Headed For A Heartbreak

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There’s something so beautiful and alluring about love. Everyone talks about how it helps you grow and brings out the best in you. How it feels like to love and to be loved. And then people also talk about how it destroys you. The way it dismantles you and breaks you after it’s gone. They talk about scars and healing and forgiving and believing and of course, hope.

But what people don’t talk about is the hardship and distress you endure while sustaining it. The days when you don’t feel like you’re in love. The days when you want to give up on something or someone. The days when you feel so lost and restless that you cannot find your way back. The days you shut your eyes in anguish trying hard to not let go. The days when you just want to push the person away and breathe in the air around you. Just you. The times when you decide to put yourself first after pouring in all the efforts you could over months and years and how they were not reciprocated.

So you do. You let the person you thought the world of go away. You push them out even.

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People also don’t talk about the aftermath and the absolute destruction it causes. The way your world falls apart like a controlled explosion in the middle of a bustling city with no one to get hurt but yourself. People don’t talk about the days where you have to wake up and live each day knowing that you are the reason for your own doom. The moments when you wish you could turn back the time and do something different to have made it last.

You think about how you should’ve worn that stupid Christmas hairband with the reindeer horns that she was obsessed with. Or how you should’ve worn his favorite shade of lipstick.

People also don’t talk about how these little regrets are nothing but a trail of breadcrumbs which leads to the first house that both of you made with innocent love. There are pictures of you enjoying on your first day on the nightstand by the bed. The bed too, is left exactly the way it looked the first time you undressed in front of them and had more than a naked body for them to judge. The curtains are slightly open too and the window gazes straight into your soul, more bare than your body in front of them. The house is nothing but a mirage and you standing there is an image of you from your perfect past.

So what people don’t talk about, is how you take a sledgehammer and bring that house down and sit in the rubble, your crying face in your palm and wail till you can’t speak anymore. Cry till your voice gives away.

Then you stand up and find another person to build a home with, the sledgehammer still tucked under your shirt though.

Yes. That. Let’s talk about that.

Vaishnavi Arote & Janak Goswami

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A Rollercoaster 12 Hours, A Weird Morning and Diljit Dosanjh

So last night was date night. We had a great time, got good food and a lot to drink, the place was chill and the vibe brilliant and we danced the night away. 

There was a lot of laughs and great conversations too. Ranging from favorite TV Shows to favorite authors and books to embarrassing stories. Fast forward to coming back home and sleeping like a baby thanks to all the alcohol. 

Woke up this morning and felt THE MOST BLAH I’ve ever felt. Very unusual, given my mornings are very productive with workouts and some reading time before getting ready for work.

But did not feel like doing anything so simply stayed in bed for what seemed like an eternity and still had a couple of hours until getting ready for work. Mom wasn’t up yet. So headed to the kitchen, made some aloo parathas for everybody for breakfast, packed my lunch and got ready for work.

Walked to work while listening to some music and now just staring at a stupid screen, with nothing on my mind still. It’s going to be a very long day, I know it. Some respite came in the form of an extra bounce in my step for a total of 3:44 mins while listening to G. O. A. T. by Diljit Dosanjh. 

Idk how to elaborate this blah feeling but at this point, I am very close to shouting into a pillow just to feel something. What a weird 14 hours 😪😪

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Game Review – Tokaido

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COVID has played spoiled sport to all your travel plans? How about I tell you a way in which you can travel through a beautiful town in Japan, explore various panoramas along your way as well as indulge in some shopping?

Sounds exciting, right?

Come onboard this journey with me through this picturesque board game called Tokaido.

The game consists of : 1 Game Board, 5 traveler piece, 5 Travel point markers, 5 player colour tokens, 50 Coins, 10 Traveler tile, 12 Hot spring card, 60 Panorama cards, 25 meal cards, 24 souvenir cards, 14 Encounter cards, 7 Achievement cards. 

Set up the board as shown in the picture below. There are a lot of elements in the game, once you know them, each play shall not take more than 20 minutes.

A Guide To The Photo Above

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  • A – score markers
  • B – Traveller Card
  • D – Coins To Begin With
  • E – Traveller
  • F – Temple Coins
  • 1 – Game Board
  • 2 – Bonus Points
  • 3 – Meal Cards
  • 4 – Souvenir Cards
  • 5 – Encounter Cards
  • 6 – Hot Spring Cards
  • 7 – Panaroma
  • 8 – Coins

To begin with, each player must be given a choice of 2 traveler tiles, drawn randomly. The player keeps one of them. Each traveler tile has a special power and it denotes the number of coins the player shall begin with. 

After choosing the card the player shall pick their colour- place it at the Inn (the staring place) as depicted in the picture above (E) and shall put their corresponding point marker at the top (A).

The game is now set-up and ready for play. The player during his course of journey till the last inn shall come across various stops such as :

 The Village – Where one can buy souvenirs and make a set of 4 souvenirs in order to get more points;

 The Temple – Where the player can donate upto 3 coins;

Encounter & Hot Springs – If you stop at the encounter or hot spring – Draw the top most card;

Panorama – There are three panoramas – Paddy, Mountain, Sea – Complete their sets to get the bonus card;

Farm – If you are out of coins stop at the farm and take 3 coins from the bank;

Inn – There are a total of 4 Inns in the game, one each at the start and end and remaining two it he middle of the game. All players must gather at the Inn for a meal and then move ahead. The first player at the Inn picks up meal cards (3) equivalent to the number of players playing the game. For example- if there are 3 players, 3 meal cards will be picked up. The first player shall buy one meal from those cards and then pass the cards to the 2nd player who will then pass it to the last player. The player who last entered the Inn shall now proceed ahead. A player shall continue their turn till the time they are the farthest from the Inn in comparison to the remaining players. 

The game though looks difficult to understand, is super fun to play with once all the elements are understood. 

If you wish to buy this game or know more about it, please feel free to get in touch! You can click on the WhatsApp button below to comment or leave a comment.

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Healthy Protein Pancakes

This is my recipe that I use for protein pancakes which I eat on a cheat day or when I want to eat Nutella guilt free after an intense workout. It’s not the healthiest thing and neither is it the tastiest variation of it, but something I do enjoy guilt-free.

Instructions

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  1. Gather all the dry ingredients mentioned below. Strain them through a big strainer into a bowl and make sure there are no lumps.
  2. I use Dymatize ISO100 (chocolate flavoured) and its sweeter and tastier than most other whey supplements I’ve consumed. Whey by Quest Protein is also great for cooking.
  3. Depending on the taste/sweetness of your protein supplement and in case you plan to skip adding a banana due to it’s flavour you will probably need to add a little more sugar than in this recipe (a ripe banana adds a lot of sweetness to the pancakes).
  4. Then gather all the dry and wet ingredients in a big bowl. Mix everything together with a hand beater thoroughly to get rid of all the lumps until it’s a smooth batter with dropping consistency.
  5. Spray some butter/coconut oil on the over a non-stick pan, and then put some batter and cook both sides like you normally would.

Dry Ingredients

1 Cup Wheat Flour (Can use all purpose flour, but I try to avoid it since whole wheat flour is richer in nutrition and better for digestion).
1 1/2 Tbsp Drinking Chocolate (according to taste actually)
1 1/2 Tbsp Powdered Sugar (You can skip this. I personally add a banana for sweetness)
1 Tbsp Eno or Baking Powder
1 Scoop Chocolate Flavoured Protein Powder (I use Dymatize ISO100)

Wet Ingredients

2 Tbsp curd
3/4th to 1 cup Milk
1 Mashed Banana
1 Tbsp Virgin Coconut Oil

Ps. You can also use vanilla essence along with vanilla flavoured protein powder as a substitute to the drinking chocolate and chocolate protein. You can also add half a tablespoon of salt and cinnamon if you choose to.

Toppings

You can add toppings of your choice. You could add tiny chunks of chocolate chips or dried fruits into the pancakes while they’re cooking or some Nutella and Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup and similar toppings as earlier after the pancake has cooked too.

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Cauliflower Based Pizza Crust And Recipe

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This Cauliflower Pizza Crust recipe is a healthy veggie-packed option that is naturally gluten-free and grain-free. It is perfect for people who still want to eat their pizza, while following a low-carb or food combining diet.

Note : Scroll down to the bottom of the page for ingredients and specific instructions.

How to Make A Cauliflower Pizza

Making a cauliflower pizza is straight-forward, but a little labor intensive. If you start with fresh cauliflower, you’ll need to steam it until tender. (You can skip this step by using frozen cauliflower– read further down in this post for more info). Then, you’ll pulse it in a food processor until it’s rice-like in texture.

(You can save even more time by purchasing pre-riced cauliflower, either fresh or frozen.)

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The Secret to a Non-Soggy Crust

Once your cauliflower is tender and “riced” you’ll need to squeeze out the moisture that cauliflower naturally contains. This is the secret to getting a dry crust that you can pick up with your hands. (I use a simple thin handkerchief).

Once the cauliflower “rice” is very dry, you mix it with an egg or flax egg (if you’re vegetarian), soft goat cheese (which gives the crust a better texture than using shredded cheese), and some Italian seasonings.

If you don’t have goat cheese on hand, you can try mozzarella, cheddar, or even cream cheese with similar results. The texture is the driest with the soft goat cheese, though.

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The crust won’t be like anything else you’ve worked with before – you spread it with a spatula, and use your hands to press and shape the dough.

Bake until the crust is dry and golden, then flip it and bake longer until the other side isn’t soggy. I use the parchment paper to make the flipping process easier.

(You don’t need a second piece of parchment paper after you flip it– the baked crust won’t stick to the pan after it’s been flipped.)

Cauliflower Pizza Toppings

One last thing to keep in mind when making a cauliflower pizza crust is that you should try to keep the sauces minimal so that it doesn’t re-hydrate the crust and make it soggy and the same goes for the cheese. (Remember, there’s already some cheese baked into the crust, too!)

How to Freeze Cauliflower Pizza Crust

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Because making a cauliflower pizza crust can be a bit labor-intensive, I like to double the recipe and make two large crusts (or 4 smaller crusts for individual pizzas) and freeze the extras for an easy future meal.

I’ve found that this works best by baking the crusts, and then freezing them in an airtight container. That way, when you’re ready to make a pizza, you can simply place the frozen crust on a pizza sheet and bake it at 400ºF just until it’s heated through, about 10 minutes.

Then add your toppings and bake for 5-10 minutes more, until the cheese is bubbling.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 pounds cauliflower florets , riced
  • 1 egg , beaten (or a Flax Egg)
  • 1/3 cup soft goat cheese (chevre)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano pinch of salt
  • Pinch of salt
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INSTRUCTIONS

1. Preheat the oven to 400oF. If using fresh cauliflower, fill a large pot over medium heat with an inch of water. Fit a steamer basket into the pot, then pour the raw cauliflower into the steamer basket. Bring the water to a boil and cover the pot, steaming the cauliflower until it is very tender and can be pierced with a fork.

2. If using frozen cauliflower, be sure to thaw it completely before getting started, then continue with the following steps.

3. Pour the completely thawed, or freshly steamed, cauliflower into a large food processor fitted with an “S” blade. (You may have to do this in batches if you have a smaller food processor.) Process until a rice-like texture is created. If you bought frozen riced cauliflower, you can skip this step and proceed to the next one.

4. Transfer the “rice” to a clean, thin dishtowel. Wrap up the steamed rice in the dishtowel, twist it up, then SQUEEZE all the excess moisture out! (Be careful if your cauliflower is still hot– you may want to let it cool before handling.) A lot of extra liquid will be released, which will leave you with a nice and dry pizza crust.

5. In a large bowl, mix up the squeezed-out rice, egg, goat cheese, and spices. (Don’t be afraid to use your hands! You want it very well mixed.) It won’t be like any pizza dough you’ve ever worked with, but don’t worry– it’ll hold together!

6. Press the dough out onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. (It’s important that it’s lined with parchment paper, or it will stick.) Keep the dough about 1/4″ to 1/2″ thick, and make the edges a little higher for a “crust” effect, if you like.

7. Bake for 30-35 minutes at 400F, until dry and golden. Use the parchment paper to flip the crust over, and bake again until the other side is nice and dry, about 10 to 15 more minutes.

8. Add your favorite pizza toppings to the crust, such as sauce and cheese, then return the pizza to the 400F oven. Bake an additional 5-10 minutes, just until the cheese is hot and bubbly. Slice and serve warm.

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Book Review – The Firm by John Grisham

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“𝘐𝘧 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘥𝘰𝘯’𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘬 𝘢𝘣𝘰𝘶𝘵 𝘥𝘦𝘢𝘵𝘩, 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘥𝘰𝘯’𝘵 𝘢𝘱𝘱𝘳𝘦𝘤𝘪𝘢𝘵𝘦 𝘭𝘪𝘧𝘦.”

John Grisham

What if the company you worked for was a front for the mafia?

What if your dream organization was shady and incriminated you after certain years working there?

That is exactly what this amazing book is all about!

One of the most intriguing stories ever written by the brilliant writer Grisham!

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A Harvard Law Graduate with a poor background, looking for climbing the ladder of the corporate world is recruited by THE FIRM. A house, a BMW, over 70K+ salary a year (in the 90s) and so many perks that it was baffling and too good to be true.

Soon, the story follows the protagonist and his family getting stuck between the safety of their lives and the constant pressure from the FBI to stand as a witness. The Firm is shady and a front for the Italian Mafia. The Firm has everything, every ounce of information about you to incriminate you in case of contingency.

What do you do when your life is thrown apart, just like that?

You will experience the journey from the protagonist’s eyes. The surge of emotions, the high stakes, and a life and death situation. You can actually feel it as you continue reading this masterpiece of a book.

The plot keeps you on the edge of your seat as it keeps getting better with each chapter. Every time a new twist, a new turn to keep you wanting for more and more. The ending is bitter-sweet and very realistic compared to what is expected by the readers.

Read this thriller novel for an exciting adventure in the world of Law Firms through the life of a man who has everything one could ask for in this world and yet nothing at the same time!

10/10 will recommend this book!

Note : If you want to reach out to the author of this post, click here.

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How To Make a Flax Egg

A step-by-step tutorial of how to make a flax egg, egg substitute for baking!

PREP TIME
5 mins
Total Time
5 mins
Ingredients

1 Tbsp flaxseed meal (ground raw flaxseed)

2 1/2 Tbsp water
Instructions

Add flaxseed meal and water to a dish and stir. Let rest for 5 minutes to thicken. Add to recipes in place of 1 egg (as original recipe is written).

It’s not an exact 1:1 substitution in every recipe because it doesn’t bind and stiffen during baking quite like an egg does. But I’ve found it to work incredibly well in pancakes, quick breads, brownies, muffins, cookies and many other recipes.

Notes

*This is not my original recipe, but one I discovered on many vegan baking blogs and have since adapted for my own use.

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Is Less Really More?

‘Less is more. 

We’ve read this a million times, and although this mostly applies in an artistic or design context, it is widely misinterpreted. This phrase was first used in 1855 by Andrea del Sarto, an architect who used it when referring to the desirability of less visual clutter in the building of homes. 

This saying goes with design too. The idea is to design something that’s not so overly complicated that it robs the fun for the perceiver, who’s trying to make more sense of it than being able to enjoy it. Various studies also show how working excessively hard, putting in extra effort at work is something to brag about for many people, is not always the most healthy thing.

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But is less really more?

For design and art? Probably. For your career and work-life balance? Maybe. But for life too?

I mean, what does ‘Less is more’ even mean when it comes to life?

That you sit back and laze around and relax, maybe watch Netflix or go out on during the weekends and non-work hours? I mean, I don’t know. I am no expert to critique someone’s way and neither is there one perfect answer for everybody. So you do you!

Me personally though, I don’t believe that. Having been brought up in a Gujarati family, I’ve seen my father work 14 hours a day and build himself up from nothing. How things have been over the last 20 years, from living in a small 1BHK house to now living in a big enough home to have adequate space for all our luxuries. And while there were a lot of times, annual days or sports days, when I wanted him to be there for me and he wasn’t, it was disappointing but I also understood why it was the way it was. 

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But it was not like he wasn’t there for the important times, because he was. And having said all of that, I have seen my mother work equally hard, maybe even harder with having to raise 2 sons, take care of their education and extra curriculars, take care of the home, etc. 

So yeah, working hard or ‘Hustle’ as the call it, is all I’ve ever known and something I try to duplicate for myself from my parent’s lives. If there’s anything else that motivates me to Hustle, it is Sports & Athletes and Steve Job’s speech at Stanford University. If you’ve heard the speech you know that no lesson as small as it may be, ever goes to waste.

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But I want to do it in my own way. I want to learn things I like and that interest me; And I know it’s not going to go waste. It is quite possible that it won’t help me in my career, but it’ll help me in some way and if not anything, it brings me a lot of joy. What price would you put on that?

I am doing a ton of things today – Learning mandarin, taking up dance lessons, working on writing my own book, maintaining this blog, studying for my GMAT exams and taking some boxing lessons and practicing yoga too. I barely have any time to breathe all through the day, but I am also the happiest I have ever been. These activities although physically draining, just bring nothing but peace to me mentally. 

I always knew academics weren’t my strongest suit and I am living my truth today. I have an amazing mentor at work who invests time and energy in me to ensure I’m growing and pushing myself. My workouts help me channel all my excess energy (and sometimes rage) in a productive way, my reading helps me gain more perspective and knowledge, my writing helps me express my feelings and emotions and learning Mandarin (and already knowing English and Hindi) means I can speak to roughly every other person on this planet.

But here’s the funny part : I never did any of these things for the reasons I’ve mentioned above. I just did these activities to plug holes in my daily routine where I was simply wasting time watching TV or idling around; and because I had very easy access to them. But it kept on adding joy to my daily routine and overall value to my life and I love it. Because,

I am not here to live, I am here to leave a legacy.

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‘You’ve got to find what you love,’ Jobs says

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If you can spare 7-10 minutes of your time, read this Commencement speech by Steve Jobs at Stanford in 2005. It changed my life, maybe it inspires yours too!

Source : Stanford News | Disclaimer : I do not own this article. I am simply publishing it here.|

I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I’ve ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That’s it. No big deal. Just three stories.

The first story is about connecting the dots.

I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?

It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: “We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?” They said: “Of course.” My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.

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And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents’ savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn’t see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn’t interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.

It wasn’t all romantic. I didn’t have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends’ rooms, I returned Coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example:

Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn’t have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and sans serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can’t capture, and I found it fascinating.

None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But 10 years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, it’s likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backward 10 years later.

Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

My second story is about love and loss.

I was lucky — I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents’ garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4,000 employees. We had just released our finest creation — the Macintosh — a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.

I really didn’t know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down — that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me — I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.

I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.

During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the world’s first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I returned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple’s current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.

I’m pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn’t been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.

My third story is about death.

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn’t even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor’s code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you’d have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.

I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I’m fine now.

This was the closest I’ve been to facing death, and I hope it’s the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960s, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors and Polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: It was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.

Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.” It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

Thank you all very much.

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On Joy and Sorrow By Kahlil Gibran

Then a woman said, Speak to us of Joy and Sorrow.
     And he answered:
     Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
     And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
     And how else can it be?
     The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
     Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?
     And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
     When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
     When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.
    
     Some of you say, “Joy is greater than sorrow,” and others say, “Nay, sorrow is the greater.”
     But I say unto you, they are inseparable.
     Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.

     Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.
     Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.
     When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.

Source : https://poets.org/poem/joy-and-sorrow
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Joy And Sorrow – Two Sides of The Same Coin

I was just trying to connect the dots between Joy And Sorrow the other day, after I realised that the person who brought me the most happiness was also the source of some of my misery. To summarise, their presence brought me a world of joy and their immediate absence led to me missing them immensely and their absence over an extended period troubled me and sparked my insecurity.

Upon researching while trying to find a link between the two, I came across a beautiful poem by Kahlil Gibran that talked about how Joy and Sorrow are inseparable and connected at it’s source. If you haven’t read his words yet, check them out here! They’re just beautiful words that everyone should read once.

The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
     Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?
     And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
     When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.

Here’s all that I’ve understood, of why joy and sorrow go hand in hand.

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Just the way a dark night is followed by a bright sunny morning, in life happiness is followed by sorrow. Once you feel happiness at any point in your life, you wish to be in that situation forever but that is not how things work. Every positive is followed by a negative and every negative is followed by a positive and that is how you know the worth of happiness and the reason to grab it more often. When you know the feeling of happiness and suddenly get into a situation of a slight sorrow, you question fate about why it is happening to you inspite of the situation being as normal as any other situation.

Nothing in this world is constant. What might seem like happiness to you today might seem to be the source of your sorrow at some other point in your life. Nothing is constant and everything is relative. Hence, it is all in your perspective. That is precisely why it is important to practice gratitude, so as to make these moments count. Here’s a few metaphors to explain my point :

Life is a Blend of Thorns and Roses

Our life is a mix of opposites and contrasts. It is a combination of such opposing entities as happiness and sorrow, pleasure and pain and enjoyment and stress. No human being can always be happy and nobody can be sad all the time. We as human beings feel dejected whenever something wrong happens with us and we do feel happy when something good happens to us.

Rose is an embodiment of love, passion and beauty. Its fragrance touches our heart and its soft petals soothe our emotions. But whenever we try to hold it, it hurts us with its prickling thorns. It signifies that whenever we want to achieve something big in life, something which gives us happiness and comfort, we have to go through lots of hardships or we have to face bad experiences of life.

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Disappointments Lead to Accomplishment

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Those who get all the pleasures and luxuries of life without struggling remain weak emotionally and naturally, weakness leads to failure. What happens when you get everything in life just by putting a finger on it? You won’t realise the importance of struggle and hard work as if life is all cakes and ale. The crux of the matter is that it is the fusion of pleasure and pain which makes one’s life successful.

A kid who is born with a silver spoon in his mouth gets all the amenities and delicacies in life. He gets expensive toys and breaks them within a couple of days. He doesn’t even feel guilty because he knows that he will get a replacement soon. Gradually he becomes impatient and throws tantrums when things don’t go his way.

On the other hand, a poor boy whose family can’t even make ends meet tends to show a totally different behaviour. Because life is nothing but an endless strugglefor him, he enjoys the little bit of food that can fill his belly. Moreover, if by chance he gets some broken toy lying on the street or in a pile of garbage, he picks it and keeps it with a great care.

This just shows us how we value things and think about things differently.

When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going

It is an apt saying that fortune favours the brave. Brave people are not affected by the misfortune striking them adversely. They regard disappointments and frustrations of life as stepping stones to success. Nobody is born great. Those who defeat their adversities are bound to be successful. If you have everything going wrong in your life, take your time and strike back with even more enthusiasm and vigour. Stay calm! Be focused! Ups and downs of life make life worth-living and meaningful.

Life and Death

Life and death work together. There is no second that belongs entirely to life or entirely to death. The first second of life is also the first second of death. Death can take place even in the first second. Creation and destruction go hand in hand. One cannot find even one man who has been only praised, never condemned, or always condemned and never praised. Both go together.

Thus, the balance of the universe is always maintained.

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Are Masks Safe To Wear While Working Out?

Popular opinion is that a mask poses a lot of discomfort even while not exerting oneself, wearing one while working out can be even harder. To put all your doubts to rest, we consulted with care.fit pulmonologist, Dr. Manish Sahu.

The early days of the new normal were difficult for everyone. Wearing a mask has been the biggest change that we have had to adapt to. We’ve come a long way since then, adding masks to colour coordinate with our OOTDs and even to bridal ensembles.

The question is, do we add it to our workout gear? Let’s find out.

But, first let’s clarify the biggest misconception about masks –They interfere with the concentration of oxygen when we breathe

In truth, the concentration of oxygen that is available to a person without a mask vs with a mask on does not change. The pores of the mask are large enough to allow oxygen to come through. The only reason you feel uncomfortable is because you’re not used to wearing a mask. In fact, it is the airflow – volume of air one inhales and exhales – that gets affected when you wear a mask. 

Now back to the main question – do you need to wear a mask while working out?

The short answer, yes!

Strong exhalations during a workout help to regulate body temperature. Also, natural actions such as coughing or sneezing are hard to control. As a result we may spit droplets. A mask prevents these aerosols from circulating and thus makes the gym safe for you and for everyone. 

So, what kind of mask should you wear while working out? 

There are a large variety of face masks in a variety of materials.  It is recommended to wear a 2- or 3-ply cotton mask or even a single use mask. Do not wear N95 masks.

So, a light or moderate workout (like walking) with a fabric mask or even a single use mask, is no problem at all! Keep in mind that these masks can get wet because of sweat, so, keep a change handy. 

 It is not recommended to do vigorous exercises with a mask on. 

This is because while doing vigorous exercises air regulation through the mouth is less thereby impacting the regulation of body temperature.

What to do if you are working out alone at the gym? 

Well, even then, your mask should be on because asymptomatic carriers of covid are a great risk of spreading the virus. Why risk an infection, right?

Is there anyone who shouldn’t wear a mask?

People with chronic respiratory and cardiac problems should not use mask while exercising. They should workout at home  alone.

What about face visors? 

Face visors are an additional layer of protection and in no way a replacement for masks.  They alone are not sufficient. They provide insufficient protection against floating, infected droplets. They aren’t sealed and allow air to enter one’s nostrils and mouth. Use them if you must, but, never without a mask.

Lastly,  sanitise diligently, maintain social distancing at all times, and wear the right mask – all of which will ensure that you, and everyone you’re working out with are safe. Don’t forget to clean your masks every day to ensure maximum safety!

Disclaimer : I do not own this article. This article was originally published here. It was insightful and I felt like sharing it with the readers on this page. I should also tell you that I have been a member of Cult.Fit for almost a year now and use their gyms regularly.