Everything Upside Down

How easy it is to transform our vices into virtues and our virtues into vices

I noticed that I got a lot of “respect” from friends when I’d fall asleep in class.

But when I engaged and asked questions, I didn’t get much respect – it was kind of looked down on, if anything.

Sleeping is considered cool. Listening and participating isn’t.

The same thing plays out in a lot of places.

You can be looked down on or labelled boring for not drinking or smoking. And you can be considered awesome for drinking like a fish or smoking like a chimney.

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve heard someone boast of their shitty grades, or how they passed by cheating / studying at the last second or how they copied someone else’s work.

It’s easy to turn everything upside down and transform a vice into a virtue and a virtue into a vice. But ignoring the moral aspect of it, I’ve never understood why something that requires no skill or effort can be considered great or desirable.

Shades of Hypocrisy

In college, people usually didn’t think very highly of those who got the highest grades in the batch.

And yet, it wasn’t like they thought getting good grades was “bad” – were they truly indifferent, they wouldn’t have put any effort whatever in getting grades.

Most people would have loved to get the same marks – which was most evident before placements.

This sort of double standard is so ingrained that I’ve seen some hilariously crazy incidents where people boast about failing and at the other extreme actually feel awkward and try justifying and saving face when they do well. I’m not sure if it’s sad or funny that it’s possible to brag about something that takes no effort whatsoever and to feel ashamed for something that perhaps does need some effort.

A way to Cope

It’s usually but a coping mechanism, a case of sour grapes.

What one cannot, or will not get – one must despise.

A person secure in his own choices wouldn’t feel the need to look to others for validation. He might still drink or smoke or sleep in class, but it wouldn’t be something he did just to impress others. He wouldn’t boast to his friends about getting high or drunk or failing – unless he simply wanted their approval, and was doing it just for their sake.

And a person secure in his own choices wouldn’t feel the need to constantly judge others for making different choices. So he wouldn’t pull down others for not drinking, or for paying attention in class – even if he himself behaved differently.


This ties back to an earlier post about choosing your values for yourself.

When I finally understood that it was because of human insecurity that so many things around me were upside down, and mediocrity was touted as a virtue and excellence as a vice, I realized I didn’t need to care about these sort of values.

I could make my own choices, often different from those around me, and be happy with them.

It was utterly irrelevant whether or not others thought they were lame or weird.

Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.

The people I’m close to don’t judge these choices, because they’re too busy and smart to waste their time in judging other people’s decisions.

It’s only those with nothing much going on in their own lives who feel the need to sit in judgment on others around them.



This was amazing!!!


Sir, we can’t change the mindset of people those around us, but in spite of knowing their truth somewhere, why do we have to accept their artificial qualities?


Because there’s nothing you can do to change them and you’ll only lose your time, energy and mental peace trying to change what you cannot.

If it’s unbearable, then don’t associate with them beyond what you must.

Accepting what is not in your hands is in your self-interest.

Sukriti Pandey

Nice ..
How to differentiate between self respect and ego?



The kid

Great write up. Keep writing. Your perspective provides great value.

Reena Singh

โ€œThose who mind donโ€™t matter, and those who matter donโ€™t mind..โ€
So cerebral and powerful ๐Ÿ™‚


hey pratyush, would love to hear your thoughts on god complex.
how did you not let success and fame get to your head? if you dont suffer from it that is. (i’m assuming you dont as you’re a stoic).


It’s like you answered the questions for which I was searching answers for years.
When the world is upside down, you start questioning yourself. But now I understood that those who are themselves insecure judge others.

Thanks, please keep writing.
By the way, have you ever thought of writing on anxiety and overthinking?


There’s a section on overthinking and overcoming it in my book, Beyond Human