize them. In fact, I wanted to kill them all. Going for a run would definitely help, I deduced. Hence, went for a short run. It did help. That was some 'me time'. It was a half hour of time that I spent with myself, planning what to do next and prioritizing. It calmed me down quite a lot. During my run, I decided to do a few things that would help me further arrest my thoughts. I had discontinued the practice of meditation for the last 3 weeks that I was sick. So, after I was back from my run, I sat alone for 2 minutes. I focused on my breath. I meditated on forgiveness today - on forgiving myself for what I did and did not do and forgiving others for what they did and did not do. Then I spent a few minutes reviewing the goals and priorities in my life. That helped stabilize me even more. And finally I thought what better way than to vent out all remaining vestiges of thought in my blog.
So that is what I am doing now. I feel quite calm and collected now. The waves have died down. The sediments have settled. No more thoughts tsunami. It is all peace and calm now.


I am back to blogging after a long hiatus. It is almost after 2 months that I had time and inclination to write. It is not true that I did not have inclination. Actually the whole of February I was extremely busy travelling and with work that I could not find time to write. Its again not true that I could not find time. It was a matter of priority among many other pressing things. It is certain that I did not prioritize my writing over the other things that I had to do over the last couple of months.
I was in Pune on an official trip in late February for a week. On the day that I was to return, I felt a general malaise throughout the morning. Around noon, I could feel my temperature rising. By evening one or two blisters come out on my face. But I did not realize anything much till I reached home. At home I saw several blisters on my body and a couple on my face. That put me thinking and then I Googled a bit. I figured out that these were the symptoms of chickenpox.
Chickenpox is a common viral disease which is very contagious and spreads through air and touch. Spring time is when it is most common. And most people believe that it affects only children. The fact is it can affect anyone who did not have it ever earlier in life.  But if it attacks anyone once, that person develops immunity for it for the rest of the life. Though not a life threatening disease, it is quite painful and irritating. The entire body is covered with painful blisters for almost a week and towards the end of it, they form scabs which are very itchy.
I had a lot of work at office. Though out of office for 3 weeks, I kept working from my sick-bed at home and managed to keep all my deadlines. But chickenpox actually makes you very weak. I felt very sleepy and was sleeping quite often and almost 12 - 15 hours a day. By the third week, most of the crusts had fallen off. I went to office one day, but felt quite tired. So, I took the next few days off. Now I feel better and will be able to go to continue my regular routine.
My running had stopped for the time being. Today, I resumed the same and ran 2 Km in the evening. I ran at a slow pace and felt ok. May be I will try a 3k tomorrow morning.
As luck would have it, when I am recovering now, wifey is now down with chickenpox. It is the 9th day for her and she will take another 9 -10 days to recover completely.