Why don’t you realize, Vienna waits for you.

It’s the oldest story in the book and here I am, still writing about it turns of centuries later. The rush to bigger, better ‘things’. One robotic step after another to reach just the ‘idea’ of greatness we’ve been taught to lust after. Picture this — you’re 10 years old. The grass blades are swiftly swaying between your feet, the wind is in your hair and you’re picking mangoes off a tree. This is probably the last time I was absolutely certain and content with the purpose of what I was doing in the moment.

Life’s like that. It’ll get in your way. It’ll infuriate you, make you experience your highest high and lowest low in equal measure. It’ll surprise you, shake you, stick you in a rut, give you an opportunity to get out of it and if you’re lucky, there are days it will simply take your breath away. Now, we know all of this and in some measure or the other have been through it first hand. But that hasn’t stopped us from wanting to control every outcome, every decision, every crossroad that gets thrown our way. We lose sleep over them, fret after them and sometimes distance ourselves from what matters because of them. If you have to get that promotion at work, you will. And deep down you’ll know if your backpack is full of the credentials / proof needed for you to get there or if your expectation is simply blind optimism. If it’s meant for people to love you effortlessly — that will happen. Being a sycophant or putting up a well thought out pretense of the kind of person you THINK people around you will like (or admire) is hardly going to do the trick. My point being, that it’s not a far distance between these wants coagulating to the point where they snowball into one big lifelong race of trying to accomplish meaningless milestones that more often simply hold titular, but no real value. Now I’m well aware of how preachy this may sound and I don’t for a minute think that striving to be great is a bad thing. I believe in the power of dreaming bigger than I did yesterday. In the force that comes with having the audacity to think you can make a difference in real time no matter what anyone tell you or bogs you down with. But for all this to result in something magical, it doesn’t hurt to slow down and take time out to think about where and how you want to make your mark. It’s very alpha to think you have to take out the best to be the best. I just feel like it may not be the best practice. Your only competition is the face in the mirror you wake up with everyday.

A beautiful mansion, a bigger car, luxury wining and dining — yes these might be milestones for many to achieve. It isn’t easy unlocking these ‘achievements’ either. But can you confidently say, hand on your heart, that these aren’t nominal in nature? That the only thing they add to this world and your life are a greater crowd of accessories? In my eyes these accomplishments pale in comparison to a single mother working overtime to feed her kids twice a day. Or a medical student driving a taxi to pay off his student loan. You want to bring about change in real time? ACTUALLY work on yourself. As simple, basic and maybe even easy as it sounds, it’s the ONLY thing that works a miracle. Because it takes a certain kind of courage to be alone and acknowledge a flaw quietly to yourself and recognize that you need to change a core part (maybe even parts) of your personality. Not within a group of people for sympathy or in the presence of your family for their support. But only to yourself. Do this FOR yourself to put yourself out of the race, out of comparison. To be the best version of yourself. Have a little compassion. Don’t stop trying or become complacent but find out whats worth running that race against time. Find it, love it and run after it like a dog chasing a car out of a driveway. Recklessly with pleasure.

I hail from India and am a Sikh. I don’t claim to be heavily religious but I’ve learnt a few things over time from my faith that have proven to be solid sounding blocks for when I’m feeling grey. This is a what a favorite quote of mine says — ‘Teri kismat da likhya tere to koi kho nai sakda. Je us di meher hove te tenu oh vi mil jaaye jo tera ho nai sakda.” It translates to this — ‘Nobody can steal what is written in your fate. And if the powers above bless you, you may even get what was never written in your destiny’. Let that sink in. And now very simply in regular lingo — When life gives you lemons, go ahead and make yourself one kick ass lemonade.

And lastly, slow down you crazy child.
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