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

Show where I’m wrong and I’ll change; Dissecting Meditations, a personal journal by Marcus Aurelius Part #12

What you are getting into: 547 words, 3mins 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.

If anyone can refute me — show me I’m making a mistake or looking at things from the wrong perspective — I’ll gladly change.

It’s the truth I’m after, and the truth never harmed anyone. What harms us is to persist in self-deceit and ignorance.

Most want to be right. Some want to be right all the time. Some are willing to agree to disagree. Just how many are willing to question their own beliefs and maybe accept their view could be wrong?

Header image attached is an incredibly accurate depiction when two stubborn loggerheads are duking it out. From an outsider’s POV, it’s just a matter of perspective. We know that from a third person. And how many times we get caught in such situations? It is our own folly, myopia, and failure to recognise different views can exist, apart from ours.

It takes tremendous work to convince someone otherwise. So respect people who points out your own faults. It would have taken them consideration thought in delivering the corrective message. Thank them for their hard work, if you can (let go of your crushed ego).

Photo via Pixabay

Paul Graham wrote about this in his sticky yet politically right essay:

Do religion and politics have something in common that explains this similarity? One possible explanation is that they deal with questions that have no definite answers, so there’s no back pressure on people’s opinions. Since no one can be proven wrong, every opinion is equally valid, and sensing this, everyone lets fly with theirs.

I think what religion and politics have in common is that they become part of people’s identity, and people can never have a fruitful argument about something that’s part of their identity. By definition they’re partisan.

Which topics engage people’s identity depends on the people, not the topic.

The most intriguing thing about this theory, if it’s right, is that it explains not merely which kinds of discussions to avoid, but how to have better ideas. If people can’t think clearly about anything that has become part of their identity, then all other things being equal, the best plan is to let as few things into your identity as possible.

Need not be religion or politics. That’s not the point. It’s about disengaging your beliefs from your identity. Is having only few things as our identity the best possible way? Will we have better ideas once we discard the identity we have so carefully created over the years? Or is it that being mindful that ideas we conjure carries identity baggage the key to better thinking?

Circling back to Marcus Aurelius’s original thought, how can we catch ourselves engaging in self-deceit and ignorance? That’s something to reflect upon..