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Sunday Self-Scaler 33
Some personal updates, the only three options you have in any undesirable situation and a mind-blowing novel I recently read
Hello there! Hope you and your loved ones are doing solid. The past 2 weeks have been a rollercoaster for me.
Not even a few days since we started talking about it and we already have ten paying subscribers. If you’re an aspiring writer looking to make it big, grab your special 50% coupon code → only 40 more slots left for it!
Another good incident was I finally joined a Toastmasters club → It’s nerve-wracking but I hope to conquer my long-standing stage fear.
Onto the bad part, I got into a brawl with my gym trainer and ended up with an impinged shoulder and an almost bloody head. Luckily, the wounds were superficial and only the shoulder injury is a pain (literally) in the neck.
Joined a new (amazing) gym and am performing rehab exercises for the shoulder so it should be as good as new in a week or two!
But the good thing about the brawl was it fueled my drive to learn a combat sport → will be joining boxing classes once my shoulder heals.
It also taught me a super-valuable lesson - which I’ll be talking about in a brutally raw Ma(n)ximize post soon.
Enough about me, let’s dive into the scaler.
In Any Undesirable Situation, You Have Only Three Options
With factors outside our control largely controlling the strings of our lives, we unexpectedly find ourselves in undesirable circumstances from time to time.
Be it as minor as a work impeding extended power cut or as major as a crippling road accident, such situations can leave us feeling anywhere between frustrated and utterly miserable.
And the thing we most often resort to is complaining— ”All that tax money and the niggards still don’t fix power cuts”, “Why is the stupid internet so damn slow today?”, “When will this moron stop droning?”, etc.
But complaining achieves nothing and only adds to your frustration.
In any such situation, what you really have in front of you are only three options. And based on the type of situation, you have to choose the right one.
The Most Effortless Choice
The clock’s ticking, your frustration is mounting but your friend’s droning shows no signs of stopping. What do you do?
Grumble from within while forcing an uneasy smile or politely say, “Sorry. Gotta go now. Talk to you later” and walk away?
Let’s take another situation — you’re having a heated debate that’s only getting louder with time. Again, what do you do?
Continue until you prove your point even at the risk of violence or be like, “Well, let’s agree to disagree. We’re all entitled to different opinions anyway.”, or “Yea, you’re only right. Now I need to leave” and walk away?
Walking away might seem like a rude move in the first case and a cowardly one in the second but from a purely individual perspective — it’s the best one.
Removing yourself from an undesirable situation is the easiest way to deal with it.
If you think your time and mental energy matter to you, even at the cost of rudeness or a hurt ego, remove yourself from the situation.
What if You Can’t Remove Yourself from The Situation?
It’s not always possible to walk out of undesirable situations. In fact, in most of them, you can’t — injuring your leg during a game of soccer, getting fired from a job, becoming overweight, or racking up a huge debt.
This is where you work on and try to change the situation. If unemployed, actively apply for jobs while improving your skill-set instead of cursing your ex-employer. If overweight, eat healthier and exercise instead of blaming work stress.
If injured, work on stretching and rehab instead of cursing soccer. The debt? Talk to your debtors, work multiple jobs, and sincerely try to pay it off.
Whatever the situation, slowly but surely it will get better — you just have to keep chipping away.
If the Situation Isn’t in Your Control
The final and worst case is when the situation isn’t in your control — a loved one dying, losing both your legs in a road accident or as in Viktor Frankl’s case, being locked up and tortured in a concentration camp.
The last one is unlikely but the other two aren’t and there’s sadly nothing you can do to change them — you can neither bring back that loved one nor grow back your legs.
But what you can do is accept the situation and look ahead.
This was exactly what allowed Frankl to survive the Holocaust when many others lost hope and died. This last option is the hardest one but also the most powerful one.
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
Not only did he come to an acceptance of his situation but also found meaning in his suffering. In fact, the will to meaning is widely considered the primary driving force of every human being.
Finding meaning and purpose makes acceptance much easier. A powerful example is Amy Purdy who had both legs amputated but went on to become a champion snowboarder. Another is Ibrahim Hamato who after losing both his arms in a train accident, went on became a table tennis world champion.
In my own case, a heart-rending breakup made me hit the gym with a maniacal intensity and I got into the best shape of my life.
So when you find yourself in an undesirable situation that is totally out of your control, accept and find meaning in it.
“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” — Viktor Frankl
Come to think about it, these three options seem like common sense don’t they?
But often, under the influence of emotions and circumstances, even common sense can fly out the window. This happens to even the best of us.
But the onus is on us to gather back our senses and think and act rationally. Finally, to summarize this article, let me quote one of the greatest modern-day thinkers, Naval Ravikant,
“In any situation in life, you only have three options. You can change it, you can accept it, or you can leave it.
What is not a good option is to sit around wishing you would change it but not changing it, wishing you would leave it but not leaving it, and not accepting it.
It’s that struggle, that aversion, that is responsible for most of our misery.”
A Mind-Bending Novel I Recently Finished
Shantaram isn't a novel, it's an uber-wide panorama of life itself.
Be it the intriguing characters, the suspense-filled storyline, or Lin's (the protagonist) feelings and emotional philosophical musings, this book is mana for fiction lovers → and it will make non-fiction readers fall in love with fiction.
Lin escapes from an Australian prison and lands in South India’s sprawling city Bombay → the book then follows his fast-shifting life in the jungle of a city.
What's beautiful about Shantaram is → the narrative is filled with subnarratives of other characters' lives as well.
By the end, you feel as if you've lived multiple years in a myriad of lives → as diverse and eclectic as each can get.
The only thing I (almost) disliked was the excessive romanticization of my country, India→ The slums, mafia, culture, people, shopkeepers, tour guides, languages, etc.
But even that part contributes to the overall beautifully tragic charm of the book.
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