Monday, 1 May 2017

6 Lessons learnt from sticking to resolutions in April

April is gone.
Here comes May.
How did April go?
What is April teaching May?

Last month I introduced you to the idea of Monthly resolutions. I declared my resolutions for April. Was I able to stick with all of them?

The one thing I wanted to change: Wake up at 6 AM

The one thing which I could do diligently was waking up early. I did not use an alarm to wake up early. So in the first week, I was waking up as early as 4:40 for the fear of not waking up by 6. But slowly I could convince my brain that it can wake up by 6 without oversleeping.

I give the credit of this success to public accountability. I felt accountable for the promise I made.

Good : I could tap into my natural alarm clock and did not depend on external alarm clocks.

Bad : I was not getting enough sleep as I was waking up early irrespective of when I went to sleep.

The other things I wanted to improve:

Physical Fitness:

On the days I exercised, I could do 25 push-ups by pushing myself a little more. But I had to discontinue exercise due to my knee pain. The pain became worse that I was afraid to do any sort of exercise. But later I realised that there was not much harm in doing knee strengthening exercises.

Good: On the days I did not exercise, I made use of the time for cooking. I also learnt five new yoga postures which helped me to strengthen my knee. I gathered back the courage to exercise within a week.

Bad: I did not exercise for a week for the fear of hurting myself more. I should have taken an expert’s advice without taking such a long break.


I am not happy with the progress I made. I sat for the extra time but I was doing that with great difficulty. There is a huge scope to improve on this.


I spent 18 hours on reading last month which is more than my target of 15 hours a month. The books I completed are:

The one thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan

Image result for one thing book

Do the work by Steven Pressfield

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Re-awaken the giant within by Tony Robbins

Image result for re-awaken the giant within

The books I am reading right now are:

Talent code by Daniel Coyle
Image result for talent code

Never Split the difference by Chris Voss
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I failed terribly in this. I find it easier to stick with writing an answer a day on Quora but the same logic does not work for writing a blog. I need a writing prompt for blog. I should also be equipped with enough practical knowledge on it to write. For the practical knowledge, I need to do the experiments first. The faster I improve myself, the better my posts get.

I realized that the target I set for myself was unrealistic. I will stop putting a target on the number of articles and only work on improving the quality of my articles.


I was on schedule for the first week but missed the schedule in the second week as my laptop was not working. The internet speed was too slow to watch it on my phone. But I plan on finishing the course on time by doing it 30 minutes a day for the next 10 days. Catching up is more important than complaining.

Lessons learnt:
  • ·        Concentrating on only one thing definitely brings the change (Waking up)
  • ·        Public accountability helps (Waking up)
  • ·        Obstacles are there all the time. It is about how quickly you can get rid of the obstacles.            (Exercise & Course)
  • ·        It is okay to set unrealistic targets. That is the only way you will learn what realistic is.             (Writing)
  • ·        When you love something, you tend to over perform. (Reading)
  • ·        The tougher it is to do, greater is the resistance. (Meditation)

Plans for next month:

The one thing I want to concentrate on this month is Meditation. Apart from that I will spend 5 minutes watching a Tamil movie and learn the conversations. The plans of April will continue as it is.

How did your April resolutions go?
What are your plans for May?
Comment below.

Happy planning for May!

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Book Review: The one thing

Image result for one thing book 
Author: Gary Keller, Jay Papasan

'The one thing' is the one book you read to know all that is required to be successful. When I saw the chapters I thought it was going to be just another book with the same old stuff. The content is same. Not denying it. But every page in the book is meant to motivate the reader. The chapters are in perfect order to set the context. There are a few perfect examples to etch the concept in readers minds. And there are also exercises for you to think about your one thing. Overall, it was interesting. I didn’t feel like putting down the book at all.

The book starts with this wonderful quote:
"If you chase two rabbits you will not catch even one."
And each chapter starts with a quote. 

Some of my favourites:
"Be like a postage stamp. Stick to one till you get there."

"Success demands singleness of purpose."

And there are many more in the book.

To make it easy for the readers, the book has been classified into 3 parts. He tells you the lies which derail you. The truth which helps you get back to focus. Finally, the extraordinary results which are got by ditching the lies and embracing the truth.


Ch1: The one thing

If you have 10 things to fix, think about the one thing which is going to make everything else easy. Go to the smallest thing.

Ch2:Domino effect 

Success builds on one thing at a time. Prioritize things for the day. And the one thing is going to get dominoes started.

Ch3: Success leaves clues

He gives a lot of examples to show how people or organizations who followed one thing were successful. Identify your one thing. If you don't know the one thing, that itself is the one thing you need to do. No one is self made. Passion and skill can be made into one.

Part 1: Lies : They mislead and derail us

Ch 4: Everything Matters Equally

  • ·        Activity doesn't mean productivity.
  • ·        The things which are important don't always shout the loudest
  • ·        The dark side of to-do lists are the trivial things which catch our    attention. There is no sequence in general.
  • ·        Success lists help you build the stones for your success
  • ·        A to-do list becomes success list only when you prioritize it
  • ·        Thing big, go small

Ch 5: Multitasking

          Multitasking is about screwing up more than one activity at a time.

Ch 6: Discipline
  • ·        Success is about doing the right thing and not everything right
  • ·        You can't be disciplined in everything. Just select the one which matters      for you and make habits around it
  • ·        Hard stuff becomes habit and habit makes the hard stuff easy
  • ·        On an average it takes 66 days to make a habit
  • ·        Selective discipline is what is required
  • ·        Build one habit at a time, habits are sequential not simultaneous

Ch 7: Will power

  • ·        Will power is not on will call
  • ·        It's a limited renewable resource
  • ·        Food for thought- complex carbs and protein
  • ·        Taxes on will power
  • ·        Time your task

Ch 8:A balanced life
  • ·        Unattainable pipe dream
  • ·        Purpose, significance and meaning make life successful
  • ·        Magic never happens in the middle. Magic happens at the extremes
  • ·        Counter balancing done well gives illusion of balance

Ch 9: Big is bad

We are kept from our goal not because of obstacles but a clear path to less important goal

Part 2: The truth -Simple path to productivity
Be careful how you interpret the world. It is like that.

Ch 10: Focusing question
  • ·       What is the one thing I can do
  • ·        Such that by doing it
  • ·        Everything will be easy or unnecessary

Ch 11: The success habit
     Success is simple. Do what’s right, the right way, at the right time.

Ch 12:The path to great answers

Image result for great question matrix
Part 3: Extraordinary results- Unlocking the possibilities within you

Ch 13: Live with purpose

Life isn't about finding yourself it is about creating yourself.

Ch 14: Live by priority

·        Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now
·        Live with purpose then you know where to go
·        Live by priority you know what to do to get there
·        Hyperbolic discounting
·        Lining up your dominoes - goal setting to the now

Ch 15: Live for productivity

·        Block your calendar first for vacations and then for one thing
·        Protect your time block

Ch 16: The three commitments
·        Nobody whoever gave his best regretted it
·        The commitments
1.      Seek mastery
2.    Seek best ways of doing it
3.    Willing to be held accountable

Ch 17: The four thieves

·        Focus is a matter of what things you are not going to do
·        The four thieves are
1.      Inability to Say “No”
2.    Fear of Chaos
3.    Poor Health Habits
4.    Environment Doesn’t Support Your Goals
·        Don't be a victim of your circumstances

Ch 18: The journey

·        Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go
·        There are two wolves inside you - the one you feed is what grows

Ch 19: Putting the one thing to work

       Start thinking about the one thing which helps you in different aspects of life. 

    Happy discovering your one thing !

Thursday, 20 April 2017

What is really required for success?

Image result for the word success

There are many misconceptions on success. You hear a lot of stories. You hold a lot of false beliefs in your head. You are at the right place now. Read further and change your beliefs.

Tough Love vs pampering love

Pampering love feels safe and cosy. All of us crave for it. Everyone believes that they need some one who can support them through the thick and thin. But is that all required to be successful? A successful person will not only have a supporter but also a mentor who gives tough love. It is tough love which pushes you out of your comfort zone. Pampering love tells you that it is okay to fail and you need not feel bad about it. But tough love challenges you to retry and discover your true self.

With Mentor vs Without Mentor:
A lot of people complain that they are not able to succeed because they don’t have a mentor. They want a mentor to give them the manual to success. If you are one of them, it is better to open your eyes today than later. There is no step by step instructions to success. The world out there is wild. Go and explore it. You definitely need a mentor to avoid the most obvious mistakes. Books and courses can provide you that guidance. Don’t wait till you find a person as your mentor. You can make books and courses your mentor and start working. Mentor will find a way to you. 

"And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it." - Paulo Coelho.

Passion vs Strengths

There are two sets of people. The first set thinks that they are useless. They have neither passion nor any strengths. If you belong to this category, change your mindset immediately. Don’t consider yourself as useless. There will be something about you which is unique. Do you love eating? You can become a food taster. Do you watch TV a lot? You can earn money by writing reviews of the TV programs you watch. Just find that damn thing which you are good at.
Now the second set of people has both passion and strengths. They waste a lot of time in deciding between passion and strength. If you are in this category, stick to one thing. It does not matter what you are doing. Because passion is anyway going to fade when obstacles come into the picture. If you believe in your strengths, develop passion in it. Make it interesting. The successful ones are those who persevere through hardships. Not the ones who are still trying to choose between passion and strengths.

Hard work vs Smart work:

People don’t work on their dreams because they are busy thinking how to be smart. You don’t become smart by thinking. You become smart by doing and failing. All looks fine in the imaginary plan. You will come across the loopholes only when you execute the plan. Start quick, fail quicker.
Hard work does not mean donkey work. You have to put in deliberate practice. You need to be a step ahead than what you have done the previous day. Next time don’t call the same old work you have doing for the entire year as hard work.

Full-time vs Part-time:                                 

“I work 9 to 5. I need to quit my job to be successful.”
Don’t ever till this to yourself. It is just an excuse for not working. Everyone has the same 24 hours in their time account every day. Your day time job gives you the financial security. The part-time work helps you get closer to your dreams. You move closer to your dream by only sweating for a little more time after work each day. You can quit your full-time job once your part -time work gives you enough income. You can also scale the part time job to a full time job.

Start today vs Start when you are ready

You don’t have to become super smart or millionaire to start working on your dreams. You can start from wherever you are now. All you need to do is take some action everyday. You will eventually become the person you always dreamt of becoming.

Small vs Big

You want to write a book in a month. Probably if you work hard, you will accomplish it. But writing a book without even writing an article before, tells how novice your book is going to be. And the fatigue which the month-long exercise gives you, will make you hate writing. You will subconsciously avoid it. So start small. Ocean was formed through drops only. So will be your book.

Journey vs Destination

People want immediate results. Ask people who succeeded, how it felt to be successful. They tell you that it was the journey which they enjoyed the most. Stop waiting for the destination and enjoy the journey today.

Old ideas vs New ideas

People don’t work on their dreams because they wait for a new idea. If you have a new idea, which is going to transform the world, congratulations! You are welcome here. But if you don’t have a new idea, you can always work on how to make the existing idea better. It is no less compared to the new idea.

Ordinary vs Perfection

Perfection is important but it is not the only thing. You can chase perfection. But first get the basics right. Then work on improving it. Don’t stop your work under the name of perfection.

Risk vs Moving out of comfort zone

Taking a big step which involves huge investment without formulating the plan is a risk. Taking a small step with the big picture in mind is moving out of comfort zone.

Now that all your misconceptions have washed away, start a new journey with new beliefs.

Happy walking on the success path!

Saturday, 15 April 2017

This small exercise will help you discover yourself

Image result for self discovery

How much time do you spend on knowing about your favorite celebrity?

You read and watch every small thing about the celebrity. If I were to ask you a random question about that celebrity, you have the answer ready

What if I ask the same question about you? You will stumble.

Why do you spend so much time on them? Because, you consider them important. And you take some of them as your role models.

What about you? Aren't you important too? What if someone published an article about you too? If you have to ever give an interview to an editor, you need to be aware of yourself first. Without knowing yourself, how can you explain yourself to others? How often do you know the reason behind how you behave? It sounds as if I am digressing, but there is a connection.

I have been doing a small exercise since the past 30 days. You can start it off as a 30-day challenge but you should continue till you know yourself completely.
I take a topic which can provide me insights about myself each day and write 10 things on that. This idea had been in the pipeline since 2 years but I could start it only last month. I had been postponing this for two years because I did not know where to start and how to keep the chain. So this time, I started off by writing the 10 prompts on which I will write for the next 10 days. This idea was a kick starter. Now on the 12th day, I wrote the second set of prompts. So I didn’t have to break the chain at all.

Now the biggest confusion in your head is what should the prompts be like.
Here are a few prompts which I have written:

>How can I add value to others’ lives?
>My fears
>My limiting beliefs
>Core values
>Must have items
>Purpose of my life
>Idea of fun in life
>How to make better use of commute time
>My philosophy on life
>What are the courses I want to do?
>How can I improve my life?
>What makes me happy?
>What will I do if money was not a criterion?
>My ideal home

What happens if you do this?

You will improve as a person
  • You will have a database about yourself
  • You know what you lack which helps you in improving yourself faster
  • You will know how to present yourself when you are with new people
  • You can attract people 
  • You will be more stable in a relationship because you are already clear on your priorities
You will be self-aware
  • Self-awareness reduces the chaos in life
  • Your emotions will be more stable because you are aware of the reasons behind them. Usually, you get angry because you feel injustice when unfair incidents occur. But when you know for what incidents you feel injustice, you can avoid being angry
  • Your life will be under your control. You know what you like and what you don't. You will not let others hurt you because you are already self- aware.
You will be smarter
  • You will be able to generate 10 points on anything in a very short time. 
  • Your articulation and writing skills will improve

How to do this?

Step 1
: On day 1, write 10 things which you want to discover about yourself

Step 2: For the next 10 days write 10 points on each of them
Step 3: Repeat the cycle

Where to write?

Option 1:
If you are conversant with excel, use this link for maintaining your database.

Option 2:
You can use an Evernote account. Create a notebook exclusively for this and add a new note in it each day.

What to do next?

  • As a follow-up to this exercise, write one thing which summarizes the ten points
  • Reorder your 10 points based on priority
  • Revise the list and add points as and when you realize something new about yourself
  • For new prompts, drill down into the points you have already written. If you have written eating chocolate makes you happy, write the top ten chocolates which make you happy
Comment below what your first few prompts are.

Happy discovering yourself!