My good friend Anthony recently wrote, “Running from the inevitable is like chasing the wind, but when embraced, produces clarity.” It’s a simple simile, but takes a second to grasp the why. I’ve written about this idea many times in the past but have never summed it up in such brevity. There’s so much in every hour of our lives that happens inevitably and so much outside of our control, and if we wish to control that also, we may never find true clarity. So as you fly forward through 2022, keep Anthony’s quote on your mind, and embrace the inevitable… you just might find some clarity.
i’m feeling lucky
I made a playlist for July and quietly released it; actually a good number of you saw the update and liked the July songs. So to those who didn’t listen because I didn’t write a newsletter, you can find the old songs at the bottom of the archive playlist. But anyways, I’ve gone through a rollercoaster of emotions and mental states in the past month, and this playlist is quite reflective of that. It’s one of the most discombobulated (thanks 4th grade spelling bee) sets I’ve put together, but I do hope you find a gem or two for yourself. As always, drop me a line if you enjoy it!
[Archive playlist can be found here, and in my spotify bio]
I don’t know how to sugarcoat this successfully so instead i’m going to take the other route and blatantly say what I’m thinking.
Men don’t do enough to support women.
Men don’t do enough for women.
Men don’t talk loud enough on behalf of women.
In the recent past, we’ve seen a horrific turn in America that takes us back 50 years in terms of women’s rights. And yes in today’s world, this decision of overturning Roe v. Wade affects more than just women; it affects men, trans men, LGBTQ+ folks and pretty much everyone else too. You see, giving someone a choice, gives them freedom to do what’s necessary for themself. Removing that choice is equivalent to forcing a decision on them. It’s as simple as that. You can have your (radically crazy and silly) beliefs and still not impose upon others. That’s called freedom, and I think that’s the basis of all this. So if you’re talking about freedom, let’s talk about giving people the freedom to choose what’s best for them, not what’s best for certain folks’ pea-sized, orthodox, religiously-rooted beliefs.
Speaking of freedom, who has ‘the most' right now? Men.
Freedom is a privilege, and one that we ALL take for granted, regardless of gender, race, age and religion. Examples of freedoms you might take for granted in America: public school, clean water, free speech, jobs, unrestricted social media. I think the last one is crucial in today’s world because of how much time we spend online. And how much of that time is a pure waste. It’s disappointing how much support and vocalization I see from men on issues that pertain to women. At the beginning of the pandemic when the BLM protests were in full swing, I remember thinking '“I don’t need to show my support publicly; it’s trivial and doesn’t mean anything. As long I’m having conversations and donating, then that’s good.” I disagree with 2020-Rish now.
Side note: It’s so important to check in on your past beliefs and recalibrate them. Disagree with them, challenge them. That’s how we grow intellectually.
I think showing support publicly and denouncing radical opinions is extremely important and possibly more than donations and small conversations. Still keep up the donations and small talks though! The notion that other people - dozens, hundreds, possibly thousands - will see your support of women and their restricted freedoms is so important. In a world so digitally driven and so focused on privacy of thought, we must publicize the thoughts that matter in order to convey that support to those who need it.
Overall, men… just do better. Keep yourself and your fellow men in check, and make sure you’re supporting women you care about.
don’t give away the recipe
I recently saw a reddit post about how we often feel the need to justify our decisions or actions so that we seem legit and honest.
This definitely struck a chord in me but also prompted me to expand on this idea and write about it. I find myself feeling guilty all the time when I have to decline any sort of invitation or task or collaboration. It’s not that I feel I owe my time to others or need to make sure I seem genuine about my rejection; it’s more that I feel i’m a nice guy and at the very least, I owe them a reason as to why I cannot do something. An example might be: “Hey man, I’d love to make it to your gig but I have X and Y and Z to do and I might not get a ride anyways.” It’s not that this is wrong but in my opinion, it adds too many parts too the puzzle. You are leaving room for more and more loopholes such as:
didn’t he just do X like yesterday?
why is Y more important than my gig? does he not value me?
why is he doing Z on a friday night?
an uber is literally like $11, it’s not that hard. and I can drive him back
If you’re an overthinker, like me, you know these thoughts are floating in your head well before you send that rejection message. Like the reddit post suggests, why not just simply say, “Hey man, can’t swing it this time. Good luck, hope it goes well!
Ofcourse there’s little nuances too (I’m already laughing at these before I write them):
do I say man or dude? or king? chief? rockstar?
does “can’t swing it” make me sound super midwest? yuck.
how many k’s do I add to good luck? (example: “but omg good luckkkkkk”)
Welcome to the life of an overthinker. If you’re not one, you probably think I’m crazy but that’s ok. My point is, be clear and concise, and don’t try to add too much fluff. You’ll dig yourself into a hole and it’s not worth it.
Feel like I’m rambling on now… so I’ll move on. Want me to keep going?
Bummer, can’t swing it this time.
when in doubt, zoom out
As all of you (should) know, I’m somewhat of a photographer. My favorite genre of photography is street photography and so being in India for the last 6 weeks made me feel like a little kid in a candy store. There is so much life, color and culture here; I took my camera everywhere. Yes ofcourse I had to attend a couple weddings, visit all my family and tackle the behemoth that was my sister’s bharatanatyam arangetram, but no matter where I went, I always took my camera. And during the nights, I would spend hours editing, culling and organizing the photos. I would then make sure I posted every few days, using a chunk of hashtags, adding a shitty caption, and more. It became a bit of a habit; so much so that I burnt out very quickly. I’m sure you saw that coming. But I felt this constant pressure that if I didn’t keep up with other artists and creatives, that I would fall behind. And all the while, the algorithms of these platforms were spiraling out of control and being very unkind. I was confused at how creatives can expect linear growth in a world with wack social media algorithms. (Not to mention how we’re all slaves to them) But the point is, if my goal with all of this is to become a great artist and perfect my craft, why am I so concerned with reaching x-thousand views on a fucking reel or waiting for the validation of retweeters? Yes, it’s all a means to an end… but at what cost?
Humans are wired to think short-term. We constantly wonder “what’s the next meal?”, or “did I get retweets on my post?”. To some extent, we can’t be blamed because there’s so much responsibility at our fingertips, but nonetheless it prohibits us from seeing clearly beyond a short period of time. In a study done by Princeton University, the researchers divided the brain into the emotional side and the logical side. The emotional side of our brain reacts positively to instant gratification while the logical side tries to employ reason and urges the best for you. This makes sense because emotions are generally tied to the present and instant gratification is, well, instant. This is not to say that the emotional side of our brain is useless when it comes to decision making, but rather clouds our judgement when it comes to long-term thinking.
When I used to play soccer on a team, one of my coaches would emphasize that we should look up after every touch of the ball while dribbling. He’d say, “Scan the field with your eyes so you know where everyone is. Then make a pass and move on.” The tricky part about this was knowing what to do while you had the ball and being aware of what your feet and body were doing in the meantime. It was a game of multitasking that involved all the senses and also, time. You’re dribbling the ball for a couple seconds and if you haven’t looked up already, then you have no idea what to do when the opponent comes to tackle you. However, if you look up after every touch - like Coach Beni suggested - then you’re aware of your next step and what needs to be done and why. You might even be able to think a few steps ahead and then out-play the opponent. The lesson here is that important to keep your eyes ahead while moving your feet. Keep your goals and dreams ahead of you and within reach. Don’t paste them on your ceiling and watch them collect cobwebs. Use the logical side of your brain to set your goals and devise the plan to achieve them; and then use the emotional side of your brain to make sure you follow through. Because clearly, in today’s world, the emotional side of your brain gets its way more often so it’s up to you to divert those emotions to where they belong. While instant gratifications and short-term sweeteners can be attractive, they don’t necessarily contribute to where you need to be in the long-run. So when everyday-life gets cloudy and confusing, zoom out. Zoom out so you can recalibrate the trajectory of your journey. Zoom out so you can be clear of what exactly your goal is and why you wan't to achieve that. Zoom out just enough so you can see the path your on, plan your next step and keep moving forward. And if you ever find yourself succumbing to instant gratification, short-term sweeteners or little menial tasks that leave you in spiraling doubt? Zoom out.
tips on how to stay cool in this blistering heat
read about the people who’ve never seen a car
world’s best FPV drone shot
the wisdom of patience
Last month I tried to write the newsletter and publish it on time, I really did. But sometimes the world throws so much at your and makes you deal with sickness, stress, anxiety and responsibilities in the moments you least expect. Even this turn of the month, I’m down with a random flu, recovering from jetlag and getting settled after 6 hectic weeks; but I pushed myself to get this one out and I’m glad I did. This newsletter has started so many wonderful conversations, inspired many thoughts and ideas and most importantly, encouraged me to learn, listen, read, and digest more. I hope it has done the same for you, as that was the initial intent. As always, please do read and reach out to me with any thoughts, opinions, or questions. Stay cool, and don’t forget to listen to i’m feeling lucky.
have a lovely august, folks.
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