Wisdom-packed gems in the morass of wishy-washy cliches
Asa contrarian Atheist, I used to denounce cliches and culture with a passion — and derive orgasmic joy from ridiculing “traditional” folks.
But since a string of spiritual experiences, I’ve gained a newfound respect for the wisdom in cliches, religious epics, and proverbs.
Cliches are cliches only because they have proven true time and again. Why else would we keep rehashing them for decades and centuries?
But while most of them are wishy-washy and vague, a few are succinct and highly practical.
I want to share 4 such nuggets of advice with you.
Wake up With the Rising Sun
Back in college, I used to take pride in sleeping at 4–6 AM → My smirk screamed, “Haha! You nerdy suckers are waking up? I’m going to bed now.”
Groggily waking up at 1 PM, I’d head straight for lunch and restart my binge session. After a brief gym break, I’d hop right back in—with my bloodshot eyes and throbbing head.
Since I started waking up at 6 AM, my life’s done a 180-degree. My day job, writing, family time, meditation, cold showers, reading, workouts — I get most of them done.
Armed with sky-high energy, a clear mind, and a distraction-free environment, your early morning time’s a superweapon.
But my shift didn’t happen overnight — it resulted from gradually pulling back my sleep timings.
Night Owls Don’t Exist
Apart from my extreme binging days, I had a lot of productive “night-owl” days — but none of them held a candle to my “morning-lark” days.
So even the most “night-owl” of people can become morning larks.
The key is sleeping and waking up at the same time — even if you have trouble sleeping the first few days.
Focus on The Process, the Outcome Shall Follow
I’ve had my biggest hits while caring about my stats the least. My most memorable romantic experiences happened while I was goal-driven.
Since I stopped snapping pictures, the quality of my workouts has jumped up many notches.
The outcome is the TV, while the process is the remote control—no matter how much you stare at the TV, nothing will change.
As the Stoic dichotomy of control says, focus on what you can control and forget what you can’t — the result is a calm, driven mind unfettered by stress or anxiety.
Shivendra Misra has internalized this truth — he gives zero f*cks about his stats, earnings, or the algorithm. He just writes.
The result is a massive following and viral articles.
Everything Happens for A Reason
The law of causality governs our universe — every effect has a cause and vice versa.
The effects triggered by a cause become causes for other effects. This way, infinitely long cause-effect chains are built.
So, the effects set in motion by any of your actions persist long after you (and your great-grandsons) are dead.
It’s the Butterfly effect in Chaos theory — the flapping of a butterfly’s wings in Mexico can cause a hurricane in China.
So everything literally happens for a reason.
But as the Nova effect depicts, it’s impossible to say if it’s for good or bad — this is because of the ever-increasing length of causal chains.
But by assuming good as the default, we increase the possibility of it turning out good — this is called a self-fulfilling prophecy in psychology.
“All that a man achieves and all that he fails to achieve is the direct result of his own thoughts.”
Failure, rejection, losing a loved one, disaster, poverty, hospitalization, heartbreak — use them as levers to propel yourself up rather than wallowing in self-pity.
Actions Speak Louder than Words
Back in high school, I was part of a noisy group of obnoxious pricks — picking on others was part and parcel of our daily ritual.
Among us was a tall and buff self-professed thug with “powerful contacts”. In a show of (pointless) bravado, he pinned a diminutive skinny senior to the washroom wall and ripped apart his collar.
For the next 2 weeks, he was nowhere to be found, as a bunch of seniors hounded for him.
In stark contrast was another high school classmate — a peace-loving, ever-smiling, spectacled guy.
The only time I saw him enraged was enough to deter me from ever testing his patience.
Words are ephemeral wisps. Actions are the solid punches that trigger world-denting effects.
So don’t say, show.
Forget “#day-1 #grinding #gymrat #hardwork”, build your physique. Don’t inject “As a highly genuine person” into every statement you speak, be genuine.
When you act, your mind ingrains it into your identity and the same action becomes easier the next time.