The Consequence of following The Plan

Hello and welcome, dear readers. Hope you had an awesome week. If you didn’t have one, you should’ve.

Last week was great! So great in fact that I forgot about the blog. I was working more than I’d worked in a long time and I liked it. Then the weekend arrived. I worked and played on Saturday. It felt balanced. On Sunday, as per habit, these are the things that I did: –

  • Woke up late
  • Watched interesting(educational) videos on YouTube
  • Bathed during mid-day
  • Played games for a few hours
  • …….oh snap! I need to sleep

This is how I imagine it goes for all gamers. I did enjoy the games, but I felt like there was a lot more work to do. I couldn’t have gotten here unless I’d followed the Plan. I couldn’t have followed the Plan unless I made the Plan. I couldn’t have made the Plan unless I had an objective.

Once the Plan kicks into action, if followed for a week at least, a consequence that arises is Momentum. You’ve reached a place where you feel you’re working, where you see quantifiable progress and you can plan ahead. Once you reach this point, you won’t feel like stopping.

Is it really necessary to have a break day, as in, Sunday? I found myself playing Computer games, but not really enjoying it and feeling guilty about not using the time to finish my work. The concept of having a Sunday as a day off isn’t really helping my conscience. I’d rather take smaller breaks between tasks than do them continuously and have large breaks. The problem is that it takes me time to get into the Flow state (and I’m guessing it does for everyone else), and having long breaks in between, breaks the flow. Also, generally I seem to be able to focus on a single task for not more than 45 minutes. We, as a humans, thrive on variety or uncertainty or chaos within the general order.

It helps to use the momentum gained during the week to continue working or at least do something else that will either contribute to the Plan or is a dominant interest. The mind wants to be engaged constantly. So it would be greatly satisfying to use it on tasks that serve the main life goals.

Whenever my interest in something wanes, I find it useful to take a short break of about 5 minutes and re-evaluate my task and the challenges I’m going to face. If I find it difficult, then I tend to look for easy solutions.

I’ve now realized that having the right amount of challenge is of paramount importance.

All our lives we strive for something more, taking up things that are mildly challenging and pursuing it until it is mastered, before moving on to something else. This highlights the innate need that we have, i.e. the feeling of having conquered everything. But at a given moment of time, there are an infinite number of things we can think of doing. And since we can’t do everything at once, we need to focus on doing one thing properly. If we accomplish that one thing, we feel different. We feel a little more than what we were. It’s for this one moment that we take up all these challenges.

So, is Life full of challenges? Or not? It seems to me like these are flip sides of the same coin. We seem to be hardwired to find challenges everywhere, a lot of the times when they aren’t even there. We even create our own challenges. But does it ever end? I’m guessing this question will either be answered by old and experienced people or at the time of death, when our life flashes before our eyes.

P.S. I’m guessing this is Life, not just our idea of Life, Life itself. Take plants for example. They manage to grow in every nook and cranny with minimal nutrition. Animals evolve over a period of time to overcome harsh climates. This is Life at its best. It is our very existence in the vast expanse of the universe.

If Life could have a motto, it would probably be “Defy all odds”

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Expectation vs Reality

Hello and welcome, dear readers! Hope you had a great week.

Ever made a Plan, followed it dutifully and something went wrong after a while? What was your reaction to that? Stress? Diversion? Self-sabotage? Or try again? I know mine certainly hasn’t been the last one.

You were very diligently following your Plan and then suddenly someone offers help. You trust them and they seem helpful. After a while, they suddenly have to attend to something else and their part of your Plan obviously goes on the second priority. All this time you wait up for them to finish up their part so that you can finally finish the project. But with no fault of theirs your project gets hung up.

Isn’t it frustrating?

But come to think of it, in my case, I sort of expected my project would “magically” be over when they did their part. If I’d really thought about it, maybe I wouldn’t have just assumed it’s over and passed time. It was my fault to assume that someone would take a project that I consider as mine and finish it considering it was theirs.

This isn’t the first time it has happened. But I surely have noticed it. And I will not let it slip by me again. My mistake was that I expected everything to be smooth.

If it is one thing that people from all walks of life have said, it is this.

“Life is never easy. There will always be ups and downs”

But I’ve also heard this.

ups-and-downs-quote-6-picture-quote-1

Sort of makes sense, right? Every damn single thing that we do in our lives as a human is ridiculously cyclic in nature. For example,

Cycle 1: Daily routine

  • Wake up in the morning
  • Get ready
  • Go to work
  • Come back tired
  • Pass time
  • Go to bed
  • Repeat

Cycle 2: Self defeat

  • Come across a problem
  • Search for an easy way around it
  • Fail to find one
  • Give up
  • Move on to something else
  • Repeat

Cycle 3: Life cycle of all animals (humans included)

  • Eat
  • Sleep
  • Procreate
  • Die
  • Repeat

Cycle 4: Life cycle of Businesses & Civilizations

  • Birth
  • Growth and Maturation
  • Peak state / Golden Age
  • Decline
  • Death
  • Repeat(New one)

Cycle 5: Breath cycle

  • Diaphragm contracts[Diaphragm: The muscle that helps us breathe]
  • Lungs expand
  • Inhalation occurs
  • Diaphragm expands
  • Lungs contract
  • Exhalation occurs

If we live and breathe in cycles, then it could be a fair guess to assume that we make mistakes in cycles. It may sometimes be some genuine bad luck involved, but again for someone persistent it is just another challenge in the journey. They don’t see bad luck. Or good luck. All they see is the goal and the people, situations and decisions that would aid them to overcome obstacles.

The only uniqueness about us humans when we compare to other millions of species on this planet is our awareness. We can be conscious about everything we do. Yet we choose not to.

All right, maybe I’m doing ‘we’ too much?

Slowly but surely, I’m becoming aware about so many things I haven’t been aware about myself. I’ve noticed that if something interrupts my Plan, I tend to give up and not take responsibility for my actions. I settle for having an option to put the blame on. And when it happens, it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. I get distracted and I repeat the whole “watching YouTube” cycle all over again.

I need to be more in the present.

Reduce pointless distractions just to see how much energy I have left.

Do what is required.

I mean all this applies to me. I’m not imposing this for any reader. But if you found yourself in a similar situation, what would you do? I could guess. But I’d rather know. So if you could, write them down in the comments below. On that note, see you next weekend. Happy weekend!

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.