Thursday, January 15, 2009


Well, this is going to be a bit of a morbid one..

Recently I've been forced to think more about valuing my time on this strange world. A close friend of mine recently lost someone very close to him, and it truly hurt me to see him in pain, but it was obvious that he very much loved that person with all his heart. Late in 2008, I met someone who had lost his son to an illness, something which he also wrote about in his blog. His pain too, was so prominent in his words, and the holidays were especially hard for him without his son.

My grandparents, from what I have heard, were extremely active both in mind and body in their youth, but time is catching up with them. It's a hard thing to face, but it is the one absolute truth in life. It's made me want to appreciate them, but also to appreciate my own time on this planet.

I've also chosen to take a course this term called "Death and the Moving Image". It only dawned on me a day before the first class how depressing it's going to be, but I'm embracing it because I feel like it will be somehow cathartic.

I was thinking the other day- for as long as I have been alive, my mum, aunt, and two uncles have always been adults in my eyes; working and earning money. I think of a family picture that has me, my brother and my cousin sitting on the floor with all our parents and grandparents standing behind us. I've been a child or a young man for a long time. I have never looked or felt like an "adult"- that will come in a few years maybe. Soon enough I will be earning money and looking to start my own family, and that generation above mine will be old and smiling when they see their grand-children.

That's why I am trying to value my time as much as possible. I am afraid of settling for a mediocre life and being unhappy with what I have not achieved. In order to avoid this, I must value my time as much as possible, which starts with the littlest of things:

I need to get my work done, no matter how painful it is. I need to do that ahead of time so that I have times to do the things that I really enjoy. I need to think about Sukh at age 30. Sukh at 40, 50 and so on.

And I mean really think about him. The future me. What does he look like, is he healthy, is he happy, where is his life going? If I eat right now by having a balanced diet, my body should be ok down the line. If I exercise then my muscles, bones and ligaments will have a longer shelf-life. If I really challenge my mind by getting an education (both in and out of school), it should stay supple, just like my muscles. If I think about carving a career for myself in 6 months, I'm living for the future.

I would encourage you to do the same. Living for now is all well and good, but you will not remain as you are forever. Don't screw yourself over 10 years on from now only to say "If only I'd tried harder". Think of it as an investment; if you save up some money and stick it in the bank, you'll have a nice pension when you're older. Visualise what you will be in 10 years, and make that happen.

I want all of us to really, really live. Stop wasting time, stop avoiding what you know is right. If you make the most of your time, think how much more enjoyable it will be. The next time you're dicking around on Facebook or YouTube or watching some mundane daytime TV, ask yourself why you are doing it, what are you avoiding, and what could you be doing? By all means, spend time on Facebook or YouTube, just don't waste time on those things. If you learn to value your time, you learn to value yourself. Please, do that. For you.

I feel like posting this video, it seems appropriate. Yes, it's from YouTube:

Monday, January 5, 2009

The Art Of Conversation is...


Have you ever been in a conversation where you're telling someone something about yourself, and then, as if it were some sort of natural continuation, they just give you an anecdote about them that somehow loosely relates to what you just said?

That's not a conversation. That's two people talking about themselves.

Hell, I've done it dozens of times, sometimes it's hard not to. But today I would like to ask you to try and simply listen instead. Actually listen to the words that come out of their mouth. Don't think of something to "match it" with, just let them carry on speaking. Explore what they want to talk about, what's on their mind, and be interested in them. If all of a sudden you start saying

"Oh yea, that's completely like the time I..."

You may think you're being helpful by showing empathy, but you're also talking about yourself. Let go of the ego and let this one be about them. Research has shown that if you're in a conversation with say, Mr. Tickle, and you're asking Mr. Tickle about his life and actually engaging with the guy- showing genuine interest in him- Mr. Tickle will remember you all the more for it, and he will remember you as actually being interesting.

This is because you have invested in Mr. Tickle. When he goes home, he'll remember someone who wanted to find out about him, and not some boring person who relayed the conversation back to themselves. And he'll tell all the Mr. Men about you too.

Life should be about giving, because that is truly the most rewarding thing (though sometimes it may not seem it). That giving can start with the simplest of things: a conversation. Give some of yourself away; invest in someone else. Stop talking and start listening. It may be hard at first, but it's actually well worth it.

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P.S. If you don't know who he is or if you're merely feeling a bit nostalgic, this is Mr. Tickle.