Grinding Grievances

Hello again and welcome, dear readers! I hope you had a good week. For those who are actually reading this stuff that I’m posting, I thank you. You guys just reading this motivates me to challenge myself to do more things. As time passes it feels as if I’m trying to entertain people, even though I’m actually not. But anyway, I don’t mind writing for you guys because I like to write.

So after making my Plan and putting it to use, I followed it for two days. On the third day, I faltered. I spent all my time on YouTube, entertaining myself. All through the day I watched videos, trying not to feel guilty but obviously feeling the same. I got really angry at myself. People thought I was sick. I felt addicted to movies and stories. I had this since I was a kid. I love stories. I have my grandmother to blame for that, but I guess I wouldn’t be writing now if it wasn’t for her telling me all those stories and me deciding to pick up a book to read.

So I got curious as to why I had such an addiction and I decided to look into it.

Why was I addicted to these videos?

I knew I was getting distracted from my goals. But I couldn’t control myself. Or was it that I didn’t want to? It was probably that.

You see I had placed too much value in the entertainment that I was getting for free over the number of hours that I would have to spend in trying to achieve my goal. I had given too much importance to a short term gratification in the expectation that I would “eventually” get bored while pursuing the third step a.k.a. The Grind for the long term goal.

Why did I place more value in this activity that did not contribute in any way to the goal I set? Couldn’t I have made my goal more interesting? The way I see it, the only way I could make it through The Grind is if there is a genuine interest in the goal. If I set a goal but I don’t like it, no matter what happens I will fail to achieve it. So only if it is an activity I love doing will I complete The Grind. I can’t exactly call it a step because it isn’t. It is a repetitive action. It doesn’t end. Ever.

Conversely, if I need to know whether I would love an activity, I’d have to set a goal, make a Plan with the goal in mind and start doing it. If I can make it through the Grind and achieve my first milestone and I still like doing the activity, then I could say that I have found something I love doing.

But eventually it does get boring after a while doing the same activity again and again. So how do I sustain my interest when my Drive is running low?

Some people exist who don’t have something called “giving up” in their dictionary. It may entirely be possible that they want to. But they are pushed by an invisible force to do more. They just don’t know how to stop. The only thing they see is the goal.

My current favorites among these kind of people are: –

Check out each of their responses to the thought of giving up.

Now I haven’t read any other great stories. So these are whom I stick with for now.

The way I choose to make it through is to either read or just watch one of their videos like the ones mentioned above.

For the most part they are willing to keep going until their body says stop. Otherwise they don’t know how to stop. I just keep reading it over and over again wondering how it’s possible. Then I get curious and set for myself a more challenging task than what already was and get back on track.

It isn’t really as easy as it sounds though. But me being more emotionally driven, I get easily influenced. And frankly how difficult something is seems to be the limit of the mind and not an actual limit. So I imagine being in their shoes. They don’t question the goal. They set it in full awareness and then follow it through all the way till the end.

Recently I started doing this thing that sort of wakes my body out of a state of laziness, i.e. bathing with cold water (I used to bathe with warm or hot water). When the first splash of water touches the body, the hesitation or fear that is felt before starting is quite similar to what it feels when starting something new. Quite like the illusion that we create in our minds before we start an activity that we consider to be difficult.

For the most part this shakes up the sluggishness and I feel more focused while doing the Grind.

This is what works for me but may or may not necessarily work for you. So you could try and see if it does work. You could experiment to see what works for you. Anyway it’s working for me. So for now I’m good since I got back on track the next day. My life has definitely become more interesting since I started this blog. Every week I prepare and make notes while travelling and every weekend I look forward to putting it together in a meaningful way and publishing it. I’m trying to make this into a habit.

Thank you for those who stuck around till the end. Tell me what you feel. Tell me if you use any other way to push through challenging times. I’m interested in knowing how you solve problems in your lives. Until next week then. Ciao.

Getting the Pre-requisites in place

Hello again and welcome readers! As much a journey as it is for me, if it is helping you, dear reader, let me know through likes, comments or sharing. It would mean a ton to me. I’m aware that I’m not the only one in this world facing such problems. So if you feel the same way, please do let me know. I’d be motivated to work more on myself and this blog, to make sure what I put out is genuine and valuable rather than just do it for the sake of ‘some’ improvement in my life.

Last time I’d talked about a system that defined what “Hard Work” was. It’s a pretty good system with the exception that for someone who is used to spending time in movies and TV series, which seem to have so many life lessons, incorporating such a “sacrificial system” into the daily routine seems daunting. How do you let go of something that is actually valuable and might help in life? I say this because in every movie I watch, I almost always seem to take away something from it. I become the character I root for and feel everything that he/she feels. Well, almost. So how do I apply these to my life?

Applying these newly found principles requires the old habits to be gone so that space is created for them. To unlearn an old habit entails a constant and incessant awareness about one’s own thoughts and actions. That, my readers, is hard.

Here, I’d like to add that although it isn’t everybody’s cup of tea, meditation helps in feeling more balanced and having more control in the face of temptation or distraction. I’d say that’s just me, but I think it’s worth a shot.

In our daily routine, we do so many things in unawareness. Waking up, getting ready, eating, getting to work, etc. are all activities we do every day without actually thinking about them. We do so because for such basic activities, our body automatically stores the required information in the muscle memory. This frees up thinking space for more important matters (or at least that which is perceived as more important). But in that process we are denying ourselves complete presence in a particular activity that could lead to feeling fulfilled.

Now don’t get me wrong, there are times when multi-tasking is necessary. But, when we focus on doing an activity solely and completely, by the end it feels like an achievement, however small it may be. So if at any time, we feel stressed, I believe it is mostly because of divided attention.

Quoting Tony Robbins,

“Where focus goes, energy flows”.

This proverb clearly explains to us where our power lies. When the only thing in our control is our focus, then we must be conscious about how we are using it. It is the very thing that decides the quality of our work and by extension, our life.

“What we choose to focus on will ultimately decide the quality of our lives.”

The very reason why magicians and mentalists have a career is because they know how normal minds work and they know how to play with our focus. It’s just that they play nice because of which we feel entertained. Even advertisements are designed in such a way as to keep your attention on them for as long as is possible. They give you information packaged with reassuring or beautiful or sexual imagery. They are using your inherent need for security, adventure and physical attraction in order to keep your focus on their ads.

Now if I have to sacrifice my entertainment for my work, I need the work to be of equal value in my mind. I am primarily motivated by the “Value to Life” factor. If what I do adds value to either my life or someone else’s life, I find it motivating to do.  If however, it is just meant for “being done” because of the situation I’m in, I don’t feel any drive towards it whatsoever.

Speaking of Drive, the different types of Drive are: –

HardWork_MotivationMatrix
Source: www.primermagazine.com

For the most part, I see my drive coming from the positive side. I do feel passionate and validated when I want to start an ambitious task.

So how do I give it up? And if I can’t seem to be able to give it up, how can I reduce the time devoted to it? The answer to this lies in the second step, the Plan, as was discussed in the last post.

Oh and here’s the infographic

MotivationInfographic

The car analogy that I had in my previous post took this form and it feels complete.

The Plan, or the body of the vehicle, holds everything together, so if the crucial nuts and bolts are either missing or loose, it will all fall apart.

Like fuel, The Drive is in limited supply and will have to be refuelled at some point. I’d say it should be done immediately after waking up. Doing or listening to something that refuels our Drive is essential to having the impetus to Grind.

The Grind is like the engine of a car. It uses the Drive-fuel in order to supply power to the wheels to move and keep moving forward.

The Sacrifice is the friction between the wheels and the ground, much like the friction that we feel in our minds when we are supposed to give up something that we value. The more the friction that the tyre bears, the more will be the grip on the road at higher speeds and the lesser will be the chance of spiraling out of control.

The Payoff would be the momentum that we acquire in due time. And like the engine needs to keep going for the momentum to be sustained, we need to keep Grinding in order for the Payoff to be consistent.

So what was the point of this post?

It was to know what is the crucial step is to let go of the past habits.

“The crucial step is to sit down and make the Plan.”

I thank you readers, if you have reached all the way down here. Obviously, I’m writing all this as I’m discovering it. So I’m off to making my Plan. If you like this, if you find it helpful in any way, or even if there are any flaws, please let me know in the comments section below. And see you next week.

5 NOT SO EASY steps of Hard Work

Hello again and welcome, readers! If you are here, it means you have taken out time from your life to read this. I sincerely thank you for that.

So last time I’d discussed about what I thought about “Hard Work”. Today, I’m going to briefly summarize a very elaborate blog post on “Hard Work in 5 easy steps: Understanding Perseverance in the Modern Age”, published in the website www.primermagazine.com and written by Jack Busch.

The very first line of the post says, “Hard Work isn’t physical, it’s emotional”. This line brings into light what we perceive as ‘hard’ when we do the ‘work’.

Most successful people have probably given advice like, “Work hard and you can achieve anything” when asked how someone else might do it. The problem with this though is that it is a vague definition. If for one person it might be giving relationships a wide berth, for another it might be the sacrifice of a secure source of income. Also, if someone goes to work at 9:00 a.m. and returns by 7:00 p.m., and comes home tired and frustrated, it might feel as if they are working hard. This definition is flawed in the way that it relies on comparing yourself with others who most probably have a different routine or with themselves when they had a less taxing routine.

It would be hard work if, apart from doing what we are supposed to do, we find time to do more. For example, a father coming home after a laborious day at work and the physical exertion of travel, to warmly greet his wife and children could probably amount to working hard.

But what is he sacrificing here?” you could say.

He would be sacrificing his urge to complain and rest in order to interact with them and complete the family with his presence. And if the child is a toddler, he probably wouldn’t have a sound sleep. Better yet, imagine if the same routine was to be followed by a mother. I think we could agree that that would be it. That is clearly a superhuman task.

So let’s look at the 5 steps.

In Busch’s own words,

  1. The Drive– This is the motivation, the inspiration, the entire reason you work hard. This is the engine that pushes your efforts forward.
  2. The Plan– If The Drive is the heart of your hard work, then the plan is the skeleton. The plan maps out your course of action and helps plot your progress and keep you on track.
  3. The Grind– The Grind is the point when working hard stops being fun and exciting and starts becoming tedious, stressful and perhaps even discouraging. How you handle the grind is often what separates the winners from the quitters.
  4. The Sacrifice– This is the crux of hard work, and the one thing that makes hard work truly hard. Any ambitious goal requires significant personal sacrifice. Enduring the strain in your relationships, finances and comfort level is the real test.
  5. The Payoff– This is the brass ring. In order for hard work to be worthwhile, you have to define a number of goals and milestones and recognize when you’ve achieved them. And once you do, you have to up the ante and keep going.

So at least I was on point with The Sacrifice.

Jack went on further to elaborate each point, but I’ll keep it short.

The Drive or the Motivation can be classified based on whether it is positive or negative and on whether it is internal or external. I will shortly post an infographic image showing the same. This is an important component because it gets us started on our goals. It helps us bypass the phase of inertia, initially.

The Plan, as described, is the skeleton. This is one of the crucial pillars of Hard Work because unless we have a plan, we won’t have a direction to move forward in. Having a plan makes the work involved, quantified. It helps in setting achievable goals. In the past, the mistake I’d made a lot of times was in this step; I made my plan and started executing but quickly burned out and gave up. The mistake was that I’d set impossible goals for myself, goals that I couldn’t possibly have accomplished in the set time frame.

The Grind is the second most important component of the process. The result of following even just this step can lead to developing skills that can’t be rivalled easily. Even if we practice doing what our goal requires us to do without actually working towards our goal, we’ll get halfway there. The other half is The Plan. This is probably what Will Smith calls, ‘A Sickening Work Ethic’.

Considering a car for analogy, if the Drive is the fuel, the Plan is the body, and the Grind is the engine, then the Sacrifice could be considered as the friction between the tyres and the concrete that makes the car move forward. Greater the sacrifice, greater will be the friction and keep the vehicle from skidding out of control at high speeds. The first three steps will enable to reach a general achievable level of success. But it’s the Sacrifice that will truly challenge us to the maximum of our capabilities and reveal to us what we really are capable of doing.

True hard work has a disruptive effect on your life, which is exactly the intended effect”, i.e. it takes you out of your comfort zone and forces you to grow.

Also, it is “the act of surrendering something of value for the sake of a greater purpose”.

Finally, the part of success that everyone tends to focus on, The Payoff. This is the step where celebration is due. Whenever a big task is ticked off of your checklist or an important milestone has been reached, it is essential that we celebrate. A celebration doesn’t necessarily mean it needs to be a party. It could be as simple as doing something that calms your nerves or something that makes you peaceful, if not happy. It could even be just a powerful and loud “Yessss!!!!” with fists raised in the air.

Celebration can mean different things for different people, but it is important to recognize that it shouldn’t be some activity that would derail you from your plan and cause you to lose the momentum built up in reaching there. Celebration is required because in that moment we acknowledge the progress we’ve made and give ourselves permission to feel proud in knowing that the Hard Work and Sacrifice has paid off.

If you, the reader, have come all the way to the bottom of this post, I can’t say enough how thankful I am. This is not only for you, but also my journey of discovering what works and what doesn’t. Also, that doesn’t mean that I’m doing all this flawlessly. I do make mistakes and have occasional slip ups. But I keep reverting back to the Plan. So thank you for sticking with me.

In a day’s time, I’ll be posting an infographic, attempting to connect the steps and concepts discussed in this post. Until then, see you later.