Arjun

moon indicating dark mode
sun indicating light mode

How to combat your psyche

May 06, 2017

Something most people don’t talk about are the low points they feel in life. It’s a taboo topic to voice those thoughts out aloud. Why let yourself be shown to be vulnerable, emotional or physical, in a Darwinian world? It was just never meant to be that way, emotionally or physically. Juxtapose this with today’s world, where everything is made to look fine and dandy and it is getting increasingly difficult to express how unhappy or discontent someone is feeling. Applications like Facebook and Instagram, which have fast become the way of life, only seem to propagate this myth of a Utopia where the person posting content seems to be having the time of their life. Unfortunately, the way most people seem to interpret such content is by extrapolating that time slice into a lifetime of events. Just because someone has taken a trip to, say the beautiful Australian outback, does not mean that that is their general way of life. I sure as hope it is, but 9/10 times it is not, and that is just the truth. We humans, can sometimes go beyond our way to self-deprecate or glance at the negatives far more than the positives.

I am certainly not immune to negative thoughts. At a very primitive level, paranoia and fear forms the premise of our human psyche and survival. Perhaps people at higher intellectual orbits operate fundamentally differently but for me the acceptance of my own reality is like that of a sinusoidal wave. There are troughs and crests and they are not necessarily isochronal.

While I am in the troughs, there are a broad range of negative thoughts; the thoughts are mostly centered around how little I have achieved thus far, either professionally or personally. The counter argument to this is that I have, not actually, achieved that little and I have achieved a fair bit of success. The mind, of course, can be rational but more often than not in such situations, it tends to plummet into the irrational. Facts like the ones stated above don’t really mean much. It is far easier to delve into the depths of uncertainty, than it is to find meaning to things. Once you slip into this labyrinth, you literally have one of two options; you either snap out of it, or you go and face your Minotaur.

This is when, the power of conviction and belief kicks in. I have put together a list of things that have helped me get out of this morass in the past, in no particular order — 

  1. You need a genuine sense of purpose. Whatever it is you are doing in life, you need to either rethink what you are doing or follow what you are doing with a renewed sense of vigor. 

  2. You need realistic direction. Either you figure this out by asking someone about it or dig deep into what you are doing and figure out why you are doing it. It is immensely important to know what it is your goal really is and what it is you are really after. 

  3. You need remarkable focus to shut out the noise. This is very similar to the story of the boy with the oil, quite literally the story of the Secret of Happiness.

  4. You need a friend(s) who is ready to reel you out of this situation unselfishly. You need someone to do the straight talk without making you feel like you haven’t accomplished anything. You need someone who is not in the same frame of reference as you to look at things differently and set the record straight. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Helping each other out is a way of paying the system forward.

  5. You need to piggyback off someone else’s positivity. This is literally not the time ( if ever there is one ) to be jealous of someone else’s good fortune or purpose. Latch onto that positivity like a surfer catches a wave and your future self will thank you for it. 

  6. Do not weigh yourself against unreal expectations. You will come up short and that will only make you feel worse about yourself. Don’t aggravate the situation unnecessarily.

  7. What you do NOT need is more negativity. Shut out the voices in your head. Say no to the detractors and things that distract you. At this very point in time, there are far too many things trying to stop you from getting to where you need to be than are. Knock down the endless list of things bogging you down leading you to your destination and forge on.

Everyone goes through doubt and uncertainty. If you think people like Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and the likes are not going through it I can unequivocally say, you are gravely mistaken. It is literally the feeling of inadequate accomplishments, with a sense of goals, that has lead to human greatness. What separates the good from the mediocre, is the ability to get past these thoughts and focus singularly on what they think is meaningful, whatever the scope of that maybe. Will you appear unscathed at the end of this process? Most likely not, but you sure will have learned several things about yourself that will make you stronger for the future.

“You have power over your mind — not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.” — Marcus Aurelius