It was the Summer of 2015 when I sat across my best friend Sana as she spoke about the love of her life.
There was a glint in her eye, the warm air that touched her skin lit up like a halo, and I could tell from her voice that her heart was very full.
Then as relationships often go, and as time went on — work, commitments and daily life took center-stage and the love of her life became more of a guest appearance in our conversations.
It had already been over a month at the point when I realized she hadn’t brought him up lately. Worried, I asked her if all was well when she broke down and confessed she felt detached from him after living together for four years and being inseparable. …
The superpowers of our time are pretty underwhelming.
Which is really saying a lot when our villains are the same as those from 2500 years ago when Plato first described “Akrasia”.
While Akrasia means to do something against your better judgement, such as procrastinating or failing to exercise self-control when you are aware of the consequences — I feel 2500 years ago people had more leeway.
Now there is no excuse for not knowing how to break a procrastination spell. There is no philosopher or scholar you have to hunt down in a desert to answer your questions.
We have Google. …
In freshman year of college, I was best friends with a guy whose superpower was that he could make friends with anyone.
This depended heavily on his capacity to start conversations and sustain the other party’s interest, no matter who they were. He wasn’t the smartest kid in the room, didn’t come with designer label clothes, crazy talents, or threw money around for it — he was just the simplest dude who seemed confident in himself.
Being able to communicate effectively with others is an invaluable life-skill. …
At the preliminary stages of human existence, inclusivity was the key to survival.
But now that we no longer fear being mauled by bears when walking alone in public — inclusivity is a privilege.
Like most super-organisms, humans are still wired to thrive in communities, so it’s no surprise the devastating effects being an outsider can have on some of us. But inclusivity not being a necessity anymore means there are more of us on the outside now.
Most people spend entire lives feeling like they are still on the margins of inner-circles, despite inviting our envy for being insiders. They are stuck in a vicious reward cycle of climbing social hierarchies and it never ends for them. …
Most of us when asked about our future goals have an endless list we could read from for days.
Why is it then that greatness is touched by only a select few? What makes the top 8% succeed while 92% of us can’t even achieve our New Year’s resolutions?
The answer to that is in the first step you take towards any goal. If you conquer the first step which is initiating a task, then you should have no trouble fulfilling your tailor-made destiny.
Sadly—no lack of motivation, no failure to exercise will-power, and no executive-dysfunction plagues us worse than procrastination. …
Say you had to pick from a deck of cards; one card for each day of my life from the ages of 0 to 15 years — the probability that you would flip over and find the “Cook and Pepper” scene from Alice in Wonderland was 99.99%.
You know, the scene in which they are throwing plates at everyone, a cook keeps dumping pepper into a cauldron of soup and the pepper makes everyone cry?
There was always zero gravity at home to ground its inhabitants, and all the metaphorical “utensils” were flying. There was screaming. Nobody would understand anything and there was way too much happening to tuck yourself away in a quiet corner in your head and evolve into the person there was so much weight on you to become. …
Sometimes things lose their charm when people rave about them long enough because it exhausts all possibility of you ever finding something unique to appreciate in it.
Then by a stroke of luck or pure chance, you get to indulge in it yourself and you immediately understand why it’s everyone’s favorite.
Such was my experience when I visited Japan with my father for the first time. As a child who was hell-bent on going to art school against the protests of my very Asian parents — Tokyo was the door to a Narnia I had discovered in my wardrobe.
For my father, it was a business trip, but for me it was a deep-dive into the traditional arts of a land very close to home and unlimited room-service sushi straight from its birthplace. I learned origami, pottery and calligraphy from my friend’s Japanese grandfather every afternoon for the entirety of our time there. It decked my art school portfolio with pictures and stapled fabrics. …
We gain the strength of the temptation we resist. — Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Simone Weil has fascinated me for the better part of my life. It all started when I heard she was the ‘female Albert Camus’ but now I believe more people ought to know her by her name. When I read Nobel Laureate Andre Gide had christened her the “Patron Saint of All Outsiders”, I felt she would resonate with the modern world on an even more spiritual level.
One of the most useful things I found while reading Weil’s work was a page from her journal, which she revised many times after having written it. In that, it was a non-static checklist that she was engaging with over a long time and meant to be for her personal use. But why this piece stood out amongst all else is because of its relevance even after more than a century. …
It is no wonder that “love” is the basic desire of the human heart when humans far and wide have been doing all that they do motivated by this singular emotion.
Monks climb the steepest hills, Budha searched the jungle, Shah Jahan built Taj Mahal, Curie was consumed by an atom, Rumi cast aside his clergy and Sohni sailed across a river on an unbaked clay pot.
They were all carried by the same current of love.
Though each of them had their own unique storm that they had to brave to win the favor of their object of affection.
Yet still some of us find it to deeply resonate with us when Nietzsche says, “The demand to be loved is the greatest of all arrogant presumptions.” …
I remember waking up the day I had to meet my childhood friend for lunch — and feeling my stomach turn from how nervous I felt.
He had landed a great job right after graduation, moved to a beautiful country and made it official with someone he had been dating for nearly 5 years. He had all these promises of a beautiful new life. While I felt like I had nothing to show for mine.
Even after the lunch, I spent all day wondering why I felt so stuck while everyone’s dreams took off right beside me.
Let’s be honest, we have all felt like that at some point. We give more weight to the growth that happens on the outside rather than the changes that need to occur on the inside for it to happen. But emotional-growth blocks can handicap us from growth in all areas of life. …