Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Strength in Adversity

This is from a post that I wrote on another blog. It has to do with a three step technique that I used to overcome a blog writing obstacle.  My reason for reposting this here is because it addresses the basic problem of our inability to see obstacles as opportunities. Let me not take up your time, and leave you to read the post.


True - this is not a saying you can identify with when you are getting the thick end of the stick every time you pick one up, yet, this simple maxim is what differentiates true success from the pseudo ones that stand tall only to crumble as life works away at the foundations built on vanity and self obsession. The secret trick here lies in being able to learn to not just swallow one's pride but to be able to turn it into good medicine. I was fortunate to have the opportunity of learning this recently.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Save Money by Driving Efficiently

How to save gas and improve mileage are questions that all of us are asking in these times of ever increasing price of petrol and petroleum fuels.  Taking it a step further would be to ask how we can actually benefit from the high price of fuel.  Here are some tips that I have learned from the best teacher in the world on how to maximize fuel efficiency - experience.  I owe a debt of gratitude too to my mentor in driving, Yellesh, who showed me how driving can be a life transforming exercise.

Drive Steady:  It is universally accepted that driving at a steady speed gives you the best mileage possible.  The logic is simple.  It takes more power to accelerate (hear the engine vroom?) than to maintain a steady speed.  Keep your pressure on the accelerator gentle and consistent.  Most car engines are designed to give optimum mileage at around 45-55 kmph.  This also helps me experience self discipline, self control and contentment.

Brake gently:  First, be present to the road.  If you see a junction with a light coming up, cut the engine off by moving to neutral, since the inertia of the car will keep it moving anyway.  If the light doesn’t turn red till you are really close, you can switch gears and add power to avoid getting too slow as you cross the signal.  A gentle brake in advance will allow you to cruise a distance at a slower speed, while a heavy brake at the last moment is an obvious waste of paid for momentum.  Second, be humble.  Most people need to use the brake frequently and heavily because they are trying to move fast.

Free Your Self From Advertising That Sells Discontent

Frugality as a Choice
Even though I had been experiencing discontent with my consumption driven lifestyle for several years, frugality as a lifestyle was not something I was able to adopt until it was thrust upon me by changing times and altered circumstances. It is likely that some of you are reading this because you too are faced with a similar situation. When I was confronted by my financial situation a few years back, I set out by studying the principles of frugality and simple living. To my surprise, I discovered that a large number of people choose frugality not out of a financial compulsion but out of an ethical one. Frugality and simplicity are key steps that you can take not only to simplify your life, but also to contribute towards a happier and safer planet by lightening the burden of ecological damage it has to carry.

Frugality is a Greater Life
A common conception of frugal living is that of a life of deprivation, one of not having the things that we are told are essential. I have had the good fortune of redefining for myself what is essential. Building on the principles of minimalism, frugality and clutter-free living, my life is much richer than it ever was, though in the eyes of society, I have been “downgraded” to the category
of “have nots.” I have space to be who I was meant to be, to do all that I ever wanted to do, and I sleep at peace knowing that I am doing my bit to contribute to the future of our civilization.

Advertising, The Secret of Discontent
The reason that frugality as a choice is so difficult to make is because of the immense pressure from society to have more and buy more, discard more in order to acquire more. All of commerce, marketing, and advertising is targeted at bolstering your discontent with your life. The science of making you feel inadequate if you do not possess the most desirable objects as determined by the sellers and manufacturers has been perfected by the advertising industry.

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Frugal Thinker in Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs will always be remembered for the consumer revolution he led at Apple, creating new markets, new marketplaces, and new objects to market. He will be remembered for making Apple one of the most profitable enterprises ever. What he probably will not be remembered for is the frugality he practiced at a personal level, not in terms of his cost of living or allowances he drew at Apple, but in terms of his business concepts and design principle. While his 1$ paycheck will be taken by many as a pointer toward frugality, no one is going to miss the several hundred thousand that has been spent annually as his personal expenses. However, there is frugal madness in his method that we can adopt in our personal lives, something that is easy to miss in the glitter of the iThing story.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Higher Ground

What is this?

Choosing a simpler life. The objective behind this blog is to create an online community of readers and writers who are adopting simplicity as a lifestyle choice in order to save the planet and our civilization from crumbling under the many-headed monster of decadence. By choosing a frugal and more minimalistic lifestyle, you can free yourself up to devote your time and your presence to those things that have been on your "someday" list for way too long. You will be free to be children, spouses and parents, and not just slaves to the great consumerist dream of having and buying, at the cost of being and doing.

Role Models. As we share our stories, our victories, our tips and tricks, and our motivations, we will not only become stronger ourselves, but create a community of role models that will encourage others to join the bandwagon. There are millions of us out here who are doing our utmost to live responsibly, and to help spread the word of frugal living as one of the ways out of the mess we are in. In our disappointment with the system, most often, we confine ourselves to our small world, content with making the difference that we can. However, if we all pool our resources together, we can create a much greater impact.

An affirmation. The primary reason that people hesitate to adopt a simpler life is out of fear or being ridiculed, isolated, left out, considered poor and a have-not. If we all stand up together, the guy next door who is afraid of downshifting will be able to see us for what we are, and what drives us, and will be emboldened to take that simple step which can not only make his life a better one, but also "save the world." This blog will evolve into an affirmation of our lives in the face of a society that seems to think otherwise.
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