I write to explore the human condition. Currently studying Cultural & Creative Industries. Based in Melbourne.

Hi! It’s nice to have you here.

Thank you for visiting my Medium page. Here you’ll find a concise introduction of who I am and what I write about, as well as selected pieces of writing that I’ve compiled for your reading convenience.

(This page will be updated regularly.)

I. About Me
II. Selected Posts
a. Philosophy
b. Psychology
c. Placemaking
d. Miscellaneous
III. Contact Information

About Me

My name is Aushaf — a writer based in Melbourne, Australia.

If I have one sentence to describe why I write, it’s “to explore the human condition.” To that end, I learn Philosophy and Psychology extensively. Even though I don’t have any formal education in those two subjects, they are what I’m naturally inclined to. …

How to take the correct turns at every intersection.

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Photo by Kristin Hardwick on Stocksnap

Other than entertain you, The Queen’s Gambit will make you think about many profound things: Chess, sportsmanship, competition, psychological trauma, drug addiction, feminism — many things.

As for me, one particular thought kept resurfacing in my mind as I watched those seven intense episodes: Destiny.

Beth Harmon was destined for chess. She’s been attracted to the game since she first saw it. She’s got the genetics for it, too, in terms of intellect (her biological mother has a Ph.D. in math). She’s a prodigy. …

Feeling soft and weak? Here’s how to harden up.

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David Goggins running in the 2007 Kiehl’s Badwater Ultra Marathon. Photo by Brandon Rogers on Wikimedia Commons. Public Domain.

David Goggins is insane.

This retired Navy SEAL has completed several rigorous military training, ran through over 60 ultra-marathons, triathlons, and ultra-triathlons; and once held a world record of “most pull-ups in 24 hours” by doing 4030 pull-ups in 17 hours.

Moreover, he managed to do all those despite having struggled with asthma, obesity, and congenital heart defect (he used to have a hole in his heart).

Many consider him to be the toughest man alive.

In his memoir, Can’t Hurt Me, Goggins wrote about his life’s journey. Growing up with a difficult childhood, suffering through painful medical conditions, surviving hellish training — how these painful things have hardened him and made him who he is today. …

Take your art seriously, but not you.

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Photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen on Unsplash

“Don’t take yourself so seriously” — sang Noah Kahan in the first verse of False Confidence. Those words will sweep in and capture your attention the moment you tune into the song, but what do they really mean?

In an interview, Kahan explained:

“For someone listening to this song for the first time, I think the message I want you to hear is to not take yourself so seriously. I say it [in] the first line of the song, and I think that it’s kind of the whole theme, it’s captured there, and I think that it’s important to make sure you have a sense of humour and remember who you are and where you came from, especially when you’re trying to keep your identity, so hopefully you can remember that.” …

A four-part cure for unhappiness, as prescribed by Epicurus.

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Photo by Autumn Goodman on Unsplash

Where most philosophers concern themselves with “how to be good,” there’s one guy named Epicurus who concerns himself more with “how to be happy.” Later, he formed a philosophical school called Epicureanism.

Among many Epicurean concepts, there’s one called “tetrapharmakos,” also known as the “four-part cure.” As the name suggests, it contains four principles which, according to Epicurus, are the key to living a happy life.

While these ideas are ancient, they are still relevant today. I’ve been practicing tetrapharmakos for a few years now, and I’d say it’s been immensely helpful. …

Isn’t ‘being productive’ good? Well…

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Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

A few days ago, one of my favorite writers tweeted something that caught my attention. He had just finished speaking in a webinar, and remarked that during the Q&A session, he received many variants of this question: “How can we stay productive during quarantine?”

Afterward, he proceeded to rant, saying things like “Why are we so fixated on productivity?” and “At this rate, we’ll all die from productivity.”

I mean, this guy’s actually an amazing writer and I love his work, but I have to admit that these particular tweets of his are a little overdramatic.

They do have some merit, though. Productivity can be toxic sometimes, and this is more or less a byproduct of that infamous hustle culture. …

How a journalist with no formal urban planning education changed the way we build cities

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Jane Jacobs c.a. 1961. Photo by Phil Stanziola on Wikimedia Commons. Public Domain.

“Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.”

— Jane Jacobs in The Death and Life of Great American Cities (1961)

For anyone who dabbles in urban planning, urban design, and other city-related fields, Jane Jacobs is certainly a familiar name. She was an American-Canadian journalist, author, and activist who greatly influenced the field of urban studies despite having no formal training in it.

Her book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, is arguably the most widely read literature among urbanists. Many of Jacobs’ ideas are still relevant today and are still considered by urban planners throughout the globe. …

Your uni days shouldn’t be filled only with lectures and exams. There is more to life than just academia.

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Photo by Eliott Reyna on Unsplash

Your time in university can be a truly transformative experience for your life, and important lessons you can gain as a university student extends beyond academia. After all, there are many things you can do to improve yourself other than studying and doing assignments (also, you shouldn’t forget to have fun in the process).

I might have not been great as a university student — I’ve done a lot of things wrong, but I also did some things right, and that deserves some celebration.

Here are some non-studying things that I did during university and how they transformed me for the better. …

Be careful with the words you listen to, and the words you say.

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Photo by Attentie Attentie on Unsplash

Paris, 1910. Theodore Roosevelt visited Sorbonne and gave a speech titled Citizenship in a Republic. Within that 35-page speech, there’s one passage that’s particularly famous, known as The Man in the Arena. This passage is arguably the most iconic speech Roosevelt has ever given.

Many notable people have quoted the passage in their own speeches or writings, such as US presidents Richard Nixon, and later, Barack Obama. There are also some celebrities like Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth who even tattooed the words into their bodies.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this passage lately because it’s message is incredibly powerful, and some things that happened recently made me recall it again and again in my mind. It has taught me an important lesson, and I believe it can be useful to you, too. …

The closer you get, the more it hurts.

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Photo by Sierra Narvaeth on Unsplash

Human relationships are complicated, don’t you agree?

If you meet someone today, you’re bound to separate later. If you enjoy someone’s company, you’ll miss them when they’re not around. The more you love someone, the more you’re at risk of heartache. The more you open up, the more likely you are to break down.

Sometimes, it can seem like the best solution is to just live without any relationships at all. Being alone is simpler, isn’t it? You only have you to think about. There’s no drama, psychological games, or bothersome social customs.

Even if that doesn’t sound appealing to you, it does to someone. Even if affection, connection, and intimacy are elementary needs for all human beings, there are people who intentionally deprive themselves of those needs because they don’t want to deal with the repercussions. These people have many labels: loner, antisocial, anxious-avoidant, Hikikomori, and so on. …

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