I came across this short little post I’d written 9 years back, ruminating on how we are so different. I believe if there’s anything that this year has proven, it is that just my small wish of uniting us my name was so naive.
We, the people of India; the divided people of India.
We are divided by states. We are divided by religion. We are divided by language. We are divided by accent. We are divided by names. We are divided by color.
This was such a thrilling documentary. I have rarely used that adjective for a documentary. But this one is so very different. I cannot fathom someone’s possession for their passion can blind them to the risks rather conspicuous to the rest. I was aware of the free soloing as a form of climbing. What took me by surprise was the level of planning that goes into the preparation. In hindsight, it was foolish of me to think that wasn’t the case, that the act was spontaneous.
I can’t think of a better way to captures the immediacy of war than how Sam Mendes does with 1917. The single-take narration grips one right from the beginning and never lets off even for a moment. I was with the characters throughout their journey, feeling their anxiety, their pain. I entered every new terrain, turned every dark corner equally uneasy. What Mendes and his cinematographer Roger Deakins manage to achieve is absolute brilliance. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie and was left gasping by the end. A cinematic masterpiece.
Another war flick that, sure, aimed to be different. A fast-paced action thriller about battleships is not very common. However, the economical 75 minutes of the runtime itself felt too long. The fights felt repetitive and with no other thread to hold the plot together, it was easy to skip over. Tom Hanks sells the character though. However, I am tired now of seeing him play the perfect guy. He needs to play some grey characters now, someone with a few flaws.
Bonus – Quarantine Special
I also finally watched the Quarantine special episode of Mythic Quest. This is the best show on Apple TV+, period. And this special episode was exactly what I needed now — an understanding of what I and most of us are going through in current times. What’s commendable is that it does so without giving up on the hilarity. As the episode came to the climax, it had me jumping with momentary joy. With my eyes full of happy, hopeful tears and my fists clenched, [spoiler alert] I joined Ian to shout out loud “Fuck you Coronavirus”.
I have been closely monitoring what affects my behaviour recently. One of the aspects that I’d identified was that I was always judging myself, was always thinking, analyzing my current actions for their effect on my future. I’d decided to stop doing that. But while I wrote that, I hadn’t realized that there is deeper malady there — my subconscious quest to be a perfectionist.
As I was reading an essay about the downsides of perfectionism from Amanda Ruggeri at BBC, it made me aware that I’ve also been affected by the same trait she was warning about. I want things to be done perfectly.
At home. At work. With the activities that I do on my own. With my family. With my peers, my superiors.
It is that perfectionist voice within me that’s constantly judging me, judging others. Even now, am thinking and rethinking on the ways I could word this prose. This paragraph. Is it the best way to make my point?
Why? Why do I do that? It can’t be healthy.
Even on Google, the first autocomplete suggestion for “Perfectionism” is “Perfectionism is a disease”. I wouldn’t term this trait as that — I don’t want to flippantly use a word while representing any form of mental disorder — it ain’t a “disease” for sure. However, even an offhand read through the internet would convince you that perfectionism can lead to a laundry list of such disorders. Anxiety. Depression. And much more.
I am not sure if my habit of aiming for perfection in every task is affecting my mood and my mind in any alarming way yet. However, I think it does lead me to procrastinate at times. I don’t have time now, will do it later “perfectly,” I can hear my mind say every now and then.
Well, it’s believed and acknowledged to be a vicious cycle – perfectionism, procrastination and paralysis. Or thought another way, it is the paralysis by analysis. Analysis paralysis.
All this lead me to a post I wrote back in 2013, on exactly the same topic of over-analyzing, overthinking. And it was then that I had linked to this term of Analysis paralysis for the first time.
That was 7 years ago. I believe I haven’t managed to get rid of my trait yet. It might be time to think about getting rid of this habit. To not let my pursuit for things to be perfect to affect me, to paralyze me.
I subscribed to Pocket Premium today. Recently, I have been reading a lot of articles on the web. And most of the times, it is on Pocket. I save the recommended articles from newsletters, blogs or Twitter to be read later and catch up on them towards the end of the day. Or when I have some free time at my hand.
What’s in the Premium option that made me upgrade from the free tier, you ask? Well, first of all, I wanted to support a service that’s part of Mozilla family. I’ve been a long time Instapaper user, but since Mozilla acquired Pocket, I have been using the later as my primary read later service.
I have also been using Pocket extensively to find the right articles to be included as part of my newsletter. I read a lot, heavily curate and include just a few of them. So my Pocket list and archive are always full of some great writings from many brilliant sources. I do not want to lose any of these wonderful essays.
I wanted to make Pocket a sort of my online reading library — it’s even better if it’s permanent as Pocket promises with an upgrade to Premium. The upgrade also offers full-text search which comes handy when finding that one article that talked about some peculiar topic. The biggest draw was the unlimited highlighting. The 3 highlights that the free option offered was limiting when each long read that I saved was full of thoughts worthy of absorption and introspection.
I have paid for a year; the pricing that it offers in-app is worth my current extent of the use of the service. I will re-evaluate after a year again. For now, Pocket stays the service of my choice.
Finished reading Atomic Habits by James Clear.
I didn’t want to read another self-help book. But this one had been recommended to me for so many days, so many times that I had to read this once. Going in, I absolutely knew what to expect of the book. I got just that. It just was structured well enough to keep me going.
James Clear has got a nice framework in place — make good habits obvious, attractive, easy and satisfying. One can understand why that is important. He also presents it with enough examples and detailed description. I just wish it was shorter. A few chapters feel repetitive and only to be there to meet the page count goal. We could trim almost a third of the book and it would still be equally effective.
Anyway, the rating is for the simple way James presents the framework. There’s something to be learnt from this, for sure.
I recently wanted to attempt meditation again. I have already tried getting into a habit of regular meditation sessions many times before this. However, as always, even this time, I couldn’t go through the sessions for any significant duration of time. I can’t seem to understand what I am missing.
Maybe my mind is just not wired to be able to get something out of the process. Or maybe my surrounding, my current lifestyle is too chaotic to lend me space, the time to meditate. Thoughts always rush into my mind. From work. From home. From things done well. From things not yet done. I would never get into the zone where I am listening to my breathing. Maybe I am just too distracted within.
And the fact that meditation can probably help me overcome that inattention is also why it is even more frustrating that I can’t appreciate this practice. I have heard many people claim how meditation calms their mind. Get the clarity of thoughts. Focus. So I feel this can help me be not this distracted. But then while I am meditating, I feel helpless to control how my mind wanders around.
I have tried multiple apps. I have tried guided sessions. Nothing seems to help. At times, I am even judging the voice that guides me. And I just sigh in disappointment.
I had heard CGP Grey talk about a similar experience in one of the episodes of Hello Internet where he just can’t get himself to meditate.
I gave meditation a real try. It’s not that I hate it. It’s not that it’s hard. It’s just that my brain does not want to do this. It’s really pushing back.
I was nodding incessantly as Grey spoke about his frustration of not being able to appreciate the benefits of meditation. I feel equally frustrated when I hear someone talk about how the sessions leave them more mindful, more relaxed. It just doesn’t do it for me.