What really counts

Today as I walked past a house, I saw an old man carrying a big bag full of flyers and sticking them into mailboxes as he went. Honestly, I didn’t know the process could be done so incredibly fast and with such efficiency.

As I walked past him, I couldn’t help but admire this man. It was nothing to do with his work or his age at which he was accomplishing it. It was the skill and efficiency he employed. It was absolutely remarkable. And that brings me to the point of this little post.

Working hard or efficiently has absolutely nothing to do with what you’re doing. One cannot say that he cannot be efficient because he is doing a simple or an ordinary task. The root of efficiency, I have learned, is simply doing something long enough to recognize possible obstacles, and to weed them proactively to get the job done.

As I work for my current coop work term, I act as an intern. And often a lot of work I do has nothing to do with engineering or is just a basic task. But if I do it enough I’m able to figure out better ways to do it. And in the end, I’m better for it.

There is a Latin quote, “Sic Parvis Magna” and it loosely translates to “greatness from small beginnings”. If you’ve ever played Unchartered 4, you probably know of this quote, but hear what I make of it in the context of this post.

Most of us start small. We kick our work lives off with internships, summer jobs or small temp positions. We even kick off semesters with a few classes that are obvious and boring. And a lot of times, we choose not to give our everything because we think of our actions as small or mere transitions to greater and bigger things. But greater and bigger things are built of so many small things. And how are we to ever reach the top of the mountain if we start lazy and hope to pick up our momentum somewhere down a road that only gets harder?

In a single sentence now.

No matter how small the task or your beginning, give it your absolute everything. Everyday. And that’s what really counts.

What You Send Out

I am glad to have some truly incredible people in my life. Spending time with them or even catching up on the phone makes things better all of a sudden. Bad days lose their negativity when we crack up over an inside joke. Burdens seem smaller by just sharing them. And I’m glad I picked up the phone when they called. These people despite how good or bad their days have been, simply choose to only send out the right kind of thoughts.

But there are some, that often send out energies of discord and deprecation when they communicate. Such emotions take no time in completely filling us up. Sometimes, it only takes a small moment of negative emotion to completely ruin what was shaping up to be a great day. Our entire focus can shift from all that’s good to the one thing that isn’t in an instance. And we’ve all tried to go back and be cheerful again, but the thread is severed. The best you can do is a flimsy knot to cover up what once was.

I have known people from both spectrums. I am also sure that there are people who know me from both spectrums. No one is expected to be perfect. And no one can be blamed for maybe lashing out on a bad day. We are all human.

But perhaps it is possible to try and control what we send out.

As words. As body language. As thoughts even.

You will have bad days. Or bad moments. But try and resolve them within. I don’t ask you to internally suppress emotional pain or stress. Instead, feelings like anger at your coworkers or the ones towards the guy who got the last parking spot, or even at the project that seems to be going horribly; All these taxing scenarios bring out negative energy within you. You can’t change that. But you can choose what you send out into the world. You can choose to not let your bad day/moment and it’s energy affect that next person you talk to. Something as simple as taking deep breaths can help.

I would recommend just thinking about the times someone took out their anger & stress on you and how terrible it can feel. Let’s be different.

Wishing you all happy thoughts!

Are you okay?

You ever have one of those days when everyone but you feels cold. You see people bundled up trying to avoid the searching fingers of the wind and for some reason, it just doesn’t affect you all that much. It was one of those days.

I was waiting for a friend who hadn’t shown up and I drifted outside to what looked like an incredible winter night. A light snow was settling. Not the muddy and sludgy kind, but a soft one. I walked around for a while till I decided to sit down on a nearby bench. With nothing to do and nobody to talk to, my mind went through the usual train of thoughts.

“Need to clean the room. Should probably call mom soon. I am NOT ready for this midterm season. This is nice weather. Should I pizza delivered tonight?” I’m not proud of them all, but they’re what I got. So, there I was just cruising those waves when I saw a girl walk by. I knew her from somewhere and waved, and she waved right back. We had a brief interaction. I was waiting for a friend and she was on her way to the gym. She left and I sat there, waiting for my friend who was in big trouble.

A couple minutes later, I noticed someone sitting down next to me. It was the girl from earlier. I had no clue why she was back but she said, “Hey, you doing okay?” I was, but I wasn’t sure why she asked. She went on, “I just saw you sitting all by yourself in cold weather on a bench and I guess I just wanted to make sure you were doing okay. Anything you wanna talk about?”

And she was right. I was exhibiting almost every sign of someone going through a rough patch who clearly needed someone to talk to. And there she was, doing the right thing. This had never occurred to me and I assured her I was fine, and I’d probably head inside to kick my friends butt over the phone. I was doing good. But what if I hadn’t been? And what if no one had stopped by?

We all go through the trials of life. Surviving the pressures of school, work, family, health and relationships. It is only to be expected that at some point one will need a shoulder to rely on. I could have been a student depressed by his grades, sad at being away from home and tired of life. And that girl could have just walked on without a second thought. Lucky for me, I wasn’t. And kind of her, she didn’t.

It doesn’t talk being a detective to notice people around you. And there’s a fair bunch who have no intention of talking about their losses and failures. But some of them do. A call for help isn’t always out loud, and so many go unheard. We’ve all heard stories about people taking that final leap. And if sitting down and just listening to someone could prevent something like that, is there really any reason not to?