5 smart ways to use a smart phone

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A day without smartphone is something which we cannot even imagine of. Smartphones have crept so deep into our lives that it is now one of the most basic accessories (on par with clothing !). But again many people advice to stay away from this gadget because of the time you kill and fritter away on continous social networking and mindless instant gaming(thanks to games like candy crush and temple run!!) . Well, I would say it is a double edged sword and it all depends on how well you use it to make your day more efficient .

Let us look at some of the more uncommon and productive ways of using a smart phone to make the most of it.

1. Brain training apps : There are some awesome cognitive exercise applications of solid quality like Lumosity and Elevate – but you have to shell out a few bucks to obtain them and I can promise it is worth more than the money you pay to get it.
You can try their demo versions as well, but my advice is to buy them. Next time instead of playing candy crush, suppress your temptations and try one of them or both for that matter.

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2. Sticky notes and calendar : I already mentioned in my previous articles about prioritizing tasks and to act accordingly, well everyone does not like to carry a mini note pad, instead you can use apps like sticky notes and the default calender app which can greatly simplify your day.Next time don’t grumble that you forgot to do a specific task-just jot it down in your app and assign time.

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3. E books : The uses of possessing and reading an E-book are multi-fold, firstly you can get them at a cost lower than a physical book and second (main) advantage is portability, you can read an e-book where ever you want-whether you are in a crowded local train or waiting to meet somebody, just open your mobile and read on.

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4. Be on the go : I can say this is the biggest advantage of all, you can always be on the go with information (literally about anything) on your palm but again not everyone who has a smartphone uses mobile data instead they always rely on WiFi . Instead spend a few dollars on mobile data and use it whenever there is no WiFi available. Remember you are never lost in this world with a smart phone in your hand that is connected to the internet.

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5. Switch it off  : Yes you read it right. Even though it is smart, you don’t need a smartphone 24*7. Just keep this simple rule at the back of your brain- Don’t use it when you don’t require it . When it is time to sleep just sleep, don’t gaze at your smartphone and play folly games or browse unnecessary websites, just put it aside and sleep happily !

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– Raviteja Visakoti

10 Simple ways to Simplify your life (Part 2)

6. Decide now itself what’s truly important – Jot down all the activities that you do in a typical day . Now trust me and be ruthless for a minute . Keep only the 10 most important things and strike out the rest , do them only if those very important 10 are completed.

7. Save time for yourself – We are so busy and trapped in your day to day over loaded schedules that we don’t have a couple of minutes to spend in serenity. Allocate 1hr everyday for yourself and don’t let any person or activity disturb it . Use that time for relaxing, contemplation and reflection.

8. Don’t let the focus of your life get disturbed  – Keep exploring the world but never let your focus get ruptured or affected in anyway .Be wary of  emotional disturbances in relationships and personal problems, manage them effectively and ensure that they don’t spoil your focus .

9. Stop comparing and contrasting your progress – Every painter is unique and so does his painting , similarly every person is unique and so is his/her beautiful life and his/her works. Acknowledge and appreciate your strengths. Identify your weakness so you can go beyond them. Embrace your uniqueness and achieve greatness with it.

10. Don’t try to do everything by yourself – There are some powers which are far too powerful than us. Take their help . God and nature will help you . Do your best and rest leave it to them , they will take you to the destination for sure and also more quickly than you expected.

– Raviteja Visakoti

10 Simple ways to Simplify your life(Part 1)

Have you ever thought you are being bogged down by too many tasks and still felt incomplete? I know you know the answer : it is because the moment the alarm clock starts waking us in the morning we are compelled to do many tasks and in this over busy schedule we forget to identify and complete the main tasks. As I already mentioned in my previous articles that only 30 % of our tasks are crucial and the rest are way too trivial or in other words “sky is not gonna fall if you don’t do them”.
Now let us examine the 10 main things which I believe that can drastically simplify and enhance the quality of your life , if there are any which you feel that are missing from the list please feel free to drop them in the comments section below ..I would be delighted if you do so

1.Cut down social networking by half and keep doing that – I am not not averse to social networking and I do really love some of its splendid features, also I appreciate the way it has revolutionised the way we communicate but there is a flipside to it as well ,when you are social networking you try too much to be other than your natural self and while doing so you dissipate a lot of internal energy (which is neither measured in joules nor calories but can only be felt ). For example you feel a lot more empty when you social network in Facebook for 1hr than doing something worthwhile. Just cut it down now and feel the “you”

2.Spend quality time with your family :
Next time instead of watching TV while having dinner or breakfast , shut it down and talk with your family , share the past happy moments , talk about the silly fight between you and your little sister . Whatever might be the topic just sit around the table with your parents and siblings and spend quality time . I can assure you that you will be far more satisfied than glancing at random channels.

3.Learn to say No: Don’t feel guilty when you say no to a request. If you feel that it comes in your way and eats up your time just reply them with a polite and clear NO. I am not saying you to be selfish , be helpful but do not impose others tasks on you and get consumed. As Steve jobs said your time is limited and don’t spend it living some one else life.

4. Identify urgent and important tasks and first do the important ones : Sounds contradictory? let me explain you with an analogy – suppose it is 30th of a month and morning 9 am and say a person named ABC has to pay the electricity bill by evening 7 pm , but he also has an important project which has to be submitted in a week’s time. Now project work is the important work and bill payment is the urgent one. I think I need not explain further !

5.Have a direction and a sense of purpose and associate all activities towards it :
Don’t live life just like that , have a purpose or meaning. In other words have a direction and concentrate all your efforts in that direction and enjoy that journey towards your goal.

(to be continued in second part)

– Raviteja Visakoti

Professional vs Amateur (Part 2)

Continued From Part-1 Resistance is all pervasive, it immediately pops up whenever you want to answer your inner voice . Whether you want to eat healthy food, complete your assignment or attend to the most important task, resistance comes into play, unleashes its powers and tries its best to ensure that you don’t succeed in doing so . In the most basic terms, it is a crushing force – a demon set to stop us from pursuing and completing our important goals and duties . Some people call it laziness, some call it procrastination but remember these are just the various manifestations of the parent body “Resistance”. Playing golf when you have an exam tomorrow is also resistance . Whatever may be the name , understand the essence and acknowledge its presence in you . It is an evil more dangerous than your most dangerous enemies, it is more poisonous than cyanide .I can confidently say resistance is the root cause of all the problems in the world , literally “all” . Many people say to us, do what you love and do it often , but how to identify what we love ? Here is a simple technique – The Greater the Resistance to do it , the greater the love and greater the inner calling . Sounds contradictory right! but it is an absolute truth . let me cite you an example , I love writing and I think it is my inner calling to go on and pursue it but I feel the greatest resistance towards it , sometimes I even doubt whether I am really a writer or not -here resistance has come with its army to discourage me and destroy me . Sometimes I surrender to it and that is the reason I don’t update my blog for days together but sometimes victory is mine like today where I have beheaded that demon. Resistance comes everyday, every second but there is good news, we can defeat it , we can kill that blood sucking vampire but again you have to enter the battlefield everyday (to be frank every minute) to conquer it .In a very concise way “Life is all about defeating resistance and pursuing you inner passion” . Even players like Sachin Tendulkar and Tiger woods are terrified when they get into the field but the difference is they conquer their fears and defeat resistance. There is nothing called fearlessness , it is a fairy word , if you are fearless you are not human it is about acknowledging your fears and conquering them , if you bluff yourself saying you are fearless then you are lost . First acknowledge and feel your fear and then face it head on . I remember an interview of cricketing legend Rahul Dravid who once said “my heart beats faster and I tremble when I get on to play but I immediately condition my mind and conquer my fears and anxiety” . It is not easier to become a  pro and to do what you truly love. Initially you have to do what your pleasure sensors in your body hate to do , then only you can relish the beauty in your work . You believe it or not , but I believe it , there are higher planes of life above all this materialistic humbug , that is the place where people like Beethoven, Picasso and Tiger woods live(at least for sometime) by pursuing their passion and doing the work they love . If you truly want to experience those higher planes immerse yourself in a task you love without worrying about the ramifications. A professional knows it .

A professional knows there is no bad day to start a good thing and ( to be continued in subsequent parts)

– Raviteja Visakoti 

Afternoon Nap ( Poetry Genre )

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Today’s afternoon nap was something different. I was able to feel that

I could feel the consciousness closing the gates in front of me. I was happily lying in the gardens of subconscious and mischievously looking at them and the process that is going on which finally results into deep sleep. Even though it was just a 20 minute sleep, I could feel infinity in it

Strangely my face with closed eyes got attracted towards the opaque mixed translucent glass framed to the window which is shooting continuous cones of bright sunlight passing through it and my eyes could feel the firendly warm, even after they passed through an inch-sized glass and a decent protection of eyelids, my pupils relished them and I could literally feel it

The rays were making me sleepier and comforting me in utter tranquility accompanied by a beautiful silence in the room & surroundings and disrespecting to not to mention, the nicety of refreshing and bracing weather. There was transcendence to a new level, a higher plane  which generally cannot be expressed in words but must be felt !!

– Raviteja Visakoti 

Professional vs Amateur (Part 1)

I have recently completed reading the second installment of “The War of Art”  by Steven Pressfield, it is “Turning Pro” . I felt that I should communicate the essence of those two books with as many people as possible, so I have decided to put my understanding of those books in a sequence of articles for better conception of my expression. In-fact what I write in the next few articles is the hybridization of Pressfield’s ideas, my understanding of them, and my own ideas also.

Steven Pressfield is a legend, a pure legend and more importantly a professional(for conciseness’ sake let us call it Pro). This article and the next couple or more of them are exclusively related to analysing the qualities, differences, similarities of an amateur and that of a pro. Just for convenience let us explore the lexicon meanings of them first.

Amateur :-   Inept or Unskillful /not an expert /a person who engages in a pursuit, especially a sport, on an unpaid basis.

Professional :-Engaged in a specified activity as one’s main paid occupation rather than as a pastime/skillful/expert

When I was in my 9th Grade, my chemistry teacher told in the class that whatever you do, don’t crave for appreciation or recognition, if appreciation and fame automatically follow be happy but if nobody appreciates your work and somebody takes credit for your work then be happier because, she explained, you know the importance and greatness of your work and God knows it and you need not explain that to anyone. I can say that it is being professional. A professional knows what he does, he doesn’t crave for fame, he does any work out of love. An amateur does the opposite, everything that he does is to get recognition, to feel important, he concentrates only on the end-product and not on the process, he needs others’ approval, he just cannot live without that.

Achievement is a relative term but many people think that earning a greater than or equal to 6 digit paycheck per month, fame, power and the like are the only things which can be called as achievements . What is achievement to one person may not be nothing to the other . Understand your deep emotional wants and don’t wants, they are in a multitude ways different from those of the person sitting next to you. If you ask me what an achievement is I would say that anything that would take you from your current level to a next level of personal mastery is called an achievement and that next level can be very slightly higher or very higher, here also the improvement and consistency counts and not the speed and size of your leap. Meditating for 15 mins everyday for 1 year is an achievement in itself (in fact a great achievement), exercising everyday for 1 hour, reading books, writing articles, dismantling bad habits, adding new good habits, following a healthy and productive timetable everyday consistently for a period of time are all achievements. A professional knows this, an amateur doesn’t. An amateur is purely materialistic and sybaritic.

An amateur always operates in a hierarchy, he doesn’t have a zone or region of his own, he gets happier and excited when he is above someone in the hierarchy and gets bogged down and depressed when he is below and that is the reason an amateur is always jealous, he cannot see people rise above him – he gets terrified by the thought of it. A professional is never jealous, in fact he encourages others because he knows his turf, he knows his battlefield, he knows he has to fight his own demons like laziness, procrastination, and more importantly he knows he is not in this pseudo race .

To become a professional the first step is you have to listen to your true calling. Whenever you are embarked to pursue your true calling, there comes the most dangerous evil – the demon responsible for almost all misfortunes in the world -Resistance. Resistance is all pervasive and ( to be continued in Subsequent parts ..)

Rithish VisakotiRaviteja Visakoti 

Which Super Hero You Want to Be?

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During my childhood I used to constantly fight with my sibling highlighting the strengths of my favorite super hero and showcasing the weaknesses of his favorite one and he did the same thing and obviously we both would not budge that easily towards a common consensus. Exactly 2 years ago I watched the movie “Batman Begins” (starring Christian Bale and directed by the legendary Christopher Nolan ) and totally got all my opinions changed , prior to that I watched a lot of  super hero movies but none kindled me the way this movie did .Generally super hero movies (including our Superman) tend to showcase the person in lead in such a way that he is gifted with super powers and there by greatness automatically accompanied with it but Batman is not like that . Batman represents hope and responsibility , anybody can become a batman, there is a famous dialogue in that movie which goes like this “it’s not who you are underneath, it’s what you do that defines you” . Bruce Wayne(the character which represents Batman) is like a normal kid except that he comes from an extremely wealthy family and also has a lot of weakness and fears too but after his parents die , comes a dramatic shift in him that he goes in to explore the world leaving all his riches to find himself and in the process he gradually overcomes his fears, learns new skills (rather than being gifted) and finally achieves the purpose he had initially been committed to . As I said already there is batman in everybody but it has to be unleashed and for that requires huge internal commitment, perseverance and purpose in life . Finally not everyone can become superman but one become a batman if he commits to it !!

–  Raviteja Visakoti 

How to make a decision?

Decision Making

Almost everyday in our lives we are confronted with a litany of situations where we have to take decisions to improve our state in one way or the other and/or in some cases we need to take a decision to simply push forward in our lives or there may be scenarios in which our decisions simply mean life or death or it can change the course of your life completely.The question is not about what the situations are but how to take the apt decision for a situation. I will try to solve this conundrum to the extent I can in the next couple of(or may be more) stanzas.

As always(and also a matter of habit), I will first dissect the problem into parts and analyse one by one . I believe categorization helps in better comprehension and simplification of anything and also if a person cannot explain something in simple terms then he/she did not understand it.So let us get into the crux of the matter: According to me, there are fundamentally two types of decision making involving –

a)Simple Decisions(Life Improving)

b)Complex Decisions(Life Changing)

Simple Decision making – Unlike its sound it’s really not simple to take simple decisions,[similar to-to rephrase a cliche “Common sense is dangerously uncommon”]. But the name “simple” is chosen because the answer to such situations is generally yes/no , agree/disagree, accept/reject ,etc . For example tomorrow there is an exam for you and your friend(presumably other college guy who doesn’t have exam tomorrow) invites you for a movie at midnight the answer to it is either a tempting yes or a “categorical No” but your call on it depends on the commitment to the cause and thereby decides the status of your life improvisation . Other common cases where simple decision making plays a pivotal role are :when your friend or colleague offers you a drink or cigarette , when you are asked to eat something that you had previously not eaten, your ‘pleasure-self’ asking for social networking but your brain is suggesting you to study , your mouth and tongue asking for tasty food but your heart is telling you to exercise so that it stays healthy , resisting the urge to comment back , etc . As I already said , the solution to such a situation would be the strength of commitment you have towards your beliefs and causes , so whenever you are in this simple decision making state analyse for yourself whether it is really good for you to do so , whether what you are doing is in accordance with your ethics and customs or not!

Complex Decision making – These are situations in which the decisions to which can change your life in a dramatic manner . Some common examples which involve complex decision making are selecting the right job for you, rejecting a girl/boy who cheats you continuously ,career change , whether to set up an enterprise by yourself or not and so on. So how do you take a decision  , for example you have got a very high paying job and lots of benefits like job security,bonuses,etc as an engineer which your heart doesn’t like it and also a job as an artist which you love to be with a comparatively and significantly low salary and few benefits . In these cases please do not compare by the values, do not weigh the pros and cons instead add value to the option you love , if you love to paint then it has an infinite value by itself . In complex decision making it is not about comparing values of unequal quantities but rather about adding value.

In Conclusion : We crave to improve our lives but very few people really take hard and bold decisions that can really change their lives and the rest live in their cages simply adhering to the conventions, running the never ending “rat race” and these cage dwellers criticize and ridicule the brave and good ones watching them rise to greater heights !!

–  Raviteja Visakoti 

Courage has a different connotation

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What do you mean by courage ? How do you define it? Well , it depends on the perspective you look at it from . I believe-from my experience and understanding of situations – there are two types of courage : the first and essential one the Internal courage and the next one and the less noble one the External Courage . Before I articulate further on this topic of courage I need you to perform a simple task or activity(whatever you call it) .Take a plain paper and pen and note down the things that you ever wanted to do but you are not able to do because of some reasons , simply put , note down all your fears that are inhibiting your personal mastery and the road to freedom and happiness. Go to the next para only if you have completed the above task ,it is ok if you feel the list is not perfect , let it be, just jot down the things that come to your mind instantly.

I believe there is fear in every exciting thing that we do, even  a professional speaker who has given 100 seminars is terrified when he gets on to the stage for the next time or even the great Roger Federer is terrified for the next Wimbledon. Fear develops internally whenever we do a thing we love to do or an important task , there lies mastery , as Susan Jeffers beautifully put it “Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway” , first acknowledge that there is a fear lurking inside and next just kill it , the fear gets washed away i.e it is always a mental battle between your action and inaction -action kills fear and inaction breeds fear . The reason I explained what fear is and how to defeat it on the face is because it is essential for the understanding of internal and external courage.

Many people get confused between the different connotations of courage and their varied applications . I can better explain this with an aid of an example.  Riding bike with 100 + speed on a highway to appease the opposite gender is not courage , it implies the person is not valuing his life properly and it is not internal courage either it is useless external courage .Smoking a cigar in front of everybody is not courage it is just external  courage again and the list goes on .Take risks “in life” not “with life” .

Some of the important things/acts that require internal courage :

  • Asking for what you truly want (to whomever it may be)
  • Being Honest with yourself (the most difficult one)
  • Following your passion
  • Being “out and out dissatisfied” with the status-quo
  • To Quit the job who you hate
  • Standing out from the crowd
  • Delayed Gratification to achieve a higher purpose
  • Believing in your self and intuitions
  • To do what you love.
  • To achieve financial freedom
  • To have self discipline
  • To exude confidence
  • To control temper ..et cetra

All the above things require courage , true internal courage to win the inner battle with fear and to come out victorious
It doesn’t mean external courage is not required , external courage is ‘sometimes’ a by-product of pure internal courage, it is a manifestation of internal courage working inside you . So from next time don’t worry about the external one and concentrate more on developing the “True Courage”

Raviteja Visakoti 

My Top 5 books

I felt like sharing the 5 books that I would normally suggest to anybody who want to improve their lives though in whatever situation or range they might be in at present , these timeless gems will be helpful to not just improve but also take you to an elevated state .

Numero Uno : Rich Dad Poor Dad 

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This is the most powerful book that I have ever read in my life , every person that reads this book will have 2 complete states of mind i.e before reading the book and after completing it . Though it mainly focuses on personal finance , it is more of a book that changes your perspective on money and how you wish to see yourself after a few years. Do you want to keep your house in control(monetarily) ?, do you want to become a millionaire or billionaire or superb entrepreneur? then go for it now without a speck of doubt!! rest Mr.Kiyosaki will take care

Number 2 : Man’s Search for Meaning in life

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Are you complaining about the trivial things? or feeling dejected and lost that your partner/spouse recently broke up with you or cheated on you? Then you should remember that your own life is beautifully more wonderful and better than that of countless people . This book is about a doctor who is captured into a Nazi concentration camp where life is a million times horrible than hell -his parents,wife,friends were all gassed to death and he still survived in that inferno and never gave up. My favorite lines from the book “It is not what you expect from life , it is that what life expects from you” . It is one of the books that created a “Deep Positive Impact on my thinking” towards philosophy and life.

Number 3 : The War of Art

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I have already stated the significance of this book in my previous articles ,this is a self help book with a difference– it is a diamond I would say, it almost cured my procrastination(one form of the Dangerous Resistance) problem. Steven Pressfield is a genius writer, a magician of words and cuts directly to the problem and gives an awesome solution.Go for it if you are struggling to start anything or if you are frittering away time even though you know what to do at the moment and not doing it and thereby feeling guilty . I want to say more about this “vital gem” but you will be more satisfied if you read it by yourself.The book is costly but I would say to buy it , I can solemnly say you wont be disappointed and its content’s worth is way more than its price!

Number 4 : Kane and Abel

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I have read many novels after reading this epic and still could not find even a close competition to it , Jeffrey Archer beats it all in this book-be it Agatha Cristie , Stephen King , Dan Brown or even the great Sidney Sheldon . If at all you want to imbibe reading as your habit , start with this book . This book takes you to a new world , new people(the characters) and new places . You will relish every page of the book , it includes everything that audience want suspense, drama, romance, revenge and many more . It is more entertaining than a 9.5/10 IMDB rated hollywood movie !!

Number 5 but not the last : Think and Grow Rich

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Do you want to read the mother of all self help books? Then go for Think and Grow rich , it has some very formidable topics that if you assimilate correctly and apply will no doubt take you to the highest level . But frankly speaking not all chapters are required on this book , some I personally feel are not required and applicable but nevertheless the first few chapters are eye openers especially the topic on “Belief”

– Raviteja Visakoti 

How to be Open Minded ?

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I need not restate the importance of being open minded, but to rephrase – It is the ability or skill or trait ( whatever you choose to call it ) to receive incoming knowledge and /or experiences and to imbibe and also utilize them in such a way that they may  replace past knowledge or experience in the best interests of us.

Open mindedness is not just crucial to professional growth but it is also vital to both spiritual and personal growth. It is the courage needed to discard old beliefs, dangerous half knowledge, biased feelings and highly poisonous prejudices.

The key to open mindedness is you have to acknowledge the fact that there may be a possibility that your idea/opinion/thinking may be wrong and believe that there may be other better ideas/opinions/thoughts.

Obviously every person can’t know everything and every person cannot be accurate and be taking the best decisions all the time. True achievement lies in leveraging your skills by constructive exchange of knowledge ( I meant exchange I.e both incoming and outgoing) with countless people.

I need not go more on the definitive side of open mindedness as many wise people have defined it and also stated its awesome advantages. I am going to share with you the techniques that I invented for unlocking open mindedness, I call them half snake and full snake concept and I will share them with you.

Half Snake concept : I want to anologise this with the half knowledge( it is not exactly half, it may even be 10 % or 99 %) that we have with us, many a time people come to conclusions based on the half knowledge present rather than understanding the broader picture, in simple terms it is like a half snake present in your head, careening on a tree here and there(imagine the picture mentally in your mind now) and not allowing new knowledge or opinions to enter into your brain – why? because this is a highly poisonous snake and new knowledge is as pure and fresh as a jasmine flower and it doesn’t like to get poisoned off with that deadly half snake.

Full Snake concept : This is the most dangerous situation, as the name suggests, the snake is full grown and completely occupied the brain’s thought process. This snake not just blocks the beautiful jasmines but it doesn’t even allow other half snakes. The greatest pity with full snake concept is that people don’t realize that their minds are completely filled with wrong and misleading information and thoughts, they just simply think they are always correct and always great and they have a terrible false illusion that their database needs no new data!!

Solution : When there is poison there is also an antidote or a medicine to eliminate or at-least control the effect of poison, as I already said it is about identifying that your opinion is wrong, here it is to identify the snake first and next identify that it is poisonous, then we can get the correct antidote so that we can design a wonderful garden minus snakes for the jasmines.

Finally, I am not saying you should always welcome others’ ideas, it is about judgement, you should be able to judge which opinion is correct and which one is not. Associate an opinion with the level that touches your wisdom not on the level of the person associated with that opinion. I mean all bill gates’ opinions may not be in the best interest of you but sometimes your high school teacher can give a better opinion and for that judgement to be done you have to be open minded !!

Raviteja Visakoti 

Real Joy

Have you ever started a task and stopped it in the middle or at near finish line? I think it is all pervasive in our day to day lives, I have found the secret (or at least one of the many secrets that have to be uncovered) to true satisfaction and I am thrilled to share it with you.

When I was in 10th class, I got an email(really forget the source) and I can say it is the first one that led me to explore the greater meaning of life, in it was the definition of Happiness : satisfaction is the core of happiness, without satisfaction
there is absolutely no happiness, to put an analogy-it is like a body without soul or a processor less computer. In fact everyday we try to strive for satisfaction knowingly or unknowingly.

And true satisfaction comes from things our inner calling wants us to do and not the artificial call.
Satisfaction comes from achievement(it is a relative term for eg: eating only healthy food for 10 complete days is also an achievement). Satisfaction comes from building lasting relationships. Satisfaction comes from helping people, selflessly serving others, lifting people to their true potential. Satisfaction comes from completing your most important task at the moment. Satisfaction comes from time management and so on and on

Every time you eat junk or drink a soft drink or watch TV, it is not happiness – it is just pleasure. Many people think happiness and pleasure are one and the same, pleasure is dead easy to achieve whereas the path to happiness is the path to glory. There will be difficulties on the way & sometimes you may want to give up but the final reward is always scintillating. Pleasure is temporary and at times very momentary but satisfaction is eternal and real.

Suppose you want to do a task like reading a book for 1 hour daily or walking 2 km to burn fat, to explain a concept or chapter to a friend- anything for that matter which improves the quality of your life and leads to personal mastery requires true diligence, discipline and moving out from comfort zone and once you complete that task, believe me, it gives you a  satisfaction(and thereby happiness) which is infinite times more than what you get when you watch a movie for 2 hrs or eat junk on the road (in fact all that you get is temporary pleasure). All pleasure is not bad but know the difference and be careful for what you strive for.

The secret to true joy is doing what brings satisfaction to heart. At the end of the day, when you are about to sleep on the bed, you should not feel guilty for what you did not do but should be satisfied that you have contributed something  in achieving your goals.

– Raviteja Visakoti 

My Experiments with “Sleep”

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Many people say that there are basically two types of people in terms of sleep- the majority type i.e Early Birds and the minority type(believe me the margin is very less) Night Owls . Before I get into what I want to say, a little intro about early birds and night owls would be helpful for people like me. An early bird is a person who gets up early in the morning and sleeps early in the night and on the other end of the spectrum is the night owl who sleeps late at night (you can call it morning!!) and may or may not wake up until it strikes 10 or 11 o clock (and sometimes it can go beyond afternoon).

Everyone of us was a type one sleeper until a certain point i.e we were forced to get up early in the morning, get ready , have breakfast and go to school reluctantly . But not until college starts the night owl in us gets awakened ,the complete internal clock cycles start to change in the body and insomnia kicks into each one of us . At this stage many think that they are night owls and continue to be awake at night even though there is no useful/important task to be done , and one fine day when the family members admonish him/her for staying late at night , they simply declare themselves a Night Owl(a highly stylish word) and continue to follow the unhealthy sleeping habits for years later on .I myself thought I was a night owl (and I am still not able to come out of that vicious cycle) because of my engineering before-the-exam study habits but the truth is I found it better to be an early to bed and early to rise type guy than an improper timing night owl ,it is wonderful to sleep by 10 :30 and get up at 5 or 6 in the morning and look at the sunrise and listen to the chirping of birds than watching some James bond or Liam Neeson movies at night (not criticizing anybody and the truth is I had done the same and I am terrific fan of both of them and thoroughly enjoy watching ’em ).

Don’t listen to the unnecessary jargon of psychologists who say that night owls are better than early risers,their creativity is more ,bla bla bla and all such nonsense , be a non conformist observe what is really working for you what is not working ,don’t follow the herd. Of course there are times when you have to stay all night and do your works, but what I am trying to say is that do a night out only “if you have to” or “if there is any necessity” to do so ,in all other cases put your phone on the table,shut down your infotainment devices and go to bed. When I say this to “myself” , my internal planning system cheats by showing me numerous things that have to be completed and it keeps telling there are many works and you cant sleep now , but the truth is , as I have said it in my earlier articles also -only 20 to 30% tasks are essential , others are damn trivial, cut down the garbage now itself and save yourself some valuable night time !! Enjoy sleeping

– Raviteja Visakoti 

Don’t read a book quickly and completely

starthabit

If at all you wanted to read a self help book and got demotivated by the size of it or if you are struggling to complete a big book ,this is the article for you .

Frankly speaking I have not read a self help book until I was into my second year of engineering , even at that time the pace at which I completed books was very slow , I used to take around a minimum of 20 days for completely reading a novel – I personally don’t like the habit of reading a book at a stretch for hours together , it is not bad but I don’t like it – and a minimum of 1 month for a self help book . But back to 8 to 10 months , I completed books (especially self help) at break neck speed even with my 10 day per book speed . That said it was 10 books in 100 days !!

Here comes the important distinction, I did not complete all the books that I bought or borrowed , I left nearly 30-40% books incomplete – the range of “incompleteness” may vary from 5 pages to 500 pages . What I am trying to express here is that it is really not important whether you complete a book or not and it’s not also about the speed ,it is about getting the main essence out of it or understanding what the author is trying to convey . In Tibetan self help books the authors have the habit of writing a poem in the first page of the book, if you understand the poem completely and the wisdom related to it you need not read the whole book ,the same is true for a majority of self help books i.e focus on getting the theme of author’s point and not on completing the number of pages or the speed at which you are completing.If at all you are not satisfied even after understanding the theme of the book , then for the remaining chapters read the chapter names and summaries , that would be fine

There is a book called “Think and Grow Rich” , I call it the mother of all motivational books or like optimus prime in transformers-in that the author says,in the preface , when you understand what this book wants to convey whether you are in the first chapter or last chapter close the book and party yourself for finding the secret. I understood the essence of the book by the completion of second chapter (it is about the power of belief) and proceeded no further , suddenly I had a surge of confidence in me and felt as if I have read the entire book , the same is for true for anybody.

I am not saying you to leave your book incomplete, I am just saying you to concentrate on the theme rather than speed and number of pages , it is really good to complete a book but do it slowly and consistently because each point in that book needs to get absorbed by your subconscious mind and internal belief systems and in fact some books have to be completed end to end but once you have got the essence and/or found the point repetitive then just move on to the next book . (caution -(On a lighter note) This doesn’t apply for novels 🙂 )

– Raviteja Visakoti 

Start Starting

start now-ravi visa

As far as I know the biggest enemy of starting any endeavor is procrastination(in short-the tendency to postpone important things) .In his famous book “The War of Art”, Steven Pressfield outlines why and how Resistance rules our lives and how to eliminate it. He says that procrastination is the biggest manifestation of Resistance. I would solemnly recommend that book to anyone who thinks that procrastination is eating them alive, the book is a bit pricey but I would say it is worth more than the bucks .

Now coming directly to the point, after some mini research (mostly by bitter experiences) I found out that procrastination has 3 main root causes :

  1.  Laziness – Probably the single most dangerous thing that is there in everyone one of us in varied proportions, we tend to postpone things (in maximum number of cases) due to it.
  2.  Fear of Failure – Whenever you fear of failure remember Mark Twain’s timeless words “Do the thing you fear and the death of fear is certain”.
  3. Perfectionism – Sometimes we don’t feel like starting until everything is arranged completely and perfectly ordered. We feel that we have to do a task with 100% accuracy which is not possible in real life, just start it anyway and slowly your accuracy will be way more than your wildest dreams.

The biggest problem with procrastination is that it becomes a habit. In fact a vicious habit that after some months and years it would not let you do even the routine things in life like reading a newspaper or eating on time, you get a tendency to post pone anything and everything. So I would like to share some methods that worked for me in eliminating(or say reducing) procrastination that I believe( and hope) can also be a solution to your procrastination problem.

  • Don’t rationalize : When you want to get early in the morning don’t use logic, don’t say to yourself 5 more mins, simply just do not reason with it. When you set up an alarm for 5 o clock don’t think anything and get up and go straight to the washroom and wash your face and immediately go for jogging (if at all you planned it earlier) or go to your study room and sit on your study chair and start studying, don’t let a thought enter your mind until you start, once you start -procrastination is half destroyed.
  • Don’t worry about plans : Say to yourself continuously everything is in order, all my plans are in order, remember an excellent plan without execution is nothing when compared to a mediocre plan with excellent execution. As I explained in my earlier article “The Truth about Planning “, the more the plan is clear the greater you tend to postpone things.
  • Commitment to your goal : Be clear of what you want  in life, remove the unnecessary clutter and humbug, your wants are your wants-don’t add new wants seeing others, clarity is important regarding goal setting, close your eyes and honestly ask yourself, what you really want in life and aspire for.
  • Maintain a to do list : Have a small journal or notepad in your pocket and write down the things that you have to do the next day, write only the most important and important tasks (don’t allocate any time slots to it), first complete them and 90% work is done.
  • Add a little positive pressure to it : Attaching a tinge of ego and emotion to the completion of task works like magic, visualize the consequences of both achieving and not achieving the target in your mental projector.

Finally,think of procrastination as a devil more ghastly than real life ghost and as an enemy more dangerous than you real life enemy, you have a war ahead, have a battle plan, go ahead with your ammunition and destroy it now and here….just say “Do it now is my motto” 

– Raviteja Visakoti 

Why Gossiping is Harmful ?

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Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.”- Eleanor Roosevelt

  • People love to talk about others especially on their misgivings and faults. When I recently went to a local super market two women(X and Y) were talking about a third women(Z) that Z always disrespects them whenever they go to her house, finding it interesting, I acted as if I was searching for some items and stayed in the vicinity of them to get more details of that conversation, after some ten-multiple seconds the conversation slowly got heated up and it was as if they both were in an argument, and in this heated conversation the curses and scoldings slowly got shifted from Z to her son, daughter and husband also. I was unable to take that anymore and speedily went to the billing counter. The reality is the conversation would have been the same even if it was Z with X (or) Z with Y — talking always about the third person who is not present at the site.
  • Always remember that the more you gossip about others the more the number of people gossip about you, there is no scientific validation to that but it is nature and valid. People keep talking about other persons and in reality nobody cares about our lives. As Dale Carnegie said -all a person thinks about 95% of the time is his problems, his life, his interests and his goals. So when you are talking about other person it is simply throwing away your valuable time into a bin.
  • It is good to talk about a person who has done something praiseworthy and to learn from him/her but, at the same time, please do not become envious of that person, it is good to talk about helping someone in a miserable state but not being glad that happened. Stop cursing people and stop having your vengeance with words, there is an anonymous saying-Weak people take revenge, strong people forgive but intelligent people ignore.
  • Simplify your life, do not let your body get filled with negativity and hatred, those who harm you will have their fate met soon, ignore them and concentrate on your personal improvement. Also, NEVER tell your problems to anyone. Lou Holtz humorously put it “20% don’t care about your difficulties and the other 80% are glad you have them in the first place.” So from the next time whenever you get tempted to talk about others(however bad they might be) or about your problems, just pause for a moment and imagine a seal on your mouth and rest leave it to karma, which will take care of everything !

Raviteja Visakoti 

The Truth about Planning

raviteja visakoti

“Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face”– Mike Tyson

“Planning is everything” is the most misunderstood suggestion that I had ever heard . It is not false but it is not completely true either . It is just half true ,not long ago I used to over analyse things , and tried to maintain a lot of small notebooks for planning each and everything , I used to write everything that I had to do the next day,the next month , the next year, what to study , what not to study,what to eat , what not to eat ,etc in extreme detail and finally ended up doing only the trivial things instead of the most important works , in other words I was unable to cope with the dynamic challenges that were getting generated which I could not include in my plan. Planning is important ,in fact it is very important , but I believe in dynamic planning (instead of the traditional static planning) and it helped me become more productive and responsive to situations out of my control . The main disadvantage of too-much-detailed planning is that there would be many external circumstances that can make you feel as if your main plan is not getting executed.

Suppose you planned to study for 12 hrs the next Sunday and you get excited about the idea and try to allocate the timings in the following way : 6 am to 8 am – study , 8 am to 8.30 am – Rest, 8.30 am to 9 am – breakfast , again 9 am to 12 am study and so on . Saturday night you set an alarm for morning 6 am , you get up at 6 am and started studying ( you get a feeling that everything is going according to the plan) , when it gets 6.30 am your friends call you and order you to come to play badminton and after that guilty filled session of badminton , your mom asks you to bring eggs and milk from the local grocery store and after a few hours of poor execution & nothing going according to the plan you get dejected and loose the enthusiasm to proceed further  . Of course this is a simple and harmless example but the principle is same for some life changing decisions involving serious planning.

My suggestion would be to maintain a small to-do-list (if it looks archaic , some notepad apps on your android or apple smart phone will suffice ) and before you sleep -write down the most important things that you want to do the next day  , jot down only 10 tasks and don’t mention the timings of them . When you get up the following morning, just don’t worry about the timings and specifications and instead focus on completing them whenever you get time. Going from place A to place B is planing , but not writing down place A to place C to place E to place G to place B . You never know what might happen in place C or E in between .Sometimes you have to change the route in order to reach your destination . Completing your task or reaching you destination is important -not the path you take or how you take . Dynamic planning is simply acting according to situation so that the target is not missed . Fate works in extremely interesting ways that one can never expect what happens next , so one has to get equipped with mindset to accept new challenges that can help you or hamper you depending on your attitude towards change

  • With dynamic planning you can be in harmony with the external changes and you can utilize them to your benefit for your growth it is like moving downstream in a boat ,
  • On parallel lines, With static planning you are in complete discord with the external changes and it is akin to rowing a boat upstream.

Another major disadvantage associated with over-detailed planning is that you get a feeling that you already completed the tasks and tend to procrastinate more . This is particularly in the case of study plans and anything that involves mental efforts. So from the next time whenever you wish to accomplish something , have a simple and clear overview plan with vague details and get into execution with dynamism !!  

– Raviteja Visakoti 

Think vs Don’t Think

raviteja visakoti-think vs don't think

Till a few days ago I really did not understand why sometimes people say “Think before you act” and other times people say “Don’t think just do it.” Those conflicting statements caused me to Think and find the solution by myself and I hope it might give some respite to you as well.

Thinking means considering each and every possibility in a systematic manner – one by one and weighing the pros and cons by arriving at the correct one by eliminating the other ones. This may take 10 seconds to 10 months and it it is not over thinking, it is proper thinking.  Over thinking arises when you think about the same possibility (or a set of possibilities) again and again without eliminating other possibilities and I call this redundant thinking and in the same way this can also range from 10 seconds to 10 months. There is nothing like too much thinking in fact it should not be the time taken that should be the deciding factor in accessing the type of thinking but it should be the quality of thought process that should decide whether it is proper thinking or over thinking.

In a short summary when people tell “Don’t think too much” –they mean to say “don’t think over the missed opportunities, left over choices and redundant things and instead carry on with your execution of the decision that you have taken. To put it even more precisely: stop redundant thinking and start proper thinking and there is nothing like too much thinking. And I think that this is the reason Henry Ford said “Thinking is the hardest part to do, that is why very few people do it” and what he meant was to think properly and not redundantly !!

– Raviteja Visakoti 

What are the dangers of multitasking?

What are the dangers of multitasking

Recently I have watched an interview of an Investment Banker on Youtube. He repeatedly kept saying “Multitasking is the key to success in this field.”

I don’t know about investment banking but multitasking is a sure fire way to fail in personal and professional life. It is the biggest enemy to productivity.

The Struggle

A typical person’s daily schedule goes in this way: gets up early in the morning, opens smartphone, turns on mobile data or WiFi, repeatedly refreshes Gmail, Whatsapp and Facebook to see if anyone has messaged at midnight.

If there are no updates available(this is the most likely case) they start browsing random Facebook posts and simultaneously brush their teeth.

After successful completion of brushing and bathing, then starts breakfast plus music or the most popular combination of breakfast plus television.

What actually happens is that the person neither enjoys his delicious food nor the show in TV, he/she just ponders over what to do in the office.

The Reality

The truth is “it is not possible for a human to multitask. When someone says he/she is doing “N” number of things at a time, that person may likely be not doing any task( even with 10% concentration ) or that person is lying.

If there are roughly 10 tasks per day for a person, trust me, only 3 of them are really important and other 7 are either unimportant or nothing happens if they are not done.

The Trick

One simple solution that has worked like magic for me is to do just one task at a time. Just work on the most important task with pure focus and with no distractions of any form until that important task gets completed.

Continue that process for other tasks in decreasing priority. By the time the top 10% tasks get over you will realize that 90% of your work gets completed.

I can promise you that you will be far more satisfied with your work and twice efficient. Most importantly you will be a lot less stressful.

Just remember the famous words of Brian Tracy “There is no time to complete all the things in a day, but there is definitely time to do the most important things.”

So from next time discipline yourself to stick to the most important task and subtract all other distractions, enjoy and relish working on it with mindfulness, don’t get up from your chair until it is completed and save yourself at least 2 to 3 precious hours per day !! 

– Raviteja Visakoti 

What is the right balance between Emotion and Reason?

Many people say that emotion is the core of what we are as a person. That is true, in fact without emotions human body is simply a robot executing instructions defined by an algorithm.

It is because of the emotions that every individual has a specific set of people around him, specific set of likes, dislikes, wants, desires and goals.

Greater the intensity of emotion greater the burning desire to achieve a goal but there is always a flip side to the coin.

Emotion and reason go hand in glove only to a certain limit. Once you loose control of your emotions, your reasoning gets frightened by the lava of emotion and takes back seat to give way for emotions to take decisions.

To put it more clearly

Imagine you are riding a bike. First you have to accelerate more so that the engine gets heated up. Once your bike has obtained the necessary power(in our case “emotion”), acceleration is not the only factor for a smooth ride.

You have to control the speed accordingly by using other manuals also such as brake and clutch (reason).

Similar to riding a bike, use reason to control the amount of emotion required for a situation. So from the next time whenever you loose your temper or become too emotional, let reason take control.

Ask yourself questions such as what should I be doing in this situation? Do people really take notice of me if I become emotional(in reality nobody cares)? What are the consequences if I do so?

If all these questions don’t work out close your eyes and ask yourself “what’s the use?”.  Be honest for this question and you will be back in control

Selecting the best one

Our life’s quality depends on how we use emotions and reason.

For example, After a terrible day in office or college, you are exhausted and want to do something that has a soothing effect.

The emotion in you tells to watch TV and have a pizza waiting on the table but your reasoning part advises to drink fruit juice and take rest. (99% of the world will opt for the former and that is the reason our lives are filled with obesity).

Which is more important?

Emotions, perse, are not harmful. It can be the worst enemy or the savior of life depending on how it is used.

Daniel Goleman, author of “Emotional Intelligence” says, EQ( Emotional Quotient) is more important than IQ in success.

When comparing emotion and reason, there is nothing like the best one. Emotion and Reason should work in tandem for a smooth sail.

Simply put “Emotion is a treasure house of power like uranium or plutonium. Exploit that energy by tailoring it to your needs”

– Raviteja Visakoti 

Dream Big but Start Small

When I was a twelve year old kid, my class teacher advised me to dream big and set high goals in life, at that tender age it did not make much sense to me.

As far as I knew, at that time at least, dreams are unclear things that crawl into mind sometime in sleep and which are vivid at night and vague in the morning, and though I knew the literal meaning of goal all I could visualize was a goal post in soccer.

But slowly as I grew up words such as dreams, goals, aim made a lot of sense and ignited in me a new curiosity.

How to execute the dream?

As far as dreams are concerned literally anyone can achieve anything in this world, I know that this sentence had been repeated a million times in various books and in speeches made by wise personalities.

It may sound very boring and unrealistic to a typical person, the only secret one has to remember during dream execution is to compare his speed and progress with no one but himself.

Obviously some things are easier to achieve for naturally gifted people, it doesn’t mean you cannot achieve them. The only thing that differs is the time taken to achieve that task. As Baz Luhrmann said Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind. The race is long, but in the end it’s only with yourself.  

Starting Small

Many people fumble over and over again by setting difficult tasks from day one itself. Start now but start slowly.

  • First Crawl
  • Then take baby steps
  • Learn to walk
  • Train yourself to Run
  • Run Consistently till your goal is achieved

Always remember your journey is more of a marathon than a sprint. Along the journey you should never forget that anything is achievable, believe in that.

Example : If you wish to reduce your weight by 20 Kg, it is not possible to do that overnight. Some people jog for 10 km and drastically change eating habits from day one itself.

After 2 to 3 days that enthusiasm fizzles out and by the 4th day they eat more than normal in frustration.

This is because internally a regret develops inside that the plan is not getting implemented and consequently a false belief will be created it is impossible to look slim.

The Power of Compounding

Divide the main task into as many sub tasks as possible, on day one plan to walk for just five minutes. Then continue to do that for one week and from week number two increase the limit to fifteen minutes.

Slowly expand your limits and do it with consistency and perseverance, you will be amazed by the results.

Always believe in the power of compounding – set daily attainable tasks when achieved creates enthusiasm and reinforces your faith to achieve even greater goals.

Whenever you feel dejected and upset, remember that a snowball starts very small but as it moves forward it gathers the billions of tiny snowflakes that come in its way and turns into a huge unstoppable.

In a nutshell

Truly and sincerely believe that everything is possible, do not be in a mad race with anyone, start small, maintain consistency and be unstoppable.

– Raviteja Visakoti