Understanding your body’s auto-pilot

Picture some of the following actions: Walking in your neighbourhood, solving 10 + 10, talking in your mother tongue, counting 6 oranges. Now imagine the following scenarios: Walking through a crowded railway station or airport, solving e2 cot 27.9,  talking about science in a language that you cannot speak very well, counting 39 oranges. What difference did you notice between the two sets of situations?

If you pay close attention, you will notice that the amount of activity in the brain increases significantly during the activities in the second set. This is because those are situations that you are not used to being in on a regular basis. E.g. you may not even pay attention to your steps while walking through your neighbourhood, but while walking through the crowd of the railway station, you have to watch each step and be attentive. But if you are a regular commuter, even jostling through the crowd will become a habit. That exactly is the power of habits. Your mind runs in cruise mode when you perform activities as a habit and you will often find that it drifts into thoughts of its own while your body finishes the activity on its own accord. You can say that you are running on auto-pilot mode without thinking about it. Continue reading Understanding your body’s auto-pilot

The Joy of Acceptance

The Story of a little girl (me):

I am about 5’3”, may be a bit shorter. It is about the height of an average Indian Woman. But my family is no average. I am a dwarf among the giants. Women in our family including my mom are on an average of 5’5” and men around 5’10” .In both my family and my extended family among all the elders, siblings and cousins I’m the shortest. It was a source of great agony for me during my growing (or not growing enough years).

I can see I really fell short of my parents’ expectations in this front. We visited a number of doctors in various disciplines – Siddha, Ayurveda, Unani as well as the conventional English Medicine. Bought a number of miracle pills for height enhancement as well as exercise books. Most of this only made me feel more self-conscious of my vertical deficit and I abandoned them sooner or later.

Beauty in her own terms
Beauty in her own terms

Continue reading The Joy of Acceptance

Get more out of your reading

Let us go through an exercise. Consider all your reading sessions during your day. Factor in all that you read: blog posts, magazine & newspaper articles, social network posts, books, novels, just about everything. On a scale of 1 to 10, how satisfying do your consider your reading sessions? Do you come away from each reading session having learnt something new and looking at the world or your career in a different perspective? Are your reading sessions pleasurable and relaxing, making you want to read on and on? Or are they rather stressful, making you shake your head and ponder how terrible the world is? Continue reading Get more out of your reading

What does this make possible?

Today we are celebrating the ability in the disability. Paralympians not only stand for the celebration of human spirit but every Paralympic athlete is a tale of great courage and human potential unperturbed by great personal tragedy.

Life often throws at us difficult situations that are in our Circle of Concern, where there is little we can do to make the situation better. Neither can we ignore and move for it is a reality that is to be faced.

Inspiring Paraolympians
Inspiring Paralympians

I’m sure most of us have never and probably will never face anything as challenging as any of these athletes had faced and overcome. But we have our problems and they do seem big enough to disturb us.

So what do we do then? We can stand there..cry and whine..complaint about or we can ask.

‘What does this make possible?’

Continue reading What does this make possible?

The Extra in the Extra-Ordinary !!

What makes someone an Extra- Ordinary Athlete (Usain Bolt), an Extra-Ordinary Inventor (Edison), an Extra-Ordinary Doctor (Atul Gawande), Extra-Ordinary Actor (Kamal Haasan) or an Extra-Ordinary Minister (Sushma Swaraj) ? Is this the privilege of some professions and professionals or can any one be Extra-Ordinary in any work. Continue reading The Extra in the Extra-Ordinary !!

Why M.S.Subbulakshmi was the most Iconic Carnatic Singer ever?

Year 2016, will be the centenary year of this Music Legend, a time to look back and see what made M.S, the Iconic Legend that she is.

Nehru on M.S Subbulakshmi
Nehru on M.S Subbulakshmi

In South, it is very uncommon to have any pictures in the wall, even of the families themselves. No wedding pics, no pictures of children. The only pictures that ever adorned the walls were that of Gods, Dead Great Grandparents and that of M.S.Subbulakshmi fondly called as M.S. I remember going to a friend’s place where every wall had a picture of M.S, every album ever released of M.S.Subulakshmi was in their music collection in every conceivable form of audio recording that had existed till then from Gramaphone records, audio Cassettes, Compact Discs and Mp3.

Continue reading Why M.S.Subbulakshmi was the most Iconic Carnatic Singer ever?

Why being open about your life’s flawed past makes you better

Lewis Howes is a former American football and handball player, and is now an entrepreneur and an author of The School of Greatness. He also has a podcast of the same name. He is looked upon as a super-hero in the States. In fact, he himself used to think of himself as an impenetrable super-hero who could supress his darkest emotions and put up a brave face when challenged by adversity. One freak outburst incident made him change his mind. At the World Domination Summit 2015, Lewis urges us to tear down the facade of iron-clad straight face and be more human and express our feelings. He advocates vulnerability. In his own beautiful worlds, “Don’t be a super-hero. Be a super-human.” Continue reading Why being open about your life’s flawed past makes you better

How Priya mastered long distance bicycling

I love bicycling and have been doing it since learning it during my summer vacation between fourth standard and fifth standard. After marriage, I have been encouraging Priya (my wife) to use her bicycle frequently as well. But what she achieved over the last two weekends has left me immensely proud of her. With me, Priya rode 235km in the rainy conditions of monsoon, one of them being a 160km (or 100 mile) long ride from Pune to Thane. All this, considering that this is Priya’s first year of serious long distance bicycling, whereas it is already my 6th.

What is Priya’s secret to such supreme fitness and determination? Ideally this should have been Priya’s post to write as her own story, but this time we decided to take a different angle, by making me the observer who studied Priya’s success. Continue reading How Priya mastered long distance bicycling

The Four Phases of Successful Habit Building !!

You probably already know that building good habits is the shortcut to building success. Determination and Willpower are good traits. But they are fleeting and limited and to count on them for building a habit is like having Hope as a strategy.

setyourselfupforsuccess_grande

Most people rely on their will power to stick to a new habit. No wonder new year resolutions don’t even last a few weeks. We have all set resolutions to get fit, study harder, spend more time with family, travel more, start a business and we clock another year without doing any of it.

How can we create and sustain change? How do we set our self up to succeed ? If will power does  not work, then what works ?

Continue reading The Four Phases of Successful Habit Building !!

Can we really re-wire our brain?

As humans, we always change over the years. Our bodies, beliefs, tastes in food and clothes, the books we read, the TV shows we watch and many others. If you were to look back at yourself 10 years ago, then you’d realise that you are a very different person now than you were then.

However, some things hardly change. It may be the fact that you have either been a morning person or a night person right from your childhood. Or that you have never liked brinjals. Or maybe you never found studying history fun. Or probably you still bite your nails. These traits have been part of you for so damn long that you never thought that you could get rid of them. In fact they are part of your identity. You may have tried really hard to consciously change these traits at one point or the other. However, doing so feels like you are continuously rapping the knuckles of your automatic self and constantly keeping your brain on a high alert to avoid automatic behaviour. That is tiring and certainly not enjoyable.

However, what if it is possible to change these traits using certain methods to re-wire your brain, such that new behaviour becomes part of you? Anthony Robbins is the leader of a method called Neuro-Linguistic Programming and he believes that you can use this kind of ‘programming’ to re-wire your brain so that it behaves exactly as you want it to, without resorting to will power to rap your knuckles.

Continue reading Can we really re-wire our brain?