I like music. Or rather I should say love. Listening to an uplifting song right now. It is a healing process 🙂

Do I like to sing?  Yes

Do I want to do it as a profession? Not necessarily

Do I want to be a popular singer? Not at all

Once there is an expectation – it might kill all the fun. Thinking of goals and to do lists is stressful. But doing is fun.

Doing what we like is fun. Be lead by what you like!  But do not be desperate to get somewhere!

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In the spirit of staying positive and recognizing our strengths and accomplishments -my achievements in the past 1 year (Jan 2016 to Jan 2017):

  1. I survived 1 year in an entirely new domain of work – PM in a new field
  2. Completed a machine learning online course
  3. Read one book on statistical learning that I really wanted to read
  4. Got comfortable with a new programming language – R
  5. Got started on another programming language – Python
  6. Completed another online course ‘Metrics for data driven companies’
  7. Did this while travelling every other week
  8. Slowly learning to assert myself where necessary at work
  9. Completed a basic course in Yoga!
  10. Placed myself in a position where I know what I want to do next and how I will get there
  11. Optimized my online flight booking process to save money and get the most convenient flight (got a bit lucky as well)
  12. Completed reading ‘Quiet – the power of introverts in a world that cannot stop talking’
  13. Learnt how to do project finances
  14. Got started on Kaggle
  15. Understood the power of being positive and doing breathing exercises
  16. Learnt Agile methodology. Became a scrum master
  17. Moved 2 apartments (not an achievement but a record of the effort put in…huff!)
  18. Travelled in mainland Europe for the first time – this was a dream since 2007. Finally got to see Barcelona and Paris!

“If you want to get over your weaknesses then focus on your strengths” – A great Indian monk

Getting over a weakness is a great feeling. But it takes time. And we need a lot of strength during that time. Let’s say you want to beat alcohol addition. How would you get through the withdrawal phase? How would you bring yourself to say no when a friend offers you that brand of scotch you like? How to cope with not being invited to parties because you don’t drink anymore?

May be you love Tennis. You revived that old passion and it helped you take your mind off alcohol. You started hanging out with your old Tennis buddies again. And as a side effect it helped you loose that belly fat!

May be you are a smooth talker. You used that skill it to politely say no to your friend who offered the scotch. And you made him understand that you are trying to kick an addiction. As a side effect it may encourage that friend to kick his addiction as well.

Focus on your strengths. It gives you the energy to move forward. Strength is life 🙂

Lets say you want to become an expert in a programming language but starting from the scratch. Ask yourself what are my strengths? List them down and remind yourself everyday.

  1. I am good at solving problems in general. It makes me happy
  2. I can think out of the box for solutions
  3. I like learn just for the sake of learning. My curiosity often helps me be a good learner
  4. I am very good at math. It can help with certain aspects of being a programmer
  5. I have my own ways for effective learning
  6. I am full of ideas and creativity
  7. I can make any activity fun 🙂
  8. I get better everyday
  9. I can look at the big picture as well as the details
  10. I am full of insights

We can go on. You get the idea….

 

 

 

 

Self help gurus do not solve your problems. Philosophers do not solve your problems. They only give you tools that solve problems. You need to understand them and find the right tool for your situation. And then the real hard thing is to actually use those tools to solve your problems.

Your relatives and friends wish the best for you(in general). But they also do not solve your problems. Because they cannot. They are not in your shoes.

The problems can be about career, health, finances or any other problem you face.

There is only one person who can solve your problems. Only one person who is uniquely positioned to solve your problems. If he/she does not pay attention to your problems, then there are no solutions to be found. No respite from the pain points will ever be found if that person does not act. That one and only person is you!

Self-help solves problems. Self help books do not!

 

I solved a math problem. and I asked myself “are you sure?”. That question made me rethink and solve the problem in a different way. I arrived at the same answer. Now, I was sure! So went ahead and submitted the answer sheet.

I have a need to convince myself of something before I say something or put something on a document or a presentation. My guess is, that convincing myself is what makes the difference between sounding confident and not sounding confident when I present something.

Sticking to what we know, is a good strategy. And when we ask ourselves “are you sure?”, it might slow us down in learning new things and getting things done. But we progress slowly but surely. Overtime we would have build a better foundation for the knowledge in our brains. In other words, a more reliable database in the back of our minds 🙂

Want to list out a few things about learning and work that I am sure about:

  1. Progress in learning happens one concept or fact at a time. Work happens one small task at a time. Confidence is a side product of learning and doing things. Focus on learning
  2. Focus on your goal and ignore the rest of the things. If I am on a project which has a lot of political issues, focus on solving the problems and resolving the issues instead of getting tempted to settle personal scores. Do not get tempted to gossip or vent to other team members. Even when I want to get some work done(only involving me), it is very important to shut out distractions
  3. Take notes. Very important to capture the concepts we learned. And also record important details like decisions taken and actions assigned
  4. Create checklists. Have a checklist for tasks that you do on a regular basis. Most errors happen due to oversight. This is one way of automating things. Also, keep updating the checklists regularly

The path to success is smooth and life is good when:

  1. You know what you want and dont mind giving up other things for it
  2. What you want to do coincides with what you feel like doing
  3. You question yourself but do not doubt yourself
  4. What you do makes you a better person in some way or the other
  1. Plan your food. We know our calendars atleast a week in advance, right? Planning ahead gives better outcomes in almost everything in life.
  2. Design your meals based on the upcoming activities. If its a sedentary week, then less carbs and more good fat. If its going to be a lot of running then some healthy carbs from whole grains. You get the idea!
  3. Food journal! Does not have to be a diary or a spreadsheet. There are a lot of user friendly apps out there. If you don’t have a record of what you have eaten, there is no way we can improve our diet or diagnose the root cause if something goes wrong. Observing and tracking what you eat and how you reacted to it adds to your food wisdom. No one can tell you what suits your body. Only you can! And observing yourself is the best route.
  4. What are your native food choices? How did your ancestors used to eat? How did you used to eat before you started living on your own? List them and eliminate the ones you don’t take very well. Highlight the ones your body loves. Tilt the balance in the favor of the ones that suit your body. Have this list handy on your phone for when you go food shopping.
  5. A personal hack for me is to not go shopping when I am hungry. Only shop in a satiated state. This way I buy deliberately and not desperately!
  6. Read more. Keep picking up ideas for better living. And test them out if possible. We never know what works and what does not. Knowledge of the right options and strategies is a very critical first step. And for me, reading about health regularly is a way of keeping myself motivated and engaged on the topic.