As a Sufi, I had been trained to accept the thorn with the rose, the difficulties with the beauties of life. Hence followed another rule: The midwife knows that when there is no pain, the way for the baby cannot be opened and the mother cannot give birth. Likewise, for a new Self to be born, hardship is necessary.Elif Shafak, The Forty Rules of Love
We have those days when we are down. The loss of a family member, poor exam results, you didn’t get the job you wanted, and many other bad situations. It feels like life likes to punch us in the face.
But when things get better, it can be due to two main forces:
- The environment around us changes for the better
- We grow, and change for the better.
There’s a limit to how much we can control number one. The most that I can think of is to move to a nearby jungle, away from civilisation, and if that is a good change for you then go for it. But I’d like to focus on number two: giving ourselves the chance to grow.
But hardship is necessary. It’s like exercise, training heavyweights at the gym so that we can get stronger. We train with heavier weights on purpose because we grow that way. Life is the same: It needs to be hard before it gets better.
Ella and her dog stood side by side under the late-spring moon, staring into the thick, vast darkness, similarly frightened of the things moving in the dark, frightened of the unknown.Elif Sharak, The Forty Rules of Love
The unknown is a scary place. It’s ominous: you don’t know what’s lurking in there. It makes sense then that most fears appear in the dark. Fears, doubts, lack of control: it haunts us all the time.
Why do you think fear stops us from doing the things we want to do? We have doubts to stop us from taking steps forward. We have second thoughts about doing things we want to dive into. We have past traumas that prevent us as if on reflex:
“This bad thing has happened to me before, what’s going to stop it from happening again?”
There are two ways to handle our fears:
- Get rid of them
- Learn how to traverse them.
Number 1 is dependent on your fears – I can’t teach you that. That is entirely subjective.
Instead, I can share with you ways to understand that fear is there, present, and move forward. Train yourself well and you can learn how to use fear and doubt as a weapon to further yourself.
But first, a primer on what we are all made of:
How do polymaths think? How would you map out their minds on a diagram?
Would it be, a Venn diagram with fields intersecting each other? Would it be a mind map? Is it a long list of things that make up you?
In a quest to visualize the mind of a polymath, I designed a simple diagram that pretty much fits every individual.
Why do humans have selfless tendencies?
In the world of charities, social enterprises and philanthropy, this is one element of human character that must not be disregarded when helping out others. Born out of empathy, selflessness allows us to justify helping others over ourselves, however natural our instinct to survive is.
But, beyond selflessness, what is it that motivates people to do such things? Benefitting humanity, doing acts for others?
Here are some of my takes:
I had the epiphany to turn this blog into a home for the Polymath: one who knows a broad range of things.
I had to ask myself a question: in what direction should I go towards?
Would it be about philosophy, its inner workings and how it empowers us as individuals? Or, would it be about money, and how it plays such a big part in our lives?
But first, a definition!
Lessons can be found within everyone.
Children are a double-edged sword.
On one hand, they can be demanding, annoying and downright loud. I speak this from having experience. I was a passenger on the same plane. We all know that feeling.
On the other, you can watch them grow. You can watch them learn the world, and make decisions on their own. It must be a satisfying feeling to see one of your own growing to become a full-fledged adult.
People are golden to me.
They can be unrefined, found in the deepest of mines. Some are greater in quality than others. In order to put a value to it though, a piece of gold must be refined by human hands.
I came to this realization earlier this year as I was going through a hard time. A mental breakdown, questioning my own purpose in life. No one had the answer to my question.
Calling a friend that night though, saved me.
Time is like a goldmine within us: we mine at it every day, to trade what we earned for food on the table. Or experiences. Even if this mine is a part of us, we give away part of ourselves for only one reason: to live.
Don’t trade it away so easily. Here is a way for you to track your time.
When I was young, I loved the sandbox. In there, I built sandcastles.
They were less castle and more ‘sand mounds’. Being the overly creative kid I was, I piled sand on top of each other and believed that the sand will take its natural form. It was the most beautiful mound I had ever laid my eyes on.