In Praise Of Nothing.


So the other day I was staring at the wall opposite to my cubicle, lost, I failed to notice that one of my colleagues was observing me.

While over lunch, this colleague of mine asked me what it was that I looking at, as he could really not decipher which code was I trying to break.

My response to his query was – “Nothing”, and I could see the look on his face go from inquisition to disappointment. I could sense the ramblings in his mind at that very moment  ‘may be something personal, maybe he doesn’t want to share it with me, maybe he is thinking about promotion‘.  But that was really not the case and I was actually thinking about – NOTHING.

I desperately wanted to tell him that I really was not thinking about anything, but could not conjure the words that would substantiate my claim.

You see, some people have the ability to just look at a wall for some time and really think of – NOTHING. And this nothing has got nothing to do with the latest fad of mindfulness or meditation. It’s a different kind of nothing. It’s the original nothing, it’s not taught or learnt by practicing mindfulness or meditation, it’s not a constrictive type of nothing where we force ourselves not to think about anything for a certain period of time. It’s the natural thing- the NOTHING in its most primitive and simple form.

This small conversation got me thinking- why do we always NEED to think all the time? Can’t we just think about absolutely nothing for sometime? Is it a sin to just stare at a wall and think of absolutely nothing? Are we really supposed to keep the engine running all the time? Is there no way by which we can turn it off and turn it back on when we need?

After some introspection I was finally able to classify the variousNOTHINGS ” that we encounter in life-

The Meditative Nothings – focusing on breath in and out, in and out.

The wife/girlfriend Nothings – Hey sweetheart what’s going on… nothing . And you should immediately know that you are in trouble.

The Mindfulness Nothings – That look on the face of sages or monks but often short lived for normal human beings.

The Average person and the most honest type of Nothings -And then there is this kind of nothing which is the original stuff and it’s like your brain really switches off. It is unplanned, not intended, it’s not even blissful as even that thought is not there. It’s not day dreaming , it’s not absent mindedness. It’s just “NOTHING”.

I feel, that this is the most naïve type of nothing – it has no grand plans of reducing your stress levels, nor does it have any intentions to bring any increase in one’s productivity. It has no mala fide intentions to outrun or outperform someone by accentuating your focus. It’s like a child who does not know the problems nor the struggles of the world, it has no intentions , it is pure in it’s natural state , no evil intentions, no great plans… just a full stop for some time.

This crude analysis leaves me struggling with a thought –  should we praise or frown upon someone who is deep lost in this state of “NOTHING” ?


The Theory of Negativity!!



E=Mc^2, just a look at this equation brings to us grand visions of space time continuum , the bending of space-time ,visions of how a time machine might be constructed and how energy would directly be converted into matter.
The moment any geek sees this equation, his heart starts pounding as if Mr. Einstein himself is going to jump out of it.

For me, however this equation carried very little significance up till now. To start with, I didn’t understand how a person could conclude the relationship between energy and matter while playing violin!. Secondly, it was hard for me to really grasp the meaning of this equation as I personally have never witnessed or heard energy being converted into matter  directly (that’s the best I could understand it), but this was only up till now.

Just a few days back while playing my guitar :),I was finally able to conclude one life changing theory of my own and it is called THE THEORY OR NEGATIVITY and mathematically it is defined as N=F*P^2.

N= Negativity in a person
F= Fear of Failure
P= Past experiences

Essence of the theory of negativity= Negativity in any person is directly proportional to Fear Of Failure.

To equate N to F, a constant of proportionality is introduced as P which is basically the negative past experiences (heard or felt).


As the L.H.S of the equation (N)  is directly proportional to the R.H.S (F), we can control the amount of negative emotions if we learn how to overcome the fear of failures, P being a constant of the past, which may not be changed.

Isn’t this a simple mathematical truth which defines why a person might be negative to varying degrees?

The 10 second method to actually use your brain.. and solve real problems

10 seconds are all that matters. 10 seconds are all that are required to solve a seemingly complex life threatening problem.


What is the 10 second problem solving method??

Have you ever been in a situation where you felt that the problem would be solved once you ‘discuss’ with your better half or someone who you consider important, but after the conversation you realize that the problem just became even more complex?

May be the other person did not have a solution to the problem himself or maybe he/she boomeranged the problem back to you by saying ‘I am not 100% sure but (I) trust you with whatever you feel is the best’ and then you feel that the onus is on you and the life of many people would depend on your decision..

Well if this sounds familiar then you are in the right place.

This 10 second approach will let you solve any problem by focusing on it for just 10 seconds, and most probably give you a reasonable solution.

There are however a few prerequisites that you will need, to successfully apply this technique. So let’s start and get down to real problem solving.

How the hell do you define a problem?

Definition of a problem in the current context-

Problem– Any outcome which is perceived to bring down the current status of UNCOMPROMISABLES in your life.

An example of a problem would be to imagine that your startup failed. This might make you feel that your social status will come down or maybe you will suffer heavy financial losses.

Please note the word perceived here.

Uncompromisables may include the following-

Social status

Financial status


Relationships etc.

OK,so what are the prerequisites?

Prerequisite 1

Entitlement Erosion –

This is one of the facets of life which is often the most difficult to accept and often leads us to question our very existence.

Every human being considers himself superior to the others, thinks somewhere there is a superpower in him which is so unique that no one else in this world can possess it. We often think of ourselves as unique and this is where the problem lies.

What is needed here is to understand that no one in this world really thinks that you are unique and have anything special about you UNLESS.. UNLESS you provide the others with something that can make their lives better or can change their lives in some way. I would plainly put it as a quid pro quo sort of a relationship that we have with the world. The sooner we accept this fact the better.

Now, how does this sense of entitlement hinders our ability to solve any problem– Let me give you a few examples of the self-talk that goes on when we are faced with a problem-

  1. The problem is not that big but these people are blowing it out of proportion– Implies that I am better than these credulous fools and I am a better judge of the problem and I have gauged that it is not really that big a deal.
  1. These people are so negative, all they know is to think negatively– Implies that I am more optimistic than the others.
  1. Why should I solve this problem for the others, they can also solve it– Implies a sense of I, which is again an offshoot of entitlement.
  1. Well, I will solve the problem later when I have time- Implies that the problem will somehow solve itself (because my problems often get solved by themselves) when the right time comes.. sadly this does not happen in real world.

Once you understand that all the self-talks above have their roots entrenched, in the MYTH that you are unique and your problems will solve themselves automatically. When we realize that this entitlement is a false image created by our ego we can relate to the problem better, understand its implications rationally and would be more than willing to listen to any critical opinions related to it.

In essence the ‘Untitled’ reaction to a problem should be a one liner. Yes, that is all there is to it. A one line analysis to a problem. How would this look like?

The untitled initial response to any problem- ‘ Ok, this is a problem, this looks big. I should be able to solve it.’

Prerequisite 2

Have the balls to face the facts-

Have you ever made a spreadsheet which might track your daily or monthly expense?Often, when we look into the sheet after a certain tracking period , we get surprised to know the actual numbers. We might get a feel of “OMG” I didn’t know that I was spending this much. In a nutshell the numbers often punch you in the face.

Be like an excel spreadsheet.

State and take the facts as they are and as they would look like if there were an excel spreadsheet.

No one cares how life has been unfair to you. And the more you sulk , the more time you waste on thinking useless stuff.No one gives a shit about you unless you are able to solve their problems. Take the facts without the veil of emotions and know that it is upon you to solve this problem yourself and there is no one who will solve it for you, if you get help along the way be grateful.

Prerequisite 3

Problem solving is Active and not Passive.

Thinking that the problem will vanish, at times might works, but it is the least efficient way to solve a problem and by most standards not the best one.

Another common method to  solve a problem is to procrastinate -“Delay it till the end till it solves itself or someone else solves it for you”-  This method is great if you are on your deathbed and have no real reason to solve any problem.

Understand that problem solving requires work and more often than not it requires hard work ,and the more willing you are to put real effort to solve your problems the better off you are.

Once you understand that you will require the above tools to solve a problem you are good to apply the 10 second technique.

The 10 second technique-

Take a problem. Just think about it for a second – to find a solution

Please note the phrase ‘to find a solution’.

Let me explain how to approach any problem-

Let us suppose that recent appraisal cycle results are out and except for you all the other colleagues in your circle have been promoted… Feeling miserable? Don’t know why is it always you? You feel you are dumb and all the others are better than you?

Well the facts is first to understand that this is a real problem that you need to deal with.

Now that we have identified the problem, here is what we can do in 10 seconds to really solve the problem.

The ABCA method to solve a problem-

A- Adversity aka the problem

B- Beliefs or how is the Adversity making you feel.

C- Consequences or what will be the consequences of the way you are feeling in part B.

A- Action to take.


Examples to demonstrate the ABCA method-

Problem- Not getting a rightfully deserved promotion.

A- No promotion.

B- I feel miserable, I am not competent enough, all the others are better than me, If not this time then I don’t know when will I get promoted.

C- I might just keep sulking, spoil my relations with my manager, might even spoil my health, I might also percolate the feelings down to my family members.

A- I need to come out of this feeling as it clearly is not doing any good to me.


A- No promotion.

B- I am on the first Iteration I know that I am moving towards a solution, I feel a little better thinking that I shall be able to solve this problem, to really solve this problem I need to find concrete solutions.

C- Once I find the solution I shall see things more clearly, and maybe I will be able to find something better, after all those who have got promoted may need to work extra hours to again fit into the new role, nothing has changed, these people may earn a little more but in due course of time I shall surpass them. After all it’s a long race.


I can switch to another company offering me a better pay package.

I can learn do some courses or certification which will give me an edge over the others.

I can quit all together, and focus on starting something of my own.

I can talk to my manager and ask that if I have not been promoted may be if I can be given some compensation for the hard work that I have put throughout the year.


You see that how just after 1 iteration , we have started to see some potential solutions. The trick here is to iterate till the solutions are narrowed down further to just one or two.

Points to remember- There are a few important points which need to be kept in mind while following this method-

  1. Do not criticize yourself at any step of this method, for if you do you would not be able to come up with the best possible solution.
  2. Once you have reached the final actions ( narrowed down to just one or two) , act on it and have no double thought or doubts. Trust me that the solution that you have arrived at is the best suited for you.
  3. Keep practicing and you will get better with time.