Tuesday, 27 June 2017

How to overcome self-pity and become mentally stronger



Mona: "I am the most unlucky person in the world. Entire world is against me."
Sona: "What happened?"
Mona: "Everything bad happens only to me."
Sona: "Why do you think so negatively?"
Mona: "What else do you think I should do? No one treats me well."

Does Mona really have a lot of problems to deal with?
May be! May be not!

She is not looking at her problems from outside but she is consuming herself in her problems.

She is just dwelling in self-pity.

“If you keep telling the same sad small story, you keep living 

the same sad small life” – Jean Houston

Do you also enjoy self-pity? 


How many of the below thoughts do you get frequently?


>I am the most unfortunate one.
>No one has as many problems as I do.
>My life will never get better.
>God just wants to test me all the time.
>Why can’t I get better people in my life?
>Why do people fail to understand that my life is miserable?
>I don’t want to go out today. I need to think about my problems.
>There is no light at the end of this tunnel.
>Life is unfair.

All of us get these thoughts once in a while. But if you get even one of those thoughts frequently, you are dwelling in self-pity. You might not be feeling self-pity in all areas of your life. Even that one area where you are feeling it, is sufficient to ruin your life.

When I moved to a new company, I hated the work there. I was always complaining. I complained about how the work is too low for my skill set. I cribbed about how the machines were too slow. I complained at the slightest sign of discomfort.

Complaining didn’t make my life better. People only hated me more. They looked at me as a complaint-box. If there was a meeting for mentioning issues, they would nominate me as there was no one who can compete with me in complaining. I didn’t have any friends at all as no one wanted to be friends with a person who felt entitled. And my professional life suffered.

This is what is going to happen to you too or might already be happening if you are stuck in self-pity. You will never be able to appreciate the good things in your life and life only becomes miserable day by day and you finally end in depression.


Here is what I have done to get out of it


Catch yourself saying those negative statements:

I have taken a firm resolution that I am not going to let any of those negative thoughts pass my mind. In the beginning it was difficult. I was constantly bombarded with negative thoughts. But I restrained myself from paying attention to them. This one habit has improved my life tremendously.

Move from complaining to solving approach:

I have a problem. I can either solve it or ignore it. I choose solving wherever I could. I ignored what I could not. This gave me more control over life and moved me away from self-pity.

Appreciate the good things in life:

I spend a few minutes daily thinking about the good things in life. I appreciate the breeze across my face. I admire the sunset. I feel the water while it touches my lips and then goes down the throat. Appreciating the small things in life helped me ignore the petty things I was worried about.

Gratitude journal:

Apart from appreciating things, feel grateful for the good things that happened to you, about the wonderful people you have in life. Send a thank you note to someone who cares for you.

My problem was petty but I felt it was a big one. You might be actually dealing with a death of loved one or loss of property. But the magnitude of the problem does not give you permission to indulge in self-pity. 

Get yourself out of the problem. Stop feeling that life is unfair. Follow the steps which I did to get out of self-pity. Feel mentally stronger.

Life is too short to waste time on self-pity.Get out of it and see the brightness which life has to show you.

Share your stories of self-pity and how you overcame it in the comment section below.

Happy becoming mentally stronger!





Saturday, 24 June 2017

Is reading self-improvement books really helpful?


Image result for books

Mona: "I feel I have wasted all my 20’s."
Sona: "It’s okay. You can read self-improvement books and become better now."
Mona: "Varun gave me a similar suggestion recently. But I see no improvement."
Sona: "Oh! Is it ?"
Mona: "Yeah! I wonder if self-improvement books really bring any change!"

It is not just the doubts of Mona and Sona. But many of you too. You don’t see any improvement after reading a book. And then you just term that self-improvement books are not useful.


Why do you not see any change after reading self-improvement book?


You read with a misconception that change is not possible:

You read just because others asked you to read. You will criticize what the author has written and term it as impractical. It is good to criticize but criticism should be balanced. Instead of approaching the book negatively, approach it with open mindedness. See what the book has to offer. You don’t lose much by implementing what the author mentions. Try this approach and then tell me if it still does not work.

You don’t take time and put efforts to implement the advice:

When you read a self-improvement book, you read it as a novel. You finish it off in one night. No one is giving you an award for finishing it. The true reward is becoming better by implementing what you read. You can still finish the book but you need to revisit it, till you master the concepts. If there are any exercises mentioned in the book, do them. If you are stuck with any exercise, keep going back to it till you get it right.

You expect immediate results:

Anything which you can earn easily, is lost easily. It takes time to build habits and master them. Given that, you have been telling yourself all your life that you can’t be any better, it takes time to over-write that negativity with positivism. When I read ‘13 things which mentally strong people don’t do’, I allotted one month for each thing I need to avoid. Even though I finished reading the book, it will take 13 months for me to become a totally transformed person. So, delay gratification. Work on long term and ever-lasting changes instead of a short term change.

You don’t acknowledge the small change which has happened:

Change happens every day. But the change is too small to notice. Instead of giving up as you don’t see the change, persevere it till it becomes big enough to notice. You can’t see a plant becoming a tree over night. It takes years for it to become a tree. Only then you could see the visible growth. So is this. All you have to do is trust yourself and the good habits you do daily. You will be surprised at the results after a few months.

Other Complaints:


Motivation does not last for long:

External motivation is always temporary. If you are looking for external motivation, you have to keep reading motivation books every day without fail. It is like taking drugs. Once the effect is lost, you have to take them again. For how long will you be able to do that?
Instead, build habits which will help you do the same work without the need for external motivation.

Who is the author to tell me how to live my life?

Every idea you get is either transformation or consolidation of existing ideas. Self-improvement books are not there to dictate how you need to live your life. The author only writes on how he lived his life. The more the ideas you are exposed to, the better ideas you get to live life in your own way.

How are they better than fiction?

There are a lot of lessons to learn from fiction. But there are lot of obstacles to it. The book title does not mention what lesson the book is going to teach you. In case of self-improvement books, the selection of book is easy. When you read a fiction book, since it is in the form of a story, the lesson author wanted to convey might be different from the lesson you understand. Where as in self-improvement books the message is direct and clear. To learn life lessons from fiction, you need to be intelligent to read between the lines and transform those ideas to implement in your life. You don’t have to interpret the meanings in these books as they are backed by science and already tested on a large set of population.

Self-improvement books are easy to read and implement. Everything is made simpler for you. All you need to do is digest them.

"I have read a few but they have not changed my life":

Every book has changed my life in its own way. If I mention that one book has changed my life more than the other one, I will be lying. The books which did not have much impact on my life are the ones which built the intelligence in me to understand the books which changed my life the most. So don’t give up after reading just a few books. Every book has it is own message to convey and change you.

Now that you want to read books to get better, here is the guide for you.

How to select a book?


Step 1:

Do some soul searching. Discover your pain points. Write down what is bothering you the most. Relations? Confidence? Happiness? It can be anything. Write them all down.

Step 2: 

Prioritize them. Solving which problem will improve your life by 50%? That will be the first thing you should concentrate on.

Step 3: 

Now search for books on that. You can look for them on good reads or amazon. Read the reviews and short list the books you want to read.

Step 4: 

Don’t read them like a novel. Read one concept at a time. Go to the next concept only after you have thoroughly practiced the first concept. If you can’t wait for long, you can finish off the book. But keep reading the concept till you become good at it.

How to read?


           Choose a book of your reading level and interest

     Don’t read high level philosophy in the beginning. Choose something which is easy for you and can keep you engaged.

          Set a time or place for reading
    
    I read while commuting. I read in the nights on weekends. Similarly you can also set place or time and stick to it.

       Now increase the level of books you read and the time for which you read
     
     You will be bored if you are reading the same level of books. Slowly increase the level and time.

How to implement?


Make notes

     If you find it difficult and time taking to keep re-reading the same stuff, make notes while you read. I find it distracting to make notes when I read the first time, so I have to read the book for second time to make notes. But once the notes are there, you can keep reading them over and again till the concept is clear.
    
     Doing the exercises mentioned in the book
   
     Most of the books have exercises after each chapter or at the end of the book. Take them seriously and do them. Apart from that create your own exercises too. When I was reading ‘Will Power’, I came across an experiment. It was about a research on the top urges. I made a note of my top urges and asked my friends what theirs were. Even though it is not an explicit exercise mentioned, doing such fun exercises helps you remember better and also makes reading, a fun activity.

       Create action point list
   
     You need not implement the same things which author has mentioned. Think how, what the author has mentioned is useful for your life. If required, discuss with your friends and well-wishers. Then create the action point list. Give a deadline to implement each one of them. Gather the resources if any are required. Don’t look at it as a task but take it as a fun-activity.
     
     Comment below what do you want to improve on or if you need any book suggestions.

Happy reading!

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Book Review: 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do

Image result for 13 things mentally strong people dont do

Author: Amy Morin

It is one of the most useful books I ever read. I get a few questions on Quora on how to become mentally strong. But I never had clarity on it. I did not know what constitutes mental strength. When I observed people, I found a few kids who are mentally strong already and I noticed adults who have struggled all their life but are still mentally weak. So I knew somewhere that it had to do with attitude of adults towards their lives but that theory did not fit in when it came to kids. This book gave me clarity that mental strength comes naturally to a few and others can learn it too.

The author was not naturally blessed with mental strength. She had been hit by life over and again. That is when she learnt how to be mentally strong. If she could do it, it gave me confidence that I can do it too.

Before starting off with the 13 things to avoid, she mentions the common myths people have about mental strength. I cleared the misconceptions I had about mental strength.

Each chapter is structured in a perfect way to drive the point home. It starts with an example to set context. Then you find a list of characteristics of the person who possesses that bad habit. And then through examples, she explains why they are bad. Finally, she summarizes the solutions. If you think you don’t have enough time, just identify the bad habits with the help of first list and correct them using the concluding list of each chapter of the book.


13 things mentally strong people don’t do:

1.       They don’t waste time feeling sorry for themselves
2.      They don’t give away their power
3.      They don’t shy away from change
4.      They don’t focus on things they can’t control
5.      They don’t worry about pleasing everyone
6.      They don’t fear taking calculated risks
7.      They don’t dwell on the past
8.     They don’t make the same mistakes over and over
9.      They don’t resent other people’s success
10.  They don’t give up after the first failure
11.   They don’t fear alone time
12.  They don’t feel the world owes them anything
13.  They don’t expect immediate results

How to use this book?


You can give it a reading to understand what mental strength is all about. I had the misconception that mental strength was a rocket science and it is not possible for everyone to achieve the same. If you also have any such wrong notions, you will get clarity. At the start of each chapter, there is a list of characteristics mentioned to know if you are doing those mistakes. During the first reading itself, you can tick the bad habits you possess. After assessing yourself on the 13 habits, look at the one where you have maximum score. That is the habit you are going to target first. Now re-read that chapter and make a list of things which you can implement to be stronger. Follow those steps religiously for a month. There you are one step closer to being mentally strong. Do the same exercise for the remaining 12 habits too. In 13 months, you are mentally stronger than what you were before. In case you find yourself relapsing, repeat the exercise till it becomes a natural thing for you.

Happy becoming mentally stronger!

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Course Review: Mental Math Tricks to become a human calculator


Website: Udemy

Contents:

Lesson 1. Introduction to Mental Math 
Lesson 2. LR Addition & Subtraction 
Lesson 3. LR Multiplication
Lesson 4. Basic Multiplication 
Lesson 5. Squaring 
Lesson 6 & 7. Advanced Multiplication 
Lesson 8. UT Method 
Lesson 9. FP Division 
Lesson 10. DS Checking 


Why I chose this course?


I have been doing mental math for a few years now. I have learnt things the hard way. I wanted to see what the short cut techniques look like. And the course does not take a lot of time too. Hence I went for it.


My take on the course:


The course starts with the easiest mental math trick for you to gain the momentum. Then slowly, the difficulty level rises. It has been structured perfectly so that you don’t feel like giving up in between. It had a few tricks which I was not even aware of and were highly helpful. Each concept was explained with a lot of examples and the examples covered all the possible challenges. There are also enough practice exercises for you to master them after learning each concept.

How to take this course?


Don’t finish it in one sitting

     You can’t become a math genius overnight. Go for one concept at a time. Take a shot at the quizzes and practice the worksheet. Apply them in real life from that moment. Once you are comfortable with that, hopefully in a day or two, move to the next one.

      Use a timer for practice:

     When you are practicing the concepts you can take your own sweet time. Once you are comfortable with it, time your practice sessions. Beat your own records. That is the way to master it.

 Actively apply what you learn

     If you just learn it and plan to use it in your exam directly, you are at a loss. You will not be able to recollect even a single trick. You need to start using it in simple calculations of daily life. So that it becomes a part of your life and comes to you naturally in the exam.

 Stop using calculator

     Sell your calculator the day you buy this course. No point in taking this course, if you still want to use calculator. Push yourself to do the calculations the way it is taught in the course and then see the magic.

You can share your experiences with mental maths in the comments section.

Note: There is a 20% discount code available now. 
https://www.udemy.com/speed-mental-math-tricks/?couponCode=THESCHOOLOFGENIUS

Happy becoming a calculator!







Wednesday, 31 May 2017

3 Lessons I learnt in May





















I can't believe that today is the last day of May. May be it is! 
Reviews are scary at times. But they help us face the reality.

Reality of May:


In the last post, I mentioned two things which were my priority for May – Meditation, learning Tamil.

Meditation:


The only improvement in it was I did it twice a day. Apart from the morning Pranayamam, I was meditating in the night before I went to sleep. Meditating in the morning was easy. Because after a good night's sleep, the number of thoughts which bombard the brain are lower. But in the night, the entire day's happenings kept revolving in my head. It seemed impossible to let each thought go. I was trying to train myself to meditate in the worst case scenario. To deal with that, I kept my diary beside me and dumped every thought which kept passing in my head. That helped in cooling the heat of thoughts. I could meditate with less disturbance after that. 

Meditation calmed my brain a little before sleep. I could fall asleep immediately after that.

Sadly, I could not feel much improvement in quality of meditation. I didn't know if I spent even a few seconds thoughtless or not. But at this stage of meditation, I don't think it is really important to buy a devise and measure the quality of my meditation.

I shall continue this for the next month. But this time I will concentrate more on quality.
Image result for meditation 

Learning Tamil:


I speak a few sentences in Tamil everyday with my friends now. They correct my mistakes. But I have not really learnt a lot of new words. Watching movies was just like revision. Even though I was not doing any deliberate practise from the words of movies, they helped in passive learning. Unseen advantage of watching movies was, I was getting my daily dose of laughter. 

Image result for tamil language

Apart from the two I prioritized, other areas which were continuation of April:

1.      Exercise: I followed the same routine. Haven't changed anything in it.

2.    Writing: I did terribly in this when it came to writing blog posts. I started a few articles but couldn't finish them at all. 

3.    Reading: I spent 17 hours on reading this month which is one hour lesser than last month. But I read two really good books.

4.    Waking up: On the days I was tired, I forced myself to sleep more. Otherwise, I was able to be awake by 6 daily.


Lessons learnt this month:


Whatever I have written above are for the days I stayed at home. But when I was on vacation, by default I discontinued routines for a change. But the vacation taught me a lot:
     
      One: Small habits can be continued wherever you are: 

     I was still doing elevate even on vacation. Because it just takes five minutes of my time.

      Two: Don’t break a habit without making a plan on coming back

     After I came back from vacation, I found it tough to catch up with my habits. I had lot of other pending work which occupied my mind all the time. I have learnt that I need to plan on the work I will have to handle after a break and how I will get back to each habit. This is a useful lesson for the next vacation
     
     Three: Vacations help in discovering yourself

     Productivity is not about working for 365 days. I have been more productive and happier after returning from vacation. It also helped me discover myself. Plan your vacations along with your work.


Goals for June:


1.      Art
     Lately, I have ignored painting or sketching or zentangles. My art material looks at me with a sad face whenever I clean my room. I want to spend just ten minutes on zentangles everyday to start with.

2.    Writing
      I am unhappy with the progress I have made in writing. This month, I am going to complete all the half written articles and publish them.

3.    Exercise
     I will improve my exercise routine by adding a few new exercises. It not only increases my exercise time but also makes it interesting.

That's all folks!

How did your May go? What are your plans for June?

Plan right away.

Happy planning!



Tuesday, 30 May 2017

5 Daily Routines which will make you a better person

Days come. Days go. 

What has changed? 

Have you increased weight because of unhealthy habits? Have you lost weight due to stress? 

Is your life stagnant?

Whatever it might be. It is never too late to see a stark improvement. I am sharing my favourite picture for you to feel inspired.



Are you ready for this?

I have 5 simple routines for you to try for the next one year. You can see the change in 30 days but in long term you will have improved by 37.8 times. Here they are: