People like to victimise themselves

They like to be the busiest — “I’m so busy!”

They like to be the most stressed out — “I’m so stressed out!”

They like to be the one who slept the least — “I only had 3hrs of sleep, for the whole week!”

They like to be wronged — “I was unfairly treated!”

They like to think that they have the toughest breakup — “He/she treated me like a doormat!”

They like to think that they have the toughest job — “My job sucks!”

They like to think they are the poorest — “I have no money!”

The list goes on. It never ends. It’s a toxic mindset that resolves around scarcity, negativity, and victimhood.

They are the victims of their stories.

You know the quote “People want to see you doing well, just not better than them?” That’s one of the most detrimental mindset anyone can have.

Picture this, an executive puts in 60hours a week produces the same output compared the another executive who puts in the standard 40hours. Guess you should know who will cry victim by now. Now 60hour exec wants 40hour exec to work as much and 40hour exec wants to share how he/she works so the output can be compounded but victimhood theory is preventing it from happening. Resulting in the situation withering like a graceful flower all because selfish 60hour exec had a victim mentality — “I want everyone to suffer what I went through just because I had the toughest life there is in human history.” Depressing, but alarmingly true.

If we refer to Dan Harmon’s story circle above, which is a format what most stories uses, we understand that the victim is stuck cycling between stages 1-3. There’s discomfort and dissonance between being uncomfortable, feeling inadequate, and dipping into unknown territories.

But stage 4-6 is what really matters. It’s what separates victims from heroes. The hero accepts the reality. Adapts to circumstances by figuring out what it takes to get out of it. Sets out on a journey that will bring them out of the shithole. Despite getting what they want, they have to pay a price. The price usually means saying no.

Stop living in victimhood, start being the hero of your own story. That requires going through obstacles and pain. Nothing worth having ever comes easy. Almost everything requires a price, and the price is hard work.

Start cultivating self awareness. Try to catch yourself thinking in the victim mentality. Then try to get out of it. Also, don’t forget to pull others out of it. After all, we live in a society and everyone needs help from others every once in awhile.

How to get out of it? Ruby recommends 4 steps:

  1. Acknowledge you are playing the victim (probably the hardest part)
  2. Acknowledge the role you have been playing in your life
  3. Take ownership (own your shit)
  4. Create change

Let me leave you with this: Own your life, own your story. And never ever lie to yourself.

Photo by Xavier Sotomayor on Unsplash

Thoughts on measuring my life

I’m a big fan of intentionally tracking things. Dear friends of mine will know this to be true. Hours of sleep I get every night. Number of photos I take every week. Count of words I write. Total income I earn. Total expenses I spend. And so on, you get the idea.

“What gets tracked, gets managed.” — Some OCD dude

Because I intentionally want to manage certain areas of my life, I track them. For example:

  • My ability to focus, ability to control my emotions, ability to think logically = hours of sleep;
  • Documenting important events in my life, especially time spent with my love ones = photos taken every week;
  • Creating things, reflection, providing value = count of words I write;
  • Actually providing value according to what the market needs = Total income I earn;
  • My lifestyle, my needs and wants, the experiences in my life = total expenses.

If an area is out of whack, I can quickly identify what’s going wrong and make adjustments.

But how do I measure quality of my life? What is the metric? Is it a summation of all the above? Or is it something else? Or measuring quality of life is a false and impossible notion? What is it? I pondered for years.

Until recently, I came across this and I think I may have found something..

“Basically, when you get to my age, you’ll really measure your success in life by how many of the people you want to have love you actually do love you. If you get to my age in life and nobody thinks well of you, I don’t care how big your bank account is, your life is a disaster. That’s the ultimate test of how you have lived your life.” — Warren Buffet, addressing students in at Georgia Tech

It coincides my favourite quote of all time:

“Aren’t everything we do in life just so we can be loved a little more?” — Celine, from the movie Before Sunrise

Even if I become ultra productive, with the smartest mind, residing in a super healthy body, acquired a network of powerful people, having millions of liquid assets under my belt, all these are shit when I’m laying down on my last few breaths knowing those who I love don’t love me. All these are shit.

Because everything we do in life is an effort to be loved a little more (by my logic, not preaching), material items and financial wealth are secondary elements supporting the primary goal of giving and receiving more love.

To be clear, it’s neither supporting anarchy nor asceticism. Rather, the more clarity I have in knowing what and how I measure my life, the clearer my decision making process will be. And if I’m not there yet, then the decision is be working harder to get there as well as deciding against doing something that will turn people I love away.

Pretty simple concept. Pretty hard practice.

But practice makes perfect.

So I’m just gonna practice away.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Single tasking in a stoic manner and avoiding being counterproductive; Dissecting Meditations, a personal journal by Marcus Aurelius Part #13

What you are getting into: 381 words, 2mins read

Here, I will share my contemplations upon reading the published personal journal of Marcus Aurelius, a roman emperor from 161-180 AD. Thoughts mainly stemmed from Stoicism, and Marcus Aurelius used the notes for guidance and self improvement. It’s a translated book by Gregory Hays, or you can read it online.

For this and upcoming posts I attempt to dissect quotes I favour upon reading the book.

Photo by on Unsplash

If someone asked you how to write your name, would you clench your teeth and spit out the letters one by one? If he lost his temper, would you lose yours as well? Or would you spell out the individual letters?

Remember — your responsibilities can be broken down into individual parts as well. Concentrate on those, and finish the job methodically — without getting stirred up or meeting anger with anger.

Focus on the job. Focus. It is everything we can do. Without focus how else are we going to accomplish anything worth pursuing? Trying to juggle many projects at once will produce mediocre results. Expend your limited attention only on a few tasks. Even better, single tasking will output excellent results.

Next, many times due to our ego, we may engage in detrimental behaviour. Sometimes unconsciously! Possessing high amount of ego does no one any good. The conversation goes nowhere and everyone gets held back because of our own ego. What good it is when you one-up the others and get nothing done at the end of the day? This not only hold back your progress, you are holding back others from progressing as well — this is a selfish notion and it’s called being counterproductive. Remember, getting shit done is what matters; getting your ego satisfied produces nothing.

Fighting fire with fire fuels fire. Same goes for reacting to an angry person with anger. From an innocuous question to a full fledged shouting match. No wonder the Gods are laughing at us! Marcus Aurelius wrote to remind himself to get the job done methodically despite being the Roman Emperor — he actually has absolute power to indulge in authoritative abuse.

I suggest the following:

  • Think about putting your ego aside and focus on the objectives;
  • Focus on getting the work completed with the least amount of friction and effort;
  • If you find that others are often the ones being counterproductive, check yourself, you may be the counterproductive one instead of others.