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These 10 questions to ask yourself are a reality check when your life seems too ‘comfortable’ and you appear to be doing all that is expected of you.
Have you looked into the mirror? Have you faced yourself? Are you living a full life? Do you think you are really alive or are you just existing? Does someone else decide your life-path or career-track? Are you a prisoner or do you live like a free bird?
Before I start, let me put in place these disclaimers:
1. You cannot choose when and where you are born.
2. You cannot choose who your parents are.
Now ask yourself the following questions.
1. Do you decide what you do or did someone else decide for you?
Did you choose how your life shapes out? Do you do what you want to do, or what others want you to do? Do you catch yourself in a particular situation, wishing you were somewhere else, or rather be doing something else?
2. Do you try to make others happy before yourself?
Are you always falling short of what you expect from yourself? Are you often doing things too dumb for your intelligence level? Do you allow pessimists to discourage you? Do you allow your standards to fall since/when no one notices/appreciates it?
3. Do you seek others’ opinion too many times?
Do others tell you what to wear and what to buy and which place to visit? Are you copying others or being original? Do you have your own rhythm, or are you always trying to catch up with others, for ‘status’?
4. Before attempting something, do you think ,”What will others say”?
Do you feel scared to be ‘different’? Can you cause a real Change, or do you wait for changes to happen themselves? Are you contributing to India’s development, or are you waiting for the day when you suddenly wake up one fine morning and realize that India has become a developed country?
5. Do you often feel, “I wish I had done this earlier?”
Did you forget to catch yourself young? Do you think it is too late to try something new? Do you say, “I am too old to try/do/learn this”? Do you make long-term promises to yourself, and keep them?
6. Do you feel on Monday mornings, “Arrey yaar, aur ek week shuru ho gaya!“ (“Oh dear, another week begins!”)
Do you have a job or a career? Are you in the wrong place? In the wrong environment? Among wrong people? Is your profession giving you happiness and fulfillment, or are just working for the salary to pay your bills? Do you feel your work is repetitive and monotonous, rather than exciting and challenging?
7. Do you get silenced by others?
Do you feel you cannot voice your opinion and no one knows what you really want? Do others tell you what you should and should not do? Are you scared to answer back? Are you always looking for others to support you?
8. Do you find solace in pre-conceived notions and ‘norms’?
Are you scared to have your own definitions of everything? Do you feel helpless? Do you feel suffocated? Do you put up brave (fake) smiles to show you are OK? Do you feel imprisoned by faceless powers? Do you dare to be better than your previous generation(s)?
9. Do you feel nervous going beyond your comfort zone?
Do you do only easy things, or do you take up challenges? Do you take chances? Would you take the risk or play safe? Do you dare to ‘break rules’ or you are too obedient? Do you start something different, but give up midway, without seeing the end? Do you follow through?
10. Do you avoid success since you are scared of the responsibility of maintaining success?
Are you content with mediocrity? Do you chase your dreams or think, “Oh! I have done enough!”? Are you unsure of your consistency in the future? Do you prefer to be average or stretch your limits?
Dare to answer these questions.
Dare to face yourself.
Let yourself loose.
Live your life.
You do not need anyone’s permission for that.
First published at the author’s blog
Image of woman facing herself in the mirror via Shutterstock
Professor at Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur.
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