Unsolicited advice that I live by

Published On: October 21, 2016 09:06 AM NPT By: Republica

Some indispensible bits of wisdom that have the power to change your life

Do the best you can, be the best you can 
You know how during Dashain Tika people usually bless children by telling them to do well in studies and make their parents proud. I must have received dozens of such blessings every year when I was in school. I would brace myself to hear the same thing over and over again and smile and nod. Then this one year, almost 15 years ago, a relative I wasn’t very fond of, while putting tika, said these lines that have been etched on my memory ever since. Even after all these years, I still live by those words. Life isn’t about competition as we are made to believe. It’s about doing the best you can, not for anybody else but for yourself. It’s about striving to perfect yourself with every passing day, without trying to be better than somebody else. In work, I try to put in my best, not to create an impression on the company I work for, or to impress my immediate boss but because by putting in my best, I feel good about myself. And I learn so much in the process too. This piece of advice (or blessing) has saved me in more ways that I can possibly begin to count. 


Don’t hold a grudge. It will hold you down
There was a time when I broke ties with friends and family over a simple altercation. One mean, rude, or insensitive comment and I would be done with that person. For life. I’m not kidding. I guess it was simple for me to stay angry rather than confront that person and talk about my feelings. What I didn’t realize was that this habit of holding grudges was harming me without making any difference to those I had actually meant to target. I was harboring a bitterness that was eating away at my mental peace. Every time I thought about the person I had cut off from my life, I would be filled with resentment and anger. Then one day my mother, rather spontaneously, asked me what the point was in breaking off with people if I let them have such power over my life. “Your grudge is weighing you down. And it’s unnecessary baggage,” she said. That was when I decided to let things go. That doesn’t mean I’ve become accepting of rudeness and bad behavior, but I don’t let it hold so much importance that it becomes a focal point in my life. This has probably been the best decision of my life. 


Don’t be afraid to take chances 
These three words have the power to change your life. Think about it. Everything you choose to do or not to do is dictated by your fear quotient. We usually tend to do things we feel comfortable doing and not challenge ourselves too much because we are afraid --- afraid of change, afraid of failure, afraid of being judged and what not. I was a very shy person. I didn’t make friends easily. I didn’t go out often. But I envied those who had many friends, and could hold conversations effortlessly. A former boss, who was notorious for doling out unsolicited advice because he felt he knew best, one day came up to me and said, “You could do so much more in life if you weren’t afraid to take chances.” As furious as I was then, I thought about it for a long time afterwards. Indeed, my fear of the unknown was holding me back from doing so many things. I was missing out on so many opportunities just because of my unwillingness to say yes and try something new. Since then I’ve been trying really hard to not be afraid of new things. Fake it till you make it, they say. And that’s exactly what I’m doing. 


Get up early 
It’s said that successful people are very often early risers. I find that the morning is a great time to exercise. It sets you up for the day with energy, focus, and enthusiasm. Some mornings when I come back from my new habit of running, I feel invincible. Stress has to work a lot harder to get hold of me, and all my relationships are happier and calmer. Exercising in the morning will make you more productive and contribute to making you more successful. If you are a night owl, and that works for you, I think that’s great. But for me, switching from being a night owl to an early riser (and yes, it is possible) has been a godsend. It has helped me in so many ways that I’d never go back. When you wake up early, you have more time for planning, strategic thinking, and getting organized. And since you started early with a fresh mind and you have already planned your day that means you will achieve a lot more. Try going to bed an hour earlier so that you won’t be too tired. It may take a couple of days to adjust but stick with it. Millions of super people can’t all be wrong.


Be thankful for everything  
I’m not the religious kind but I believe in Karma and positive thinking. For that, I practice gratitude. I first read a bit about being thankful for what you have (and what you don’t have) in The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. Strange choice of reading for a guy, you might say, but it’s a good book if you want to live a positive life. Gratitude improves our relationships, emotions, personality, and career. It reduces feelings of envy, makes our memories happier, lets us experience good feelings, and helps us bounce back from stress. A study even found that higher levels of gratitude were correlated with better physical health. I find that being thankful for what I have makes me appreciate things and value people even more. We have a tendency to always compare ourselves with others and focus on our inadequacies but being thankful will change that. I’m a much better person today than I was before and I’m so much more at peace with myself and where I am in life. When you learn to give thanks, life has a way of rewarding you with more. I don’t know if that actually happens or if you just feel good because you are focusing on the positive but whatever the case might be, it’s a good feeling. 


Do no harm, but take no nonsense 
Live and let live, that is the basic principle of my life. But this world is a funny place. People are so quick to judge, pass comments, and tell you how you should live your life. While I make it a point not to do all that, I’ve often found myself on the receiving end of it all. It’s not only annoying but sometimes it also makes me feel sad and really bad about myself. And that’s not how I want my life to be. I’m certain of that. Then I read this quote on a fridge magnet at a friend’s place and life hasn’t been the same ever since. The words rang true the first time I read it and gave me something to hold on to and live by. Now, as always, I make sure I don’t hurt people and in turn don’t accept bad behavior. After all, as clichéd as it might sound, I have one life to live and I don’t want to be dragged down by other people’s malice and pessimism when I myself don’t have those sentiments. If someone is bad to me, I tell myself “take no nonsense” and retaliate accordingly. If that leaves them gaping at my ‘audacity’, so be it. That’s not my problem.

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