The world has been going a little extra crazy the past few months. People are a little bit more on the edge and everything is a fucking trigger. I went into this lockdown in not the best financial position, but with the expectation of a few payments to clear. And to the angst of many of my close friends and relatives, I’m never really bothered about money. So that always works in my favour.
I run an independent business that helps amplify user experiences and therefore the efficiency of service oriented businesses. In short my services make your restaurants a place that your customer feels good walking into, even though your food might be crappy. (If your food is indeed crappy, I’ll be the one asking you to shut it down in the first place) My services are previously unheard of and are full of a lot of intangible elements and it is usually a hard sell and an even longer waiting period before bills clear. But I have a few side hustles, I teach communication and photography, part time at a few institutions and I service bicycles from home under the banner of Full Moon Laboratory. If you note all my above revenue streams are based on an external source paying me money for work done. All revenue sources are like that! Unless you are printing your currency or are growing everything you eat. Even then, is there a way to grow redmi phones on a tree perhaps, maybe on a bush? There must be an appropriate quantity of a mix of tomatoes and mint leaves you can trade to buy a redmi phone though, right? If there is, I’m doubling the compost on my tomatoes.
But there isn’t, and therefore, cash baby, cash!
What I’m pointing out is that if there is work done, then there is no pay. And especially so in my case. The only revenue stream that continues to function for me is a part of the teaching because I was able to take that online. People are locked in, restaurants are closed, nobody is riding a bicycle. See no work for me to do, hence no money for me to earn here. And those are all my problems. They are big to me. I know there are bigger problems out there in the world. Here’s the fun fact, I cannot do anything about either of them and that is my truth.
I had a friend, who normally styles her outfits very well and is based out of the US, post on her status that she shouldn’t have thrown away so many of the clothes that she wore at home as she has nothing to wear since she’s locked in at home. I replied #firstworldproblems as a joke. As with many of my jokes, people don’t get some of them, she didn’t get it either and snapped right back and said -To each his own. She will be remembered fondly.
And that is where I realized something. You cannot fix everything. All the learning from the Himalayas came back like a flood of emotions. (Yea, I know that book is still pending) There are many of your life’s problems that are external and there is no fucking thing you can do about it. Here are a few examples. Note down the question numbers.
1) Companies are downsizing because of lack of productivity and you somehow have to do all the extra work? You can’t do shit about that.
2) Your stock of vegetable at the warehouse are going to rot because of decreased sales? Can’t do nothing.
3) You miss the food from your favourite junk food restaurant? Well stand in line.
4) Want to go on that summer vacation? Airplanes need to chill too.
6) Your haircut is way overdue? So is mine.
5) Want to go cycle to Nandi hills? Nope, you can’t
6) Have a turbo trainer, but could not buy the trainer specific tyre before the lockdown? That one’s on you, really.
Full moon laboratory hosts a cycle ride on every Saturday and the first Saturday of every month is reserved to ride to the top of Nandi hills. This ride is a ritual, it is where first timers join to check this off their list, regulars come to taunt each other, some come to beat their old timing, friendships are brewed and we all have a damn good time. This was the first time the ride had to be cancelled since the club’s inception and it wasn’t the best feeling for everyone. But, this one just like the many mentioned above is an external problem and cannot be fixed.
When you squint hard enough and break the problem down into its components, you will find a way to solve or alter the outcome. Here are such alternative solutions to the problems from above.
1) Be glad that you weren’t fired and you can improve your portfolio because you are now doing new tasks.
2) This one sucks, but distribute your stock to the poor for free? Obtain a feel good factor instead, also you won’t have to clean the warehouse, if the stock really rots in there.
3) Explore once again why you suck as a home chef. This time hopefully for good.
4) Read any book by Bill Bryson and you will be guaranteed a fun vacation experience.
5) Climb the stairs at your home for a 100 times.
6) I told you, this one was on you. There really is no upside in buying a trainer and not the tyre to run on it.
Yes, I did substitute climbing to the top of Nandi with cllimbing 100 floors of stairs at home. Climbing stairs has the similar action and hence should activate the same muscle groups and since the first 2 floors showed me that this could get boring, I tossed in a single push up at the top of each rep. Now we are having fun! By the time I finished the 100 floors, I was drenched in sweat and my legs still felt fine. Only today did I realize that the calf muscles are utilized a lot more in stair climbing than in cycling. In the fight of stairmaster v/s stationary bike. Stairmaster wins.
As you can see, the rant section of this article is seemingly over and we have moved onto the solutions part. The philosophy of Mindfulness teaches you to understand the fact that things EXIST. And that’s it. Their good or bad, harm or benefit are our interpretations. Trust me, various simulations of these were ran in my head during my solo time in the Himalayas. Being alone, cold, under-equipped and so many other adjectives that were not strictly towards my benefit and yet coming out of that trip with success and miles that I hadn’t dreamed of or planned for were because, these simulations worked.
And because I know they do is why I’m sailing through this lockdown, financial and personal morale crisis with a smile on my face. Because I take a step back to understand what are the problems that I can indeed control and the ones that are beyond me. Once I’ve understood this, it only takes one more step to focus only on the things that you can in fact control. I cannot control the lockdown to be over soon. I can however control how many flights of stairs I can climb. (we might be having a new problem with getting addicted to stairs) When you are in a situation where you are not getting enough wins, you should make your own tiny wins and keep your mind in that habit of winning while you wait for that big win to come your way.
That is what motivation is. Keeping your mind in a constant thought process of possibilities and victories. Feed that mentality by dedicating the maximum of your time and energy to things that you know you can do and will achieve and that way, when you are faced by an adversity that is truly hard and beyond your control, your mind says fuck it, we got this bro/sis. Because the mind does not know or speak another answer anymore.
Do small chores that you know for sure that you can finish. One extra push up, one extra second of holding a plank. One extra client that you can just call on the phone, say hi and remind of your existence, one extra page of that boring textbook you are reading. And that is it! Do this like climbing stairs, always n+1 (I wasn’t kidding about the stairs becoming an addiction)
Clouds in the sky don’t know if they are forming the ocean or not, they just give you that one extra drop of water.
Your goals are already yours. Because you made them. You just have to stay on course till you get to them. Good luck everyone, #staythefuckhome.