Jul 23, 2019

Do we want to turn our observations into problems?

There will be some lines in a book that will leave you with a lasting impression even after you have finished reading it. As I was reading "Atomic Habits", this particular line made that impact on me.

Peace occurs when you don’t turn your observations into problems. You notice a cue, a bit of information, an event. If you do not desire to act on what you observe, then you are at peace.

Many times, we set goals or worry about certain issues based on what we read, what we see, what we hear, etc. For eg, "walk 10000 steps a day" has become one of the popular goals related to fitness. We read about it in news articles, see the step counter updates from our friends on social media and come across deals on pedometers. Firstly, it is important for us to think whether this is a goal worth aiming for. Is this a mere observation or do we want to embrace it as a problem to solve? Being physically active throughout the day is very important but does "walk 10000 steps a day" the right means to achieve the same? Is this a habit being perpetuated by the makers of pedometers? Something to think about. I'm not suggesting that this habit is wrong. All I'm saying is this - let's question it first instead of blindly following the herd. 

One of the habits I started tracking was "eat 3 servings of vegetables and 2 servings of fruits in a day". I have observed this goal in many articles/books I have read. But when I started observing my eating patterns, this felt too cumbersome. What does a serving mean? A cup? A bowl? measurement in gms? In my style of cooking, there are veggies added to sambhar, chutney, dal, etc. How do I account for these? Do I want to measure the quantity before eating? It indeed takes away the pleasure of eating (in my opinion, feel free to disagree). After having thought about all these, I decided I didn't want to pursue this habit. 

Another observation that I'm sure many of us might have noticed is the plethora of "sale" related emails/banners etc. The month of July is famous for such discount-focused sales in almost all retail clothing shops. The 50% / 75% number will be in big, bold font whereas the word "upto" preceding the discount percentage would be in tiny font size. But if we visit the stores, the clothes which we like would be under "New releases" or "No discounts" category whereas the ones which look dull/faded would be under "30% off" category. I had been disappointed a few times in the past, looking at the collection under discounts. I have also made the mistake of buying a few clothes at a discounted price but only to realize that they wear out after a couple of washes. What a waste of money! Not to forget the waste of precious time - thanks to the long queue right outside the trial room and billing counter. This year, I haven't bought any clothes for myself during this discount sale. I was getting a ton of promotional emails on a daily basis from Myntra/Westside/Soch/Max etc but I'm unsubscribing from them. Not interested to "convert these observations into my problems".

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