Category Archives: yin and yang
Posted by maansi
I was having a casual conversation with a colleague one day when he spouted something rather profound. I was more than impressed with what he had surmised. He looked at my open mouth when he had finished and said, “You know, that’s my superpower, the ability to discern blah, blah, blah…”.
It doesn’t matter now what he said just then or what that superpower was; what I thought rather intriguing was that he had thought about it long enough, introspected and analyzed to come to a conclusion about what his superpower was.
Since then, having thought about it some, I have reached my own conclusion and that is that for an individual exploring their own superpower it can be good for their soul. In fact, I have developed a few theories about this topic.
No matter their stage in life, every individual has been gifted or gained a number of inherent strengths. Nature or nurture, it doesn’t really matter how they have secured these, just that they do have them. Of all these strengths, I would say that a person’s “superpower” is one among those that is exceptional and truly stands out from the others. It is one that has been life-changing or has the potential to be for that individual.
In this context, “superpower” is defined as “excessive or superior power“. Yours and mine. 🙂 Yes, I believe everyone has at least one.
Once you have thought hard to determine what your superpower is (let’s assume one superpower, for simplicity), I believe you will never, ever take it for granted. And when life throws you some curveballs, you will tend to intentionally bring it out and let it do its work. That’s my theory anyway. One I’ve yet to practice – mostly because I had never given a thought to what my superpower might be.
In fact, I doubt that most people think about it that much, leave alone introspect more deeply about it. [Unless you’re a narcissist, in which case you obsess about it, and think that you and you alone have a zillion superpowers. Let’s assume you’re not one of those]. If you’re “normal” (and not a narcissist), you can easily go through life ignoring the superpower(s) you have. For one thing, it takes some serious introspection that most people do not indulge in. And for some, it can be downright uncomfortable to even think about this. Plus, of course, everyone’s “too busy” living life, so where’s the time? Ha.
I had to stop and force myself to think about it. Indeed, it was a deliberate and purposeful action. I listed what I deduced to be my strengths, trying to be as objective and honest as possible about them. Then, I scratched out all that I would consider “normal powered” strengths. I was left with a shortlist of three “above-normal” strengths that I then further analyzed until one stood out as distinctive and “life changing”. I’m rather embarrassed to admit what it was since it is so mundane and actually quite boring. But it’s a superpower for me because it has truly been life-changing…and life-making.
I think you should try out this exercise for yourself. It may just be for the heck of it but as you traverse life, and when you recognize what you have in your power – nay, in your superpower, I believe you will be intentional about using it for your benefit. Especially when life gets in the way, as it sometimes does.
Just for grins, I conducted this exercise on myself to also understand what my anti-superpower was. [There’s not an antonym for “superpower” that I could find]. And what an interesting ride that was! Just as before, I had to stop, think and make a list – and this time, it’s one with all my weaknesses, my failings, my deficiencies. I shouldn’t be surprised that this was a longer list! Then, I ranked these qualities until I got to the one that has probably been the most impactful and life-changing – in a very negative way. That is my anti-superpower. It pays to know this too. Now, I can be very intentional about keeping it at bay!
Come to think of it, this latter exercise is just as useful as (if not more than) the previous one.
Try it out, why don’t you? When you have a few moments of do-nothing time on your hands, play this game. It’s really not for anyone but yourself. Go ahead, discover that superpower of yours that you’ve always had – but never appreciated or cherished. Recognize that you have this superpower and pull it to the forefront to help you navigate life. And while you’re at it, find your anti-superpower – that major barrier, blocker, impediment to your happiness/growth/success – so that you can just tell it to go away and hide somewhere in the background.
By Fleischer Studios – File:Superman 1 The Mad Scientist 1941.ogv, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=76043745
Posted by maansi
“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
― Ernest Hemingway
The fact that I have changed countries, continents, lifestyles and jobs hasn’t stopped me like I expected it to. I’m still blogging away to glory, whether anyone cares or not.
And this in spite of a work schedule that is arguably the most intense I have ever experienced. So, there must be something to this stuff after all. Right?
In support of my recently changed location, I have had to change the title of my blog. So, now instead of “The Yin and Yang of Life In India”, I have just changed it to “The Yin and Yang of Life Anywhere“. That was simple!
It’s a therapeutic outlet for me. It’s my online diary. And it keeps my powers of observation sharp at all times. So why not?
I guess this is my attempt to promote blogging among the uninitiated.
So, shall we do it? The much-used, much-abused list of reasons why anyone – including you – should consider blogging. I had some help and encouragement before I started. So should you.
By the way, don’t buy what that dude Ernest says in the quote above. You (or I) are not trying to be another Hemingway with this!
Here, this quote is a better one for us:
“And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.”
― Sylvia Plath
From the heart, here goes…my reasons on why you (or anyone else) should blog –
1. For the pleasure of accomplishment that comes every time you start a post. And finish.
2. To record your thoughts, feelings, beliefs, ideas forever. And ever, amen.
3. To look back at what you wrote. And pat yourself on the back. I mean, was that really your work?
4. You will forever be observing and collecting ideas, storing them for later use. So much better than not absorbing life and letting it just pass you by, isn’t it?
5. Strangely enough, you start to collect readers and friends. Nice!
6. Once I begin to write, all my tiredness vanishes. Don’t ask me to explain why. It just does.
7.It makes me focus and think harder (that is what I am doing as I write this now).
8. Maybe in some small way, you are making a difference? Not quite sure about this one…
And finally, this – quoted from the book Mastery by Robert Greene, that I am in the middle of reading now; it just seemed so apropos:
“In essence, when you practice and develop any skill you transform yourself in the process. You reveal to yourself new capabilities that were previously latent, that are exposed as you progress. You develop emotionally. Your sense of pleasure becomes redefined. What offers immediate pleasure comes seem like a distraction, an empty entertainment to pass the time. Real pleasure comes from overcoming challenges, feeling confidence in your abilities, gaining fluency in skills and experiencing the power this brings. You develop patience. Boredom no longer signals the need for distraction, but rather the need for new challenges to conquer.”
But in the end if you determine that in spite of all these good reasons (and more that others can undoubtedly come up with), it’s just not for you, no worries.
Be a reader instead.
“May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art — write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.”
― Neil Gaiman