Author: thecoolgeek

[19/52] The Lorax by Dr. Seuss

[19/52] The Lorax by Dr. Seuss

I could not resist reading yet another children book of Dr Seuss. I am glad I picked up The Lorax.

The Lorax has a profound message told in simplest form. Rapid consumption of natural resources to bring products to market faster is a wide spread today. Most often today, Marketing drives a demand and hence production. It’s not a big surprise we end up buying stuff we don’t need.

The cutting down of Truffula trees made me realise, how costly organic vegetable and fruits have become. The commercially grown or “manufactured” vegetables and fruits are much cheaper!

If every child read this book multiple times during their childhood in India at least, I am sure many would have grown to handle large scale problems such as shown in this book.

You can find this book on Goodreads here.

Taking the Cold Shower Challenge was a good decision

Taking the Cold Shower Challenge was a good decision

Benjamin p. Hardy wrote about taking a cold shower in one of his articles and its benefits. Without much delay, my brother and I decided to take cold showers for the rest of our life. It seemed overwhelming then cause neither of has tested chilled water during the winters.

This simple decision marked a pivotal point in my life.

I always used to think twice before attempting to do an action. With this simple change, I realised I get the courage to do an action without much hesitation.

Apart from creating a shift in mindset, I also observed other benefits. Getting rid of the irritating throat mucus and a blocked nose was one the great achievements of this challenge.

Do I still think to hesitate to take a cold shower? – Yes, I do!

But, that helps me build a mental attitude of taking that extra step needed to make the difference. I am much calm and composed as opposed to the worry wart I used to be.

I started to get up early, which was a practice I wanted to develop for a while. I ensured I practised the keyboard no matter how tired or sleepy I was. I stopped procrastinating tasks I usually get stuck with for a long time. And I can count many such situations I have taken that extra step and won.

I experienced a significant shift in my attitude. I made it a point to get into the swimming no matter how cold it got. Each time I got into the pool, I was able to complete three laps at one time. Today I was amazed at the laps I could do at one time. I was able to first five laps in one go, the next in another go and then I decided just to keep on going for the next 15 laps. To my surprise, I was able to pull it off. It was an achievement but the time in which I did the 25 laps were under 30 minutes which otherwise took me close to an hour.

I am glad I made that decision along with my brother. It has been eight months already into this habit. And I am determined to keep going no matter what.

Winter is coming! Let’s see how many days more can I sustain it.

Now the question is – Are you are ready to take the Cold Shower Challenge?


Modern forms of Ekalavya’s learning technique

Modern forms of Ekalavya’s learning technique

Ekalavya from ancient history proves that self-learning is the best form of learning. style

Dronacharya (also Guru Droņa) was a master of advanced military arts and was the preceptor of Kauravas and Pandavas in the epic of Mahabharata. He also is known to be a teacher to Ekalavya but by indirect methods.

Ekalavya approached Guru Droņa to learn the art of war from him, and the Guru rejected his request. Deeply hurt by the rejection, Ekalavya did not give his resolution of learning the art of war.  This situation gave birth to one of the oldest forms of self-learning.

Ekalavya took the mud under the Guru’s feet to the jungle and made a full statue of Guru Droņa. It was a symbolic gesture to follow his knowledge and footsteps. With Guru Droņa statue placed under a tree and with a high amount of self-motivation, Ekalavya practised every day for many years. He chose archery as his focused art of war and gained exceptional prowess. He was even greater than Guru Droņa best pupil, Arjuna.

During that time, there was a ritual of Guru Dakshina. It was a form of paying respect to the Guru for his services. I could not even imagine why Guru Droņa could ask such a Dakshina from a self-taught learner like Ekalavya. Guru Droņa asked Ekalavya to cut his right thumb as Guru Dakshina. Eklavya with a smile cut his right thumb and handed it over.

What Ekalavya did was great. In today’s world, we do have many good sources to learn. Not as difficult as learning from a statue. And definitely, does not involve cutting our thumb as Guru Dakshina.

What are the modern forms of self-learning? 

With access to every information at our fingertips due to “Internet”, we now have access to YouTube, MOOCs and mobile apps that can help us learn anything we want.

We just need to have the self-motivation to learn and even stronger reason of why we want to learn.

Of course, we cannot deny that a mentor/guide/guru would improve our learning. But, let’s face it, racing against yourself becomes of more importance than learning either from Guru or being self-taught. And there is a good chance we might not find the right Guru at the time we require him. And then there is a way that involves the exchange of massive wealth to gain knowledge.

The question you must ask yourself is whether you learn something to satisfy your Ego or you want to learn it because you decided to improve yourself. Once you have this piece figured, you need to find a way to avoid distractions.

How to avoid distractions?

With many resources we have, we also double the distractions. It’s not like the forest Ekalavya practised. The environment was conducive for his learning. Yes, the environment is the answer. We need to create our environment, a system to stick to it to gain maximum from self-learning. Also, it’s a known fact that you must have a clearly defined objective of what is the intended outcome you want from learning something.

Once your system is in place, it’s easier for you stick to it. You gain momentum when you begin to results you could not imagine. You may face down times, but it’s important to get back up and start learning again. You might not be able to make enough progress for 100 days in a row, but you need to keep your senses open, as the world has its way of getting the answer you need when you need it.