January 20, 2008

Cockiness and Appreciation.

Finally. It's 3:20 AM. I told Naomi I was going to be in bed by 2:35, but whatever. I will finish this post if it's the last freaking thing I do. I have half a post written from New Years Day. I have bits and pieces of about three other posts saved, none of which are posted.


Okay, so I fell asleep while writing this post. It's now 1:38PM, and I'm laying in bed watching the Australian Open, sucking in all the glory that is midterms week (and I'm not doing any work today. Glorious.)

I've been slacking a lot with this blog, and I'm hoping to get back to regular posts every so often (more so than once every one or two months). If you've actually been here looking for some reading of substance, I'm sorry for leaving you with nothing, but here's what I'm thinking at the current moment (and I'm might mention things totally unrelated simply because they have crossed my mind in the last two months and I've always wanted to write blogs about them but I know I won't in the future so I'm going to jumble a buncha things together here):

Thinking about the people around me, I realize that my life is not mine. It belongs to the people around me. And no, that doesn't mean that I submit to them, but more, everything I do is for others in one way or another, whether it be bad or good. Even the most selfish acts I commit affect the people around me, and recently, I've considered that immensely. It's cliché (as most of the things I think about), but it is so crucial to view situations from every possible perspective before making decisions about them. I understand that sometimes this isn't possible considering the imminence of certain cases, but every time you have a second to think about something you're about to say or do, consider the people around you. Consider who they might share what you did with and how those people may interpret your actions.

Sadly, there have been crucial moments when I've screwed things up majorly recently, but without those mistakes, I wouldn't have thought about this, so I try not to regret too much. Plain and simple, though, before you make a sarcastic comment, before you make a joke that may be funny but isn't completely necessary, before you do something you think you're ready for, before you tell somebody something they may not want to hear, think about the people around you. Think about the people that are around you mentally. And don't just think of that present moment, think of your history with that person and how that may impact the decision you're about to make. Something I've noticed too often in the recent past is that many people tend to keep their feelings stashed away in this hidden part of their hearts, but when that stash gets too full, things start leaking and everything spills out. You then realize all the things you may have done to evoke these feelings. You then realize that maybe it would've been a good idea to practice some tact earlier on.

(This is a terrible transition, but these ideas connect in my head so I'll just continue)
This all brings me to the thought that comes up too commonly in our minds -- "I don't like them/They did [insert crappy thing here] to me/I don't even know the person/What happens to them doesn't affect me, SO I will conduct myself the way I like without regard to them because they do not matter." All of us have thought this one time or another in our lives (unless your name is Sanchita, in which case you are perfect and have not thought negatively about anyone for more than 5.2 seconds at a time). Now, I'm not one to judge because I'm a victim of these thoughts as well, but I'm certainly entitled to my thoughts and opinions. So think about a situation when you've thought this, and now hear me:

I don't give a crap who you are. I don't care what your status is. I don't care how much more important you may be than another person. Regard that person, and treat them as you would your own brother or sister because they are a freaking person. Everybody has emotions. Everybody is affected by emotions. Just because you don't know or care about a person does not make it justified or correct to treat them shittily. Assume you are the guy a girl cheats on her boyfriend (whom you don't know) with but you've never cheated on a girl of your own in your life, you are not justified. Okay, you don't know the girl's boyfriend, and perhaps he'll never find out about you, but that doesn't matter. Say he does, he'll be crushed. Say he doesn't, the girl will either have this mentality that she can do these things and get away
them or the girl will feel guilty and the relationship will go downhill from there. Maybe that example didn't work so well with most of the people reading this, but I'm sure you can see where I'm going with this. Maybe sometimes, you can't do things that don't affect the others around you negatively completely perfectly all the time, but minimize the negative effects of your actions.

Put the six billion people of the world in front of yourself. It would take a saint to do this all the time, but take care of what you need to do, and for everything else, look out for the people around you. Doing so will lead to a mentality that's a lot less arrogant and unpleasant than the one you may (or may not) have right now. You keep your feet on the ground. (It's way too late for me to think of a clever way to incorporate these quotes into this paragraph, but consider the following:

No matter how much I elevate I kiss the ground.
- Common

Those who make the right decisions keep their feet on the ground.
- Deepak Jain, dean at Kellogg

When your shadow becomes longer than your body, you know the sun has set.
- Deepak Jain)
If you think less and less about how you feel about things all the time, your actions become more determined on how they work to improve things for the people around you. Once that happens, a much better satisfaction is reached than when your actions are determined on how they benefit you. I've always thought people just said that just to encourage you to be a better person, but it works. I think I'm starting to get repetitive now. Either that or I'm just not making sense in my head, so I'm going to mention one last thing before I change topics.

Staying away from cockiness and self-importance is important, not just from a character/principle standpoint. What I've noticed recently is how much I take the things and people around me for granted. The last week, I've really tried to almost start fresh, and by that, I mean to take a look at the things I've grown to become accustomed to as if I had just received them: the home I live in, the mother I'm blessed with, my cousins and my siblings who have always been there every year I've been alive, the computer I'm writing this blog post on, the clothing I wear every day, even the clean water I've been able to drink 12 glasses of every day in addition to all that soymilk. I think about how I felt when I had just received these things (except for my mom and my family because I don't really remember when I received them. And the water.), and I remember how pumped I was to have my friends come over my new house, how excited I was to play with my new Mac and convert my friends into Apple-lovers, how much I loved chocolate soymilk because it tasted better than any smoothie I'd ever drank. Today, I walk into my house like it means nothing. I get on this computer as if it were any other. I drink my soymilk within a minute of brushing my teeth, not even bothering to really taste it because I'm so used to it that it barely matters anymore, sacrificing the chocolatey goodness for that nasty mix of chocolate and Colgate Total Plus Whitening mint flavor. It bothers me that it is so hard to fully appreciate these things because I've gotten so used to them. It's necessary to take a step back and really suck in the glory that is the conglomerate of all the pieces of your everyday life. It will force you to stop thinking about all the shit that may be taking place at that given moment because you have so much more to be appreciative of and happy for every. single. freaking. day. of your life.

This doesn't only apply to material goods. Think about your friends. Some of the relationships I have with some people are just so extraordinary. I will talk to these people so often that I will forget just how blessed I am. And sometimes, I may abuse that privilege I have of being surrounded by these people. When that happens, you have to, again, take a step back and thank those around you for being present in your life. They may think it's totally weird. But after they tell you how weird you are for randomly throwing in a random "dude. you're freaking awesome. thanks for everything" into your conversation, they'll think about what you meant. That is when they'll know they are appreciated, and being appreciated is really one of the best feelings you can get, so let people know what they mean to you once in a while rather than just assuming they know what they mean to you or taking them for granted. Polishing the shoes you bought a year ago make them look brand spankin' new, and sometimes, you're even more excited to wear them after that year than you were when you just bought them.

It's 5:45 AM on Sunday morning. I was in bed reading this week's Time 1.5 hours ago, but I got up to write this blog post. I'm kind of glad I just spilled everything I was thinking about, and I'm kind of glad you read all the way to this point. If you just scrolled down here and are now reading this, I guess I'm glad you took the effort to scroll all that distance, but I'd like it more if you read the above. I don't even know if there's a central idea to this post, but if there is, I'd have to say it were appreciation. So now I'm going to title this blog, listen to the rest of this Michael Bublé song ("Everything"), then I'm going to get to bed.

Looking forward to starting the rest of today fresh. Wonder how good the soymilk's gonna be today.

Much love.


Jeebs said...

pure awesomeness. I've actually been looking forward to this post for quiet a while. Good to see that you put a lot of time/effort into thinking this. I had chocolate soy milk once; I'll admit it wasn't that bad.

Anonymous said...

ankit i love ya

Ankit said...

i don't know who you are but i probably love you too.

S said...

Your Sanchita reference made me smile. Loved the post: you're a very profound and inspiring thinker =)

Anonymous said...

this is not the same anonymous.

i have so much to say but cant because i dont want to reveal my identity. anyway, ill leave it at:

you seem to have a lot of things you want to change about yourself but never mention anything you are proud of except for the people you chose to be around or i guess you were born with. going on a streak of change is not always good, it can get addicting. it sounds strange but you might end up fixing things sometimes by habit even if they arent broken. so what im trying to say is be careful and make sure youre aware of the things you love about yourself although you may not need any of this advice because if you can be vegan and not cheat you obviously have a lot of self control. pce

Poorvi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ankit said...

i don't necessarily want to change myself entirely, but my intentions are to take what i have and make the most of it. in doing so, i guess i change the way i act, but i don't do this to change who i am. it's more to change the way i approach things and perceive them, and i write about this and share it with you to maybe others to consider similar perspectives.

thanks for your care though. i don't speak much of the things i love about myself because that would be a little bit weird, i guess. if you think i'm self-loathing, be aware that i'm anything but that. i would say that i have a good amount of self control, so i'll be sure to not change too much. thanks for bringing that up though.

if you do have more to say, please share. im me or email me. i care more for your words than who you are, so don't be afraid to reveal yourself to me.

much love.

Anonymous 3 said...

my biggest problem, for lack of a better word, with this post is the fact that you are ignoring human nature. For the most part your ideas seem extremely well intentioned and feasible, but you seem to be forgetting one fatal flaw; we are humans. We were not intended to be perfect and we never will achieve perfection, in my opinion at least. I do believe that we should still focus on being better people and trying to tweak ourselves to become more enlightened but we need to accept a certain idea of imperfection. If you can't take those imperfections into account, then that "ideal person" or that ideal way of conducting oneself can never be achieved. We should certainly try to improve ourselves as humans, but without accepting our imperfections we can't improve ourselves at all.

I also agree with a previous post about wanting to change too much. It relates to what i said before, that unless you can accept yourself for who you are, you can't change. Its a futile attempt at something reasonable. Relax about who you are as a person and just own it more. If you change too much you will lost your identity as a whole and end up being a poster board for something that you don't truly represent, which could give others who are trying to reach the same goal a sour taste. Just relax more, and remember that you are not perfect, and they you were never intended to be perfect, so when trying to change yourself don't do anything that would alienate yourself internally.

Ankit said...

i understand human nature. i know we're not perfect, but i see no problem in getting as close to it as possible. i think very highly of the potential of the people around me, and i have no doubt that many of them could adapt to practices they agree with, no matter how difficult. see, my intentions are to make changes in perspective without making changes in the person's character.

of course, no one will achieve all these things perfectly, but i put the ideal situation (in my eyes) out there for people to judge what they like and what they don't and adapt to them.

i don't intend on being perfect. i do, however, intend on being the best human being i can be and doing as much for the world as i can because i feel like we all have a moral obligation to the world and the people around us.

Sophia said...

You have a lovely mind, dear.

I've never had chocolate soy milk.

In response to the second 'anonymous'...

As you said, perfection is unattainable. Attempting to make changes means one is already accepting one's own imperfection as a reality, and then reaching further to get a little closer to a self-defined goal -- not necessarily perfection. Idealism should not be censured, in fact it should be encouraged in every sense when it is relating to self-improvement. Adolescent idealism, in my view, is healthier than resorting to cynicism or something else. Frankly, if every person settled for the person they were at sixteen, society would stagnate instead of evolve, and no person would have the real depth, the maturity, the sense of self that one gains as one changes and matures.
You said that if Ankit tries to change too much, he could lose his identity. A person's identity is not a fixed numerical quantity, and it is not something that can truly be lost -- it is constantly developing, evolving, changing -- as teenagers, are we not all going through the infamous adolescent identity crisis? We all find ourselves eventually (unless you are truly unlucky), but to get there, a great deal of change is necessary. Embrace it.

vanessa said...

you waited like a whole month to update your blog, jerk.