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 

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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

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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