Neetole Mitra There really is no going back. Self-doubt is a constant September 13, 2019

During my travels this time I heard someone say something very interesting. We were sitting on the roof of Himalayan Bunkers in Leh at around 11 in the night. There was a pretty boy from France or Australia, I’m not sure about that, with dreadlocks that reached his waist. And three girls gave him company. He made the most of the moment by delivering a heavy duty phrase about human intelligence. The context I don’t recall anymore, but the quote sure stayed with me, just like the sway of his dreads.

He said: “An intelligent mind can handle more uncertainty.”

It got me thinking. Humans do strange things. We, as a race, find such ingenious ways of survival. We see the hills and think stone quarries. We see river banks and think sand. We see forests and think land for industries. Even the most difficult hurdles are exciting challenges for us waiting to be tackled. Our race with the intelligent mind can surely think positively about the uncertainties of life and treat them as opportunities. Our brain with its million nerve endings serves us a million options for survival every single second. Ingenious indeed.

However, aren’t these options, the very intelligence of the human mind a source of great miseries? The inception point for all self-doubt?

I think we, millennials, are the perfect example of this. Spoilt with choices, blinded by ambition; each one of us is chasing an invisible unpromised rainbow. Our alibi — passion. Once, not so long us, a major part of our race spent their time doing the duty for stability, honor and respect. These virtues have now been replaced. Most of us now spend or plan to spend our lives doing what we ‘love’, so we can, hopefully, earn fame, glamour, visibility and money that matter. We are the celebrity generation in that sense.

While that is how the mass consciousness progresses, at micro level so many of us are confused and conflicted. The path, like never before, is unpaved and uncertain. The only hope is our madness, better known as the voice of the heart. In such circumstances, it’s only human to be plagued by self-doubt.

Recently, I met with an ex-colleague of mine. We were working together in 2013. She used to be a branding and marketing professional. Now, she is a struggling model. It’s really surprising to see her face on the occasional, sometimes frequent, modeling assignment updates she posts on social media. I can’t get over it easily. I was used to seeing someone like Bipasha Basu or Sushmita Sen on such ads. Suddenly it’s my friend — on a beige couch, wearing a maroon lip-colour, donning a 50s lacquer coated hair-style, in a shimmering gown!

It’s possible now. With so many connections at the tip of our fingers, we can dare to go on crazy goose chases, and even, succeed. But yes, self-doubt. I don’t think any other generation suffered from it as much as ours. Just like my friend doesn’t know where her next modeling assignment will come from or when the next paycheck will appear, there are thousands out there — who have left their cushy, well-paying stable jobs in search of illusive utopia.

A trick of the intelligent mind? Maybe. A trick of the over-promising times we live in? Could be.

I am all for doing off-beat. I myself left a cushy comfortable job back in 2014 because I wasn’t happy traveling just over the weekends. I wanted more. I wanted to fly free. Go away and never come back. And as the years trickle by, I see these wild dreams materializing. My journeys grow longer; the adventures get crazier. But I have spent many sleepless nights scrolling through other’s social feed, wondering if I am mad.

I have gone on insane saving sprees, refusing myself gooey pastries and new clothes — faced reality so to speak — all to commit to a dream that felt a little bit mine. I have wanted to give up and get real. I have wanted to settle down, felt I have pushed my luck too far, developed anxiety, stress and what not. Yet still, there is always that voice, that keeps me moving, pushing, taking the next small step.

I would like to believe these thoughts, fears and feelings are not just my own but all of my friends’ and my generation’s. Of each one who’s daring to listen to their cheeky intelligent mind and take these risks towards a bigger better life. It’s so easy for us to wake up thinking this is it, I’m done. This was madness but no more. Tomorrow I go back to my 9-5. But we don’t do it. We keep on, making friends with our self-doubt, and somehow deep down knowing that there really is no going back.

Self-doubt is a constant. It was there during the cushy jobs, and it is there now during the reign of passion professions. Self-doubt is a sign that our minds are thinking up the best survival tricks possible. They say, all we need to do is channel our self-doubts in the right direction and find the best way to live that dream life. But easier said than done.

Here’s wishing the best of chaos to my generation, and hoping that by the time we are done, there would be no more desk-job anxiety and no more sugar-coated patriarchy in board rooms.

unsplash-logoDavid Lundgren

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Neetole Mitra is Living Unplanned. She packs off in search of stories. Meeting new people, eating their food, hitching rides and living a local life get her excited and chirpy. She is happiest when in nature and doing offbeat and unrecommended things unsupervised, like hopping on to trucks. When sober and bored, she writes for print and digital publications. Follow her journey on Instagram ( and WordPress (

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