March 28, 2009


I guess this post would serve as somewhat of a supplement to the last one. Complaining is one of the most common and most intolerable of negative expressions. The way I see it, there are two types of complaining: (1) complaining for the sake of complaining and letting out a frustrating situation, and (2) complaining about a situation that can be remedied but without much thought into what those remedies could possibly be.

To solve the first type, you need more sources of positive energy. It's key to understand that there is light in even the darkest situations and that things happen for a reason. Although not immediately apparent, the universe is functioning on your side. This isn't religious talk. This is understanding the goodness of the world as a whole. Sure, there are always the occasional outliers, but it's your job to look past them, towards the greater light.

For the second type, we need to start realizing that we drain our energy (while creating more negativity) by complaining. When you encounter an unfortunate situation, you've GOT to stop thinking "Aw, man." You've GOT to stop thinking, "Wow, fml." You've GOT to stop thinking, "Why does this always happen to me?"

What you actually have got to start doing is thinking, "Okay. I accept the situation as it is. I understand the past has passed, and the only time I have is the present. Now, what do I do?"

Only you have the ability to change a sitaution. In Kanye West's book of "Kanye-isms," Thank You and You're Welcome, he says something along the lines of "Stop complaining if you don't offer a solution," and I think that's the essence of what I'm trying to convey. Instead of complaining about all the flaws in a situation, offer fixes. Think about improvements.

While only you have the ability to change your situation, you're also the only person with the ability to choose whether or or not you complain.

Much love,

March 24, 2009

The Magnitude of Negativity

When I went to Spain on a school trip a little more than a month ago, I got in trouble for making mischief and a few of the teachers on the trip weren't entirely pleased with me. To an extent, I lost a bit of their respect, and for me, that was a very, very big deal. It hit me hard to know that it was so much easier to lose respect than to gain it, so this was a really rough ordeal for me. The result? The entire night at dinner one night, I was quiet. I didn't really say a word. All I could think about was how much I blew it and how things weren't going to be the same because I made myself look stupid. A great friend of mine reminded me that everyone noticed my upset nature, and he told me, in a totally straightforward and respectable manner, that it was making it hard for him to enjoy the night. He had no reason to be upset, but my negativity was radiating -- the same negativity that was stemming from fear of what was the come in the future instead of simply accepting things as they are in the present (and that any respect I was to redeem after the incident would only come with my actions, not thought).

I spent about fifteen or so showers since then thinking about negativity and what its purpose was. There's only so many excuses one can make for being negative until he realizes that it really doesn't make sense. You can be negative, but that's not improving a situation. Action and thought about positives and potential solutions improves situations. Not only that, but I've noticed, unfortunately, that negativity radiates with greater strength than positivity. I wish I could say that positivity was stronger, but we have a natural tendency towards negativity (whether it be in the form of complaining, gossiping, pouting, etc.). That said, it's important to make a conscious effort to remind yourself of the positives of a situation.

At the time, I thought there was zero positive in my ordeal. Then I thought a little harder, and this was really one of the first challenges I've ever encountered in regaining something intangible that I lost. If I saw it as an unfortunate struggle, as I did for a while, yeah, it would've sucked. Now, the positive interactions I have with these teachers makes me that much more grateful that I have the relationships I do with them.

As much as I like to embrace diverse perspectives, the one thing I have trouble tolerating is people who radiate negativity excessively. I try my best to avoid people like this so I don't have to condemn myself to what I put the people around me through at the dinner table in Spain. It's not worth my time. It's not worth their time. Out of respect for the people around you, smile a little bit.


Totally dominating her negativity.

March 23, 2009

We're all students. We're all teachers.

Often times, I’ll wonder what the purpose of some of my relationships are. For me, relationships are a mutual agreement of usage. I use you. You use me. It’s only logical (and I’d rather be useful than be useless). Occasionally, I forget what I’m actually gaining from a relationship. Lately, what I've realized, in all our relationships, no matter how evident it may be, we’re all teachers and we’re all students.

Now, I'm not into formal education. I like my learning process to be as liberal as possible with emphasis on experiential learning, which is why I like to extract as much from my day-to-day interactions as possible. For a good portion of time this past few months, I lost interest in some of my relationships with some of the people that once played a prominent role in my life. Blind to the fact that I lost this interest, I began to notice the quality of my life decreasing - not because anything was changing, but because I began to lose the variety of perspective I was usually able to incorporate in my daily doings, that same variety of perspective that allows me to maintain a certain level of levity.

It took me a while to notice that I stopped communicating with the diverse group of people that I typically did, and thus, I made a conscious effort to re-incorporate that wide variety of people -- from the ridiculously school-focused type to the relaxed type to the skeptic to the person that just loves life. I used to think there were some types of people I just wanted to stay away from, but come to think of it, there's a reason we are forced in the same space as the people we are. We're meant to create learning experiences from new types of people.

Everyone plays a role in your life, just as you play a role in theirs. Disregard the significance or magnitude of that role, and just be you. Embrace your role. Embrace their role. Understand that we're all students and teachers at the same time.

Stay real,

(Follow me on Twitter @ankitshah. Tumblr @ankittt.)