“In response to Coffee Challenge: Why I want to be a better me in 2022”
I want to step in the new phase of life with this motto “Good, better, best, Never let it rest. Until your good is better and your better is best.”
Reflecting upon the gliding into the horizon year is a challenge in in itself. Nevertheless, I now have to face it to be able to step into the year 2022 with a clean slate. Thankfully, I have my humble diary to rely upon and complete this herculean task just in time so that I am also eligible for entering this not-so-easy* Coffee Challenge. But as the year draws to a close, looking back one last time, I think the different trying circumstances and situations I’ve been through have only made my resolve more steely.
I believe we all attract challenges owing to our personality. So it follows that an overthinking person like me should set off by taking a stock of how people tend to look at me, perceive my idiosyncrasies, form opinions about me and judge me. In this context, if I were to place myself under a label then it would be the ‘taken for granted’ genre. Being a social animal, it’s quite difficult to not take into account this concept of ‘self-image’ from behavioral psychology.
I understand this is a serious condition afflicting millions of people, especially those who invest themselves into creating something new or whose work entails application of some degree of imagination. It further manifests through their system as some sort of hesitation and inhibition that constantly lurks in the background when the time is ripe to enjoy the sweet fruits of your labor.
For me the challenge itself is the problem. As mentioned earlier, I often tend to fall into the ‘overthinking’ trap and that makes my life even more complicated. On many occasions this has lead to bouts of anxiety. The moment I start thinking about it, it becomes even bigger. So, inadvertently I have been avoiding thinking about a series of challenges I faced this whole year. Of course, I did note them all down diligently, though. And look, now they have been highly instrumental in me coming up with a plan of action for the next year.
As an academician-to-writer in transition, I often found myself looking for more avenues to better my teaching-learning experience in the class. However, researching and teaching aside, one of my biggest challenges during the pandemic was to get work done from my subordinates. Knowing all too well that it would not be done, I unnecessarily got panicky and worked-up. In the course of the year I often cursed and doubted my leadership skills. To the extent that I fussed about the slightly off-center text in some silly presentation! And as a result, I ended-up doing all their work. Spending hours in absolutely unproductive paperwork. All because I thought it will land me in the good books of my seniors. My goodness, what a shallow thought! This in turn also soured my relations with my team members. As a consequence it impacted my individual performance and damaged the team spirit too. Such a heavy price to pay, no?
And then I found myself so miserable and exhausted with doing all the sundry and clerical work that writing of any kind took a backseat. My raison-detre to choose academics was now a distant land. I felt disillusioned. What seemed threatening was the comfort zone of a secure job that had enveloped me tightly. It was a direct consequence of wallowing in some borrowed pretentious aura of a knowledgeable persona. And, it was terribly addictive.
Something was terribly amiss. Either my premise including my expectations were wrong or I had been too naïve to comprehend the dynamics of higher education in this part of the hemisphere. So much for the introspection part.
And now over to what changes I am contemplating to become a better me in 2022.
First. Choose my battles wisely. My personal coach @anyadoc advised me to pick only a select few of them and focus on fighting with full might. So grateful for this sagely advice. Going forward, this clarity of thought is now going to be my beacon in the journey ahead. No point in indulging in issues that are not directly going to contribute to my growth as a writer. Second. Learning to say ‘No’. A wonderful article by
titled ‘What’s your Hourly Rate, Professor’ is such a perfect example. Third. There are tons of self-help books and resources offering useful advice on How to not give a f**k and How to say no to people, etc. etc. They did help immensely and I find them beneficial too. After all, these renowned authors have already simplified complex thought processes for us to apply in our lives. And fourth. what else, write and keep at it. These are some of the pointers that could help me achieve my motto.
is a wonderful writer on mastering life and her piece titled Honour Your Discontent turned out to be an interesting read.
A 2 min read titled ‘One Minute to Mindfulness’ by
promises to rejuvenate mind and spirit.
Here I’d also like to echo sentiments from the winner of the first #CoffeeChallenge
who aptly put it saying she was initially disappointed that the MPP was not open to writers in India. But money can never equal the value of community.
And, when it comes to reaching out to a wider audience, gratitude to writer and EIC
who continues to give me space in her amazing publication Promptly Written.
*P.S: This is just the phase I. Going by the mood of this article, I hope I am able to overcome the rest of the criteria in the maze of challenges crafted by the encouraging
at coffee times.