Category: Life my Way

Modern Ekalavya Learning Technique 6 – Sustaining Daily Habits

Modern Ekalavya Learning Technique 6 – Sustaining Daily Habits

Goals set. Daily habits are in place.

But.

There are days where our work demands more time and sometimes unplanned activities. Also, we cannot ignore our responsibility towards our family and close friends.

While starting off my daily habits, I faced many challenges do sustain them. Many years of habits were hard to shake off. Habits such as spending pointless hours on Social Media. Hours spent worrying, thinking about my future and dwelling on the past. Feeling of guilt if not doing the things I like. Fear of missing out. To shut these thoughts, watching movies and binge-watching TV series.

The fact is we are a generation with knowledge on our fingertips. For the previous generation, knowledge was power. Our generation has so much knowledge; we don’t know how to use it. For us, fighting distractions have become of prime significance.

What do we do in such situations where distractions are a part of daily life? 

I know I will reach my goals if I put in the daily hours. However, on days where distractions win, I ensure I do my daily activities even if they have to be for few seconds. It helps me to sustain the habit and not break the continuity.

Reading is one habit I wanted to cultivate. To sustain the habit, I read minimum one line with full awareness. If one line was not possible, then I just read just one word.

Writing is one habit I still struggle with, so I decided to write my original quotes. Now it has become a game. I try and summarise every situation into one line quote. I plan to use them in my articles. I got the idea of the quote below when I too tired to even sit.

Make your daily goals so tiny that you can achieve them even if you are half asleep.

Yes! that’s it. The solution is simple. For any habit, make it so tiny that you can do it every day.

Please share your experience of starting a new habit and how you overcame challenges to sustain the habit?

 

Goals Goals Goals! Where do you go after the first few months of the year?

Goals Goals Goals! Where do you go after the first few months of the year?

Every year we set goals expecting we will work on them. Like everyone, I did set my goals religiously every year. For most of my life, I forgot about my goals just after a few months of the year. Naturally, I was filled with the feeling of guilt and resentment for the rest of the year.

2017 was different. I realised if I did the same things and expect different results; I was only making a fool of myself. So I consciously made an effort to all those things that I would usually not do.

I started by choosing a driving force that will keep me going. I did not want to be mediocre. I decided to do more things I loved and most importantly do them every day.

Out of the many things I did at the start of 2017, here are top 3 of them that helped me significantly.

1. Read Books and started reading articles on Medium

I did not like reading books. I forced myself to read not just any book but those that will help me execute my goals.

I began by reading The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. I then read 4 Disciplines of Execution by Jim Huling and Rajan Kaicker. Both of them significantly changed my mindset.

If books are still not your thing, read Medium. It’s the best self-help platform I have come across. I still read one article per day. Interestingly it has answers to the questions I ponder over.

I quickly put all the knowledge I gained to action.

I decided to read, write, and learn to play the keyboard. To keep myself up to date on the career front, I decided to learn technical skills from Lynda and Coursera. I decided to get up early, exercise and meditate to improve my productivity. I made self-journals, made notes, made to-do lists to keep my mind organised.  Taking cold showers was for learning to face my fears daily. Make videos on my YouTube channel. Spend quality time with family. Inspire people. Do those adventurous activities I always wanted to do.

Seems impossible?

It did to me at first. Its 11 months now and I have successfully installed these habits into my daily routine. Also, I learned to Scuba dive, and the experience has been satisfying. Check out my experience in this video.

2. Start with just one goal and break it down into small tasks

I did not build each habit from day one. I started by taking the 52-week challenge on Goodreads. I recorded the time it takes to finish one book. A 250 page for me took around 6 hours. So, I needed to read 50 pages in an hour for six days in a week. One day for a buffer. With this strategy in mind, it was easy for me to sustain the habit.

I always have a strong Why for any activity I take up. It helps me stay motivated.

Why 52 books?

If Bill Gates like personalities, despite their busy schedules find time to read daily, I could do it too. Moreover, since I had read a few books, I knew how they could significantly impact my thinking. And I wanted to do it because I started enjoying it. I now have a mini library and a gifted myself a Kindle after I read ten books.

Image of a book shelf
My Mini Library

As of today, I have read over 27 books this year falling short by 50%. A phenomenal achievement for a person who has not read even 25 books in his whole lifetime. In 2018, I will give another shot at reading 52 books.

When you learn to master one habit, you now know how to develop more habits and sustain them. You brain ticks automatically to make more space for your activities.

3. Tracking the progress of all your activities

Cricket or any other sport is exciting because there is a scoreboard that is visible always. By looking at the scorecard, you can instantly tell if your team is winning or losing.

Similarly, if take each goal and track your progress daily, it keeps you going. The day you see you have done 21 days without missing a day you will know you have built a momentum. Now don’t break this chain. If your goal is to read every day, then read minimum one line to keep going. One quote that made a difference was from one of the most famous comedian Seinfeld. It was on writing new jokes every day.

“Take a big calendar and mark the days you wrote. For chains and don’t break them. If you are not writing every day, you are getting good at not doing it.” – Seinfeld

It’s been nine months since I started using the app called HabitHub to track my habits. Simple to use and keeps me motivated by quotes daily. While writing this blog, I got the following quote:

“Winning starts with beginning.”

Reading Graph
Percentage completion of my daily reading habit

Good luck setting and achieving your Goals for 2018!

I always thought my life is not that interesting

I always thought my life is not that interesting

We all insecure, not in all aspects but few of them. Some people are completely insecure.

I was insecure too. Maybe I still am.

I wanted to write. So, I bought a website. Learned how to use WordPress CRM.

In November 2013, I wrote an article One Sided Love and published it. It contained not more than 200 words. I felt a sense of achievement. However, it did not last long. I realised my Grammar was weak; I had few words in my dictionary, and I feared to express my sincere self.

It is now exactly four years since I first wrote my first article. The journey is amazing. At first, I wrote with my insecurities at its peak. Maybe I still have some vulnerabilities but don’t fear expressing now.

The decision not live a life of mediocracy has propelled in making my life exciting and full of possibilities.

Today I enjoy the process of writing and expressing my true self. I write and make courses for my YouTube Channel daily. I enjoy being in this space. My goals before lacked a sense of direction. Now, I dare to dream bigger.

What made this difference in my life? – Comparing myself to others. 

I used to compare myself to others which made me feel small. I decided to work on myself and erase this need to compare myself to others. It was a slow process, but it worked. Now I race against my yesterday’s version.

I think to myself, If I can write 500 words in one session, I think I can write 1,000 words also. I push myself to achieve the targets I set for myself. More often I meet them. When I reach my goal, it fuels my motivation levels.

The process of working on yourself it lifelong and I have committed to this journey. This shift in my mindset has made my life interesting and enjoyable.

This journey would not be possible without the timely support of friends, family and mentors. I will be forever thankful to them.

If you think your life is not that interesting, Think Again!

Moreover, if you think your life interesting, do leave your story in the comment section. 🙂

Modern Ekalavya Learning Technique 5 – Protect your schedule

Modern Ekalavya Learning Technique 5 – Protect your schedule

Once you have your sound habits in place, the next step is to protect your schedule. We now know that mastery is all about doing it every day till the rest of your life. Our schedule plays an important role.

Suppose you have four habits in a day and you need to 30 minutes for each activity. It means you have to schedule 2 hours each day outside your day job working hours. Ensuring you get the 2 hours every day would say you have to start early.

Getting up early in the morning was never easy for me unless I have some adventure activities lined up in the morning.

I first started getting up around 8 am. Slowly improved the time to 6 am. Currently, I am now targetting 5.30 am. It was not an easy journey. I used to get up to a task, feel sleepy and fall back to sleep. I have more hours a day. It is easy for me to complete 90% of my activities every day. Of course, I still have to fight the distractions and battle the obligations thrown at me by friends or office colleagues or family. Dealing with family and friends is a different topic altogether.

Getting up early in the morning is an art. You can do it by carefully monitoring your quantity of food during dinner time. Light and less spicy food work well for me. As a person who does not drink coffee to get me activated in the morning, this formula works for me. You have to figure out your formula.

In this process of closely monitoring and protecting my schedule, I found new respect for working women. They have additional responsibilities apart from their regular work. I have seen many ambitious friends in my circle who have managed squeeze in time for their interests. Thier schedule has more activities than we could ever imagine. We can take inspiration them and learn from them on how they handle a packed schedule daily.

If you have not yet built your schedule, I believe you should get started with it immediately.

Modern Ekalavya Learning Technique 3 – Daily Practice

Modern Ekalavya Learning Technique 3 – Daily Practice

You already know that daily practice is needed to master any skill. However, to be able to do it you need an environment, and you also you need a time of the day when you can practice. Louise Armstrong rehearsed the trumpet every day since the age of 11 to become a master. Ekalavya was also known to practice daily without fail.

Consider your current age. Now imagine the number of days you need to practice to gain mastery of a skill of your liking.

No matter how busy you are, practice your skill daily till it becomes a habit. Do it for 5 seconds if you have to. I believe that we are a product of our habits. It takes one bad habit to make us think we cannot do something great. It is a misconception. We can. We are often afraid to get rid of that habit.

I was fortunate enough to read the book – Power of Habits by Charles Duhigg. It was pivotal for getting me started with a key habit. It helped me further to develop many other good habits.  I decided to start playing keyboard and meditate. I stuck to doing them for 21 days then for months together and now its a part of my life. Just like brushing teeth.

A few good habits changed my perspective. I learned to schedule time from the activities love. Now I write, make Youtube videos daily, play the keyboard, meditate, read and learn every day. I pushed my self to do many things. I could have never imagined doing all of these activities on one day. Apart from the sound daily habits, daily personal journaling was of phenomenal help.

Identify that one habit that you can keep doing for days. Do it every day. You will notice that you are slowly cultivating other habits you wanted to imbibe in yourself. One micro habit will boost your confidence. When in the process, focus on the habit you have to develop rather than the one you need to stop.

Which is that habit you want to cultivate?

 

My first crush reminded me of what butterflies feel like

My first crush reminded me of what butterflies feel like

I was in a hostel when I first got introduced to the song called “There She Goes.” I had a friend write the lyrics for me in a book so that I could sing aloud whenever I heard the song. Of course, back then English did not come naturally to me. I had to put in some extra effort to learn one song. I did not realise this song was going to become an exclusive song which would reverberate in my head all my life. Even after 15 years, this song remains exclusively for her. Before I go any further, I would like you to hear the song. I am sure you will love it too.

The first time I saw her, I had butterflies in my stomach. I did not know what that meant, but whatever it was, it felt good. I had seen her many times before, but this was the first time I noticed her walking graciously in the amphitheatre. It was probably a Sunday, and she was with her elder sister if I remember correctly. It was a slow revelation to me, I was walking up the amphitheatre, and there she stood laughing with her sister. Out of nowhere, this song popped in my head, and from that moment, it became her song. Whenever she went past time slowed down, and this song played continuously. The memory of my first experience with her was far stronger than my experience of being bullied in the same amphitheatre.

You can see what I am talking about in this video from Tare Zameen Par, except that I was moving up the steps while she stood there laughing. A little later in this video, Ishaan picks my favourite spot for painting. It’s where I used to daydream a lot and spent a lot of time.

Much like my effort to learn English, it was difficult to articulate this experience. I had to see multiple movies before I could describe what I liked about her. It came down to one thing – her laugh was contagious. The moment this dawned on me, I always wished I could be around whenever she laughed.

The more movies I saw with “dating” stuff, I learned to describe her. I felt her laugh was natural and she had the perfect hair to compliment her while she laughed. The hair band she wore sometimes made her even cuter. Her cheeks had no spots as much as I recall, which made her glow whenever she laughed. Whenever I got the chance and remembered a girl like her existed, I went to class early and waited for her to enter, of course by now you might have guessed “There She Goes” was on full volume. But everything changed when a film called Kuch Kuch Hota Hai released during out year-end vacation.

When we returned to school after vacation, I saw many girls with the mushroom haircut Kajol had in the movie. I did not see the film, and I got to know this much later when some of my friends told me how this tomboyish hairstyle became a fad. Secretly, I hoped she hadn’t got this hairdo, but to my horror, she had the haircut too! My heart sank, but not for long. She laughed, and all was ok. I gave it some thought, and it was the first time I learned to appreciate others’ choices. And I felt, perhaps a one-sided messy braid would have complimented her personality better.

Her sister was all prim and proper, but somehow I felt my crush had a beauty which I would like to describe as Messy Beauty. It may sound odd at first instance but it is more a figurative way of calling someone beautiful because they were not too conscious about how they looked. Also, they have a fantastically peculiar personality to follow their passion. I felt she is one such person. She stood out because of this somehow, and I felt this desire was visible and it felt like no matter what happens no one can take that away from her.

Messy Beauty – Someone who is unapologetically true to self and knows what is true freedom.

Having her around just made me happy. I felt dating was such a funny option. I wished I could get to know her better and talk to her. But it never occurred to me that I could also attempt. I was usually shy and lost in my world most of the times. Confidence was low. I could not even think of talking to her. How I wish I could muster a little bit of confidence and know her a little more.

I am glad I got the courage to write this about her and hoping it reaches her with good intentions.

Modern Ekalavya Learning Technique 2 – Selecting a Learning Path

Modern Ekalavya Learning Technique 2 – Selecting a Learning Path

With an attention span of a fish, we can hastily abandon the course we have selected. It’s not a surprise that just one course would not suffice for learning that skill. We would not require a 4-year bachelor’s degree otherwise.

Many of the MOOC platforms have already started curating individual courses into learning paths. These learning paths help you master the skill in a much more comprehensive manner. I have tried out Lynda’s and Coursera’s learning, and they seem to be good enough to pick any skill. We could even apply those skills immediately after we have completed the learning path. Even Marketing guru in his article talks about the importance of MOOCs not just only for adults but for children too.

Suppose you want to learn Machine Learning. Without a doubt, Andrew Ng’s Machine Learning course is good to start. However, when you register on Coursera, you will notice that it will ask you about your learning goals and suggest you a learning path accordingly. In the learning path I have chosen, there are three courses I need to complete. You can select Python or R Machine Learning paths depending on the skill you want to specialise.

Ekalvya was clear he wanted to become the best archer in the world, and he would not have done it without setting up strict learning path. He stuck to his path no matter what for years together.

In today’s world, the learning paths should not only contain courses with skill you want to learn. You also need to keep yourself updated with where all you can apply this skill you have acquired. For example, if you are want to become a data scientist, you also need to improve your visualisation skills or presentation skills.

Once you have completed a course, you need to apply them. Platforms such as Kaggle or KD nuggets help us with that. May real life problems are put up as competition on these platforms. Also, Kaggle now has Kernels and forking which can help you get started quickly.

What are you waiting for, choose your learning path on Coursera and create your account on Kaggle and start participating?