The Hubris Debacle

So The Daily Post does this cool thing where they post a prompt everyday for writers who are stuck with no ideas.
Today’s prompt states thus:

Do you have a reputation? What is it, and where did it come from? Is it accurate? What do you think about it?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us YOU.

I felt like taking it up in a short piece, which follows immediately.

A reputation is a dangerous thing to have. It not only causes people to presume your demeanour, but also tends to have your public character pigeonholed into a tight, often unyeilding, mold. In other words, that all-important first impression of you has already been made by your reputation. It is made before you might even have an opportunity to present yourself for who you think you really are.

I do have a reputation. I know this because I have this practice where I periodically identify a person who is relatively new to me, but has in a short span of time, become a dear friend to me. I then privately ask this person to appraise my character. After the inevitable silly jokes and well-meant slander, I ask them to get serious and they do. Over the course of 7 years, I think I’ve done this 4-6 times (maybe more, I’m not sure), each time with a different person. I then look for patterns in their answers – stuff that other people have told me, and general inclinations that you pick up in conversations.

I think I’ve alluded to this practice in an earlier post. If it seems interesting to you, please feel free to use it in your own life. Come back and tell me about it, if you like! I’d love feedback.

There have been several patterns to notice, and the two that I notice most are that I am:

  • A very helpful/nice person
  • A sometimes arrogant person (I highlight “sometimes” because the political correctness amuses me)

I will be addressing the arrogance part here. The next part of the question asks me to ascertain the origin of this reputation. I think I discovered the grapevine, if I remember correctly, with “[me] bragging everyday about [my] mother’s cooking. [his] mother’s cooking was great too but you didn’t see [him] talking about it”. It seems so silly in hindsight, but I guess it mattered to children barely into middle school. The whole “arrogance” thing has been with me ever since, in every social group I ever entered.

I think the truthfulness of this ‘accusation’, for lack of a better word is limited to these facts –

  • For all my amateur writing and speaking experience, I’m still a very inept and awkward conversationalist because I never know what is off-limits and I fail to filter. This plagues me to this day.
  • I tend to remember very specific moments of my life, where I felt strong emotions, especially embarrassment and this can happen at any time, even in the middle of a conversation. I never know what the trigger is. While it helps tone down the arrogance, it is, obviously, not a pleasant experience for me. This, coupled with the previous point, leads me into more and more awkward conversations, to the point that people start getting annoyed while talking to me.
  • These points are only valid when I am in an informal setting. I make a great formal impression, and I handle myself with as much professionalism as a corporate greenhorn can muster. Therefore, when I meet new people, I tend to at least try not to get too comfortable with them, because history has shown me far too few people who would willingly listen to and put up with what I say.
  • In a previous post, I may have alluded to a tumultuous time in my life when my closest friends at the time collectively decided to stop speaking with me. While the situation blew over eventually, it led me to form two things: A defense mechanism of absolute self-satisfaction to overcome a confrontational situation, and an attitude to choose my principles over the feelings and companionship of people. It was also partly responsible for my choice to be severely honest. Many people find this self-serving attitude arrogant, but the beauty of it is that the same attitude lets me not care. Que sera sera – I learnt long ago that not everyone deserves my love and attention.

My principles have been under the scrutiny of several people still apparently. I moved to B.Sc. (Honors) for my final year of study last year (I graduate in May this year), and as a result I got a lot of new classmates – people I had never met before. We danced the awkward dance of new beginnings, and eventually were able to engage in easy conversation. During one such group conversation, when the focus shifted to me, one of my new friends told me this:

Hey, why did all those people say you are not a good guy and I shouldn’t talk to you? You seem like a nice person. (paraphrased)

I won’t say any more on this topic, except that my reply was – “Well they didn’t have the courage to come tell me, did they? I am a nice guy.”

In summary, I have written about what I think my reputation is, and how I think it originated and has mutated beyond its original form. I’ve also written about how accurate I feel it is, and have rationalised and somewhat justified my side of the story.

That just leaves one last thing, and that is to ask you what you think. Thank you for reading my post, and I would deeply appreciate your thoughts and comments.

Question: Leave a comment on what you think about arrogance, and whether there are positives to having an arrogant attitude.

I would also appreciate if you would read through my other posts, which are all categorized on my Welcome Page.

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The Very Vicious Sleep Cycle

Why You Should Pay Attention

As a college student living away from my parents, I get to exercise free will to a much larger extent than most students in India get to do. And as every young adult who gets to exercise free will, I tend to abuse it.

I am a naturally heavy sleeper, and I thank the powers that be for that gift regularly. Having practised pulling all-nighters since the 8th grade, I have effectively limited the functioning capabilities of my body to a large extent, including a severe loss of stamina, “crash naps” and increased appetite, which has caused me to gain weight on multiple occasions, much to the chagrin of my father. These gains are in the vicinity of 10 pounds (4 kilograms), so while it is not earth-shattering (and neither am I *BaDumTss*), it is a large enough change for this issue to be serious.

Hence, I speak from experience of the physical and mental damage that shortage of sleep causes if kept up regularly.
In fact, here is a frankly-terrifying info-graphic from this Huffington Post article:
Sleep Deprivation Infographic

Dealing With Bad Sleep Habits

I don’t think I need to plug more details on these issues, and it seems tacky to me to possibly scare someone about something that they had probably been taking for granted. So I will rather share some methods of getting past this block, and share some tweets that people have put out regarding sleep and sleep issues.

Helpful Articles

Art of Manliness has a very nice article on the power of napping that you can find here. The author explains why it is easier and better to take a nap for 30 minutes a day, to temporarily boost productivity, and reduce the strain on the body.

Jason Fitzpatrick also writes from personal experience of LifeHacker on how to reboot your sleep cycle in what is a very beautiful and especially detailed article that you can find here. What I really like about this piece is that the author keeps it very real, stating that Sleep Deprivation is not a badge of honour and links to a piece that shows it is similar to intoxication. I learnt much from this article, including the debunking of the myth that I must make up my sleep hours minute-to-minute. The author hammers out both short-term goals to feel better and fresher, and long term goals to counter-act severe sleep deprivation. There’s a reason LifeHacker is a super-popular site. Statistics

So that’s it for this short piece.

Thank you for reading. Please let me know if you prefer this shorter, more digestible form of article with more links, or if you prefer my full opinion in a long structured article. This was definitely easier to post, but it was also out of my comfort zone because I felt haven’t contributed enough. Let me know in the comments or connect with me on

Let Me Reintroduce You

Hello again.

To put this in context, the last posts I made were 5 Reasons We Feel the Need to Hate and The 2 AM Friend on 5th and 4th April, 2013 respectively. So yes… It has been 9 months.

Yesterday, I signed up for the Zero to Hero 30 Day Blog Challenge, which is why I am writing this.

It is not that I don’t like writing. I have 3 short stories and at least 8 articles either in draft form or as ideas saved in various places such as my Sky Drive, my Google Drive and the Memo app on my Smartphone. Why is it then that I have not posted anything in such a long time?

Hi, my name is Vaibhav Gupta. I am currently a final year student at Christ University, Bangalore, India pursuing B.Sc. (Hons) in Computer Science. My blog name is outdated. It was a funny pun last year, and I wasted yesterday evening trying to come up with another name, which brings me to what this blog is about. Yesterday I learnt that I do not know how to define myself – I do not have a USP. I am unable to boil myself and my blog down to, say, 3 discernible features.

It is not that I am a thoroughly uninteresting person – Indeed, I have engaged extensively in theatre (Yes, British spelling), dance, writing, debate and many other activities. I am (albeit inexperienced) a web designer, and have an understanding of Adobe Photoshop and Flash, and several programming and scripting languages. I enjoy reading, and the occasional art. Cue end of shameless self-promotion Yet, I don’t particularly imagine myself impressive. Oh, also, I can type without looking at the keyboard. 😛

So why should you read my blog?
Firstly, thank you for reading this.

  1. You can find decent or semi-decent fiction here from time to time. I write essays, articles and poems, and last year, I started writing (or drafting) short stories.
  2. You can accompany me on my journey of self-discovery, choosing either to help me with your feedback, or (I hope) taking away something which helps you in return.
  3. I spend most of my time over-thinking things. If there is a topic you would like to discuss, I could write a post on it after appropriate research. Of course, this depends on your feedback.

So far, my posts have been about abstract concepts that I have found interesting. However, my interests are something I have (not actively) kept away from this blog. I shall remedy that this year. Last year, I took up making small clay models after my sister bought some clay and never used it. I cook quite often, and I made a ton of food last year. I also made a couple of paintings and some arty displays. I’ll soon start putting up pictures of these. I can even add recipes for the food if you would be interested.

I also follow a lot of TV shows. My favourites (British spelling, yes) are Doctor Who (British show, yes) and the WWE. I also like How I Met Your Mother, The Big Bang Theory, Glee and Community, and am currently watching Breaking Bad, and a nice load of Japanese movies. I may or may not write about these in the near future (hopefully).

In conclusion, I’d like to ask for your help in keeping this blog alive through your feedback, which would motivate me to write more.

Again, thank you for reading.

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