Reinventing yourself

Every transformation requires energy. Creation of the Universe, a new life, carbon crystalizing into a diamond. On a tundra, where there is minimal energy, everything remains static, and even the dead do not decompose. We, humans also need the energy to transform into something new, something different. Usually, the impetus of that comes from a significant event in our lives. Such an event is emotionally charged. An event that shakes the current status, a powerful and charged event, with so much energy that it forces change, usually is an extreme event, something traumatic, something extraordinary. All that energy from that experience has to go somewhere. It can be extremely destructive to self and others if this energy is not channeled correctly. Holding on to that energy, banking it, to allow time for reflection and then releasing it slowly to transform would be the focus of my writings. To be fair from my journey, when I experienced such an event, I didn’t have all the tools to deal with it. I struggled, if I had the tools that I have assembled now, It might have been a different outcome, maybe, maybe not. But I am grateful for the experience and what followed. All those tested me in different ways. I have, through last year and a half cataloged all the things that I needed to transform. Change, if done without reflection, without an aim, a purpose is a lost opportunity. It can be best described as falling off your bike, getting hurt, but getting right back while taking note of what hurts. Oh, that leg. But it is alright, not too bad, let’s just keep going, it will stop hurting after a while, we often forget about such a fall and carry on as nothing happened. The event was not significant enough to disrupt our journey — we continue with whatever we were doing, without much change, we might slow down a little, but will pace right back up on the same journey like nothing happened. Compare that to an event where we fell off and broke something. It hurts, hurts like a motherfucker, it hurt so bad that you are knocked off balance — you are physically unable to continue. The event has to be hard enough, significant enough for us to take note, force a pause, to reflect, to change, to heal. Here my list of tools that I found useful in my transformation.

Patience

Well, it is going to hurt. It was hard. You broke something. You might not even know how you are going to fix it. You have to be patient. If you are not patient, you are going to lose self-control, allowing the negative to come in, and that can be extremely destructive. You might act on your impulses and let your negative emotions drive your response, it will release some of the energy, but it will undoubtedly cause regrets. Patience allows you to bank that energy. It allows you time to reflect. Mediate, learn how to control your thinking, what you think about, and how you can halt your thinking. A calm mind is a patient mind. With calmness comes clarity. What is the end goal? What outcome do you want? All your actions must align with that outcome. When you are calm, patient, you are also more kind to yourself and others.

Release

I wouldn’t advise it for everyone, but since I am into extreme sports, I started skydiving. It was my way of completely losing control and then regaining control to a safe outcome. It is intense, but it helped me to overcome my most basic fears in a completely new setting. When you jump off a plane, you have no control. I didn’t experience a rush of excitement, a kick of adrenaline, none of that. There was an experience of surrender for a couple of minutes in a completely unknown medium. Then from that point, trying to regain some level of control. When you open your parachute, at 5000 ft, everything becomes quiet. You are floating in the air. It is liberating. It is freeing. You are alone. It is incredibly soothing and peaceful. That is your release. You lost control and regained it without causing harm, without being destructive. I am a runner, a climber, and I practice Jujutsu — all these helped in the release. — I frequently redlined during running, I climbed harder, more challenging routes, harder problems, Jujutsu enforced humility. I would clean the mats before each session. It helped with not just the release but controlling the ego. Whenever I did something harder than I have done before, I gained confidence in my ability to constantly improve. I also found being in nature, walking, and hiking calming.

Orienting

You found ways to bank the energy, you have found ways to release the excess. You have given yourself the time to think about your transformation. You are starting fresh, a blank canvas. You take a measure of where you are, what you have already done, and what you would want to achieve for the rest of yourself life. Take your time. This is where you are setting the path to the rest of your remaining life. I read a lot, everything, fiction, philosophy, arts, psychology, environment, economics, AI, — first to just catch up on things that I have been neglecting and second to figure out what I wanted to do next. I had previously made the mistake of setting goals, which at times seem rather lofty but, in hindsight, were utterly achievable. I had achieved those and had somewhat lost my bearing on what next. It had lead to the situation, which resulted in the transformation. So this time, it has to be a moonshot, something risky, almost unachievable. Orient yourself — figure out when you are dying, and you reflect on your life, what do you want to say to yourself. Develop a philosophy of life that leaves no regrets. A hint, a life of compassion, of giving, of kindness, leaves very little to regret. Live a life that leaves a positive impact on others’ lives. Live a full life every moment you are alive, don't hold back for a life you will have in two years or five years after you achieve this or that. We do not know how long we will live, live it now. That mindset also forces you to be kind.

Finding Joy

First off, we all want to live a happy life, we look around and compare ourselves to others we interact with, what we see on social media, in the news. What makes people happy. Is it the title? the money? the house? the materials? the status? the power? So figure out the happiness part, it is crucial. My take, happiness is finding joy in the little things, find gratitude for what you already have, a sunset, the cool morning breeze, the flowers in the yard, the smile of my dog, the songs of the bird. None of these require money, or status, or title. So I got rid of everything excess. It freed me. I could now focus more clearly on the transformation. I was happy every day. I made a point of reminding myself of things that made me smile. I documented those. I would think about those before I closed my eyes. I was happy because of the little things, that feeling of happiness, those moments accumulated to making me happy overall. I was no longer waiting for grand events. Joy was within me, all around me. It also made me content with whatever I had. If I didn’t have anything, it didn’t matter. It was not material to my happiness. Instead, I focused on things that would burden my life and tried to reduce those as much as possible.

Your Purpose

What is your impact on this world? How did you improve it? Did you leave it better than you found it? What is your purpose? It could be different for everyone, but it is essential to contemplate and think through that. Don’t let life pass, find your calling, find something that gives meaning to your life, something that drives you, something challenging, something worthwhile. Note this is not the thing that will make you happy. This is your impact. It will give you a sense of purpose, a sense of accomplishment. You made your mark. You did something that made something or someone’s life a little better. Find that. Act on that in everything you do. As I have thought through this, I have realized that it also must not be that grand revealing. It must be who you become. It must be how you act every day in your life. It must be now as you work towards your goals. So be vocal about how you want the world to be, be open about the impact you want to make. Your capacity might be limited but you still can have an impact. It is also conditioning your mind to your purpose, such that you become one with it.

A few golden rules.

Be kind. It comes back in surprising ways.

Keep your word. If you say it, do it, no matter the cost.

Be a giver, don’t worry about what you have left, give and you will get more when you need it. Don’t accumulate. You might not live long enough to use it. Do something good with it, feed someone, pay someone’s rent, share whatever you have. A giver is better than a taker. Always.

Respect everyone, especially those who work with their hands. Do something for them.

Develop humility, curb your ego. The ego never does you any good. Kill it, if you must.

Forgive, and never act in anger. Anger and resentment will eat you from inside. Take a deep breath, smile, and wish everyone happiness. Focus on your purpose.

Always think through your actions — align with the end goal you want to achieve. Tie that to kindness. Your end goal should always have kindness.

Try your best to do right by people and beings. Try to avoid “me first” thinking; it is egoistic. You might just end up alone with that mindset.

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Ahsan Mir

Ahsan Mir

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