Book Review : Creative Visualization

Image result for creative visualization shakti gawain

Do you believe in God?
Do you believe in a higher power?
Do you believe that universe has infinite energy?


I believe that there is some power. But I don’t have an opinion on how it works.


I have been reading two books and both books mentioned about the power of visualization. Then I asked a friend, who once told about visualization, if it really works. Friend said, “ Whatever success I have had so far in my life is solely through visualization”. Then I thought “Whoa! It worked for so many people. What is wrong in giving it a try?”


I went ahead and googled best books on visualization. Except for this book on creative visualization, rest of the books were graphical visualization books. I quickly got the book and started reading. I made a promise to myself that I will not read it like a novel but go from one step to other by doing exercises. For the first few pages, I did that way. I wrote a list for which I need affirmations. And I wrote an affirmation for each of them. And I started reading affirmations whenever I got free time.


But then I broke my promise. I finished reading the entire book without checking results after each chapter. But now, I have a better picture on visualization. I will implement technique after technique and see which one has a better impact on me. I am eagerly looking forward to writing a post on how visualization helped me become a better person.


The book not only talks about visualization but also on affirmations and meditation. It reaffirmed a few of my assumptions on how the universe works. I know a few ‘doctors’ who heal patients through their prayers. Even though people call it pseudo science, I think that they have a connection with a higher power which will help them heal others. The book also says that we have the power to heal others.

My grandmother writes ‘Ram koti’. It is a book which has boxes where you can write ‘Sri Rama’, the name of a Hindu god, a crore times. Even though I don’t believe that Sri Rama will come and rescue me if I do that, I used to always wonder if I can achieve my dreams by repeatedly writing about them. And this author confirmed that writing affirmations by feeling about them definitely helps.


Did you know that if you do affirmations with a partner you will start liking your partner more? Can you believe that you can make yourself your guide by using a visualization technique?


Even though you don’t believe in any of the above, you should start writing affirmations and start visualizing your dreams. A lot of people achieved theirs through this. So can I and so can you. Why wait till I write about my experience?


Tell yourself now, “ I am awesome. I am healthy and attractive. I am so successful and happy in life.”


There you said your first affirmation. Write many more. Write them specific to you. And keep chanting them like mantras or sing them like songs.


Visualize now that you are following visualization techniques daily.


It might take time to see life changing results for a beginner but it is worth trying!


Happy visualization!

Book Review: Big Magic

Image result for big magic

Do you believe in magic?
Not the magician’s tricks. Real magic?
I believe.


If you read this book and can relate to the story line, you will also start believing in marriage.


Don’t read this book if you are looking for a step by step solution to improve creativity. But read it to appreciate creativity for its sake. Even though it is a non-fiction book, you will not doze off anywhere. The first half of it feels unputdownable. But as you go inside it becomes boring a little. Overall, it is an interesting and entertaining read.


Some of the topics which she touched in the book are amazing. Even though she wrote a book on creativity, if you read between the lines, there are a lot of gems. I felt impressed from the first few pages itself. The only thing the author had consistently till she was 15 was fear. And guess why she stopped feeling afraid after that? She was just tired of being afraid. I found that amazing. You don’t need a motivation book, you don’t need a therapy, you don’t need a support. All you need is to get bored with being that.


In another chapter, she talks about how an idea comes to you and gets into a contract with you. I don’t know if the story she has written about an idea is true, but that brought a big smile to my face. Oh! Ideas are living beings which leave you if you ignore them. That is what I feel when my ideas share the same contracts with others or do with me the same contracts as they did with others. Mr/ Ms. Idea, “I don’t want to share you with anyone ok! You are mine. You are going to sign a contract only with me and not with anyone else. I want to own you, abuse you, ignore you and then glorify you.” This is what I am going to tell Idea when it comes to me.  


As you read further, you come across another interesting concept on going on a date with an idea. Did you ever think of an idea as your date? She does. She dresses up well and flirts with the idea so that she can start writing. Here, she indirectly conveys that being clean and neat increases your productivity and focus levels.


In later chapters, she removes the misconceptions on creativity which a lot of people hold. A lot of top writers also held misconceptions and her view helped them get over the myths.


Overall, it was a great read. I fell in love with her style of writing and downloaded other books written by her.


Action points

  • Daring greatly by brene brown
  • Do something creative daily


The concepts mentioned in the book apply to all forms of art and not just writing.


Happy being creative!


10 Life lessons learnt from playing Elevate App

After suffering from lack of apps in a Windows phone, I bought an android phone for the first time last year. I was as excited as a kid who got a new toy. I drowned myself in the quest of finding the right apps for my phone. That was when I came across this app – Elevate. After 8 months of using this, I don’t know if I have really trained my brain. I don’t know if I am sharper and more focussed. But when I write, I am more conscious of the words I choose. I try to avoid redundancy. When I do math, I definitely do quick calculations. When I read, I am more sensitive to the grammatical mistakes others have made. These learnings are just one side of the picture. Yesterday I could not stop myself from admiring the design of the app which has lead to its success. No doubt, ‘Apple’ has called this as ‘App of the year’.


These are the lessons which the app has taught me:

  1. Life is not unidimensional – When you first login to the app, you notice that the app asks you questions across a few areas and not just one. You will be successful in life, by not strengthening yourself in one area but across multiple areas.
  2. Compare rightly: The app tells you how many points you have scored everyday. It tells your percentile range with your age group and not across all age groups. Even in life, you can only compare how much you have progressed from yesterday to today. You can only see how much could you have done for your age. Any other comparison does not make sense.
  3. Invest just a little time everyday: You don’t become a genius overnight. But you can definitely become a genius with small efforts everyday. The app allows you to play only 3 games everyday. In that way, it does not become addictive. Also, if you want to become best at something in life, all you need to do is spend time on it everyday but not once a week.
  4. Work on basics: In order to train you to be a math genius, the app does not test you on calculus. It tests you on fractions, percentages and divisions. Similarly, if you want to be successful, work on making your foundation strong. The building will stand by itself.
  5. Attitude matters more than aptitude: I was bad at listening section of the app. I ignored it for a very long time. But then I realised that by avoiding it all the time, I am not going to improve from a miracle. I need to work on my weakness. Now my listening scores are in par with the other sections .
  6. It is okay to not be good at everything: I am doing exceptional in Math, good in reading and writing and okay in speaking and listening. And that is perfectly okay. Because I can’t be equal in everything. I need to make use of my strengths and work on improving in my weak areas. Surprisingly, it aptly shows my strengths and weaknesses of real life.
  7. Life gives you a choice: You can play 3 games on elevate daily. It shows you only 3 headings. But behind every heading another game is hidden. That does not make it 6 games. But for each game, you have a choice to play that or the other one. You can only choose one from two. Even in life, you always a choice. But it will not be explicit. You need to explore. You need to make the right choice.
  8. Small mistakes can cost you a lot: When you make even one mistake while playing a game, you won’t get an excellent score. To be excellent, you need to learn your way away from the pitfalls.
  9. Review your mistakes: The app sends you a list of errors you have made to review. Similarly in life, you need to review your mistakes to keep going forward.
  10. Life is a journey not a destination: 300 is the upper limit to points you can score in a game. I reached that in measuring. All through the journey, I was looking forward to reach in at least one game. Now I have reached that. What next? Is it over? Waiting to reach destination will not help us enjoy what we already have. Reaching the destination makes us feel that is it already over? So just enjoy the process.


Happy elevating!

Book Review – Stumbling on Happiness

Did I stumble on happiness after reading the book?

The author mentions in the beginning of the book that this book is not a guide for how to be more happy in life. But when I am writing a review of this book after a year, I can tell you that all other books on happiness tell you what to do and what not to do. This is the only book which talks about how brain works when it comes to happiness. You cannot find clearly laid out guidelines in the book on happiness but if you can connect the message to your own life, you will get insights which can change your life.
 
After reading this book, I started mood tracker and wrote my diary as and when I felt an emotion. Because the way I look at my emotion after a certain time lag distorts my view of it. I also started sticking to the same variety but changing the gap between two times I do the same task to increase my joy. Because, variety decreases the happiness levels when time difference is a lot. When you read the book, you will find your own ways to increase happiness in your life.


A few nuggets from the book:

 
Experience stretching hypothesis
 
Once we have experience we can’t exclude them and look at the world.People are wrong when they talk about the past because they are viewing it based on present experience but based on past experience they were correct then.
 
An experience which once caused pleasure no longer does.We become outsiders to our own experiences
What are you feeling inside?
 
People don’t know what they are feeling inside. They can be mistaken about what they feel inside. This happens because most critical functions of brain were designed first and later the other parts were added. Brain first reacts and then thinks about what the object is


Why do you choose the wrong future?
 
We choose the wrong future because we imagine out of nothing.Brain does not store the entire experience in detail. It just stores the emotion related to that. The act of remembering just fills the details. You can try this by reading a set of words and try recalling them. You will realise that you just remember the theme. Because brain remembers the gist of the words and not just the words. Blind spot in eye makes the brain create a scene based on what it sees around the blind spot. Brain creates an image out of its imagination and not just what is actually there. So when we imagine a future,it happens in the blind spot of eye.


Why you should not do grocery shopping on a full stomach or empty stomach?


When you go with a full stomach, brain tricks you that you have enough now and makes your requirement to be less. This is called as prefeeling.It stimulates the event before hand and makes you predict the future. But prefeeling can’t be trusted because brain has reality first policy. We can’t feel hunger while we feel full.


You will discover more such interesting stories in the book.
Happy stumbling on Happiness!

Book Review – The Happiness Project

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The book, as the name suggests, was a project took up by Gretchen Rubin, the author, to increase happiness in her life. I came across this book because even I was working on a similar project in my life and I wanted all possible guidance. I started this book almost a year ago but it took me a lot of time to complete because it was more like a guide than a read it over night book.


A lot of people asked me if I was depressed when I told them about the books I was reading and the courses I was doing on happiness. As the author rightly states, “Opposite of happiness is unhappiness and not depression”. You can be happy in life but there is still a lot of scope to improve your happiness. That was what author’s aim was too.


Person’s basic level of happiness doesn’t fluctuate much. But some people are more naturally melancholic. It depends on Genetics 50%, Life circumstances 20-10% and remaining is actions.


The author divided her project into 12 parts. A few goals for each month. All through the journey, there were times she could not keep with her goals. But she was not too hard on herself because that ruins the happiness.


At the end of 12 months, a lot of people questioned her if her happiness project was a success. She simply replied that “ I feel happier. Feeling happier itself means that I am happier”. Even though she did not measure her happiness using a mood tracker, she was happier. Her changed habits made her home more happy. This book is a perfect example of how big things can be achieved by changing a few small things in life.


I liked the book because I was similar to the author in a few things. I understood what were the things I needed to change to feel more happy. Before I came to a few chapters, I had already been doing what the author suggested. I felt confident that I was working on the right projects.


Action points


  • Books
    • Wise blood
    • The Happiness Hypothesis
    • Plan B
    • biographies of Tolstoy
    • Lesley Lewis’s The Private Life
    • William Makepeace Thackeray’s Vanity Fair,
    • Charlotte Yonge’s The Heir of Redclyffe
    • Laura Ingalls Wilder
    • Power Money Fame Sex
    • Profane Waste
    • Dalai Lama’s The Art of Happines
  • My true rules – I have written a draft version of it. But it will require some iterations to get the right version of it.
  • Food tracker: I tried it for a month previously. I will want to do it from today again.
  • Write a novel in a month: It is tough. And I am not a good writer. But I want to try it with 500 words a day next month.
  • Remove clutter: You can take guidance from this article and remove clutter from your life


If you want to know that everyone is imperfect and can still be happy and improve the amount of happiness too, then this book is for you. You will be able to relate to a lot of areas in your life. Your happiness project might be totally different but the book definitely tickles your creativity mind.


Happy working on your happiness project!

Book review – The gifts of Imperfection

By Brene Brown
We are all imperfect. We cover those imperfections and struggle towards being perfect everyday.
 
“ I need to look beautiful to feel loved”
“ I should be a billionaire to be worthy of love”
 
Whatever might be your version of that statement, you struggle with this. You are under the assumption that you need to be someone to be loved. The author calls this emotion as shame. Yeah! Even I was shocked to know that aiming for perfection and not loving what you already are is shame.


The author talks about whole- hearted living. She talks about why we should not be too hard on ourselves and how we can love ourselves for we are already.


After a long time, this was a book which kept me up at night. I was so surprised and intrigued for what was to come in the next chapters of the book. It helped me understand myself a little better. It showed me the path I needed to walk on. I don’t know the right adjectives to describe what I felt the night I could not go back to sleep.


I don’t know if the book actually talks about imperfections. But the book definitely gives you the definitions of a few emotions and reactions which you deal with daily but could never define the,m. The obscurity which was in my mind which I could not put down in words, have been defined by her.


A few favourite quotes:

“Owning our story and loving ourselves through the process is the bravest thing we will ever do.”
“It is tough to see a pattern and then unsee it.Humans are meaning making species.”
“Asking for what you need is one of the bravest things you will ever do.”
“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
“The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you’re uncool.”
“Make a list of the work that inspires you. Don’t be practical. Don’t think about making a living; think about doing something you love.”

Action Points:

 
As I discussed in my 30-day challenge of reading books, for every book I create an action list. Here is mine:
 
– Do some form of art daily
– Down time
– Dance daily for 5 minutes
– Sing a song
– Find a list of videos which can make me laugh
– Learn more about grounded theory
– Visit the website www.brenebrown.com

Books to read:

 
The following are a few books mentioned in this book which might interest you if you like this book.
 
-Play- How it shapes the brain, opens imagination and invigorates the soul
-Daniel pink – a whole new mind
-One person / multiple careers : new model for work life success
You can get the Print Copy here
Happy reading!



What I learnt in July [July Review]

July is the month which was named after Julius Caesar. Just like him, the month was dictating for me.


How did I handle such a dictating month?


I buckled under pressure in a few areas. In the few others, I gracefully handled them.


What went well?


Writing:

The highlight or the most time consuming activity of the month was writing. As you already know, I signed up for a 30-day blogging challenge in July. And I forced myself to write and publish everyday. I was already aware of how tough it is to decide what to write on, generate ideas, write and edit on the same day. Writing was not like a flow. Probably the word ‘Challenge’ had already hinted me that it was not going to be flow. But I feel like a warrior who came out victorious at the end of the journey. It was that tough for me. There were the creative days, accomplished days, tiring days, frustrated days and break down days. It showed me how my daily job was much easier than writing. But the difficult does not matter. If I want to grow in the area I am passionate about, I need to learn how to face the challenges too. Overall, 30-day blogging challenge taught me good lessons. It gave me the confidence that I can write everyday if I badly want to.


Reading:

I read books for more than 22 hours last month. Then around 10 hours I spent on Quora and Medium. But I still found it very less because they were not giving me any ideas to write better. I decided to work on that this month. A few useful books which I read last month were ‘The power of the other’, ‘Lean In’, ‘Gifts of Imperfection’.


Exercise:

I was not that regular with exercise when compared to the other months. But one good thing I have done is posture corrections. I recorded my postures while exercising and worked on them till I got them right. If I would not have got this idea, I would have wasted or even hurt myself due to the incorrect postures. This small act makes exercise activity to fall into ‘what went well’ section.


Art:

I made a rakhi and a explosion box type greeting card for my brother. I made an organiser with cardboard box and painted it for my sister. There is so much joy in playing with colours. I felt rejuvenated when I got ideas on how I can make the piece of art beautiful. Just like writing, art does not come out beautiful at the first time. But it gives its own type of joy. One needs to get one’s hands dirty to understand that happiness. I felt like doing it everyday after that. But yeah, priorities in life!


What did not go well?


I ignored my small routines for the bigger challenge. My small routines don’t take much time. But I was not ready to  invest any time in them mentally because I was already mentally exhausted at office as I was working without any breaks.


Plans for August:


I want to make august more colourful and successful than July. And I have been on track for the first 2 days for them.


30-day Reading challenge:

I have been reading everyday for the past one year. Reading just 2 pages also counted as reading for me. But now, I want to change that. I want to read 75 pages a day. It is very ambitious but not impossible. It will eat up a lot of my time. It will not leave me with time for other small things in life but that is okay. I will learn to navigate through the storm. That is the aim of the challenge too.


I used to write notes for the just the first few pages and once I am into the story I forget about the note making part. I want to be a better note taker. For every chapter I read, I want to see what are my take home points. This is the second part of the challenge.


For each book I read, I find a few things wonderful. Unless, it is closely related to my life, I don’t start implementing them on the go. I want to write an action list for each book and then give a timeline for the action point. This is a very crucial step of the challenge without which I will just be a consumer and not a doer.


One more small task to this activity is to not just assume the meaning of the word in context but to actually look up the word in the dictionary and learn its meaning.


These 4 components to reading is going to make it definitely a tough job. I am so excited about this!


Exercise:

I want to get back to doing regularly. I have found a new workouts to add to the exercise routine which I already do.


Mood Tracker:

I started a tracker where I enter what I am feeling every hour or two. This gives me a picture on what are the frequent em
otions I feel and what I need to work on.


Life Lessons Tracker:


There is at least one new thing I learn everyday. I want to make a note of it and review them periodically so that I don’t make the same mistakes again or avoid mistakes totally.


Get back to my small routines:

Small routines just take 15 minutes of my time. Without any excuse, I want to go back to them.


How was your July? What are your plans for August? Let us know in the comments section.

Happy planning for August!