#123 – See Sunset Even On The Darkest Days


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That was her magic. She could still see the sunset Even on those darkest days. – @atticuspoetry Never ever give up. Other people might say and pass judgements over you. But let them not decide where you go and what you do with your life. Even when everything and everyone is against you. Stand up for what you believe in. Do not die at 25 and get buried only when you are 75. Life is too short to tolerate bullshit and be amongst wrong people. Learn to value yourself. Picture captured at Gandikota. #sunset #nature #igers #mondaymotivation #traveldiaries #motorcyclesofinstagram #traveller #travelgram #phonephotography #snapseed #wanderlust #poetsofinstagram #writersofinstagram #blogger #andhrapradesh #karnataka #touring #storytellingphotography

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That was her magic.

She could still see the sunset

Even on those darkest days. – @atticuspoetry

Never ever give up.

Other people might say and pass judgments over you. But let them not decide where you go and what you do with your life.

Even when everything and everyone is against you. Stand up for what you believe in. Do not die at 25 and get buried only when you are 75.

Life is too short to tolerate bullshit and be amongst wrong people.

Learn to value yourself.

Picture featured above was captured at Gandikota.

Love,

ARK

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#122 – How I Survived 4 Years of Blogging


Everything comes with a price in life and everyone has a story to tell in this world. – Savi Sharma

Savi Sharma’s books keep on stressing the same thing over and over again. Today I met few friends of mine in the evening when they asked me “How do you manage to write so much”. I was like

“Writing has become like food for me”

When I write, I don’t really count how much should I fill on the given space. I write until I feel “This is it. Publish it”.

For me, writing has always been a kind of escape from distractions. When I start writing, it is just me and the pen + paper. On WordPress, it is just me and the editor. I do not drift between multiple tabs nor start browsing too many things when I am writing. The train of thoughts just flow and all I do is give them a voice.

Today one of my colleagues pointed out that even on Instagram I write mini blogs in the name of a caption. Well, that was a nice compliment. And this is not the first time people are telling me this one. A lot of people say “It’s so good to see you writing since 2013 (although I initially began in the year 2009 and then kept my blog idle till 2012), we cannot write because we don’t write like you”

Whenever I hear them talk like this, I feel like telling them, that

“Everyone has a story to tell. Everyone is a writer, some are written in the books and some are confined to hearts.” – Savi Sharma, Everyone has a story

I don’t know how many of us deny this statement. But the fact remains unchanged that we all have stories within us. All we have to do is give them space and voice to see the daylight. Becoming a blogger was one of those many dreams I had in life. And here is how I became one.

It all started when I was in my first year of Bachelor’s Degree i.e in 2009 when accidentally I saw few Telugu bloggers writing serial blog posts which were going viral all over blogspot. The posts were hilarious. And the response they were getting was tremendous. I was very surprised to see how a writer sitting in a remote village can inspire hundreds of people with one post each week.

I too wanted to be a blogger and pen down each and every feeling inside me. But I didn’t know how. Accidentally I created one blog and then I forgot how to go and access it again. Blame it on my poor tech skills back then. With no internet connection at home, I sort of occasionally kept following those Telugu bloggers until there came a day when I really started one. Thanks to MNC life. Creativity often sprouts after frustration.

WordPress came to my rescue. There was no tension of what theme should I use, or what should I write. WordPress had this Daily Post blog where any novice could go and see how to start and what to do. Each day, the daily prompts section used to host a topic and all I had to do was just sit and think what to write. For days, I used to be blank, but then slowly I started writing one post a week. The initial posts were very terrible. It did not have proper theme or structure. But after a month or so, when I started following few reputed bloggers like Rarasaur I understood that blogging is not just writing what you feel. It is about giving love and care to your readers as well. It need not have any specific structure. You just had to be yourself.

This kind of gave me a new hope that in this big world, I can write what I feel and also discover that there are a hundred others who feel similarly like me. I did not hesitate to put up my first blog on Facebook and Twitter. Lot of them laughed at my writing, but I kept on writing anyway. I always cherish the quote of aerodynamics and bumble bee.

bumble bee quotes

Few people on WordPress told, I was good at writing and that sort gave a huge boost to my confidence and I kept on writing. In 2014, I sort of got into serious blogging, spending my time and energy on improving the theme and writing quality. I took feedbacks from people and started working diligently towards it.

There are no shortcuts to success.If you want to be a writer, then you have to write daily. As simple as that.

 

With each post, my writing improved. I made more mistakes, more people laughed. I learned new things. But most importantly I did not give up. I did not aim to be the kind of long-form writer I am today. All I wanted to do was to express my emotions to the outside world as clearly as possible. On the contrary, bloggers like Belle Jar inspired me to come out of my shell and be as vocal as possible turning me from a stumbling writer to a long-form writer. These bloggers gave me a new ray of hope that being too loud, too outspoken is okay in a digital space.

But just like any other blogger, I too lost my focus due to various reasons. My focus shifted to motorcycling and gave myself completely to Duke Machas. Thanks to my favorite blogger on Medium, Mr.Srinivas Rao, I once again came back to blogging. His blog post on “How Writing 1000 Words A Day Changed My Life?”

And as he says, everything starts with being very terrible at the beginning. But a consistent practice will elevate your skills and make you better. So, I urge all of you to start writing from today. Do not be afraid to put yourself out in the digital space. What can happen if at all you write something very funny? People might laugh. That’s it. Over a period of time, nobody gives a fuck to anyone. People get busier with their own shit that they seldom would have time to come and keep checking your blog.

So do not cage your emotions. Give voice to those unspoken words and blog it out. Whenever you get stuck, do leave a message here. I will always be there to help you out.

Stay hungry. Stay Foolish. Stay Humble.

Love,

ARK

#121 – This Is Not Your Story – A Review


This year I have decided to finish off every Indian fiction book review of mine in just two pointers. A lot of people said that I become very verbose when I write a review and end up giving them spoilers. So, to prevent it here I go with my first book review of the year.

this is not your story review

My 2 liner review of this book is:

  1. Sometimes we look at our own lives and settle down for the easiest option which satisfies our comfort zone. Hardly we ever know that everything we ever wanted is on the other side of the comfort zone.
  2. Everyone has a unique story. If only we take the leap of faith and choose to follow it, we will understand what is our true story.

Beautiful and simple book. Savi Sharma you nailed it.

What are you reading now? Let me know about it.

Love,

ARK

#120 – 20 Things I Learnt After Reading 2107 Pages

woman enjoying city view

Thanks to Goodreads Reading Challenges. Every year it helps me to break the monotony of life and set some time for my reading habit before crashing on the bed. As Anthony Moore on Medium once said “Consistency Beats Talent, Luck, Good Intentions, and Even Quality”. I am happy that my consistent efforts in reading atleast few pages each night before retiring to sleep has finally paid off.

Here is a list of 20 lessons I learnt from the books that I read during 2017 which equates to 2107 pages on a whole.

Imperfection is beautiful

Imperfection is beautiful: In life it is okay to not be perfect all the time. But always strive hard to become better version of you each day. Sometimes the excessive greed to be perfect can sabotage the chances of getting better and achieving better results in life. – Learnt from Leadership and Self Deception by The Arbinger Institute.

Creativity never runs out

Creativity never runs out: Lot of people just try to hide the knowledge that they know and think that sharing is not so cool. If you are one amongst them, let me tell you something. YOU GOT THIS THEORY WRONG DUDE. Creativity is something which never runs out. Creativity is abundant in this Universe. The elixir to have an abundance of creativity inside you is simple “You got to dream a lot”. That’s it. – Learnt from Things a Little Bird Told Me – Confessions of the Creative Mind by Biz Stone

Asking questions is freeAsking questions is free. Getting a lot of NO’s in life also is free:  So when in doubt, do not hesitate to just ask that question and get your clarity. At the same time, getting a flat NO is also free in life. Be prepared for rejections and do not get disappointed when someone says NO. Just keep trying hard towards your goals in life. – Learnt from Things a Little Bird Told Me – Confessions of the Creative Mind by Biz Stone

Hustle HarderHustle Harder:  The road to success does not have any esclataors. Be prepared to have zero social life or zero weekends at times, when you want to achieve that big thing in life. Some sacrifices are worth it. – Learnt from How to Be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life by Lilly Singh.

Say no to Piggy Back ridesSay no to Piggy Back rides: Piggy back rides are cute in pictures but not in real life. It’s important to know the difference between supporting people and giving them a free ride. Many times in life, once you achieve your goals, there are lot of people who love to latch onto your back and try to extract some benefits from you. You should be aware of how to stop being used like a doormat by such characters. – Learnt from How to Be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life by Lilly Singh.

we all have a dark sideWe all have a dark side: “The truly frightening flaw in humanity is our capacity for cruelty – we all have it.” Everyone of us have a dark side inside of us. It’s just that sometimes it comes out in its true form and other times it is just hiding beneath a neat layer of “i am just being nice bro”. To understand our inner demons is important in order to not fall into the trap of dark circumstances in life. – Learnt from Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

Chase your dreams and fight for it: Hardships often teach us the value of relationships and true meaning of success. Nothing comes easy in life. It all comes in the form of bruises, sweat and hardwork. Sometimes you have to be the David who took on the Goliath’s in the boxing ring and win most of the time – Learnt from Unbreakable: an Autobiography by M C Mary Kom

“The purpose of a pitch is to stimulate interest, not to close a deal.” : One of the most important things that you need to keep in mind, when you are creating a PowerPoint slide to pitch your solution is the 10/20/30 rule. i.e Your presentation should have 10 slides, it should not last more than 20 minutes and contain no font smaller than 30 points. If you are wondering how do I do that? Then here is the article which you need to read. – Learnt from The Art of the Start: The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything by Guy Kawasaki

Reward people for stopping something: “We spend a lot of time teaching leaders what to do. We don’t spend enough time teaching leaders what to stop. Half the leaders in real life, don’t need to learn what to do. They need to learn what to stop”.

Say “Thank You first”: Whenever someone compliments, just shut the fuck up and say “Thank You” then followed by your other explanations. Many a times, the person who has complimented you would be baffled to hear anything other  than a simple thank you. – Learnt from What Got You Here Won’t Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful by Marshall Goldsmith

Not all suggestions are worth implementing: Whenever someone suggests you anything, keep calm and say “Thank You”. You don’t … I repeat… You don’t have to act on every advice that is thrown at you. –  Learnt from What Got You Here Won’t Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful by Marshall Goldsmith

Seek honest feedbacks from people near you: If you want to find your blind spot in career, walk upto people who work with you and ask “What is that one thing that I need to change in myself in order to become a better ________”. You would be amazed at the honest response that follows after you shoot this question. Ask me why? People love giving advice and suggestions all the time. And also, people love the fact that you are trying to improve. – Learnt from What Got You Here Won’t Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful by Marshall Goldsmith

Follow up is not just for call-centres : Follow the simple rule of “Ask – Listen – Think – Thank – Respond – Change – Follow Up” in life.  Follow up is a very important ingredient in life. You cannot stop once you have made a significant change in your behavior. You need to consistently ask and take feedback so that you can improve it. This simple cycle transforms your professional career by 2X. – Learnt from What Got You Here Won’t Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful by Marshall Goldsmith

Do not cut people when they are trying to give you suggestions: Just listen quietly and thank them. Cutting people when they are trying to convey something, makes you come across like an arrogant asshole. So the next time someone suggests you or brings up a new idea at your desk, stop using the words “NO”, “But” , “However”.Instead try to listen and observe. – Learnt from What Got You Here Won’t Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful by Marshall Goldsmith

Harness the power of an apology: Apologize, if at all you find yourself crossing your limits and hurting someone. Apologising helps you to navigate seamlessly across all genres of people and makes you less prone to non-cooperation movements in any organization – Learnt from What Got You Here Won’t Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful by Marshall Goldsmith

Always be patient and listen. Mute the surroundings near you and make the person infront of you feel as if he is the only person existing on this planet. Respect people when they are saying something and listen to them intently. Never cut people saying “I knew that” – Learnt from What Got You Here Won’t Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful by Marshall Goldsmith

Sometimes it’s the one thing that you need to change right now: You might think that there are ten things I have to improve in myself, How do I do that? and get mindfucked. But, the reality is, sometimes when you attempt to tackle one problem at a time, you would resolve four other problems simultaneously without even knowing.

  • Take this example: Your wife may be complaining that you never listen to her. But you know that this is not the only thing that bothers her. She has problems with your smoking, drinking, missing important things and hundred other issues. Instead of tackling all at once. How about you focus on the importance of being a better listener.
  • You go home and quietly listen to all her words (It’s hard but trust me you need to be patient). After she is done you sit back and think – thank – act on the things that made her mad – go and ask her “Is there anything else that I can do to improve _________”.
  • Once you are done addressing her issue, go and look at your own self.
  • You might have become not just a better listener but a better husband as well. You would have not missed that important grocery list which she had asked you to shop this morning. You would have not missed picking up your kid from the school. You would have been even more prompt in managing your office timings.
  • Did it not resolve your time management issues, your unorganized way of living and also made you a responsible parent ?
  • Always remember that if you want to change anything about yourself, the best time to start is now. Ask yourself, “What am I willing to change now?” Just do that. That’s more than enough. For now.”

You are who you think you are: Our self image, strongly held, essentially determines what we become.  So the next time, you go out and say something rude to someone, always remember how much your words can alter their self image. Girls who think they are ugly all the time are nothing but a  by product of the inferiority complex that is bred into them during their schooling. Guys who always think they are superior than others, and treat others with disrespect and bully/insult them are nothing but a reflection of their own insecurities that the other person is better than them. Our self image and habits tend to go together. Change one and you will automatically change the other – Learnt from Psycho-Cybernetics, A New Way to Get More Living Out of Life by Maxwell Maltz

You are who you are today because of your surroundings and situations: Never do something which will totally alter the self image of a kid forever. The below infographic clearly describes how an environment can affect and alter a kid’s nature forever – Learnt from Psycho-Cybernetics, A New Way to Get More Living Out of Life by Maxwell Maltza0pzE7Z_460s_v2.jpg

See – Learn – Embrace the learning – Move ForwardAdmit your mistakes but do not dwell on them forever. Resenting on past mistakes will create a neuro-pattern in your brain that you will be a loser forever. Whereas remembering the past successes and rejoicing those moments can make your brain stay more positive and calm during crisis situations. – Learnt from Psycho-Cybernetics, A New Way to Get More Living Out of Life by Maxwell Maltz

Okay, that’s all folks. I hope I get to learn few more things this year from the books I read. Stay Happy. Stay Humble. And do not forget to love yourself.

Love,

ARK.