Tag: self improvement

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?

 

Modern Ekalavya Learning Technique 4 – Overcoming significant hurdles

Modern Ekalavya Learning Technique 4 – Overcoming significant hurdles

A journey without hurdles is not a journey you should not wish you had. Ekalavya had faced many obstacles during his practice. Most of them involved with fighting himself.

One year back I set a Goal to write a blog every week. The most significant hurdle I faced was my grammar and the number of words in my dictionary. I think I had probably under 500 words when I started. Both of them seemed enormous in my mind. Without wasting time, I started learning grammar. I installed an app and began building my dictionary.

Facing Hurdles is a sign of progress. If you don’t have any, success may be delusional.

Perfecting grammar is a long process. I still wanted to write and not wait till I learned proper grammar. I bought a subscription of Grammarly which is an app which corrects my grammar as I write. Before I purchased the subscription, I ensured I built the habit of writing four days a week. It was sufficient to help me publish one blog every week.

If you look at the first blog, I wrote and compared with it my recent ones. You will observe a stark difference. It is effortless to give up when the work you produce it ugly. All I had to do was to set my habit and then remove my most significant hurdles.

Am I satisfied with my work?

No, not yet!

Have I improved?

I might have improved 1%. I still have a long way to go. Today I am enjoying the process rather than worrying about reaching the end goal.

What hurdles have you faced and how did you overcome them?

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?

 

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 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.