The Hypnic Jerk

lifeEveryone has experienced that moment when we are drifting off to sleep, inching closer towards dreamland, when all of a sudden you sense danger. You feel yourself falling, try to catch yourself, and jerk abruptly awake. This phenomenon is known as Hypnic Jerk. Scientifically, there have been no answers to why this occurs. But when I give it a thought, I think it symbolizes a very important part of our life, the Fear of Failure.

We live every moment of our life with this fear engraved deep down in our hearts. We might not notice is, but it effects almost every action we take. We might think of starting a new book, but not do it thinking that we might fail to complete it. Even little decisions like these are effected by our fear of failure. Subconsciously, it’s always there. Always.

Every day, we let go of so many opportunities, just because we do not want to fail. There are so many times that I have picked up a guitar and thought to myself “This year, I am going to do it” but have backed out thinking I will not be able to. So many times I see a job posting and think “What’s the point? They probably want someone better” and let it go. Let’s face it, we are all guilty of this. We all let so many chances slip right through our fingers, because we want to succeed, and just succeed. We are very afraid to fail, to fall. So afraid that even when we sense we ourselves falling in our sleep, we shudder and wake up. That’s the kind of impact it has on our mind, and our lives.

We all have read this at least once in our lives “Failure is the stepping stone to success”. In the hallway of our school, on Facebook, and sometimes even inscribed as graffiti on walls. It’s that common of a sentence. But we seldom believe in this saying. I think this is majorly because we are so committed towards portraying ourselves as ‘perfect’ to the world, that we do not want to expose to them that “Yes, I am vulnerable too, just like you are.” The desire to achieve perfection is so strong that we are ready to deprive ourselves of many possible opportunities and outcomes. What we do not realize is that, this very yearning for perfection is what’s slowly pushing us further down, not up, the road to success.

I think what we all need is to forget about the world for once, and think of all the things that would have been if we had not let an opportunity slip because of the fear of failure, the fear of falling. What if, instead of stacking the guitar back on the store shelf, I had learnt how to play it? Maybe I would have been a part of my college band by now. What if I had gone ahead and sent my CV for that job posting? Maybe I would have been writing this article from my cubicle, and not my living room sofa.

Giving something a try will never lead to anything negative. It’ll either leave you with a story to tell, or a lesson to learn.

So go ahead, do that one thing you have always wanted to. Don’t let the world take over you. You try, you fall, you learn. You get up, you try again and guess what? You succeed.

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20 Things To Start Doing In Your Twenties

Since I am about to enter the twenties very soon, I found this article posted on The Odyssey quite inspiring, and it’s definitely something I’d like to share here.

Give it a read, I can guarantee you’ll feel like using your time more productively.

Your twenties: the era when you’ve got to make moves, but all you want to do is chill. And by chill I don’t just mean spend hours on Netflix, I mean thrill seeking, whether it be fraternity parties, nights spent on Mill or that music festival coming up. Your twenties are also the time when you’re in your physical peak, so naturally you’ll want to take as many cute pictures as possible.

I convince myself that my twenties are the years for memory making, the crazy stories I may or may not want to tell my kids. But the truth is, although fun until the hangover hits, this isn’t the sort of “finding yourself” we should be doing, at least not in large doses.

So here they are, 20 things that will build self-awareness and set you up for the future.

1. Keep a book by your bedside and read it before bed instead of falling asleep to Instagram, Facebook or Pinterest.

Yes, maybe we can learn a lot from these websites, but there’s still something one-dimensional about it. We’re shortening our attention spans. When was the last time you actually did the assigned reading for class? Maybe if we spent more time settling our minds into a book, it would have a positive impact on our studies.

2. Open yourself up to the world around you.
Watch movies with subtitles, follow international blogs and read travel books. Being cultured is cool.

3. Stop giving chances to people who don’t treat you how you want to be treated.
In college, we cross paths with a lot of different types of people, some of whom don’t treat us as well as we’d like. As we mature, we learn not to fall for the people who don’t see our value. We also learn what it means to be the kind of person we want in a partner.

4. Start to take responsibility for the holes you dig yourself instead of looking for others to rescue you.
I need to take my own advice on this one. That means not calling my dad when I need “emergency” money for spring break in Cabo. Learning to become self-sufficient is a big step.

5. Time is space; learn how to design your space.
Find out how to manage your time efficiently. College is the perfect time to master time management because we’re often juggling work with school and internships. Wake up every morning and write a short list of what you want to accomplish that day. I’m an avid list maker, and getting everything out of my cluttered headspace and onto paper really helps.

6. Start reading The New York Times (or any respectable news outlet for that matter).
You don’t have to make it a daily thing, but try to skim the headlines of The New York Times on a regular basis. It’s cool to know what’s going on in the world.

7. Ignite your fire for the causes you believe in.
Tap into what you’re passionate about. What type of “giving” makes you the happiest?

8. Mind Map it out.
You may still be thinking, WTF am I going to do with my life? Sometimes it helps to look at a bigger picture. I learned the mind mapping technique from one of my professors; it’s a great brainstorming technique. Start in the middle with what makes you happy and work your way out.

9. Start to develop your personal aesthetic.
The teenage years are for following the trends. Your twenties are the time to discover your own personal style, whether it’s fashion or interior design. Seek inspiration in art galleries, magazines and blogs.

10. Constantly change up your environment.
Whether it’s going to the independent coffee shop instead of Starbucks or taking a trip from Arizona to the beach. Norman Parkinson, a celebrated photographer, said never fall asleep in the car because you may miss an opportunity to be inspired. Our minds are like cameras trying to capture as much of the world as we can. In the end, you don’t want a roll of repetitive film.

11. Venture outside your typical crowd.
If you’re Greek, reach out to non-affiliated classmates once in a while to see what they’re involved with on campus. I know it sounds crazy to imagine a world outside of Greek life.

12. Connect with a mentor in the field you’re interested in pursuing.
Don’t be afraid to chat with a professor you idolize over coffee or during office hours. They may be the key to new career or internship opportunities.

13. Ask more questions.
Exercise your curiosity; converse with strangers. Whether it’s an Uber driver or someone in line to board the plane with you, everyone has a story or perspective to share.

14. Develop your people skills.
Knowing how to communicate the best version of yourself is necessary in all areas of life. Learn to move people with a speech or knock that interview out of the park. And practice listening more than you talk.

15. Invest in a mature wardrobe.
Try to break out of crop tops and denim cut offs. There’s also something refreshing about a high neckline. Men should also invest in some nice clothes; this means discarding the G-shock and opting for a real watch.

16. Save money from each paycheck for needs you’re not even able to conceive of right now.
You should always put a portion of your paycheck in savings for a rainy day. Strive to never be in debt. If you start saving now you could avoid having a mortgage over your head.

17. Know your flaws and focus on ways to improve rather than being insecure about them.
Always strive to better yourself. Consider your flaws to be a natural part of you.

18. Travel, study abroad, or move to a foreign place
As cliché as it sounds, we all should experience a different cultural perspective. Americans are often criticized for living in our own bubble and traveling is a great way to break out of this.

19. Hang out with kids under the ages of four.
Young kids can teach you a lot about creativity, imagination and whether or not you want to deal with your own in the future.

20. Learn about food.
Get to know the labels of products and what’s in them. Pay attention to what foods react well to your body and what leave you feeling sluggish. Invest in a cookbook and build a repertoire of recipes you’ve learned through trial and error. Experiment with different cuisine and go grocery shopping at a foreign grocer.

Disclaimer: This post is not written by me. It was written by Morgan Hipps, a writer for The Odyssey. I am sharing the original link below in case you want to have a look
The Original Post

Unicorns.

11144567_863834863677594_1706091405_oWhen I was a kid, I remember looking at the grownups like they were the most mystical creatures on this planet. For me, they were like Unicorns. I mean, seriously. They were independent. They did not need anyone’s permission to do stuff. They could go out whenever they wanted, they could stay up late at nights and watch TV, and nobody even forced them to eat their vegetables! What more could one really want from life? As a kid, that was all I wanted. I wanted to be independent. I wanted to make my own decisions. I wanted to wear whatever I wanted to, eat whatever I wanted to, and stay up at nights watching TV. “Being an adult is totally awesome!” that’s what the 10 year old version of me always thought, and like most of us, I spent all my later years waiting to grow up, waiting to be a Unicorn.

Now, 9 years later, as I sit here alone in my messy little dorm room, craving homemade food, all that I want to do is go back to my 10 year old self.

Remember when we were kids, our biggest worries were things like, not getting to eat chocolates for every meal of the day, or our mothers forcing us to take naps? Ah, I wish someone would force me to take naps now. During our childhood, we are so lost and fooled by the “no parents telling us what to do, staying up all night” part of adulthood that we fail to realise that the time ahead is scary, very extremely scary.

Let’s be honest. Being an adult? Totally overrated! I mean seriously. Adulthood is responsibility. Adulthood is about making your own decisions. And the saddest and hardest part of adulthood, which we all assumed would be the best of it, is not having your parents helping you every step of the way. Seriously. It’s when you have to get up early in the morning and go to University hungry because you are too lazy or too late, or when you are just too tired of eating KFC and all you want is homemade vegetable curry (My 15 year old self cannot believe I just said that), or most importantly, when you have to face the reality of the evil, evil world all alone, do you realize the intensity of care and protection your parents have given you all your life. We lived under their comfortable protective bubble all our lives, while they shielded us from all the possible harm of this world. If only we realized this at the right time.

We all want to grow up. We’re desperate to get there. Grab all the opportunities we can to live. We’re so busy trying to get out of that mess, we don’t think about the fact that it’s going to be cold out there. Really freaking cold. Because growing up sometimes means leaving people behind. And by the time we stand on our own two feet, we’re standing there alone. 

Grey’s Anatomy

Growing up sucks. It really does. Growing up means realizing that there is no Prince Charming on a white horse waiting to sweep you off your feet, no Fairy Godmother to take away all your misery with the swish of her magical wand, and that life does not always have a happily ever after. It’s about realizing that you have to be your own Knight in shining armour, your own Fairy Godmother, and write your own happily ever after. And most importantly, it’s about realizing that Unicorns do not exist.

Where is The Media now?

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Deah Shaddy Barakat, Yusor Mohammad and Razan Mohammad probably woke up that morning and could never have imagined that they were never going to wake up again. Three very charming, very talented, very giving young people with extremely bright futures. They were future doctors, they put in a lot of effort in helping the less fortunate, and they had big, giving hearts. But the man did not think of any of this before pulling the trigger on them

This newly wed couple and their sister were shot dead in their very own university campus.

They were like us, they were students who had not even started their life in a proper way yet. They must have had a whole plan for their lives ahead just like we all do. Imagine walking out with your whole life ahead of you and then having your life ended in this way. Does it not sound scary?

The man who is responsible behind this heart-breaking tragedy, Craig Stephen Hicks, is a 46-year-old atheist resident of Chapel Hill.

It has not yet been confirmed that this was a hate-crime against the Muslim community. The Police say that they are looking into it, but they believe that it was due to a parking dispute that the man was having with the three victims. But who are we trying to fool here. There is a great possibility that the victims were killed due to the religion they follow, and even if they were, that fact will be enclosed in an envelope and hid behind many other reasons to cover-up the truth, just like always.

When a similar incident took place around a month ago in France, there was a massive angry uproar by the media. A slogan was declared “Je Suis Charlie”. The media all over the world was exhibiting its support to the victims of the shooting and the entire world had once again, labelled the Muslims as terrorists, and Islam the reason to all the violence that exists in the world. All this was happening because the shooters were Muslim. There were harsh hate statements being posted all over social media blaming the entire Muslim community for what had happen.

But what about today? Where is the Media today? Why is it that none of the news channels are flashing slogans like “Je Suis Deah” “Je Suis Yusor” “Je Suis Razan? Why hasn’t the western media declared this as a terrorist attack against Muslims? Why is it that when the Charlie Hebdo shooting occurred the news channels pasted their headlines as “Obama expresses his deepest sympathies to the people of France for the TERRORIST attack” but when these three young people were shot, all they had to say was that “a MAN has been charged for the murder of three students”? Why is it that when Christians, Jews and other non-Muslims are killed by Muslims, Islam is identified as playing a direct role but when Muslims are killed by Jews, Christians and other non-Muslims, however, the religious identity of the violent perpetrators is downplayed or ignored?

They claim that Islam is a religion that teaches and encourages violence and that every Muslim aims to destroy the peace in this world. How little do they know about this religion which asks to spread nothing but love and peace. They are not aware of the fact that people who inflict such kind of tragedies on other humans are not true Muslims. A true Muslim would know that our Lord, our book encourages nothing but peace. A very touching example of this is a statement that was posted by one of the family members of the victims today on Facebook:

My family was murdered execution style in their home. It was a hate-filled crime.

Don’t fight fire with fire.

When someone who is suffering the loss of not one, but 3 people he/she loved dearly and could still discourage hate towards the one who inflicted this pain on them, how can they still label Islam and Muslims as violent peace-destroyers?

As a Muslim, I am angry. I am angry because these three very talented young people did not deserve to die this way. And this certainly deserves to be put out to the entire world just like all the other incidents do. I am angry because this is unfair. Unfair to them, unfair to us.

But as we know, Western media outlets will likely frame the most recent perpetrator of what some speculate is an anti-Muslim crime in the same way they frame most anti-Muslim criminals – as crazed, misguided bigots who acted alone. If past coverage is any indication, there will likely be very little suggestion that the killer acted on the basis of an ideology or as part of any larger pattern or system.

The Western Media has always been very keen on spreading Islamophobia amongst the people of the world. They portray the Muslim community as violent, backwards, fundamentalist and as threats to western civilization. Western news coverage rarely highlights Islam except to show its possible relation to some atrocity, and Muslims are rarely mentioned in the context of news that is positive or benign.

Every kind of western media, the news, the internet, even the movies, have played a major role in the increasing amount of Islamophobia amongst the people. The Media has set up such an image that everyone should always be suspicious of Muslims, All Muslims. According to a recent study about Hollywood movies, it was found that most of them portrayed the Arabs and the Muslims as “brutal, heartless, uncivilized religious fanatics and money-mad cultural ‘others’ bent on terrorizing civilized westerners, especially Christians and Jews”.

Let me give you an example of that. These were some of the tweets by people after watching the very recent movie “American Snipper”

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This is the kind of picture that the western media paints of us to the world. We get blamed, slashed, labelled for all kinds of incidents, just in the name of our religion. But when we become the victims to such horrendous acts of crime, the story is killed behind a pile of ‘lone-wolf’ and ‘mental-illness’ issues.

I ask each of you to spread as much word as possible about this very sad tragedy so that the world could know. And also to make dua for the victims and their families. May Allah grant them the highest ranks in Jannah and May Allah give sabr to the families.

Also, Deah Shaddy Barakat was one of the organizers of an effort to raise money to provide free dental care to students of the Salaam School in Turkey. I would encourage everyone to go ahead and donate for the cause, even if it is a little so that he could get more and more ajar (reward) even after his death. You can follow this link for donations

http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/syrian-dental-relief/206249

Saudi Arabia: a blessing, not a punishment.

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As I have been born and bought up in the Saudi Arabia, I have come to love it like no other place. Its home.  Everything about it is soothing, peaceful and familiar. The perfectly built roads, the sky scrapers, the shawarma, the way Saudi’s pronounce ‘Bebsi’. It is a country that gave us everything. It blessed us with a highly sophisticated, luxurious life. But the time to leave home had to come, it was inevitable.

Once I proceeded further with my life and went to a new place. I had to pop out of my safe bubble as I was now out in the world, and I had started to realize how excessively dangerous it was. As days passed by, I came to the conclusion that my country, my home, was the most peaceful place on this planet.

But as I started interacting with people outside, I was deeply dismayed at the opinion the world held about Saudi Arabia. When I disclosed the fact that I had come from Saudi Arabia to people, their faces showed astonishment, and they gave me looks of pity like I had just mentioned the worst place for living possible. Then once the pity passed, I would be lined up with the most absurd questions that have ever been received about the country. “How did you live in such a prison-like place?” “Did you ever get to step out of your house?” “Do you have to wear those black covers and the headscarf at your home too?” I even got asked if the place had malls. I was so astonished at their opinion about the country that I had to pause for a minute, and think of a logical answer to their questions. But all that came out of my mouth was- SERIOUSLY?

I could not believe that people could be so ignorant about a certain thing or place. I knew Saudi Arabia has always had an image of being an oppressive country, but to this extent? My mind just could not process it. I turned to my phone, which, due to my continuous feeling of home sickness, was stacked with beautiful pictures of my city, and when I turned it towards them, they could not believe their eyes. Right ahead of their eyes was the country they thought was an oppressor, a country as backward as time could get. The country, which had just slashed every opinion they had ever had about it. They grabbed my phone and said, “No way! This is Saudi Arabia? We thought it’s a village!” Upon asking them what had shaped their opinions in the prior form, they all had the same answer, “The Media”.

As time progressed and my interest in the reading about the events happening around the world and the news progressed, I started to see it more and more each day. The media, almost all over the world, portrayed Saudi Arabia like it was the most confined place to ever exist on the Planet Earth. The amount of false stories that I have come across regarding the country and its rulers are incomputable. There were stories about the Princesses being held bondage at their own palaces, stories about women not being allowed to step out of their houses, stories about such immense amount of oppression that I could not help but laugh, laugh at what the world believes. Laugh, but still be deeply saddened about the kind of erroneous and deceitful information that was being dispersed to the people.

As a person who has been born and brought up in the country, I would like to narrate my side of the story. Saudi Arabia is by far, the most peaceful and pleasant place I have ever been in. No one has stopped me from stepping out of my house because I am a girl. In fact, the Saudi women are the most shopaholic women in the whole wide-world, and are always out with their girlfriends picking up the most lavish and expensive stuff. Which brings us to this, yes, Saudi Arabia has malls. And yes, every kind of clothing is available and not just the abaya and the headscarf. It is an extremely developed country where one can find every leading brand of every product; Gucci, Coach, Chanel. You name it, we have it. The capital city Riyadh, which is also where I reside, has one of the best planned road system. And no, the distances aren’t traveled by camels. Saudi Arabia is home to some of the best cars you could ever lay your eyes on. From gold plated Lamborghinis to Swarovski studded Harley Davidson’s, there is absolutely nothing that you cannot find here.

But due to the reason that Saudi Arabia is an Islamic nation, and also the most important part due to the presence of the two Holy Mosques and cities, Makkah and Madinah, the country is ridiculed and disgraced over every single issue. The fact that a woman cannot step out without an abaya in Saudi Arabia is considered oppression, but the fact that a muslim woman is not allowed to walk out of her house with a face cover in France isn’t. Freedom does not mean being able to walk naked on the streets, but it means being free and able to do what one desires to, whether it being covering yourself, or not covering at all.

I am not denying the fact that the country has some flaws. Yes, the restriction over driving for women is a very unfair rule, and yes, sometimes I wish I could step out without an abaya. But does that mean that the country has oppressed me? No. An oppressor is one who burdens its people with cruel and unjust impositions. If that was really the case, then why would people like me who have been fortunate enough to experience their life there be ever willing to go back to it?

Every person and every place has its own flaws, but overemphasizing a country’s flaws to this extent is just irrational.

I hope to see the day where the whole world will see Saudi Arabia for what it is, and not for the horrific picture of it that the media paints. And I hope to see that day soon.

Is this really going to build my future?

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I am currently in the middle of my end-semester exams (the reason I have been completely MIA). So while I was lost in my sea of words and numbers, a thought that has always lingered in my mind surfaced yet again. Is this really going to help me build my future?

Now you must be wondering why would such a thought even occur to me. Learning is what makes us capable of doing things that matter in the future. Learning is what gets us a job. What are we without it? Just a bunch of people with a brain, but no wisdom. So why would anyone doubt it?

Being an Indian, I have always been educated in the Indian Education System. Indian Education system, where the only thing that is held of importance is a big stack of the letter “A”.  Children with their little creative minds with no boundaries are sent to school with the hope that they will be helped towards achieving their passion. But what actually happens? Their little minds are shackled and pumped with a combination of letters and numbers so much so that there is no place left for anything else. Their passion ignored, they are forced into being an army of clones, memorizing piles of books just for achieving the glory of an ‘A’.

I remember the day I had my examination for Business Studies for the much terrifying board exams, I literally had every word of my textbook in my head, and I did get an A. But do I remember anything I studied at the time? Absolutely not.

In an environment where grades have been emphasized to such great level, and where connection to one’s inner self and passion is almost considered obsolete, how is one supposed to grow? How is one supposed to succeed? 

I mean is this what’s going to help me grow my personality? Is this really going to help me ace my job interviews? Am I going to be a success at my job my raising hands and answering some questions from a book? Is this really what it takes to build a successful life? Not really.

In today’s India, the situation has risen up to such a level that students and parents are not satisfied even with percentages that reach up to 95. The reason for that is the extremely high range of cut-offs in the Indian Colleges. Sometimes the competition is so high that even a student with 98.9 percent fails to get admitted. Think of it, let it go deep in your mind. Does that not sound completely bizarre and irrational? The people of India do not realise the magnitude of negative effect this is having on those kids. The pressure and competition is having a deep impact on their minds, leading to mental disturbances, depression, and many a times, even suicide. Statistics show that more and more students are taking the extreme step of suicide in a bid to end their misery after failing in their pursuit of professional excellence. The motive of students killing themselves is invariably academic pressure – this accounts for 99 per cent suicides in the age group 12-18.

Isn’t learning supposed to be about exploring the world, opening up to new fields and following your passion? When did it become such a burden? People in India really need to be reminded that life isn’t about ‘A’s and ‘99’s, but rather it’s about following your passion, doing what you love, and loving what you do. It’s not about being stuck in a profession that makes you run away every single time, but about choosing in a way that even Monday’s become your friend, and not your enemy.

Just zone out !

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have you every felt that something is wrong but you cant label it ? yes , that feeling within you which forces you to think about every little aspect of yourself and your surroundings . It’s not fair honestly for us to even participate in all that ‘thinking’ , but we cant stop .

It doesn’t matter if you have 100s of friends or a small social group of friends who meet on daily basis , truth is it can happen to anyone anywhere in this world , your circumstances don’t contribute but yes your own mind does , which keeps on creating misinformation for you which leads to getting trapped in a dark pit where even people who mean us the world to us cant change anything . this so called ‘thing’ is Depression .

Don’t be ashamed of what you are going through because you do matter …

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