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Failures lead to Success

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Don't let failure make you feel defeated

Don’t let failure make you feel defeated

There is a famous quote I quoted on my senior page by Paul Coelho that goes “You are not defeated when you lose. You are defeated when you quit;” many of us call it quits when we lose either because we are afraid of failing again or putting in the effort again.  When I used this quote on my senior page I used it because I inadvertently live by those words. My whole life whenever I fall I muster up enough courage to get back up. Falling is a part of life for me, whether it is a bruise to my head, an insult to my self- esteem, or negative thinking, I get pushed down quite a bit. I am blessed with being resilient enough that getting back up is intuitive for me. But for most getting back up is a more arduous decision.

When I applied to college I submitted a poem patterned on Maya Angelou’s Still I Rise; aside from it being a phenomenal poem it reveals the great perseverance of the human spirit.  Although this poem is a personification of slavery, a similar version can be applied to our lives now.  Everyone goes through trials and tribulations, some worse than others, some more painful than others, and some longer than others, but this does not diminish the severity of the hardship.  So if one can consider this analogy of slavery and see that in spite of all the beatings, shame, and sneers slaves went through the black race thrives and stands tall and applies it to their own life, one can overcome the fear of losing.

The more failures increase the probability of success

The more failures increase the probability of success

I remember coming across a quote while watching a movie, “Don’t let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.”  Though this is a very simplistic quote it is very profound.  It is applicable to everyone on a very personal level; fear is one of the things that detracts us from trying and trying again.  The wording of this quote seems to make it about a sporting game, but it can be extrapolated to have a wider meaning vis a vie ‘we shouldn’t let our fear of losing, getting rejected, or getting hurt stop us from trying.’

These three verses are inspirational and logical words that can empower us when we feel we are defeated.  When we fail or lose at our first attempt to do something we often feel disheartened and lose the desire to try again. When we share our opinion, try to make a sale, try to sing a karaoke song, or make a comment on social media and fail vis a vie receiving a response of ridicule, not meeting expectations, or lose we become disinclined to try again. When I try to kick a ball, hit a ball with a tennis racket, write one page legibly, or play a timed game of Sudoku and lose, fall, or am not able to do it I used to feel ashamed and often got angry at myself, everyone around me, and the game I failed at.  Now I am a bit more patient and my anger has diminished due to the understanding that I can only do the best I can.

 

Your will can move mountains

Your will can move mountains

Losing in public makes it harder to dust off our pants and try again as there is that additional component of having our ego wounded.  Losing at something when there are no witnesses is upsetting, as the only expectation we fail to meet is our own, but when we fail in public we not only fail ourselves but also feel embarrassed. Trying again despite the damage to our ego and pride strengthens character and fortitude.  Trying again brings us one step closer to breaking out of the chains laden with others’ perception that we shackle ourselves with and one step closer to living for ourselves.

 

The road that leads to success halts at failure for a final Will call and check

The road that leads to success halts at failure for a final Will call and check

If we let our failures defeat us we become defeatists and will soon assume the philosophy of ‘why bother.’ In high school my friend said something to me that I thought was very profound then; ‘practice makes perfect; but why bother practice if we can not be perfect?’ Perfection is subjective, and being perfect is a term relative to one’s effort. If one has the will and desire continue pursuing something until accomplishment perfection can be possible, but if one quits out of fear or offence failure is impending.

When we try again after we lose, fail, or make a mistake we increase our chances of succeeding; if we don’t we are letting our failures define us.  Every second try is an opportunity to learn something new, do it a different way. So don’t be afraid of who is judging you or how you appear; give yourself a second chance at success.

 With willpower success is inevitable

With willpower success is inevitable

 

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A Nonviolent Approach

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"Strength does not come from physical capacity, it comes from indomintable will."-Ganndhi

“Strength does not come from physical capacity, it comes from indomintable will.”-Gandhi

We all learn about the great nonviolent movements of historic figures like Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi. How these movements changed history and persevered amidst opposition is eye opening.  The importance of these movements lies within the radical and defining changes they brought about in society.  Through nonviolent tactics both leaders produced prolific and resounding revolutions that we still refer to today.  However, despite being introduced to these movements early on we refuse to accept these teachings, no matter how peaceful and gentle we claim to be.

I wrote a paper on Martin Luther King Jr. when I was entering high school. It is difficult to learn about the history of America without learning about slavery.  It is hard not to see the effects Mahatma Gandhi had on the history of India and Great Britain.  The heights Gandhi’s activities reached are unparalleled and were noticed worldwide, but then what? We watch movies, read books, dwell on quotes, and praise these men, but this is all history; what does it matter now?

Learning about these movements teaches us how history was formed,

Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr.

how revolutions were created without weapons, and the force of the multitude.  However there are some lessons that are not taught and less spoken of, lessons that reach far beyond history.  These lessons include how one man can change the world for millions, how a single belief can proliferate, and most importantly, the root of non-violence.

The root of nonviolence lies within us.  Most of us deny living violent lives; we don’t expend force upon anyone, we do not aggressively hit others, nor do we act out in ferocious behaviors. Although aggression, ferociousness, and force are very broad terms they all contain a seed of violence.  The seed of violence is planted within us at a very early age and is given adequate nourishment to grow into very bushy trees.

Each derogatory remark, criticism, and blame we place upon ourselves is a form of violence.  Starting in our early school years to when we start mimicking media: trying to get that perfect figure, getting that perfect grade, trying to perform that flawless routine; we begin pushing ourselves, slapping ourselves, and smothering ourselves.  Every time I fell in public I would call myself names and think I deserved punishment despite the fact that the fall was not really my fault.

The violence within us

The violence within us

Just as the saying goes ‘we are our company,’ we project onto others what we think and do to ourselves.  If our minds are negative, it only follows that we will become accustomed to repeating that negativity.  When we are in school most of us compare ourselves with others, and when this comparison doesn’t meet our expectation we tend to blame and find inexcusable fault with ourselves.

This is where violence begins.  When our minds become agitated and upset we inflict pain and misery upon ourselves. This pain can only be contained for a short period of time before we start projecting our internal state onto others.  When we lash out at others or share an insult with another what is it but a violent act?  Most of us equate violence with physical acts of hate, but words can hurt far more than knives.  If we know how to hate, punish, and sabotage ourselves it follows we will know how to do the same to others.

Violence is a societal phenomenon.  Violence is taught to us in schools, through the media, and via fraternities.  When I was I high school, college, and post grad school I used to pull all-nighters and stayed awake all day, all night, and all day again for the sake of a grade, scholastic learning, or official work; what is this if not violence to our bodies? My average day is 13 hours and when I run above 15 hours I start feeling achy and groggy. When I was in school I sat like a zombie if front of the computer until that 2nd kick came in at 21 hours. It is not the natural state of the body to stay awake for this long, but we feel the need to in order to feel good about ourselves, meet the deadline, or compete with others.

Through competition and comparisons, we are actually taught to commit heinous acts against ourselves, and to propel and amplify the hatred by putting ourselves down, criticizing ourselves, and doubting ourselves.  Violence, like other learned phenomenon is only as effective as the energy you put into it.  So although we are given the tools for violence at an early age, it is our continuous practice and involvement in the behavior that labels us violent creatures.

Unfortunately, we are violent beings; most of us won’t admit to it, but the torture we put ourselves through proves otherwise. Our internal monologue creates changes within our bodies and because our minds are so susceptible to subliminal messages and other forms of convincing propaganda our internal monologue creates damaging changes such as the rate of digestion, tense muscles within our body, or secretion of abnormal hormones.

Free yourself from the violence within you and bring peace to the world

Free yourself from the violence within you and bring peace to the world

The effects of violence are so pervasive so why not cut down on the violence and start leading more peaceful lives?  We watch the news and condemn the violence that we see around the world, but we neglect to see and acknowledge the violence within us.  If we are nicer to ourselves, the atmosphere of our minds will be reflected in our surroundings.

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What you see is what you get

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What you perceive is what's important

What you perceive is what’s important

People wish, want, and pray real hard for that ideal partner, that promotion at work, monetary success, or a better life, but we usually don’t get it.  Despite how much we think we want something, our actions, thoughts, and energies sometimes say something different.  We dream and wish for a partner with specific traits, but when we find them we question this reality.  I always dreamt of finding someone who would love me inspire of and despite my condition, and after coming across this person my suspicions pertaining to his sincerity, loyalty, and motive grow endlessly.  I got what I always wanted, but now that I got it I am thinking and sending energies and affirmations that contradict the very manifestation that I wanted.

If you continue to see the negative then that is what you will receive.  Pessimism is vicious cycle: no matter how much one wills or wants to receive and be part of something positive their pessimicity will always come in the way.  Many of us have wanted to change jobs, maybe even career paths at some point, but when that opportunity comes we second guess it either because of security, comfort, or disbelief. If you wake up at 8 every day with a grunt to go to a job that you could enjoy, but refuse to look past the hours you are putting in, the increasing workload, or to the monotonous tasks to what you are receiving, then the first reaction to everything will be a grunt.  Most jobs are roughly 9 hours hence it is important to be comfortable when we are there as it occupies more than half our day.  So if you chose to change jobs make sure it is not your perception and negativity forcing you on, but some other motivation.

Seeing an inadequate job will make that job inadequate. Once you convince your mind that your job is inadequate, your mind will reciprocate and only hone in on things that convince you that your job is inadequate.  When you constantly read about and see infidelity, your mind will take no extra time in raising suspicions and pointing out the negative qualities of your partner.   This is not to say that you should censor your mind, but if you constantly feed negativity to your mind that is what you will see and become.  Our minds are thus susceptible, but also influencable.

When your mind is positive, what you see will be positive.  Your mind controls the hue, emotion, and meaning of everything your eyes see. So even when we get what we want our minds can blur our vision so much so that it is construed as something we don’t want. Similarly,

When you can see the rainbow admist the rain, clouds, and dreariness that is what you'll get

When you can see the rainbow admist the rain, clouds, and dreariness that is what you’ll get

when we get something we don’t want our minds can construe it as something positive.  Negativity (pessimism, criticism, complaining etc.) narrows and blinds our minds whereas positivity (optimism, resourcefulness, happiness etc.) opens our minds to possibilities.

Getting what we want involves two things: first there needs to be active participation in attaining the item sought. This means that dreaming is not enough; we need to make a conscious effort towards attaining what we want. We can think about it, imagine what it would be like to have it, or act as though achieving it is inevitable.  Second, once the item is in our horizon of acquisition don’t question it. Unknowingly we question and contradict our own efforts and realizations when trying to make our dreams come true by disbelieving, being suspicious, or being afraid.

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Unconditional love: Crossing the limit when you love someone

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Where I end and you begin

 When we love someone, at what point do we decide that our threshold of tolerance has been exceeded? We all know the concept of unconditional love; we all want to be loved unconditionally, but what does it really mean? Loving someone this way means that there are no expectations, limitations, or conditions to the way you feel. Let’s consider this: loving someone regardless of what may come is a romantic notion, but is it practical? It expels the notion of ‘enough is enough’ and negates your individuality. So we would like to be loved unconditionally, but can we love unconditionally?

Loving someone limitlessly is a tall order to fill. It presupposes the ability forgive, accept, and persevere. Forgiveness, acceptance, and perseverance are virtues we all strive to acquire, but our ego usually gets in the way. Letting go of our anger and pride to forgive, letting go of our prejudices to accept, and persist despite disturbances and disagreement is not the natural human nature. The relationship that comes to mind is that of mother and child; mothers usually love their babies despite who they are and what they do. Loving without expecting to receive anything goes against human nature as well. Our capitalist culture has been ingrained into us that ‘you give to get’; we are programmed in this way and practice this philosophy throughout our lives; in the workplace, in relationships, and in commercial activities. This is tied to conditional love, because it is this philosophy that we base our conditions on. We work for an employer to get money and in return we perform services. Our actions are conditional in this way from the playground: if we work hard we get the A. An example of conditionless love can be found in a true servant of God. They will perform duties and prayers to God without seeking anything in return.

We all want to be loved regardless of our mistakes, our temperaments, and faults. I want that security and assurance, but it requires an almost saintly being at the other end. Unconditionally loving someone requires putting aside your ego, forgetting your principles, and releasing your intolerances. The prime examples are mother/ child relations and servant/ God relations. Even the mother/ child relation tends to evolve over time as loving another human being unconditionally can be exhausting, demeaning, demoralizing, and even damaging as it requires an understanding and acceptance beyond the self. I try to unconditionally love someone and even the attempt I make leaves me feeling used, dejected, and degraded as I have to put aside my own opinions, thoughts, and beliefs for her happiness.

When we love someone we harbor deep feelings for them that usually help to overcome arguments and disagreements, but there comes a point when will not be able to stand for the grave mistakes, the intolerable abuse, or the inconsiderate behaviors that challenge us. Loving another then reaches its optimal point when both parties have a mutual respect and understanding of the others values, beliefs, and temperament. Unconditional love thus becomes a more elevated experience requiring first wholly loving yourself first. Only when you can absolutely love yourself despite your faults, imperfections, and impurities can you even fathom to unconditionally love other.

Everyone has a limit, a tolerance level and when we understand and accept this we end up in harmonious relationships Life is an adjustment so why wouldn’t we adjust for the ones we love.

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