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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.

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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.

Until you don’t

Until you don’t

Until you don’t eat properly, you don’t realize the impact of your previous eating habits and the change after.

Until you don’t work out regularly, you don’t realize what not working out was doing to your mind and body.

Until you don’t start learning on a daily basis, you don’t realize the limitations of your knowledge.

Until you don’t start meditating, you don’t realize the chaotic life you were living blindly; and you don’t understand the importance of stillness.

Until you don’t start addressing your emotions, you feel like everything’s okay, but that’s just your outer shell hiding what’s within.

Until you don’t start living your life on your terms, you continue to live based on what one individual said or did hundreds of years ago and what has now become a social construct.

Until you don’t (the list is endless).

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My Weekly Learnings #32 (31.10 – 06.11)

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. In my experience, not body weight but these are the factors that improve health — healthy mother
– good education
– strong family bonds
– access to doctors
– well-paying jobs
– athletic childhood
– living in green walkable cities

Health is multidisciplinary, not a number. [Rujuta Diwekar]

2. Charcoal & Diamonds are both carbons. The difference lies in the configuration of the carbon atoms in them.

There’s a big lesson in here.

You can increase the value of something by changing its very nature by re-organizing its building blocks.

Inputs <> Outputs [Kavin Bharti Mittal]

3. Tips To Building Your Emotional Intelligence:

– Accept that you can’t be happy all the time
– Start to identify emotions in other people and yourself
– Accept that not all emotions have to mean something
– Identify when zero response is the best response [Mark Manson]

4. “MOTIVATION” = EFFORT + (INTERMITTENT) REWARD

Dopamine is the common currency of motivation, pleasure, and pursuit of pleasures. Everybody enjoys pleasure. That said if you achieve pleasure from food or experiences without having to put in any effort pretty soon those pleasures lose their potency. That doesn’t mean we stop pursuing pleasures but it lowers our baseline level of dopamine and causes us to pursue progressively smaller goals. That is not good.

These days pleasure is available to us without any work: High potency food, experiences, etc. that don’t require any strain or effort to achieve.

Some small amount of that is fine of course but the best way to keep your dopamine system tuned up for ongoing motivation and pursuit is to periodically avoid pleasures that are easy to access, focusing instead on pleasures that take effort to achieve. And sometimes it can even be useful to not reward yourself at all for hard work and instead just cycle right back into another round of effort. Of course, get your rest and your sleep too so you can continue to be motivated and in pursuit (and pleasure) for all your days and years. [Andrew Huberman]

5. “There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning.”

‘Up to a point a person’s life is shaped by environment, heredity, and changes in the world about them. Then there comes a time when it lies within their grasp to shape the clay of their life into the sort of thing they wish it to be. Only the weak blame parents, their race, their times, lack of good fortune, or the quirks of fate. Everyone has the power to say, “This I am today. That I shall be tomorrow.” [Louis L’Amour – The Walking Drum]

Out of Options

Out of Options

At times we feel we’re out of options. We don’t know what to do. We don’t know how to proceed. It feels like a dead-end.

Everything roots from somewhere and where this particular issue roots from the kind of perspective an individual has… and even though the approach of looking at things can be changed, that is something which can be done on a macro level.

But for someone who hasn’t started that process yet, or hasn’t realized the issue in the first place, what can they do in that particular moment (when they face the issue at hand)?

Just keep an open eye – it’s as simple as that.

All options look closed because we are approaching the situation from that straight-door perspective, thinking the answer will be right in front of us, and we don’t have to look anywhere else.

But at that moment, when you remember to keep an open eye, what you’ll do is not just look for one answer or one path to solving the situation. You’ll now approach with a 360-degree view, keeping your options open, noticing everything, and then coming to a conclusion of what can be done.

And just like that, as time passes, this single smallest step of keeping an open eye will broaden your perspective and ultimately change how you approach things in life (without going for a 5-step program or anything).

A blog is a personal diary in disguise

A blog is a personal diary in disguise

People write a blog for various reasons – as an outlet, to share particular moments of their life, or their learnings, or to even curate things – all under the umbrella of providing value (mostly) to those who will eventually read it.

But, when you read them, it ends up with things you actually wanted to tell yourself.

Hardly anyone would agree to that though.

“I’m a learned person and I’m here to share those learnings” “I know this and that and would like to make people aware of those things”

Sure! But all these observations and learnings root from somewhere and usually, they are from your own life. When you look back, when you introspect, when you observe, when you learn more and implement it to your own life – all of those things root from your own life.

Considering that, more often than not, there are also thoughts that are difficult to deal with, regarding one’s own life and those are the times when these writings and posts take the form to let those thoughts out.

Where they originally were for yourself, now they take the form of publically providing value (which they can also do, no doubt about that)… But one should take heed from their own writings too, shouldn’t they?

It is easier to introspect than do

It is easier to introspect than do

We learn when we make mistakes, or when we educate ourselves.

But many a time, we read things here and there, thinking, ‘It definitely doesn’t sound this easy as it is written’.

So, the other option remains to make mistakes. However, you realize the mistakes or the learnings from them only in hindsight.

When you literally sit and introspect upon your life, what have you done, what does your mindset tell you, and what is it that you think should be next done.

During these sessions of introspection, you come upon moments of your life, where you regret some things, you learn from some things, you’re glad some moments happened, and vice versa.

With that introspection comes learnings, and you come out a wise person at the end of it. You feel you know more than before. You probably won’t make the same mistakes now. What’s next will be better than what happened.

But, sometimes it is easier to introspect (and learn) than do (it in reality). Irrespective of how much you may have evolved or learnt, it is difficult to implement all of it in real life, there’s no snap of a finger that changes everything.

It is a process, it is a practice… Particular moments drag you back to who you are and whom you don’t want to be anymore, but that realization only comes with introspection. Even if it is difficult to do, even if it is difficult to see that before and after, and even if you see those past glimpses before, at least you now have the awareness to realize those things (which didn’t happen before).

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My Weekly Learnings #31 (24.10 – 30.10)

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. Making a comedy special is like making a samurai sword: “I used to describe it like the way they make samurai swords, or used to: they bang it and fold it, then bang it again, and then they fold it and keep banging it. They pound on it and fold it, so they’re squeezing all the oxygen [out], they just keep making it perfect. So every time you think I’ve got an hour [for this show]; no, you don’t. Write another hour, and then fold it into that one. Get rid of all the impurities and all the bad stuff, and then keep doing that.” [Louis C.K]

2. The strategies that made you successful in the past will, at some point, reach their limit.

Don’t let your previous choices set your future ceiling. The willingness to try new ideas allows you to keep advancing. [James Clear]

3. Why do we ask kids what they want to be when they grow up?

It encourages them to define themselves in terms of work. It also perpetuates the myth that you can only have one career.

We can serve them better by asking what they want to do – and what kind of person they want to be. [Adam Grant]

4. Our brains are programmed to like the music we listened to in high school the most. The music we like gives us a hit of dopamine and other feel-good chemicals, and that’s even stronger when we’re young because our brains are developing. [8fact]

5. An apt visual representation of ‘luck meets preparation.’

[Janis Ozolins]

Refreshing your Thoughts

Refreshing your Thoughts

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).

– 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.

It becomes programmable, and for most, no one realizes this nor does anyone care. Everyday life, especially the exterior part of it, has been made so chaotic that people are made to think they have no time to think about these things.

So, then one has to get lucky with a certain action (any) that could occur in one’s life which would act as the catalyst for them to realize these things. What follows next is somewhat predictable after a realization of this kind.

That predictability looks something like this, you notice your thoughts from a new perspective, you now look at life differently, what’s real and what’s not is something you notice. You notice what you did before… and what you’d like to do now. So you jot down a plan of action and start implementing those changes and walk on this path of life now.

But that entire process begins when you refresh your thoughts, forget everything for a while, and look at the constructs of this reality that we live in – how much of it is meaningful and how much of it is just for the sake of carrying on.

Taking things less seriously

Taking things less seriously

The more information you seek, the more of your reality gets shattered. We have been conditioned to live in a certain way, do certain things and act in a certain way. So the moment you break that barrier and walk into the unknown, you start noticing things from a different perspective.

As you consume more information and your knowledge increases, in time, you notice a before and after in your thoughts, and that starts spreading to everything else as well. Now the reality that everyone else lives, and the one that you see now are different.

What information are we talking about? More information about life, how it functions, the existence of it, the information that is not readily given to you – but one that you get when you seek for it.

But when that barrier breaks for you, what also happens is you start taking things more seriously (because of the realization; the thought of the life being lived before you had all this information.) In a post phase of this revelation, how you manage your thoughts, your emotions, your actions, your interactions – so much of it and more you take it seriously. Everything is now observed with that keen eye, noticing every difference.

It sometimes becomes so serious that you forget to live life, you forget to enjoy the moments, you forget to be present. With that new information, you now want to be different than before, you don’t want to walk that same path as before, but that also changes how you are perceiving your current moments of life.

So for someone who’s walking on this path, and experiencing these changes, this is a message to just take things less seriously.

Change is for good, you’re glad about this change, you don’t want to walk on those previous steps again… But that doesn’t mean you forget the very essence of life – to enjoy it.

What does reinventing the wheel look like?

What does reinventing the wheel look like?

Our everyday life is like a wheel rolling, that just keeps on rolling, with the same type of emotions and thoughts and actions, every day like a routine. Only when there’s an issue with the wheel, do we then check what’s wrong and then try to repair it.

But, what if you don’t want to wait till the wheel goes bad? What if you realize that the wheel isn’t of good quality, and you want to reinvent the wheel, so you run more smoothly than before…

That process of reinventing the wheel looks something like this:
A. Gain new knowledge
Your current operating is based on the knowledge that you already have, and it is producing the results that you currently see. In order to reinvent, you must first gain new knowledge, only then will you be able to compare the current and the new process; only then will you be able to understand the difference and execute the latter process in a new way.

B. Understand and acknowledge the mistakes made
Once you have attained this knowledge, then you look back… You notice what’s already done, the outcome of it, and with the new information, you also realize what could’ve been done differently and what shouldn’t have been done at all. Therein comes the most important step, to acknowledge the mistakes made, to accept them, because only then can you proceed to the next step.

C. Ask yourself why do you want to change
Updated with knowledge, mistakes acknowledged… Now, why do you want to reinvent? What’s the reason behind it? What’s the difference that you want to feel? With self-awareness, you’ll be able to answer the why, and that will become the fuel for the path that comes after.

D. Set a new path
Your why will become your fuel, but you must also address the how – the new path that will reinvent the wheel. That path is filled with steps and backups, the macro vision that is broken down into the smallest of steps, that is then attainable within the approachable time limits set by you (a process that motivates some, otherwise the why is strong enough for one to enjoy the process).

To reinvent the wheel is easy to break down into four steps, but a process that comes with strong determination and patience; one that requires your time and but also assures that you will certainly enjoy the other side of it much more than how the wheel was currently running.

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My Weekly Learnings #30 (17.10 – 23.10)

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, and watch, in my weekly series, The Last 7 Days. You can check out the editions here).

1. How to have a disagreement that opens minds instead of closing them:
How can you possibly believe that?
→ How did you arrive at that view?

That’s ridiculous!
→ I’m surprised to hear you say that. Tell me more

You’re wrong!
→ What would lead you to rethink that? [Adam Grant]

2. Forgiveness is a productivity accelerator. The great saints, sages, and spiritual geniuses all understood that the main aim on the path to awakening was to stand in any mess that life sends and remain centered, courageous, serene, and free.

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. And once you realize that, you won’t be upset with them – you can begin to forgive them.

So resolve to forgive those who have hurt you [they made you stronger and nobler]. And commit to letting go of what no longer serves you [it got you to here]. Remember that the past was perfect preparation for you to become who you now are and to grow the extraordinary life that you now face the opportunity to create. [Robin Sharma]

3. Colin Powell’s 13 rules of life
Rule #1: It ain’t bad as you think. It will look better in the morning.
Rule #2: Get mad, then get over it.
Rule #3: Avoid your ego so close to your position that when your position
falls, your ego goes with it.
Rule #4: It can be done.
Rule #5: Be careful whom you choose.
Rule #6: Don’t let adverse facts stand in the way of a good decision.
Rule #7: You can’t make someone else’s decisions. You shouldn’t let
someone else make yours.
Rule #8: Check small things.
Rule #9: Share credit.
Rule #10: Remain calm. Be Kind.
Rule #11: Have a vision. Be demanding.
Rule #12: Don’t take counsel of your fears or naysayers.
Rule #13: Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.

4. Art (movies, plays, fiction, paintings, poetry…) exists to create a change. Often, that’s a change in the viewer, and sometimes, powerful art changes the culture.

Art with no intent can entertain us, and it can also reinforce stereotypes and simply help what is in our world persist.

Art with selfish intent exists to manipulate the viewer to serve the needs of the artist. It doesn’t often spread, but when it does, it can have a corrosive effect on the world around us.

But art with generous intent is different. It might not address an issue the way you would (in fact, that’s precisely why we need it) and it creates tension as it helps us look at things in a new way.

The plays of Sarah Jones or a book by Sinclair Lewis or music by Charles Wilson or a movie by Amy Koppelman exist to make us think hard. To think about what we’ve taken for granted and to think about what might be different if we cared enough.

I’m not sure it even matters what the artist thought they wanted when they sat down to create the work. The art itself seems to want something, to make a change in the world. And the ability to create art like that belongs to each of us. [Seth Godin]

5. The only two ways to make money:
A. Add value
B. Subtract suffering [Sahil Lavingia]

Finding time to understand yourself

Finding time to understand yourself

How busy do we make our lives, especially with work, to say that we don’t have time for ourselves?

By not having time for ourselves, doesn’t mean not having time to relax or to eat or to escape (some people don’t make time for that too, but that’s a different topic altogether…), but not having time to understand yourself.

We focus on one particular area of life and we say that this is the area we have to grow in, invest all our time there and when the results come and when we are satisfied (which we never will be), then we’ll focus on our personal lives as well.

But the thing about understanding ourselves is more about self awareness about ourself. Understanding what we truly want, and in which area of life, where do we want to invest our time, what type of returns do we want to see.

The more we understand ourselves, the better our relationship becomes with ourselves, with others, the better we’ll be able to balance the personal and professional aspect of our lives.

All that happens with the most important decision any individual can ever take… To take some time to understand themselves (rather than to simply go with the flow or to follow the societal constructs and to let everything happen to you)

The vibes of your environment

The vibes of your environment

The balance of our day to day and our macro lives hang between our emotions and how we manage through them. Our emotions form from our thoughts and our thoughts emerge from what we absorb and consume.

What we consume depends on the type of environment that is around us.

The environment further gets divided into your internal and external environment, with your internal environment being what you personally consume for your mind and for your body.

But, today we focus on the external environment and the vibes that we get from it.

Why is it said that you’re a sum total of the five people you surround yourself with, is simply because you subconsciously pick up the tiniest of their behaviors, their values and their traits and you start imitating them without knowing how.

Every single thing that immediately happens around you, affects you. Whether this is a positive environment or a negative environment or maybe even a toxic environment, it all gets to you eventually.

The vibes that you pick up from your external environment is going to have an effect on your day to day, on your thoughts, on your emotions, on how you act and behave, on your decisions, on your macro life as well.

Sometimes you understand your environment and you make a stance to act differently, but there’s only so much you can control, especially when you are in an environment you don’t necessarily agree with.

Those are the times when a hard call is made, with respect to your environment and you choose whether to let it be a part of your life or not.

Change doesn’t happen from 0 to 1

Change doesn’t happen from 0 to 1

How many times can you recollect changing something about yourself? Could be some aspect of your life, could be a minor thing or a major thing.

How many times have you thought it’s taking too long? Or you might have thought that the results aren’t appearing at all?

We sometimes feel that we are the same even after putting in a ton of efforts.

It is because our primary focus is to see that change happen from 0 to 1, and we can’t wait to see that 1 and be joyous about it.

But, in all those thoughts, we forget that change doesn’t happen from 0 to 1.

The process isn’t so easy, the results don’t come so soon, and it takes a lot of time and patience too.

However, the biggest factor that we have to realize in all of this is… Change occurs from 0 to 0.1 to 0.2 and so on.

When you’re on that path of change, we have to focus on the smallest of wins, and those wins are the tiniest of things you have acknowledged, learnt, implemented, experimented with and will now see the outcome of it too.

That is the real change, when you are in the process, when you notice how you rose from 0 to 0.1 and you notice the fruits of your efforts, knowing the fact that it’s going to take a while to reach that 1.

Are you only thinking about yourself?

Are you only thinking about yourself?

There are two types of scenarios, single-person scenarios where only you get affected, and multiple-person scenarios where either both the parties or they or you affected.

In most cases, we think about ourselves, as it should be, you should be the first priority for yourself. Is something affecting you negatively or are you doing something unwillingly? In scenarios like those, it should always be you first (whether it is pointing something out or creating those boundaries).

Always self first, your emotions first, your feelings first…

But the question, ‘Are you only thinking about yourself?’ becomes a problem too.

Whilst you put yourself first, the problem begins right there in that question itself, Are you *only* thinking about yourself. We prioritize ourselves first, but we often forget about the other person in the equation.

Whilst we should say what we feel, and whilst we should create boundaries that protect us, we must also keep the other person in mind and how you’re conveying to them what you’re conveying and how it’d make them feel after.

Yes, easier said than done, as is the case for most things that will make us better in the short and long run, and this is one of those things, when even in the heat of the moment, we must practice to not only think about ourselves… But to understand what the other person is trying to convey, the meaning of it irrespective of their approach, and then ultimately, how your words and actions will impact them.

Then the question becomes, Are you then ready to take the responsibility of thinking for yourself and for others?

Doing it all in a rush vs Scheduling it in Slots

Doing it all in a rush vs Scheduling it in Slots

Everyday there’s a ton of things to do for every individual. Some things get done, some get postponed, and some never even make it to the list in the first place.

Now, not everyone’s good at time management. When the time comes to actually do any of those tasks, either of the two things may happen… Either you are able to manage your day properly and schedule your tasks accordingly or you go ticking every item off that list one after the other, just to complete every task and there’s a larger possibility of many of those items going unchecked.

What happens in the latter scenario is that you’re doing it all in a rush. In a rush where neither your time is managed nor your energy. Some things may take more time, some less, some require more energy or more attention, some less, but in either of the scenarios you’re rushing towards every task, without being present, without being available for yourself, and in no time will you realize that the day is over and you now have to hover through the next day’s tasks now.

But, there’s another option. One where you manage your time and you manage your energy. Here, you’re more present, and more available too. The approach here is to schedule your day in slots… And then allot your to-do things or your tasks in those slots. Every slot has a time range, when that time is approaching you now focus on that slot, and the set of things alloted in that slot and that alone.

For example, a self care slot, where you can focus on your reading, or meditating, or workout etc.

Another example could be, of a smaller slot, one which is only assigned to read your mails, and none of your other minutes are assigned for this task then.

Now you aren’t rushing nor are you disorganized. Everything is managed properly, everything is in order, and now you know what’s to be done when and for how long, without seeming like things are going out of order.

In a scenario where you’re doing it all in a rush vs scheduling everything in slots, which one do you think makes more sense now? Which one makes you more organized, more present, more in control of your time and your life?

Your Thoughts are your Enemies

Your Thoughts are your Enemies

Our brains are designed to think, a lot. Where do these thoughts originate from?

Through our sensory organs, every piece of information (not just digitally, but every little thing around us) that we consume gets recorded in our brain.

Then comes learning from association (what do people talk about, what topics are popular, what do people dislike, what gets a conversation going), and learning from self-interest (anything that you get curious about).

Now, because we know the basics of mostly everything, the second part that comes in is how the brain already knows what you’re going to do next or what you’re going to do in specific situations, that originates from every action to every response being a habit and the brain recognizes that.

So when these two overlap, the learning, and the response, therein comes the thoughts. The thoughts around a certain topic, the depth of which depends on one’s curiosity, the quality of which depends on one’s internal and external environment, the quantity depending on their mindfulness.

So, now that we have shed some light on the concept of thoughts, are they our friends or enemies?

Here comes three important pointers that will determine that
– the consumption
– the environment
– the mindfulness

Most of what we willingly consume and not subconsciously is something that is designed to hit certain emotions for an individual. Based on how it hits, that certain information will be grabbed by your brain accordingly.

Because of that, you now consume more than you can imagine… The reason being it’s fun, it’s exciting, it’s making you laugh, etc.

What you don’t realize is the logic and the application behind the emotion are also being consumed by you.

Now comes the environment, internal and external. Who have you surrounded yourself with, what information is being discussed with individuals and groups, how do they tackle their emotions, how do they tackle certain problems, what issues do they create in the first place, there are tens, if not hundreds of pointers of our external environment that thus affect our internal environment, until both have been polluted to a point we aren’t aware of.

The third point is a silver lining for some, but full of dark clouds for mostly all… Introducing the concept of mindfulness. For mostly all of our lives, we live by certain concepts and traditions and associations, which we don’t question, thus them becoming the same habits, generation by generation, for most of the people without anyone questioning anything. We aren’t present to what is happening now because of the past, and what will happen in the future because of the present.

When the worlds of consumption, environment and mindfulness collide, is when either your thoughts serve you or they don’t.

When you start dreaming of your
– fantasies,
– alternative what-if scenarios of the past,
– imagined scenarios of the future,
– a scenario being run from your perspective when you fail to see what’s actually happening,
– starting to feel that everything is wrong only with you, or
– starting to feel that everything wrong only happens to you,

Are some of the classic scenarios when your thoughts are your enemies, feeding you something that keeps you in a shell protected, away from reality and you not being in control.

In such a situation, you aren’t able to grasp the true reality, nor are you able to change things around… Unless you are out of the ‘matrix’.

Unless you decide that I’m going to be in control, I’m going to be mindful, I’m going to choose my thoughts, I’m going to start living life as I choose it to be.

All of this is a lot easier said than done, it takes ages to become self-aware of who you are and understanding the situation that you’re in, it takes time and a lot of patience to first deal with yourself, and later on, start with the process of change, to make your thoughts your friends again… And eventually make your life better.

How are you doing vs How are you doing today?

How are you doing vs How are you doing today?

A simple question that is often asked by mostly everyone, if not all is, “How are you doing?”

A question that is followed by a Hello or Hi before the real conversation begins. Sometimes the question shows care and compassion, but usually, it’s just part of a routine.

Even the reply has become a standard one, “I’m fine” or “I’m doing good”.

Whether you are or not is a different issue altogether. You want to respond and then get on the topic or situation at hand.

But let’s make a slight modification to that question, “How are you doing today?

A potential response to such a question would be, “Overall I’m doing good. But today’s not so great. A certain something took place and now I’m feeling x because of it.”

Just by adding a word at the end of your question, you now ask something that opens up the other individual and allows them to share the real answer to that question. Not just that, but that simple addition of a word shows the difference in you and shows that it’s not a routine question anymore.

Try it out, next time when you have a conversation, ask “How are you doing TODAY?”

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My Weekly Learnings #27 (26.09 – 02.10)

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, and watch, in my weekly series, The Last 7 Days. You can check out the editions here).

1. We enjoy spicy food, roller coasters, and depressing music due to something called “benign masochism”. We feel a sense of pleasure from initiating negative experiences that our brain falsely interprets as threatening.

This realization that the body has been fooled, and that there is no real danger, leads to pleasure derived from ‘mind over body’. [Source: 8fact on Instagram]

2. There is something called organ comfort. There are various aspects to this. Just to handle one aspect of it – see right now, most of the vital organs of the body are in the chest and abdomen region. These organs are not rigid, they are not fixed with bolts and clams. They are loose, hanging in nets. Only if you sit with your spine erect, your organs will be in the maximum possible comfort.

Now, the modern idea of comfort is to lean backward and slouch. If you sit in such a posture, your organs will never be at comfort. They will not function the way they need to. This is especially true if you eat a full meal and sit in a reclining chair. A lot of travel happens in reclining chairs. I would say, if you travel a thousand kilometers on a reclining chair in a car, your lifespan will come down by at least three to five years. This is because the organs suffer so much, their ability to function will go down dramatically or you will at least be impaired in some ways.

Keeping the body erect is not because we don’t like comfort, it is because we understand and experience comfort in a completely different way. You can train your muscles to be comfortable, with your spine erect, but you cannot train your organs to be comfortable while slouching. There is no way to do it. So, we choose to train the body, so that our skeletal system and muscular system are comfortable sitting this way. [Sadhguru]

3. People think originality is a form of genius, but it’s not really about intelligence or talent – it emerges naturally from people who have absorbed this basic fact –

Conventional Wisdom is not very wise

Originality lives in all of us, but we keep it locked away behind the classic delusion :

‘If my weird ideas were actually special, they’d already be out there. If no one else is saying/doing it, there must be a good reason.’

We all come pre-programmed with this delusion. Originals are those who have learned to override it. [Tim Urban]

4. Saying no doesn’t always mean you’re letting someone down. It might mean you’re holding up your own boundaries.

You feel guilty when you focus on the costs of falling short of others’ expectations. You feel relieved when you consider the benefits of knowing your own limits. [Adam Grant]

5. Let’s say you want to teach someone how to play chess.

What most people do is explain how all the pieces work (which takes a while) before playing a game (which is a reward).

Instead, you could explain how two pieces work (which doesn’t take long) and play a mini-game using only those pieces (which engages the student and hooks them).

The more engaging (and rewarding) you make learning and the faster you do so, the more likely the person you teach is to care.

(via p. 48 of Write Useful Books) [Source: For The Interested newsletter by Josh Spector]

Inward and Outward

Inward and Outward

Every action of ours has an inward and outward effect.

What we think/ feel/ eat/ drink/ how we care for our mind/ body/ the words we communicate/ the work we do/ the experiences we have,

All of it has not just an effect on the outside, but it equally affects us on the inside too (our inner body processes/ organs/ brain activity, brain processes, hormone releases, neural activity, body energy, just about everything).

Every emotion we feel (as an outcome of anything that we choose to do) releases an energy of that sort in the body too.

Every thing we eat and drink is how our body processes it, and whether it is good for the body or not, then has an outcome accordingly.

Whether we exercise or not, not just has an effect on how “slim” we become, but it has an effect on our body processes too.

The words that we communicate, not just affects our character and our relationships, but also the quality of our mind and the type of voice that develops because of it.

In such a short span of a few sentences, it’s a lot to process… But eventually the baseline still stands the same, everything we do has an effect, not just on the outward, but inward too.

We usually don’t think about any of this, we weren’t taught to think in this manner, neither did we question the working of anything.

If we become a tiny bit more mindful than usual, then we can start taking care of our mind, body and soul, at least from now on, if not before (and experience life differently than before).

The mundaneness of a routine

The mundaneness of a routine

Routines are good and fun. When you have a routine, you have basically collected all your habits and distributed them in a manner that suits your day well.

Having a routine actually gives you the freedom to do more, rather than worrying about what to do when. You now have systems in place, and you can either have time to do specific things more (self care, ideation, socializing etc) or simply work around the slots that you’ve already filled.

Routines happen like muscle memory, those things that you do daily just happen automatically in those timely slots. You can then spend less time scheduling a particular piece of activity, because there already is a slot assigned for it. You can spend less time worrying about missing out on something or just having to skip something, because it’s part of your routine and it will happen.

But, here’s a catch… Only those habits that you love doing will actually keep you on your toes everyday, and that is what keeps the system running.

Only when you enjoy doing it can you then enjoy doing all of those things every day.

Otherwise, the mundaneness of a routine starts seeping in your life.

Every day you wake up, and you have to do a particular activity, then another activity and so on (whether it is with regards to your personal, social, or professional life), your day will surround any of those sectors.

The moment you don’t enjoy any of those particular habitual slots, and it still has to happen, then you start forcing yourself towards those things. Now you aren’t in the right mood right from the start (irrespective of how things will shape up), now you aren’t doing it for your enjoyment, but because it has to be done with or without your personal wishes.

It is that moment when the mundaneness seeps in, and now you start looking at your life differently… You enjoy parts of your life and other parts you don’t. It is that moment when you look in the macro, when you wish things would be different.

One could also perceive it as a call to change, to shuffle things around, to replace your habits with something better, to spice up your life.

Judging your food by how it looks

Judging your food by how it looks

We judge food by its outcome

We judge food by its outcome – how it looks in the end, how it tastes. This is also how corporations and food chains are able to take advantage, serving us any kind of food, working on their presentation and marketing and also scientifically manipulating the food items as well.

Because we don’t ask the right questions

How often do we care about the kind of ingredients being used for the food we’re eating, the source of those ingredients, whether they are organic or processed, what kind of benefits or disadvantages do they have on you or your mind or body, whether they’re hand made or machine made, etc.

Impact of everything you eat

Everything that you eat, how it’s prepared and stored, it’s quality, all of it has an impact on your life – how it affects your digestive system, nervous system, your brain, your body organs, your cells, your energy levels, the quality of your thoughts, the kind of emotions you cruise through.

At various times in our life, someone may have a disease, someone may be eating medicines, someone may have physical or mental issues – and while there are various reasons for any of it to happen – a good percentage of that also boils to the type of food items you’re putting in your body.

Eating everything you want

Sooner or later, everyone realizes this – just depends at which point of life. When you understand everything, you also realize you can eat anything and everything you want – as long as it’s the right kind of ingredients, it’s prepared in the right manner and if it’s in moderation.

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My Weekly Learnings #26 (19.09 – 25.09)

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, and watch, in my weekly series, The Last 7 Days. You can check out the editions here).

1. There is a commonality to all successful businesses and individuals. The commonality centres around a specific story they tell, believe in and what the story is in reality. The more these three are identical, the more successful the person and business will be in the long term. It’s a story that becomes synonymous with them in so many ways that it’s hard to disregard but unfortunately easy to be superficial.

The story comes from the answer to a straightforward question

“Why do you exist?”

And the answer could define your narrative, its success and also determine how satisfied you are with it. Guy Raz, in his book “How I built this” puts it eloquently when he says,

“The story must explain at a fundamental level why you exist. It is a story you have to tell to your customers, to investors, to employees, and ultimately to yourself.”

It is such a fundamental question to refine and focus on. If the answer is built on a foundation of reflection, passion, and an innate need to work on it in the long term, it will bring success, deep satisfaction, and happiness. And in times when the day gets clogged with things to do, interests become many and varied, and new bright shiny objects demand our attention leading to our sense of clarity becoming blurred, Ask yourself this simple question. An honest answer built on reflection can help you find clarity for a lifetime. [Unschooled with Varun Duggirala]

2.

Source: sketchplantations on Twitter

3. Life is easier when you know what you want—but most people don’t take the time to figure out what they want.
It’s not that we are completely lost, but our efforts are often slightly misdirected. People will work for years and ultimately achieve a lifestyle that isn’t quite what they were hoping for—often, simply, because they never clearly defined what they wanted.

An hour of thinking can save you a decade of work. [James Clear]

4.

Source : @ lizandmollie on Twitter

5. Seven lessons on wealth and happiness, by Naval
– Happiness is evident more by its absence than its presence.
– Spend your time in the company of geniuses, sages, children, and books.
– In an age of abundance, pursuing pleasure for its own sake creates addiction.
– Retirement starts when you stop sacrificing today for some imaginary tomorrow.
– Making money through an early lucky trade is the worst way to win. The bad habits that it reinforces will lead to a lifetime of losses.
– Persistent, non-specific anxiety is the result of wanting so much, talking so much, and doing so much that you lose touch with the quiet joys of Solitude.
– Code and media are permissionless leverage. They’re the leverage behind the newly rich. You can create software and media that works for you while you sleep. [Naval Ravikant]

Can you trust your inner voice?

Can you trust your inner voice?

The next time your inner voice tells you that you’re not capable of something or something negative comes to your mind, think where does it originate from?

Your inner voice is a collective of
– your experiences
– your learning
– the people around you
– the information you consume
– your opinions of yourself
– the expectations of the society

Once you know this, ask yourself, can you trust your inner voice?

Moreover, it’s not about ignoring your voice.

The thought should be, if you don’t like your voice, what can you do about it?

With practice and self-awareness, you can change this voice if you don’t like it, make a more positive environment in your head, everything is possible if you want something to change.

All of this takes a lot of time, a lot of patience, and there will be a lot of setbacks as well. Every time you fall, you will feel like why are you even doing this?

But the more you stand still, the more you get back again, you will be able to push one step further, you will be able to look back and be glad you practiced with patience, because you will be satisfied with the outcome.

“Embrace the Mess”

“Embrace the Mess”

The beauty of film/tv and storytelling is that it has the power to move and influence you, change your perspective, the power to change your approach towards anything.

One such incident occurred while I was watching this TV show, ‘Only Murders in the Building’, and without giving any spoilers, there was this line in the show that just stayed with me, “Embrace the Mess”.

It got me thinking about the mess in our lives, in every area of our lives, and how our life is surrounded with any and all kinds of mess.

Most of the times, we are overwhelmed with this mess, and usually our first approach is to clean this mess so we can have clarity where there was none, or to blame this mess for things not turning out the way we wanted.

But, how many times do we think of embracing this mess? Making it a part of our lives and then driving through it? Instead of letting it hamper our path, making it the road for us to drive through?

Now, instead of this mess overpowering our lives, we’re in control, we have embraced these moments of our lives, and we can decide how do we want to move forward.

To acknowledge this mess, let alone embrace it is one of the biggest steps for anyone to take. It is difficult to accept that our life is in chaos, and to then think of these moments and situations and then embracing them as well, but then what is the better choice, to acknowledge and embrace, or to let it control us?

(P. S. There’s no one definition to explain this ‘mess’. Each individual has their own kind of mess in their lives, everyone defines it differently, and it affects each one differently. You get to decide what is mess for you and what isn’t.)

5 Questions to ask yourself at the End of the Day

5 Questions to ask yourself at the End of the Day

Every day brings with its own set of thoughts, emotions, opportunities, ideas, problems, and much more. Every day can be the same and every day can be different, depending upon your approach.

How can you then know how did your day go? How can you evaluate each day?

At the end of each day, you can ask yourself a set of questions, even if they seem overwhelming at first, you can start with one and then keep adding one by one to your list.

You can ponder upon these questions, you can journal your answers, you can simply think about them… But a simple exercise of this sorts helps you manage your days in the micro, so the impact can look and feel even better in the macro.

Here goes the questions…

A. Do you, at the end of the day, look back and just observe everything that happened with you, around you?

B. How did this day affect you? How did it impact you? What did you get out of it?

C. How did your actions affect other people? How did their actions affect you? How did your words affect others and vice versa?

D. Were you satisfied with the events of this day? If not, what changes can you think of so the process of those events can be changed the next time around?

E. Were you able to manage your time? Were you able to allot some time for yourself?

Questions that may look complicated, but are actually simple questions in theory, questions that help you personally perceive your day and your life in a different manner and may ask you to take difficult steps that you wouldn’t have thought of in the first place.

How can you know if you haven’t tried it?

How can you know if you haven’t tried it?

Often, and this happens with each individual, before trying anything new, they want to know how something is going to end, what the outcome is going to look like.

They look upon other people’s outcomes and seek to their opinions, judge the outcome by their outcomes.

That eventually boils down to adhering your life to another individual’s likes and dislikes, and how they want their life to be.

But everyone’s life is different, everyone’s perspective to their life is different and how they want to live it.

If that is the case, then how can you know anything if you haven’t tried it yourself? What if it suits you? What if the outcome is in your favour but wasn’t for the other individuals?

What if something looked difficult for someone else, but it’s only when you tried it and you find out it wasn’t difficult for you?

How can you know you won’t enjoy the process until you don’t try something out?

Eventually, the hard question needs to be asked for every decision you take based on how someone else did it… How can you know if you haven’t tried it?

Either you find out or someone points it out

Either you find out or someone points it out

Change is an essential part of life. It happens sooner or later. It happens voluntarily or involuntarily, that choice remains with you, but it happens.

But where does it usually originate from?

– Either you find out (something about yourself and you decide to change that certain something)

– Or, someone points it out to you (and then it clicks you)

It usually originates from these two key factors, which then further leads to a number of steps that evolve into a before and after change.

Expanding into those two factors, how does an individual find something out?

That itself originates from two factors, one, you’re on a path of becoming self aware and want to improve at certain areas of your life.

Second, either through any kind of an interaction with an individual or a certain event that took place becomes the catalyst that then evolves into you thinking about change.

Or if not by yourself, then a few fortunate people have closed ones around them who look out for them and are then willing to point out when something about you is bothering them or something that needs to be looked into.

Others, well, there are times when someone’s boss or a colleague, or a professor, or on social media, where someone who doesn’t know you personally will point out something and that is when you find out about something.

Either or, when you keep your eyes open, you will constantly find clues which tell you something about yourself, which become this catalyst of change. Only if you’re ready to look though.

Juggling your Set of Responsibilities

Juggling your Set of Responsibilities

Any individual has their life divided into multiple sectors, and every day they have to juggle between them – their personal life – includes self time, family/ friends time, house chores and personal chores, relaxation and or escapism time, and their professional life – includes their work timing, projects, deadline, etc.

Mostly it’s branched between the personal life and professional life, and a ton of sub sectors then get added to those two branches.

Every day, any individual has to juggle each set of those sectors, because with each sector comes a certain set of responsibilities as well.

Sometimes there’s a choice, and sometimes there are certain things that has to be paid attention to, and amidst all the daily chaos, the individual has to maintain the balance between their personal and professional life, and equally juggle between them and the set of responsibilities that are asked/ required for the particulars.

So is life, and along with all dreams and deadlines, also comes this juggling that has to be done.

The Last Thought

The Last Thought

Every day. Hundreds and thousands of thoughts. In an hour. Within a span of hours. In a day.

Some you remember. Some connect to one another. Many you forget. Some repeat again the next day.

In all this chaos of thoughts, the last thought that you sleep with is extremely important.

It’s that thought that stays with you throughout the night, throughout your sleep. That very thought is going to grow on you, without you even knowing it.

Where one may or may not be trained to command their last thought, one can definitely try to remember the last thought that they sleep with. And may be as an experiment, also notice how that very thought plays a role on the next day or generally in life too.

What’s that last thought you sleep with?

Looking back at your Day

Looking back at your Day

Do you, at the end of the day, look back and just observe everything that happened with you, around you?

How did this day affect you? How did it impact you? What did you get out of it?

How did your actions affect other people? How did their actions affect you? How did your words affect others and vice versa?

Were you satisfied with the events of this day? If not, what changes can you think of so the process of those events can be changed the next time around?

Were you able to manage your time? Were you able to allot some time for yourself?

The questions might feel a bit overwhelming at first. You can start asking them to yourself one by one, and then add one every day or however you feel comfortable.

You can ponder upon these questions, you can journal your answers, you can simply think about them… But a simple exercise of this sorts helps you manage your days in the micro, so the impact can look and feel even better in the macro.

An Idea becomes Obsolete

An Idea becomes Obsolete

The pace at which the world is changing and evolving at, with the advancement of technology, the trends keep changing, the platforms keep changing, the audiences’ tastes keep changing… It’s hard to stay at one particular thing for long.

Everything has a shelf life, unless it’s impact is long term, but even then, most of the micro things have a shelf life at least.

You have to constantly be updated, you have to constantly experiment, evolve with the times and bring new ideas into the picture.

An idea, if not shared in time, becomes obsolete with time.

As soon as an idea strikes you, you have to work on it, and bring it out as soon as possible.

Another individual could’ve a similar or the same idea. Another individual could execute at a faster pace than you. Not that there’s competition, but if ideas come to you at a slower pace than others, it’s always better to output them as soon as possible, so the identity of the idea stays with you.

All the iterations and extensions of that idea could then be worked alongside that particular idea. But that one has to go out before it becomes obsolete. Before it’s freshness is expired. Before it’s essence is eliminated.

Every idea becomes or seems obsolete if not shared or executed in time.

The thing about Exceptions

The thing about Exceptions

Whether it is with regards to our routine or habits or our style of living or thinking or communicating…

There comes a time, every now and then, when we have to make exceptions. Constantly.

What kind of exceptions? Well, day to day, there are obstacles that we have to adapt ourselves to, there are problems that keep occurring, and we have to make these exceptions (from our usual way of doing things) as per those moments and situations.

The thing about exceptions is, if we don’t make them, then we’ll not be able to enjoy or rather savour whatever caused the change in the first place.

The thing about exceptions is, if we don’t make them, then we’ll not be able to adapt and lose the tiny bit of control over what can be controlled of the moment.

The thing about exceptions is, we have to make them, because sometimes there’s no other choice.

Sit with ‘It’

Sit with ‘It’

You may be stuck with a problem, you may not like a particular emotion that’s staying with you, a memory that’s coming back to you…

Our usual instinct is to get rid of any of the particulars, so we escape, i.e. normally done with the help of any kind of distractions.

As soon as we get distracted, there’s a change in our thoughts or emotions, and what we were stuck with or rather what we didn’t want to encounter is now gone.

That road seems like the easier path to take. And as often as it works, the problem with that path is, it keeps popping up time and again.

What looks a tougher road to take even before we begin is to address ‘it’. ‘It’ could be anything – a emotion, a problem or a memory.

Amongst a bunch of processes that can be tried and tested for this, varying from individual to individual, a method that works wonders is to sit with ‘it’.

Instead of escaping and distracting yourself, sit with whatever you’re stuck with.

Usually, we avoid that distress only for it to dig even deeper and erupt on a larger scale next time.

When you sit with that ‘it’, what you also allow is to face that discomfort, and when you are ready to face it, is when you’re able to see things more clearly.

At those times, you’re able to understand yourself more, able to understand that ‘it’ more, and now with time, able to understand how do you tackle or face the ‘it’.

Only when you sit with ‘it’.

Does anyone know you a hundred percent?

Does anyone know you a hundred percent?

We take into account other people’s choices before making our decisions. We get bogged down by people’s opinions. We feel hurt by people making fun of us or by people trolling us. We feel judged by people.

Moreover, we let all of those things affect us.

But in all this chaos, we forget the most important thing, do any of these people know you a 100% to take into account any of those things?

When people don’t know you, they look at a percentage of you (one they’re able to perceive) and make their opinions / judge/ decide or whatever based on that.

While it’s not okay for them to do that, you cannot do anything about it. But what you can do is understand that it’s an opinion on a perceived image of yours.

Let’s dig more into it. From your parents to your coworkers, from your siblings to your friends, from your social media audience to people you encounter on the streets, there are people at different levels of your life who know different things about you, who know a part of you or more than that.

But even the most important people don’t know you a hundred percent. That’s the thing.

Right from the deepest of your thoughts, to everything that you think and you do and you plan to do, it’s all within you. Even when you share, you can only share so much.

That’s what it boils down to. No body, not a single person knows you a hundred percent, than you.

So when you take anything exterior, that is outside of you, into account, then you must realize this… That no body knows you a 100% hundred except you.

Sure you can take their opinions into account, but at the end of the day you know yourself better, and you know what’s good for you and what’s not. What you want to do, what you must do and what you shouldn’t.

A moment of rest

A moment of rest

In a day of attending to your personal and professional tasks, in a day of listening to others, in a day of constant noise, in a day of chasing things, in a day of deadlines and calls,

Don’t forget to take a moment of rest.

Don’t mix the concept of rest and sleep. Both are different concepts and both are important in their own right.

Rest is to just recuperate your breath, rest is to stay still for a while, rest is to not focus on anything, but to also not distract yourself with anything.

Rest is to take a break for yourself. Rest is to not burden yourself with personal tasks or self improvement or learning during your rest. The right way to manage your time is to balance everything and give some time, whether a few minutes or more for your rest as well.

A concept not spoken of enough, a concept that is looked down upon, and yet it is the rest that springs you back into action, puts you back into focus, gives you the stillness to be in action for the rest of the time, rest is important.

Rest for a while, if you haven’t already.

Mistakes are a Part and Parcel of Life

Mistakes are a Part and Parcel of Life

Every time we make a mistake, we feel why, why did I do this? What could’ve happened differently?

We regret over those mistakes, and wonder would things have turned out differently if we hadn’t made those mistakes?

We also wonder, are we the only ones making such “stupid” mistakes?

Alas, the reality is, there’s hardly anyone who doesn’t make mistakes. Literally no one.

Making mistakes are a part and parcel of life. Without such mistakes, none of us would be where we are, individually and as a civilization too.

No matter how much of an amateur you think you are, or how great you have become according to others, sometimes you feel some things are right and you do those things according to that thought process without realizing you’re making a mistake.

Sometimes you make that mistake, you learn from it and carry on. Sometimes, you’re about to make that mistake but the universe stops you from making it, it wasn’t supposed to happen that way.

Either way, you learn in both those scenarios and eventually you carry those Learnings in your other phases of life as well.

But, the more important thing to remember is, mistakes are a part and parcel of life. No one can avoid them. No one can get away from them, irrespective of your knowledge and success and what not.

Repetition of an Idea

Repetition of an Idea

How many times have you noticed a particular idea executed repetitively over time?

You feel you’ve already seen this before, or why should I read or consume this again? You feel why did this person imitate an idea already done before?

But, when you think of it, you peel off all the layers, and you boil everything down to its bottom-est layer, and you notice that there are a handful of ideas which have been broken down into, created layers of, and served into hundreds and thousands of ideas.

Sometimes, the roots of an idea remain the same, but what becomes different from person to person and from time to time are two things –

A. Every individual brings their set of perspective to the table. How they perceive the world and what they think the world provides to them is how they filter these ideas and express it through their lens, with a fresh set of eyes.

B. Now, there are some, who have an extra zest of curiosity within them who experiment with every idea, observe it in the open, and then combine multiple ideas into one packaged new idea, a layer someone didn’t think of before.

Either of the scenarios allow everyone to be introduced to newer ideas, to newer perspectives, to newer point of views, and to evolve with these ideas over time.

Whenever you dismiss of an idea being repetitive (some people just copy and paste but that’s an entirely different point altogether), just try and look at what could be different and what you can learn from it.

Just Write Something

Just Write Something

Whether in the form of

– documenting your thoughts,

– documenting your day,

– sharing a piece of content,

– expressing your gratitude or in the form of affirmations in a journal,

Every individual should just write something.

When you write, it not only helps you instilling that same thing within you, but it also helps you give you a deeper perspective to what you think or rather who you are.

When you write, it helps you clear your mind, it helps you understand things better, it helps you see yourself in a third person perspective.

When the benefits outweigh the negatives, then there is some form of an advantage to try something out, to experiment with it and to see how it personally benefits you.

Why don’t you just write something, anything, and see how it makes you feel?

The intersection of yours and others time

The intersection of yours and others time

Time is important. There shouldn’t be even a debate on that topic. Macro time, micro time, each individual should keep that in mind.

Macro, whatever you’re spending your time towards, is the process or the destination worth it?

Micro, every day we wake up with a set of tasks to complete, things to do, things to do when we’re free, and so on.

In the midst of that time management, there comes a time or many, when your time is intersected with others and their time with yours. Two scenarios, either you want their time or they want your time.

But, understanding this intersection is crucial. Because each person’s time is important.

When you want someone else’s time, you cannot “expect” it on your time, unless they’ve agreed for that time as well. Certainly so, because now person A wants something on their time, but B has their own things aligned according to their schedule (unless it was previously agreed upon), so how can person A expect person B to leave everything and follow person A’s schedule, just because it is convenient for them. And vice-versa as well. And same logic applies to multiple people in a group as well.

*A small segway to the topic… Another important factor to consider in this entire understanding is when your time impacts someone else’s.

When you’ve agreed to do something that involves other people, not just yourself, and there’s a certain time factor around it, then when your time impacts others, then that range of time is not worked according to you, but according to them. (not by being readily available to the other individual, but by respecting the timeline of the task)*

Quite often, because we feel time is limited, time is short and we’ve so much to do for the day, considering the micro perspective, we forget about this intersection of time with others, and how its not only about yourself.

When that is understood and implied, then eventually you see a distant improvement in how you operate with others and how any kind of personal or professional work or task or communication is done with ease. Just by understanding the intersection of your and others’ time.

Which side are you on, black or white?

Which side are you on, black or white?

We consider everything as black or white. Everything is either at one side or the other. Everyone chooses a side. Based on where they align with their values and what matches with their perspective.

There’s a lot to be uncovered in the middle, i.e. the gray area. But that requires time and efforts and a bit of digging to get around.

So, instead, people choose one of the two sides where they think they align with. Sometimes, the black, sometimes, the white.

But, what if instead of choosing a side and sticking to it, you try and wear both the colours for once? Check out both the sides, try and understand both the perspectives, both the point of views, and look at everything from the middle, being in the gray area.

When you do that, then you are not opting for a side, but instead you are the third person noticing what’s happening and creating a personal point of view with what your approach should be, instead of aligning with someone else’s or instead of thinking “what the right side” would be.

That approach starts with an open mindset of not wanting to be on a side, wanting to try out both black and white and maybe even try to align with both sides of the coin instead of shouting heads or tails.

If we don’t learn from the past

If we don’t learn from the past

You can not travel back in time. You cannot change what has already happened. You cannot change its outcome. So there is one option left, to focus on the present and how it influences the Future.

As true as that may be, we cannot forget the past. That past is a part of our life. That past has made our present, however it may be.

Therefore, we must learn everything from the past, as much as we can. Ours and everyone else’s.

History speaks a lot. So when you think about yourself, your past says what you did to get here, and depending on your level of satisfaction, whether you must continue down those same steps or start changing them.

Similarly, thinking about the human race’s history, our country’s history, we understand the culture, the background, the mistakes made, how certain elements of history are always repeated.

The ultimate point being, if we don’t learn from our past, we can never influence our future in a way we want to. Sure the past is the past, but the present is because of the past, and in order to change that future, we must learn from that past so we can make those changes in the Now.

As complicated as that may seem, all answers lie in the past. And we need to learn from it.

Figuring out yourself is the biggest decision one has to make

Figuring out yourself is the biggest decision one has to make

The world is developing at a rate where at every step of the way, there’s chaos.

Chaos about all the necessary things in life, chaos about all the “luxurious” things in life, there’s chaos everywhere.

Fill in the societal pressure of doing a certain something by a certain age.

Now, for most people, with the chaos and the pressure, they start following a certain route, doing everything that falls along their way, without questioning too many things… And basically following all the norms.

But does that mean they have figured themselves out!?

In most cases, unfortunately that’s not the answer. Following a route and knowing yourself what you truly want are two different things.

Figuring yourself out is a task in itself. Some wait their entire lives to do so, some don’t at all. Some very quickly, and with some it happens at their own timeline.

But, a question of this stature falls down to a bigger question, What do you align yourself with?

Forget all associations, forget everything that society has taught, forget all institutions and forget everything that was externally built… Now ask yourself, what do you align yourself with?

Sitting down with a pen and paper and asking that question to yourself will help you jot down everything that comes to your mind, of course sitting stress-free and schedule-free.

What do you align with – values, character traits, interests, hobbies, tastes, type of people, wants, needs, etc.

This isn’t something that is obtained in a single sitting, but one that definitely get you started. You have your whole life to figure out yourself, and everyday you might discover something new, but that intention to start figuring out yourself is the biggest decision that one has to make.

Getting back on track

Getting back on track

Life’s about ups and downs. When there’s an up, there’s a down as well. That is applicable to macro life, and micro to the days as well.

Some habits you love, some you want to get rid of. Some things you’re able to check off the list, some you aren’t able to.

And sometimes those micro downs get you down, with a feeling that you didn’t do it (when you could’ve), with a feeling of what now…

Sometimes you can’t do anything about it… Sometimes you have a bigger agenda to follow and you lose a track of those things…

But it is when you get back on track, that action, that feeling is something else. It gets you in the mood, it gets you in your groove. You feel like you were missing the action and now you’re back.

There’s nothing like getting back on track, when your mind is set to it, when you’re looking forward to it and you execute it.

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My Weekly Learnings #20 (08.08 – 14.08)

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, and watch, in my weekly series, The Last 7 Days. You can check out the editions here).

1. Sociologist, historian, and activist W. E. B. Du Bois with some life advice in a letter to his daughter: “The main thing is the YOU beneath the clothes and skin—the ability to do, the will to conquer, the determination to understand and know this great, wonderful, curious world.

Don’t shrink from new experiences and customs. Take the cold bath bravely. Enter into the spirit of your big bedroom. Enjoy what is and not pine for what is not.

Read some good, heavy, serious books just for discipline: Take yourself in hand and master yourself. Make yourself do unpleasant things, so as to gain the upper hand of your soul.”

Source: The Correspondence of W. E. B. Du Bois (via James Clear’s newsletter)

2. There are countless ways to make a point. You can clearly demonstrate that you are angry, smart, concerned, stronger, faster, or more prepared than the person you’re engaging with.

But making a point isn’t the same thing as making a difference.

To make a difference, we need the practical empathy to realize that the other person doesn’t know what you know, doesn’t believe what you believe, and might not want what you want. We have to move from where we are and momentarily understand where they are.

When we make a point, we reject all of this. When we make a point, we establish our power in one way or another, but we probably don’t change very much.

Change comes about when the story the other person tells themselves begins to change. If all you do is make a point, you’ve handed them a story about yourself. When you make a change, you’ve helped them embrace a new story about themselves.

And even though it’s more fun (and feels safe, in some way) to make a point, if we really care, we’ll do the hard work to make a difference instead. [Seth Godin]

3. Time away from something or someone gives us perspective on that something or someone. [Mark Manson] (Check out more here – https://markmanson.net/newsletters/mindfck-monthly-91)

4. Most people disagree on social media in the most undesirable way either because they’ve not learned about superior methods of disagreeing or just wish to outrage to get likes. This chart by Paul Graham is a good way to know if you disagree well. [via Kunal Shah’s Twitter account]

5. Things people aren’t afraid to say when they have psychological safety:

  • I don’t know
  • I made a mistake
  • I disagree
  • I might be wrong
  • I have a concern
  • I have an idea

[via Adam Grant’s Twitter and image from @ lizandmollie on Twitter]

More Writing, More Depth

More Writing, More Depth

How do you observe something at a deeper level? How do you notice what’s beneath the surface? How do you break the structures of these walls that are built around you and start asking questions?

The answer to that lies in writing.

The more you write, the more you understand your thoughts. You start laying down all these thoughts, you start connecting them, you start observing layers you didn’t before, you start pondering about different things here and there, and then comes the depth.

With more writing, not in a single day, but with practice and observation, comes more depth. The more you write, the more you think, the more you question, the more answers you seek.

Something on like, on such a deeper level, doesn’t come with your own thoughts, or by communicating with someone, but laying it all brick by brick and then witnessing this structure that you’ve built.

Whether you write for yourself personally, or you write publically like this blog, every time it unlocks something different in you, especially more, when you write with a purpose of why are you even writing it.

Are you really that person?

Are you really that person?

Every individual on the internet with a social media account has a persona that they put out there. Now, for some that’s their authentic persona, but for most that’s a modified image of them, or just one of the images for social media.

Now, why blame just social media, right? Whether it is in regards to your colleagues, or your friends, or your loved ones, most people have a different persona for each situation.

Each of these particular personas include a set of values, character traits and habits that represent the essence of that persona.

Now, bring in self-awareness, understand who you truly are, what your values are, what your character traits are, what is your purpose, what is it that you’re putting out…

Once that is settled, compare that with your other personas, and ask yourself… Are you really that person?

Because, if not, then how long can you act it out. Plus, what’s the reason for not portraying that authenticity? What are you trying to hide? With that also comes a bunch of other questions, which you can easily figure out once you’re in that spot.

But, moreover, the main essence of this question is to realize who you truly are, and so you don’t confuse your own identity in the midst of all these other portrayed identities.

Not thinking about the present, past or future

Not thinking about the present, past or future

Aren’t we in a constant turmoil, always thinking about what’s going on, what’s going to happen next, how to plan for it, what happened before, etc.

Either in the form of memories, or tasks to do, or how something is affecting us, we are always thinking about the present, past, or future. Always.

That turmoil affects someone more who wants to be in control, who doesn’t want to let the situation control them, and eventually thinking more than others about everything in these three time scenarios.

It’s now of course very easy to say this, but what takes an enormous amount of practice and patience, but even a minute worth of not thinking about the past, present, or future is worth it.

To not think about yourself or how anything affects us, or anything that needs to be done, just to be with yourself and to stay in that silence, even if it’s for a minute is definitely a feeling hard to describe. But one that brings great solace to your mind and to you.

What is this moment telling you?

What is this moment telling you?

Every moment of our life, something or the other is happening, in the form of a thought, a communication or an action, every moment has something of its own.

But what is this moment telling you?

Either as a lesson, or a learning, what are you receiving from that particular moment?

Sometimes we rush so much from one moment to the next, we forget to take in what we are receiving. We don’t soak it in.

Sometimes, we have to stay still for a second (or learn stillness in general) to understand what that moment is telling you, and what we can take away from it.

Next time, simply ask yourself out of the blue… ‘What is this particular moment telling me?’, until it becomes a habit.

When more things are going wrong than right

When more things are going wrong than right

You are making a list right now. A list about your life. A list that says everything that’s going right in your life right now. And besides it, everything that’s going wrong in your life.

But, all of a sudden, whilst noting down these pointers, you realise that more things are going wrong in your life than right. You are suddenly horrified at that feeling.

A sudden thought comes, ‘Why is everything so wrong about my life?’

Now, there could be two possible scenarios ahead.

Looking at this list, you could spiral down a pit hole just wondering how did everything go so wrong in every phase of your life, every tiny element against you and just worry about the what ifs and what nots.

Or, you could take a breather. Notice what right and wrong looks for you. Imagine how different life would be if all of those things had gone right for you… Do you like that life? Would you be where you are, with your learnings and experience, if everything that has happened with you, didn’t happen? How many of these situations are in your control, and moreover what can you do about it? If you aren’t doing anything about it, then well, can you complain?

When things start going wrong, and even the tiniest of things start going wrong and it starts piling up, a ton of thoughts and emotions rush through your mind. And you certainly don’t like them. But that path leads to a dark path which you certainly won’t like, because it’s just darkness, negative thoughts, negative emotions and what not. That starts affecting everything, starting from your mind and body to everything that you think and do, and how you interact and more importantly, what you think about life.

Because at that moment, what you think about life will also determine everything that happens to you in the now and in the future, irrespective of whatever happened in the past.

Status

The date is August 3, 2026

The date is August 3, 2026. 5 Years from Today. You imagine today is that day. Just visualize it!

Now, ask yourself the following questions…

Do you want to be mentally healthy?
Do you want to be physically healthy?
Do you want to be free of all ailments?
Do you want a positive voice in your head?
Do you want to have less anxiety and/or less stress?
Do you want to be satisfied or feel fulfilled in life?
Do you want to have fewer problems in your life?
Do you want to evolve to a higher version than what you were 5 years ago?

In order to say ‘YES‘ to those questions 5 years from today, the work for it starts TODAY.

Your today’s actions may not have an impact today, but they definitely have an impact ONE year from today, FIVE years from today, and TWENTY years from today.

The life you live today affects your future, no one else’s.

The three focus points of my life

The three focus points of my life

Mind. Body. Breath. The three most important aspects of our life. The three focus points of my life. Each of those areas plays an individual role in our lives. Moreover, in our lifetime, either beforehand or after, you have to start taking care or start paying attention to all those three areas. But here’s the important part, your mind, body, and breath play a role in each other’s areas as well. Your breath plays a part in the working of your mind and body. Your body plays a role in your mind and breath. Your breath plays a part in your mind and body. When one fails, all fail. When you work on one aspect, it has an impact on all three aspects.

Knowing that, understanding the advantages of working on those areas, understanding how those three aspects of our lives are interconnected, but also have an external impact on all areas of our life as well.

Whether it is how you live, how long you want to live, how well you want to live, what’s going on in your mind, is your mind well-fed, what is the voice inside your head telling you, how does your body regulate your energy, how often do the foods you eat cause a negative impact on your thoughts, on your day as well, how eating something nutritious immediately turns that scale, how is your breath affecting your actions, how is your food affecting your stress levels… These and more are questions that every individual should ask themselves… The sooner you start, the sooner you start seeing the results and the impact of these results on your life and the various external aspects of your life.

Mix all of this, with self-awareness, and I boiled down my life to three specific focus points and what do I need to about it, now, and how that affects my future. Thus, I focused on the following three areas… It took time, a lot of patience, and understanding, and experimentation, but eventually I realized the change once I started walking down that path.

1. I replaced the foods understanding their impact on my mind and body

2. I worked on the chemistry of my breath

3. I changed the voice in my head

All three individual areas of life, seem as if they don’t impact each other or the external aspects of our life, but they do, more than one can think of.
Replacing the foods helped not just my body, but also the health of my mind, and my breath. Working on my breath helped me realize how it impacts every moment of my life, how it impacts what I do in the very next moment, and how it’s signaling my emotions too. The voice in the head is the biggest work that can ever be done, one that is initially shaped by society’s prejudices, biases, and whatnot, and that’s how we grow up. But work on it, and that voice can become a positive, optimistic tone that helps you and pushes you to help others as well.

None of this has a destination though when you start working on it, it’s a lifetime work-in-progress, but every day you see the progress, and every tomorrow there’s an evolution waiting to happen.

Are you buying it for yourself?

Are you buying it for yourself?

How often do you buy something? How often do you post about it on social media? Oh, you aren’t active there? How often do you tell your friends then about what you bought?

We have this feeling that we really want something, then we buy it, then we’ll share it everywhere and more often than not, the happiness of telling everyone about it takes over the happiness of having that thing.

Where does that root from?

We have this dire need within us to be better than others, to be superior, to choose communities that have the same beliefs as us. When we are compared to someone else, we should be the one chosen. We want to constantly look down upon others. Because that makes us feel better about ourselves. Now how does that happen? Who cares about characteristics or values, right? Or who cares about being secure with themselves?

So, now we buy something that someone else couldn’t. We will go somewhere where someone else couldn’t. And talk about it, on and on and on. We’ll constantly post about it.

Now, let’s get one thing clear. Sharing something about your life isn’t wrong. You want your audience, you want your friends and your relatives to be updated with what’s going on with you. With that intent, sure, it’s a good thing.

But when it turns into, oh let me show that person what I bought, or let me tell everyone what I’m able to do, then it turns uglier. Now whatever you’re doing isn’t for your self at all. Now, there’s boasting about it, and what not.

When you don’t tell a single soul about it, and/or you don’t share it on social media or anywhere else, and yet you’re satisfied with what you’ve bought, well then, you have bought something truly for yourself.

Random Thoughts

Random Thoughts

All our thoughts aren’t focused in one direction. How can they be?

Our thoughts range between 12,000 to 80,000 in a day, depending on the individual.

In that quantity, they aren’t focused on one topic alone. From time to time, maybe in minutes or hours, those thoughts range between a ton of topics.

And most of them are just random thoughts.

So random, you wouldn’t know what to do with them. But what can you do? How many times can you even divert your thoughts to a particular topic only?

But here’s the thing… Every thought has something to say! No matter how random they are, how matter how meaningless they may seem, every thought has something to say.

More often than not, its these random thoughts that speak volumes. They may lead up to something about us that we didn’t see before, or maybe you’re ideating on something and these random thoughts bring something to light that help you in that direction.

The point being, instead of dismissing these random thoughts, we should admire them and cherish them, and try to extract what can be extracted from them, instead of being disappointed that you’re not in the right space, or that you’re distracted.

These random thoughts sometimes speak more than we can see.

A forceful break, regards the body

A forceful break, regards the body

How its often told that you should balance your life, that you should take macro breaks in between things, and micro breaks in between different tasks during your day as well…

Sometimes we do it and sometimes we don’t.

Those breaks are as beneficial as the things that we were doing if not for those breaks. Both have their time and place and importance.

A break of that kind allows you to rest, to rejuvenate, to gather yourself to go all out again.

But sometimes, unknowingly, your body decides to give you a break as well (either because you didn’t know you needed it or because you were taking on too much).

A forceful break, temporary, is sometimes handed over to you, when you can’t take a decision but you just have to accept that break and wait for things to get back better again.

Such breaks could be of any kind, but instead of freaking out, may be we just ought to listen to our mind and body, and just understand the signals being sent to us, and the takeaways from those signals.

Sometimes, a break is forced onto you, regards the body.

Take a Minute

Take a Minute

Do you have a ton of personal tasks to do? Do you have work projects pending? Are you running around a lot?

More than your physical output, all of this organizational mess of our day-to-day puts a pressure on our mental output.

Right from our energy to the output of our emotions, to our time, everything takes a hit.

And at the moment when you think everything is up to the brim…

You must take a minute.

A minute for yourself.

A minute to settle down.

A minute to take back control of yourself.

A minute to get back to you and focus on what truly matters.

This could be a minute or several minutes, but take it without feeling the guilt, without feeling the pressure, without thinking of the consequences.

Sometimes all you need is that minute is to get back on track.

One Dark Cloud vs the Entire Sky

One Dark Cloud vs the Entire Sky

Quite often, we look at a dark cloud and then describe the entire sky accordingly.

In our generic perspective, which applies to most of us, that one dark cloud is defining the entire beautiful sky. Even though that sky is still behind that cloud.

That same perspective is how we look at life as well.

We let our biased thinking define one particular moment into how miserable your life is or how nothing turns out the way you want it to be.

One moment describing the entire situation. That’s the way we look at most things in life. That’s the way we approach most situations in life. That’s also the way we handle most things in life.

Without even considering the entire sky behind that dark cloud, we have jumped to the conclusion.

Also because that’s easy to understand, that takes less efforts, everything else you will have to think, reflect and work upon. So why do that then?

Ultimately, One Dark Cloud vs The Entire Sky – what do you want your perspective to look like?

The Unspoken Act

The Unspoken Act

Some things that are done shouldn’t be asked for.

Some things that are done shouldn’t be told after they are done.

Some deeds, even if they go unnoticed, add a ton of value in someone’s or your own life.

That is the Unspoken Act.

The magic of an unspoken act is that you should do it if you want to do it, don’t wait for anyone’s approval, don’t wait for anyone’s validation, if its on your mind, go for it.

Irrespective of the outcome, the fun is just adding that value with that unspoken act.

90% of the things require just this…

90% of the things require just this…

Whether your professional or personal life, whether you’re thinking about your self or a goal that you want to achieve, or a task yet to be completed…

90% of the things that we do in life or that we would like to get done require just one thing…

Discipline.

Whether it is a project at hand or wanting to workout, or meditate, or if you’d like to cook or journal, anything and everything that you want to do, you can create plans for it, you can jot down the steps, you can find sources for inspiration and get motivated in the short-term, but eventually it all boils down to discipline.

Discipline is that self-generating power that keeps you going, that keeps you on your toes, that keeps you motivated even when the outcome isn’t in your favour, you don’t fail, but you keep going. You keep trying, but you don’t stop.

That’s the power of discipline. It doesn’t allow excuses, it doesn’t allow a setback, no external affairs can create a hindrance.

Said that, being disciplined isn’t an easy process for all. It takes time, it takes patience, and moreover the mindset to get that discipline going.

To get disciplined, you need a strong why behind you. A purpose. And self awareness. Mix the right ingredients in the right proportion and it gets you going. Don’t and it’s a matter of time before you aren’t able to continue for whatever reason and there and then you are thinking why did this not work out.

Pick your Battles

Pick your Battles

All of us, every day, have a ton of stuff to do, and there’s a limited period of time to do them.

In the midst of managing your time, trying to complete your tasks, give enough time to every sector of your life, there will be moments with others, with yourself, with some situations, where it may not go according to your expectations, or you may not be on the same page with a certain someone, or you might be in the wrong.

The point is, when these moments do occur, you have to pick your battles.

Give more than enough time to one particular thing and you take away the time from the other things… Time, energy and peace.

So when you have to pick your battles, you have to let go of your emotions, and you have to choose which conversation is worth arguing for, which outcome is worth fighting for, which situation requires more of you, and for others you just let go.

Not every situation is worth winning, not every situation is worth fighting for. At those times, you have to be smart enough to pick the right battles and move on from the rest.

These battles happen every day, some are happening with yourself too… But if you just hold onto one, then how will you live the rest of the day?

One Mind, One Body, One Life

One Mind, One Body, One Life

Whilst every sector of our life holds its own importance, with an alloted amount of time and efforts that need to go into it, there’s nothing more important than your mind and body.

The two sectors of our life, that we take for granted, and we pay attention to only when something goes wrong. Then we start the work towards it.

Instead, when you change your mindset, when you change your approach, you realize that focusing on your mind and body not only has an impact on those two areas, but the network effects fall on the other regions of your life as well, whether with regards to your thoughts, your emotions or your actions and more.

All of us just have the #OneMindOneBodyOneLife, and its high-time we take back the control of our lives, give the importance where its due and live life satisfied, happily, and peacefully.

The ability to see beyond

The ability to see beyond

What’s the basic viewpoint of our individual selves? How everything and how everyone affect our lives is what we care about.

Everyone wants to live their life a certain way, and they want everything and everyone else to abide by those standards and expectations so their life can be lived according to how they fantasized it.

In a scenario of this sorts, the mindset becomes so limited, that we only see ourselves, and we see our own advantage in everything. Here’s where ego and jealousy and competition boils up.

Where an individual stands out is when they develop an ability to see beyond themselves.

This ability comes in when they develop a mindset of growth, a mindset of service, a mindset to help others.

This ability helps in seeing beyond their identity, beyond their beliefs, and now empathy grows in, perspective grows in. Now, they see other people, situations of their life in a different light, they approach themselves, within and exterior, in a way different than before.

The ability to see beyond themselves helps to think bigger, to approach life in a bigger manner, to see the world in a wider form than before, your viewpoint has here shifted from yourself to the world.

Accepting your Loss

Accepting your Loss

Life is a balance of wins and losses. Either or isn’t even a choice. Sometimes you win at something, and sometimes you lose at something.

But, our society has created this narrative where everyone must win. At all costs. Irrespective of how you win. That’s the mentality that has been set.

And with a win put on such a pedestal, imagine how a loss is treated as! An individual is considered a failure if they lose at one small thing, they are made to feel as if they have lost at life.

Moreover, simply shutting down that noise and mindset for a second, when that individual just accepts their loss for what it is, then they’re free of the burden of it.

Accepting any kind of loss, in whatever form, in any sector of life, you understand that its okay to lose at something, you understand the mistakes and the lessons learnt from it.

You then develop a mindset where you understand the balance of life, you try more things because you feel free to lose as well. You shatter the structures on which the society is built, and live a life which is balanced with wins and losses, no matter how small or big.

The Best Examples

The Best Examples

So many individuals, so many stories, some inspirational, so many to learn from, so many to not repeat again…

But, any day, any time, the best example is of oneself.

This isn’t about self-boasting or arrogance, but for every individual, the best example that they should give is of themselves. Especially when they look at their past selves and then look at themselves today, in the present.

Those are any day the best examples, because no matter how inspirational or motivational someone else’s story is, only you know the hard work and efforts and struggles you have put into yours.

Your best example is your today when compared with your yesterday, and to see how far you have come, how much you have overcome, how much you have changed.

Moreover, if you doubt of you being your best example, that is again an inspiration to make one for your tomorrow and when you compare that tomorrow with your today.

Random Appreciations

Random Appreciations

When you do something that works out, for someone or in general, as a deed or a cause, you’re then appreciated for it.

That’s the appreciation you get after the deed is done, after the outcome can be seen, after it all works out.

That kind of appreciation is almost guaranteed, irrespective of it being a validator for you or not.

But, the most beautiful and the most surprising thing are Random Appreciations.

Appreciations that are randomly made, irrespective of the outcome, irrespective of whether it worked out or not, irrespective of who it was for.

Such appreciations are genuinely made from the heart… They are made because you feel it.

One could be appreciated for their values, for their efforts, for their love and care, for their work in progress, there are a n number of things to appreciate for.

Just not the clichéd way of doing it at the end, but when they are Random Appreciations.

Self-created Shackles

Self-created Shackles

Either through

– the identities we create,

– the thoughts we have,

– the limitations we put on ourselves,

– the narratives that are set by the society,

– the biases set in our brain,

– the fight towards wanting to be right,

– the fear of being judged,

– the need to be better than others…

There are a bunch and more of self-created shackles that we continue to put on ourselves, thinking this is how life is run, thinking this is how life is supposed to be.

But these shackles are put on ourselves by ourselves. With a choice.

This is a self-created prison and we continue to torture ourselves. We continue to go through it, and we continue to suffer through it.

BUT, that’s only until we realize that we have the keys to get rid of these shackles as well.

A path to create a new mindset, a path to have better thoughts, a path to not compare or judge and be judged, a path to be open and independent and free of the society narratives and biases, a path to grow and evolve, a path that will take time and patience, a path where results won’t be seen in a day or a week, but even if it takes a year or more, knowing the path is freer than before, you’re ready to walk on it, you’re ready to get rid of those self-created shackles.

Do you remember your thoughts?

Do you remember your thoughts?

60,000 to 80,000 thoughts in a day. That’s on average. Some say, thoughts range from 12,000 to 60,000 as well. Whatever may be the right number, they still are a lot.

The more habits you create, the more muscle memory of things you have, the more your mind will takeover during those moments, and you’ll end up thinking, having thoughts, not being in the present moment (unless one practices to be in the moment from time to time).

But, the more important question now remains, do you remember your thoughts?

How often does one thought lead to another and another, until there’s a chain of thoughts about a single topic and suddenly you jump to thinking about something else and now you have forgotten your previous thought?

Moreover, considering the quantity of thoughts we have in a day, its not a surprise that we don’t remember a majority of them.

As true as that may be for all of us, these thoughts do state something about us… How we think? The type of thoughts we have? The emotions behind them? The values behind them? Are they guiding us into something? Are they providing more ideas to you? Is there a deeper layer to them that you don’t understand yet?

The point is, an effort needs to be made to understand these thoughts, to make sense of these thoughts, to know whether these thoughts are even right for you or not.

Those efforts will be difficult, you won’t be in control to remember in the beginning, but it starts with remembering a single thought and holding on to it and trying to decode why it came to you.

Eventually we need to start remembering our thoughts, or else what’s the point of even having them.

The Accountability Exercise

The Accountability Exercise

Humans blame. We all do. For the tiniest of things. Everything that doesn’t turn out the way we fantasized about, the blame of that goes to someone, another individual, a group of individuals, a corporation, a government, a country, a religion or something else.

We are designed this way over the years. We cannot accept responsibility. Because putting the blame on someone else makes it easier to explain to ourselves, it becomes easier to put the blame on someone else, now you’re not accountable for what happened, irrespective of your percentage of fault.

Now the other party will bear the blame (in your imagination), every time, whenever an outcome doesn’t turn out your way. For every micro and macro element of your life.

Here you don’t have any control, you’re constantly looking for excuses, you’re constantly on a hunt to blame people, and it becomes an automatic mechanism for you without you realizing doing it.

When that is realized, when you decide to take control of your life, when you decide you want to be accountable for everything that happens in your life, without depending on external factors… Then you start thinking of steps to head in that direction.

Therein comes the Accountability Exercise.

The Accountability Exercise, where after every moment where you slip out, start losing control of the situation, when the outcome doesn’t turn out your way, you step back for a moment and say to your yourself that you’re accountable for what is happening, it is entirely on you.

No one else is responsible for that. Except you. Everything is on you. You’re accountable for each and everything of your life.

It takes time to accept this. It comes with practice. You do it consciously until it replaces the already-existing mechanism stuck in your brain that lets you think that everything going wrong in your life is someone else’s fault.

A day without learning

A day without learning

For someone who is obsessed with learning,

To learn, not particularly academically, but any form of learning, especially with the amount of content available on the internet, via audio, video or text, one can learn anything and anywhere, whatever topic they’re interested in.

Not obsessed per se, but who particularly looks back at the end of the day and notices what they’ve learnt, what are the takeaways from those learnings,

For someone like that, a day without learning is noticeable like a snap of a finger.

What if the day goes by and you didn’t get the time to learn something new and add something to your reservoir of knowledge?

But can a day really go without learning?

There could have been an experience with something, a conversation with someone, a thought in your head, that made you think… That made you ideate more… That was something new to learn.

Can a day really go by without learning, if you are really looking forward to learning something new?

Slip-ups

Slip-ups

Slip-ups are a part and parcel of life. For everyone. Moreover, no one avoids them.

Now when a slip-up happens, you have to ask yourself the following questions –

1. Do you realize your slip-up?

2. Was it in your control or not?

3. If yes, what are you going to do it about it next? If not, then why dwell over it?

4. More importantly, does it change anything about your life, your plans etc? How?

The versions of ourselves

The versions of ourselves

Quite often, all of us have multiple personas for different people, different situations and that is what we call our day-to-day versions of ourselves.

There’s one persona for your friends and family, there’s one for the public and the social media, there’s one for work and then there’s one for yourself.

Every version is different from the other and over time, you learn to swiftly switch between them, pertaining to the situation.

Every version takes something different out of you, and you usually aren’t the same between them.

But, out of all of them, the most important version is the one that you show yourself.

That persona needs to be the truest, so you can see who you really are, so you can accept yourself, and so you can live with yourself.

The other versions might have something extra, something that you portray for that version, adding a bit of spice and lies as well.

But it cannot be the same for yourself, because if that happens, then how will you ever recognise yourself.