Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Book review - The gifts of Imperfection

Image result for gifts of imperfection
We are all imperfect. We cover those imperfections and struggle towards being perfect everyday.

“ I need to look beautiful to feel loved”
“ I should be a billionaire to be worthy of love”

Whatever might be your version of that statement, you struggle with this. You are under the assumption that you need to be someone to be loved. The author calls this emotion as shame. Yeah! Even I was shocked to know that aiming for perfection and not loving what you already are is shame.

The author talks about whole- hearted living. She talks about why we should not be too hard on ourselves and how we can love ourselves for we are already.

After a long time, this was a book which kept me up at night. I was so surprised and intrigued for what was to come in the next chapters of the book. It helped me understand myself a little better. It showed me the path I needed to walk on. I don’t know the right adjectives to describe what I felt the night I could not go back to sleep.

I don't know if the book actually talks about imperfections. But the book definitely gives you the definitions of a few emotions and reactions which you deal with daily but could never define the,m. The obscurity which was in my mind which I could not put down in words, have been defined by her.

A few favourite quotes:

“Owning our story and loving ourselves through the process is the bravest thing we will ever do.”
“It is tough to see a pattern and then unsee it.Humans are meaning making species.”
“Asking for what you need is one of the bravest things you will ever do.”
“Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
“The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool.”
“Make a list of the work that inspires you. Don't be practical. Don't think about making a living; think about doing something you love.”

Action Points:


As I discussed in my 30-day challenge of reading books, for every book I create an action list. Here is mine:

- Do some form of art daily
- Down time
- Dance daily for 5 minutes
- Sing a song
- Find a list of videos which can make me laugh
- Learn more about grounded theory
- Visit the website www.brenebrown.com

Books to read:


The following are a few books mentioned in this book which might interest you if you like this book.

-Play- How it shapes the brain, opens imagination and invigorates the soul
-Daniel pink - a whole new mind
-One person / multiple careers : new model for work life success

Happy reading!





Thursday, 3 August 2017

What I learnt in July [July Review]

July is the month which was named after Julius Caesar. Just like him, the month was dictating for me.

How did I handle such a dictating month?

I buckled under pressure in a few areas. In the few others, I gracefully handled them.


What went well?


Writing:

The highlight or the most time consuming activity of the month was writing. As you already know, I signed up for a 30-day blogging challenge in July. And I forced myself to write and publish everyday. I was already aware of how tough it is to decide what to write on, generate ideas, write and edit on the same day. Writing was not like a flow. Probably the word ‘Challenge’ had already hinted me that it was not going to be flow. But I feel like a warrior who came out victorious at the end of the journey. It was that tough for me. There were the creative days, accomplished days, tiring days, frustrated days and break down days. It showed me how my daily job was much easier than writing. But the difficult does not matter. If I want to grow in the area I am passionate about, I need to learn how to face the challenges too. Overall, 30-day blogging challenge taught me good lessons. It gave me the confidence that I can write everyday if I badly want to.

Reading:

I read books for more than 22 hours last month. Then around 10 hours I spent on Quora and Medium. But I still found it very less because they were not giving me any ideas to write better. I decided to work on that this month. A few useful books which I read last month were ‘The power of the other’, ‘Lean In’, ‘Gifts of Imperfection’.

Exercise:

I was not that regular with exercise when compared to the other months. But one good thing I have done is posture corrections. I recorded my postures while exercising and worked on them till I got them right. If I would not have got this idea, I would have wasted or even hurt myself due to the incorrect postures. This small act makes exercise activity to fall into ‘what went well’ section.

Art:

I made a rakhi and a explosion box type greeting card for my brother. I made an organiser with cardboard box and painted it for my sister. There is so much joy in playing with colours. I felt rejuvenated when I got ideas on how I can make the piece of art beautiful. Just like writing, art does not come out beautiful at the first time. But it gives its own type of joy. One needs to get one's hands dirty to understand that happiness. I felt like doing it everyday after that. But yeah, priorities in life!


What did not go well?


I ignored my small routines for the bigger challenge. My small routines don’t take much time. But I was not ready to  invest any time in them mentally because I was already mentally exhausted at office as I was working without any breaks.

Plans for August:


I want to make august more colourful and successful than July. And I have been on track for the first 2 days for them.

30-day Reading challenge:

I have been reading everyday for the past one year. Reading just 2 pages also counted as reading for me. But now, I want to change that. I want to read 75 pages a day. It is very ambitious but not impossible. It will eat up a lot of my time. It will not leave me with time for other small things in life but that is okay. I will learn to navigate through the storm. That is the aim of the challenge too.

I used to write notes for the just the first few pages and once I am into the story I forget about the note making part. I want to be a better note taker. For every chapter I read, I want to see what are my take home points. This is the second part of the challenge.

For each book I read, I find a few things wonderful. Unless, it is closely related to my life, I don’t start implementing them on the go. I want to write an action list for each book and then give a timeline for the action point. This is a very crucial step of the challenge without which I will just be a consumer and not a doer.

One more small task to this activity is to not just assume the meaning of the word in context but to actually look up the word in the dictionary and learn its meaning.

These 4 components to reading is going to make it definitely a tough job. I am so excited about this!

Exercise:

I want to get back to doing regularly. I have found a new workouts to add to the exercise routine which I already do.

Mood Tracker:

I started a tracker where I enter what I am feeling every hour or two. This gives me a picture on what are the frequent emotions I feel and what I need to work on.

Life Lessons Tracker:

There is at least one new thing I learn everyday. I want to make a note of it and review them periodically so that I don’t make the same mistakes again or avoid mistakes totally.

Get back to my small routines:

Small routines just take 15 minutes of my time. Without any excuse, I want to go back to them.

How was your July? What are your plans for August? Let us know in the comments section.

Happy planning for August!


Monday, 31 July 2017

What I learned from 30 day blogging challenge

Phew! It's 31st July finally! My 30-day blogging challenge ended yesterday. I anticipated the journey to be tough but it was more than tough even after taking precautions. But it made me accomplish my goal of writing regularly. I was struggling so hard to make that habit for the past few months. Finally now, with the help of 30 posts this month, the number of posts on my blog became 76. It is definitely an achievement for me.

What made the challenge tough?

Topics:

Even though I made a list of topics initially, I could not stick with them. When I sat down to write on them, I felt I was not doing justice to the topic. For the topics where I had the outline ready, I did not like the outline at all. Consequently, I had to find a new topic every day to write. I used to waste crazy amount of time in just finding the right prompt to write on. I used to feel so tired in searching for the topic that by the time I sit to write I would have already exhausted my quota of patience.

Content:

When I write something, I want it to be the  best. But on a few days, I felt that I was not able to do justice for the topic. After writing 300 words, I had to abandon it because I found it cliche. On other days, I was able to write in chunks but could not connect them. After a few days into the challenge, I felt that my writing was becoming routine. I found myself writing the same thing in a different way. I found my experience to be limited and I had to dig deep into my life to scrap the routine story I was writing to bring on the new ones.

Timing:

I was not waking up early enough to write in the mornings. Even if I did, that time went away in searching for a topic to write. The only time I had was to write in the evenings after day-time work. Unfortunately, July was one of the most hectic months and I was using my brain too much at office. It was a punishment everyday to come back and look at the blank screen to start writing. On a few days, I was on the verge of tears for selecting this challenge in the first place. It was close to impossible for me to write after a tiring day. It was difficult for the thoughts to flow and then edit what I have written. On a few days, I was so drowsy that I was writing from my subconscious mind.

Key lessons I learnt:

Nothing is impossible:

From the time I started blogging, I always thought that it was impossible to write regularly. But now, I wrote for 30 days continuously. If you really want something, you can fight all the odds to achieve it.

Showing up is important:

It is not always about perfection. I wrote whatever I could. But writing everyday is important.

Learn new things:

I felt the real need for learning new things. I ran short of the experiences which are on the top of my mind which I want to write. If you want to thrive in any industry learning new things is the only way.

Turn on creativity faucet:

On the days, I could not think of any topics, creativity came to my rescue. I wrote about the life lessons I learnt from FM Radio. I did not know that there is so much to learn from the surroundings until then. Creativity comes in when you look out with an open mind.

You will find resources when you really want to do it:

It is difficult to write and format in evernote. I was avoiding writing all these days because I thought editing can be done only when I am on laptop. But only when I was under pressure I realised that I can use google docs to write and edit. The laptop excuse which I gave previously will no longer hold true now.

What next?
Now that I know that writing everyday is tough but not impossible, I will write regularly.

Do you want to do a 30-day blogging challenge?

Step1: Select your Niche.

Step2: Select 60 topics in that niche.

Step3: Before the challenge, do a 30-day challenge of writing points for each topic.

Step 4: Start your challenge.

Step 5: Set time aside on your calendar everyday for this.

Happy writing!




Sunday, 30 July 2017

Beginners Guide: How to make your day perfect?

Will there be someone who does not want their day to be perfect?

Absolutely yes. There a lot of people who are addicted to negativity. They can’t imagine their life to be any better. They want their day to go bad so that they have something to complain about. They can put the blame on the things which went bad for their failure in life.

The first step to make your day perfect is to take accountability for it. Your day needs to start with a promise for yourself that you are going to give your best to make the day a cherishable and memorable one.

Look at yourself in the mirror and smile. Tell yourself that you are ______________ . Fill in the blank with whatever matters to you. If you are a student, you can tell that you will top the college. If all you want is happiness, tell yourself that you will be happy.

For all this to happen, you need to first wake up without force. You should wake up naturally without an alarm or someone waking you up. If you have to wake up early, you need to sleep early. Yes, in order to have a perfect day, you need to have a perfect sleep. Or else you will be drowsy all the day which ruins everything else.

Take your time to wake up from bed. There is no hurry. But use this time to write down the creative thoughts you get or the important things you want to accomplish in the day.

Morning time is a very crucial time. Don’t spend it in unnecessary chatter or arguments. Keep it away from all distractions and social media.

One of the crucial part of an awesome morning is exercise. Even if you don’t have time for workouts, you can just do stretching exercises and feel the flexibility in your body.


A lot of people skip breakfast. I don’t want to talk about what you are going to lose by not having breakfast. All I can say is see the difference in your energy levels on the day you have breakfast and the days you don’t.

At work, plan your day. Make a detailed list of tasks for the day. Estimate the time you need for each task. And plan your day. Greet every one with smile. Eat on time even if you are not eating healthy stuff.

After returning back home, spend quality time with your friends/ family. Feel the connect and embrace it.

At the end of the day, before sleeping review your day. Count your blessings for what went well. Learn lessons from what did not go well. Feel gratitude for the people who made your day. Forgive those who hurt you.

Meditate. Close your eyes. Take deep breath. Concentrate on your breath. And slowly go into deep sleep.

This is just a basic idea on how to make your day perfect. Add your dreams to this template. Add the list of things which make your day awesome. Make your day perfect.

Happy perfect day every day!



Saturday, 29 July 2017

What keeps you going in tough times?

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Writing is not easy. Especially after coming back from work after 14 hours. 

It's tiring. Mind goes blank. 

I need to think of a topic which you, my reader will find it useful and inspiring. I need to write content which will make you take action.

I am not a genius. Maybe you are not too. But it doesn't matter. A person who is not really into art, appreciated my craft work. Even though I am not a top writer, some of you feel inspired. By creating daily, I am able to make it useful for someone.

If you want to hear the truth, it's not for you that I write. I am selfish. I write daily for myself. It comes under sticking to my habits. I feel so happy when I make a new piece of art. I feel happy when I put down my thoughts on the paper. It feels good. It is liberating and enthralling.

I don't feel the same level of happiness when I receive my salary for my full time work. But I feel happy and satisfied for writing this article. I don't get paid for this. It is not even reaching as many people as it should. But it will inspire at least one of you. You will show up at your passion just like I do.

I want you to work on your passion just like I do. Not for your end users. But for yourself. You will realize that pursuing passion is not easy. You will neither have money nor appreciators. There will be days when you will fall in love with what you do. There will be days when you will hate yourself altogether. It doesn't matter. 

I have had sore muscles since the past few days. If there are no micro tears of muscles, how do they grow? Working out is not easy.

If something is easy, remember that you are not growing.

This article is neither a ranting article nor a self-boasting article.


The only aim of this is tp persuade you to show up at your passion.

When I was working for 14 hours a day, I used to come back home at 12 in the night and prepare for MBA exams for an hour. I was passionate about the preparation. I wanted it really bad.

If you ever find yourself giving an excuse or blame, you are not really passionate about it.

May be you are superficially passionate but that will not help you anyway. You need to build habits to help that passion sustain.

Habits work on a ‘ Remainder, routine, reward’ cycle. But there will be days when you get reminder and there will be rewards but you will not have the energy to push yourself to do the routine. Make the reward stronger. Crave more for the reward.

I have signed up for a 30 day blogging challenge and I am publishing this today, just because I want to live up to my word.

Hope this article helps you too to pursue your dreams on a tiring day.

Let us know what keeps you going in tough times in the comment section.

Happy working on your dreams!

Friday, 28 July 2017

4 Ways to get your daily dose of Laughter

My best friend left the company today. I will miss the friend with whom I can laugh hysterically. I am going to miss that laughter. Are you also missing that friend who makes you laugh?

I don't want to write about the benefits of laughter. Because you already know the endless list of benefits it has. But there are a few benefits which I have experienced and I need laughter to be my best.

Increases my productivity:

On dull days, just a few minutes of laughter can make me finish the work which takes 3 hours in an hour.

Increases my creativity:

When I am happy, I get the ideas which I never got before. I wonder how my creativity levels have increased.

Cheers up other people:

People who sit around me say that my happiness is contagious. If I am happy, they feel inspired from me and stay happy too.

How can you get your daily dose of laughter?

Comic strips:

Reading Calvin and Hobbes makes my day. It might be dilbert for you. If you don’t read anything, you can start with something today. Once one of friends ordered a Calvin and Hobbes book. She said that was the best investment she made on herself.

Videos / Movies:

A few months ago, I was watching a part of movie everyday. I used to laugh really hard at the comedy scenes in the movie. I used to skip the sad parts and just watch the scenes which make me laugh. Happiness was so easy to get.

Even though I hate whatsapp forwards, a few pictures and videos make me laugh a lot.

Hasya asana:

It is a yoga pose where you have to laugh. It sounds weird and might be tough if you have to start at your home. I learned this when I went to yoga class. I found it very difficult to do. But when everyone else laughs, you also learn to do it. And this is a real stress buster. Who does not want to start the day with a good amount of laughter?

Friends:

This is a tough one. But if you can, try to make a few friends you can laugh with. During my commute, there is a group of friends who laugh everyday throughout the journey. That is amazing. I also have and had friends with whom I can laugh that way. It was a blessing for me. But you can find a friend too with whom you can laugh.

How does laughing help you in your daily life? What are your ways to laugh everyday? Do let us know in the comments section.

Happy laughing daily!


Thursday, 27 July 2017

Why should you have a mentor?

Rita: “ I feel lost in life. I need a mentor.”
Gita: “ Why do you need a mentor for that?”
Rita: “ To guide me, of course!”
Gita: “Can’t you do it yourself?”

Does Rita really need a mentor?

What about you? Are you totally lost in life? Do you need a mentor?

I need a mentor. I need one to criticize me. I need him to tell me I am bad.

I have a lot of people to appreciate the work I do. But I have very few people to tell me that I am bad. I need more of that type of people. They are the ones who help me grow.

The other day when I told my mentor that I plan on writing a book, he did not criticize. He just replied okay. I would have felt happy if he mentioned that it is a bad idea and corrected me.

One thing I fear the most has been said aptly by Randy Pausch, author of  Last Lecture -

When you’re screwing up and nobody says anything to you anymore that means they’ve given up on you…you may not want to hear it but your critics are often the ones telling you they still love you and care about you and want to make you better.

But this feedback need not necessarily be criticism. In the book, ‘Power of the other’, Henry Cloud mentions that for every negative interaction there should be five positive interactions for the relation to be healthy. It is not just about feedback. But it is about constructive feedback. When someone criticizes you, you should be able to take an action from the feedback given.

Mentors are not only there to give you feedback. They exist to help you avoid the mistakes which they have already made. They don’t let you fall into the same pitfalls.


How to find your mentor?



Get over the myth that mentors have to be people. Mentors need not be people. Even though I was lucky to have a mentor at most of the stages of my life, I did not go approach them. They wanted to mentor me because they saw potential in me. Similarly, when you start putting in efforts, you will notice that people will want to help you. They will want to see you grow. Paulo Coelho tells the same in Alchemist -

And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

But if you want to start off with something and have no clue, just approach the person who you want to be your mentor and ask specific questions. Once when I felt stagnant in my company, I approached my new manager and asked me how he grew in the company. He told his story. But he did not stop there. He took it as his responsibility to teach me the intricate things which matter when talking to stakeholder and other things which helped him grow. I just got my mentor by asking about his success.

It is not just people who can be mentors. Books can also be mentors. Most of the times when I read a book, I feel that the book has been written for me exclusively. The timing seems so right. If not for the book, I wouldn't have got through the difficult phase easily. Even articles do that. Today I was reading an article on how to not make your writing stale. A few days back I felt that I am close to exhausting everything I knew till date. This article gave me solace that I am not alone. And this problem can be fixed. Even inanimate objects can be mentors. I have written here about the lessons FM radio has taught me.

What you should not expect from mentor?



Mentor is there only to guide you. Don’t expect him to spoon feed you.

You are the one who is ultimately accountable for what you are doing with your life. You should not put the blame on your mentor for not guiding you all the time.

Happy finding your mentor!