Suffering Illustrates Capability

Fear is like a virus that is passed down from generation to generation. And unfortunately, the only people who have the strength to overcome it are the ones who suffer the most.

Think of war, particularly our white blood cells that attack foreign objects coming into our bloodstream. When we get sick, it is an immunological response to something foreign that may kill us. Our body temperatures will rise, we may vomit frequently and just feel like total hell–but if the body didn’t have the capability to fight, we would just be dead. Pain then, is actually a way for the things we can’t see, to tell us that the smaller forces are doing their job.

As Jiddu Krishnamurti once stated, fear is a result of thought and time. The more we think about something that has happened, or of what might happen, the more fearful we become. Many of our parents, peers and coworkers have built a life based on the blueprint of someone else; and yet they are surprised when their decisions don’t allow them happiness. This is where the fear begins, because memories of failure are compounded over time with the pain they cause.

Seldom in our lives, are the comments that are made about us, actually about us. If you’re not good at something now, you can get better. If you have flaws that bother others, you can always work on them–no one is without them. But most importantly, if you didn’t have what it takes to win, you wouldn’t be suffering right now. Because suffering (in the positive light) is a bitch of a blessing for living.

Advance Through Your Fears

The constant and often unexpected challenges in our life can be exhausting to deal with. Fortunately, we are sometimes given respite from our struggle by experiencing moments of happiness. This temporary dose of endorphins helps us forget the daily grind and many of life’s deeper problems. There are many ways to achieve this sense of euphoria, but ultimately it can be achieved by two modes of action: retreat or advance from our problems. I would like to suggest “advancing” as a way to create a mental environment in our minds where happiness is more likely to grow. To advance towards the things we fear, by heightening our self-awareness and consciousness, relieves us of the need to get away, to exhaust ourselves from over-analysis, and to waste our time with indecision (retreating).

The way we perceive the world is through our minds, so it is important to cultivate a fertile environment where the seeds of peace and happiness can grow. For a good portion of my life, I thought that the goal of life was to be happy. But then, that belief metamorphosed into the philosophy that happiness isn’t the destination but the way. But something about this belief seemed to lack a balance between eternal optimism and the harshness of reality. I recently heard a piece of advice from @ryannicodemus from The Minimalists that helped me find that balance:

“I stopped chasing happiness once I realized that happiness is a symptom and not the purpose [of a life lived well].”

There are many things outside of our control in life, but the choice to advance towards (or retreat from) our fears is entirely up to us. Peace and happiness are scarce in many peoples’ lives because it is easier to run away, ignore, or justify our problems as a victim. If we handle our life as most other people do, then we too shall live an unremarkable life with unfulfilled dreams similar to those who complain about lack in their finances, love, health (exempt from certain situations) or career. The upside in demonstrating courage is exponentially high: to advance towards our problems, and realize that nothing short of physical death will stop us, allows us to go through them. What we fear, once conquered, transforms into an invigorating energy within us. We have been transformed. The new us can now aim higher and achieve things that our former couldn’t even concieve.

Advance through your fears, advance through your life. Retreat from your fears, retreat from your life.


Jay-Ram is a former Industrial Chemist turned writer who aims to help others use deductive reason and the scientific process to gain deeper insight into people, and create deeper, meaningful relationships between his fellow humans.

Generosity Comes From Abundance

[Today’s podcast was about generosity. You can check it out here]

In college, one of my colleagues was notorious for forgetting his pencil. It was very clear in the way he dressed, his mismatching socks, and disheveled hair that his goal was to do the bare minimum in class to get participation. And usually he would ask me for pencils, since he knew I kept an ungodly amount of pens and pencils in my backpack.

I think it’s interesting to note our respective attitudes in this scenario regarding pencils. If I really just wanted to be prepared, I would keep only a few extra pencils. Not twenty. But in past experiences, I’d personally been in embarrassing situations where no one was willing to give me a pencil. So, out of this fear, I kept many pens and pencils.

So he would ask, and I would give. But I started to notice that when my pencil stash would run low, I was more hesitant to give him a pencil. In fact, sometimes I would lie that I didn’t have an extra, so that my own anxiety could be quelled. Needless to say, neither of us were happy in this situation.

I had developed a relationship with my irrational fear of pencils, and my colleague developed an unspoken trust with me of providing. The more pencils I had, the more comfortable I was with giving him a pencil. But as that stash dwindled, so did our weird relationship. Basically, the less I had, the less willing I was to give him a pencil.

Eventually, he moved to another part of the class where he continued his cycle of “pen-handling.” I thought I was being generous, but in reality I felt bad for him. We aren’t able to freely give if we think we don’t have enough.

You know at least one person in your own life who has shied away from donating because they say they don’t have enough. They usually say things like, “Once I become rich, then I’ll have extra money to donate!” But riches come from an abundant mindset. Let me ask you this: how will you ever become rich, if you operate from a poor and lacking mindset?