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What Does Success Look Like?

In Motivation on September 8, 2017 at 19:05

What does success look like? Is it the first promotion after you have finally paid off your student loan? Is it a neatly framed ending to a feel-good movie? Is it taking your parents out on the first ride in your new car as prescribed by television? Whichever version you buy, it seems short-lived. But failure has to be lived everyday. And nobody teaches you how to, not even your parents. The crushing reality of not having made it in the Rockstar way you had imagined all your life, the statistical improbability of it ever happening in the first place is never discussed. You either live in denial or keep trying just for the heck of it. Sometimes you know you are running into a brick wall but you still do it ‘coz a bump on the head is a better feeling than not having tried at all. But no one is kind enough to tell you that giving up is also a legit option. It’s a stale mate of overgrown kids refusing to believe that playtime is over. And if every Complain kid got to be an Astronaut, there would be a lot of depression in space.

Perhaps there really is no happily ever after. Life is a series of sequels that you can choose to make sense of or just sleepwalk through. Even the most celebrated personalities don’t experience Zen levels of pleasure. They are only humans, hangovers are real and they are not going to have unearthly zero-gravity sex. Life is short but orgasms are shorter. And there is always a bigger stadium to sell out, a bigger award to be earned and a bigger ego to be humoured. Disappointment eventually catches up with you in proportion to your batting average.

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Robin Sharma won’t tell you that coz selling slogans are so much easier. Why does it all have to be about a getting a bigger car and a bigger erection? Why don’t these great speakers talk about having greater civic sense and not being an asshole, those are the burning needs of the day.

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Appealing to base instincts is easier and can be mass-produced. Sex, drugs and Rock’n’Roll for the few chosen poster boys and the hamster wheel for everyone else. A cosmic lottery where you either succeed in the most vulgar and opulent way possible or die in regimented obscurity. There is no third option for truly enlightened folk who do not have the right mix of narcissism, loose morals and good fortune to succeed on a cinematic scale. We are so enamored by the popular idea of success that we let celebrities get away with anything including murder, or worse. Of course, in many cases it is also political and financial clout that keeps them out of jail. But we shower far too much sympathy on them failing to discern that what we see on screen is a hollow projection of a very real very mortal person on earth who is furthermore a different person from his driver.
Cinematic success is exactly that, a few frames of escapism to gloss over reels of hard truth.

And it has us yearning with every breathing moment, struggling, scratching and slogging our working class asses off to buy these pre-digested packages of success off the shelf. Engineering-MS-Green card, IIT-IIM-Paperback novel. And then re-innforcinng through graduation batch WhatsApp groups and LinkedIn updates that we all made an equally good or equally bad decision.

You were born into a particular family, hometown, peer group and their collective pathos, you don’t have to die with them. If on a given day the number of activities you like to do outnumbers the number of activities you need to do, isn’t that success enough? The greatest success can be as simple as not having to wake up to an alarm in the morning. Screw your happy endings and bury your peer group in a shallow grave and never look back.

  • Punit Pania

Relevant Experience Junkie

In conspiracy theories, humor, true enlightenment, Wage Slaves, work life balance on July 20, 2017 at 19:41
In the end we are all just chasing experiences. Experiences that crystallize into memories and add to the narrative that somehow convinces you everyday that life is worth getting out of bed for. Getting high is an experience, so is attending a comedy show. Some are deemed legal by the ruling majority, some are sneered upon and others are punishable by law. We are all dealers then separated only by the sensibilities of the owners of the country.
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Money is just a common language that facilitates the scores. But some people get high on just the money, too many people if we go by the distribution of wealth in the world or rather the lack of distribution. All that money locked up in nameless offshore accounts and tasteless jewellery. Such a travesty. All the highs you could buy with that money, it would take you to the Milky Way and back. But it lays with a man who is happy just knowing that he can buy a lifetime’s worth of experiences with it but is still busy hoarding more money. May be does not know what he wants, what truly gets him high. So he goes for the next best thing, making others believe that he has bought happiness itself, with warranty.
But hoarding is the opposite of happiness. Money, clothes, social hierarchy and job designations, hoarded for an eventual cosmic audit that will never happen. Energy always dissipates. You either buy illusions of control or you let go and enjoy the free-fall. But first you must find your drug and let it consume you. Metaphorically of course. Physical abuse is just a waste of protoplasm. And the system can’t let you waft away so easily. Who will pay all those taxes?
– Punit Pania

Late Shift Blues

In Artist, freelancing, Office humor, Organisation, SlavesInc, vitamin d deficiency, Wage Slaves, work life balance, work stress on June 8, 2017 at 20:13
‘You again?’ he said. You could have said the exact same thing but you stick to the more traditional, ‘Hi.’
This must be the seventh time you have ran into the man on the last train home. You vaguely remember him in the audience at one of your dos. You don’t recall ever asking his name and it has not hampered your acquaintance for lack of a better word.
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You fill him in on all that has been happening in your little version of rebellion. He listens with amusement but that is about it. Then you ask him about his…work. Not that there is much excitement he can share about the ERP offshoring project that is gainfully employing him. Then you try silence for a while and it catches on. Till it’s time for you to say goodbye at your destination. The empty rake takes the man home only to repeat the cycle again tomorrow. He didn’t seem sad but he didn’t look hopeful either. A version of you in a parallel universe. It was a rather Fight Club moment, like meeting your spirit animal.
There is something about late night shifts that brings about contemplation even in the most wound up of automatons. May be it is the moonlight, the relative coolness or just the silence. The sweepers on the platform, the rickshaw drivers waiting for a last ride home or just an excuse to call it a day and you on your post-gig high seem to share an unspoken camaraderie, a loose brotherhood of odd-jobers. Going through the motions of their respective mime acts. Like you were in a video for a blues song together.
New York Workers

PhotoShop always was a latent need of the market.

Some days you see your ex-colleagues on the other side of the tracks, on the right side of market sentiment and the wrong side of traffic. Their belts struggling to contain their impending cardiac episodes and the compartment barely containing the class struggle. As you wave at them from your empty compartment going upstream, the success is almost cinematic in contrast. But it’s not the end, it never is. There is always a higher plane to abdicate to. And unfortunately life is a series of sequels no one asked for.
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Man is a creature of habit. All creatures are. Meaning can always be retrofitted. From training troops to telecallers, most mission calls are euphemisms at best. Lies we decide to believe collectively to make life bearable. One should always be weary of replacing one drudgery with another.
Slice of Life Dexter
Small talk about traffic, weather and elections is just static filling the emptiness of your years. You can choose to wake up or sleepwalk through the rest of your life, no one will notice either way. But at least pick the shift that feels most defiant.
– Punit Pania