Letter No 41 - Feeling overwhelmed

Dear friend,

I call this letter 'Eat. Play. Love' and I've hardly shared any recipes with you. This letter changes that!

But first...

Sometimes life is overwhelming.

Too much to do.

Too much backlog.

Too many ideas.

Too many questions to answer.

Too many unresolved complications.

Too much complexity.

Too many people asking too many question.

And no starting point.

No energy.

This has happened to me a number of times in my life.

It happened to me this week.


But, now I've become much better (dare I say good, because I can think of people who are MUCH better than me at this) at handling this.

It is a phenomenon that feels like a 'rabbit caught in headlights'. If a rabbit is caught in the beam of a car's headlights at night, the glare is just too much for it to take. It will be paralysed, almost as though it has been imprisoned by the headlight's beam. It must feel something like a force field that prevents one from moving even an inch.


I woke up this morning and downloaded a picture of one of my 'God's' - Dr Eliyahu Goldratt. The father of the concept of 'Theory of constraints', Dr Goldratt taught me that.... "Every situation, no matter how complex it initially seems, is exceedingly simple". This is the founding principle of the theory of constraints.

In reality the poor rabbit who feels so overwhelmed and can hardly move, is free to hop off the road. There is nothing really stopping her - except of course, the feeling of being overwhelmed.

In reality, life is very simple. No matter how overwhelmed you are feeling, a very very simple solution exists. Then why can't you see it?

Because you are feeling overwhelmed!

Haha. What an irony.


Just stop feeling overwhelmed. Do whatever it takes...

Go for a walk / run.

Cook, paint, sing, dance.

Talk to a friend.

Shout out from the rooftops.

Have a hot / cold water bath.

Whatever (as long as it doesn't involve intoxication).

First, stop feeling overwhelmed.

Then, unravel the layers of complexity. Use a pen and paper to write down a list (or a mind map, or flow chart, or just a scribbly). Writing allows unraveling to happen.

Identify what is really really important. Even in the most complex situations, there are usually just one or two things that are really important. Putting action into those, unravels the situation. It's like even the longest of traffic jams are caused by a single bottleneck - usually two or three vehicles that have pushed their way into a situation where neither can go forward, and neither is willing to go backwards! Get even one of them cleared off, and the entire traffic jam 'unravels' in a matter of minutes!

Finally, move into action with those priorities. Stop everything else. Put all your focus on a very things, forget about the complexity, and get a few things DONE.



If you want to know more about Dr Goldratt and Theory of constraints, read 'The Goal'. No, it's not too technical. It's beautifully written in the form a story. This book is a must read in almost every management school in the world. Don't miss it.


Everything in life is made up of layers. Human life is made up of 5 layers:






Layers affect each other - positively and negatively. Sometimes, the layers get jumbled up and we feel overwhelmed.

Don't worry. Hop off the road. Don't get caught in the headlights for too long. Even the most complex situations, are in reality very simple!


Speaking of layers, here is a recipe that is made up of layers of goodness. I stumbled upon this a few months back, and have made it at least a dozen times since then. If you are feeling overwhelmed, or know someone who is, make this... and UNRAVEL the layers!

This is an east European dish, the name of which I am no longer able to locate. But who cares, I know to make it and in tastes kick-ass.

What you need:

5 - 6 large potatoes

1 large onion

Grated Amul cheese


Salt and pepper

A non-stick pan

That's it!

How to make it:

  1. Slice the potatoes to about 1 to 2 mm thick (ideally use a potato slicer, or if not available, slice with a knife)
  2. Slice the onions also very thinly (1 mm)
  3. Heat a teaspoon of butter on the pan
  4. Neatly fill up the non-stick pan with a layer of potato slices
  5. Sprinkle a little salt and then put another layer of potato slices
  6. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper and then put one layer of thin onion slices
  7. Sprinkle salt and add another layer of potato
  8. Now add a layer of grated amul cheese
  9. Add the final layer of potato with a sprinkle of salt and pepper
  10. Cover with a lid and let it cook for 20 - 25 minutes on a slow heat
  11. Check to see if the potatoes are cooked by poking the pancake like thing with a butter knife or fork. If it slides in easily then you are ready to rock and roll, else cook for some more time.

One of my dear friends believes - Potato is the answer to all of life's problems :-)

Follow me on instagram on @playful_ceo if you want to see my cooking videos.


Stay cool, my dear friend. Life is happening. You are already in the right place, and at the right time. And if you are reading this, then there is no doubt of it all :-)

If you ever do cook this, send me a pic, or better still tag me on insta!

If you are feeling overwhelmed, write down your thoughts and send them to me.

With love and in friendship,


P.S. Oh oh oh.. and by the way... I made a poster with Dr Goldratt's quote ""Every situation, no matter how complex it initially seems, is exceedingly simple". If you'd like the printable / screen poster, just reply to this message and I'll send it to you!