Tagged: control

Why I’m Leaving the Booze Behind

Since I resigned from my corporate job back in June, strange things have been happening. Aside from having (a lot) more time on my hands, I felt freer and more contented. Those around me also noticed the difference – to recall 2 particular conversations I had in the couple of weeks following my ‘new life’:

  1. With my aunt at a family meal – “You seem really different, much better, like you’re finally doing what you want to be doing”.
  2. With one of my best friends from school – he had also recently resigned; one of those rare individuals who was academically phenomenal as well as good at every sport back at school, went on to gain a 1st in his Degree from Cambridge University (in one of the top courses there), and then started working for a law firm – before resigning from said firm. Our conversation was one of the most animated and memorable I’ve had. We both got it. (Admittedly, the Nando’s half-chicken play it’s part, too).

So what’s this all got to do with alcohol? With this newly found space and freedom, I have been given the headspace to really think about who I am, the values and beliefs I hold and – arising from those – the choices I make and actions I take.

One of things I have been thinking about is alcohol (though, paradoxically, I haven’t!). I often used to have a drink or two after work, or at the weekends. However there has since been a growing feeling that I just don’t need to drink anymore, for several reasons. I have to tried to summarise these, below:

1.  “I never really loved you anyway”
In the words of The Corrs, my relationship with alcohol started for one reason: I went to university and it’s what everybody else was doing. [Aside – doing something because everyone else is doing it is often easy, but very foolish indeed. With that mentality, I may well not have resigned and taken control, and I certainly wouldn’t currently be doing mindfulness most days in Bushy Park… two actions which have had a profound effect on me – and still are.]

2.   Much less of a ‘need’
With the lifestyle I had before – i.e. working several hours a day in a job I largely wasn’t passionate about – a Thursday/Friday evening drink often provide a temporary release, a pleasure spike. I no longer need that. My deeper-rooted joy/contentedness is more than making up for that, so I no longer feel the need to resort to such pleasure buzzes.

3.   The effects, both short-term (hangovers) and long-term (liver disease, depression, etc.)
Self-explanatory, really. With my 4-5 times per week exercise schedule, hangovers/tiredness brought on by alcohol really isn’t for me. It doesn’t sit well with my ‘waking up at a reasonable hour’ mantra either. And though I wasn’t often drinking excessive amounts, I really don’t like the look of the growing list of longer-term effects it can have.

4.   A waste of money
Just my humble opinion. This is one pleasure buzz that’s just not worth paying for. Especially not in London (£14 for a double-mixer, really?). And especially not when you’re taking it in turns to buy ‘rounds’. [Aside – positive psychology shows us that we’re better off spending our money on experiences rather than things, feeding our joy rather than pursuing short-lived pleasures]

[“But what about when it’s FREE?!” – I hear you cry. A slippery slope, my friend. Dabbling in a free Jack Daniels and coke here and there today, and before you know it you’ll be doing rounds of jagermeister and downing shots of tequila with some well-meaning strangers at a bar. No thanks!]
So there you have it. What started with a passing statement (“I’m giving up drinking!”) to one of my fellow Tribers at this Tuesday’s ‘Escape The City’ tribe session, has now led to a fully-fledged pledge (try saying that after a few beers – or rather, don’t! Sorry, couldn’t resist…) to you all.

Following the ‘habit-forming’ wisdom of Gretchen Ruben, Leo Babauta and others, I’ve decided to make myself accountable to you all. [See also – Resources for living better].

Crucially, I am becoming more mindful in the decisions I make and the actions I take.

I look forward to the undoubtable peer pressure and/or banter I’ll be subjected to next time I visit an establishment serving alcoholic beverages with some of my chums…

If the below is too much for you (I won’t be offended!), you can find a more succinct version, here.

Jas Hothi

profile circle

I spent the first 25 years of my life mostly just being carried along and following the path. I first realised that I was not in a job I was fulfilled in. Despite doing ‘well’, earning good money and being given a nice corporate title, I wasn’t doing my life’s work. Far from it, in fact. With the job taking up such a big portion of my waking hours, I knew there had to be a better answer.

I’d lost sight of who I was. I wasn’t living by my beliefs and values. I wasn’t in control. I had lost a part of me (thanks to my working life and, probably, the education system, too). I wasn’t living my own life the way I wanted to live it. In fact, it was for a large part being dictated by others and the ‘status quo’ I had become accustomed to. Conformity had well and truly taken over.

I decided to take the bull by the horns, and to start living life the way I wanted to live it. I began a journey of self-discovery, and came to realise that I am an introvert.

I also came across about positive psychology, which provided further fuel to the fire, and helped me to realise the science behind why I was so unhappy! In June 2015 I resigned from my job of 4.5 years; I commence a Masters in Applied Positive Psychology & Coaching Psychology in September 2015, alongside a part-time course with ‘Escape The City’ – a fantastic organisation aimed at helping individuals to find more meaningful work (whatever that means to them), and to empower/inspire them to take steps towards doing so. Escape was an amazing experience for me, and a pivotal part of this journey. I’d recommend you check them out.

I continue to learn and consume lots of material (books, blogs, podcasts and more). I have gotten wisdom and inspiration from a wide group of people – including scientists, philosophers, economists and entrepreneurs. From the Dalai Lama through to Denzel Washington (yes, the actor), and many, many others, I’ve learnt a lot from many whom I see as self-actualising and flourishing (or well on their way).

Only around 18% of the population is flourishing. Similarly, 70-80% of us don’t enjoy the jobs that we do. This is simply not good enough.

So, I decided to make some changes, write about my continuing journey, and about living well in general.

I hope you enjoy what you find here. To connect or get in touch, click here.

“Man surprised me most about humanity. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.” – Dalai Lama

Continue reading

Mindfulness: Q&A

‘Mindfulness’ is very much the buzzword going around at the moment. When it comes to wellbeing and good mental health, it is probably the one single thing that is getting the most press coverage.

Here are a few of the commonly asked questions, and the key information that you need to know; by the end, you’ll be able to make your own mind up (no pun intended) as to whether mindfulness might be something that you wish to try, if you have not already done so.

Continue reading

Who am I?

We all have our own secrets, some big and some small. I wanted to share one with you that is fairly significant. Those who know me pretty well (and in fact those who know me at all), usually see me in my calm, content, sometimes-even-cheerful state.

However, I have previously gone through my phases of quiet distress, especially during my school and university years when I was struggling to figure out who I was.

The truth is, I often felt strangely disconnected and, at times, even downright different to the ‘norm, or – at least – what I had believed was the norm at the time.

To give some examples:

1. As a child/early teen, I enjoyed things like reading, chess, cartoons, science – i.e. “geeky stuff” which was certainly not considered ‘cool’ back then. I have since embraced my ‘geekiness’ and am actually now proud of it (in the non-egotisitical sense of being proud, of course!) Conclusion: geeks rock. As do scientists, book nerds, anime enthusiasts, cartoon lovers (guilty as charged), and all other such tribes.

Continue reading

How it all began

I was lucky to have been given a very fortunate upbringing, with plenty of positive family experiences and holidays to remember, not to mention a very comfortable lifestyle. I also went to reputable primary and secondary schools; I consider myself fortunate.

Quite early on, I realised that I was fairly ‘academic’, and I proceeded to have a head in my book up until the age of around 16 – willingly, I might add. After 2 more years at school, this is when things became interesting; I started two different degrees at two different Universities, and didn’t finish either. Truth be told, I was very confused for these few years.

Not knowing what I wanted to do, I had made the ‘shortlist’ even smaller – in the world of 2010, there were only certain paths one could take without a degree, no matter how ‘bright’ I might have been in my school days. At that point, things just ‘happened’… I feel into a recruitment job with one of the largest firms globally (I am pretty sure everyone else in the intake had a degree, so this gave me marginal satisfaction at the time). The competitive world of sales in a large corporate world was only me second office job, and certainly opened my eyes a little bit. Due to several reasons, things didn’t completely work out there; however, I took a hell of a lot away with me – I’d spent over a year there, and being thrown in the deep end was difficult, but served me well. The next company I joined was far smaller, and the culture was refreshingly different. It was here I realised how much more nimble a smaller firm can be, and just how different these outfits were to the large, corporate behemoths.

In my second full year at this company, I had establish myself as one of the top fee earners. I earnt more that year than the majority of individuals my age – even my peers from my secondary school, many of whom had found themselves in well-paid legal and banking positions.

I loved the satisfaction of getting to really know the sector I recruited for, and the people (both clients and candidates) working within that. I found it really rewarding and satisfying building long-term relationships, and becoming the person that people trusted for their recruitment needs.

Despite this, something didn’t feel quite right. I was doing well financially – I was more than comfortable in that regard, I would be taken on nice client lunches at fancy City restaurants, I often go out drinking with colleagues and clients after work – this is what it was all supposed to be about, right?

This wasn’t the case, and this empty, dissatisfying feeling only grew. Being honest with myself, it was a feeling that had been there for a couple of years at least. The feeling would grow and shrink at different intervals, often dependent upon how much I had ‘billed’ that month (i.e. how much I had earned for the company, and therefore for myself – the more I made for the company, the more money I would ‘take home’ the coming quarter) – quite often, the good months in terms of billings would give a temporary sense of joy which temporarily numbers the dissatisfaction that I felt deep down.

The feeling came to a real climax early in 2015, when I went away for a week’s holiday to the Barbados; so often, it is when you remove yourself from the situation at home and away from all of ‘the noise’, that your true feelings really come to the fore and become amplified and clearer.

Whilst all of this had been going on, I was somewhat going through a real journey of self-discovery. I had also, for a time, been reading various books and blogs, and watching various videos.

It finally dawned on me that I was living the life I wanted to live. I was spending time in a job that was no longer giving me fulfilment, I was feeling more stressed than ever before, and I was growing increasingly disillusioned with where my life was heading, and the path I had found myself on, to date. I realised I was far from being happy, and I needed to take action.

I came back from Barbados, and began getting my affairs in order. On Friday, 19th June 2015 I resigned from my job, shortly after receiving an offer to study a Masters in Positive Psychology and Coaching* (*in fact, the official, unconditional offer actually arrived in my email inbox whilst I was handing my resignation in to my Director).

This was to be the start of a better life, and the catalyst towards a lot of other changes – including starting this blog.

It felt good putting my foot down.