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The only way to live is to “live”

Have you ever felt tired of being told always what is good for you and what is not ? The only way to find out what you like or don’t like is by experiencing it. A lady that had once come to teach us a Vedanta course was dictating to us a list of things to do and not to do. Things like eating vegetarian food, not drinking, not smoking, the kind of people one should speak to etc etc. So I stood up and I told her that I wanted to try all the things on her list to decide what it was that I wanted to follow or not for myself. For very obvious reasons I was politely asked to leave that class and not return. This was many years ago and with all due respect to the genuineness of her intentions I still have the same stand.

Life is made up of experiences. Those can be good or bad, exciting or boring and simply joyous or too painful. But if I were to say no to an experience how would I know what emotion or feeling I could have felt. Not all is meant to be good and not all is meant to be bad but the only way for me to be able to differentiate between what is good for me and what is bad is by experiencing it. Now I’m not saying that one should take a knife and try and slice off portions of their body in order to feel what it’s like. That would be a terrible extreme. But what I do feel is that it is important to allow different experiences into our lives. Particularly those that come shrouded in fear and dread because a life full of fear and apprehensions is a dreary thing. The only way to overcome our fears is by experiencing them. Once you have been drenched in rain you’re just not afraid of getting wet any longer isn’t it?

Lets call it The Yes Way! Anything that you think you cannot do, try it. Every time you feel like saying no to something just stop and rethink and if you think it lies within your moral and ethical realm then give it a go. Afraid of public speaking? Get up and speak in front of an audience not just once but again and again till you become shameless. Be prepared for not being heard, be prepared for all sorts of trouble and expect that anything that can go wrong will go wrong. When you accept this, you are a step closer to overcoming that fear. Once you’re prepared for the worst it probably won't happen. Whatever will be, will be better than the worst and will only take you higher. Somebody had said to me once that if you always have a backup plan you most probably would not need it. The best thing about facing your fears is that you come out with the realisation that there never was anything to be afraid of. Fearless is the only way to be. Else life isn't worth living. The strangest truth is that every thing that I have been afraid of will happen to me and with me HAS happened. And when I look back at those I can’t help but feel what a waste it was to have been afraid.

I was always very afraid of elephant charges in the forest. To be honest I never really feared a tiger but whenever I came across an elephant in close vicinity I would palpitate with fear that I was going to be sent crashing through the forest. I was so afraid that I would just freeze and not be able to shoot anymore. Then there was this one trip a few years back into the forest when the heat was driving everybody, along with the animals, insane. From the minute I entered the forest my gypsy was charged at by one elephant herd after the other at the count of almost six charges a day. Somewhere after the third attack I realized that all I had to do was be calm and not let fear dictate my reaction. That was it! I just have not been afraid ever since then and I managed to get some of my best elephant photographs during that particular trip and that also while being chased.

It’s all about changing your perspective. When I am trying to teach photography to students I always tell them to see the same thing from a different perspective. If it’s a tree then try lying down and looking up at it or getting on top of an even higher platform to see the top of it. The idea is to break the monotony of our usual method of observation and evaluation and then react.   

What truly matters is how much respect people can have for themselves with the ability to look in the mirror and feel pride in oneself, and for that, the first step is to overcome all our fears. I read a quote somewhere recently that said, “Climb a mountain not so the world can see you but so that you can see the world” and I thought to myself that was the best way to live and find much happiness.

About the author: Neha Parmar is a wildlife photographer and a conservationist with some tolerable talent for writing. If you liked, connected or have a contrary perspective with anything that you read please feel to share your feedback. 

To see more work by Neha Parmar  https://www.facebook.com/NehaParmarPhotography

Disclaimer: This article remains copyright of the author and is her individual perspective. If you wish to give any feedback please get in touch with the author. 

Should it be money or should it be respect ?

Life is a rat race and it’s a dog eat dog world out there. Sounds familiar? Isn’t this what is thrown to our faces in some form or the other almost every single day? This has turned into the success mantra and anyone with any practical sense out there will say this to you and also remind you of how the most important thing in life is minting the green bucks. So I’m going to show you the flip side and show you the impractical way to achieving what you want. Lets first start with uninstalling the regular application of “ you need money to be happy in life”. What you really need to be happy in life is to have people respect you and know that you have earned that respect through your actions.

I do not discount the importance of money and agree that it definitely is essential for survival. What people forget is that money is just a means to an end. Maybe it is possible to earn that money through walking a slightly longer and far healthier path, which will require one to earn respect. What is now very common in the so-called “dog eat dog world” is that the goals are no longer right. People are no longer working towards what really matters and have forgotten that at the end of the day what makes all the difference is whether or not you are happy. We all know dozens of examples in our personal lives of people who have all the money in the world but just aren’t happy. It simply means that all their money failed to buy them the respect that would have made their lives a more positive and satisfying experience.

Very often obedience due to fear is mistaken for respect. Respect doesn’t mean just diving to touch feet every time you approach an older person. Similarly it isn’t anyone’s birthright to be respected. The taste of having earned the respect of another human being is delicious.  You want to be a good leader you have to earn respect. The joy of knowing that you are being heard because you are respected as compared to people being afraid of you is what will propel you into working harder and becoming a better leader.  

If you are a respected leader you will naturally be good at what you do and with that will come the achievement that will bring you the rest. Money will follow you instead of you following money. So you’ll still earn what you want just with a lot more happiness. Pretended respect that is commanded by fear will just bring negativity into your life. If you intend to turn your life into a positive experience then there is absolutely zero room for negativity of any form. As I always say a good leader needs to create a positive environment and be able to harness the positive forces in the people that he or she is trying to influence.

There are many ways that are commonly preached as ways to earn respect so I’m going to take the liberty to preach some of my own as well. First and foremost. Be who you are, be true to yourself and be true to your beliefs and principles. Your uniqueness is what translates into making you an individual with a thought process.

Be kind to people. Don’t just pretend to be concerned. Actually BE concerned. Anyone can detect fake or pretentious behavior and in a world that is increasingly becoming full of fakes being authentic has taken on a new meaning and is now an even more unique trait. When I meet somebody that strikes me as authentic it’s almost like a breath of fresh air that I just want to hold on to. One might forget the work that you did but if you were kind to someone it really is not going to be forgotten easily.

One of the most common traits that you would find if you were to look across people that you respect in your life is reliability. No matter how big a genius or how good a person might be at what they do or how rich they are, the minute they are perceived to be unreliable there is no room left for respect and there begins their downfall. Let people have the faith in you that if there is a responsibility that you have taken on it will be seen to the finish.

Walk the talk. If you can preach it then you better be ready to follow it and you’ll have the world following it with you. As silly as it may come across, if there is one thing that definitely makes me not respect a person then that is a loose tongue. Frivolous behavior can along with getting one into trouble every now and then, also, ensure that you do not earn the respect of people around you. 

Learn how to say no. A harsh truth of life remains that if you allow people to take you for granted they WILL take you for granted. Nobody will respect a pushover so as difficult as it may sound one needs to learn to say NO. It simply lets the world know that you respect yourself and to be able to command the respect of others you need to start with yourself first. And last but obviously not the least. Give respect to others.

As someone I respect greatly said to me recently “I want to be able to leave footprints in the mud”.  In order to be able to make a difference and leave those footprints behind one needs to be a good leader and have their opinion respected and followed. Respect before money, if earned will turn you into an unstoppable force and there will be nothing that will hinder you from flourishing forever. You will be rich in every sense of the word and have accumulated some real wealth.

About the author: Neha Parmar is a wildlife photographer and a conservationist with some tolerable talent for writing. If you liked, connected or have a contrary perspective with anything that you read please feel to share your feedback. 

To see more work by Neha Parmar  https://www.facebook.com/NehaParmarPhotography

Disclaimer: This article remains copyright of the author and is her individual perspective. If you wish to give any feedback please get in touch with the author. 

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