Rewarding yourself immediately: The ONE surefire way to keep your habits

Is instant gratification evil? Does working on long term goals need sacrifices such that you need to give up something fun today for a better future? Is working on long term goals a drudgery, which appears boring and monotonous?

The answer to all three questions is NO. You can build a good habit and make it fun and instantly gratifying. In fact, that is the ONLY way to keep up that habit long term. Let’s read on to learn more. Continue reading Rewarding yourself immediately: The ONE surefire way to keep your habits

Choose your words, frame your situation

It is often said that there are no good or bad events, just events. Whether it is a good event or a bad one is decided by the emotion that we attach to it. Sure, some events are frustrating and some are saddening. But they are only so if you decide to let them get to you.

Nothing lets you stew in your negative emotion than the words you choose to describe a situation. The human brain can quickly attach emotions to words from spoken / written language. The words you use to phrase a situation can directly or invisibly affect your emotions. The words you choose can either empower you to take control or leave you writhing in pain, self-pity and helplessness.

Here’s how you can choose your words carefully and frame your situation accordingly.

Continue reading Choose your words, frame your situation

Book Summary: Art of Choosing by Sheena Iyengar

 

Title: The Art of Choosing
Author: Sheena Iyengar
Publisher: Twelve
ISBN-10: 0446504114
ISBN-13: 978-0446504119
Buy on: Amazon.in | Amazon.com

Continue reading Book Summary: Art of Choosing by Sheena Iyengar


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Coming up: An experiment with veganism

Priya (my wife) and I have read several articles on veganism. Both of us are vegetarians. Our diet is made of whole grains, grain flour, legumes, nuts, fruits and vegetables. In addition, we also consume milk thrice a day and use milk-based products such as curd and ghee in ample quantities.

The range of articles on veganism goes from absolute fanaticism to hateful criticism. It is difficult to determine solely based on polarised opinions whether veganism is really life-changing in a positive way or just a fad. So we have decided to embark on a one month experiment in the December of 2019. If things work wonderfully during the experiment, like it has for hundreds of thousands of vegans, our new year resolution will be to turn vegans long term. Otherwise we will pretend that the month-long experiment never happened! Continue reading Coming up: An experiment with veganism

Book Summary: Deep Work by Cal Newport

Title: Deep Work
Author: Cal Newport
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
ISBN-10: 9780349413686
ISBN-13: 978-0349413686
Buy on: Amazon.in | Amazon.com

Introduction

In a generation that is constantly distracted by several inputs, either from too many electronic devices or by the constant interruptions of a an open plan work space, Cal Newport is a contrarian emphasising that several hours of work where you are uninterrupted by devices or humans is essential if you want to perform ground-breaking work. In his book Deep Work, he classifies all important work that requires total focus and utmost concentration as deep work or the type of work in which you need to work hard and dive deep down into the depths of your brain or body to find focus and achieve your goals. All other work  which keep you busy, but have no significant change in your life, say checking emails, chatting with your colleagues over work and commuting as shallow work. Continue reading Book Summary: Deep Work by Cal Newport


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5 thought-changing books you should read this year

Priya and I read several non-fiction books every year. Usually our yearly tally is 20 books each. We also summarise most of the books we read. You can read them in the Book Summaries section.

In this post, we have picked 5 books that are our favourites. Reading these books have replaced some cliched and flawed thoughts about talent, personal finance, productivity, psychology and concentration. Continue reading 5 thought-changing books you should read this year


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Treat your brain like a two-year old child to beat procrastination

You have heard productivity gurus often say that in order to go to the gym the next morning, you have to lay out the clothes near your bed at night, or perhaps even sleep in them. This sounds like excellent advice. But despite that friction-busting move, here’s what happens in the morning.

Alarm clock: RRRRiiiinngggg!

You: Okay, let’s go to the gym.

Your brain: Whiiiiiiiiine…. I want to sleep. The bed is comfortable. I am not getting up.

Continue reading Treat your brain like a two-year old child to beat procrastination

Explore and exploit: The intentions that determine our choices

Let’s say you have a dinner date night with your spouse this weekend. Will you pick the same restaurant where you have been before and enjoyed your meal or will you try something new? Your regular restaurant will surely guarantee a great experience. That’s why you often go there. But it takes away the feeling of serendipity. A feeling of discovering something somewhere which is better than any experience you have ever had. For that you should seek a restaurant you have never been to. What if you stumble upon something that becomes your new favourite? But contrarily, what if the experience there is so bad that it ruins your weekend?

You’ll never know the answer. You’ll never know if you are stuck in a rut, not willing to try something better. You’ll never know if a new trial will be a worthwhile experience. That is what we try to answer with the explore / exploit intention. Sometimes you have to EXPLORE new experiences, hoping that one of them becomes a new favourite. But more often, you have to exploit, using your existing knowledge to lock in a good experience.

Continue reading Explore and exploit: The intentions that determine our choices

The four pillars of occupations

Hindu religion and several other cultures talk about the concept of trinity. In the trinity principles, three types of activities are spoken about. There is a creator who creates and a destructor who destroys. In the middle sits the concept of security, the one who protects. As with anything in Hinduism, these principles are deified. They are Brahma (creation), Vishnu (protection) and Shiva (destruction). Our occupations today can be classified into these three categories. Along with them, I would also like to add another category to make it a quartet, i.e. maintenance. I call these the four pillars of occupations. Continue reading The four pillars of occupations

Why doctors and lawyers ‘practise’

Since 2015, I have been a software freelancer. I have been frequently asked about where I work, to which I respond that I work from home. I am asked if I have my own business and company. My reply is that I work alone on contract with companies and that I don’t own a company and do not have employees. I explain that opportunities of such nature are abundant in fields like photography, carpentry and weaving, and thankfully in software.

To my own surprise, I have often caught myself replying, “Not a business, I’d rather say I have my own practice*.” I have heard several individual professionals, mainly doctors, lawyers and chartered accountants who use the term ‘practice’ to describe their occupation. It is a wonderful term in my opinion, something that perfectly describes almost everyone’s occupation, whether working alone or with a company, whether a sweeper or the prime minister.

Continue reading Why doctors and lawyers ‘practise’