It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves”
We cannot control our destiny, but our destiny controls our fate. Our world has many mysteries and miracles, and a thousand things still unknown waiting in the dark, yet to be discovered.
It was a dark and cold evening up in the Misty Mountains, where it seemed like the clouds had almost engulfed everything within themselves. And within the dark forests was a small and shabby cottage, in which lived a boy named Oswald. He lived all alone as he was an orphan. He didn’t have any friends and nor did he like going to the town. As he was not as lucky and privileged as the other children. He was always the one being bullied because of his looks and circumstances, which were not in his control.
He used to wonder, will he ever live happily. Or will he ever live the life he had always imagined? He used to hope that all this was a bad nightmare, that he would wake up one day, and that it would all be changed. But alas, every morning reality hit him hard. He was tired of this life where everything and everyone was against him.
One night, after having his dinner, he was comfortably sitting in front of the fireplace, reading a book when suddenly he heard an extremely loud sound, like a huge explosion. He rushed out of his house to see what it was and he was flabbergasted by what he saw. It was a huge rock that looked like a meteorite and it had crashed from outer space into the forest. The impact had created a huge crater and everything was as hot as lava with smoke everywhere. Oswald was rendered speechless by this sight; afraid and nervous he ran back into his cottage hoping he would be safe inside. He couldn’t sleep at all that night. The entire time he was glued to his window and hoping nothing or nobody would come out of it, meaning harm to him.
Then the next morning, Oswald gathered all his might and strength and decided to see once and for all what was this thing that had crashed here on earth. The meteorite had now cooled down and he was now able to see that it was a huge ball, with spikes and a protective coating all around. Then out of nowhere, the entire object started shaking and rattling! Astonished and terrified, Oswald ran and hid behind a tree. And then with a gush of smoke and loud screeching noise, the ball opened and revealed a beautiful and divine-looking egg. Oswald breathed a sigh of relief and was finally at ease. He then decided to have a look at the egg. It was truly a thing from the heavens, and Oswald had never seen something like this, something so beautiful! He took it out of the meteorite and decided to take it home with him.
A few days passed by and nothing happened to the egg. Oswald’s curiosity and excitement grew day by day. Then finally one day while cleaning the egg, he was curious and intrigued by the sheer weight and mysterious designs on the egg, so he decided to open it once and for all. Now the big question was how to open it. He tried to pop it open by tapping with a stick. But nothing happened, then he tried to hit it with a stone but to his surprise, it was still intact! Now getting more and more impatient he picked up the egg and smashed it with all his might on the floor.
That immediate moment blinding bright light emitted from the egg and loud mechanical noises started to fill his ears. Shocked and scared he maintained his distance from it and very cautiously started to approach it. What he saw inside blew his mind away and everything started to spin around him and suddenly everything went black!
Disoriented and hazily Oswald started to get up and look around, and he realized that he had fainted. He had started to gain his balance back when out of the blue he heard a strange voice say “Hello”. Startled by the voice he frantically started to search where it came from when his eyes struck a tiny little creature looking like a doll. Oswald was not able to believe his eyes and thought this was a dream.
He started mumbling “this is not true! This is not happening!”. And the tiny creature replied, “Don’t worry, I come in peace, and yes I am real”. Out of words and shocked, Oswald asked who was he and why was he there. The creature then started to tell his entire story. His name was Artemis and he was from a planet called Zorba. While traveling on a mission to another solar system his spacecraft collided with a meteor storm and thus caused the crash which made him reach earth.
Oswald was amazed and bewildered by the thought that life exists beyond our universe. Artemis then asked him if he could help him repair his spacecraft so that he could head back home. Oswald was very curious and wanted to learn more about his planet and home. Artemis then told about his homeland which was a beautiful and harmonious planet just like the earth with magnificent and glorious wonders! He told how his people were all equal and nobody ruled or controlled them. Their society and culture were loving and close-knit. Hearing all this Oswald was excited beyond anything. He then promised Artemis to help him repair his spaceship and do whatever was required to get him back home.
A few days passed by and Oswald took very good care of Artemis and looked after his each and every need. So, one morning while Oswald was getting ready to go to town to get some things from the market, Artemis asked if he could tag along and get to see how his world and people were. Oswald agreed but asked how would he go with him without being noticed. That’s when Artemis revealed that his people possessed certain powerful abilities and one of which was to become invisible when needed. This blew away Oswald’s mind and they got ready to go.
When they reached the town, Oswald was going around buying the necessary things when some of the kids started to bully him. They teased and taunted Oswald and made fun of how he looked and how he was just a filthy beggar. Humiliated and terrified Oswald ran away from them as fast as he could. In the evening Artemis noticed how glum and broken-hearted Oswald was. He approached Oswald and had a good heart-to-heart talk with him explaining that he should never let those people into his mind and affect his life. But Oswald was truly broken from the inside. He had no one here to support and console him. Now, seeing all this Artemis decided something that would change the destiny of Oswald once and for all.
“Would you like to join me and come to my planet?” asked Artemis to Oswald. Astonished and shocked, Oswald was speechless. A thousand questions were racing through his mind. He got up, stood for a moment, and told Artemis that he would decide his answer and let him know by morning. That night was one of the most stirring and electrifying ones of his life. But by sunrise Oswald had made up his mind. He got up and went to Artemis, and asked only one question. “Will I ever be able to visit earth again?” And Artemis replied “No”. He then took a moment and asked how will he fit and manage to travel with him in the spacecraft which clearly was not capable to accommodate him. But Artemis had a lot of tricks up his sleeve, and he possessed the power to change the size of objects. Oswald already had faced enough cruelty here and wanted to start a new beginning and this was his chance. This had been his destiny all along and now it was finally time for him to achieve it. And after a long and exciting conversion, Oswald agreed to join him and leave behind this world.
The day finally came when the spaceship was ready and it was time to go. Oswald and Artemis spend the entire morning soaking in the bright sun and enjoying the beauty of their surroundings. And finally, Artemis spoke, “Are you ready?” “Yes” replied Oswald. And with a bang and boom, Oswald was shrunken to the size of Artemis. Ready to depart on a new and wonderful beginning, Oswald had a last look around and got in the craft. “To a new beginning,” Artemis whispered, both of them smiled and started their journey to leave this world behind into the great unknown. Now how and where Oswald is today remains a story for another time!read more
Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything” – Plato.
Our world is a magnificent place filled with amazing cultures and beautiful people. And one thing that we all can relate to is music. It has existed since the beginning of time in each and every culture and continent. Music can serve as an escape from our busy lives and offer us relaxation and serenity. We can escape the hustle and bustle of our world and dive into another universe filled with amazing melodious tunes.
Have you ever wondered why we feel happy or sad after listening to a particular song or music? Well, our minds tend to associate the music we hear with the particular moment we are living at that time. Hearing music and tracks that were played numerous times during a certain time period many years ago can trigger an old and nostalgic memory. That feeling we experience is not the music but our memories associated with it.
Our emotions play a major role in this. The word emotion is of Latin origin and it means “to move or stir up”. And music can move our souls and take us to places we imagine and associate it with.
As human beings, our bodies naturally tune in and synchronize our body movements to music. That’s why we love to dance to music beats! Music is a kind of language of emotion, with its components and patterns representing different feelings. Sometimes people who are not comfortable expressing their thoughts or feelings in words feel much more comfortable expressing these emotions through their music. Music has the capacity to mimic emotions.
“Music touches us emotionally, where words alone can’t.” ― Johnny Depp
We love to hear new tracks and tunes and that’s why our minds crave new music. Music has an amazing effect on our bodies and our moods. When we celebrate we love to have music and if we are sad then too we tend to put on our favorite tracks. Music can connect people and bring them together no matter their differences. That’s why when people get together and hear the same music such as in a concert hall or music festival. It tends to make their brains sync up in rhythmic ways, inducing a shared emotional experience. Music works in much the same way language works — using a combination of sound and dynamic variations to impart a certain understanding to the listener.
In today’s modern world, our music universe has thousands of new music genres and various types of tracks. We have created music to our likings and tastes. Each and every culture has its own melodies and tunes and they associate with it and enjoy that bond. Music can be heard in nature as well. If you ever spend some time with nature you will understand and appreciate the beautiful melodies of mother earth! We cannot imagine a world without music! It is now embedded deep into our lives. Whether old or young, everyone has their own taste in music and they love listening to it.
Nowadays, sharing music has become easier, and it’s quite evident that music has taken up an extremely important role in our lives. With thousands of music streaming apps and online websites where we can download our favorite set of tunes, we live in a wonderful yet amazing time. We can hear our favorite tunes no matter where we are. So now you know why you feel those emotions and experiences when you listen to music! Now go ahead and enjoy this marvelous creation and escape into a new dimension.read more
Location Costa Azul: sandy shores, windy ambiance, icy ocean; two men worked a speedboat across the deep waters of the Pacific. All seemed aligned; all seemed perfect, except for the fish.
They hadn’t caught any.
This was their third day on the waters. Fishermen from Mexico loved to camp close to the waters. They each had their season, and once your season was up, you withdrew for other fishermen to take turns.
Santos and Felix had been stuck here for three days finding fish. Today was their last day to fish. If they failed to catch any, they would have to contend with the local authorities. in form of fishing taxes. Because whether or not you caught fish, the local fishing tax had to be paid. This was the dilemma these two hardworking fishermen faced.
Santos was the older of the two fishermen. At 42, he had gone fishing in these waters for close to 20 years. In fact, fishing here was all he knew. Fishing was his late father’s occupation, as well as his great grandfather. Still, none of these men had ever gone fishless.
This situation was a rare mishap.
His apprentice, Felix, was only a young adult, a 20-year-old man who already had more kids than he could feed. Felix was indifferent to the whole no-fish thing. If the young man failed to catch any fish today, there were numerous other opportunities available to him like night-time robbery or cocaine distribution.
Santos did not have the luxury. He needed more than fishing money. Fishing was his family’s only sustenance. His wife was already stretched thin by her measly-paying teaching job. Santos was the breadwinner; he had to provide or his two adolescent daughters would starve.
He stood at the edge of the boat and peered into the endless water beyond his line of vision.
“A little further?”
Felix shook his head. “It’s getting late sir. We are already five miles offshore…” And then as if receiving divine wisdom from above, Felix changed his mind. “Well,” he said, “it wouldn’t hurt to paddle a little further.”
Just like that, they ventured a little further into the ocean, with the view of the shoreline shrinking with each sputtering of the engine. It was only 3 pm, so there was plenty of sunshine to fish and more than enough time to return to shore. Here, they began to cast their nets yet again. Usually, they waited an hour or two before drawing their nets but out of impatience, they did so in thirty minutes; no fish.
“A little further,” Santos suggested. And a little further they went until the view of the shoreline was lost to them.
Still, they could find no great quantity of fish, only five salmons, about ten dozen worms, and an immeasurable number of seaweeds. It was finally time to call it a day. So they headed back to shore.
But the ocean gods had different ideas because almost immediately, the ocean waves wobbled and a storm ensued.
Navigating a storm wasn’t their problem; they were veterans after all; they could navigate this one like many other storms they had encountered in the past. The problem was their motor. Their little speedboat managed to make it a few miles to the shoreline, and then the engine stopped. Now, this was a really big predicament. They could see the mountain peaks in the distance; the detail of beach houses and the bustle of distant human figures.
Yet they could not move. They were trapped in the middle of the ocean with no means to reach the shores. They couldn’t paddle either; the ocean currents were just too strong.
The storm was ravaging now. It was about to rain heavily; suddenly 5 pm was looking like 8 pm. With no other speedboat in sight, one thing became clear to Santos and Felix; they were screwed.
Felix offered to call the port authority with the speedboat’s radio transmitter, and he did. After the call, he received some assurance: “They’re on their way,” he asserted.
What they didn’t know or were aware of was that, with each passing moment on those waters, the ocean pulled them farther away from shore. So much that in half an hour, they could no longer see the shorelines. Santos noticed this and called the port authorities yet again, who then confirmed that they had made a sweep and saw no speedboat.
Santos begged them to do one more sweep to which they agreed. Luck wasn’t on their side because the waves crashed hard against their boat and almost swept them overboard. Although the boat stayed intact, its radio system went with the waves.
Truly, now, they were… screwed
“Jesus! We’re fucked!” Felix grunted; his hands pulling at his silky ebony hair in unimaginable ways. He was a chubby lad whose jowls now quivered with fear.
Santos tried to calm the situation. “Control will find us,” he cooed, even though he believed otherwise.
This was the start of a 400-day journey that none of them saw coming.
They realized their fate after the storm ended, sometime around 4 am the next day. Santos had never felt so alone amidst the wobbling ocean waters. Sounds here came out muffled as the steady swooshing of water reverberated around the observable ocean landscape. The ocean current pushed their boat further and farther away from land and towards the very heart of the ocean at the western end of the world.
It became clear as day that Santos and Felix were lost in a labyrinth—one with no corners.
“What do we do now?” Felix asked, frustrated, after pulling at the generator for the millionth time.
And so they did for two weeks, surviving on nothing but fish blood. They even ate the fish raw—the irony, now they saw plenty of fish after so many days at sea. But even the net had its breaking point. After being exposed to intermittent sunshine and rain for a week, the net crumbled into a heap of sand. Now life was truly unliveable.
After a month and a half of floating around the Pacific, Santos and Felix knew they were going to die; it was only a matter of time. In that period, Santos and Felix aged twice their age—their bodies shrinking into scarecrows. Fish was harder to catch without a net—not that they saw any. What’s worse: they were now drinking urine but even that was becoming incredibly hard to come by without proper hydration.
Life felt fragile and neither of them knew how long left they had to live. But they were very fine dying in each other’s company—because, really, did they have a choice?
Until Felix couldn’t take it anymore…
“I can’t eat this filth. I can’t drink urine no more—I can’t, I just can’t!”
They seldom had these ranting episodes where they complained about their predicament. But that was expected; two months on the ocean could drive a person mad. What could the other person do but stay quiet? And this is what Santos did, keeping mute when Felix lamented, until one night, the young man slipped overboard and drowned in his sleep.
Santos was now alone. But as things often happen in the world, an unfortunate happening can lead to bountiful blessings. This was the case for Santos. Because the next day after Felix’s death, and the day after that; and after that for weeks and months, the ocean bubbled with fish; and Santos ate his fill.
There was suddenly hope. All he had to do now was wait patiently for an intercontinental trade ship to come his way. One day, after drifting for 13 months, Santos’ luck shone through; rescuers came to his aid. But he was too delusional to recognize it.
All he could think about was how good the fish tasted.
“Do you speak Anglais?”
No answer. The two sailors looked incredulously at themselves, as they watched a grizzly man sit still on a septic speedboat chomping hard on stale fish. Was that even fish at all?
When they tried to touch him, the grizzly man stared at them like ghosts for a second, before returning to his meal. There was dried blood everywhere on parts of the boat and bits of hair here and there. There were also semblances of what was a rib cage. Were they from a shark?
The first man shook his head kindly. “I’ve never seen a person so demented. How long do you think he’s been stranded?”
His second shrugged. “I don’t know; a month?”
Then they stared at the grizzly man in silence a bit.
“We should get him overboard,” opined the first.
They hauled the man between themselves and walked the plank up to their ship. The whole time, the grizzly man muttered words they couldn’t really put together. But when they got him hydrated, fed (with real food), and sedated, the words became clear.
The grizzly man, whose name was Santos Emilio, kept repeating the same words. “He tastes just like fish.”
Who, they asked.
In a swooning tone, just before he fell asleep, Santos now smiling sheepishly from the effect of the medication administered to him said dreamily to his rescuers. “Felix—Felix tastes just like fish… He really does…”read more
“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything.”
Today I am going to share a story, my own personal life experience which has changed me from within and created a whole new person. Life has unexpected ways of teaching you lessons and showing you things. I was a normal student, going to college, hanging out with friends, and enjoying life like everybody else. I had dreams and aspirations like every other teenager, to have a cool car, a nice house, and live a fulfilling yet wonderful life. But, little did I know what life had in store for me.
It was a normal day and everything was great. I was driving back home after visiting a friend. It was a narrow and twisty country road. And suddenly, I lost control of the vehicle and in the blink of a second everything was out of control. I still remember the last moments before the crash. And those memories still haunt me today.
I woke up in the hospital, confused, shocked, and terrified. There were all kinds of beeping machines and instruments by my side. Then suddenly, I realized that I just could not feel my legs. I was able to feel nothing. Shocked and confused I asked a nurse what had happened to me, and all they said was it’s okay and you are just fine. Little did I know my entire life was going to change from that moment onwards.
I had broken my spine and incurred a spinal cord injury, which left me paralyzed from my waist down. The first few days of adjusting to a wheelchair were some of the most difficult days. But gradually I got used to moving around on the chair. I was still in shock and dismay, refusing to believe that such a thing had happened to me. But I had no choice and had to accept and move on.
After my accident, I had to stay in the hospital for 6 months, where my rehabilitation and physiotherapy took place. The people there were really helpful and motivating. They used to boost our morale and encourage us to try our best and get back on our feet. After my rehabilitation was over we had to make quite a few modifications to our home. And getting used to life in a wheelchair was really a challenge.
One thing that I did learn from this experience was that when you are successful and doing great, everyone will want to be around you, be with you and bask in your success and glory. But when you are down, at your worst, that’s when you will realize who your true friends are. I stopped receiving calls and texts from the people who were once my best friends. And now I was just left alone, but the only people by my side were my family. I am truly blessed and grateful to have a family like mine, who was always by my side and never lost faith in me. They are the reason and my motivation for everything in life.
People take everything for granted, even a simple thing like going up a set of stairs, or getting up and walking to the bathroom is never thought about when you are normal. But when you are in a wheelchair, that’s when you realize and appreciate the little things. I used to think about all the days that I normally went about my day and finished all my tasks with ease. But now, they were seeming almost impossible to me. I used to sit and think why did this happen to me, why me? But after crying and sulking every day, I had no answer. I had gone into depression and wanted to just end my life. But that’s when I found my passion and calling. Before my accident, I had a band and I loved to play the guitar. I was really passionate about music. I then decided to take up the guitar again and master the art of music. One thing about music is that it has the power to heal everything.
I started to play my guitar every day and used to spend entire days and nights enjoying and appreciating music! I now had a meaning in my life and something to keep me moving ahead. I never had any idea how much my guitar could support me and help me during this traumatic time. But I truly appreciate music and the way it can help you and make you feel when you are down and need someone to motivate you. Music can give you hope, comfort, and the feeling of someone being behind you, someone who is with you, pushing you harder, motivating you to achieve what you desire.
After this, I then wanted to do something more, so I went ahead and started learning new courses online. I started to work on my skills and enhance my qualities and qualifications. One thing amazing about our modern world is that everything is available on the internet. You just have to gather the will and enthusiasm to learn something new. And after some time I even started to freelance online. That one thing gave me a feeling of being independent again. I was earning for myself and my family while being in a wheelchair and sitting at home. It gave me the opportunity to have the lifestyle that I desire.
That’s when I started to truly appreciate life again. I started to enjoy the little things. When you look around the world, you will see that everyone faces difficulties and challenges in life. There is so much pain and misery in the world. Each person has their own set of problems. But when you realize that your problem is just a small and little hurdle in your way, then nothing can stop you from achieving your dreams and desires in life. So, in the end, I would like to say that no matter what challenge life throws at you, you should get up, gather the courage and face it with a smile on your face. And that’s when you can win the world!
Thank You.read more
It’s 2045, and dogs have been given animal rights. Dog shelters were replaced by dog homes. You could no longer walk into a place and order a bunch of dogs. You had to apply for adoption. And with every adoption, comes a ton of paperwork; a couple of home inspections; and a hefty adoption plan payment.
Dogs had lawyers. Yes, lawyers. Treat your dog wrong, and a lawyer was sure to come filing charges. When that happened, your dog would be returned to dog’s home. And just like that, you could lose your best friend.
I didn’t really care about all that. I treated my dog like I would a child. Marie was a sweet little silver-haired poodle. My mom, a vet, had found her limping in a neighborhood not too far from home. After treating Marie personally, my mom fought for custody and won.
But Marie didn’t hang around mom much these days. Mom worked late hours so I was responsible for Marie. I bathed her, fed her, and took her out for walks, which she enjoyed very much.
The vegans said animal rights would change the world for the better. It truly did but no one saw it turning out this way. Dogs were suddenly very rare, as most of them were locked in dog homes owned and regulated by the government. As with every government, there was some level of corruption in the system. To successfully acquire a dog, you would have to pay money worth a mortgage down payment.
Citizens figured it wasn’t worth it, especially when money-hungry lawyers sent dogs back to dog homes for the slightest mistreatment.
My evening walks with Marie brought a lot of attention because, in 2045, you don’t get to see a dog outside that regularly. Dog guardians had a morbid fear of seeing their dogs taken away from them, so they kept their best friends indoors. Even my mother warned me countless times not to take Marie out.
But I couldn’t stop. Every time Marie and I took a walk, people showered us with adoration, food, and money. As a nineteen-year-old, waiting on college, walking Marie was my only source of income. My father passed away a long time ago, so mom worked overtime to pay the bills. I, on the other hand, contributed to grocery shopping. So, mom never really complained too long about me walking Marie.
Today, Marie and I visited the park, as we always did. I sat on a bench and tossed Frisbees for Marie to catch. I was doing this when an adult man sat next to me. He looked eerily familiar beneath his furry coat, a wide-brimmed hat, and black shades. His shoes had gold buckles that glistened marvelously with the little trinkets adorning his frail fingers.
This was a very wealthy man, the type to stay hidden in a huge mansion in the hills. As I fantasized about his earthly possessions, the man craned his neck to have a better look at me.
“Is that your dog?” his voice was a rusty thing that was never used often.
“Beautiful,” he said.
“Thank you.” Marie was returning to me, with the Frisbee in her mouth. I retrieved it and threw it again, and she bolted like the wind.
“I like experiments,” said the man, all of a sudden. “Do you like experiments?”
I applied for Astrophysics in college, so I nodded.
“Great,” said the man, reaching into his coat pocket and pulling out a jotter-like book. On closer inspection, I realized it was a checkbook. He began to scribble in it.
Uneasy, I began to refuse.
“Relax,” he said, folding the cheque. “It’s just an experiment.”
“And what’s the experiment?” I asked, a little bit curious about the figure written on that cheque.
“Well, my wife—the new one—doesn’t believe in animal rights. She says dogs are just pets, and can’t think straight for themselves. I am of the inclination that they can… think. To carry out this research, I am willing to offer fifty thousand dollars for your dog’s participation in my study.”
I had never been in possession of more than two hundred bucks. Hearing fifty thousand mentioned so lightly made me dizzy. I refused at once, standing to leave.
“But you haven’t heard about the experiment yet.”
I sat down quietly watching Marie return with the Frisbee once again. Instead of tossing it this time, I kept it; and placed Marie on the bench to my left, shielding her from this dangerously rich man.
“I want to take your dog home; beautiful thing; show her how I live. Offer her some steak, maybe—look how skinny she is…”
I raised an eyebrow in disapproval.
“Pardon me. I love dogs and have quite a number of them. But— listen— here’s the experiment. If you let me have your dog, I’ll take good care of her. However, every night, I will leave open my back door to facilitate an escape. If your dog returns, then we’ll know…”
This sounded crazy. “Know what?”
The rich man shrugged, “Then we’ll know if dogs really deserve animal rights.” He rose at that moment, tucking the folded cheque into my breast pocket. “My address is in there; if your dog doesn’t return, you can find me and turn the check-in for her.”
“Why should I trust you?”
The rich man began to walk away. “You don’t have to trust me. You have to trust your dog. If she returns, you can keep the cheque. If you agree, just tie her to the bench post.”
I watched the frail man saunter toward the center of the park. He stared comically into the pool where some ducks were gathered and started tossing bits of cake. I read the check, and true enough, there was an address and fifty thousand dollars scribbled in bold handwriting. Marie stared at me the whole time, panting impatiently. I stared back, losing myself in her black beady eyes.
Did she really love being with me, or was she, as vegan opposers say, ‘just a dog?’ I tied her to the bench post as I rummaged through these thoughts.
I guess I had nothing to lose. Either way this turned out, I could redeem Marie. I kissed her one last time and left the park. I couldn’t bear to look back at her. But I promised myself that if she called after me, I would return.
Marie didn’t utter a sound, not even a whimper.
Is this already a failed experiment?
I took the first bus headed to the bank. In a matter of minutes, the teller confirmed the authenticity of the cheque. Then I walked home, as the sky darkened, hoping to slip into bed when mom was already asleep. At that time, I hoped Marie would have returned home, waiting for me with belated eyes.
Instead, I met mom tidying up dinner. You’re late, she said, and then inquired of Marie. In the yard, I lied. Mom had no reason to not believe me, so she bade me goodnight and went to bed.
I stayed awake, peering through the windows for signs of Marie walking into the lawn. I saw nothing. I felt myself tremble. Had Marie abandoned me? I had visions of Marie dressed in an apron, eating steak and caviar from a gilded dog bowl. I imagined her gliding around a marble-floored mansion, playing gleefully with the other dogs. Would she ever want to leave such a life behind?
Would she ever return?
I wasn’t waiting to find out. I grabbed the check and slipped out of the house. It was just shy of eleven, and the streets were emptying out. I raised my hoody because of the cold, and walked, fast, toward the park. The rich man’s house was miles away, and there was no getting there without a vehicle.
So I cooled my initial aggression and sat on the bench in the park, waiting for Marie. After waiting for about an hour, I gave up and walked home. Marie wasn’t coming today, and I wasn’t sure she would ever come back. I had sold my best friend, and I felt nothing but shame. Was there even any point going back to get her if she didn’t want to leave?
I thought deeply about these things as I hurried home. All I wanted to do now was sleep it off. I was pushing open the apartment door when I heard a woof in the distance behind me. It was a familiar sound and I stood quietly for a while to ascertain what I just heard.
I heard another woof, this time closer. But it was still too dark to figure out what it was. And just then, out of the darkness came a jogging silver-haired creature.
I couldn’t believe my eyes. She jumped into my arms and I fell to the ground laughing and crying. Marie came back after all. She licked my face and I laughed even more. Our squeals woke mother up, because she stared out her window on the upper floor, angry and with a cucumber mask on.
“Jerry, what are you doing out there?!”
I looked up at her, tears in my eyes and Marie in my arms.
“Mom,” I said, waving the fifty thousand dollar check, “Marie just made us rich!”read more
It had been almost 3 years since William and Olivia got married. But both of their families were still infuriated to this day because of their decision to marry without their permission. It was not like William and Olivia didn’t try to get their parents to agree to their love marriage, but when all their efforts were bearing no fruit, they decided to spend their lives together. True love can never be contained. However, there was a price that had to be paid for this decision, which was being separated and cast off from their families forever.
After losing his family and their support, William decided to get a job in a small private company to support their lives. The company in which he decided to work for providing him with a small yet decent apartment to stay. And together William and Olivia decided to make that apartment their small but sweet abode. Soon after they were blessed with a baby boy, who they named Noah. After Noah’s birth, the ice that was frozen in their relationship with their families started to melt off a bit. Olivia’s parents decided to forgive her and they started visiting them too. Their relationship was once again on track. But despite all the circumstances and happiness in their family, William’s father was still angry and this changed nothing for him. Although William’s mother and his younger brother and sister often visited him, they made sure their father never came to know of this. Often times they used to call and share their feelings and rejoiced with happiness. Life was moving at a good pace and everything seemed to be moving in a positive direction.
It is often told that when a person’s time is not going in their favor, then problems automatically line up one after the other. The company which William was working for had suffered a huge loss and they decided to furlough some employees and bring down their costs. Unfortunately, William was one of the unlucky employees who lost their jobs in this process. This incident of losing his job in such a manner broke William from the inside. Being the only earning member of his family, this was a huge blow to him. Due to stress and the building pressure of being unemployed, William’s behavior and attitude started to take a toll, making him unpleasant and rude.
This incident started showing its effect on William and Olivia’s relationship too. After losing his job, both of them started having quarrels and disagreements on almost a daily basis. The things which often both of them used to ignore earlier were now the topics of heated arguments and fights. Often times their bitterness grew to such an extent that they didn’t talk to each other for days. And on the other hand, despite multiple efforts, William was not able to find another job.
One night, Olivia told William that she had been talking to her mother about their condition. Her mother suggested that William should come and meet his father-in-law as he had a friend in Chicago, who had a few connections and could provide him with a job. This infuriated William and made him scream that he didn’t want the help of any of their relations. He wanted to do everything on his own. “This is all their trick and a way to make us feel inferior!” said William. Now annoyed and pushed to her limits, Olivia too burst out asking where was everything? What fruit had his efforts brought them so far? She was disappointed in him because he refused to accept help from her father and thought of it as an insult to him. Olivia told William that her father had visited them and Noah numerous times because he truly cared for them. “Have you forgotten that 3 years ago these were the people who had abandoned us, and now you want us to accept their help? Said William hotly “So, what is wrong with that? He was angry with our decision then, but at least he is trying to help us now in these difficult times!” said Olivia. She screamed that William’s father had not even come to see his grandchild once. Quarreling and fighting, they forgot about Noah, who was terrified and crying while watching his parents fight. Olivia then stopped arguing and picked up Noah and went to their kitchen. Seeing his son cry on his mother’s shoulder, made William realize something deep within his heart and he couldn’t bear all this anymore.
The next morning, Olivia woke up to the sound of Noah and William playing happily. She instantly had a wave of happiness on her face. And then William said that nothing is greater for him than the happiness of his love and child. He agreed to visit her father and leave for Chicago the next day to arrange for the job. To their surprise, Olivia’s family had come to visit them the very next morning. Leaving all their differences in the past. They had a lovely time together and William was given the details and address of the person and where to go in Chicago.
The next day while packing for his trip, Olivia asked William jokingly what will he be getting for her from Chicago. And he replied “anything you want”, as he had not given her any present for almost a year. “A dress from that famous store near Downtown” was all that she asked. “Your wish is my command,” said William happily. When ready to leave for the airport and while saying their goodbyes, William hugged Noah and Olivia and promised to be back soon. He left to catch his flight.
After reaching Chicago, William went and met his father-in-law’s friend and spent almost 2 days with him. Then finally the moment came and he got a great job offer, just like he imagined. William had to join in a week’s time and now had to go get his family back from Detroit. After reaching the airport ready to board his flight, William decided to call Olivia. He told her all about how he got the job and they had to move to Chicago. Excited and happy about the news, they were talking when she asked him about her present and if he had bought that dress. William had totally forgotten about that. And then Olivia got angry with him and she was saying something when they got disconnected.
After a while, Olivia and Noah were watching TV and suddenly an emergency news broadcast came about a flight that had crashed. It had taken off from Chicago and was headed toward Detroit. This sent shivers down Olivia’s spine. This was the flight that her husband was on. She immediately called the airport authorities and started inquiring about the accident and whether there were survivors. But to her shock and horror, nobody had survived that crash. All the passengers were dead. She was left in tears and the ground beneath her was shaken. The last talk that they were having had ended in a fight and now she had to live with that regret forever. How could she ever forgive herself? Broken and shattered she fell on the floor, and poor Noah couldn’t understand anything that had happened to his mother. She cuddled with Noah and kept on crying, and later passed out.
Later in the middle of the night, suddenly, Olivia’s phone rang, and to her shock, it was William calling! She was trembling and didn’t want to pick up the call as she was expecting to hear the authorities who would inform her about the accident, but it was not them. The voice she heard blew her mind. It was William! Overjoyed and in tears she couldn’t believe this! Confused and baffled she asked him how was this happening. And that’s when William explained that he had canceled his flight to go back and buy that dress she had asked him for. He could not come home and disappoint the love of his life, and he decided to get that present for her. After all, it was an occasion to celebrate. Buying a dress saved William’s life today. Then, he took the next flight home and couldn’t call her as his phone’s battery died. Olivia started crying with joy and could not believe that such a miracle had happened. William came home shortly after that and they hugged and cried tears of joy for a long, long time. The happiness and joy in that house were out of bounds. And that’s how true love saved a man’s life!read more
“Is this the place?”
The car pulled up close to the empty lawn of an abandoned house on Elmer Street. This was one of several houses acquired by the Keystone Bank in New Jersey. It was also one of the many abandoned houses in that desolate cul-de-sac, the forgotten extreme end of the state; a hollow mirage of the country’s fun-filled occupancy.
People believed this house was haunted.
“This is the place.”
“Not a very bright residence.”
The banker stared in disgust at the resident. He had never seen an apartment so dreary-looking. Knee-length grass from the lawn adorned the rusty metal gate at the entrance. One thing was clear: no one had lived here in long while. The building itself stood two stories tall, having twin window-shattered towers that overlooked the street.
It was half-past six, almost twilight. Already, one of them was super impatient; and it wasn’t the banker.
“See, this is a bad idea,” said the banker’s assistant, a small man with whiskers, who deliberately kept the engine running. “Let’s just head back to the bar; it’s karaoke night…”
But the banker, a burly man who acted on impulse rather than thought, waved away the suggestion. “If this house is haunted, I want to know. I can’t believe you even believe that bullshit about ghosts.”
“It’s no bullshit. I told you, last time I was here, I heard really strange noises;—the type of sounds you hear if you were stuck in a cave somewhere.”
The banker laughed. You’re an idiot, he confided in his assistant. He was going in regardless. It was his responsibility to prepare the bank’s newly purchased properties for construction—his job depended on it.
He stepped out of the car slowly, urging his assistant to do the same. Once out of the car, the banker surveyed the environment one last time. The building was a mess all right, but it wasn’t irreparable. At least he thought so.
Satisfied with the view, he turned to his assistant. But he couldn’t get a word out because his assistant shrieked suddenly.
“Did you see that?” he said, pointing with shaky fingers at the two towers.
The banker followed his assistant’s gaze. “See what?”
“Up there, at the tower.”
He stared again in that direction… and saw nothing. He shook his head.
“I swear,” said his partner, shaking like a leaf. “I swear to God, John, there was someone standing there, watching.”
John slammed the passenger seat door closed. “Let’s go Rob. The sooner we get this done, the sooner we get home, kapeesh?”
And that was that. His assistant fell in line like a puppet and followed John, quietly, through the gate. John wasn’t a coward. His father was a war veteran who believed in two things: God and a gun. As his father used to say; Nothing was beyond the control of God; even if there was such a thing, it could always be resolved with a gun.
John, the banker touched his belt just in case. He kept a loaded magnum there for emergencies. No one, not his assistant, knew he carried a gun around. He was more than a banker; he was the fixer. To him, a haunted house meant nothing.
They broke open the gate’s rusty padlock; waded through the spiky grass and landed at the foot of the doorstep. A placard inscribed with strange writing dangled lightly from the doorknocker. The words were queer but the message was clear and simple: “Ghosts Live Here”.
John chuckled. The whole thing was a farce. “Ghosts write on planks now? Puh-lease.”
Rob preferred not to speak. The house terrified him; the story behind its abandonment even more. Ten years ago, a ghastly fire accident took the lives of a dozen homeless children. The fire was so great that it rendered the entire neighborhood inhabitable. The stories that followed this incident weren’t great either.
Sometimes people went in and never came out the same. No words could explain what went on within. Frankly, no one could accurately explain the situation, because who, in their right mind, would believe a ghost story? Definitely not John, who recoiled when the door swung open unaided, screeching a sonata.
John smirked. An empty living room with charred cobwebbed furniture, ceiling, and floorboard opened up before him. He saw no one.
“I thought Ghosts were discreet,” he joked. “But these don’t lock their doors?”
Entering the apartment just then, Rob rebuked his co-worker. “We shouldn’t speak so much in here.”
“Why not,” said John raising his voice a decibel higher. “There is no one but us—Jesus! What was that sound?”
A deep growl emanated suddenly from the upper room above them. But it wasn’t a familiar sound it sounded like it echoed from the heavens. Like the sound of ocean slapping against the hull of a ship but very vague as if from a distant world. Anyone would shudder at the sound of such sinister sound. But that wasn’t what startled John.
He heard his words trailing off in an otherworldly echo. Rob had heard it too, because he kept a foot out the entrance door, just in case. He pleaded for an exit but John refused. They were yet to see the upper floor. Failure to do so would have been a waste of gas, John thought.
However, the house wasn’t finished with them. A burst of sonorous laughter followed the echo. It sounded very much like a middle-aged lady trying to sing while her teeth scraped against the wood. This chilly voice came from the end of the room where a spiral stairwell connected both floors.
Again, no one was there.
It’s getting late, John remembered. The time was now past 7, the sun had long set, and the lights in the moonlight sky illuminated the ambiance below. Fear started to creep in. If I die, I die.
“Come on Rob, up the stairs now.”
“Because…” John said. “Well, I don’t know!”
Then they heard the laughter of children somewhere in the back. It’s the sort of laughter a group of children would give a teasing adult, but with a melancholy feel to it. Immediately, they turned swiftly to where the sound came from. Again, no one was there.
“We know you’re there,” said John approaching the staircase. “Come out now and we won’t press charges!”
The moon was out now in full force. The night sky blackened. Not much time was left until the loss of visibility. John knew he had to move fast if he was going to make it home in time for his wife’s dinner. So, he motivated Rob to come along and soon they began to climb the staircase.
Astonishingly, there was no single person on the upper floor or at the foot of the stairs. All they saw was a rat scuttling past.
“See?” said John gloating to Rob, a few feet away, “there’s no one there.”
It didn’t take long for John to bloat, because when he turned back to the staircase, a white cloak stood there, with slits for eyes, watching them intently. John had never seen anything so frightening before.
“Jesus Christ!” He said, reaching for his gun before shooting rapidly at the wraith-like monster.
The bullets did nothing. They went clean through the wraith-like hot knife through butter. The wraithlike figure bobbed its head once, twice; swayed its frame this way and that, like a salsa dancer before vanishing into thin air. John knew it was time to leave.
He and Rob ran for their lives, their hearts thumping madly in their chests. They tripped over the doorstep, tripped over the grass, and even stumbled comically at the metal gate. They arrived at the car in perfect condition and then watched for a moment to see if they were pursued.
Rob panicked. “You brought a gun? Are you mad?”
But John’s eyes were fixated on the towers where the wraithlike figure stood watching. And then it disappeared again.
They started the car and took off, never to be seen again down that alleyway. On the drive, John confided in his assistant. “This is a haunted house… it really is.
“Are you okay?”
“I think so,” said the frail man, wiping beaded sweat off his forehead with the back of his palm. He was as thin as a broom, with a beard heavier than his head. “That was really close. I could’ve died!”
“Were they cops?” his second asked. He was even thinner than the first, albeit bald.
Flicking on his flashlight, the frail man inspected himself and then surveyed the machine on the table at the center of the attic.
“I don’t know,” he said. “I don’t think so. If that guy had been a better shot, I would be swimming in my own blood.”
The bald man, with the nose of a pig, came out of his hiding place in the dark. He too came around to inspect the machine.
“Wow! It’s destroyed.” He exclaimed.
The frail man nodded grimly, picking up the broken pieces of the machine. The bullets had made a clean connection, and all that was left of their precious holographic projector was an unrecognizable lens. The bald man offered to fix it.
“No,” said the frail man. “It’s irreparable I think.”
“But—but they’ll be back!”
The frail man looked out the window. “I suppose; with real cops this time. We’ve overstayed our welcome, I think.”
A series of curses, and then: “Back to the crack house, I guess?”
The frail man nodded. “I believe.” And then he tossed the machine to the corner where it crashed into dozens of other broken objects. “But it’s been a pleasure living in this temporary house of ours. Who would have thought a hologram would cause this much trouble?”
The bald man laughed; his teeth a myriad of colors. And then his expression changed because he remembered something queer. “Say, did you hear that sound before? It felt like children crying…”
The frail man shook his head. “I was too busy getting shot at, remember?”
“I thought, at first, that those men had brought some kids along. But then that’s ridiculous. It scared me though. It felt like a dozen children were crying out for help—I mean, we’ve only been here two days, but… do you really think ghosts live here?”
The frail man laughed. “Don’t be ridiculous. Ghosts aren’t real. Besides, we leave tomorrow. Probably best we get some early shuteye.”
And then they turned in for the night, sleeping on nothing but tattered rugs, using makeshift aprons as blankets. This was only their second night here, and already they felt at home. It hurt them plenty, knowing that they had to return to the crack house the next day. The thought was so heavy on their minds that they soon fell asleep.
It was a very short sleep, not one they enjoyed too well because very soon they woke up to the sounds…of children crying.read more
5 am looked so bleak. A crystallized sky with dark clouds hung over the quiet city. In New York, no matter where you stood, you could always hear the chatter of birds, the incessant shutter of doors and windows, the onrushing honking of cars, and the rhythmic shuffle of crowds. This was a city that never slept, that never kept quiet.
But today was different; the noises Sarah grew accustomed to in the city were only now a floating conversation in the wind. That signaled something…
Sarah exited the balcony of her penthouse in the city, her satin robe brushing against the tendrils of her crimson rug. She was a well-renowned psychiatrist in the city, the type to earn two hundred thousand a year—minus consultation fee. She literally worked thrice a week at the city’s biggest hospital.
Her home was just underneath the blue skies at the biggest guesthouse in the city. She shared the apartment with her pet poodle which enjoyed human privileges and ate half her pantry. She loved her dog very much, and for a while watched the little thing sleep snugly on a little cushion at the corner of her glasshouse.
She took a cold shower next and made herself some coffee, before preparing a script for her new physiotherapy patient scheduled that day. Today’s patient was a spoilt teenage kid whose cocaine addiction rendered him a threat to society. It was her job to determine the extent of the kid’s mental deterioration and recommend a proper rehabilitation center.
I don’t need a script.
She was too good at this job anyway. But it wasn’t that. Something didn’t feel right today. It wasn’t the weather either. She just couldn’t place it. Coffee only made her more anxious, so she returned to bed, and laid there for a while. She woke by 6 after hearing something move, only to realize it was her poodle climbing into bed with her.
Around 7, she woke to the sound of rain. She usually clocked in by 9, so she had enough time to slip into her work clothes. She sat up and watched the rain for a while, thinking about her patient for the day. Then she went and turned on the television. After scrolling through music videos and telenovela shows, she tuned in to CNN.
Breaking news revealed details about a murder. It was the last thing she wanted to hear. Without even waiting for the details, she turned off the television and went for another cup of coffee. She whipped out her phone and scrolled through her messages on Tinder. Could you blame a lonely lady like her for finding love?
After swiping left on a couple of pictures, she tossed her phone aside and went back to working on her script. It still felt shallow, but she finished it anyway. Better to be prepared than caught napping during a psychotherapy session.
At half-past 8, she slipped into her work clothes: a brisk turtleneck and a dark brown skirt over polished leather boots, with a brown supple coat to keep her warm. The rain was so heavy that it didn’t fizzle out until past 9. She was late, but it wasn’t a bother. Her office was only a few hundred yards out from her apartment building, with a clear view of the hospital’s rooftop from her balcony.
Usually, she walked to work. It made little sense to drive to a place five minutes away and get stuck in traffic for a quarter of an hour when she could just stroll. Today was different; she didn’t want to get caught out in the rain, which threatened to fall any moment now. So, she called a cab and waited for it to arrive.
The cab arrived in three minutes, at about the same time the office called. Her patient had just arrived. But there was more: the patient had tendencies to cause a tantrum when kept waiting for too long. Rich people’s problems.
“I’ll be there soon,” she told the office.
She soon discovered that this promise was a little out of her reach. The rain had damaged a street light pole on the way to work, and the fastest alternative route was a further ten minutes away. By her calculations, she would make it to work a quarter to ten, almost an hour past her session.
Sarah had never been so late before. She urged the driver to step on the gas and offered him more money if he made it to the hospital quickly. The driver was good at his job; after maneuvering past the main road, he entered another equally trafficked boulevard. At least, here, she was closer to work. Her phone rang even more.
Sensing tension, the driver switched on the radio. The same murder news was on. She might as well listen.
“Turn that up please?”
Obliging, the driver added his own commentary. “The news is everywhere. The guy who’s been killing therapists is back.”
She froze and waited for the radio to confirm this horrible truth. Anyone else, an engineer, an accountant, an Uber driver, would have listened to this particular news with passive attention. For Sarah, this was a lot more personal. As a therapist herself, she felt truly afraid for her life.
Sarah found the news nerve-racking. This was the killer’s third victim in as many months; this being his most active period yet. Over a period of two years, the stone-cold therapy killer had murdered a dozen female therapists in their offices. The autopsy report was the same every time; he made his victims commit suicide.
How no one could tell. His motives, no one could fathom. All Sarah knew was that the killer was deadly and he was in the city.
As she rummaged through her thoughts panicking, she failed to realize that the driver was just now pulling up to the curb of the hospital avenue.
“Stop the car!”
Immediately, the driver pressed the brakes and checked to see if she was okay. She wasn’t. She alighted the vehicle swiftly; her head spinning and bent over the pavement in a bid to catch her breath. The driver hurried out of the car to offer assistance.
“Give me a minute!” she shouted, a little too loud, immediately waving her hand in apology.
Her world started spinning uncontrollably. The killer’s last victim was a long-time friend of hers. They had attended the same medical college in the city. Hearing news of her friend’s murder sent her into shock, and she struggled to understand the occurrence. Why she heard herself asking. Why!
The driver beckoned closer once more. His car was parked awkwardly on the road, and he needed to move it. Her phone rang incessantly just then; the office was calling again. She regained herself and hopped into the car, and allowed the driver to pull into the avenue.
She was being paranoid. The hospital was super secure, with a number of uniformed officers parading inside and outside the premises. All therapists in the hospital worked on the highest floor, the fifth floor. Matter of fact, the hospital had only one entrance and exit. This was a safe place. The killer, she surmised, wouldn’t dare enter such an open place. If he ever did, he would get caught.
Here, she was safe. She believed that—she needed to believe that.
After paying for her fare, she dipped her head low and walked towards the hospital’s entrance. At just that moment, her patient stormed out of the hospital. She recognized the little kid from the pictures sent from the office. In pursuit of her client was her supervisor, Doctor Trevor.
But the spoilt little kid had had enough waiting. Cocaine withdrawals was a really bad thing, Sarah realized, as the kid kicked a dustbin onto the road. Doctor Trevor tried to secure his investment, but the kid just wouldn’t listen. The security intervened and dragged him away from the hospital entrance.
Doctor Trevor turned on her, his face flushing red with anger. “Where have you been?”
Sarah shrugged. “There was an accident on the ro—“
Her supervisor held a hand up for silence. “I don’t want to hear it. You’ve just cost us a good client. His father is a Silicon Valley investor.”
There goes my pay rise.
Doctor Trevor sighed. He began to walk back into the hospital. Sarah caught up with him before he could enter the building.
“I’ll take the next available client.”
Trevor shook his head, and then stopped a few feet away from the hospital’s entrance to have a smoke. “Madison’s got that one covered. They’ve just started a session.”
Doctor Trevor noticed her intrigue. “Well, this client’s a queer one; doesn’t look mentally disturbed. If you ask me, he looks perfectly okay, mentally. Beats me why he requested the best psychiatrist.”
That’s me, Sarah opined.
“Of course,” said Doctor Trevor, “But he was so impatient; so I handed him over to Madison.”
Sarah nodded approval. Madison was the second-best psychiatrist in the hospital. She and Sarah often shared details of their client’s cases. Madison was truly exceptional at her job. There was no better person to deputize her position; that she knew.
After his cigarette, Doctor Trevor ushered Sarah in. But they never got past the doormat, because a sudden crash, followed by a heavy thump, behind them caught their attention.
“What in God’s name is that?”
They retraced their steps and almost wished they hadn’t. Accidents happened all the time in hospitals. Sarah had witnessed patients throw trays of medicine out the window. But this, this was different.
Someone had fallen off the fifth floor in a hail of shattered window panes.
It can’t be.
Doctor Trevor knelt beside the body of the fifth-floor suicide jumper. He gasped at what he saw. He didn’t even have to tell Sarah, she knew whose corpse that was. Right there, before their eyes, was the bloody frame of Anna Madison.
She looked up at the fifth floor, and sure enough, there was a person standing at the foot of Madison’s office enjoying the procession. She stood there frozen and afraid, as Doctor Trevor requested immediate help. Sarah took a step back to catch a good glimpse of the therapist’s killer.
Before today, the killer had been a wave in the news; a detached story from her reality; someone else’s problem; a distant dagger in Sarah’s heart. Today, she could feel nothing but hatred as the killer jumped off the top office, sealing his own demise.
This was the killer’s endgame, and she had only dodged a role in it by a second.read more
There is no person on the planet that can definitively say, “They have everything they want.” We are all human and therefore, subject to wanting more than what we have no matter what we already have attained. You should not be ashamed of this attribute. It is what drives humanity on to bigger and better things. Where would we be if people simply settled? We would have far fewer inventions and the internet probably would not even be a thing. Progress takes people continually using what they already have to get what they want. Here are some tips on how you can do the same thing.
Know What You Want
This can be a difficult question to answer. Most people will simply say they want more money to do the things they want to do. Well, that is really a blanket answer. Those that seek to do more in life and utilize what they possess already must know the direction they are going and at least some specific idea of what they truly want out of life. Take some time to discern your actual goals for your life. Write down these goals in pen as opposed to pencil. Writing things down in ink makes them more permanent in your subconscious mind. You can always erase pencils, never pen.
Break Down Your Goals
One of the best ways to ensure you make your goals is to break them down. Discouragement is most prevalent when our goals seem unreachable. However, to counteract self-doubt, make smaller goals that will ultimately get you to your larger one. For example, those who choose to lose weight, especially those that are intent on losing a lot of weight, have a goal in mind of a specific ideal number, but use smaller increments, say 10 pounds, as mini-goals. Each one is celebrated and it makes the process of losing weight a lot easier to handle. The same notion can be used in practically any type of goal in life.
Where is the Passion?
If you find yourself failing time and time again at a specific goal, do not become discouraged. Simply take a step back and evaluate your passion level. Are you failing because your heart is not truly in it? It is easy to say we are passionate about a particular life avenue when we are following along with the crowd. At this stage, you must take a hard look at your goals and ensure they are actually goals you want to achieve. As humans, we can often acquire goals that are not truly our own. We feed off the enthusiasm of others and sometimes, the goal in question is something another is passionate about and we are simply mimicking that feeling. Establish your passion level for a goal. If it is really not there, it is likely not something you will truly be passionate about pursuing, so only go after your true passions in life.
Evaluate What You Have Already
This can be a difficult step because of self-doubt. We are not good at believing in ourselves and often, even the best people forget to emphasize their strengths in a particular avenue. We all have our individual strengths and weaknesses that make us who we are. Some are better at talking to people while others have better background abilities. Do you have a particular, natural skill set that makes you able to achieve your goals? Do you need to pursue a little more education to achieve that knowledge? Give a true evaluation of what you have already.
Align Yourself with People That Can Help
Humans are amazing creatures. We can do anything we put our minds to, but there are limits to what we alone may be able to accomplish. For higher goals, you may have to align yourself with people that share your passion level and goals for the future. The movie industry is a great example of this.
What we see on film is a lot of action, adventure, and big-name stars that are simply flawless. However, what you do not see is the time and effort of everyone around those people to make that movie what it is. Set designers, CGI experts, makeup artists, pyrotechnic experts, directors, producers, and a whole host of other people all the way down to the person catering for the actors. They all have their parts to play and when they are all working together, the entire thing comes together beautifully. Use the same logic for your goals. Align yourself with the right people to support your dreams and rid yourself of those who would tear them down.
Goals are great. They are healthy. Without goals in your life, it does not feel like you are truly living. You have everything you need to achieve any goal you wish. It all starts with a belief you can achieve it and the passion to keep striving for more. As you go along, you will acquire more resources and skills to further your goals and soon, you will be able to look back and appreciate the journey it took to get to where you want to be, but never be afraid to go higher.read more
Critics and criticism have long played a role in the honing and finetuning of all products of creativity and technology. Constructive criticism is indeed a stepping stone to precision and perfection. However, it is the critic and the time of offering critique that is most essential. Not all criticism is constructive, and so not all criticism deserves registering or even response.
In an ideal world, we would all have confidence in our abilities. We would be able to take criticism and not be negatively affected by it. We would be born with the self-realization to know whether a complaint is valid or not. However, we do not live in an ideal world, so criticism, especially unsolicited criticism, often affects us greatly. We have all heard about how we should take criticism in stride and learn from it, it is obviously great advice, but we also need to keep our humanity in mind. Human beings are complex creatures. All of us can’t have the same attitude towards negative stimuli, and thus it becomes essential for us to come up with ways to better deal with such situations. Sometimes it takes very little to bring us down, so it is imperative to make ourselves resistant if not indifferent to criticism. People often disregard their hard work and progress just because someone criticizes them and go right back to square one. A reaction like this is a derivative of not knowing your capabilities. We often look for validation from outside sources and get in the habit of rooting our self-confidence and self-worth in other people’s opinions of us. In this situation, even the slightest disapproval from someone can shatter our confidence and lead to emotional turmoil and gloom. Therefore, the first step in making ourselves indifferent to criticism is to make our faith in ourselves indubitable.
Confidence is the key to success and happiness in life. Having an unshakable sense of self is of the utmost importance. In order to strengthen your self-worth, you must stop relying on external validation. One may say that the best way to become indifferent to criticism is by inculcating an indifference to praise. If you are to be unaffected by criticism, you should also learn to be indifferent to praise. Your worth as a human being is not and has never been rooted in the opinions of others; as long as you live your most honest truth, you will be worthy.
When we talk about criticism and learning to pick and choose which opinions we should or shouldn’t care about, we should also introspect. If you don’t want to be negatively affected by criticism, you must also be someone who doesn’t criticise others just for the sake of it. You should practice refrain and learn when and how to present your opinion about someone else’s work or life. If you’re someone who gives unsolicited advice and says things while completely disregarding other’s feelings, you should also have the grace to accept the same positively.
People often say harsh and unking things under the guise of being honest; however, it is rarely about honesty. More often than not, it is about trying to look down upon people and making themselves look better. Introspect and identify if you have been someone like this in the past and do better, you will find that once you refrain from such behavior, a lot of your insecurities will seem illogical. Consequently, you’ll be able to better deal with criticism. The other aspect of the same coin is identifying individuals who might be saying things just for the sake of it. Often we find that the people whose criticism negatively affects us are those we would never even go to for advice. The golden rule, in my opinion, is to treat people how you want to be treated and to accept nothing less than what you deserve.
The next point in the quest to be indifferent to criticism is to change the way you are influenced. One must always work on their critical thinking abilities. The development of critical thinking allows us to form our own opinions rather than piggybacking on someone else’s. If you incorporate the habit of critical analysis into your daily life, you will find yourself less likely to be influenced by external opinions. When criticized, learn to listen and analyze. Try to see if it is an opinion that you should take seriously. If it is something that in no way improves anything about you or your work, go ahead and ignore it. There is no need to carry the weight of unnecessary critique. However, if you do find a sensible opinion in the criticism, go ahead and accept it. If it can help you be better at your job or as an individual, take whatever information is relevant to it and make the most of it. It doesn’t matter how or why you make a change. What is important is that you constantly try to be better than the previous day. If you have to listen to a few bitter words in the process of being better, so be it. The most important thing is to know how to filter all the opinions coming your way.
The conclusion is that we are unique individuals and can not have a one size fits all solution to any problem. We all handle criticism differently, so ultimately, all we can do is believe in ourselves. The world has no filters; we must learn to react and imbibe whatever the world throws at us selectively. So breathe in, believe in yourself and know that neither criticism nor praise can change your worth as a human.read more