The Life Changing Magic of Tidying up Marie Kondo

I would have never pegged myself as a person who would read a book on Tidying up and actually apply it, but I don’t know what came over me and I got the audio book and I listed to it end to end , applied some parts of it and I highly recommend the book!

Key take away from the book  was the burrito style of folding clothes that you store in your cupboard, it is amazing how much space it clears up. Seeing is believing. I wish I had taken before and after pictures of my drawers but alas I did not.

It is actually magic, try it for yourself. Empty a drawer and fold clothes burrito style and put it back and you will see the difference.

For those who are like me and had no idea on what the burrito style of folding is check out this video

Try it and share your experience!

Cheers!

S

 

 

 

 

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Night Shift on the IPhone

There have been multiple articles and research which claim that looking into the bright phone screen around bedtime and if you get up in the middle of the night  can mess with your sleep patterns.

Smart Phone companies also know that and to help us they have a not very well known but useful feature called ‘Night Shift’ on your iphone.

You can set up a time and the phone will automatically dim the screen to a warmer light instead of the regular bright white backlight.

I have set mine up for 10pm to 7am everyday and I think it does help in some subtle ways. I know ideally we should just keep our phones away in a drawer and live life gadget free  for a few hours before we sleep but till we get that discipline into our life let us at least set up the night shift phone on our smart phones!

So how do you set up the Night Mode?

1.Launch Settings from your Home screen.
2. Tap Display & Brightness.
3.Tap Night Shift.
4.Switch Scheduled to on.
5.Tap From/To.
6.Tap Custom Schedule and enter the time  you want to phone to go into night mode!

I wonder if they have a auto schedule for the Do-Not- Disturb mode as well on the phone…I will check it out tomorrow morning!

 

Till then…Good Night Sleep Well!

Cheers!

S

 

 

 

 

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Will Heart & Mind..

The concluding chapter of the book Grit summarize the concepts covered albeit a little different from my summary of the book but it also added some interesting aspects.

A question that I found particularly intriguing was:

How does Grit affect your family and friends? Is having single minded focus which borders on obsession take away from the people around you?

The author does not answer it but leaves it open ended, she just says it needs more research. I live with an extremely gritty person and ironically that this is something I hate a love about him …so I would definitely love to read about the affect of Grit on people around you if they ever write about it!

Another interesting aspect this last concluding chapter talks about is that is Grit everything? After 270 odd pages talking about how essential Grit is..it is a good question to ask…:-)

To my great relief, the author  also concludes that Grit is not everything and success which is more likely to come because we are gritty may not necessarily translate to happiness.

She clusters human characteristics into intrapersonal (Will), interpersonal(Heart) and intellectual(Mind) dimensions

Intrapersonal Characteristics (Will)  includes, Grit, Self control, determination, focus etc which make it possible to accomplish personally valued goals. These are also called  “Resume” virtues.

Interpersonal Characteristics(Heart)  includes social, emotional intelligence, gratitude, kindness, empathy, control over negative emotions  and things which help you get along  and help  other people. These can also be called “Eulogy virtues”

Intellectual Characteristics (Mind) which include  zest for life, curiosity, openness to learn. The book does not have another term for it but I feel like calling them ” Experience virtues”

So while Grit is important….we have lot more to us as human beings…I think I am personally stronger in the ‘Heart’ and ‘Mind’ characteristics  and need  work on polishing my ‘Will’ characteristics  and reach my potential.

Cheers to becoming more Gritty!

S

 

 

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Brain Gym?

brain-gym-2

 

I was reading an article in the Time Magazine website which asked” Is my Smart Phone making me dumber?” Well we all know intuitively that yes the smart phone are certainly making us dumber, I do not remember phone numbers, routes to places, b’days and so many other things which I would not too many years back.

But one thing that stuck a cord was  how they compared smart phone, always connected to the internet culture to ‘Cars’.While cars certainly made our lives easier and took us places faster we lost out on the physical benefits of walking to places and started living a sedentary life. Now ‘Cars’ were not the only technology to blame, we no longer have to plough fields, or carry large bags of food home, even for entertainment we now can sit on the couch and play video games instead of actual games.

Our life has changed tremendously and many of us  barely have to do physical labor as a part of our daily routine for work or recreation.

I am guessing a century or two ago if someone told people that there will be a concept of a ‘Gym’ where people would pay a monthly fee to walk on a treadmill that does not go anywhere or do ‘repetitions’ with heavy weights just for fun, it would have seemed as a crazy though but that is a necessity of the age

Similarly if I talk about a Brain Gym today, I will sound really silly but given the way artificial intelligence and technology is progressing “Brain Gyms” may become a real concept in the not so far future!

If you think about it Schools and Colleges are today’s Brain Gym’s but what happens to people after they finish studying and are in jobs which are pretty routine highly assisted by technology which does not require them to really think? Would our brains atrophy with lack of use and stimulation? Will the human race become stupid?

Well maybe not, we may have ‘Brain Gyms’ crop up around neighborhoods to improve our cognitive abilities.

So what would the future Brain Gym look like?

It will have different machines which you can go an work out in like you do in a physical gym today. Some of the machines I can envisage in a typical brain gym would be:

  •  Memory games station  to help to improve your recall: This is like the old card memory game we would play as children
  •  Problem solving stations: Maybe you play chess with the machine or solve a math question
  •  Learn a new skill:  A computer generated piano, guitar, knitting teacher
  • Learn a new language: There are so many courses available where a machine can teach you French or Spanish
  • Meditation booth which would be the equivalent of the current sauna’s after a round of hard exercise 🙂
  • The personal trainer would be your coach and track your individual  progress if you decide to pay a premium  or you will have gym trainers around the machines who will help you

As I write this, I actually feel it is a an interesting business idea. There is technology available for most of these things already if there was a place like this today, I would pay a $ 100 a month and go on a regular basis.  I am only in my 30’s, with a decent corporate job in a tech company and I already feel my brain is fogging up with all the technology around me.

Skeptics may say, hey you can do a lot of these things at home yourself  or with different tutors, well you can also do almost everything you do at the Gym without going to one…can’t you?

I definitely see “Brain Gyms” in the future….Do you!?

exercise-brain

 

 

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Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance

I am almost at the end of an audio book which I have been listening to for the past couple of weeks called Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance (Angela Duckworth).

I think this is the first audio book I may have heard till the end and I think Audio books are a brilliant concept. Amazon bought over Audible and that is one way to pay to pick up audio books but for people in the United States, head to your public libraries, they are simply brilliant and have quite a decent collection of audiobooks that you can download.

Grit was recommended by one of my Yoga class teachers and hence I picked it up. Overall while the concepts are very intuitive and not rocket science it is nice to hear a book on it because it reinforces things that would be in your subconscious.

The crux of the book is that hard work, perseverance (Grit) and not sheer talent is essential to excel. Grit is something that can be nurtured in yourself and the people you mentor/parent.

The book is divided into 3 part

Part 1: What is Grit and why it matter

Part 2: Growing Grit from Inside Out

Part 3: Growing Grit from Outside In

Part 1.What is Grit and Why it Matters?

Honestly this was not really new information but the anecdotes were very interesting and it was over all well written and engaging. It had elements of 10,000 hours of practice from Malcom Gladwel book and other concepts which you know intuitively.

We  all subconsciously believe successful people are “naturals” which puts us the hook and we can sit back and say I was just not born with it but the author emphasizes that “Effort” is what matter and everyone can be extremely successful if we persevere.

My one line summary takeaway from this section was ” Effort Counts Twice”

Talent x Effort = Skill

Skill x Effort = Achievement

Part 2: Growing Grit from Inside Out

This was the key section of the book for me. My take the 4 P’s of Grit “Passion, Practice, Purpose, Positivity“(The author wrote it as Interest Practice, Purpose and Hope)

I am still struggling to find the first P…my real passion and this book does not really clear the cobwebs on that but my take was that you still need to build your grit though this journey of life so when you do find you passion you are all set.

Once of the concepts discussed in the book on practice which I really liked was “Deliberate Practice” . It was observed  in research that people who did Deliberate practice were better poised for success as compared to people who did mindless practice. Mindless Practice is better than no practice but deliberate practice is the best. Again no rocket science  and very intuitive but still nice to read to reinforce

So what are the pillars for ” Deliberate practice”

  1. Have Stretch Goal
  2. Practice with full concentration and effort
  3. Immediate feedback
  4. Repetition with reflection and refinement

I am planning to use this for running, will let you know how it goes.

I also liked her take on purpose. A lot of us do not feel very passionately about our job’s and the reason for that is that we are unable to assign a higher purpose to what we do.

The author says, you can move from job to career to calling without changing anything.

A brick layer who says his work is to lay bricks is doing a job, one who says he is making a building looks at it as a career and someone who says he is making a house of God has found his calling!

Interesting but how do people like us implement this in our lives and jobs?

The Author suggests

  1. Reflect how the work you are already doing can make a positive impact on society
  2. How is small but meaningful ways can you chance your current work to enhance its connection to your core values
  3. Finding inspiration in a purposeful role model: Who would you like to be like in 15 years?

I can think of how to apply the first two points but have not yet found the deeper meaning of the third point.

I work in business development for an IT services company. Our official spiel is we sell digital solutions and consult customer but bottom line is we sell talent and get great technical folks to work with customers.

Like everyone else there are days I don’t like my an I wonder what the hell is the purpose of all this…to make money for some shareholders?

But when I look at my job as getting people jobs in fields they love and help to feed their families and grow I suddenly love my job because I am making a difference in the lives of all my associates and families. My core value is that people come first and I have done my best to be the champion for my associates within the organization.

The authors take on hope/positivity was that if you feel you can succeed you will be more gritty. Again common sense but nice to read. My take away was that I need to improve my self talk and more positive.

Part 3: Growing Grit from outside In

This part was about how you can get your children, your tea to be more gritty and build a culture of grit. While this was interesting to read, I am currently working on myself so the earlier section was more relevant.

 

So here is my brief synopsis on the book, I hope you enjoyed reading it! Look forward to you comments!

Cheers!

S

 

 

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I Can..

 

A girl- friend of mine was visiting me during the Christmas break and in one of our chats she asked my why was I so negative about myself when I was so positive about everyone else?

I was kind of taken aback and asked her why she felt so!? My normal style when someone give me feedback is to acknowledge(Ok!) the feedback  then ask for an example to gauge in my head if it is valid or just something the person may have misinterpreted. So I asked her for an example and she gave very valid well observed small but significant  examples from the last 2 days we had spent together.

She said, when we went for the hike, you kept saying I can’t do 10 miles all the way while walking  but you eventually did it pretty well, in Yoga class you said you cannot do the head down pose even with the straps but you could…and now we are talking about work and you say you cannot do it..

It hit me and I realized that maybe she had a point….I seem to be doing a lot of negative self talk which is not helping my cause…I need to move from the I can’t paradigm to the ‘I CAN’ paradigm…

One of the things she told me was that to  build self esteem you should look at running and it need not be fast it can be as slow as you walk but just go out there and run and it will build up slowly…

Now I have never been much of a runner…when I was 16,  I went for a jog once on the beach in the morning and I felt dizzy and unwell so I decided ‘morning exercise’ and ‘jogging’ does not ‘suit’ my constitution and I truly believed it.

When I brother, his wife and other people I know would train for marathon’s I would always feel…this is something ‘I can’t do’

But today was THE BEGINING of my  ‘I CAN’ paradigm for running..

I jogged for 25 minutes….the pace was super slow, I would have covered about 1.8 miles so that means my speed was about 4.32 mph.

I checked Google on running speed and it said:

” a general guideline on treadmill speeds: for most people 2 to 4 mph will be a walking speed; 4 to 5 mph will be a very fast walk or jog; and anything over 5 mph will be jogging or running.”

🙂 So I was somewhere between fast walk and jog for 25 minutes… my quads hurt a little bit and I am super proud!

While writing this post I was thinking of what I want to do next with this and was checking for the Seattle Marathon and found the perfect match for what I want to aim for….the 10K run which is scheduled for August 26th…

http://www.seattlemarathon.org/2017-seattle-marathon-10k-race/

Plan to register for the 10K run this week, I will keep  blogging about my updates on this journey of I CAN!

 

 

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Open-Ended

I have a tendency to leave things open ended….

I start off many things and do not take them to a logical conclusion…

I tell myself I want to try it all out and I don’t really want to become an expert. There is so much to explore, try and learn in the world.

But not becoming an expert at anything because you are trying out many things make you eventually feel good for nothing and affects your self-esteem in the long run. It is the classic case of Jack of All Master of None…

I need to change that cycle.

I am going to change that cycle.

Start with baby steps, finish the book you pick up to read, finish the Coursera course you are doing, clean the kitchen before you go to sleep..

Evey-time you get into a negative self talk….stop…remind yourself, you are super duper awesome….you really truly ARE super awesome! 🙂

 

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My Pending Reading List

Here is my current stack of books which I have to get to reading!

  1. The Life Changing Magic of Tiding: 🙂 The Japanese way to organize
  2. Amazon Way: It talks about the 14 Amazon leadership principles
  3. Mind Over Money: Read about the book in the Time of the Fortune a couple of months back. It apparently explains your psychological  relationship with Money
  4.  Start with Why: My Secret Santa sent me this book…super excited to read it!
  5. The Naturopathic Way: I believe we are what we eat, want to read this to understand more
  6. Working Identity: This was recommended in an Coursera Happiness course
  7. 10 % Happier: Again form the Coursera Course on Happiness. There shall be a blog on that course eventually even if I don’t get through the book!
  8. What Got you here won’t get you There : Hmm…Not sure where here and there is…but read about this book somewhere so put it on hold to get it from the library
  9. 1001 natural Remedies: Some book on Ayurveda type recipes, kind of random but I made the Fennel seed , ginger, mint tea for digestion based on this book
  10. A Life of Balance: Another book on Ayurveda, started reading it seemed kind of interesting, I hope to read this one!
  11. Originals: This one is not in the pictured  stack because it is sitting cozily in the bathroom, I guess given the name and the subject of the book about people who think different and do ‘original’ things, I am sure the book is happy not being with the crowd!

And ofcourse I have many back issues of Time and the Fortune magazines to read up….

I better pull up my socks and get reading! J

As and when and if I get to these books I will come back and write a post on it! 🙂

Keep watching this space for more!

Cheers!

S

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Tenacity

I put this post on the wrong blog…bringing it here as well…

Tenacity

te·nac·i·ty
təˈnasədē/
noun

The quality or fact of being able to grip something firmly; grip.

Synonyms:persistence, determination, perseverance, doggedness, strength of purpose, tirelessness,indefatigability, resolution, resoluteness, resolve, firmness, patience, purposefulness,staunchness, steadfastness, staying power, endurance, stamina, stubbornness,intransigence, obstinacy, obduracy, pertinacity
Now why am I copy pasting this definition on my blog?
I believe ‘tenacity’ is a quality i need to build on in my life, I have a tendency to not give things my whole hearted effort which is something I would like to change
But why would I not give things eveything?
  • Maybe cause I want to keep a window open as an exuse for falliure, if I had given it my whole effort I would have suceeded.? But one would think that will lead to regrets but it surpisingly has not so far. When i was in college I would tell my Mom, I could come first in class if I wanted to but I just don’t, it is too much trouble and not worth the effort and I have no regrets on that.
  • Maybe cause I think it is too much trouble, it is easier to skim and then move to the next thing, there is so much to explore in the world
  • Maybe I have not found the thing that i want to get tenacious about..hmm I like this explanation best.

So why do I want to get more tenacious?

I think it will add to my life, currently  I am just drifting just going with the flow.

Gosh,  but is’nt going with the flow a good thing?

Hmm…Now I am confused, should I get more tenacious or not?

What do you think my dear readers…?

S

PS: I don’t think I have many readers left but lets see if i get some thoughs…:-) 🙂

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When Breath Becomes Air..Paul Kalanithi

I have not read a book end to end in maybe more than two years…just nothing could sustain my attention and netflix or the phone or some other screen  would always take over. However I picked up this book on Saturday evening and I was done by Sunday afternoon…Engaging, Sad and Heartbreaking is what I would call the book.

When Breath becomes Air is written by Paul Kalanithi ; a Neurosurgery resident who suddenly at the age of 35 found himself on the other side of the table as a terminal lung cancer patient. He is a good man who has spent years delivering news of fatal illness to patients and their families sometimes with compassion but many times as a part of the ‘job’. Being on the other side makes him realize first hand how the patients and their families would really feel.

I hope no young doctor ever goes through what Paul and his family went through but I think the book is a must read for all doctors especially the young ones who most likely would not have faced death and disease intimately their immediate families to build empathy…

When Breath becomes air is  an incomplete book  because Paul dies before he finishes the manuscript. Maybe that is why it is not preachy like some of the other books I have read by authors near the end. It does not show crystal clarity on what is important in life, it is very genuine and relatable with a lot of confusion…

Paul says, given the cancer diagnosis he knew acutely that he was going to die but when?  if he has 10 years to live he would treat patient, If he had 1 year he would write a book, if it was  3 months he would just spend time with my family. Living one day at a time is nice is concept but how do you really implement it?

I thought this was so relatable, we all are eventually going to die, we just don’t know when and only if we knew, would we live life differently?

Paul even after his diagnosis, goes on the continue to do those grueling surgeries and complete his residency because he did not know how long. I wonder, would he have lived longer if he has not tortured his body, worked so hard, not slept enough and given appropriate nutrition…did he rob himself and his family of the time they could have had together?

Paul wrote this article  for New York times on Jan 24th 2014 after his diagnosis  and died on March 9th 2015.

Read the article, search Paul on Google and read his other articles or read the book..it will definitely touch you somewhere deep inside…

 

 

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