Tag: self awareness

Half your problems will be solved if you just wrote it down

Half your problems will be solved if you just wrote it down

Our brain is capable of generating 35 thoughts in an average per minute according to a Huffington Post. It means we are shifting between each thought every 2 seconds. Interestingly many of them have fabulous ideas so solve a problem in most parts of their life.  Unfortunately, our brain does a lot of hard work to generate these ideas. But. Our memory is so volatile that some of these great ideas disappear.

Our subconscious mind keeps working on a problem in the background to find solutions to problems. You may be surprised it is still solving problems we encountered during our childhood.

Since our subconscious mind is always working, we experience those Aha! Moments when our brain figures out a solution to any of our problems.

Our brain is such a beautiful part of our body. Unfortunately, it cannot store much of the ideas it generates.

What do we do then?

It’s best we start writing down all the ideas generated by the brain. It does not mean you keep writing every minute of the day. There is a proper way of doing it. If you train your mind, it will learn to act accordingly.

Before you go to bed, write down all the questions you want to be answered in a notebook(preferably date and categorised). Instead of looking at your mobile first thing in the morning, just grab your notebook and jot down whatever your mind throws out. You may not have any thoughts to note for few morning. That’s ok. Generate some ideas to kick-start the training for it to think.

By doing this daily you are training your mind to produce an output in a controlled fashion where you can capture them.

Over a period of time, this process becomes stronger. Initially, the thoughts you write might be garbage. Imagine pouring water through a dirty pipe. You cannot expect clean water exiting the pipe. You need to clean the pipe, only then will it start providing clean water. Our brain is also needs some cleaning. If you practice this habit daily the channel where these solutions are created is cleaned over a period of time.

You will then reap the benefits over two months period.

Happy solving problems!

Top 7 books that helped shape my mindset in 2017

Top 7 books that helped shape my mindset in 2017

All my life I believed self-help books don’t help in any form. Let alone changing mindset. Don’t ask me how I got this idea. There many people who still believe books don’t help. As you may have already guessed my perception has changed and I am going to read The Daily Stoic again this year.

Here is my list of books:

1) The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday

I have always heard about Stoic philosophy but had the chance to read it as it was in forms way beyond my comprehension. Ryan Holiday in this book lists down 365 philosophical extracts from various books and explains each of them in a very concise manner. I fell in love with it by just reading first few excerpts. Each of these extracts was mostly one-pager. Reading one chapter a day helped build my mental resilience and improve my overall quality of life. I will read this book once more this year till I get a firm hold on them.

2) Managing Time by Harvard Business Review

You can read this book within 30 minutes. I took away one idea of tracking every minute of the time I spent in the office. Just tracking itself gave me an insight into how I can manage my time better. I am not moderately productive. Managing time takes a lot of practice, and I hope to get better this year.

3) Choose Yourself by James Altucher

I love James Altucher. He has a fantastic way of telling stories which are relatable to a person like me. Choose Yourself is a simple read but it has given me the confidence to work on myself and not compare myself with others.

4) How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie

I was born with anxiety and fear. Most of these anti confidence elements were mostly in my mind. Dale Carnegie installed a new software in my brain to deal with that did not even exist in the first place. It’s just Rs.120 on Amazon, but I feel its a must buy and worth much more than the value it provides.

5) Inner Engineering by Sadhguru

I always knew I had a Spiritual bent of mind but was also skeptical about it. Sadhguru explained in a language what is Spirituality and why we should look inside to progress in our life. I am proud that I understood Spirituality scientifically.

6) Anything You Want by Derek Sivers

Derek narrated his story of CDbaby authentically.  He expresses his love for contributing the community he believed in, on his terms. His email upon receiving order showed how small touch points with customers matter. I always believed in catering to small details with customers, and he made my belief even stronger.

7) Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath

I was good at my work and always a good performer, but I always felt something was missing. I thought I could do much more with my capabilities. But, I did not know what they were. I saw this book lying on most our HR teams desk.I decided to get a copy after knowing that it was the most sold book in the year 2016. I found that developing/mentoring people is what I got the most satisfaction. I love bringing out the best in people and can never get tired of it. I decided to do this much more often. I recently opened a channel called Lifeaholic just so that I could put my ideas in small videos.

With some strength provided by Stoic Philosophy to create my philosophy combined with my strengths, I decided to develop my philosophy. My channel is based entirely on the new Lifeaholic philosophy I created. I hope to touch and improve many lives with this philosophy.

 

Modern Ekalavya Learning Technique 7 – Retrospective Learning

Modern Ekalavya Learning Technique 7 – Retrospective Learning

Losing track of from your learning objectives is easy.

Nothing can be more frustrating than spending time on learning something and not getting good at it. We all fall into this trap. Nothing uncommon.

Imagine you have to cycle from Point A to B. There are multiple routes to the end location. Some are short, some are difficult, some are tricky, some have roadblocks, and some feel pleasing but misleading. You have to choose the optimal route based your skills. Also, you cannot spend endless time exploring all the paths as it will only delay when you reach point B. It will just leave you tired and less motivated to keep going.

Similarly, we have multiple ways to reach our learning objectives. Learning a particular topic is time bound. Also, a smart choice of a leaning path keeps us motivated to keep learning.

Which brings us to the question – How do we know we are in the right direction?

Retrospective learning is the answer.

Whenever you learn something, you must also ensure you keep applying the knowledge as you learn. You can do this by either solving a situational problem or teaching the concept to someone else or hypothetically implement it in another field just like we make jokes. While applying your recently gained knowledge, you will hit possible loopholes in your understanding. Which in turn helps you figure out where you need to focus your effort on learning.

You are very likely to understand and apply few of the topics faster, but some may take longer. You can choose to spend time on the weaker topics, but not for long.

I like to begin by directly applying the topic I want to learn. For example, if I want to learn Machine Learning, I start by implementing a primary method. Naturally, I may suck at the first attempt. Then I discover some topics and apply again. I get better by maybe 1%. I keep doing this till eventually, I gain mastery over it. Not only that I also teach it to others whenever I find the time. It helps me strengthen my hold on the topic.

Do you have any other ways that help you learn faster? Please mention your methods in the comments below.

 

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.

Should we tolerate the intolerant?

Should we tolerate the intolerant?

Since the beginning of time intolerance has always been not tolerated. In Mahabharata, Pandavas had chosen to war against Kauravas as their behaviour towards Drapaudi was not tolerated. Oath-Bound Bheeshma sat in the court while Kauravas were stripping Draupadi in the court. Just to set the premise, Pandavas lost to Kauravas and had to give away Draupadi to be a dasi to Kauravas. So, they did what they deemed fit with her.

I want to highlight the two sets of people here. One who tolerated the shameful act done by Kauravas. It included Bheeshma, known as the most powerful and respected man at that time. And the other set were those who did not tolerate this act and protected her when she was being stripped.  As per the games honour code, Pandavas could not do anything about it, but Krishna was one such person who saved her during the situation. Here there two sets of people each choosing their side. Either to tolerate or not. If they chose not to, the great battle of Mahabharata would have been avoided. But the fight against intolerance was fought and won by the Pandavas.

After the battle, the ones that tolerated the act were all killed, and the people that chose to sides with these intolerant Kauravas also met their demise. Many among the killed included Pandavas cousins, gurus, friends and other relatives. All of them knew they were on the wrong side and yet they chose to side with Kauravas and fight against their most loved Pandavas.

What should have been the ideal scenario? In the ideal situation, this act should not have been tolerated at all by anyone. A lot of family members life would be saved if only the Kauravas were punished. But a battle has to be fought to punish the offenders and those who chose their side. With this perspective, the intolerant were punished and those who sided with them too.

In another instance much before Mahabharata, Krishna tolerated 100 mistakes of Shihupal which was the son of Krishna’s aunt. But the 101st mistake was not tolerated, and he punished by death immediately. Another perspective where the offender was not tolerated.

Both the stories one thing in common the intolerant were not tolerated even if they were family members. By now it’s already established that it’s easy to tolerate the fanatics acts. Which brings out the following questions:-

  • What level of tolerance should we show to our family members?
  • Should we show our intolerance to a behaviour immediately or provide them with a chance to correct?
  • Who are we to tolerate other people(does not include fanatics) behaviours?
  • Do you know about your behaviour that probably others are tolerating which should not be the case? Or do you think you are always right and all of your “behaviour” have an explanation or have a hidden agenda to fix the other person? Or you may call it an act of self-acclaimed method with an explanation that should be tolerated by the other person?

Perhaps, the line between tolerance and acceptance is so blurred that it’s mostly absent. And it is in its absence, that most often, the justification for everything starts. Tolerance and Acceptance are not of binary values to be a zero or one. It’s not black or white. It’s a combination of both, which heavily depends on the subject. For, after all, the shades of grey only depended on how much black and how much white was in it. For it was never composed of its own.

I appreciate the perspective of Yonatan brings out in his article on Intolerance who in the list of top 50 writers in Politics. But, I would go the quote written by Charles Colson, who President Nixon’s “hatchet man” and has also written many books. After all, tolerance does not mean that we agree or ignore each other’s perspective. It means we make space for them and guide them to improve their perspective.

True tolerance is not a total lack of judgement. It’s knowing what should be tolerated be tolerated, and refusing to tolerate that which shouldn’t.

-Charles Colson

After all, we have the power to make our reasoned choice but be prudent of the dangerous trap of confirmation bias.

If you are interested in reading a perspective on Intolerance, you can read it here.