2018 Week 5 Challenge

Week 4 was a week of studying. I read my advanced psychology books and made notes. It was so insightful.

Review of Week 4

 
1.Book of the week: Thank you for arguing

It really taught me how to argue. It is a book with step by step instructions and examples of conversations on how to speak. Since I was making notes, I was not able to finish it.
 
2.Course of the week: Influencing people
 
I made good use of my commute time in doing this course. It explains the power of influence with social experiments.
 
3.Habit of the Week: Thought Tracker
 
Thought tracker is not as simple as emotions tracker. I found it difficult to capture all of them in a proper format. I need to devise different ways to make a note of thoughts. Then I will be able to see which one works the best.
 
4.Exercise Routine:
 
I have a little satisfaction on this for this week.
 
5.Socializing
 
The people who I made friends with are now coming to my desk to talk with me. This is the second milestone in socializing.
 

Challenges for Week 5

 
1.Book of the week: Everybody writes
 
I read a part of this book before but I could not make notes. As I want to improve my writing style, I will read this book and make a checklist.
 
2.Course of the week: Influencing people
 
I will finish off the final week and make an action list on how to implement what I learnt.
 
3.Habit of the Week: Free writing
 
Everyday, I will set 15 minutes aside and write whatever comes to my mind. It can be about anything which makes sense or does not make sense.
 
4.Exercise Routine:
 
I will continue the same.
 
5.Socializing
 
Socializing has been an exciting challenge. I am not sure what should the next milestone be. I will just keep talking which alone is in my control.
 
6.Writing
 
It is very stressful to write daily. I want to take a break this week and write only when it is feasible.
 
7.Language Learning
 
I will listen to radio for around ten minutes and write down at least one sentence.
8.Organise
 
It is a pain to search for clothes every morning. I will plan the clothes for the week on Sunday so that I don’t feel frustrated in the mornings.
 
That is all for the next week.
 
How was your week 4? What are your plans for week 5? Let us know in the comments section.
 
Happy Week 5!
 

How to stop feeling guilty?

The other day I committed a grave mistake in office. No damage occurred but a lot of time went down the drain. I should have been a bit more careful and double checked the code.
 
The moment I realised that a mistake happened I felt guilty. I did not have a face to face the reality. But then feeling guilty won’t solve the problem.
 

Why do you feel guilty?

 
You have certain expectations from yourself. When you don’t meet those expectations you start feeling guilty. Others can also make you feel guilty that you did not live up to their expectations.
 

How to stop feeling guilty?

 
When someone blames you or when you blame yourself, you will end up feeling low. Constant guilt might drive you into depression too. By feeling guilty you are not helping anyone.
 

Follow this 4-step process when you feel guilty

 
Step 1:
 
Tell yourself that it is okay to make a mistake. No one is guilt free. You forgive yourself for the mistake.
 
“ I made a mistake in hurry. I did my best I could then. I am a human, so my work is prone to errors. I forgive myself for this.”
 
Step 2:
 
What value of yours was broken when it made you feel guilty? Is the value outdated? Or does it matter even now?
 
“ I broke my value of rechecking. It is important no matter where and when.”
 
Step 3:
 
Fix the mistake and the harm done because of the broken value.
 
Step 4:
 
What can you do to let the value not be broken again?
 
“ I tend to make a mistake when I am in hurry. From next time, I will spend more time and not rush things.”
 
You could have hushed your guilt feeling without actually feeling it. But then it will haunt you wherever you go.
 
Instead when you deal with it in the above process, you will be facing the guilt real time and making peace with it forever.
 
Which one do you think is better? How do you deal with your guilt?
 
Let us know in the comments section.
 
Happy being guilt free!
 

Family Traditions: Why they matter?

As soon as January comes, it was a bunch of excitement in my school days. On the 31st December night, my dad used to get three different types of potato chips. Then we used to play chits till clock stroke 12 and sleep only after calling all the relatives.

During Pongal, we prepare a special meal and sweets which won’t be prepared during any other time of the year. My mom prepares the sweet so tasty that I don’t like it from any other sweet shop. I absolutely love flying kites with my uncles.

An all India exhibition is held in my city every January. It is my family’s routine to visit that. Irrespective of what we buy or what we don’t buy, we have a mirchi bajji, rose milk and doodh Pedha there.

Today, when January is almost at the end, I miss my childhood. The yearly routines and traditions we celebrated as a family. I went to attend the republic day celebrations today all alone. Even though it was beautiful, nothing can beat the traditions which I shared with my family.

Why should you have family traditions?

1.Strengthens relations

Irrespective of when the festival is and whichever city each of the family member is in, we make it a point to go home. Family tradition forces to make you meet at least this way. It strengthens the already existing bond.

2.Improves well-being

A family tradition gives you positive energy and happiness. It is something you look forward to and totally enjoy. This further contributes to overall well being.

3.Increases sense of belonging

When you repeatedly share the same activity with a group of people, you start feeling more secure around them.

What are some easy family traditions which you can follow?

1.Food

My mom has a different list of special food items for each festival. We eagerly look forward to every festival just to enjoy the food. In a particular month, every Monday evening we make fruit custard. I look forward for Monday evenings in the Month.

You can also have weekly, monthly or occasional food festivals at home. Even though it sounds like looking forward for food, it is also about looking forward to spending time with family.

2.Photos

For every festival, we click photos in various permutations and combinations. My hard disk is completely filled with the festival name followed by the year in which we clicked them. We are neither expert photographers nor expert posers. We just enjoy clicking photos with the family.

3.Clothes

Irrespective of how our family financial conditions are, we go as a family to purchase clothes for Dasara.

4.Events

Once in two years, we go out on a vacation. Every january, we visit the exhibition. These are the events which we attend. They are not really expensive. You can as well go for a movie or to a museum.

5.Gifting

Birthdays become special for the gifts we receive. Apart from birthdays, you can set aside a specific day in the year, to gift too. Who doesn’t like sweet surprises? Gifting also helps in understanding each other better.

6.Playing

We play ludo every sunday afternoon. If it is summer holidays, we play carroms every night in our backyard. You can also set some time aside to play the games your kids enjoy.

What are your family traditions? Which ones do you miss the most? I would love to know. Share it with us in the comments section.

Happy starting family traditions!

Why you should not fear failure?

Thomas Alva Edison invented the electric bulb in 1879.
Abraham Lincoln was the 16th president of the US.
J K Rowling wrote the best-selling book series.

Are we talking about successful people here? We are just talking about their success. What about the efforts behind the scene?

What if Edison left experiment on bulb at 9999th attempt?
What if Lincoln gave up in pursuing his dreams after failing in multiple areas?
What if Rowling never approached a publisher again after being rejected a lot of times?

Would they still be called successful?

If you just open the dictionary and look for the definition of fail, you will be taken aback. It says lack of success. Lack of light is darkness. Lack of success is failure. Aren’t successes and failures our definitions then?

We define success as the destination. Reaching the destination is success. Not reaching it is failure. You should be hurt. It should be accompanied by mourning and grieving. You should condemn it. Term the people who don’t succeed by that definition as failures. Who defined success? Can we not change the definition of success? Can we not associate failure with pleasure?

The biggest mistake we as a society does today is defining the efforts without end result as failure. We don’t appreciate the efforts at all. Success and failure are defined as binary codes of 1 and 0. We need to change this approach if we ever want to make any progress in life. We need to associate failure with pleasure because failure gives us valuable experience which we would have never got being successful.

What happens if you continue to define end result as success?

 
1.You will be afraid to try new things:

By succeeding in life, you have just escaped an event where you didn’t fail. But for how long will you escape? Every day you have to live in the fear that what if I fail tomorrow. You will limit yourself to only those ways where you know how to succeed. Don’t you want to explore life?

2.You will only be result focused:

Result is not in your control. You can only control your efforts. Trying to control anything which is not under our control always leads to unhappiness. Your life revolves only around results. Not reaching those puts you under immense stress which further deteriorates your health.

3.You will have more regrets in life:

Life of regrets is worse than life of efforts not yielding any result. The latter one teaches you why it did not work, the former one stops you living your life.

4.You will hardly have any learning:

The person who found whatsapp was rejected by facebook. If he was not rejected, we would have never had this economical messaging feature at all.

How to overcome the fear of failure?

You overcome the fear of failure by embracing it.

Fail today and see the difference. It will hurt in the beginning. You feel all the efforts going waste. But wait! Was it a waste? Didn’t it give you an experience? You know what methods don’t work.
 
The one who succeeded only knows one way. The way to success. If you tweak the way a little, he is confused. He goes back to the fear of failure.But the one who failed knows all the ways which don’t work. Tweaking the way won’t scare him. He will fail more valorously then. Or after all the failures he might just succeed.

The one who failed knows the exhaustive ways in which things don’t work. He is more knowledgeable.

The one who succeeded would have done by chance. His knowledge is limited to only one way of success. He doesn’t know the obvious ways in which one might fail.

So fail today. Embrace the feeling. Learn from the experience. And fail in a greater way tomorrow.

Failure does not define what you are as a person. It does not mean anything at all. Every event has an outcome. It just depicts the outcome.
Don’t make just one thing as your life.

Who is called a failure in life?

The one who has failed according to the dictionary definition and considered himself a failure. The one who ceased to be oneself because of the outcome.

What can you do to change the culture?

Reward yourself for the efforts and not for the result. Question yourself everyday –” Am I enjoying this?”

There is nothing called as failing and succeeding in fact. They are just words. If you assign a meaning to them they exist or else they don’t. It is all about the journey. The enjoyment in the journey is all what matters. Enjoy your life today because you don’t know when your last breath is going to be.

Happy failing!

How to feel powerful

My friend wanted to be a civil servant. Whenever I asked him why civil services, he said “ I want to be powerful. Power gives you everything you need.”

Another friend of mine, looks at civil services as the most powerless jobs. He is someone who can keep all his bosses under his control.

Who sounds more powerful to you?

What is power?

Dictionary defines it as the ability to do anything or influence others.

Classic definition of power by Weber

The ability of an individual or group to achieve their own goals or aims when others are trying to prevent them from realising them

According to this definition, in an informal context, who is powerful? You or your partner?

It is not a shameful thing to crave for power. The ones who feel powerful are more confident than those who are not. At the same time, feeling powerful can make you overconfident if you look at others as totally powerless.

What makes you feel powerful?

My first friend wanted power through position. It is the position in an organisation. He wanted the authority to take decisions. It can be day to day decisions on running an organisation or monetary decisions or who to reward or punish. He wanted to rule. That made him powerful.
 
My second friend had power by being an expert at what he did. He had the information which others don’t. People are naturally attracted to him for the way he carries himself. He holds the power to influence people for these characteristics of his.

What characteristics do you possess? What if you have neither type of power?

How to feel powerful?

1.Display proofs

Irrespective of which level you are in the organisation, carry your position tag. When I was in school, I had a badge for class leader and first ranker. I was definitely viewed as more powerful than what I was.

Get your name printed on a visiting card. When they look at a card, they assume that you hold the power to take decisions. My uncle gives me a visiting card every time I meet him. I thought he was an influential person.

Keeping aside the position, get good at the job you are doing. Earn reward for the work you do. Display those certificates. They make you look more credible.When one acquaintance of mine received an award at work, I thought she is better than what I actually thought she was.

Research shows that when you do this, other people perceive you as more powerful than you actually are.

 
[emaillocker]
2.Dress up well

At a sales stall you want to approach the manager, if there is a person wearing a suit and other one wearing a T-shirt who will you approach?

Most of the people approach the one in suit. They assume him to be the manager.

So your dressing sense will make others perceive you as less or more powerful.

3.Be nice to others

When you do favors to others when they are in need, they feel obliged to return it back to you. The more helpful person you are, the more powerful you become.

When you talk in a nice way and don’t act entitled, you are on your way to building powerful connections.

4.Body posture

Open body posture makes you feel more powerful than closed body posture. When you are in a room, check whether you are trying to take as little space as possible or are ready to sit comfortably. Just by changing your posture you can change your mindset which in turn makes you powerful.

5.Affirmation and Visualization

Keep telling yourself that you are powerful. I am not a powerful person when compared to both my friends. But when I need to influence others, I use this technique. I am tell myself that I am powerful enough to do this.

You can also visualize what it feels like to be in a powerful state. Or else you can even recollect a past incident where you felt powerful. This alone can make you feel powerful.

6.Question the beliefs
 
If you believe or someone else tells you that you are not powerful, question the belief. Dissect it. Turn the statement to make you a powerful person. Never let others pull you down.

[/emaillocker]

What sort of power do you possess or crave for? When did you feel most powerful? Which technique are you going to use to feel more powerful?

Share them with us in the comments section.

Happy feeling powerful!  

Why should you forgive?

Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.

I was angry with a friend. She insulted me. Her words were replaying in my head over and again. Whenever I had some free time, those words came up in my head. I was replaying the hurt again and again. I had to stop it. I found it really difficult to accept that she could stoop that low. But that was the truth. After reading about cognitive distortions, the only way out I found was to let go off the thoughts. For that, I need to forgive her.
 
I immediately switched my mind and thought about the situation from her perspective. She was being immature but then that was the only way she could find to cover her mistakes. She had to defend. I decided to forgive her immaturity.
 
I am at peace now.
 
Even though I narrated the incident in a simple way, it was never this simple. Not this incident alone, whenever I had to forgive, I always found it difficult.
 

Why do you struggle to forgive?

 
1.You are afraid of being hurt again
Whenever I forgave, I forgot the incident too. I behave as if nothing really happened. By doing that, I gave the other person the power to hurt me again. Over time, I realised my mistake. Now I draw the line a little farther than before. By doing this, I have removed the privilege for the person to hurt me.
 
2.You are afraid that they will take you for granted
They are for sure going to take you for granted. But then you need to redefine the rules of your relationship. You can explain to the other person what you are ready to accept and what you will not.
 
3.You are afraid of losing your power
It is never a healthy relation if you are talking about who holds the greatest power. Rethink about the way you are looking at relations.
 

Why should you forgive?

 
1.Reduces negativity
When you ruminate on the negativity someone else imposed on you, you will magnify and displace the emotions on others too. You will go down spirally and hit the rock bottom. It is not a fun place to reach or stay. Stop the thought chain before you are thrown into the spiral.
 
2.Increases happiness
The one who is ready to forgive is more open to expand the relations. The more social a person is the more chances for him to feel connected. Greater the well-being, greater is the happiness.
 
3.Reduces health problems
A mild illness in the body signifies a negative thought process. The ones who are prone to heart attack are the ones with hypertension. The more you harbour anger, the higher your blood pressure goes. Do you want all this fuss for not being able to forgive? Why do you want to suffer for someone else’s immaturity?
 
When was the last time you found it difficult to forgive? What did you do then?
 
Happy letting go things!

Why is comparing yourself to others bad for you?

Ram and Shyam went to the same coaching center to prepare for GMAT. They discussed together and wrote the exam on the same day. Ram scored 740 while Shyam scored 670. Shyam has highly dissatisfied and went around telling people how Ram was lucky to get 740 even though both prepared together.
 
What does Shyam gain through this?
 

  1. Sympathy for his loss
  2. Make hard work of Ram look like luck

 
But what does it actually look like for others?
 
Shyam is feeling entitled.
 
I once had a friend who went around telling how her manager treats her like shit when compared to others in her team and how she deserves the best projects. It was not just work. She used to talk the same way about every aspect of life. She was only comparing all the time.
I was so fed up after a certain time that I avoided going for lunch and snacks break with her.  
 

What happens when you compare yourself to others?

 
1.You will sound entitled
 
Just like my friend, you will end up becoming a repeller. It feels annoying for people to hear to your endless ‘ I am entitled’ stories. You will also stop putting in efforts because you think you already deserve it.
 
2.People will avoid you
 
Your friends will understand that tomorrow you are going to compare yourself with them.
 
3.They will think you are a loser
 
You don’t become the champion by undermining others efforts.
 
4.You will reduce your chances at success
 
When your focus is on others, you are losing out on the bigger picture. The strategy. Work on yours. If needed, copy their strategy shamelessly as long as it is not illegal.
 
5.Your scarcity mentality will grow
 
There is enough luck for everyone on the earth. With others getting what they want does not reduce your chances of working towards it.
 
6.You will feel more inferior
 
Whatever you focus on, it will magnify. If your focus is on why others got and not you, only that inferiority feeling magnifies. You are comparing in the first place because you want to prove that you are not bad. Comparing erodes your self-esteem.
 

What to do instead of comparing yourself to others?

 
1.Are you ready to put in the same efforts?
 
Ram went home and put extra efforts for preparation. Shyam ignored that suggestion when Ram suggested. Does he have the right to compare now?
 
2.There is enough for everyone on the earth
 
Throw the scarcity mentality in the dustbin. Feel abundant. Congratulate your friend heartfully. Work on your path. Give your best.
 
Happy feeling good about yourself !

2018 Week 4 Challenge

Week 3 passed like a wisp. I had two holidays. But my productivity went down as I was sick for a long time.

Review of Week 3

1.Book of the week: Feeling Good – The new mood therapy

I was expecting a book which talks about how to feel good and be happy. But this book is on cognitive therapy to treat patients who are depressed. But the concepts mentioned in the book can be used in a daily life too to feel better. It is a very long book and has lots of concepts to implement. So I prefer to read it a chapter at a time and implement the concepts before I rush and finish it.

2.Course of the week: Influencing people

It is a powerful course where I learnt the power of power in the first week. The way this course is presented is in par with the Viral marketing course and hoping to finish the second and third week of the course this week.

3.Habit of the Week: Expense Tracker

The only expense I have is commute. Even though it does not seem to be of much use at week level, over a period of time, it will give me valuable insights.

4.Exercise Routine:

Followed the routine successfully on the days I was well.

5.Behavioral change: Put myself in others shoes

I was doing it in the hindsight after the event has passed. I think this is better than not thinking from others perspective at all. I need to practise it more so that I can reduce the delay.

6.Socializing

Even though I had only three working days, I went out with my new friends. I perfectly enjoyed the time I spent with them. This is definitely a milestone in my socializing journey.

Challenges for Week 4

1.Book of the week: Thank you for arguing

My friend calls me the most irrational person when I argue. I don’t want to be that anymore. This book is going to be my bible which will show me the path to right way of arguing.

In case you are wondering who wants to get into an argument, not all arguments are bad. It is more about negotiation then argument.

2.Course of the week: Influencing people

Week 2 and Week 3 of the course combined have close to 106 minutes. I can spare close to 15 minutes on this daily.

3.Habit of the Week: Thoughts Tracker

In the previous week, I wanted to make changes to the emotions tracker which I currently maintain. Since books come to me at the right time, I learnt about the thought tracker in the Feeling good book. Thoughts precede emotions. Controlling thoughts is easier than dealing with emotions. So I will start tracking my thoughts to get rid of negativity from my life.

4.Exercise Routine:

I am yet to become perfect in this routine.

5.Socializing

After reaching the first milestone, I don’t know what the second milestone should be. I will just continue going out of my way and talking to people.

6.Writing

It was tough to post every day of week 3. But I still need to make it a habit to write everyday. So I will continue the same this week too.

That is all for the next week.

How was your week 3? What are your plans for week 4? Let us know in the comments section.

Happy Week 4!

How to be nice to people

Case 1
 
Mentor: You suck at communication.
Mentee : Okay!
 
Case 2
 
Mentor: From tomorrow I will teach you tricks to communicate better.
Mentee: I am more than happy to learn Sir!
 
Whenever you communicate, there are two ways to communicate it. One is by being harsh (case1) and the other is by being nice(case2). But why are we harsh most of the time?
 

People are harsh for a variety of reasons.

 
1.Fear of being taken advantage of:
 
A few people when asked why they are harsh all the time, they said that they are afraid that people will take advantage of them if they are nice all the time. It might be true at a few times. But remember that god helps those who help others.
 
2.Showing bossiness:
 
A few other people assume that they can’t get work done if they are not demanding things from others.
 
3.Attitude:
 
They think they are at a higher level than others. It can even be because that they give so much to the other person. Hence they think they have the right to be harsh.
 

People are nice for a variety of reasons:

 
1.They want to be known as someone good:
 
Everyone likes nice people. They don’t feel the fear to communicate with them. But the people who are nice because they want to be perceived as nice suffer a lot internally unable to bear the pressure.
 
2.It is their inborn nature:
 
Some people are born that way. They are nice all their life.
 
Which group do you fall under?
 
You need not necessarily fall in the two groups. You might be in the mixed group where sometimes you are harsh and sometimes you are nice. You are harsh to people whom you take for granted. You know that they will be there irrespective of whether you are nice or rude to them. You act nice to people under whose eyes you want to be a good person.
 

What are the disadvantages of acting to be nice?

 
You might get all the expected benefits of being nice. But you are being a person, whom you actually are not. This adds up to unnecessary internal stress which makes you show this anger on a person whom you take for granted. If you recall, there might be instances where you tried being nice to your boss even though he made you stay till late in the night and ended up screaming at your kids for no mistake of theirs. We do this all the time and make our relations weak and unhealthy. The child does not understand that you had a bad day at office. All it understands is “Mumma does not like me. She only shouts at me all the time”. It was not your intention to convey that. So we need to stop this displacement of annoyance.
 

How to be nice?

 
1.Being aware
 
The assumption that action and reaction take place simultaneously is false. There is a small gap between action and reaction. We need to hack into this and take advantage of this. Whenever you catch yourself snapping, wait for a moment, try to rephrase your statement and let it out.
 
2.Lighten the moment:
 
If you could not catch yourself in the previous step, make your next statement in a friendly, loving or funny way. Lighten the atmosphere. If you have just screamed at your child that she is troubling you everyday for food. In the next statement mention that you love her and that is the reason why you get angry. Or make the food in children friendly way. Make the food into cartoon shape. Use some creativity. Make things fun.
 
Happy being nice!

What causes depression?

Depression is the product of your thoughts. Your thoughts trigger emotions. The emotions trigger physical discomfort. The discomfort triggers the unproductive behaviour.

If you are depressed, you are stuck in this loop forever. The first step to overcome depression is to understand the faulty thought process which is the root cause of endless misery. Even though this negative thought process has started in a naïve and non harmful way, today it acquired a giant form where you feel it is the new normal.

If you are depressed or if your friend is depressed, the depressed mind does not know that the thought process is distorted.

Here is the list for you to first recognise what it is:

1.Zero or One game:

Whenever I ask my mom, “What time is it now?” She replies “5’oclock.” The actual time would have been 4:45 PM. She never replies the correct time. For her time exists only in intervals of 30 minutes. Similarly, for a depressed mind, it is either a win or lose. They never care about the percentage of good in the game.

2.Palmistry

My dad does not like black clothes. On the day of festival, if I wear a dress, which has a black dot on it, he says “Why are you wearing black clothes on a festival day?” One small black dot makes it a black dress.

My dad owns a magnifying glass through which he could see the entire dress as black.

A depressed mind needs just one obstacle to call his project a failure. By doing that

  • He is looking at his life through a magnifying lens. He is looking at a simple obstacle as a very big obstacle which will make him fail in the project
  • He is jumping to a conclusion that his project has already failed

He is a palm reader where he uses a magnifying glass to foresee his future from the lines on his palm.

Negative prediction huh?

3.Tinted glasses

When you wear blue shades, the entire world looks blue. You can’t change the colour of objects. You can only remove your glasses to look at them in a normal way.

4.It’s me

“I woke up early today. Hence the city is flooded.”
Logic and reasoning just goes down the drain.
“My friend is not texting me. I must have angered him”
Whatever happens, you think the world revolves around you.

5.Who is responsible?

“He should have done that.”
“I should not have asked him to do that.”
This type of should statements make you feel frustrated and resentful towards life.

6.I am no good
 
“You look so beautiful in this saree.”  You let it go by saying “It is the saree, not me, which is beautiful.”
Sorry to say, but you are not being humble there. You are disqualifying the compliment. You are good. Trust me when I say this. Don’t shrug it off.

7.Give names

“I am an idiot”
“He is a jerk”
There are other good things about you. You don’t become an idiot just because you screwed up one event. Don’t describe inaccurately and give names.

How many of the above do you do? How are you planning to stop it?

Your depression is in your thoughts. Change them to better your life!

Happy changing your thoughts!