The Unsatisfactory Mindset

The Unsatisfactory Mindset

All we want is more and more and more… As humans sought survival back in the day, all they wanted was food, clothes and shelter. As we evolved, came the concept of capitalism and marketing and stories, and everything got divided into those three sectors.

Even you if are having three meals every day, all you will see is one picture on a platform and you’ll get unsatisfied with what you’re having… This is how we have come to be.

Just one example doesn’t seem enough though… You might have just bought a piece of clothing and you’ll see a friend of yours buy something expensive from this “fancy” brand and you’ll become disinterested in what you’ve just bought instead of being excited to wear it.

When will it ever be enough? Never. Because capitalism and marketing always allow for someone to have an upper hand and for someone to be able to afford something and vice versa. Can we then blame the brands for doing this? Again, no… Because capitalism and they get to exploit that.

Here comes the unsatisfactory mindset. The unsatisfactory mindset that’s instilled within, because of which we are never satisfied with anything we buy, anything we do or experience… There’ll be comparisons and something better or worse and someone sharing their experiences on a public platform.

That mindset has also come up because of every single piece of marketing that you have heard and seen repetitively since childhood and then as a community, your peers fall for it and then talk about what’s better and what’s not. With every step that’s taken, that unsatisfactory mindset seeps in deeper than before until the point where you’re never satisfied with anything now.

To get beyond that, to reach a point of satisfaction, and for that mindset to change, what needs to change is the story you tell yourself and how that story affects how you love your life.

What is the story about?
– A story about gratitude, where you’re grateful for the things that you already have and for things that you get to do.
– A story about the hard work and efforts that you’ve put in to reach the point where you’re at right now.
– A story about how so much of everything is just marketing and media manipulation and how can you learn to not get affected by it.
– A story about being secure with yourself and what you stand for, which also means not comparing with others, and not caring for what they do.

To reach a point of satisfaction doesn’t mean not doing anything. It means to be satisfied with what you get to do, without caring for anything else. It takes practice to get rid of that story that’s seeped into put minds and how it’s become habitual to think that way and to act that way, but there’s another side to it that comes with a mindset of satisfaction.

Comparing values instead of things

Comparing values instead of things

Quite often, we compare our lives with other people – what they have achieved externally vs what we have achieved, what they own vs what we own, and that becomes the extent of our comparisons. Rarely do we compare our goals with theirs, or our levels of happiness with theirs.

If someone has a better car than you, according to societal standards, then you start becoming envious of what they have and it starts to create doubt and uncertainty about your own life in regards to not having the same type of car.

While the car is one example, day to day, external items such as that are compared between multiple individuals and that cycle keeps repeating… Not one individual is satisfied with what they have.

It is scientifically studied that comparison in a moderate amount is good for you as it gives you the push to “do more”, and “to achieve more”.

While that is up for debate… if the trend of comparison should continue, why not for something that would actually add something to your life. Everything external shall remain external without adding anything to your life.

Why not compare your values, which are the foundation of how you live, with others, instead of comparing external things with them?

Each individual lives with a certain set of values. Those values vary from person to person. Someone may be kinder than others, but others would lack kindness at all. Someone may be empathetic towards others, and others would have none. Each individual then, with a different set of values, lives their lives differently than others.

Each value represents something and plays a part in how your life is lived. One ingredient missing may lay out a different life path than with that ingredient (value).

So, instead of comparing who is buying what and comparing the “worth” of that item with yours, why not observe the values they live their life with and try to emulate that same value in your life as well?

If we’re actually sitting and comparing, why not compare something worthwhile (that would add something to your life)?

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My Weekly Learnings #60 (15.05.22 – 21.05.22)

Amidst all the content I consume every week, through this weekly series of ‘My Weekly Learnings’, sharing highlights of content pieces that caught my eye and provided more value than I could imagine.

(P.S. Every Sunday, I share a list of what to read, listen to, and watch, in my weekly series, The Last 7 Days. You can check out the editions here).

1. What is an amygdala hijack?

Amygdala hijack is an emotional response to stress, often thought of as losing control of one’s emotions.

An example of this is where you are talking to a friend and they do not appear to be listening to you, ignore what you say, or maybe talk over the top of you.

This kind of interaction can make you ‘snap’. You may suddenly have an outburst such as shouting at them for not listening. Afterwards, you may realize that you overreacted and that the way you acted was unnecessary and you may say to yourself ‘what was I thinking?’.

You may not have been thinking at all as what actually happened is that your amygdala hijacked you.

Amygdala hijack refers to the situations where the amygdala overrides control of a person’s ability to respond rationally to a perceived threat – the logical brain gets impaired due to emotional outbursts caused by the amygdala.

[Guy-Evans/ Simply Psychology]

2. The process of learning and remembering things often feels hard and indeed can evoke agitation. Most people don’t realize it, but agitation is the entry point to learning. Literally, the adrenaline that causes agitation signals the nervous system that it should be ready to change. Without it the nervous system is not as primed for change— the process we call neuroplasticity.

Once you understand this, you will more likely embrace (as opposed to avoiding) agitation. Also, after a period of challenging focus and learning, there is an associated increase in feel-good molecules such as dopamine (and to a lesser extent, serotonin).

The takeaway: learning is a process that starts with focus, alertness, and agitation, …and the process is consolidated during sleep and non-sleep deep rest (NSDR).

We all have the capacity for neuroplasticity. Don’t hesitate to lean into it as a process. Recognise the agitation as part of that process. The feel-good part arrives at the end, or days later when, as if suddenly, you have acquired new abilities. [Dr Andrew D Huberman]

3. Movement is literally an expression of the way in which we think and feel. The way you move affects the way you feel, and the way you feel is inseparably tied to the expression of your internal chemistry.

A fascinating study conducted by researchers at Ohio State University showed how posture during communication not only informs the way others perceive you but may even shape your own self-belief.

Researchers asked the participants to list three positive and three negative traits they possess that would impact their professional performance at a future job. Half of the participants were asked to write these traits while they were in a hunched-over position, while the other half were asked to assume an upright posture during the process.

The results were striking. Their posture not only impacted whether or not they identified with the positive things they were asked to write about themselves but also affected a participant’s belief in the statements, positive or negative. [Neurohacker]

4. Lack of sleep can create an imbalance in the body that increases ghrelin levels and lowers leptin levels. This can cause you to feel hungrier during the day. This imbalance caused by sleep deprivation may lead to a higher calorie intake during the day. [Source: Sleep Foundation]

5. The greatest threat to results is impatience.

If you let it, a tiny daily advantage will compound into a massive generational one.

A lack of patience changes the outcome. [Shane Parrish]

Some want to help and some want to show that they help

Some want to help and some want to show that they help

While the topic of this post would say otherwise, there are actually three types of people: ones who want to help, ones who show they help/ or want to help, and ones who don’t want to help at all.

How does an individual address your concerns or issues, by their behaviour, body language, or by their words, it can be determined beforehand which category they fall into.

While the ones who want to help would be optimistically the preferred choice to be around, the second-best option would be those who don’t want to help at all, avoiding that third category at all: showing that they want to help.

Some people are innately helpful, and it shows. When you have a problem or a task that you want some help with, they’ll be there with you. They’ll try to help out, and if not practically, at least on paper try to come up with a solution, or at the least try to get someone else on board who would help out. The point is, that they want to help.

Why do you want to avoid those that show they want to help and possibly have those who don’t want to help at all as the second option is simply this… When help is required, you don’t want to wait around, and you don’t want to keep asking. Those that don’t want to or rather maybe the better way to put it is those who can’t help you out are at least decisive with their answer.

Those that want to simply show they want to help will probably waste your energy, waste your time, and eventually neither would you get the help you required and neither are you approaching anyone else in this scenario. You’re sitting around for this ‘help’ you’re going to get from this individual while from their point of view, they only want to one-on-one or publicly show their “want to help” without providing any real solution.

Understanding these three types of people are important because when a situation arises, you’d want to know whom to contact and whom to stay away from. Not that you wouldn’t want one in your circle (circumstances of choosing those are different from this topic), but you know whom to definitely approach.

The thing about Variables

The thing about Variables

The thing about variables is that you never know which one to choose. What’s even more shocking about variables is that there are too many of them.

Statement 1: I want to lose weight

Variable 1: I can choose to start eating better food items, thus avoiding the food items that made me gain weight

Variable 2: I can eat the same things as I am now, but go extremely hard-core on my workout

Variable 3: I can choose to balance what I eat and how much workout I do, thereby doing both, and in moderation that has no sudden impact on my body.

Variable 4: I can simply walk on the same path as now and only wish to lose weight every few weeks/ months.

While I’m sure that there are more variables to this statement, these four top the scenario that we confront each time such a thought arises.

Variables don’t just occur in a micro scenario but happen in a macro scenario as well.

Statement 2: I want to do something about the climate.

Variable 1: You can first implement all the changes in your own lifestyle first before advocating bigger changes.

Variable 2: You can be an advocate about the climate but share that information whilst wasting water in the bathroom or using plastic items yourself.

Variable 3: You can practically showcase individualistic alternative changes that you’re applying yourself and inspire others to do the same because sharing problems is easier than sharing solutions.

Variable 4: You can go above and beyond the third variable and indicate legitimate changes that brands can apply publicly, thus showcasing real changes that can be done as well as applying pressure publicly.

Yet again, this particular example is massive to at least have a hundred and more variables to it.

When confronted with a scenario, we usually proceed with two default scenarios, one that we are programmed with (our mindset) that says what to do, and the second one, following what everyone else is doing.

At that moment, we don’t wait to think of the variables that arise along with the scenario, and only if we did, then we’d know that we can realistically approach with a much better variable than what we’d have chosen… and not just one, but a mixture of variables as well.

That’s the beauty of variables.

The urge to show-off

The urge to show-off

You have probably met someone who constantly shows off their materialistic wealth, don’t you? This individual would, even without a discussion on that topic, start sharing about what they have, what they own, what is their overall or a particular item’s financial worth, basically anything that has been accumulated on their own or because of their family wealth.

Where does this urge to show off originate from? There’s deep insecurity within to either feel recognized, feel important, or a need to feel superior to others. When you aren’t secure with your identity and your values and the path of life you’re walking on, one usually falls back on external items/ scenarios/ circumstances that give them the contentment of security which eventually becomes their identity.

This attached identity then becomes a crown that you have to show people so they know you, so they can see you in the room. They’ll introduce a topic and hope that someone’s interested because when one is, doors are opened for them to “connect” further and talk more about that “attached identity” which eventually is this materialistic wealth.

What they fail to recognize is reading the room and observing whether other people are secure with their identities and their ideas and their values and how obnoxious would they feel this particular individual is who constantly rambles on about the materialistic items/ experiences in their life, thus losing out on any connection possible.

Another peril of having this attached identity is the fragile ego that comes along with it. While there’s a need to be seen and to be recognized, what also ends up happening is when the importance isn’t shown at that point, or if someone has something “superior” to them or when they’re questioned… It ends up destroying their ego, with them feeling hurt and damaged because it is hurting and damaging this “identity” they’ve held onto.

//while it’s easier to pinpoint one individual in this process, arrows can also be pinpointed in their upbringing where the easiest path possible is laid down to walk upon and the slightest and the biggest of wants are fulfilled, leading to this sense of identity and approach of life.//

Any human wants to feel connected, but that comes with a strong set of beliefs and values, that makes you want to spend more time with them and not vice-versa. The bigger question is not about the materialistic things you own, but what have you attached your identity with and how secure you’re in your life because both things can be totally different and work out just fine.

The cost of a third choice

The cost of a third choice

You have two choices, A or B.

You must make a decision and choose one.

So now you weigh the pros and cons, or the advantages and disadvantages, or however else you’d like to compare the two choices.

But, now you’re in a conundrum. You cannot decide. You like A. You like B. It all seems difficult now.

In order to lessen the confusion, you think, “How about a third choice?”

A third choice may make the matter easier. When you come up with that third choice, everything will get cleared and you assume you’ll go with C in that scenario.

Now you work and think of a third choice. But, here’s another issue… By the time you were thinking about the third choice, you lost out on the first two choices. There’s no way to choose them anymore.

And that’s the cost of the third choice.

Either due to a lack of decision making or due to this need for perfectionism, you weren’t able to decide on the former two choices that were readily available to you.

You just had to make a decision and it was all done. But the want to have more choices, the want to have everything perfect, that wait to have more made you lose on the two choices (that were according to you) and that you could’ve chosen.

The cost of the third choice is an expensive one, one that occurs time and again,

– if we don’t drop the idea of perfect,

– if we don’t level up our decision-making skills,

– if we don’t truly understand what we want in the first place.

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My Weekly Learnings #59 (08.05.22 – 14.05.22)

Amidst all the content I consume every week, through this weekly series of ‘My Weekly Learnings’, sharing highlights of content pieces that caught my eye and provided more value than I could imagine.

(P.S. Every Sunday, I share a list of what to read, listen to, and watch, in my weekly series, The Last 7 Days. You can check out the editions here).

1. Selfish morality:
– The selfish reason, to be honest, is to clear the mind of exhausting lies and to navigate towards people and situations where you can be completely authentic.
– The selfish reason to love is that it feels better to be in love than to be loved (but don’t expect much back).
– The selfish reason to be ethical is that it attracts the other ethical people in the network.
– The selfish reason to be temperate is that overindulgence desensitizes you to the subtle everyday pleasures of life.
– The selfish reason to be humble is that the more seriously you take yourself, the unhappier you’re going to be.
– The selfish reason to be faithful or dutiful is that it gives you something to care about more than yourself.
– The selfish reason to be thrifty is that living far below your means frees you from obsessing over money.
– The selfish reason to be honourable is that self-esteem is just the reputation that you have with yourself. You’ll always know.
– The selfish reason to be calm is that anger burns you first before burning the other.
A cool and calm person is more effective than an angry and agitated one.
– The selfish reason to forgive is so that you can move on with the rest of your life (but you can’t fake it or rush it).
– The selfish person realizes that happiness belongs to the self-less. [Naval Ravikant]

2. Human tendency to conform, especially when in large groups, is terrifying. Propaganda machines leverage this throughout human history.

The way out is to think freely, detached from the divisive narratives of the day that masquerade as universal truths.

This often feels lonely. [Lex Fridman]

3. The highest compliment from someone who disagrees with you is not “You were right.” It’s “You made me think.”

Good arguments help us recognize complexity where we once saw simplicity.

The ultimate purpose of debate is not to produce consensus. It’s to promote critical thinking. [Adam Grant]

4. The Accountability Ladder

[Framework: Bruce Gordon Illustration: sketchplantations]

5. Being politically ideological and politically tribal are different things, in direct conflict with each other. Being ideological nails your feet to a point on the political spectrum. Being tribal nails you to a group of people, wherever those people drift along the spectrum.

Some people seem both ideological and tribal, but deep down, their true loyalty lies either with the ideology or with the group of people. The litmus test happens when a political tribe rapidly repositions itself ideologically, for strategic reasons.

Of course, there’s a third way: don’t nail yourself to a set of ideas OR a group of people. Be loyal only to ways of thinking (humility, the scientific method, etc).

I think independence is the thing to strive for and between the other two, ideological is better than tribal. [Tim Urban]

Without knowing the time

Without knowing the time

What would you do if there was no clock nearby? While this could be looked at from a macro lens and its impact on our life, today’s approach to this topic is from a micro lens.

What would you do if there was no clock nearby? Let’s look at this question from another lens. We plan our day ahead of time and we set these slots in our calendars based on the tasks that we have for the day. For everything that has to be done, there’s a start and end time that has been set.

What would you do if there was no clock? How would you approach your day without knowing the time? The way we currently go about our day is mostly automated and everything happens based on a pattern that we have been following. When we mix too many tasks, our brain is not able to switch so easily. While we may be doing something we have already done before, our automated process has taken over and we feel like we’re accomplishing something. Here’s also when we should bring in the topic of quality vs quantity and look at our day from those lenses to better understand our productivity rate.

Nonetheless, when you approach your day without knowing the time, now you approach your tasks based on a flow that you feel within. How much time you want to spend on something is now not based on a calendar but based on how focused you are on it and how much energy you have for it. Once you’re feeling exhausted in both those categories also means that it’s either time to take a break or to move on to the next thing, both of which weren’t earlier possible when there was an external end time set to your task and you were just working off it.

While we are looking at this approach based on a singular task and while you can already imagine the difference between the two approaches theoretically, imagine how this approach looks when you approach your entire day with this outlook. What you will do and what you won’t do when you approach your day without knowing the time?

Breaking down every aspect of our mindset

Breaking down every aspect of our mindset

Breaking down our mindset is such an exciting and interesting process that it cannot be explained in mere words. We are, from childhood, programmed to function in a particular way, every decision we make is based on how it would look in the society we live in. Not just the decisions, but even our thought process is programmed similarly, which is also why different human beings with different tastes may look similar when in a group because they approach life similarly.

What do we think? What’s the foundation of our thoughts and our ideation and our decision making? Why do we think in a certain way? Do we feel challenged or welcoming when approached with opposite thoughts than our own? The topic of one’s own mindset is so beautiful to dissect, but one should definitely do it on their own (with better learning and preparation).

When you break down every aspect of our mindset, we start to learn everything about our life, past, present, and future. How we have lived our life, the steps we have taken and the decisions we have made, the decisions that went wrong, and to actually break down the why behind it all breaks down our mindset into how did all of it come into the picture. Where did it all originate from? While now you may be functioning in a pattern, every pattern has had to originate from somewhere and then you kept on repeating it until it became a part of your identity.

To find out the origin means you find out your influence, whether it is from another person, from looking at the society as a whole or from your education system or from what you consume (content). Everything influences you somehow and eventually becomes a part of how you function.

Every bit compiled together then becomes your mindset, how you approach life, micro and macro. What path will you be walking, what will your approach be when a setback or difficulty arrives, how open are you towards your change and so much more can all be determined through your current mindset.

These are only a few aspects to pinpoint, but everything whether personal or professional, whether your ideation or execution, your direction, your communication, your relationships, your goals or vision or process of living life, everything comes from your mindset.

To then break down every aspect of it thus makes your process of living life much more beautiful than before, because now you understand the why behind everything, the foundation of it, you’re now in control and controlling your steps and actions based on how you have styled your mindset. (in comparison to an already programmed mindset which didn’t serve you to your benefit, or was programmed already for you)

The list of things that go wrong

The list of things that go wrong

When we compile a list of everything that has happened in our lives, the list would most likely be divided into two, a list of things that went right and a list of things that went wrong.

Such a list would apply to everyone, no one is averse to any side. There’s a likely scenario where the list of things that went wrong is much more than the other side. It’s not that one thing goes wrong and three go right. Usually, it’s the other way round, five things go wrong and one thing goes right, which would also explain why the list of wrongs is longer.

Every time something wrong happens, meaning the process or the outcome didn’t turn in our favour, there could be a planning issue, mindset issue, or execution issue, to pinpoint one would be difficult. Every time something goes wrong, it becomes a setback for us. We think about it long and hard, so we don’t repeat it and if we gather the chance to do it again, then do it right the next time.

While even if we physically don’t prepare such a list, internally we already know about such a list and everything that has gone wrong in our life. But here’s where it gets fascinating… when you unlock this perspective of looking at the list of things that have gone wrong you see your life differently. Even when five things have gone wrong, and they could have been really bad setbacks and may have emotionally and mentally set you down too, that one thing which has gone right has more weightage in your life that outweighs those five things that have gone wrong.

So if you ever prepare such a list and even when you find out that the list of things that have gone wrong is so much more than the things that have gone right in your life… instead of only seeing the quantity, also notice the quality because the smaller side (things that have gone right) have so much more power than the list of things that have gone wrong.

Your prioritisation and its impact on life

Your prioritisation and its impact on life

From time to time, there are always a bunch of things that we need/ want to do, not all of them are necessarily important and yet they end up on our list of things to do. Because the time is limited, i.e. 24 hours every day, you now have to prioritise things.

What should be noted is, that when we prioritise things, we don’t necessarily do them based on the importance of those tasks. We prioritise them based on the emotions we are feeling at that point in time. This also means that if we’re feeling lazy or we feel to be entertained, then we may end up doing something that is a complete waste of time, or rather the better way to explain this is… prioritising something that has no impact on our life over something that could have actually helped us grow or move forward in life (personally or professionally).

Quite often, our decisions are made in this flow of emotions. These emotions we do not control, but they do branch out of our mindset, which we can mould. Based on the hastiness of our decision making, this affects our tasks/ things to do, thus affecting the impact those things would have had on our lives and the path that our life would have taken and the opportunities we would have gotten at that point of time had we walked on that path.

Now, because of how we prioritise our tasks, we don’t take into account their impact on our life. We don’t think that long and why would we? We feed off our current emotions and we look at today. We don’t see the tomorrow and how prioritising something that is actually important may help our life immediately or somewhere down the line.

That perspective and that approach to decision making then help us prioritise everything in that order, not that fun is out of the way, but everything is then balanced from that lens… Keeping our vision and the goals of our life in check and ensuring that we are on the right path forward, or the path we want to be on… whilst we do a little bit of everything we want to do without giving up on anything.

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My Weekly Learnings #58 (01.05.22 – 07.05.22)

Amidst all the content I consume every week, through this weekly series of ‘My Weekly Learnings’, sharing highlights of content pieces that caught my eye and provided more value than I could imagine.

(P.S. Every Sunday, I share a list of what to read, listen to, and watch, in my weekly series, The Last 7 Days. You can check out the editions here).

1. Some situations seem to call for an opponent.

It might be our personality, the structure of the engagement or the way we’ve been taught to behave, but having an enemy seems to focus individuals and groups.

For fifty years, America decided that the USSR was the enemy and spent a great deal of time and money and attention maintaining that threat.

For many people, the boss is the enemy, the controlling managerial authority, the opponent to be bested in a fight over work, effort and passion.

Or it might simply be the hockey team we’re skating against tonight.

Pick your enemies, pick your future. [Seth Godin]

2. Novelist Doris Lessing on the various ways to succeed:

“We all of us have limited amounts of energy, and I am sure the people who are successful have learned, either by instinct or consciously, to use their energies well instead of spilling them about. And this has to be different for every person, writer or otherwise. I know writers who go to parties every night and then, recharged instead of depleted, happily write all day. But if I stay up half the night talking, I don’t do so well the next day. Some writers like to start work as soon as they can in the morning, while others like the night or—for me almost impossible—the afternoons. Trial and error, and then when you’ve found your needs, what feeds you, what is your instinctive rhythm and routine, then cherish it.”

Source: Walking in the Shade​

3. Husband and wife combo, Benjamin Zander, a longtime conductor of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, and Rosamund Zander, a family therapist, on the power of point of view:

“Every problem, every dilemma, every dead end we find ourselves facing in life, only appears unsolvable inside a particular frame or point of view. Enlarge the box, or create another frame around the data, and problems vanish, while new opportunities appear.”

Source: The Art of Possibility​

4. When you ask a great master or a real expert for advice, they give you seemingly vague or non-specific answers, they shun being prescriptive. What they think matters is not what you believe matters. Further, they know you will misinterpret a specific answer.

They know you will take any advice and blindly follow it.

Any great architect, artist, or cook goes through the rote stages of learning until they improve to a high level, after that they ‘abandon’ all knowledge and go by feel, pure essence.

This is what you need to do if you want a lifetime of health and fitness. NOT calorie counting, 300 mins of Zone 2, ‘cardio’, incline bench, Tabata, etc.

You REWILD yourself. Smell the flowers, climb trees, eat natural, get the sun, sleep, and swim in the sea. [Guru Anaerobic/ Mark Baker]

5. Experience is the frequency and quality of feedback loops and not elapsed years.

Many people stay the same for years and many evolve 10x in a single year. [Kunal Shah]

History tells us

History tells us

Learning our history is such an interesting subject, the more you delve into it, the more there is to learn. The deeper you study about a particular period/era, about a particular location, about a particular individual, you just get amazed by all the information you get (especially if that information is from way before than you can imagine).

But there’s another interesting thing that history tells us. When you observe the patterns of the present, of how the world is run, of the developments that occur, of how technology is advancing ahead, you’ll always notice a resemblance of that pattern in our history too.

Upon careful observation, you’ll notice that nothing that happens is actually new or fresh or happening for the first time. Some things may look evolved, and some may look fresher/ newer, but there are always strings attached to them from the past.

There’s a lot that happened in our history, some of it got carried forward, some of it was kept hidden from ever being known, and some of it became rumours.

After all of that, everything that happens today, in terms of new creations/ developments/ products/ services/ ideas, everything seems to be an extension of our history, either an evolved idea from the past, or a sub-branch created from the parent branch, or many a time, even the exact same thing simply modernized.

Knowing and understanding all of this makes learning history even more interesting, connecting these dots, feeling your mind blown when you see the origin of a particular idea, knowing how some patterns just keep on repeating… History tells us so much.

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My Weekly Learnings #57 (24.04.22 – 30.04.22)

Amidst all the content I consume every week, through this weekly series of ‘My Weekly Learnings’, sharing highlights of content pieces that caught my eye and provided more value than I could imagine.

(P.S. Every Sunday, I share a list of what to read, listen to, and watch, in my weekly series, The Last 7 Days. You can check out the editions here).

1. Writer and Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Powers on how to change someone’s mind:

“The best arguments in the world won’t change a single person’s mind. The only thing that can do that is a good story.”

Source: The Overstory

2. If you’re ever sitting waiting for a response from someone anxiously, just remember – people don’t delay delivering the good news. [Harry Hurst]

3. Rival and Non-Rival Goods

Source: sketchplantations

4. Author Bell Hooks on the balance between justice and compassion:

“For me, forgiveness and compassion are always linked: how do we hold people accountable for wrongdoing and yet at the same time remain in touch with their humanity enough to believe in their capacity to be transformed?”

Source: “There’s No Place to Go But Up” — bell hooks and Maya Angelou in conversation​

​5. Happiness is not a function of what you achieve. It’s a function of how you spend your time.

Success is a temporary thrill. Happiness lies in doing daily activities that bring you joy.

There’s always a new mountain to climb. You don’t have to anchor your emotions to the summit. [Adam Grant]

A list of inner success

A list of inner success

The world is evolving in a way where it’s moulding us into people full of wants. To achieve those wants, we keep chasing and chasing, on a never-ending battle with time and health and fulfillments.

We achieve one want, and the list is ready to achieve another. We often make these lists of “external success” that we’d love to have under our portfolio. Whether those are physical goods and services, or digital, or a particular title or valuation, it could be a single thing or multiple things.

We revolve our life around those things and forget about everything else.

But, in this battle, we forget about the most important things that make our life what it – whether it is our physical or mental health, our connection with ourselves or with the higher power (higher power or the Universe or God, however you personally feel in this area), our relationships, our purpose/ service.

Some people do realize this and start walking on this path, they start learning, practicing, implementing and witnessing change in those areas.

Sometimes the areas you need to touch upon or the work that has to be done is humongous to even think of. Sometimes thinking of the future, we forget all the work that we have already done, the work that got us to this point.

As people create lists for their external wants, one should also create a list of inner success.

A list that says the minutest of things that you have achieved internally, the things that you have worked upon and improved at.

A list that depicts your progress on this path.

A list that you can look upon, which will give you a reality check of everything that you’ve done and give you a sense of progress.

A list that you can look at, when you feel you’ve done nothing, when you feel you aren’t doing enough, when you feel unlike yourself.

A list of inner success.

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My Weekly Learnings #56 (17.04.22 – 23.04.22)

Amidst all the content I consume every week, through this weekly series of ‘My Weekly Learnings’, sharing highlights of content pieces that caught my eye and provided more value than I could imagine.

(P.S. Every Sunday, I share a list of what to read, listen to, and watch, in my weekly series, The Last 7 Days. You can check out the editions here).

1. The worst golfer in town came in last in the club tournament.

Actually, that’s not true. The worst golfer didn’t even enter.

Well, that’s not true either. The worst golfer doesn’t even play. [Seth Godin]

2. Any technique that helps us shift the state of our fight-or-flight stress response is interesting to us. The physiological sigh is the fastest, hardwired way for us to eliminate a stress response quickly and in real-time.

The double inhale of the physiological sigh pops open the alveoli air sacks, allowing oxygen in and enabling you to offload carbon dioxide with the long exhaled sigh.

1-3 reps are generally enough to slow HR to baseline and 10-15 cycles can be useful for sleep. [Neurohacker]

3. How does your brain look under stress?

Source: brainchat

4. How to optimize for luck:

– Fall in love with problems, not solutions
– Hang/work with the smartest people possible with diverse opinions
– Be consistent
– Cut distractions
– Failure happens. Whatever
– Mindset & belief in yourself
– Try to be optimistic
– Be kind to people [Greg Isenberg]

5. Entitled people who blame others for their own emotions and actions do so because they believe that if they constantly paint themselves as victims, eventually someone will come along and save them, and they will receive the love they’ve always wanted. [Mark Manson]

When your plan backfires

When your plan backfires

Quite often than not, there’s something to be done in the future, minutes later, hours later, weeks, months or years later… and we make a plan that will get that something done. We jot down the plan, figure out what could go wrong, and what could go right, and accordingly plan our moves.

The thing about making these plans beforehand is that sometimes they backfire. You make any of these plans based on the information you already have and the estimation of what could go wrong is again based on the information you already have. But the plan could backfire for any number of reasons.

Right from the initiation to any of the steps in the middle or even when everything is executed to the point, the outcome could go against us, for any number of reasons the plan could backfire. There are things we can control and there are things we cannot, and usually what we cannot control dominates the moments, especially the ones we were highly dependent on.

But, at any given time, when the plan backfires, what can we do? When it doesn’t work out, usually, the immediate moments are filled with regret, irritation and frustration, among the other emotions that could pop up.

Depending on the priority of what was needed to be done, the lesser the priority, we can either play along with the outcome at hand or just let it go, and the higher the priority, and depending on how favourable the outcome is, we can either devise a fresh plan or divert from the outcome and play that to our favour.

Either way, when the plan backfires, even though the usual approach is the outburst of emotions, that of regret and frustration, they don’t solve anything. What solves it is how do you play the outcome in your favour and if that is not the right step forward, what’s the next viable step? We usually don’t realize this at that very moment, but only in hindsight.

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My Weekly Learnings #55 (10.04.22 – 16.04.22)

Amidst all the content I consume every week, through this weekly series of ‘My Weekly Learnings’, sharing highlights of content pieces that caught my eye and provided more value than I could imagine.

(P.S. Every Sunday, I share a list of what to read, listen to, and watch, in my weekly series, The Last 7 Days. You can check out the editions here).

1. Meditation is intermittent fasting for the mind. Too much sugar leads to a heavy body. Similarly… too many distractions lead to a heavy mind.

Time spent alone and undistracted, in self-examination and meditation resolves the unresolved.

It takes us from being mentally fat to fit. [Naval Ravikant]

2. The Hawthorne effect occurs when people behave differently because they know they are being watched.

It can affect all sorts of behaviours such as dietary habits, or hygiene practices because these have considerable opportunities for instantaneous modification. It can also affect study results, e.g. a survey of smoking by watching people during work breaks might lead to observing much lower smoking rates than is genuinely representative of the population under study. It can also contaminate an intervention study if one of the control groups changes its behaviour because it is being observed more frequently than the other.

The Hawthorne effect can also lead to the observation being the intervention. For example, recommending individuals who want to lose weight should keep a diary of what they eat and drink. [Catalog of Bias]

3. Reducing your smartphone use is better for your well-being than stopping cold turkey.

Experiment: 4 months after decreasing smartphone use by 1 hr/day, people were happier, less depressed & anxious, and led healthier lifestyles.

Digital moderation beats digital abstinence. [Adam Grant]

4. Many good opportunities are ruined for the dream of slightly better ones.

Would you have a more successful career if you had taken that other job or moved cities? Possibly. But your actual career will definitely suffer if you don’t commit to doing it to the best of your ability.

Would you be 10% happier in a different relationship? Maybe. Maybe not. But you’ll definitely be unhappy in the one you have if you spend all day thinking about what else is out there.

The surefire way to end up worse off is to agonize over unchosen options and fail to make the most of the one you selected. Every minute spent yearning for your unlived lives is a moment you can’t invest in the one you actually have.

Choices matter, but so does your level of commitment. [James Clear]

5. Author Cheryl Strayed on the trap of self-pity:

“Nobody’s going to do your life for you. You have to do it yourself, whether you’re rich or poor, out of money or raking it in, the beneficiary of ridiculous fortune or terrible injustice. And you have to do it no matter what is true. No matter what is hard. No matter what unjust, sad, sucky things befall you. Self-pity is a dead-end road. You make the choice to drive down it. It’s up to you to decide to stay parked there or to turn around and drive out.”

Source: Tiny Beautiful Things

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My Weekly Learnings #54 (03.04.22 – 09.04.22)

Amidst all the content I consume every week, through this weekly series of ‘My Weekly Learnings’, sharing highlights of content pieces that caught my eye and provided more value than I could imagine.

(P.S. Every Sunday, I share a list of what to read, listen to, and watch, in my weekly series, The Last 7 Days. You can check out the editions here).

1. Look around your environment.

Rather than seeing items as objects, see them as magnets for your attention. Each object gently pulls a certain amount of your attention toward it.

Whenever you discard something, the tug of that object is released. You get some attention back. [James Clear]

2. Writer Jenée Desmond-Harris on how to divide your to-do list:

“I started dividing my to-do list into 1) things I have to do, 2) things I want to do, and 3) things other people want me to do. Life-changing! I often don’t get to #3 and I finally realized… this is what it means to have boundaries.”

3. People can subconsciously become their favourite fictional characters. Psychologists have discovered that while reading a book or story, people are prone to subconsciously adopt their behaviour, thoughts, beliefs, and internal responses to that of fictional characters as if they were their own. [8fact]

4. The person who makes you smarter isn’t always the smartest one in the room. Often it’s the most curious one in the room.

“Why do we do that?” leads you to question old assumptions. “What if?” opens your eyes to new possibilities.

Inquisitive people are catalysts for learning. [Adam Grant]

5. Depth of understanding:

– I have been told
– I have been shown
– I have done
– I have demonstrated
– I have taught someone else

The thresholds you cross are:

– Awareness
– Knowledge
– Understanding
– Skill
– Mastery [Shane Parrish]

Do you actually learn anything from the internet?

Do you actually learn anything from the internet?

Averagely, users’ screentime on their smartphones varies between a good TWO to somewhere around SIX hours and for some, even more, and for some, less than that. Another stat says that the top used applications during this screentime are the social media platforms, so it also shows how much control these platforms have over their users.

Day after day, they introduce new features and tools that would hook the users for more time on their individual platforms. Everyone wants more attention and now these companies will fight with each other in order to get more screentime, which results in more rewards for their creators so they can create more, thus the consumers consuming more… and all this with newer and newer tools so the end creator/ consumers feel the need to try out what’s new and keep that cycle going. (there’s a whole psychological play out here, but today’s topic is more in regard to the consumers and not the play)

Coming to the consumers and the average screen time and smartphone usage, it’s obvious at this stage that a large amount of content is being consumed every minute, every hour and every day. But the question that should be asked, and quite an important one is, do you actually learn anything from the internet?

With the content durations being reduced and the quantity of content being consumed every minute increasing, people’s attention spans are also reducing, they now want to consume more, get hit by more emotions, and don’t want to waste even fifteen seconds on anything that doesn’t give the hit.

At that pace, let alone learning, do you actually remember what you consume on the internet? With everything that we can learn and then use that learning to polish our skillset, gain more experience, grow and evolve, make the necessary changes in our life, if not for any of it, then what’s the point of consuming anything?

Some may say entertainment, well if you’re awake for 16 hours in a day and 6 of those hours are spent on your smartphone, the question that arises is how much entertainment do you even need? The second question is, when does the realization of the time distribution of your day take place?

Instead of letting the platforms take us for granted, instead of letting the algorithm play us, why not take control of this huge reservoir of value that we, fortunately, have access to (the internet) and actually use it to our benefit? For once, we can actually learn something from the internet and remember it too.

When you find the content relatable

When you find the content relatable

We consume so much content on the internet today, in every form, there could be… How many times do you come across a content piece and find it extremely relatable?

Sometimes the content could be entertaining, or educational, could be about life, relationships, health, well-being, anything… When it’s entertaining, we usually look back to a previous moment of life and find it nostalgic. When it’s educational, we look back at our life and wonder either with joy or with heavy shoulders how it relates to us.

At such times, it is not you who is relating with the creator or the author, because their job is to observe such moments, deep dive into them, and share them as learnings/ advice etc so people can learn and understand from them. No, what you’re relating it with is your own life… What exactly is that content piece telling you and what part/ aspect/ phase of your life are you relating it with?

That’s the question that should be asked… And instead of simply liking it or saving it for later, what should be done is an actual introspection mixed with what you need to do with that information now, depending on how it hits you (as a pat on the back or a punch in the face).

The list of things you’re owed

The list of things you’re owed

Many a time, quite frequently actually, people feel, in various aspects and phases of their lives, that they’re owed something. Owed not in return for something, but just generically they’re owed something that needs to be given to them.

In quite a few scenarios, these people become quite demanding to receive something, to an extent where they’d tear down the other individual if they don’t give in. Again, this is not a transaction, but an expectation that is taking place. Bring into the picture, entitlement, mixed with a lack of accountability, and now it’s easy to put the blame on someone else, it’s easy to not put in the work yourself, and even easier to stay in this dreamed state of expectations. It’s always easy to demand and get by force than to wait patiently and work for it and then get the outcome from the process you’ve worked towards.

In reality, unless a transaction is taking place, which is agreed upon, there’s no logic or an arising situation that states that someone is owed something from someone. But, the problem originates with this sense of entitlement that is rooted so deep within oneself, that one, it’s difficult to acknowledge, two, it’s difficult to change, and three, the individual becomes even more defensive when it’s pointed out.

Because an individual did something once, now there’s an expected demand that the action would be repeated. Because an individual has something, now there’s a demanding framework that their ‘something’ needs to be shared.

While, in reality, the evolving mindset, one which speaks of growth and changes towards a better you, says that no one owes you anything. There shouldn’t be an expectation in the first place, thus no disappointment either. You get what you work for, for what your ask is, where your process has led you to, and everything else that comes in is after. A healthier way of living that doesn’t put doubt and clouded judgements in your mind and doesn’t take away your present to an illusioned reality.

Rotting the Brain

Rotting the Brain

The brain has a particular set of functions that it does regularly… but what happens when a particular function doesn’t work out? Now, these are automatic processes we’re talking about, and the brain is the best machine there is… So the odds of that happening are less.

But what about the manual functions of the brain that we control? The outcome of those functions lies with us. For every thought, there’s a neurological response to it, which controls our mood, our emotions, etc. For everything that we consume, there’s a neurological response to it as well, as for many other things.

At the start of this is when the process begins, you lay down the groundwork and henceforth it starts acting out as a routine. Your brain knows what you consume, and accordingly, when you start consuming it, the response is ready. Your brain is already adapted to your real-life scenarios, so when it predicts the atmosphere in the room, the outcome that is going to be uttered in the form of words and actions is also something that is pre-decided by the brain, which again initially was started by you, and then became a routine.

These are just some of the minute examples, but there are a ton of them too. How our brain is going to evolve or devolve is up to us, because the automatic functions don’t hurt us as much as the manual functions do, and we have the power over it.

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My Weekly Learnings #53 (27.03.22 – 02.04.22)

Amidst all the content I consume every week, through this weekly series of ‘My Weekly Learnings’, sharing highlights of content pieces that caught my eye and provided more value than I could imagine.

(P.S. Every Sunday, I share a list of what to read, listen to, and watch, in my weekly series, The Last 7 Days. You can check out the editions here).

1. The tendency to dwell on the negative more than the positive is simply one way the brain tries to keep us safe.

Earlier in human history, paying attention to bad, dangerous, and negative threats in the world was literally a matter of life and death. Those who were more attuned to danger and who paid more attention to the bad things around them were more likely to survive.

That’s cool, but most of us no longer need to be on constant high alert like our early ancestors needed to be in order to survive. And yet, the negativity bias still has a starring role in how our brains operate. Research has shown that negative bias can have a wide variety of effects on how people think, respond, and feel.

Neurohacking such mindsets is a crucial part in optimizing our relationships, decision-making, and perceptions. [Neurohacker]

2. Anger magically shrinks our vocabulary when communicating.

Persuasion automatically makes us use most of our vocabulary.

It is maybe easier to anger someone with a limited vocabulary than someone with a vast one. [Kunal Shah]

3. Here’s all the life advice you’ll ever need, without a thread.

Stop living “hour-to-hour”, and start living from “experience to experience”

Get OFF of time. Time makes you feel behind. Stressed

Life is a menu. Choose your experience like choosing an appetizer, main, & dessert. [Shaan Puri]

4. Henry Ford, founder of Ford Motor Company, on the importance of giving value before you ask for value:

“I quit my job on August 15, 1899, and went into the automobile business…

The most surprising feature of business as it was conducted was the large attention given to finance and the small attention to service. That seemed to me to be reversing the natural process which is that the money should come as the result of work and not before the work…

My idea was then and still is that if a man did his work well, the price he would get for that work—the profits and all financial matters—would care for themselves and that a business ought to start small and build itself up and out of its earnings.”

Source: My Life and Work

5. How sugar affects your brain and body?

Source: Business Insider

What can you do to mentally relax?

What can you do to mentally relax?

It’s a normal workday (even the non-workdays for that matter, just imagine a normal day), you are looking outside the window trying to take a breather and just when you wanted to relax (and not necessarily in a relaxing situation, but other times too), you notice these barrage of thoughts running in your mind, from one topic to another… That chatter is non-stop and even when you’re trying to relax physically, that same choice isn’t available to you mentally.

From random thoughts to looking back at your day or your life to the mistakes you’ve made, the to-do items for the day and henceforth, or even imagining the future of perfect choices made, the range of thoughts running in your mind could be endless.

It isn’t said plainly when there are approximately sixty thousand plus thousands in your head on a daily average. Talk about non-stop!

When do you get the break? When are you able to mentally relax? Is a physical vacation, being on a beach or the mountains, a solution to that? While the answer to the first two questions is solvable or rather, practicable with the solution at hand, the answer to the third question is a definite no.

Irrespective of whether that voice in your head is a supportive one or not, and whether your perspective is healthy or not, the chatter continues at its pace.

But, there are a few things that can be done to limit its supply, to direct the flow, to have the ability to mentally relax for a while…

1. For many, journaling has been one that has made a fair share of impact – because it gives you a real glimpse of your life and not the what-ifs or the imagined scenarios that run through your head, which also lose its grip when the real picture can be read on that paper.

2. The most powerful (proven) tool is meditation – when you meditate for a period of time, not keeping it short to 5 or 10 minutes but more, deeper, and when the mind and body align in that deep meditative state, is when you feel so calm and so peaceful, is also when you truly feel the physical and mental relaxation altogether and a reduction in that chatter.

3. Breath-work has also been another proven technique that keeps you in check, keeps you present, brings you back to staying centered when in a state of stress, anxiousness, frustration, lost thoughts etc.

4. Art has various forms, but the common factor remains the same – when focused and in a state of flow, you forget everything when you’re indulged in that process and you forget about the mental chatter and it’s just you and your art form.

5. While there could be tiny tidbits here and there that could work for a minute, another one that makes the list are nature walks – conscious nature walks. Nature, with the trees around, birds chirping, sky visible, you walking around gives you a vibe where you feel this is everything, and everything else becomes secondary, including the non-stop mental chatter.

While the brain’s function is to have more thoughts, you cannot stop that process – what you can do is direct its flow, direct its quality, and in moments, do things that are not only beneficial to your mind and body, but also give you a break from that chatter like the things listed above.

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My Weekly Learnings #52 (20.03.22 – 26.03.22)

Amidst all the content I consume every week, through this weekly series of ‘My Weekly Learnings’, sharing highlights of content pieces that caught my eye and provided more value than I could imagine.

(P.S. Every Sunday, I share a list of what to read, listen to, and watch, in my weekly series, The Last 7 Days. You can check out the editions here).

1. We judge people too much by the opinions they give and too little by the values they live.

You don’t have to like their point to admire their courage in making it.

Decency is avoiding disrespect, not avoiding disagreement. Integrity is trying to get it right, not being right. [Adam Grant]

2. When Betty Crocker (not her real name) first started selling cake mixes, all you had to do was add water. They failed.

But when they changed the recipe and required users to add oil and an egg, sales went up.

Because people like to feel as though they’re cooking. It made the mix an activity that felt like homemaking.

If you order a high-end table saw (and you should, so you don’t get injured) you might discover that there are a fair number of nuts and bolts to install. For the premium that’s charged, there’s no reason for this–except that assembling the last bit yourself feels worthy.

And you’ve probably guessed the punchline, so I won’t tell it to you. When you assemble it yourself… [Seth Godin]

3. Unlike our circadian rhythm, our specific sleep chronotype isn’t influenced by any outside force, but rather genetics.

What is a sleep chronotype? A chronotype is your body’s natural disposition to be awake or asleep at certain times (think phrases such as “early bird” and “night owl”). Your chronotype is closely related to your body’s circadian rhythm, which controls your body’s sleep-wake cycle and melatonin production.

But our sleep chronotype is far more than a sleep preference, research indicates that chronotype is a heritable trait, thus directing attention toward its genetic basis. [Neurohacker]

4. When the body is at rest (not engaged in any activity besides breathing, digesting, etc.) the brain uses up a startling 20-25% of the body’s overall energy, mainly in the form of glucose, making the brain the most energy-expensive organ in the body. [BrainChat]

5. There was a man in Africa on safari who saw a group of captive elephants, each with a rope tied to their ankle.

He was confused. They were gigantic creatures, some being over 13,000 pounds…

Yet they were being held in place not with chains or cages–– but with ropes driven into the ground by stakes.

The man asked the elephant trainer, “Why don’t the elephants break free?”

The elephant trainer replied:
“When they were very young and much smaller we used the same ropes to tie them. At that age, it’s enough to hold them. As they grow up, they are conditioned to believe they cannot break away. They believe the rope can still hold them, so they never try to break free.”

The elephants were all physically capable of breaking free but remained in captivity due to their limiting beliefs.

They didn’t believe they could break free, so they never tried. [Jay Shetty]

The core of your routine and its longevity

The core of your routine and its longevity

When you look at your life and every aspect of it, broken down by how much you have lived, you’d notice it’s nothing but a set of habits (in every area of life) that is formed into a daily routine.

Sometimes these habits are chosen and designed by you, instiling a routine that you deem fit for yourself, and other times you’re moulded into a routine by external factors (one that isn’t in your control).

Either way, this particular routine is done on a daily basis, until one specific event is scheduled for a particular day that allows you to break away from it, and then get back to it the very next day.

There are a lot of “live in the moment” and “enjoy now” quotes on the internet, but ultimately those decide micro-moments of your life… Not the entirety of life itself.

As a whole package, when you look at living an average of 90 years of life, how do you want that life to look and how much should be affected by external factors or not, depends on the core of your routine and how you have designed it. Because that’s the subconscious taking over, those decisions are ones you aren’t taking every day… This means your focus is elsewhere, and once your routine is set, your decision-making skills, instead of being used for what to do with your day, can be used for more important purposes, thus the core of the routine being important.

What does the core mean?
There’s a meaning behind every habit, and what is it being led to. For example, the habit of having one or three meals a day is a part of your routine that is a part of your health and wellness. So is choosing to add meditation practices or breathing exercises to your routine. There’s a reason behind doing everything and doing it daily too.

Once you understand the type of life you want to live, you break it down to the point you can design how your day looks like, in which areas of your life do you want to divide your attention, hence being able to design your habits as well, resulting in a routine that would have longevity, since it has your blessing filled with purpose.

When you have designed your life, with purpose and blessing, then even in the low days, you know what to do, even in the bad days, you know what to do, and generally, you don’t need to be run by motivation or hype or need any external help to carry on with your routine.

Your life – your thought-process style, your voice in the head, your communication skills, your values, your reason behind agreeing or disagreeing with something, your perspective, your decision-making – everything is a habit and unknowingly before, but knowingly now you have the power to design a routine with longevity that would shape your life the way you want it to.

Turning a Blind Eye

Turning a Blind Eye

It is right to say that growing up with the current education system along with the social norms and rules that we live around and follow, we have had a lack of education in the field of
– mental and physical health
– nutrition
– neuroscience and psychology
– values and behavioural studies
(also financial literacy, and history)

But it is also right to say that if you have understood that you lack the knowledge in the most important topics of life and with all the tools available right now, you still turn a blind eye to it, then how our life turns out to be is truly our mistake henceforth (if we aren’t satisfied with the outcome/ external factors affecting the timeline/ process of our lives) and not anyone else’s.

The What, Why, and How of Judgments

The What, Why, and How of Judgments

Has a day gone by when you can successfully say, you haven’t made any kind of judgment towards anyone else? Rather than asking the question, do you judge, the better question turns out to be how much do you judge others?

When we are born, there are no restrictions or limitations in how we see the world, nothing is instilled in our brains yet, and thus no judgments either, we live free.

And then as we grow, whether it is the society, or their “traditional way of following what’s always been done”, following a set of rules in which life is lived, along with our education system and the media… somewhere down the line, the behaviour of judging people starts rolling in, leading to comparisons, looking down upon people, jealousy, ego, and in most cases, a combination of these emotions too.

No one wants to take the stand or start asking questions, understanding the fundamentals of these “rules” and “norms”. If someone is externally doing better, then we’ll start comparing them with ourselves… If someone is doing something different from us, then we’ll start judging them… If something is doing better at something that we desire, then we’ll become jealous of them.

All of this eventually originates from the lens through which we see the world – our perspective, our point of view, our habits, our values etc – the root cause of judgments.
– What kind of mindset do you have?
– Do you want to win over others or do you want to walk with them?
– Do you view yourself over others or do you view everyone equally?
– Is your perspective one of growth or is it of stagnation?
– Are you secure with how you live your life and every aspect of it?

The opposite of judgment is empathy. To understand the other person, where they’re coming from, what their point of view is, to truly understand the intention behind their action or words.

Judgements and Empathy, unfortunately, don’t go together on the same plate. An individual is one or the other. You can either be empathetic towards someone or you can be judgmental, even if you say otherwise, you cannot be both.

When you feel you have less, when you feel someone has more than you, or you wonder why they have more than you, when you feel what right does the other individual have to do something which you can’t, it all comes down to making judgments, and that’s the complete opposite of an empathetic stand where you feel satisfied with who you are, what you have, what others have and what they get, and how you see yourself and others going forward.

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My Weekly Learnings #51 (13.03.22 – 19.03.22)

Amidst all the content I consume every week, through this weekly series of ‘My Weekly Learnings’, sharing highlights of content pieces that caught my eye and provided more value than I could imagine.

(P.S. Every Sunday, I share a list of what to read, listen to, and watch, in my weekly series, The Last 7 Days. You can check out the editions here).

1. For people that experience intense sugar cravings: the cause of those cravings is dopamine. Sweet foods and drinks and foods/drinks that contain simple sugars — especially highly processed simple sugars like high fructose corn syrup, trigger two neural pathways, one that detects nutritive value and another that leads to perceived sweetness (taste), both of which result in increased dopamine. The consequence is a heightened desire to pursue and eat sweet food.

Studies show that even if the taste of something sweet is blocked, people prefer it and crave it because of so-called post-ingestive effects: neurons in the gut that respond to sugar and signal the release of dopamine in the brain.

Understanding this can help you control or defeat sugar cravings. It also explains why we often will crave more food even if it doesn’t taste incredible.

The takeaway: Your conscious mind is able to override these signals better if you know they are there. [Dr Andrew D Huberman]

2. When we spend hours looking at screens, we are exposing our eyes to ‘photochemical’ stress, a type of light stress that occurs because of the chemical reactions and oxidative stress from the retina absorbing blue light for prolonged periods of time.

The type of photochemical stress to the retina caused by blue light is known as blue light hazard or retinal phototoxicity.

The degree of phototoxicity blue light can cause is dependent on a number of factors: the intensity of blue light to which the eye is exposed, the distance to the source of light, the direction of the line of sight, and the spectrum of the light source, for example.

It’s important to clarify that the main source of blue light in our environment is, without a doubt, the sun. But although the amount of blue light emitted by a screen is low compared to sunlight, the fact is that the type of exposure is very different. Anyone who spends long periods of time looking at screens, especially in close proximity, is being continually exposed to a significant amount of blue light that’s different in important ways compared to looking at a blue sky or ocean. [Neurohacker]

3.

Source: Dr Jordan B Peterson

4. You can’t judge people only by how they treat you. The true test of character is how they treat those they don’t like or need.

Even if someone is kind to you, proceed with caution if they’re consistently unkind to others.

Selective civility is a sign of deep-seated hostility. [Adam Grant]

5. About 1-in-13 people who have ever lived are alive today.

A.D. makes up only about 1% of human history but about half of all people have lived during it.

We live in an insane anomaly.

Visual by Our World In Data

When we are born

When we are born

When we are born, we are
– free
– open-minded
– no boundaries or limitations to anything
– looking at everyone as the same
– full of love and joy
– with not an ounce of hate or negativity or judgments
– running around with others
– where even the sky is not the limit
– and the ground can’t keep you still
– asking questions at every second of life
– curious about everything and anything
– helping others without a second’s thought

none of it has to go away when you turn into an adult, neither should any of these traits differentiate between being a child and being an adult.

Then ask yourself, what exactly is happening around you, that in a few years of living life, everything changes. What environment is being formed at home, school, college, office, etc., what norms are being set by the society, what standards are being set by those “in power” and how much media manipulation happens that everything changes from being born to turning into an adult?

Reflection is the one true marker

Reflection is the one true marker

I want to change but I don’t know what to change or how important is that change… Conscious Change is an important element of growth in the right direction because you know what has to be done, why, and what was happening before this change.

But the same question arises yet again… How much do I have to learn and experience new things, let others point out my mistakes, or wait to enter this dark phase in my life to realize that change is needed?

Reflection is the one true marker for that entire process.

To reflect upon your life, the life you have lived, the elements you liked and disliked, the life you want to live and why, what path are you currently walking on and where does it lead you, what problems are you having and what’s the origin of these problems, reflection solves all of that.

When you reflect means you’re taking a deep dive into these topics of your life, with an open mindset to accept what you’ll see and to embrace that side of you, because with embracing comes acceptance and with acceptance comes the willingness to change.

Refection is a powerful force, but rarely does anyone want to reflect, why? Why change things when everything’s going all right in a very generic scenario? Why put in the work when the current input and output is letting you manage by the next day?

While it may sound harsh, why not reflect upon that very same question and wonder whether you’ve done that, at some point in your life, towards a particular aspect of your life and with respect to change.

Reflection also means asking the tough questions, one that will show you a harsher reality than the mirage created in the minds… to then break everything brick by brick, you’ll soon see the reality of it all and then more questions start coming in… That’s also where true learning begins and you experience what you haven’t experienced before, the lens from which you view the world currently will change too.

Reflection is that one true marker, for all things within and the world, if you’re ready to walk down that path.

Questioning your own Actions

Questioning your own Actions

Usually, we focus on the outcome, with regards to a task, or a plan… we are glad about the favoured outcome and we are quick to blame when it’s not. With regards to people, it’s a similar issue, if there’s a lack of understanding or a communication standstill, we again are quick to point the blame towards the other individual.

In every scenario of life, there’s a common pattern visible that shows pointing of fingers and blame games and excuses, not compulsorily with respect to people, but we find a thousand different things to put the blame on.

What lacks in this usual approach is the questioning of your own actions.

It’s not about the theoretical smartness of the approach or intelligence per se, but the execution of the action that needs to be looked upon. If there’s really something wrong externally, then nine hundred and ninety-nine people will face the same issue with regards to that particular thing. But if everyone else can reach the favoured outcome, then it’s not an external problem, but an internal problem, which asks for the questioning of your actions.

Now, this pattern is applicable in every scenario, whether other people are involved or not… What are you doing that causes this particular outcome? What can you do to change that outcome? A bit of introspection and questioning will make you look back at your process and your approach, will make you retrace your steps and help you understand where exactly did you go wrong, and what can be done differently at your end itself to change the outcome in your favour.

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My Weekly Learnings #50 (06.03.22 – 12.03.22)

Amidst all the content I consume every week, through this weekly series of ‘My Weekly Learnings’, sharing highlights of content pieces that caught my eye and provided more value than I could imagine.

(P.S. Every Sunday, I share a list of what to read, listen to, and watch, in my weekly series, The Last 7 Days. You can check out the editions here).

1. The people you’re trying to impress are probably busy trying to impress someone else.

It’s called the spotlight effect: the tendency to overestimate how much attention people pay to your appearance and actions.

You’re always a protagonist in your story, but rarely in theirs.

[Adam Grant]

2. The subliminal message of English class is that good writing needs to be poetic. Students read novels with purple prose and try to replicate it in five-paragraph essays so they can impress their teachers.

This obsession with poetic writing is one of the most destructive outcomes of modern writing education.

Focus on clear writing instead.

Basketball provides an analogy. Even if all the stars know how to do fancy dribbles like “through the legs,” the “spin move,” and “behind the back,” you shouldn’t start there. You should master the basic dribbles first. Jumping into advanced dribbles when you start playing basketball is the fastest way to look like a goon and get the ball stolen from you. No matter how fancy their dribbling can become, even the best players focus on basic moves that get the job done even if they don’t turn heads.

So focus on writing clearly.
Let poetic language be a byproduct of clear writing and don’t even think about lavish prose until you’ve mastered the art of writing clearly. [David Perell]

3. High growth environments yield positive-sum players…

Slow/negative growth environments yield zero-sum players…

Hence, progress is a moral imperative. [Matt Huang]

4. Computer programmer Erik Naggum on reaching up instead of punching down:

“The secret to feeling great about yourself is not to be found in searching for people who are less than you and then show yourself superior to them, but in searching for people who are more than you and then show yourself worthy of their company.”

Source: Email (January 2, 2003)

5.

Source: Liz Fosslien

Live with your Mistakes or hit the Redo button?

Live with your Mistakes or hit the Redo button?

Imagine there’s a redo button, that you can hit anytime you want. You had two choices, you chose one and it turned out to be a mistake. Press that redo button and you go back in time, but you also forget everything you have done until now (so you don’t have any of your learnings too)… it means when you hit that redo button, you go back to those two choices again, not knowing which is the right one and with 50/50 odds that you may choose the wrong one again.

But the thing about odds and choices is, life isn’t about just that one choice. It’s about a series of choices, made one after the other, and irrespective of which were the right ones and which weren’t, our life is uniquely stitched together mixing all of those decisions taken… Maybe there was a wrong choice made, but the next right one was made only because of that.

With every choice made, comes either the optimum outcome or a mistake, with a mistake comes learning and experience, and also the bandwidth to make a better decision next time.

Now there are two choices, to live with your mistakes, which are also learnings in disguise, which also help you to make better decisions next time, or to hit that redo button (in theory) and go back in time, discarding all your learnings and experience, with a hope to make better decisions or with the hope that the odds are in your favour this time.

When such a perspective of looking at our mistakes is truly unlocked, is when we can start looking at them differently, is also when we can be more open-minded and free while making our decisions henceforth, and also hope to do better next time, instead of carrying the burden of the previous decision made.

Don’t take it seriously

Don’t take it seriously

How seriously do we take everything in life? Our work. Our goals. Our values. Our perspective. Our dreams. Our routine. Our personal life. Our relationships. Our thoughts. The chain is never-ending.

But we regard everything as either black or white. One thing or the other. Right or wrong. For some, it’s that level of seriousness with regards to those things, and for some even more.

The more seriously we take things, in every phase of life, the more attached we become to the outcome of it too.

Not that we don’t like doing it, or we don’t enjoy the process, or whatever consequences that come out of it, but with a level of seriousness attached to something, our emotions revolve around it too.

How that particular thing goes, how we wanted it to, or against our wishes, our emotions wave up and down with it, disturbing our calmness and peace along with it.

For example, if one particular thing gets left out from one’s morning routine, they’d be disappointed with their scheduling, or execution as to how they couldn’t manage their routine probably, and then be disappointed throughout the day affecting all the other actions as well.

That originates from how seriously you were taking that one thing and how not doing it has affected you massively. Because of its outcome, there’s a change in your attitude, emotions and your approach throughout the day.

This was a small example, now imagine it in the other aspects of your life that you take seriously, throughout the day.

The other alternative may be, to just enjoy everything that we get to do and add more or maybe even subtract from our plate of things to do.

Easier said than done, of course… Because it’s always been about the outcome and how we ourselves link one thing to the next and make everything into a chain reaction.

Maybe, that isn’t the way, maybe “don’t take it seriously” is what we should keep telling ourselves, so we can actually enjoy what we’re doing.

Are you thinking about what to do after your meal?

Are you thinking about what to do after your meal?

How do we eat our meals is an important question we should ask ourselves?

So often we approach our meals as a filler between doing two different things, or maybe something we do once the more important task is over.

It’s less of an event and more of a “we have to do it so let’s get it over with” kind of a scene. Isn’t it?

The most important thing after our breath is probably our food and our relationship with it because this is the same food that is going to nourish our mind and body, heal it, let it grow and evolve, and remains the baseline of it.

So when you think about it, every meal that we get to it is an event in itself and those particular 15-20 minutes during each meal is what should be prioritised first and then revolves everything around it.

When you give your food the second priority, or in situations when you’re constantly thinking about what to do after your meal, what you’re also doing is telling your mind that what I’m consuming isn’t important to me, and there’s an exterior thing that is of more priority. Guess what? The body is going to give you the exact same reaction in response.

Seems like a magical statement, isn’t it?

There’s a reason why your focus needs to be on your meals, neurologically, because your mind and body are via sight, smell, touch, absorbing this food too, and are getting to work. We assume digestion is an automatic process, but in reality, it works according to your approach to your food. When you consume your food in stress, frustration, anger, hurry, or any other emotion that is not in response to your food, the body doesn’t differentiate the difference between the origin of this emotion.

It feels that this emotion is arising from what you’re eating, and thus, the process after eating is in accordance with that. (this is one of the reasons why it is said to not watch anything while you eat as well)

The food that you eat is a privilege that you have, a celebration in itself. Everything that has to happen will happen, but when you eat, what you eat should be given first priority and to also cherish what’s on your plate. Your mind and body will be glad you made that decision.

Knowingly made mistakes

Knowingly made mistakes

Who doesn’t make mistakes? We all make them, from time to time. There are two types of mistakes made though, smaller ones that cause us to adapt towards it and huge ones that cause a massive shift to our lives.

But the smaller and huge ones are quantitative that is defined after they’re made, the real two types are the ones made knowingly and unknowingly.

The mistakes made unknowingly are ones that you haven’t experienced yet and thus they’re being made. They are more likely to be lessons that teach you to not do them again.

The whole point of a mistake is that you aren’t aware of something, and now you are. So with the next try, you’ll do better.

But the knowingly made mistakes are the ones that hurt the most. Those are ones that you may have experienced before or maybe you have not, but you definitely have the knowledge of those. That means you have the skillset to not make those choices the outcome of which you already know.

But, yet, in the heat of the moment, or because of habitual decision-making with regards to a pattern of choices, you decide to do something that turns out to be a mistake, but in a macro perspective, you know where that leads you to. Thus, ‘knowingly made’ mistakes.

Is it resolvable? In theory, yes. Instead of jumping to decisions, maybe taking a step back with a lighter head will help us not to make those choices that will eventually turn into mistakes.

But that is something that has to be programmed within, with practice. Until then, these knowingly made mistakes keep causing the hurt and regret, making that choice made difficult to digest.

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My Weekly Learnings #49 (27.02.22 – 05.03.22)

Amidst all the content I consume every week, through this weekly series of ‘My Weekly Learnings’, sharing highlights of content pieces that caught my eye and provided more value than I could imagine.

(P.S. Every Sunday, I share a list of what to read, listen to, and watch, in my weekly series, The Last 7 Days. You can check out the editions here).

1. When you first wake up in the morning your brain switches from delta waves, which occur in a deep sleep state, to theta waves, which occur during a sort of daydreamy state. The brain then moves to produce alpha waves when you are awake but are relaxed and not processing much information.

By grabbing your phone first thing and immediately diving into the online world, you force your body to skip the important theta and alpha stages and go straight from the delta stage to being wide awake and alert (also known as the beta state).

In skipping these states and checking your phone right after waking up you are priming your brain for distraction. Seeing or reading something negative first thing in the morning can trigger your stress response and put you on edge for the rest of the day.

Morning routine tip: push pause on the phone for a bit. Your brain will thank you. [Neurohacker]

2. Celebrity worship syndrome has been described as an obsessive-addictive disorder where an individual becomes overly involved and interested (i.e. completely obsessed) with a celebrity’s personal life. [8fact]

3. It’s easy to want to fill an awkward silence. Often, however, a pause in conversation is time people need to think. When conducting research, and maybe just in normal conversations, try to trust the questions that you ask and avoid filling the silence after asking a question. [sketchplantations]

4. The map might be correct, but that doesn’t mean it will work.

The sign might be legal, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be effective.

We’re surrounded by instruction manuals, videos, announcements and all sorts of other forms of instruction.

But a map only works if it helps.

Finding our way, getting the job done, changing our minds–these are forms of wayfinding. And our internal layout of the world doesn’t match the way it is actually built.

You can drive to your childhood home blindfolded, but you probably couldn’t draw a route of how to get there for someone else.

Realizing that our job is to help others find the way is half the job. [Seth Godin]

5. Poet and author Maya Angelou on how to find value in anger:

“I believe in anger. Anger’s like fire, it can burn out all the dross and leave some positive things. But what I don’t believe in is bitterness. Forgiveness is imperative because you don’t want to carry that weight around, who needs to? And it will throw you down. It doesn’t help you to live life. I don’t make myself vulnerable if I can help it.”

Source: Voices of Powerful Women

One Problem/Many Solutions – Many Problem/One Solution

One Problem/Many Solutions – Many Problem/One Solution

Problems exist in each of our lives, different problems for everyone, at different levels, affecting them differently – but there’s no one without problems, for sure. These problems could be with regards to your personal/ professional lives, relationships, goals, rituals, there could one major problem, one in every phase of life or even multiple in each phase of life – just different for all.

But, with the surety of a problem existing in each person’s life, there’s an equal or a greater surety of there being a solution too. Some solutions are visible right in front of us, which means fixable problems, and there are those problems to which you haven’t figured out the solution yet.

Here’s the catch… there could be multiple solutions to a single problem and/ or there could be one solution to all your problems (usually these two scenarios highlight the sector).

To a single problem, common to all or unique just to yourself, there could be multiple solutions that may have worked for others and could work the same for you, there’s going to be a lot of trial and error with what works and what doesn’t though. One solution may not work the next time the same problem arises, thus the multiple solutions; different things may work for the same problem.

The latter is one of more significance because when you discover it, it’s like finding a key to a treasure chest. Having one solution to multiple problems! For example, you could be having health issues, time management issues, mental stress, focus issues, lacking in the output of your potential, and more on similar lines but the solution could be fixing your lifestyle, which then brings a domino effect solution to all your problems.

In the latter scenario, it takes a lot of humility to acknowledge all of your problems, and then look at them from a macro perspective, figuring out where you’re going wrong and what can be done to walk on the optimum path.

Finding these solutions in both of the scenarios is a process… If all problem-solving was easy, no one would have any problems, especially the long-lasting ones. But the persistence to solve it and the consistency to keep going, even if the solution isn’t the right one to crack it, the mixture of both is usually the recipe for the problem-solving path, irrespective of which of the two scenarios match for you.

But, looking at these two scenarios gives quite a heads-up to the situation you’re in and how to approach it – multiple solutions to one problem and one solution to multiple problems.

The Non-stop Mental Chatter

The Non-stop Mental Chatter

It’s a normal workday (even the non-workdays for that matter, just imagine a normal day), you are looking outside the window trying to take a breather and just when you wanted to relax (and not necessarily in a relaxing situation, but other times too), you notice these barrage of thoughts running in your mind, from one topic to another… That chatter is non-stop and even when you’re trying to relax physically, that same choice isn’t available to you mentally.

From random thoughts to looking back at your day or your life to the mistakes you’ve made, the to-do items for the day and henceforth, or even imagining the future of perfect choices made, the range of thoughts running in your mind could be endless.

It isn’t said plainly when there are approximately sixty thousand plus thousands in your head on a daily average. Talk about non-stop!

When do you get the break? When are you able to mentally relax? Is a physical vacation, being on a beach or the mountains, a solution to that? While the answer to the first two questions is solvable or rather, practicable with the solution at hand, the answer to the third question is a definite no.

Irrespective of whether that voice in your head is a supportive one or not, and whether your perspective is healthy or not, the chatter continues at its pace.

But, there are a few things that can be done to limit its supply, to direct the flow, to have the ability to mentally relax for a while…

1. For many, journaling has been one that has made a fair share of impact – because it gives you a real glimpse of your life and not the what-ifs or the imagined scenarios that run through your head, which also lose its grip when the real picture can be read on that paper.

2. The most powerful (proven) tool is meditation – when you meditate for a period of time, not keeping it short to 5 or 10 minutes but more, deeper, and when the mind and body align in that deep meditative state, is when you feel so calm and so peaceful, is also when you truly feel the physical and mental relaxation altogether and a reduction in that chatter.

3. Breath-work has also been another proven technique that keeps you in check, keeps you present, brings you back to staying centered when in a state of stress, anxiousness, frustration, lost thoughts etc.

4. Art has various forms, but the common factor remains the same – when focused and in a state of flow, you forget everything when you’re indulged in that process and you forget about the mental chatter and it’s just you and your art form.

5. While there could be tiny tidbits here and there that could work for a minute, another one that makes the list are nature walks – conscious nature walks. Nature, with the trees around, birds chirping, sky visible, you walking around gives you a vibe where you feel this is everything, and everything else becomes secondary, including the non-stop mental chatter.

While the brain’s function is to have more thoughts, you cannot stop that process – what you can do is direct its flow, direct its quality, and in moments, do things that are not only beneficial to your mind and body, but also give you a break from that chatter like the things listed above.

Kindness simply ousts that anger

Kindness simply ousts that anger

Each individual has experienced different levels of anger in their lifetime… those levels have surely varied from moment to moment, sometimes because of your own lack of control or understanding or insecurities or sometimes the situation got the better of you.

But how many times have you been angry, anywhere from a level 1 (being the lowest) to a level 10 (being the highest), but in that very moment, someone made a kind gesture and all that anger just melted away in an instance?

Or, even the other way round for that matter… someone else must have been angry and a kind gesture (in words or action) must have melted their anger away?

That kindness could be in the form of words, or an action, probably a smile or a hug, recalling a memory, could be anything for anyone.

While not going into the specifics of the origin of anger, and how do you suppress it, today’s post addresses the fact that the individual becomes angry in a situation and how kindness simply ousts it… and moreover it also sheds light on the power of kindness.

No matter how angry one could be, kindness has the power to oust that emotion. Some people are at their core, kind… some develop it with experience and change… and some don’t exude it at all (every individual has a different kind of life, experiencing different things in their lives, forming a different perspective and it’s not the same for all).

The baseline narrative being constant… when you feel the anger within you, or you notice someone else being angry, try (with practice) to initiate that gesture of kindness and observe the change in the situation and emotional level, and how you or the other individual played a part in it.

Are you able to sit without your phone?

Are you able to sit without your phone?

Smartphones are such devices that are sold under the pretext of making your life easier and convenient for you, but rather are designed in a way that gets you hooked onto them.

The smartphones are just the base layer, then bring on all the social media apps, every one of them created with you wanting more and more of it. Then come the apps that make your life “easier” – the habit creating apps, reminder apps, note-taking apps, and whatnot… let’s not forget the games… some of the shittiest games have the most eyes on them because they cracked the code on how to give you a ton of dopamine hits when you aren’t getting them already consuming the short-form content on the other platforms.

Everything is gamified, everything is psychologically-manipulated and yet we now live in an age where we cannot be without our phones. But, the question that stands out is, are you able to sit without your phone?

With our personal and professional lives connected to it, we probably cannot be without our device – such is the time that we’re living in. But, there’s a difference between managing your life through your phone vs being so addicted to it that you cannot sit without it. Every notification needs to be checked, every message needs to be replied to within the second and so on, which also gives you the answer that you aren’t just dependent on your phone, but also addicted to it.

When you look at this topic from a neurological and from a psychological perspective, and without getting into the minute details of it all… The path to getting your life back in control, the path to having thoughts more freely and with clarity or to make better decisions, the path to living your day calmly and peacefully and introducing stillness in your life – it starts with sitting without being disturbed by your phone (believe it or not!).

Sure, you are reading this on your phone right now, and sure, there’s no way to stop using the smartphone altogether, but what can be done is limit the social media usage, limit the notifications, allot your time into slots for using a particular thing at a particular time and so on… When you limit your distractions, and for a device that is at its core is designed to do so, then all those paths that you read above and thought aren’t possible start becoming clearer with time.

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My Weekly Learnings #48 (20.02.22 – 26.02.22)

Amidst all the content I consume every week, through this weekly series of ‘My Weekly Learnings’, sharing highlights of content pieces that caught my eye and provided more value than I could imagine.

(P.S. Every Sunday, I share a list of what to read, listen to, and watch, in my weekly series, The Last 7 Days. You can check out the editions here).

1. The most expensive tasks that brains do are (1) moving your body and (2) learning something new. They have a metabolic cost that may feel unpleasant. So, feeling bad doesn’t always mean that something bad happened. You might just be doing something really hard. [#LisaFeldmanBarrett]

The brain, spinal cord and peripheral nervous system can change in response to experience — a process we call neural plasticity or neuroplasticity. In general nervous systems are shaped by mere experience in our early stages of life and until about age 25 (in humans) although that is not a strict cut-off. After age 25 neuroplasticity is still possible but requires intense focus followed by periods of deep rest which could be comprised of deep sleep, naps or their combination. Long bouts of sleep (~5- 8+ hours) are when most rewiring of neural connections occurs aka neuroplasticity.

As this post from Dr Lisa Feldman Barrett points out, triggering neural plasticity can sometimes be an unpleasant experience even if the thing we are learning is something we want to engage in. This is important to keep in mind when you experience agitation, frustration, and confusion when trying to learn something. Those feelings are actually reflective of the neuroplasticity process. [#AndrewDHuberman]

2.

Source: #BrainChat

3. Poet #MaySarton on remaining a beginner:
“It is good for a professional to be reminded that his professionalism is only a husk, that the real person must remain an amateur, a lover of the work.”

Source: Plant Dreaming Deep

4. Superpowers you can have:
– Ability to change yourself & your mind
– Not taking things personally
– Not needing to prove you’re right
– Careful selection of all relationships
– Staying calm
– Being alone without being lonely
– Being ok being uncomfortable
– Thinking for oneself [#ShaneParrish]

5. When things go wrong, is your instinct to hide in a corner and hope you won’t get noticed–or to lean into the situation and make it clear that this one is on you?
“I’ve got this,” is a phrase that some people will go out of their way to avoid saying. At work, where it’s incredibly valuable, or in personal relationships, where it creates a deep connection.

The movies are filled with heroes who take responsibility. Organizations are miserly when it comes to handing out authority, but most of them are eager to pay attention (and give respect) to anyone who is willing to take responsibility.

Like our control preference, responsibility is a learned skill. You might be born with an instinct for it, but mostly it’s something we’re taught or choose to learn.

Sadly, this is a line that’s missing from every resume I’ve ever seen. It seems to be that a bias toward taking responsibility is one of the most important things to look for when hiring an employee, finding a doctor or building a team. [#SethGodin]

Who is thinking for you?

Who is thinking for you?

Who is thinking for you seems like a very open-ended question, and most would say who else but myself is going to think for me… But instead of letting our egos get in the way, let’s look at this question from a larger perspective and truly understand what’s happening in reality.

Say, you have a good routine going on, you have a strong morning routine, followed by your work, and then your evening activities could involve leisure, communication, relaxation and entertainment. For most, the routine would look like this, and we aren’t going into the minute logistics of it and just looking at it from a macro perspective.

Now, with a busy day ahead of you, your mind is going to be engrossed in the tasks at hand, what you need to check off from the list and also be ready to adapt to whatever happens in the day. But, this particular day and henceforth revolves around your life personally, and nothing outside of it pertains much as long as you accomplish what you had set to do with that day.

Bring in all the exterior decisions and thoughts that have to be made surrounding your life, with respect to your inner (mind, body, soul) and exterior (what you eat, what you wear, what gadgets you use, who do you support, the communities you’re a part of, etc)… How much time do you have to research every particular thing that you have to do?

You would look at a particular day, and just after your workout, your work, your eating, you’d notice your day is already over and now you need some relaxation time before the next day… So are you able to put in any time to research and grasp new information about something before doing it?

Now, comes in the question – who is thinking for you?

Because here’s the answer… you’re outsourcing your thinking to someone else and letting them make the decisions for you, with you out-of-the-blue thinking that you’re making the decision yourself and saying, “I want this particular thing” or “This is the activity I want to do” or “I support this”.

Is that the reality though or are you being heavily manipulated by the media and the advertisements and the repetition of it all and then people talking about it and in conclusion, thinking you’re making the decisions yourself?

Right from how you take care of yourself to what you do, what you eat, what you wear, to the groups you join, the products and services you use, the life decisions that you take, the political opinions that you have, the supportive or unsupportive opinions you have towards other individuals – everything has been programmed by someone who did the thinking for you and fed their decision to you.

And you not having the time to research and deep-dive into any of it, is unknowingly outsourcing your thinking and decision-making to someone and is then doing exactly what they want you to do. Think about it!

The one thing that is not said about diets

The one thing that is not said about diets

The diet culture has been trending for a while, with everyone who suddenly becomes conscious about their weight or its consequences or maybe their appearances or possibly another factor with regards to health now wanting to implement some kind of a diet to their life.

These diets change with the trends, sometimes focusing on proteins, sometimes on fats, and other times on carbs. Sometimes telling you to eat less, and sometimes not at all… You never know, what’s going to come up next.

But, all said and done, when you look back at hundreds of years, and with everything that the industrial revolution changed, the bottom baseline remains the same – you need to understand the ingredients that you’re putting in your body.

With that being the holy truth of the industry, there are a few things that people who follow diets don’t realize or aren’t told in the first place…

1. It’s less about what you’re told to eat, but more about the habits around your food.
– What are your meal timings?
– What is the gap between the two meals?
– How much time before your sleep do you have your dinner?
– What is the first thing you’re consuming after waking up with an empty stomach?
– What is the portion size of your meals?
– What is your mental approach towards the food that you eat – are you glad about your meal choices? (because there’s a psychological connection here)
– Do you smoke or drink alcohol or soda or aerated drinks – while that is your personal choice, let’s not forget that all of everything has an effect on your mind and body too.

2. Instead of limiting your foods based on proteins, carbs, and fats – try understanding the ingredients that go in a certain food, and how beneficial or not those ingredients are for your body.

Hot Tip: Avoid processed foods in general and especially those that are sold under the umbrella of “healthy foods”

3. As important as your ingredients are and your portion sizes and your meal timings, another important aspect is how you consume your meal and what state of the mind are you in.
There’s a huge psychological connection between the emotions you’re feeling while you consume your meals… So it’s thereby important that you sit peacefully without any disturbances and put your entire focus on your meals.

4. While this is sometimes overlooked is, how fast or slow do you consume your meals? Because that has an impact on your digestive process, which is thus going to affect your entire body processes and in turn impact your mental state as well.

5. Lastly, the minute habits make a difference as well. How much water do you drink generally, when do you consume water during your meals, are you physically active during the day, do you immediately sit after your meals or walk around for a bit…

When it comes to our mind and body, our food choices and habits and how everything affects one another, there’s so much to know and understand and implement…

But who’s focusing on any of it, and who’s even informing you about it? The companies are focused on how to make you their customers and with enough fear-driven and desire-driven marketing, customers get entangled into it all.

Respect doesn’t come because of Age or Profession

Respect doesn’t come because of Age or Profession

Often people feel or as is the social norm, that they should be respected because of their age, considering they are elder than you, or because of their professional status – what position they’re in a particular company or their financial status.

Not that you shouldn’t treat any individual without respect (unless they’ve done something wrong to you, ethically speaking) – by respect, it means how you perceive that individual and how much would you be willing to do for them. Sure, you would converse nicely and with a worldview that understands how thinking bad about someone turns out bad for yourself… You wouldn’t put in any kind of effort or go that extra mile if you don’t perceive that individual as respectful themselves or being worthy of respect.

But, if not age or status, on what basis would you have respect for other individuals then?

The answer to that is their values.

What kind of values this individual has?

Irrespective of how old they are, and what they do – respect emerges from how they treat others and especially how they treat themselves. Are they one of those, “I’m going to walk over you to reach the higher position in the ladder” or are they the ones who believe in walking together? Are they the ones willing to help you out or are they then transactional in nature?

Eventually what values do you hold important in your life and what you see in yourself vs what you see in others then determines the amount of respect you hold for yourself, and for others – and no other external factor then holds any kind of importance in that equation.

100% talk 0% execution

100% talk 0% execution

Have you come across somebody or it could be yourself too, who would talk big on a particular topic, but when it comes to actually translating that talk to real-life, there’s nothing but air?

This need not be just about your professional life, your work, your job, your industry, but your personal life, your relationships, your conversations.

This could be about you pointing out others’ mistakes, or others’ limitations too. This could be you talking about someone else’s journey or their achievements.

There’s a whole lot of big talk
– this should have been done this way,
– this could’ve been done differently,
– this is not the right way to do it.

But is all that talk converting to you doing it the right way, or even doing it in the first place?

‘It’ is literally anything and everything – there’s no reason to limit it to a particular topic or situation when that pattern is noticeable at multiple moments throughout the day, every day.

The point of understanding comes down to, what’s backing your talk? And if there’s nothing backing it, then why talk about it in the first place?

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My Weekly Learnings #47 (13.02.22 – 19.02.22)

Amidst all the content I consume every week, through this weekly series of ‘My Weekly Learnings’, sharing highlights of content pieces that caught my eye and provided more value than I could imagine.

(P.S. Every Sunday, I share a list of what to read, listen to, and watch, in my weekly series, The Last 7 Days. You can check out the editions here).

1. It’s easy to accept the limits that are implied when someone asks us for advice and feedback.

Fix the typos, sure. That’s important. But perhaps you have something bigger to add.

A friend shares plans to launch a new retail website. It’s tempting to fix the small errors on the page, but perhaps it’s more useful to discuss the product line, the pricing or whether or not it should be online at all…

The author shares a draft of a new work. You could help with the grammar, but maybe it would help more if you talked about the parts that weren’t included.

The agency shows three versions of a new design they’re considering. Multiple choice might be on offer, but ‘none of the above’ might be a more generous answer.

I’m pretty confident that when the Titanic went down, the deck chairs were clean and well-ordered. It’s a shame no one talked about the icebergs. [#SethGodin]

2. Singer and songwriter, Aretha Franklin, on seeing people as more than just their worst moment:

“You cannot define a person on just one thing. You can’t just forget all these wonderful and good things that a person has done because one thing didn’t come off the way you thought it should come off.”

Source: Aretha: Star’s Legacy Lives, Detroit Free Press (February 18, 2012)

3. Too many people spend their lives being dutiful descendants instead of good ancestors.

The responsibility of each generation is not to please their predecessors. It’s to improve things for their offspring.

It’s more important to make your children proud than your parents proud. [#AdamGrant]

4. No one “builds a house.” They lay one brick again and again and again and the end result is a house. A remarkable, glorious achievement is just what a long series of unremarkable, unglorious tasks looks like from far away.

Procrastinators are bad at remembering this. [#TimUrban]

5. Humans are imitation machines. We mostly learn what to do by copying those around us.

In general, we imitate the habits of three groups:

1. The close – what are friends and family doing?
2. The many – what is the crowd doing?
3. The powerful – what are those with status doing? [#JamesClear]

How can we accept the opposing point of view?

How can we accept the opposing point of view?

Everyone has different experiences, different learnings, and that leads to a different point of view and different perspectives, and thus, different thought processes too.

That means sometimes there’ll be agreements and sometimes conversations will lead to debates, trolling, abusing and a whole lot more.

While the latter sounds atrocious, most people, by conditioning, lead that process, because they feel they’re right and they should have the upper hand in that argument. There’s a better option though if you want to have a better conversation with two points of view…

How can we accept the opposing point of view?
Firstly, by knowing that one cannot be always right. Your opinion originates from somewhere, could be organic or manipulated, and the same goes for the other person too. So there’s also a possibility that both the individuals aren’t right on a certain topic.

This leads to the second point, you have to listen. Only by listening and not responding can you understand the origin of the other individuals’ point of view. Once you listen, then you can take a stand of how you want to respond… This particular point is important because most people start opposing or disagreeing after listening to the headline statement without getting into the context of it.

Thirdly and lastly, we are all humans and we are all different. What makes us unique are our differences, and if there aren’t any differences, then there would be no exciting conversations or experiences.

A conversation can only take place when the three points are taken care of, or else it’s always the latter option, i.e. hot-headed arguments, trolling and abusing.

You don’t know what the other person is going through

You don’t know what the other person is going through

We talk about kindness, we talk about empathy, we talk about emotions, we talk about sharing, and as important as all of those are, the bottom line is we never know what the other person is going through (at any point in time).

We feel like we know the individual, we feel like we understand them and we can interpret what they’re going through, or what their story could be.

But those are all assumptions and interpretations and moreover, an extension of you and how you think and feel and what your story is.

No matter how much you are able to relate with someone else, or how similar a particular incident or story is with regards to someone else, you don’t know what the other person is going through.

Another individual could have worked the same amount of hours as you, another individual could’ve done the very same task as you, but even then you don’t know what the other person is going through.

An individual could be alongside you the whole time, there could be as much communication as possible, but the bottom line still remains the same, you don’t entirely know what the other person is going through.

All that can be done is, to just keep that in mind. Always. You don’t know what the other person is going through.

Do you SOT?

Do you SOT?

Like many others, naturally, you SOT, so there’s no other answer for it. Before you wonder what SOT is… Do you easily adapt to every situation that presents itself in front of you? Are you able to calmly and peacefully organize yourself for such uncalled for situations? Are you in those moments that happen frequently and daily, in a state of mental clarity?

If your answer to those questions is a big NO, then you SOT. Stress and Overthink.

There are some situations that we are ready for. Some we have faced before and now we know what to do. But, there are always some, in the form of people, conversations, situations, problems, that unfortunately occur which bring you to a state of stress and overthinking.

Amongst all the other chaos and problems, we haven’t been taught to deal with two of the biggest issues that naturally occur at almost every moment, stress and overthinking – both issues that bring discomfort to us, to begin with.

When they cloud your mind, what disappears is your mental clarity and decision-making and thought processes as well.

While it is simple to state a few solutions or steps to tackle them, the cycle of it happening is so deep-rooted within us that sometimes it’s difficult to not let it have the upper hand in a situation.

After studying through multiple studies and listening to experts talk about it, mixed with experimenting with different things…

Meditation and Breath-work exercises have been the biggest tools to tackle both of these issues – they prepare your mind and breath in such a way, that not just while doing them, but also during those moments of stress and overthinking, what you learn and get from meditation and breath-work gets applied in those situations and you are able to take back some control and be more present to tackle the SOT in those very moments.

While there’s a talk of micro and macro focus, and the importance of a particular situation on your life that brings this SOT, what also needs to be understood is it doesn’t go away easily nor can it be eradicated from your system. What changes is the approach, the style and your response towards them, with practices and efforts put in by you towards them…

P. S. Not all stress is bad, only when it is beyond a certain level that causes mental and physical problems, and disturbs your present state of mind as well. Overall, when you study it, minute levels of stress is good for you, it keeps you on your toes and keeps testing your clarity, your response and readiness.

The same goes for overthinking as well. While it delays your decision-making and could sometimes let you take a wrong decision too, where you could have taken the other decision in the heat of the moment, sometimes overthinking gives you a wider picture than what is in front of you and you’re able to make better decisions because of it.

Either/ or, more/ less, different situations and different tactics, whatever helps you in life and keeps you in check of your mental and physical health.

Expecting other people to think like you

Expecting other people to think like you

All of us, as individuals, have a specific type of thought process. We agree with some on particular points, but we disagree with the same people on other points too. On the points that match, communities get formed. On the points that don’t, is when debates, shouting, abusing, trolling happens.

No two thought processes are the same. And yet, when we have a certain perspective on something, we get annoyed when someone else doesn’t think the same way as ourselves. There’s an entitled expectation that you’re right and other people must or should be having the same thought process as you.

Why the expectation?
Simply because we, as humans, don’t know how to react or respond when others don’t think the same way as you.

The option of two minds simply agreeing to the same point of view sounds much greater than the other option, and it becomes easier to bond and easier to connect.

Everyone has different experiences, different learnings, and that leads to a different point of view and different perspectives, and thus, different thought processes too.

Once that understanding comes in, and once we learn how to proceed when the other individual/s have a different stand than yours, is what leads to healthy and better conversations, bonds and communities.

How can we accept the opposing point of view?
Firstly, by knowing that one cannot be always right. Your opinion originates from somewhere, could be organic or manipulated, and the same goes for the other person too. So there’s also a possibility that both the individuals aren’t right on a certain topic.

This leads to the second point, you have to listen. Only by listening and not responding can you understand the origin of the other individuals’ point of view. Once you listen, then you can take a stand of how you want to respond… This particular point is important because most people start opposing or disagreeing after listening to the headline statement without getting into the context of it.

Thirdly and lastly, we are all humans and we are all different. What makes us unique are our differences, and if there aren’t any differences, then there would be no exciting conversations or experiences.

When a conversation starts, with such a universal point of view, then you know, one you aren’t having the expectation of someone else to think like you, plus you’re ready for a good to-and-fro conversation on anything.

In a situation of an apocalypse

In a situation of an apocalypse

Consider an apocalyptic situation is upon you… And as every film shows you, there’s no solution at hand. There’s no clear communication and there’s chaos everywhere.

You have two choices here –
A. Would you try to run and save your life (considering it’s the apocalypse and there’s nothing you can do but try to buy more time, but you don’t realize this in the heat of the situation)?

Also, to be noted, that the entire point of running around to save yourself, is to live more… Not that no one wants to live more, but here live more also means that at that moment, towards the end of the world, you realize you haven’t lived enough and you still have to do so many more things.

OR

B. Would you stay still and savour everything that you have lived, up till this moment? Probably, with your close ones around you, spending the last few moments together looking back at the good, kind, happy moments of your life?

When you choose the latter option, what you’re also choosing is, you have lived a good life, one that you’re glad about and satisfied with too. If at this point, it’s the end of the world, sure you’d like to live more, but if you don’t have that option then you’re still okay with this… Because you know you have savoured so many good moments in your life, so many satisfying moments in your life, ones that you’re recollecting at that point and now you’ve accepted what’s about to happen.

Both options speak volumes… And today, if you’re reading this, you’ll choose that option in your head which gives you the feel-good emotion…

But take yourself to that very apocalyptic moment and then decide what your option would be because that option says something about you and the life you’re living today.

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My Weekly Learnings #46 (06.02.22 – 12.02.22)

Amidst all the content I consume every week, through this weekly series of ‘My Weekly Learnings’, sharing highlights of content pieces that caught my eye and provided more value than I could imagine.

(P.S. Every Sunday, I share a list of what to read, listen to, and watch, in my weekly series, The Last 7 Days. You can check out the editions here).

1. Environment design is powerful not only because it influences how we engage with the world but also because we rarely do it. Most people live in a world others have created for them. But you can alter the spaces where you live and work to increase your exposure to positive cues and reduce your exposure to negative ones. Environment design allows you to take back control and become the architect of your life. Be the designer of your world and not merely the consumer of it. [James Clear]

2. “We have the power to hold no opinion about a thing and to not let it upset our state of mind – for things have no natural power to shape our judgments.” – Marcus Aurelius, Mediations, 6.52

Here’s a funny exercise: think about all the upsetting things you don’t know about – stuff people might have said about you behind your back, mistakes you might have made that never came to your attention, things you dropped or lost without even realizing it. What’s your reaction? You don’t have one because you don’t know about it.

In other words, it is possible to hold no opinion about a negative thing. You just need to cultivate that power instead of wielding it accidentally. Especially when having an opinion is likely to make us aggravated. Practice the ability of having absolutely no thoughts about something – act as if you had no idea it ever occurred. Or that you’ve never heard of it before. Let it become irrelevant to nonexistent to you. It’ll be a lot less powerful this way. [The Daily Stoic]

3. Research shows that mild dehydration corresponding to 1-2% of body weight can negatively affect alertness, concentration, short-term memory, and physical performance. Your brain is 73% water. Before sipping coffee in the morning, grab a large glass of H2O to help your brain go! [BrainChat]

4. Criticizing is fast and easy. Creating is slow and difficult.

The two hours you spent on a book or movie usually took two years to produce.

Anyone can tear down someone else’s work. The true test of insight is whether you can help them improve it or build something of your own. [Adam Grant]

5. I’ve been asking myself: “What opportunities can’t I see because they’re not prestigious enough?”

The very best opportunities are rarely prestigious when there’s big money to be made with them. In my experience, the lust for prestige is the strongest amongst high-status people. When looking for jobs, the children from high-status families tend to value prestige the most. In another world, these people would take bets on exciting, but non-prestigious projects with big upside.

My friend Justin Murphy writes: “You don’t really outperform your peers with quality per se, you outperform your peers by finding underpriced quality that others don’t judge to be valuable.”

Everybody wants to be of high status. But despite the financial rewards, few people are willing to work on low-status projects, even if they have the potential to become high-status. Most of the people who are jumping into Bitcoin now weren’t willing to commit a few years ago, back when people
scoffed at the idea of digital money.

Only after reading Rene Girard did I realize the dangers of chasing too much prestige. The worst rivalries, he said, come when people aren’t competing for a physical object. Duels and comment thread wars come to mind. To that end, it’s no coincidence that the Latin word for prestige is praestigiae, which signifies an illusion or mirage.

The world is filled with under-priced opportunities that are only available to people who are comfortable with promising, but low-status projects.

Beware of chasing prestige. [David Perell]

Impressions Fade Away, Values Stay

Impressions Fade Away, Values Stay

There’s always an underlying thought in our mind of how other people – whether the close ones or strangers – are judging us or how much are they rightly or wrongly understanding us?

This is where the concept of first impressions comes in… People focus on how they dress and how they speak, they work on their presentations, they work on their style, they study the other individual/s, with the ultimate objective of impressing them.

That applies not just to one’s professional lives, but their personal lives as well. It takes a lot for one to drop their mask, and to drop the work of creating impressions and just be who they are.

Irrespective of the type of relationship being spoken about… It is approached with the concept of that first impression, but ultimately, those impressions fade away.

And when those impressions fade away, what remains are your values. Your values determine how strong and how long will any and all of those relationships will last.

These values ultimately determine the type of individual you are. Those impressions that one works on, last for a moment, for a day, or for a conversation.

The values vary – how kind you are to yourself and to others? How empathetic you are towards others? How do you perceive yourself and others? How do you look at the world? Are you judgemental or do you approach with a thought of togetherness? How are you with your close ones vs in public? Are you able to convey your words truthfully or do you mince your words?

The values instilled within an individual, either by the society, or the education system, or their family, or the ones they have worked on by themselves… These values define you, and not your looks or words, impressions or anything else.

You sit for a minute with someone and you start getting the vibes from them; these vibes are your understanding of their values and minute by minute, you understand whether you want to spend more time with someone or not.

Do you want to know your future?

Do you want to know your future?

Everyone, at some point in their lives, is excited to know something or the other about their future. How does that future look and whether it would be what you had imagined it to be?

That brings us to the million-dollar question, do you want to know your future?

I have got a formula for you, that would tell you your future right now, without consulting or meeting anyone else.

In the shortest amount of words, your behaviour today, towards yourself, others and towards the world tells you what the future is for you.

How do you approach your life? How do you take care of your mind or body? What kind of foods that you consume? What do you drink? What are your day-to-day habits? What are your relationships like? Do you have a positive voice in your mind? Have you dealt with the traumas in your life? How is your self-talk and how often do you appreciate or criticize yourself?

Now coming onto the professional side of your life, how do you like your work? What is your why behind doing it? What is your vision for it and are you falling towards those steps today? Are you satisfied at the end of the day or do you feel where am I wasting my time?

When questions regarding your personal and professional life are answered, now we switch to people.
What is your perspective towards other people and the world? What is your point of view towards others? Do you consider them with you, above you, below you? How do you treat your relationships – all kinds? Do you judge others, or help them grow? Do you get jealous when others are doing good or do you feel good about them growing?

The more questions you break down, in every phase of your life, and your behaviour towards these questions will tell you how bright or dull your future is going to be… How starry or struggling your future is going to be?

No one has written down the rules or a right or wrong for any of these questions but said that there are some basic guidelines that guide you towards the growth path, towards a brighter path and on that path, the ‘right’ answers towards these questions are clearer than ever… Whether you fall in those right answers category or not is something you can ask yourself and determine what your future looks like, today itself.

Why you should document everything?

Why you should document everything?

We do tons of things every day –
the set of habits repeated every day (what time you wake up, when do you workout, how often do you meditate, how you approach your work, when do you sleep, etc),
the people that we speak to,
the things you think or talk about,
the food that you cook and eat,
the music that you listen to,
the content you consume,
the dreams that occur…

Some things are repeated every day, so much so, that after a while you forget what you had done.

Some particular things are taken for granted, which we don’t even realize.

If you’re asked, what did you do a particular day, will you be able to recollect? Either after a few days, or months, or even years… Will the memories last that long (or just a few highlighted ones will remain)?

This is the idea where documenting everything comes in.

The documentation is for yourself, and up to you, whether you’d want to share it with anyone else or not.

What could the documentation entail?

Whenever a dream occurs, you could immediately write down everything that you remember.

At the end of the day, you could journal your day, and everything that you’d want to look back at, everything that you’d want to remember when you turn to this page…

You could document every meal that you eat, every day, via pictures or via text.

You could have a list of everything that you watch… Thanks to the platforms like YouTube or Spotify, for example, you have an exact list of what you watched or listened to, on any particular day.

You can document every conversation you have with your people.

The ultimate point is, you can document any and everything about yourself.

What purpose does it serve?

Well, apart from serving as a backup of your memories…

It also shows you, what your life looks like. There’s a pattern behind everything and looking at this documentation could help you understand more things about, what you should change, what you should stick to, and what you should avoid.

Ultimately, everything that you do is a part of you and eventually comes as an outcome of who you are or moulds you into becoming something else.

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My Weekly Learnings #45 (30.01.22 – 05.02.22)

Amidst all the content I consume every week, through this weekly series of ‘My Weekly Learnings’, sharing highlights of content pieces that caught my eye and provided more value than I could imagine.

(P.S. Every Sunday, I share a list of what to read, listen to, and watch, in my weekly series, The Last 7 Days. You can check out the editions here).

1. LEARN WHILE YOU SLEEP (OR NAP)

Learning anything is a two-step process: we must focus intensely to trigger the learning but it is only during periods of deep sleep or shallow naps, that the circuitry of the brain changes— a process called neuroplasticity.

To learn faster, focus intensely then make sure to nap for 20-90min later that day (or immediately after the learning trigger session). Also: focus on getting deep sleep the next 2 nights.

If napping hinders your nighttime sleep don’t do it, and never nap for more than 90 minutes— that can really alter your sleep cycles and impair learning. [Andrew D Huberman]

2. A mastered being never does anything under the charm of Motivation.

He does what he wants to do when he wants to do it.

He’s neither pushed by motivation nor stopped by procrastination.

He decides. He plays. He achieves. [Kunal B Sarkar]

3. When you play the game of life, intuition is the currency you get by taking risks.

Intuition is the same currency you need to win the next level of risk.

No real hack to build intuition without taking risks.

Those who are bad at self-reflection learn little from the risks taken.

Intuition and Reputation are slow currencies of life. No way to hack them without taking risks.

Reputation is the currency you get bankrupt on if you don’t use your intuition to calculate risks and second-order effects of your actions.

You’ll never meet a person with a reputation in the game of life without strong intuition as well.

All those with intuition but no reputation are often incapable of playing long term games due to poor emotional control. [Kunal Shah]

4. 5 Ways to Deal With a Narcissist:

1. Stay away.
2. Don’t try to convince them they’re wrong. Stay away.
3. Don’t try to “fix” them. Stay away.
4. Don’t argue with them. Stay away.
5. Oh, uh, stay away. [Mark Manson]

5. Don’t ask the barber if you need a haircut — a simple reminder that asking someone with a vested interest in the outcome isn’t likely to give you an impartial answer.

[Source: sketchplantations]

The branches of Self Improvement

The branches of Self Improvement

“Self-care”, “Self Improvement”, “Self Motivation”, there are a bunch of buzz words making the rounds every now and then… And as important as they are, their meanings are skimmed off to an extent that serves whoever’s posting about it.

When you talk about self-improvement, for example, one who is on that path knows that it definitely isn’t a destination, but it is a purpose of living, it is a process. One that is never-ending and is continuously evaluated and made changes on.

When you say you’re on the path of self-improvement, means that you’ve also realized a number of things that weren’t right for you, and now you want to improve at them. It takes a lot of acceptance, practice, making mistakes, experimentation and execution to finally figure out a place where you feel like you’re making progress.

But, when we talk about self-improvement, what exactly are we targeting?

Sure, the self. But at times its meaning gets translated elsewhere and the core of the message is lost.

Self-improvement is divided into multiple categories where you can improve, let’s take a deep dive into that.

– Improving the Quality of your Thoughts

– Improving the Voice in your Head

– Improving your Physical and Mental Health

– Improving your Relationships

– Improving your habits and how you approach your days and your life

– Improving the way you self talk

– Elevating your Mindset to a level of growth and change

– More importantly, Improving the way you perceive your life

Self Improvement is not something that can be done in a day; is not something that can be learnt over a course; is not something where the progress has a deadline.

We have a long span of life, with ample amount of time to improve each aspect of it, one at a time, without overthinking about the process or the results, without overworking or pressuring ourselves into doing too many things.

And soon you notice the progress, the changes being implemented in your lifestyle and at that moment (of which there are many) when you’re glad that you took this path and you will continue walking on it.

Simplifying it all

Simplifying it all

Whenever you learn of something new, or something intrigues you, the first instinct is to usually try and understand it more.

When you understand it more, then you can understand the context, and then imply it in your life, or maybe there could be a use-case sometime somewhere in the future.

But, when that first instinct kicks in… Usually, you find a lot of complicated jargon around it that only confuses you more.

Sure, you read it, but did you understand it?

There’s a saying, ‘when you can explain it to someone else is when you have understood it yourself too.’

Through research and studies, it is found that, when you skim through all the layers and understand it in the most basic layer there is, is when you can truly understand it…

All the outer layers then are good for impressing others, but to truly understand it you have to skim through everything that is put on top of it.

That is where the concept of simplifying it all comes into the picture.

Everything has been shown to be so much complicated. These huge words are attached to complicate it even more… And it is when you simplify every topic and every content and context there is… Is when you also figure out that what you thought was difficult actually wasn’t.

Just with an approach of simplifying it, is when you grasp more, understand more, and use that information in a well-established manner too.

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My Weekly Learnings #44 (23.01.22 – 29.01.22)

Amidst all the content I consume every week, through this weekly series of ‘My Weekly Learnings’, sharing highlights of content pieces that caught my eye and provided more value than I could imagine.

(P.S. Every Sunday, I share a list of what to read, listen to, and watch, in my weekly series, The Last 7 Days. You can check out the editions here).

1. Most people refrain from risk thinking they’re worried about financial downside but they’re mostly worried about reputation drop.
Many people who have disproportionate success are wired to worry less about ridicule. Risk appetite is often connected to the shame one feels. [Kunal Shah]

2. When we make everyday decisions on the spot we often make suboptimal choices.
Saying no to dessert every time it is offered is hard.

An effective solution is to make a simple rule. “My rule is I don’t eat dessert.”

Simple rules turn desired behaviour into default behaviour. [Shane Parrish]

3. Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, on life:
“When you are a young person, you are like a young creek, and you meet many rocks, many obstacles and difficulties on your way. You hurry to get past these obstacles and get to the ocean.

But as the creek moves down through the fields, it becomes larges and calmer and it can enjoy the reflection of the sky. It’s wonderful. You will arrive at the sea anyway so enjoy the journey. Enjoy the sunshine, the sunset, the moon, the birds, the trees, and the many beauties along the way. Taste every moment of your daily life.”

Source: Good Citizens: Creating Enlightened Society

4.

Source: Rujuta Diwekar

5. The notion that the mind and body are separate is simply false. The nervous system bridges them both and they communicate in both directions to direct our states. States include emotions but are a larger umbrella for emotional responses that include bodily responses too. States are also more objective to define.

This is a heat map from a study described in the book The Neuroscience of Emotion by Adolphs and Anderson from Caltech.

People vary in how they express emotions verbally but the body representations are relatively stereotyped.

We are sophisticated animals but we are still animals and these maps are established by our genome, modified by experience but nonetheless relatively hardwired. Learning to recognize your bodily responses to different mental states is powerful. [Andrew D Huberman]

The Straight Door Perspective

The Straight Door Perspective

How often are you stuck in a situation where you don’t know how to proceed? Many a time, we see the one way forward, thinking it’s the only door we have to go through, in order to move forward… But that door ends up locked, and then we feel we’re stuck.

That is the straight door perspective.

To have a perspective where you can only look at the one door right in front of you and nothing else. Even if that door is locked, your perspective is locked in.

Having such a perspective in life means every time that door is stuck or locked, you end up in a position not knowing what to do anymore, or how to move past it.

Imagine if you’re not able to move past the first door itself…

Now imagine, another scenario… A perspective of looking at life, where you know you’re never out of options… When you look for it, there’ll be multiple doors, sometimes visible right in front of you, and sometimes you’ll have to search for it.

A perspective where you’re ready to look for solutions, where you don’t feel stuck… There are answers, which you’ll have to look for though.

Some digging here and there, some looking around, sometimes asking for answers, but now you have got a perspective where you know how to proceed, how to move forward, how to not feel distraught when you come across a locked door (which does come across every now and then).

Thus, shifting with a choice from the straight door perspective to a multiple door perspective.

Recollecting your day vs Summarizing it

Recollecting your day vs Summarizing it

24 hours in a day. 1440 minutes. Every moment of the day is filled with a thought or an action… Active thoughts or background thoughts, actions in the moment or habitual rituals, you snap your finger and you’d realize the day has already ended.

If at the end of the day, you’re asked to recollect your day, would be able to do it? Not just summarizing it, but the actual recollection of every minute of it.

So much of our day, every day, is divided into our conscious and subconscious moments. In multiple phases, throughout the day, we let the subconscious take over whilst we take the back seat… And because of our habitual actions and reactions, everything that is done on a daily basis is now happening automatically.

So many times, when we sit to recollect our day, we’d end up summarizing our day into good or bad, or just by looking at our to-do lists, because of our conscious absence.

When you can actually recollect everything, means you are actually present in the moment, you’re choosing everything that you do and you aren’t dependent on your subconscious or your habits to guide you through whatever you were doing.

That is the difference between recollecting your day and summarizing it. That process isn’t easy, but it’s a start to take back the control of your life, instead of relying on actions that started out one day and are now turned into habitual rituals.

What is the reality of your life?

What is the reality of your life?

We have two halves to our life – a conscious side and a subconscious side. To simply their roles, the subconscious is the voice in your head, your thoughts, your habits, your reflexes. The conscious is what you choose to do when you’re in the moment – expressions, actions, words (which is in turn still linked to your subconscious though).

With the modern evolution – which includes smartphones, content, and the internet – we are rarely conscious anymore. Between the chaos of running after tasks (personal + professional), we constantly fill all our time gaps with something or the other.

Throughout all this, our subconscious mind takes over with our habits that we are doing, all the thoughts that are still running in the background, sometimes conversations that are happening but you aren’t consciously present. There are a lot of scenarios during the day when our subconscious has taken over.

Sometimes with awareness, or sometimes randomly, you are present in the moment, aware of everything that’s going on around you, present with your thoughts, present with your actions. But those are also rare occasions.

How do you know? Try summing up every minute of your day, at the end before you sleep… And you’ll realize how much of it can you consciously recollect and how much do you just summarize.

But it also brings to light, the scenario of our real life. What is the reality of our life?

That reality lies in all of these automated choices that we make – every micro and macro habit that we have and do – how we sit, how we converse, how we walk, with careful observation of every second of our lives, you’ll be able to break down the thousands of habits that fall under our subconscious.

That is our reality. Every time we aren’t mindfully present, our subconscious has taken over. That subconscious runs our life.

So the quality of thoughts running in the background, the habits that you have, the routine that you have, the actions that you execute, the voice in your head, everything was designed day-by-day until it became an automatic reaction.

But, on a brighter note, we have the ability to design all of it. To sit with each and every element of our life, we have the ability to change everything – so when the automatic happens, by default, you’re already aware that what happens is something that was chosen by you and not something that has happened because of an exterior source (outside associative behaviour, societal norms, peer pressure and actions, etc).

Feeling the guilt while eating?

Feeling the guilt while eating?

– Irrespective of whether you’re on a diet or not,
– irrespective of whether you’re conscious of your eating habits or not, and
– irrespective of whether you’re aware of what goes in your body or not…

There are moments throughout when you feel guilty about what you’re eating.

There’s no denying that it doesn’t happen. It happens to people who consume the worst of food items (meaning having those items that have legit zero benefits to your body and rather cause more damage than good) and to those who consume the best of food ingredients too.

There’s a major point of understanding here and to top it off, an umbrella of a long-term vision is needed to oversee it.

The major point of understanding is – when you legit crave something and you’re cherishing it, and if that guilt factor pops up, just have the thought that you truly want to enjoy this food and at this moment, your only attention is on that.

Now, this thought gets covered by a certain umbrella of long-term vision which says…

A. Certain ingredients which you crave once in a while and you truly want to devour are those that you don’t consume on a daily basis.

B. You’re aware of the food ingredients that you consume, their benefits and how it affects you personally.

C. You choose what you put in your body, and are not affected by media manipulation, peer pressure or any kind of advertising.

D. When everything you do is right for you then one of those “I know this isn’t 100% right for me… But I still want to have it now” won’t hurt you or rather bring out that guiltiness in you.

Under such an umbrella, you know the kind of decisions you’ll be making for yourself, and how you’re caring for your body.

So, even when the element of guilt comes into the picture, which will… You know you can tackle it and enjoy your food positively.

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My Weekly Learnings #43 (16.01.22 – 22.01.22)

Amidst all the content I consume every week, through this weekly series of ‘My Weekly Learnings’, sharing highlights of content pieces that caught my eye and provided more value than I could imagine.

(P.S. Every Sunday, I share a list of what to read, listen to, and watch, in my weekly series, The Last 7 Days. You can check out the editions here).

1. “Every battle is won before it’s ever fought.” — Sun Tzu
This lesson goes beyond war.

For example, a little extra time upfront finding a great employee changes the outcome.

What seems like a great outcome in hindsight is often just better preparation.

There are so many examples.

Hiring a great architect avoids problems. Hiring a great lawyer avoids problems. Investing in your relationship makes inevitable conflict easier to resolve.

Preparation today creates more favourable circumstances tomorrow.

The thing a lot of people miss is that a little time spent before problems crop up avoids them entirely or creates a better position to deal with them.

You can spend time fixing problems or avoiding them entirely. Knowing where to apply effort yields a 10x return. [Shane Parrish]

2. Picking someone as your role model in life sets unrealistic expectations. Eventually, you’ll learn they don’t belong on a pedestal.
It’s better to admire people for specific strengths. It reminds you they have weaknesses too.

Knowing they have vices put their virtues in reach. [Adam Grant]

3. How to remember if you did something?

Source: sketchplantations

4. Would you rather write the script, read the script, watch the movie or write the review?
When someone commutes by train, they’re giving up control over the journey. On one hand, that means that they can’t actively impact how fast the train arrives. On the other hand, it means that they don’t have to be fully present and in command of all the decisions involved.

There’s a huge diversity of control preferences, and it varies across the many areas of our lives. Perhaps you need to be in control over your work, but have no interest in controlling what you eat for dinner–or vice versa.

I remember a restaurant in the Bronx where the waiter would ask you one or two questions about which food you liked, and then walk away and bring you back a series of dishes that you didn’t expect or choose. Some people really enjoy this, others are frustrated by the lack of control it requires.

While it may be that each of us has an inherent bias away or toward control, it’s pretty clear that it is also a skill that can be learned, and that different industries allocate control to people as part of their hierarchies. It’s also true that different cultures have evolved to allocate and teach control preference in different ways. Sometimes it’s based on gender and caste, but there are also cultural mores that have been fueled by industry, the patriarchy and governance.

One of the things we certainly have control over is deciding whether we’ll seek to spend our days in control or not. We might have make sacrifices along the way, but the feeling is up to us. [Seth Godin]

5. Thomas Mitchell, a farmer, on productivity:
“It is wonderful how much work can be got through in a day, if we go by the rule—map out our time, divide it off, and take up one thing regularly after another. To drift through our work, or to rush through it in a helter-skelter fashion, ends in comparatively little being done. “One thing at a time” will always perform a better day’s work than doing two or three things at a time. By following this rule, one person will do more in a day than another does in a week.”

Source: Essays on Life

Being honest vs being transparent

Being honest vs being transparent

I’d recently written a blog post, which touched upon the subject of honesty and how people use the statements, “To be honest with you”, to imply they’re being a bit honest with what they’re about to say… But ironically it also implies that you were being dishonest the other times.

You can check out that post here – https://rth24blog.wordpress.com/2021/12/14/if-im-being-honest/

But it got me thinking, people usually use those statements, “If I’m being honest” or “To be honest with you”, when they’ve something serious to tell you that would touch you deeply, probably a sensitive topic for you or them.

Does it make sense or not, that is up to the listener to decide… But there’s a difference… A difference between being honest vs being transparent.

You can be honest all the time, with yourself and with others… But transparency comes into the picture when there are layers to a certain topic and you delve deeper into them with someone.

You can just cover the external boundary of a topic with someone and be honest, but not uncover any of the deeper layers that lay beneath that boundary.

Or you can be extremely transparent with someone and go deeper into the layers of that specific topic or the conversation you were wanting to have. You were already honest, but now you’re being transparent with that individual/s too.

Honesty is great, but transparency makes it better.

“Stop Acting Like A Child”

“Stop Acting Like A Child”

How many times have you heard this statement, “Stop acting like a child”, maybe you could’ve heard it from someone who is close to you, maybe under the educational or even the work umbrella. But does that statement make sense?

When you observe our lives, we are living our best selves when we are children, living risk-free lives, having no worries or tension, there are no judgments, no comparisons, the societal norms, and biases haven’t set in yet. Your thoughts have no boundaries and sometimes you have the most creative thoughts and/ or ideas.

But, as we age, as we try to fit in the society, filling our mind with all of those biases, those preconceived notions, those societal norms, and mindset… Eventually, we drop all of that “childish” behavior and then everyone starts acting similar to one another.

And now when one of those traits is still alive in you, or if it rekindles within you, then people start saying “stop acting like a child”.

But maybe… When you open your eyes, when you perceive the perspective with which people are looking at the world, then maybe you should act like a child, maybe you should live how you want to, think how you want to, and extend the boundaries that have been set by the “society”.

//There’s some context that gets missing in this – because as children, we aren’t able to grasp other people’s emotions, and the feelings of empathy and gratitude haven’t really seeped in yet… And maybe when you continue to act like a child, you have to maintain that balance… Open up yourself, but also respect the other individual, respect their point of view, their life too//

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My Weekly Learnings #42 (09.01.22 – 15.01.22)

Amidst all the content I consume every week, through this weekly series of ‘My Weekly Learnings’, sharing highlights of content pieces that caught my eye and provided more value than I could imagine.

(P.S. Every Sunday, I share a list of what to read, listen to, and watch, in my weekly series, The Last 7 Days. You can check out the editions here).

1. Long hours spent staring at screens underworks panoramic vision, predisposing us towards flight-or-fight sympathetic nervous system activity.

This is another reason that prolonged screen time can leave us feeling fatigued; the nervous system has been using a lot of resources to keep us alert, which can leave us feeling wired and tired and the eyes feeling exhausted. ⠀

The eyes are doing a lot of work when we engage in prolonged screen time behaviors. We aren’t aware of this work, but it is still physically (and mentally) fatiguing. This work involves blink and near triad reflexes and everything needed for high visual acuity foveal vision. It also involves dealing with glare, making sense of confusing focus and depth cues, and greater visual workloads. But that’s not all; screens also place extra demands on eye defenses from blue light. [Neurohacker]

2. “The longer you’re a teacher, the less you remember what it is like to be a student.

The longer you’re a doctor, the less you remember what it is like to be a patient.

The longer you’re a coach, the less you remember what it is like to be a player.

Change positions. A new perspective can improve your old methods.” [James Clear]

3. Writer David Chapman on how to improve your thinking:

“Learn from fields very different from your own. They each have ways of thinking that can be useful at surprising times. Just learning to think like an anthropologist, a psychologist, and a philosopher will beneficially stretch your mind.”

Source: How to Think Real Good

4. A song becomes catchy if a few words are repeated enough.

A lie starts becoming truth if it’s repeated enough.

A faith becomes blind if rituals are repeated enough.

We accept everything as safe & normal if an experience is repeated enough.

Repetition is the human kryptonite. [Kunal Shah]

5. What you do on the bad days matters more than the good days.

What you do when you don’t feel like it — when you’re not motivated, when everything seems hard — matters more to the ultimate outcome than what you do when you’re motivated and it is easy.

Maintain the momentum. [Shane Parrish]

Major Life Lesson from your School Memories

Major Life Lesson from your School Memories

When you look back at your childhood, do you remember each and every day of your life?
When you look back at your school days, do you remember each and everything that you were taught?
When you look back at your college life, do you remember each and every lecture that you attended?

While the answer for all of those questions is going to be a big no, what’s the point of these questions then?

Whether you have introspected upon your life or not, the biggest takeaway from these questions is, there’s no way to remember it all. You have lived your life, that phase was a part of it, you learnt new things, you grew, you evolved, and however you are today is a result of that.

But that’s not it. When you look back, what can you remember?
Certainly not the chapters you had to learn verbatim before the exams, certainly not the diagrams and maps and what not you had to draw.

What you can remember, is also a big takeaway for your life, one that you can use now to live your life ahead.

You don’t remember the school days; you remember specific moments (specific experiences) from that phase of life.

You used to wake up daily, you used to get dressed and go to school, attend your lectures, get back home, do your homework, prepare for your examinations, and you did that for 10 years of school (and that followed somewhat during college too).

But what you remember at the end of it, are specific experiences that you had during that time. You remember those particular moments and you think that school life was enjoyable (forgetting that routine, that pressure).

And now that same cycle repeats when that generation grows up and has to work during their 20s and ahead, and focus all their time there, following that same checklist – wake up, go to work, sit for a period of time, and then come back to do the same all over the next day.

The point being, when you think about it, in about 15-20 years, you won’t be remembering any of these days, in particular, all you’ll remember is a few experiences during this time that will sum up those 15-20 years, or your professional and/or personal life.

When that realization hits you, then you’d want to do things differently… You might want to take a different approach, a different path, maybe balance your time or balance your life in a different manner and move your focus elsewhere.

A minor amount of time is spent reminiscing upon your school days, and you come out with a key takeaway that has the potential to majorly affect the rest of your life.

Our thoughts root from 5 categories

Our thoughts root from 5 categories

All our thoughts root from somewhere. There’s an origin to everything, and that applies to our thoughts as well.

Right from the moment we are born, we are collecting information (now we may not remember everything is not of concern). These origins break down into 5 categories:

– Through associations (acquiring information from the immediate and exterior environment),

– through the social constructs (how the society functions to fit in or the set of steps that have been embedded for generations),

– through the biases (the multiple types of lens that the society has continued for generations through which they perceive/ assign people to a certain trait/ characteristic through which they can be judged easily),

– through the traditions and rituals (whether the intent behind those is good or not, and whether they have a good outcome or not is again a different issue, but they’re blindly followed for the sake of “tradition” becomes the issue),

– through the rules and laws (created by a set of humans who came to a consensus regarding the act of another human/s. Again carried through for years, without asking questions, or without updating them with how the kind currently function),

Through all of these things and more, our thinking gets molded in a certain manner, so much so that the majority of people start thinking the same way or rather approach most things about life the same way.

Best, Optimum and Worst Scenarios

Best, Optimum and Worst Scenarios

Every scenario in life has three possible outcomes: the best scenario, the optimum scenario, and the worst scenario.

These scenarios range from the most macro things in life: work, relationships, health to the most micro things in life: waking up in the morning, eating food on time, having a discussion/ argument with someone, meeting a deadline, etc.

Before you take on anything, there’s always a visualized scenario that takes place in your head, those visuals show you the best possible outcome of that particular scenario (that’s about to take place).

Whether that best possible scenario takes place or not is a different issue altogether, but right at the start, that’s what pops up in your head.

Now, as the process begins, you never know what’s going to happen, how much is in your control, and how much you’d have to adapt. That means, in reality, the outcome could go from the best possible scenario to the worst possible scenario.

Usually, when something like that happens, most people go haywire; unable to understand how to proceed, they aren’t able to process their emotions, nor their next steps.

As much as, in most of those visualized scenarios, the best possible scenarios may look the best, and the worst possible scenarios are those you don’t want to think of, especially at the beginning of the process… That leaves you with the optimum scenario.

The best possible scenario leaves you pumped up, and simultaneously, you avoid the thought of the worst possible scenario. But, said that thinking of the optimum scenario could actually be the best option for you, and something that would keep you balanced, irrespective of what happens.

The optimum scenario is playing in the middle, balancing between both of the other scenarios opposite to each other. Planning for that scenario keeps you in control (somewhat), you’re able to plan for steps beforehand, perceive things you wouldn’t have otherwise, and ultimately, stay balanced.

Thinking of the optimum scenario (in advance) means, anything beyond (the optimum) is just icing on the cake for you (that leads to the best scenario). But, anything worse, means you’re not totally disappointed, you probably have a backup (system) in place, and moreover, you’re now in a position to try and salvage as much as you can from the situation.

You’re now standing in a place, which you hadn’t imagined before, but somewhere where you can see what’s happening, plus nothing really surprises you here.

Every outcome can have these three scenarios, then it’s up to you, how you’d like to rewire your thinking, and what kind of a scenario would you like to be thinking about. Every action is followed by a thought, and every thought takes place because of a system (that is designed based on how you think and how you approach things – which is something that can easily be changed or modified).

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My Weekly Learnings #41 (02.01.22 – 08.01.22)

Amidst all the content I consume every week, through this weekly series of ‘My Weekly Learnings’, sharing highlights of content pieces that caught my eye and provided more value than I could imagine.

(P.S. Every Sunday, I share a list of what to read, listen to, and watch, in my weekly series, The Last 7 Days. You can check out the editions here).

1. “I know that I know nothing” – Plato

The Dunning–Kruger effect is the cognitive bias whereby people with low ability at a task overestimate their ability. Some researchers also include in their definition the opposite effect for high performers: their tendency to underestimate their skills.

[Source: brainchat]

2. Why do you stick your tongue out while concentrating?
A 2019 study found that the area of the brain that is activated by complex hand movements sits right next to that engaged in the language.
Neuroimaging from that research indicated that something called “motor overflow” could explain why our tongues are trying to get involved when our hands start moving, as the overlapping networks spill onto one another.

3. When we admit what we don’t know, it increases the chance that someone, who does know, will offer to help. [Simon Sinek]

4. “A few major opportunities, clearly recognizable as such, will usually come to one who continuously searches and waits, with a curious mind, loving diagnosis and involving multiple variables. And then all that is required is a willingness to bet heavily when the odds are extremely favorable, using resources available as a result of prudence and patience in the past.” – Charlie Munger

5. Many people hesitate to share their work because they’re uncomfortable promoting themselves.

Sharing your art, writing, or invention isn’t an act of self-promotion. It’s an act of self-expression.

If you don’t put your ideas out in the world, no one else can benefit from them. [Adam Grant]

Our perspective is not the same as two months ago

Our perspective is not the same as two months ago

Irrespective of whether we learn something consciously or not, we are constantly observing new information, we are constantly learning new things. Our eyes, when open, are always watching and consuming, and our brain is simultaneously processing all this information and storing it.

How will this information be used or whether it’d be used or not is another story altogether, but what we know for sure is this information, this consumption, these observations will have an impact on our behavior, on our mental health, on the voice in our head, and moreover, our perspective.

We have a certain perspective of looking at life, at ourselves, at others, at how the world functions, at our needs and wants, at trends.

This perspective is constantly changing based on the new information we receive. How we thought six months ago, may not be the same way we think today. How we perceived things two months ago is not how we perceive things today. That process is constantly changing, and we along with it.

One, we need to evaluate that change in perspective, and how healthy is it, and whether it’s one we align with or one we need to take steps towards to change.

Second, we need to understand how this perspective is affecting our life and our day-to-day of it, how it is affecting our relationship with others, and how we look at people, generally, in the world.

Our perspective is constantly going to change, our habits are going to change, our thought process is going to change, our life is going to change, but so much of it is linked to one other, and we control so much of it too… It’s having that kind of perspective that allows us to see that and then let us do something about it.

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My Weekly Learnings #40 (26.12.21 – 01.01.22)

Amidst all the content I consume every week, through this weekly series of ‘My Weekly Learnings’, sharing highlights of content pieces that caught my eye and provided more value than I could imagine.

(P.S. Every Sunday, I share a list of what to read, listen to, and watch, in my weekly series, The Last 7 Days. You can check out the editions here).

1.

Source: Liz Fosslien

2. You have a choice between what you want now and what you want most.

Don’t let feeling good today come at the expense of the decade.

Be patient. Keep the end in mind. [Shane Parish]

3. Every communication platform teaches a different lesson:

Twitter: Cut the fluff
YouTube: People love a good narrative
TikTok: Nail the hook
Instagram: Make it beautiful
Email: Whatever you’re saying, shorten it [David Perell]

4. People who spent money on experiences rather than on material goods were happier because the excitement we often get from purchasing things tends to diminish quickly as we get used to them and start taking them for granted.

The research also noted that the joy and memories experiences bring can give us stronger feelings of satisfaction, even if the experience doesn’t last nearly as long as the physical item that we purchased.

Source: The Journal of Positive Psychology

5. Tribalism and integrity battle in each of our heads.

When our tribe is behaving according to our principles, we’re in the yellow zone where life is easy. Our true colors reveal themselves only when our tribe is behaving badly and we’re forced to choose either orange or green.

[Tim Urban]

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My Weekly Learnings #39 (19.12 – 25.12)

Amidst all the content I consume every week, through this weekly series of ‘My Weekly Learnings’, sharing highlights of content pieces that caught my eye and provided more value than I could imagine.

(P.S. Every Sunday, I share a list of what to read, listen to, and watch, in my weekly series, The Last 7 Days. You can check out the editions here).

1. “If I aired a highlight reel of your most selfish life moments and most shameful thoughts, you’d seem like an awful person. If I aired a reel of your best, kindest moments, you’d seem like a saint. But people aren’t highlight reels, and the unedited cut is always a messy mix!”

[Tim Urban]

2. – have a glass of water
– eat a fresh fruit
– defer your decision by 15 mins

The 3 step formula to know whether you are actually feeling like a cake/ chocolate/ cookie or simply giving in to the craving out of habit. [Rujuta Diwekar]

3. The desire to avoid rejection at all costs, to avoid confrontation and conflict, the desire to attempt to accept everything equally and to make everything cohere and harmonize, is a deep and subtle form of entitlement. [Mark Manson]

4. The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.
The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference.
The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference.
And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.

Elie Wiesel

5. We spend too much time trying to change people’s minds and too little energy aiming to open them.

Changing minds assumes they’re wrong. You’re pushing them to accept your views.

Opening minds assumes there’s more to learn. You’re inviting them to question their views. [Adam Grant]

Am I the one who’s really making that choice?

Am I the one who’s really making that choice?

Heads or Tails?
Black or White?
Left or Right?

All our life, at every turn, at every point, we’re always making a choice.

Even if a single aspect of what we relate with matches a particular side, we go ahead with that. Not to forget past associations and prejudices that fill our minds when that is decided.

But, with every choice we make also comes a bunch of responsibilities as well. So one must ask themselves a few questions…

Can that individual delay their response, or rather take their time before choosing?

Can a particular individual understand both the sides thoroughly before making that choice?

Can an individual not worry about the aftermath whilst making that choice? Can they not worry about what people will think?

Can the individual be free of all media manipulation whilst making that choice?

Can they be devoid of all pressure of choosing a particular side?

Time and again, without thinking about such questions, the answers to these very same questions haunt us sometime or other, down the line.

So, before a choice is made, you must ask yourself, am I the one who’s really making that choice?

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My Weekly Learnings #38 (12.12 – 18.12)

Amidst all the content I consume every week, through this weekly series of ‘My Weekly Learnings’, sharing highlights of content pieces that caught my eye and provided more value than I could imagine.

(P.S. Every Sunday, I share a list of what to read, listen to, and watch, in my weekly series, The Last 7 Days. You can check out the editions here).

1. The Social Neuroscience of Music: Understanding the Social Brain Through Human Song

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen that people can adapt quickly to ensure that their social needs are met after being forced to isolate and socially distance. Many individuals turned immediately to music, as evidenced by people singing from balconies, watching live concerts on social media, and group singing online. In this article, we show how these musical adaptations can be understood through the latest advances in the social neuroscience of music—an area that, to date, has been largely overlooked. By streamlining and synthesizing prior theory and research, we introduce a model of the brain that sheds light on the social functions and brain mechanisms that underlie the musical adaptations used for human connection. We highlight the role of oxytocin and the neurocircuitry associated with reward, stress, and the immune system. We show that the social brain networks implicated in music production (in contrast to music listening) overlap with the networks in the brain implicated in the social processes of human cognition, mentalization, empathy, and synchrony—all of which are components of herding; moreover, these components have evolved for social affiliation and connectedness. We conclude that the COVID-19 pandemic could be a starting point for an improved understanding of the relationship between music and the social brain, and we outline goals for future research in the social neuroscience of music. In a time when people across the globe have been unable to meet in person, they have found a way to meet in the music”

From: https://psycnet.apa.org/fulltext/2021-55326-001.pdf

2. The eyes are not just two external things connected to the brain, in a very real sense, they are the brain.

Why can we say that?⠀

The retina and optic nerve are, anatomically speaking, part of the brain. And, the eye is part of the forebrain during embryological development, being essentially birthed by neurological tissue. As we grow from infants to adults, it’s the combination of the maturation of the eye working with the brain that creates perception, the ability to see well and perform perceptual-cognitive tasks.⠀

Not only is the eye-brain an integrated whole, but sighted humans are primarily visual creatures. For most of us, vision is the dominant sense used to interact with the external world. Because of this, visual processes occupy the largest amount of real estate in the cerebral cortex—this is the area of the brain that, among other things, receives and processes sensory information—with 20–30% of the cortex devoted to vision. [Neurohacker]

3. The events that make your blood boil reveal what matters most to you.

Anger rises when your core values are in jeopardy. With reflection, it becomes a mirror for seeing your principles more clearly.

With action, it becomes a map for making changes to protect what you hold dear. [Adam Grant]

4. If you put one adult’s veins, capillaries, and arteries end to end, it would stretch 60,000 miles (96560 km), which would circle the Earth two and a half times. [8fact]

5. Author and social activist bell hooks on how to love yourself:

“One of the best guides to how to be self-loving is to give ourselves the love we are often dreaming about receiving from others. There was a time when I felt lousy about my over-forty body, saw myself as too fat, too this, or too that. Yet I fantasized about finding a lover who would give me the gift of being loved as I am.

It is silly, isn’t it, that I would dream of someone else offering to me the acceptance and affirmation I was withholding from myself. This was a moment when the maxim “You can never love anybody if you are unable to love yourself” made clear sense. And I add, “Do not expect to receive the love from someone else you do not give yourself.”

Source: All About Love: New Visions (via James Clear’s newsletter)

Relying on just one source of information

Relying on just one source of information

Widespread information all over the internet – social media platforms, websites, articles, blog posts, podcasts, videos – some true and some misleading – some factual and some spread around for fear and fun.

When you consume a piece of information, be it breaking news, or something that adds to your well of knowledge, are you willing to rely upon a single source that becomes the baseline of your awareness and your emotions and actions. (whatever information you receive, whether it affects you immediate or long-term, has an effect on your emotions and actions or even your thought process)

It’s not about how authentic the source is, but about verifying that information, plus gathering more info, if there is, so you can be sure of what you’re consuming, so you have your angles covered, so you’re up-to-date (not to tell others, but this piece of information is going to play a role in how you think and how you process your day/ life).

In this era of fast consumption, you consume so much that you’re hardly able to remember 10% of it, at max. So, either you put restrictions on how much you consume, or the other option is to consume good information, from multiple sources, so at least the 10% that you end up remembering is good information, and not something i.e. fake or misleading or created to agitate/ incite you towards something or someone.

“If I’m being honest”

“If I’m being honest”

How many times have you heard someone say, “Let me be honest with you” or “If I’m being honest…”? Whenever someone has to say something sensitive or something serious, they’ll begin their sentence with those statements.

But, what does that tell you about the person who’s saying it?

Are they being honest when they say it, and they aren’t being honest the other times they converse with you?

Or are they honest every time, but they’re being extra honest now? Is there a thing such as extra honesty?

Those words when you listen to them, “If I’m being honest”, make you doubtful right from the start, and not attentive (which was initially expected from the one who made that statement). Moreover, you now perceive that individual and what they say now and what they’ve said before differently.

Maybe, it’s not even their fault. Maybe, they didn’t even notice this technicality. It could be a society thing, originated sometime in the past, and just carried on, without anyone asking any questions (as usual).

But, now that the question can be raised… Let’s think again, should we continue making such statements, “Let me be honest with you” and “If I’m being honest with you” and similar ones which come under the context of honesty. Let’s rethink the baseline of such statements, and what exactly was one trying to get away with by making such a statement…?

Controlling the flow of your thoughts

Controlling the flow of your thoughts

Have you been in a scenario where you blank out from what’s happening in front of you and your chain of thoughts is somewhere else, on a third topic altogether?

Let’s think of this… Imagine there’s a conversation going on the table, amongst those around you… And instead of listening in, you’re suddenly thinking of something that happened or something that you had to do, in that scenario you have blanked out and are consciously thinking of something else.

Or let’s say, there’s a table full of food, starters, main course, desserts, but instead of indulging in it, you’re suddenly thinking about this deadline that you had to meet and how you’d do it, etc. and you’ve consciously blanked out from the moment.

This says that irrespective of whatever’s happening, if your focus is elsewhere, and irrespective of the 40,000 to 80,000 thoughts in our head every day (some we control, some we don’t), we are having the ability to carry the flow of our consciousness and our thoughts in a certain direction.

We may not always have that control, and mostly until we learn how to, we don’t.

Even then, when we observe our patterns, it can be noticed how you can jump from one topic to another when you really want to think about something.

That power to control what you think about is with you.

When you don’t like the topic of your thought/s, you can jump around to another topic, with the criteria that it’s something that interests you, and you’re invested in that particular topic… Only then will there be some focus behind it. (or else it can be one of those thousands of thoughts that just float around without you even remembering what that thought was, in the first place).

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My Weekly Learnings #37 (05.12 – 11.12)

Amidst all the content I consume every week, through this weekly series of ‘My Weekly Learnings’, sharing highlights of content pieces that caught my eye and provided more value than I could imagine.

(P.S. Every Sunday, I share a list of what to read, listen to, and watch, in my weekly series, The Last 7 Days. You can check out the editions here).

1. Seven signs that you’re actually the problem…
a. You feel like no one understands you.
b. You always complain you’re not appreciated.
c. You believe you rarely get the attention you deserve.
d. You assume other people have it easy while you’re barely scraping by.
e. You have little interest or curiosity in the lives of others.
f. You often fight with close friends and loved ones.
g. And it’s always their fault. [Mark Manson]

2. When people ask for your feedback, it’s a mark of respect. They value your knowledge, skill, or taste.
When they don’t hesitate to give you feedback, it’s a sign of trust. They have faith that you’ll take it as an opportunity to grow, not a threat to your ego. [Adam Grant]

3. “No man chooses evil because it is evil; he only mistakes it for happiness.” – Mary Shelley

4. We generally adopt a posture of optimism or pessimism as a response (or reaction) to external events. We see how things are unfolding and make a decision about what to expect. We feel like we need to justify our response based on the facts on the ground.

But that doesn’t actually explain why different people, similarly informed, might adopt an optimistic mood or a pessimistic one.

In fact, that mood is a choice. And it’s one that determines how we’ll behave.

Optimism is a tool that permits us to solve problems more effectively. If used wisely, it brings enthusiasm, inspiration, and hope to projects that benefit from them.

[And pessimism is a tool as well–it can help you with budgeting, scheduling, and other projects. If it works for you, that’s great. Choose your tools wisely.]

As a universal default, either mood will certainly lead to misguided energy and poor decisions. But if we can be thoughtful about optimism as a tactic, the focus, and energy it brings can solve problems that others might simply walk away from.

Our pessimism might not be an accurate diagnosis of the past. It might simply be a way we’re using to produce a future we’re not happy with. [Seth Godin]

5. The real fun of life is in living it with a mastered mind.

For those who live enslaved to their mind, life is a mere vessel of suffering. [Kunal Sarkar]

DYOR, the new acronym we should headline

DYOR, the new acronym we should headline

With so much information available on the internet, especially from the rise in creators and them sharing information (plus the clickbait videos and headlines that tell you what to do, etc), what has also changed is people want everything just handed over to them.

“I saw this person buy ‘x,’ so I bought it too.”
“I heard from person D that ‘y’ is the next big thing to look out for”
“Topic ‘Z’ keeps trending from time to time, so maybe it’s what I should get into”

In order to “save time”, people nowadays jump the line and just follow/ do what someone else is doing. Sure, someone may be sharing good information. Sure, that individual’s voice must be credible. But that doesn’t mean what is right for them is what’s right for you too.

Time and again, I’ve personally done this, as well as keep noticing other people do it when you jump in the pool without knowing whether you can swim or not. Sooner or later, you may start drowning if you don’t know how to swim.

That’s the reason I want to highlight this new acronym, not used in the mainstream world, but one that would keep telling us to be on the right path, and do what’s right for us.

D.Y.O.R.

Do Your Own Research.

It’s not wrong to check what’s trending or why is it trending. It’s not wrong to follow a creator of any sector, nor is it wrong to listen to what they’re telling you. You may end up with some really good information.

But, said all of that, when you want to get into a new sector, something you aren’t entirely sure of, something that you don’t have enough knowledge of, do your own research.

Get as much information as you can. Research as much as possible. Understand what you’re getting into. Get your facts right. Find out why it’s the hot topic, or why it will be. Now when you know the a to z of a subject, you’re more prepared and ready to jump in the pool, because now you have the right knowledge of how to swim, plus you’re also carrying the right accessories with you.

Instead of relying on someone else and being dependent on them to keep you updated, or waiting until it’s too late for you, start with the most basic step of putting in the time and work, do your own research and knowing whether it (whatever that topic/ subject) is right for you or not, whether it’s what you want or not, and then ultimately, if things go wrong, instead of making those excuses and blames, you could be accountable for your own mistakes, and if things go right, you could be glad that you took the right step because you had all the information.

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My Weekly Learnings #36 (28.11 – 04.12)

Amidst all the content I consume every week, through this weekly series of ‘My Weekly Learnings’, sharing highlights of content pieces that caught my eye and provided more value than I could imagine.

(P.S. Every Sunday, I share a list of what to read, listen to, and watch, in my weekly series, The Last 7 Days. You can check out the editions here).

1. Your brain has a limited capacity to store readily accessible information. This storage is called ‘Working Memory’ and the ability to utilize this working memory is called Attention. Think of it as your shopping trolley. It only has a fixed amount of space. And if you fill it up, and something important comes up, something has to leave the trolley to make space.Another way to think of this is that attention is a torch. A torch can only illuminate a certain amount of things in your environment. Wherever you turn that circle of light becomes visible to you while the rest of the world disappears.

We can only pay attention to a fixed number of things, which makes attention a precious resource. And like every other precious resource, everyone wants a piece of it. Your friends, family, boss, employees, the supermarket, amazon, Netflix, cricket, news channels, social media, your health apps, even your watch. Everything and everyone is competing for that precious attention of yours. [Siddharth Warrier]

2. Discipline is cheaper than regret. [Shane Parrish]

3. We develop low-level addictions to junk that fuels our insecurities: junk information, junk activities, junk friends. Quitting means exposing emotions and triggering weird cravings but the goal is to stay focused on things that add value to your life. [Mark Manson]

4. ‘The first one never knows’
The first sponsor of an American TV sitcom was Anacin.

At the time they did it, no one had any idea how many people watched TV or would watch a sitcom.

They had no way to measure what they would get for their sponsorship dollars because it was a new and untested medium.

But Anacin tried it anyway.

In an attempt to measure the size of the audience, they offered viewers the chance to get a free mirror if they wrote a letter after seeing the show.

The company guessed 200 people might send a letter and bought 400 mirrors just to be safe.

They wound up getting more than 8,000. [For the Interested Newsletter]

5.

Source: lizandmollie

The introspection at the end of every year

The introspection at the end of every year

We live our life a certain way, and every day is us living a routine. A routine where we approach the weekdays and weekends a certain way, our thoughts and actions a certain way, the perspective of looking at us and the world a certain way.

Days turn into weeks, weeks turn into months, and just like that, it’s December with another year upon us. You have the ability to plan or change the plan mid-way, anytime you want, you can wish to change right here right now. But, all said and done, there’s something about the year-end (probably because we see time with a yearly pattern to measure our lives) that makes us introspect our lives and the year that we have lived.

In January, you will see the last 30 days of everything that transpired. In May, you’ll see the last 30 days of everything that happened with you. But, December is the time of the month, when you look at the entire year, and how it transpired, and what came out of it for you.

How was this year for me?
How will I see this year?
Was it satisfactory?
Was it painful?
Did it create growth for me?
Were there any downfalls?
What lessons can I take from all of this?
What were the best moments of the year?
5 years down the line, how am I going to remember this year?

If you’re introspecting, you should definitely ask the tough questions and wonder what kind of answers do you come up with, if any.

Before the chance to have another year to ourselves, before having the chance to rectify our mistakes, or to expand what’s working, before we plan those new year resolutions, the end of the year is that introspection time when you can look back at everything and just wonder.

This introspection allows that chance to change before the change is forced upon us. It provides the chance to make the move before we have to forcefully move. It is the time to introspect, do you have the time for it?

Avoiding the Outcome

Avoiding the Outcome

Knowingly or unknowingly, we do a lot of things, under the pretense of enjoyment, entertainment, relaxation, hustle, consumption, or achievements.

Throughout that process, or with our eyes on the destination, we focus on the now, we want to enjoy the now.

No problem with that scenario, except we have to focus on what the outcome will look like too.

Some of these things that we do, quickly become habits and eventually becomes our lifestyle, i.e. how we live our life. Our actions are behind-the-scenes building up towards the outcome, without us noticing anything in the present.

We live, we do these actions (and habits), and go on. We see today, but not a year from today, or 10 days from today.

Without having that balanced perspective of looking at things, (the balance includes enjoying the now AND understanding the kind of outcome that will come out of it), the scale then tips off on either side causing results based on where it’s weighed.

Where we enjoyed the present, in the future, we would have to live with its consequences, i.e. the outcome of those actions. How long can you then say, I enjoyed that time and now I’ll live with the outcome too, because that outcome, whatever it turns out to be, and the area of life where it affects you, eventually you’ll then have to live with that too.

So without that balanced perspective, the question then arises…

Can we avoid the outcome of our actions?

To avoid the outcome, whether now, or in the near future, or in the long-term, the outcome will certainly take place, except when you take care of your actions and understand the intent and impact of them (and eventually start balancing it out).

Quick Reactions

Quick Reactions

With all our senses at work, we consume information at a rate that’s just unimaginable.

We are constantly processing everything that happens. What’s happening in the present, what have we thought beforehand that should’ve happened, and what the next step should be, everything is being processed simultaneously.

Amongst all of this, when any kind of particular situation occurs, with respect to an outcome, an individual, or even a self-created situation in our mind, we are quite quick to react.

That reaction often roots from the type of mindset one has, the kind of perspective with which they view themselves, and the world, and where their focus lies overall.

Averagely, these reaction times are quite quick. And these reactions are often either aggressive or defensive, pertaining to the situation.

It then results in an erupted situation which doesn’t solve anything, makes things worse, and at the same time keeps you ticked off.

When that response time is slowed down, everything can be perceived more clearly, you have more options than you’d have noticed before, you’re in control and you’re now more balanced in this scenario.

How are these quick reaction times slowed down?
– with a growth mindset,
– with a kinder and empathetic perspective of looking at the world,
– with a stiller mind (that comes with the practice of meditation and pranayama (breathing exercises))
– with a bigger focus on what you want and (understanding) what (truly) matters

When you look upon those things, what was blurred earlier becomes focused and what didn’t need to be in focus becomes blurred.

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My Weekly Learnings #35 (21.11 – 27.11)

Amidst all the content I consume every week, through this weekly series of ‘My Weekly Learnings’, sharing highlights of content pieces that caught my eye and provided more value than I could imagine.

(P.S. Every Sunday, I share a list of what to read, listen to, and watch, in my weekly series, The Last 7 Days. You can check out the editions here).

1. Anything that uplifts your consciousness is spirituality. Anything that brings you more peace of mind, that’s spirituality. Anything that gives you confidence, self-confidence, is spirituality. Anything that helps you to communicate better with people and anything that promotes a better understanding of yourself, of others, and of the universe, that’s spirituality. (Listen here more to understand about spirituality) [Gurudev Sri Sri Ravishankar]

2. Beware of confusing attention with admiration. Being noticed isn’t a substitute for being respected.

Don’t mistake recognition for appreciation. Knowing who you are doesn’t mean people value what you do.

The point of sharing isn’t to gain followers. It’s to make a contribution. [Adam Grant]

3. “Many people use deliberate cold exposure specifically to increase their metabolism and fat loss. Because many people also combine deliberate cold exposure with a sauna or hot showers, I asked Dr. Susanna Soeberg, Ph.D. (expert in human cold therapy science and first author on a recent landmark study about cold exposure for metabolism), whether or not heat should be done before or after cold exposure.

Dr. Soeberg’s answer is what I now call “The Soeberg Principle”: which states that even though you can alternate heat and cold *if your main goal is to increase metabolism then you should end with the cold* because it forces your body to use its own energy to heat back up.

Remember: you can still get benefits from a cold exposure if you end with heat but you won’t get as great a metabolic effect.” [Andrew Huberman]

4. The Illusion of Self

Source: grantdraws

5. Amazon’s founder, Jeff Bezos, isn’t a fan of the phrase “work-life balance.”

Bezos said new Amazon employees shouldn’t view work and life as a balancing act. Instead, Bezos said it’s more productive to view them as two integrated parts.

“It actually is a circle,” Bezos said. “It’s not a balance.”

“And my view is, that’s a debilitating phrase because it implies there’s a strict trade-off.”

“If I am happy at home, I come into the office with tremendous energy,” Bezos said. “And if I am happy at work, I come home with tremendous energy.” [Jeff Bezos via Business Insider] (Read more here)

The Choice of Words

The Choice of Words

Through the words, we speak to someone, or through the words, we write (for ourselves or when we share those writings with others), or even through the words we think about, the choice of words matters.

Every word represents something, and moreover, every word has an emotion attached to it. The meaning and the emotion affect not only the receiver, but also the one who is saying or writing it, or even when thinking about it.

Just by reading the word ‘happy’, the memories attached to that word start popping up in your mind and you start feeling that emotion too. That applies in the opposite sense too, and to not just a particular word, but the meaning justified from an entire sentence, for example, “You’ll never be able to understand this”. Just by hearing that sentence, an emotion of incompleteness fills you up.

There are billions of words and hundreds of emotions (that can probably be summarized in five or so categories). But the important part is the choice of words you use for yourself and for others, verbally or through writing, all matter.

Sure, in a conscious state of mind, you might keep this in mind. But what about a situation when the moment’s got the better of you?

Maybe, at such a moment, you let your past habits and associations get the better of you and blurt something out you didn’t want to or you didn’t mean to, but at least with the self-awareness, you can learn to step up, you can learn the emotion derived from that word or sentence, the feeling of it, and try to remove it from your vocabulary.

To just understand the depth of what we speak about and what it means is such a key element in our or another individual’s life, how it affected their mind, and the impact it had on their day or more.

Your best thinking happens when you are not thinking

Your best thinking happens when you are not thinking

How often are you on a deadline or think of this, you have scheduled a slot in your day when you will ideate on that project or that new idea or the next thing you wanted to write about, but just during those moments, you have hit the block and you feel like your brain has stopped working?

You’re sitting there completely blank, mounting pressure on yourself to come up with an idea so you can proceed to the next step.

As time passes by, you feel you have wasted so much time and now you have to think more and put more pressure on yourself.

Traditionally, we feel when we sit with the thought in mind that we have to think about a certain topic, ideas will immediately start pouring in. But unfortunately, that’s not the case (even if it works sometimes).

(Those who ideate/ think/ write that way, habitually, have a process where they get their ideas in advance and they let those ideas sit with them for a while before they even begin with the process – so technically they’re not thinking on the spot either – and that’s what this post is about)

Your best thinking happens when you’re not thinking.

Whatever you have to ideate upon, the process initiates something like this… Introduce the topic to yourself, research/ study if that is involved… And move on to the next thing.

Your brain knows you have to think about this topic, your brain subconsciously has more information than you can imagine… So now when you move on to the next thing at hand, or you divert your concentration from not thinking about one thing precisely to opening up your brain and just moving on, you have allowed yourself the freedom to expand your thoughts, to connect the dots, and to scan through all the information in your brain.

Now your best thinking is happening when you’re busy doing something else.

Somewhere out of the blue, an idea is going to strike your mind. You’ll end up thinking about what inspired you to think of this, and you’ll dedicate various different things to that inspiration without understanding that you were already thinking about this for a while now.

But getting back to it, suddenly that idea will strike… suddenly you will have the motivation to suddenly sit and proceed (or whatever the next step of action calls for that situation), and now you have clearer thoughts than before, where otherwise you would’ve been in a rut, putting pressure on yourself as to why can’t think of a particular idea/s.

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My Weekly Learnings #34 (14.11 – 20.11)

Amidst all the content I consume every week, through this weekly series of ‘My Weekly Learnings’, sharing highlights of content pieces that caught my eye and provided more value than I could imagine.

(P.S. Every Sunday, I share a list of what to read, listen to, and watch, in my weekly series, The Last 7 Days. You can check out the editions here).

1. “It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows.”
— Epictetus

Humility is the antidote to arrogance.

Humility is a recognition that we don’t know, that we were wrong, that we’re not better than anyone else. Humility is simple to understand but hard to practice.

Humility isn’t a lack of confidence but an earned confidence. The confidence to say that you might not be right, but you’ve done the diligence, and you’ve put in the work. Humility keeps you wondering what you’re missing or if someone is working harder than you.

And yet when pride and arrogance take over, humility flees and so does our ability to learn, adapt, and build lasting relationships with others.
Humility won’t let you take credit for luck. And humility is the voice in your mind that doesn’t let small victories seem larger than they are. Humility is the voice inside your head that says, ‘anyone can do it once, that’s luck. Can you do it consistently?’

More than knowing yourself, humility is accepting yourself. [Shane Parrish]

2. ‘Why You Should Be Prolific’
As a writer, you need to remember that your favorite creators are likely more prolific than you think.

Don’t compare your early ideas to other people’s edited and refined published works. When | interviewed the Grammy-nominated musician Logic, he said he has thousands of unreleased songs. From him, | learned that the vast majority of what every creator makes is junk. There’s no way around that.

Gobs of nonsense are part of the creative process, which is why excellence comes not from raising standards for your first drafts but from knowing what to publish and what to discard.

It’s easy to feel like a failure when you’re stuck. It’s easy to feel like you’ll never achieve your creative ambitions or your best days are behind you.

Keep making stuff. No matter how stuck you feel, commit to sitting down at the keyboard and putting ideas on paper. If your creative well is dry, surround yourself with art that stirs your soul.

Remember that the frustrations you feel in the present are the price you pay for the joy you’ll feel in the future. Progress is usually felt in retrospect when you look back at all the hours that felt like a road to nowhere. [David Perrell]

3. Whoever is worthy of teaching is sharing their knowledge for free on the internet but their content is unstructured.

But most of us are conditioned to think that only an expensive degree giving structured knowledge is worthy, making it a fantastic business. [Kunal Shah]

4. The Three Layers of the Self-Awareness Onion:
Layer 1: A simple understanding of one’s emotions.

“I’m angry… I’m really fucking angry.”

Layer 2: An ability to ask why we feel certain emotions.

“Why am I so angry all the time? What is this doing for me?”

Layer 3: Our personal values – how we measure ourselves and the world.

“I’m angry because I constantly feel as though I’m being disrespected. Am I really though?” [Mark Manson]

5.

Source: sketchplantations

“In terms of their awareness and their understanding of life”

“In terms of their awareness and their understanding of life”

As Robin Sharma wrote about in The 5 AM Club, “everyone alive does the best that they can based on where they’re at in terms of their awareness and their understanding of life.”

Even though I haven’t gotten around to reading The 5 AM Club, I’m aware of Robin Sharma’s previous works, which have had a great impact on my life. So when I was listening to one of his podcast episodes, this particular line from his book came up and immediately struck a chord within me.

All of us are on different paths of life, we have different goals, different processes, different types of thoughts, and different styles of execution. Moreover, our understanding of how people around us operate, including our close ones, is always one of mystery. There are moments when you feel why is that person acting in such a way, or why did that individual not think about this (when it was right in front to notice), or why are we not operating the same way.

Questions of these sorts hit me every now and then, with respect to different moments and different people. Being on a path of figuring out more and more about life, about how our body and mind function, and being curious about the tiniest of things, all those things at an intersection make me constantly question the old methods, make me compare the traditional vs modern methods of doing things, make me understand more and more of human behavior and humanity (in general), those types of questions do come up every now and then, wondering why do people do certain things that aren’t helpful to them, why do they make those decisions that don’t help them grow, why to be on a path because someone else did it too.

But, with respect to each and everything, this simple line that everyone is doing their best of where they’re at “in terms of their awareness and their understanding of life” just hits gold.

They might necessarily not be doing the right thing, but based on this line, in their heads (with the current level of awareness they’ve and their understanding of life), they’re doing the right thing, they’re thinking the right thing, and they’re making their decisions based on that very thing too.

Now, with choice or if they stumble upon it, if they’re able to upgrade their level of awareness, or if they are able to elevate their understanding of life (and are able to see the broader, or rather the truer picture, than what is fed to them), then that changes things.

But, until something of that sort is happening, then well, every individual is going to continue to operate “in terms of their awareness and their understanding of life.”

What the Optimum Scenario should be like?

What the Optimum Scenario should be like?

Every scenario in life has three possible outcomes: the best scenario, the optimum scenario, and the worst scenario.

These scenarios range from the most macro things in life: work, relationships, health to the most micro things in life: waking up in the morning, eating food on time, having a discussion/ argument with someone, meeting a deadline, etc.

Before you take on anything, there’s always a visualized scenario that takes place in your head, those visuals show you the best possible outcome of that particular scenario (that’s about to take place).

Whether that best possible scenario takes place or not is a different issue altogether, but right at the start, that’s what pops up in your head.

Now, as the process begins, you never know what’s going to happen, how much is in your control, and how much you’d have to adapt. That means, in reality, the outcome could go from the best possible scenario to the worst possible scenario.

Usually, when something like that happens, most people go haywire; unable to understand how to proceed, they aren’t able to process their emotions, nor their next steps.

As much as, in most of those visualized scenarios, the best possible scenarios may look the best, and the worst possible scenarios are those you don’t want to think of, especially at the beginning of the process… That leaves you with the optimum scenario.

The best possible scenario leaves you pumped up, and simultaneously, you avoid the thought of the worst possible scenario. But, said that thinking of the optimum scenario could actually be the best option for you, and something that would keep you balanced, irrespective of what happens.

The optimum scenario is playing in the middle, balancing between both of the other scenarios opposite to each other. Planning for that scenario keeps you in control (somewhat), you’re able to plan for steps beforehand, perceive things you wouldn’t have otherwise, and ultimately, stay balanced.

Thinking of the optimum scenario (in advance) means, anything beyond (the optimum) is just icing on the cake for you (that leads to the best scenario). But, anything worse, means you’re not totally disappointed, you probably have a backup (system) in place, and moreover, you’re now in a position to try and salvage as much as you can from the situation.

You’re now standing in a place, which you hadn’t imagined before, but somewhere where you can see what’s happening, plus nothing really surprises you here.

Every outcome can have these three scenarios, then it’s up to you, how you’d like to rewire your thinking, and what kind of a scenario would you like to be thinking about. Every action is followed by a thought, and every thought takes place because of a system (that is designed based on how you think and how you approach things – which is something that can easily be changed or modified).

Creating a system around your day (Part 2)

Creating a system around your day (Part 2)

Yesterday I wrote about how our life and day-to-day is nothing but a set of habits, that eventually becomes our daily routine. If those habits are helpful to you, then eventually the routine keeps you in check.

Here’s a snippet from that post, “During the day, irrespective of how many outcomes were in your favor or not, and how your emotions swung from one to another, and whether you were able to manage them or not, ultimately, your routine keeps you in check.”

Check out that post here:

When you think deeper on it, usually the routine involves one particular habit, followed by another, and another. That chain of habits, which might include waking up and then working out, having your breakfast, getting on with your work, with a break in the middle, having a cup of tea in the evening, and so on, are linked to one another.

But we are all humans, not robots. Sometimes the mood overpowers us, sometimes there could be a priority task that uproots this chain of habits, and a particular one gets left out maybe (for example, working out a particular day).

Here’s when, with self-awareness, understanding your habits work out for you. Understanding your habits isn’t enough, and neither is knowing your routine in and out, the more important thing to do is to create a system around your day.

What does it mean to create a system?

It basically means creating a flowchart of your day (mentally), creating alternative scenarios of your day, creating backups in case a particular habit has to be replaced with another, in case something gets delayed or something important comes up.

Such a system (around your routine) helps to keep you flexible, reduces your rigidity, and keeps you and your day balanced, for whatever may suddenly pop up and make you change everything.

Most people don’t like to change their days every day, knowing what you’ll be doing keeps you organized, and keeps you prepared, you retain some part of your control as well. But that also comes with its challenges, because you never know what might turn up, you have to be ready to adapt, you have to be ready for change.

Those are the moments when this concept of having not just a routine, and not just knowing your set of habits, but having a well-managed system in place comes in handy. It starts with understanding your habits, understanding what you’d want from your day-to-day, and what is necessary and what is flexible, and moreover, how much of it are you able to shuffle around.

The routine keeps you in check

The routine keeps you in check

When you shed all the exterior layers (and stories and distractions), you notice how your day-to-day, your thoughts, and actions, are all habits. Every habit that was once started, maybe without realizing, and now keeps continuing day after day.

These habits in accumulation are what one calls a routine. That routine is what an individual follows, right from the time they wake up to when they sleep. These routines include the part of your personal and professional life and all kinds of activities you do throughout the day.

Some of these particular habits help you grow, some let you cruise along, and some drain you with your energy and time.

With self-awareness, you’re able to notice all of these habits, you can then pick the ones that help you grow and evolve, and can also take the path to replace the ones that don’t.

Moreover, the point to understand is, during the day, irrespective of how many outcomes were in your favor or not, and how your emotions swung from one to another, and whether you were able to manage them or not, ultimately, your routine keeps you in check.

Some days you won’t feel like it, but that routine (especially if it’s one that helps you) brings out something in you that keeps your habits running, and irrespective of the effect of the exterior situations, you are able to keep walking ahead and proceed as you’d wanted to when you had planned this routine (in the first place).

Having a set of habits, eventually accumulated into what becomes a routine, helps you live your day, and the next.

Quote

My Weekly Learnings #33 (07.11 – 13.11)

Amidst all the content I consume every week, through this weekly series of ‘My Weekly Learnings’, sharing highlights of content pieces that caught my eye and provided more value than I could imagine.

(P.S. Every Sunday, I share a list of what to read, listen to, and watch, in my weekly series, The Last 7 Days. You can check out the editions here).

1. 7 Stoic Questions to ask every day:
i. Is this in my control?
ii. Is this essential/ necessary?
iii. What’s the worst case? Am I prepared?
iv. Where can I do better?
v. What habit bonfires am I fueling?
vi. How can I make the best of this?
vii. (When people irritate you) When have I acted like that? [The Daily Stoic]

2. “Most people optimize for the day ahead. A few people optimize for 1-2 years ahead. Almost nobody optimizes for 3-4 years ahead (or longer).

The person who is willing to delay gratification longer than most reduces competition and gains a decisive advantage.

Patience is power.” [James Clear]

3. Writer David Foster Wallace on the importance of controlling your attention:

“Twenty years after my own graduation, I have come gradually to understand that the liberal arts cliché about “teaching you how to think” is actually shorthand for a much deeper, more serious idea: Learning how to think really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think. It means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience. Because if you cannot exercise this kind of choice in adult life, you will be totally hosed.”
[Source: This is Water]

4. At first, we sold our labor. That was 10,000 years of history. You traded sweat for food.

Eventually, people figured out that they could build an organization. And an organization made things, which someone could buy. Add some technology and machines and productivity would go up, things would get better, and profits would result. Industrial capitalism. This is the sort of project that most people think about when someone says “I’m going to start a business.”

But there are other options.

Linux and Wikipedia and the local farmer’s market are all projects. They may or may not lead to a profit for every person who engages with them, but they’re distinct entities that organize various talents and inputs and create value for the people they serve.

Stemming climate change, stopping the spread of disease, and fighting homelessness are also projects. They may not have coordinating bodies or a single entity, but they represent a combination of ideas, people, and initiatives that are coordinated through culture.

Bitcoin is a multi-trillion-dollar project with no one in charge.

As our world gets more connected, the projects that change us are more and more likely to have a form that would be hard to recognize just a generation ago. But inventing and choosing and supporting these projects is now on us, and it begins by recognizing that they even exist. [Seth Godin]

5. The basic principles of constructive feedback:
A. Before you give it, ask if they want to receive it.
B. Be clear that you believe in their potential and care about their success.
C. Be as candid as possible in what you say and as thoughtful as possible in how you say it. [Adam Grant]

You have to take the initiative

You have to take the initiative

Whenever you want something done, you may wait for things to happen; you may wait for someone else to do it, but there’s a lot of waiting to do, and a lot of expectations to have in such kinds of moments.

Most times, you waste your time, or rather the disappointment of your expectations hit you hard.

Instead, you may want to think of proceeding in a different manner. You may want to take initiative (in the first place) and get things moving.

It’s better to be in control, it’s better to run the plan according to how you deem it fit, and now instead of all the waiting for someone and expecting, you drop all of that, and proceed, having taken that initiative.

There’s a lot of contexts here too, especially one, where you may want to know what you’re getting into. But even understanding the message here, and implying it in your life, you’ll notice that this initiative lead will change things around in the majority of how you live your life on a day-to-day basis.

You remember the how not the what

You remember the how not the what

Unless you’re an expert at a particular something, how often do you know the a to z of a particular topic? We feel we know things, but that is only true when you can speak about it.

Otherwise, we feel that we know a lot, and don’t need to learn anymore.

But here’s the catch of it all… When you look back, introspecting what you know and how you use that information in your personal and professional lives, you realize you remember the how not the what.

The what constitutes the technicalities, the terms, the theoretical knowledge, one that people speak that makes you think how they know so much.

The how is the process, the understanding of how it’s done. Basically, you know the same things, but without the what, it doesn’t make you sound like an expert.

Unless you’re interested in the what (and want to make it the center point of your study), there’s no point spending any time on it, because it’d be wasted (that’s the reason where most learning stops or people don’t proceed to the next step, because the what seems difficult).

But knowing this simple fact can be an advantage for you, to learn more and to know more. Now that you know you remember the how not the what… What you can do is this, whenever you learn more and try to upgrade your knowledge, instead of spending time on the what, you can instead spend your time, focusing on the how – so you can understand the subject at hand better, you can understand the process better, and ultimately use it to upgrade your knowledge and your life better, in whatever way you think it seems useful.