Applying Laws of Motion Into Our Daily Lives

If you’re unfamiliar with Newton’s First Law of Motion, it states that an object in motion stays in motion, unless acted upon by an equal and opposite force. So how can we apply this law of physics into our personal lives?

Okay, so imagine yourself as a moving object (which you are): a person with their own thoughts and energy, going about their day and interacting with various different people and situations. Maybe you get a phone call with some bad news, or have to work with an insufferable coworker. Or maybe you got a promotion at work, or finally asked that person out on a date. If you’re like most people, your thoughts and temperment will change several times throughout the day: you’ll be in many different mental places. But regardless of how we feel, we all somehow manage to make it to the end of the day, going through the highs and lows of life.

Many of us look for ways to make our lives easier and happier, especially when we notice an imbalance towards negativity. Life can become overwhelming and exhausting. While this may be the end for some people — quitting on their endeavors or feel as if nothing is worth it anymore — this is not the case for powerful people. Because we recognize that there is no obstacle greater than the potential within us – the potential that we can convert into the moveable kinetic. The only thing that can completely destroy our dreams and motivation is any obstacle that we think that is greater than us. But there are very few people and obstacles that can equal our energy. To stay in motion towards our goals, it is important to acknowledge and believe in the inherent power within us: no obstacle is greater than you. Keep moving towards your goals, and recognize that often the obstacle is the way.

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Fall Down Seven Times, Stand Up Eight

One of the things that many of us have in common is a past we cannot change. We’ve often heard many life coaches and motivational speakers talk about continuing to work on the present and moving forward, that we should keep the past behind us. As appealing as this advice may be, I feel that ignoring an important part of ourselves isn’t really complete advice. Ultimately at the end of the day when we are by ourselves and we become introspective, where does our mind go? Often to the past.

Since the past isn’t something we can change, it’s important that we look at it from different perspectives. Just like with people and situations in our lives, if we can’t change them, it’s important to change our perspective. As I sit here, I think about all of failures I’ve had in the past. For some, reflecting on things that’ve gone wrong might be debilitating and discouraging. But with the right perspective, it can be liberating. Each time we’ve failed at something, it means we’ve displayed courage and took a risk. And most importantly that we’ve survived.

We fell down seven times, but something made us stand up an eighth time. What was your reason for continuing to keep trying? And can we cultivate that into a passion that keeps us interested in life?

Be Like Water

Bruce Lee would’ve been 78 yesterday. So to commemorate his birthday, I wanted to talk about one of his most popular sayings, of being “like water.”

Water can represent so many things: it is ever-present in our ecosystem. It can change shape from solid to liquid to gas. It moves everywhere, through many things, without doing much. It has no form, which then allows it to take the shape of anything.

In Taoism, this malleable form of water is what makes it such a common metaphor for the universe. There are many things in play in the universe – undiscovered energies, planets, stars, etc. And we as humans are also a part of this vast universe. It is no secret that one of humanity’s greatest strengths is the ability to adapt and survive. We’ve developed technology, communication and culture to find various ways to survive over the years — all products of adapting to the changing environment.

I feel that one of the things Bruce Lee talks about while advising us to be like water, is to be malleable so that we can adapt to life and its challenges. If we are complacent and rigid in our life, we take away our greatest strength as humans, and subject ourselves to a life of suffering. But to be formless means that nothing (external) defines you. You define you, nothing else. Then, our ego is minimized and we become capable of living to the capacity of our full potential. We become more aware and more powerful: two things that I would wish for everyone to be.

@itsjayram

Don’t Suffer Alone: Sharing Joy Multiplies Happiness and Sharing Sadness Divides Suffering

When I used to work as a cashier, occasionally a parent would come up to the counter with their child and have them pay (usually from the parent’s own money, sometimes from the kid’s own allowance). But regardless of where the money came from, wisdom was being shared with the child on how to ask and communicate.

So many of us grow older, but we might not have learned the correct way to ask for things; we are afraid to ask for help because maybe we feel like a burden to others. Sometimes we don’t feel like owing anything to anyone. Or maybe asking might make us look weak and unable to provide for ourselves. Often times when we go through difficult moments in our lives, we know that we should ask for help, but we don’t know how. No one person has everything figured out, yet we have this exceptionally high expectations of ourselves that we should have it all figured out.

But this is mostly ego. For some reason, there seems to be no price tag high enough of being fiercely independent – be it depression, self-isolation, financial constraints, or one of many other reasons. There appears to be a lot of respect and demand for appearing capable and stoic. But those who do a lot, may also suffer greatly in private. Is it worth it to assume that people will think less of you for asking them for their time? Is it worth it to suffer in private rather than risk being vulnerable and connect with someone who might also need encouragement to speak?

There is nothing glamorous and stoic about being trapped in the mental prison of our minds. By working together and communicating, we can surely begin to heal. Maybe we didn’t have anyone to teach us how to ask, but maybe the “how” won’t matter if we learn “who” we are. Are we slaves to the ego, or sentient beings who favor growth?

@itsjayram

It Doesn’t Matter Where You Start; Great Journeys Have Humble Beginnings

How are you today? I hope you’ve been well. Today I wanted to share some wisdom I recieved that helped me respect the idea that small, consistent changes are often prerequisites for big change.

There’s a popular Taoist quote that is often misattributed to Confucious: “A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” I recently learned that this version was a mistranslation of the original Chinese text. There was no symbol or character that represented “one” or “single” to signify the step (and of course they didn’t use miles as a measurement of distance then). A much better interpretation is the following: “The small piece of ground beneath your feet is the starting point for a long journey.” Epic adventures begin from the point on the ground where you stand. Seeds become trees, water vapors become torrential rains and great journeys have humble beginnings; most great things are a result of many small actions over a period of time.

If there are changes you’d like to make in your life, try not to underestimate the smaller actions. Many people might think it’s pointless, or a waste of time, but many of them lack foresight and humility for real change. Try not to be fooled by the words of nearsighted people when your goals are much bigger. Persist and win.

Dear Friend, Love is Worth it

This is a letter I wrote to a younger friend about why it’s important to believe in positive things, especially love. It might not work out like you planned, but positivity gives you the strength and humility to learn in any process. I hope you find value in this as did I in writing and reflecting on it.

Dear Friend,

I understand that it can be difficult to find the right person to date. But I can’t just stand by and let you believe that just because it’s difficult, that it’s not worth it. When you find the right person, maybe you won’t be together forever. Maybe things will go wrong. But you will most definitely learn. We often see perfect relationships on social media, but these are ultimately fiction — a fragment of people who are a lot more dynamic and strange than just a few snapshots. Try not to be fooled by any narrow concept of what a relationship should be. Get out, be vulnerable and get to know someone. And don’t believe that a handful of negative people represent the whole: it’s simply not true; this type of thinking only propogates negativity and suffering. I’m sure that right now, someone valuable and worth it might be thinking the same thing of other people out there. And maybe like you, they have a friend telling them that not all people are the same, and hopefully they’ll snap out of this negative thinking. We cannot let negative thoughts ever stop us from achieving our goals, be it career or love. The path you’ve chosen for your life is probably difficult. I’m sure there are many people who tell you that it’s not worth it, or that you’re crazy for pursuing it – but you still pursue it regardless because it gives you and others around you happiness. Romance and relationships are the same way friend. We cannot let the world convince us that it’s not worth it. Everything that’s worth it will take time, right? Let’s encourage others to not only give happiness, but hope that their dreams about love and success are valid and attainable.

Your friend,

Jay-Ram

Travelling with Minimal (Emotional) Luggage

I’ve learned that packing lightly when travelling is important because carrying too much weight can quickly become exhausting. Travelling can be nerve-wracking if we think about everything that can go wrong: being away from the familiar and transplanting ourselves into new locations and cultures can be stressful. But stressing about the future robs us of our current peace, and carrying the weight of future anxieties will exhaust us today. We should learn to travel with fewer fears in our life, otherwise it will become exhausting for us to carry them into everything we do.

Second-Generation Identity Crisis

This week is a celebration for many Indians around the world: the celebration of the festival known as Ganesh Chaturthi (Birthday of Ganesha). While Diwali is probably one of the most well-known Indian celebrations, I didn’t realize how many additional holidays there were until I became older. Since I wasn’t raised in a Hindu household (or any traditional religion for that matter), I didn’t truly understand their respective cultural significance. This led to one of the most difficult things I struggled with growing up — being genetically Indian, but culturally American.

Having a hyphen in both my first name (Jay-Ram) and my culture (Indian-American), my identity was rejected by most orthodox Indian people and families as being uncultured – they would scoff at me for knowing very little of my heritage. On the other hand, I didn’t know enough about American culture to understand certain social norms to fit in. I was too uncultured for one group, yet too foreign for another. In school, whenever a friend or teacher would ask me a question about Indian culture, it saddened me that I couldn’t offer them any information of value; I would often know as little as they did about the culture.

Little did I know then, there was an entire generation of second-generation immigrants struggling to find their own identities. This would prove to be an impossible task because there wasn’t an identity existed for us then– we had to create and synthesize our own culture from our own experiences. Additionally, if they weren’t second-generation immigrants themselves, many of our friends and teachers were a part of this cultural shift and new paradigm. Today, we are the majority. Our culture today is big on acceptance, because we know how it feels not to belong. We have gone through the struggle of being rejected and laughed at, while trying to create an identity for ourselves – we try to accept the people around us because some of us are still trying to accept ourselves.

It’s such an interesting feeling when two separate cultures feel foreign yet familiar at the same time. I can eat rice and lentils with my hands in the morning, and animal-style fries from In & Out with a fork in the evening — and I wouldn’t miss a beat travelling between these cultural dimensions. This practice of crossing cultures has become second nature to many of us because we through the struggle of adjusting and synthesizing a new culture. Holidays like today help give me context as to the person I’ve become and why it’s important to accept our past to create the path forward. Ganesha is known as the destroyers of obstacles and bringer of prosperity, and these are both things I wish for you on your journey of self-creation.

Let Yourself Fail (Sometimes)

Here’s an interesting idea, especially for those of us who are good at many things — a jack of all trades, but master of none — mastery requires giving up things we are good at so that we can focus on becoming the best at one of those things. This is the first step in cultivating your passion.

The primary fear holding most people back is often, “How do I know I’m picking the right thing?” The truth is that this often doesn’t matter, and is actually a hidden fear of rejection. Most people cannot imagine investing so much time and energy into something, only for it to possibly be failure and rejected by society. However this fear is exactly why many people do not succeed at mastering something — they tie their self worth to their results, and let their failures define them. But failure is not final unless you stop trying; failure is not apart from success, but rather is a part of success.

Before beginning any project, consider fully (all of your choices) and then act decisively (pick one). Decide under which circumstances you’ll give up. Then, do not quit until you achieve your desired outcome. There will be times where you’ll feel like your work is meaningless and opinions insignificant, but plowing through this self-doubt is the necessary process of growth and success. Those of us willing to put their soul into the furnace, can forge their spirit into the ultimate weapon. Being good at many things is fun and safe, but mastering something is risky yet necessary for fulfillment.

Let Them Be Free

It’s important to let that person go, so that you can continue to grow.

Okay so when I said this, did someone come to mind? And if so, why haven’t you let them go yet? Let’s talk about this.

Letting someone go is less about feeling bad about abandoning them, and more about having faith in their ability to thrive. They might feel pain initially, but this is necessary for growth — if you truly care about them, set them free. I’ve been really fortunate to meet many good people in my life, but I’ve learned that many of them were not meant to stay in it. It takes time to get to know someone, but once we spend the time to know them, does that mean we are obligated to continue being available to them?

I failed to realize that many people, like myself, are also in the process of growing; they might not be growing at the same pace, or to the same size of our ambitions — but that is alright. Eventually, we have to come to the realization that we are just different people. But what’s not okay is if you deny your own identity and do the disservice to yourself by keeping those around that hold you back. Stop cutting your branches just because someone else feels insecure in your shadows, and instead leave to a different garden so that you both of you can find your own sunlight and continue to grow.