Originally published on 28th July, 2016.
4 minute read
The last couple of my blogs have picked up really well and I can’t thank you readers enough for the same. My blogs are basically my way of expressing what’s in my heart with the purest of intension of helping the readers connect with their own lives and have something to take away. While I always make it a point to never get carried away by the emboldening page views and rave reviews I receive, one question I constantly get is:
“Satyal, how do you write so well?”
As much as I’m thankful for the wonderful feedback I’ve received, I’m going to make an outrageous dictum and claim that I don’t really care if my future blog posts (including this one) never live up to the hype you’ve helped create.
If the past is any indicator of the future, I can say with certainty that this particular blog post of mine will yield lesser page views, will garner lesser audience and will not receive the same applause I’ve been accustomed to over the past couple of write ups.
But you know what? It isn’t necessarily vile. In fact, it is something that garners for itself a sense of gratitude. Let me tell you why.
To put it bluntly, its been quite sometime that I’ve stopped living in the past (and anxious about the future) and burdening myself with a sense of need for accomplishment as marked by external validation. Yes, you liked them. Great! But to expect myself to carry on in the same vein to continue this wave of popularity would be gibberish. I’ve always written from the bottom of my heart and now to suddenly change that into writing for ‘triumph’ validated by external yardsticks like positive comments, page views, and subscriber base would probably kill my ‘realness’ by making me put popularity over being real.
“Is being popular more appealing than being original and staying true to oneself?” I ask myself.
Only a few weeks back, one of my friends messaged me asking how it felt like to be appreciated for my writing prowess. It made me introspect deep within myself and I’m thankful for the question. Yes, it is undoubtedly a good feeling. But I’ve always been raised in a way that doesn’t allow me to take much pride in anything that may seem like an achievement at the present moment. I’ve taken my life as more of a marathon, and not merely a race; a marathon where the competitors are no one else but my own self- older versions of me and the newer ones locking horns to gain a foothold to claim supremacy in my life.
If you’d met Sagar Satyal a couple of years back, he’d probably be anxious about the success stemming out from the previous blogs. Instead of enjoying the present moment embodied by glowing admiration, he’d be restive about what is to come.
“How do I better the last one?”
“Oh my god! I’m doomed now. Its all downhill from here.”
Those would be the responses of a guy who felt that the world owed him a lot. But after going through some life changing experiences (read more about it here:http://sagarsatyal.blogspot.com/2016/05/nothing-but-gratitude.html), this gentleman has come to peace with what is.
He has come to terms with the ephemeral nature of all things in the now. So instead of measuring it with past accolades or risking emotional meltdown thinking about a bleak future, he has turned into an observer and an accepter. This made possible by a mindful-approach that governs his life.
So when it comes to accolades, praise and fame, he knows its not him speaking; just his ego mind.
This has made him search for within rather than look for outside validity. As long as he knows that his intensions are pure, he will continue doing what’s in his heart.
Only last week, a highly fulfilling mentorship session with a batch of students came to a close. There was a hint of sadness to the room and as everyone shared their parting words, these were mine:
You’ve just completed the second batch of the mentorship program. Great going! Never a day did it feel like work.
I know there were a lot of times when you had every right to go down, feel low, and not turn up. But these kids showed up for you to show up. Never was there a day when nobody showed up. How amazing is that? Did it ever feel like work? Not a single day. You are a lucky guy. You get to do what you love doing. These mentees have showed you that you are indeed worthy of being listened to. And for this, you should forever be grateful. But let me warn you- never rest on your laurels.
And don’t expect much just because this particular session went well. Always remember that everything you have can be taken away from you at one go. And your life experiences have already told you that son. You’ve learnt it early. All you could do was to impart your own learning and experiences to your mentees and you’ve done that. Now set them free. Don’t cage them. Everything either good or bad must come to an end and now it has. You’ve done your part. And if you have done it sincerely with the purest of intensions, you are good my man. You are on the right path. Whether or not the next batch shows up is secondary. If even one of your mentees felt a slight glimpse of sadness upon this program drawing to a close, you may know that you gave it your all. Wish them all well from the bottom of your heart but don’t expect much in return. Don’t expect them to talk to you everyday. Talk good things about you with others. Endorse you in some way. No, not that. That wouldn’t be giving then. It would be doing business. And were you here to do business with your mentees? That would be a sad life. But you are better than that. Let them go out now. Let them LIVE. Let them see the world out there. Let them fall and let them trip. Let them get hurt. But also, let them know that you’ll be around in some ways. Just let them know that there will be someone around in the corner who will be wishing them well for all their future endeavors.
My dear Satyal,
May you be safe.
May you be happy.
May you be healthy.
May you live with ease.
As Marcus Aurelius in his book Meditations says, “The happiness of those who want to be popular depends on others; the happiness of those who seek pleasure fluctuates with moods outside their control; but the happiness of the wise grows out of their own free acts.”
And so, in response to the question about how I write well, my simple answer is that I don’t know. I write because creating makes me come alive. I just write from the bottom of my heart; sometimes you like it and other times you don’t. But however way you take it, we both know its ephemeral. That is why, each instance is beautiful in its own ways, just like life- the highs and lows together make it an unprecedented journey.
So if you’ve read this and like it for what it is, I’m thankful you have- for I have, maybe for just the present moment, one reader who appreciates my work.
If you didn’t, I’m thankful to you too for that makes me feel grateful towards that one reader who appreciates my work.
And in the course, I’m thankful (not so as to gloat but purely out of self-respect) for staying true to myself.
Like I always say, nothing but gratitude!