No time? Listen to it instead
It’s been over a year since I bought this domain name. It’s almost going to be a year since I began working on Nudge › How. There’s something about writing self-help that bugs me.
I mean, on the one hand, I’m only trying to share the best advice I follow or come across. On the other, I always feel this burden to be okay all the time. I quit writing self-help articles back in 2018 for the same reason.
So, I decided that I’ll share a confession of sorts to show you the other end of self-help for this week’s post.
The idea that you can help someone better their life is a double-edged sword. I see many people who write books, tweets, and whatnot. I see this sense of moral superiority in them because they either have abs or a super productive lifestyle or a great family or take your pick, whatever you define as perfect. I have always disliked that.
I hate those “hot takes” guys who casually dismiss any issue that anyone can have so that they get to say “fuck” once more while they rant about some super productivity hack that they figured out or built or whatever.
I hate that because everyday life, especially if you weren’t born in privilege, is hard. It’s tough. It’s variable. You don’t know what you’re planning for, and while you plan your days for best-case scenarios, you tend to go off your plan now and then too.
When I started Nudge › How I decided as a ground-rule to keep it as balanced and grounded as possible. I wanted to talk from a real-person perspective, and while I have done that so far, I’ve also realised that I do feel the undue pressure of always being on top of things even when I need more rest, feel anxious, get my heart broken, have a rift with a friend and so on. You know, just general life things.
It often stirs a question that goes: how do I send hope out if I can’t muster enough for myself today? If everything is as pointless to me now, then what makes me sit in front of this laptop to create say, an image that says “Your Bounceback Rate is 100%”.
Let’s take fitness, for example. I don’t know the shortcut to get abs. I think that’s how I’ll sum it up. I don’t have abs either. I have an inkling of abs that most people might dismiss anyway.
I do know how to work out regularly. I work out five days a week, at least. I walk almost every day. I’ve done that for nearly five years, even on some of my worst days.
Often, I decide to work out at 11 AM and keep staring at the mat for two hours or so. I understand that struggle. I also understand that sometimes, I do ten pushups and roll the mat back.
Now, I don’t want to offer that perfect diet or plan or whatnot. Just take a walk, man. I mean, if I’m promoting fitness, I try to encourage the idea that you are moving in any way.
I can’t give you the pompous recipe of a perfect life because now you look like a cloud. I’m sorry if that offends anyone; being fitter indeed improves your life; anything beyond a general of fitness is just you trying to justify some need to prove you’re awesome.
This extends to every component of life that I’ve ever touched upon: mental health, productivity, growth, relationships etc. Fitness is just an example.
The idea of a good life varies from person to person. For many people, caring about themselves enough to take care of their families could be the only idea of a good life, and that’s okay. For some, it might be an idea of becoming a hyper-productive machine which snorts caffeine by kilos, and that’s okay too. There’s no one-size-fits-all, really, and if there is, I can’t provide it.
However, I can provide ideas that work for me either in the long-term or at some point. It would be a big fat lie if I said I do everything I share at Nudge › How.
If I share something, it means I found it interesting enough to try significantly and see whether it worked. Some things stick forever, and some don’t. I share them with the intention that they might stick forever for someone else.
All that said, I’ve realised that the stretch I often feel when I’m writing about improving life, in general, for any general person while I’m sometimes scrambling with my own is not a bug but a feature.
I’ve realised that the best thing I can do for anyone is to be extremely honest about how I live my life and how I find it difficult sometimes, too. It would be inhuman to expect otherwise.
I believe everyone who genuinely writes an article or a book meant to help others probably makes a mistake with the same thing again. That’s natural. If they act too sure of themselves, I feel there’s something wrong there.
I falter a lot. My streaks break. My habits keep rolling, but they’re never rolling on the same time every day. Sometimes, I mix it up because I have to run and catch breakfast or brunch with a friend, and I happened to have overslept that day.
But when you’re not living a perfect life, and you start to write about how someone can improve theirs, you also feel doubt and begin to question yourself: do I have the right to be writing about this?
It seems only natural to me that this doubt exists. It should exist, in my opinion. It’s only now that I’ve realised that the doubt is what keeps you in check.
However, if there’s anything I aim to share through this rather long confession, it’s this: life is not perfect, it’s hard, and on a lot of days, the only thing you probably can manage to do is get through. I have those days too.
On some days, I’d be lying if I said I couldn’t get out of bed for five hours because I was anxious. Yet, by the time those days ended, I had managed to pull enough of myself together to call it a good one.
So, since it’s been a year, and we’ve gotten to know each other well, I want you to know, I’ll do my best to keep Nudge › How exactly as it has been: genuine. That’s why I wanted to share some perspective through this post.
Through the next months or even years, I’ll try my best to share the uglier sides of keeping your life afloat, with preferable habits and practices more or less intact.
I hope you’re dealing with whatever you are and managing to do the best you can while doing that. If not, it gets better if you keep lowering the burden to the largest possible thing you can manage, nothing beyond it.
I’ve realised that one thing, doing this almost every day for a year.
This one is a confession, of sorts, since Nudge › How is almost a year old now. Living life is hard. Helping people with their lives while living yours is sometimes harder because you start to question yourself. Since life is hard, and since everyone has problems to solve and issues to deal with, I often feel the pressure of keeping fine at all times. I think that is because I often feel you can’t write self-help without having everything in perfect order at all times on all days for every year since you begin writing about it. I feel that’s an unrealistic expectation to have of yourself. So, I promise I will never give you the secret to living a perfect life because I don’t have it. I never will. However, I will continue to share things that worked for me in the past, work now or worked even for a day. The rest is up to you to figure out and decide. Through that, we’ll probably grow together.
If you liked this post, you’ll like the newsletter which also reminds you of the previous week’s post. Also, if you’re absolutely inclined, consider buying me a coffee to help support this website. Most important of all, please take care of yourself and those around you. These are trying times and I wish you all the health in the world.