The 5 AM Club: Own Your Morning. Elevate Your Life: By Robin Sharma

I came across ‘The 5 AM club‘ by Robin Sharma via an Instagram post. It was during the same time I was building a routine to practice waking up at 5:30 AM. I decided to give in to my intuition and began reading the book. I discovered a newfound zeal for the ideas and stories that seemed unfamiliar. 

I began to understand the enlarging benefits of waking up early in the morning and what followed on afterwards within the Victory hour.

The book enterprises various techniques and methods that are told uniquely through the journey of two individuals known to the readers as the ‘artist’ and ‘entrepreneur’. The structure of this book acts as a guide for the two individuals, but more importantly for the readers who are following their journey.

I intend to summarize the teachings of this book, in the hope that it is available for those who are overwhelmed by their schedule. 

Please note:

  1. This summarization is biased.
  2. Please assume all other substantive ideas are from the book.

If you wish to find out more about Robin Sharma, check out his site.

Becoming One

A limitation is nothing more than a mentality that too many good people practise daily until they believe it’s a reality. We have defaulted to the idea of living with comfort. And why shouldn’t we? It’s easy and convenient. The issue with comfortable living, there isn’t any growth. The place where your greatest discomfort lies is also the spot where your largest opportunity lives. If we nurture ourselves to comfort living and persist to live in the same way, we forget the feeling of discomfort. Upon experiencing troubling events, we end up freezing to the challenge, forgetting to fight the pressures of the experience. The beliefs that disturb you, the feelings that threaten you, the projects that unnerve you and the unfoldments of your talents that the insecure part of you is resisting are precisely where you need to go too. The symptoms of uneasiness with sweaty palms, the feeling of being restlessness coupled with the nerving feeling in the gut are triggers of discomfort. It’s our body ways of indicating that we are experiencing a discovery. 


How to achieve peak productivity?

Rule 1: Distraction is the enemy. It prevents you from achieving your creative workflows. Being overstimulated with technology is a hindrance to our production workflow.

Rule 2: Improving in your endeavours by 1%. Incremental progress overtime leads to compounding results.

Rule 3: Practice to learn something new will be hard at first, messy in the middle and simple in the end. Learning is a journey of practice and to experience its mediums is a true experience of becoming competent.

Rule 4: To adopt a culture that isn’t followed by the norm. We should engender a mindset that the 95% won’t consider – waking up at 5:30 AM, having cold showers, meditation is just a few things we could consider.

Rule 5: The moment you start to become complacent or feel inclined to not follow through with your daily habits. At that moment, you should follow through with your habits because you increase your surface area for self-discipline. A performance equation to consider is:


PRESSURE × REFUELLING = GROWTH + ENDURANCE


20/20/20 Formula

To begin our day with a winning formula – sets us up for a winning mentality that we can carry throughout the day. By owning our morning, we create a flow state that engenders creativity, enhanced productivity and newfound energy to deal with various obstacles.

  1. Pocket 1: Sweat – The first segment of 20 minutes requires you to move. To simply state it – stretch, run and do anything that makes you sweat. 🙋‍♂️How I’ve implemented this rule? This is my third segment of the process, which I’ve dedicate 30 minutes between 7:00-7:30 AM – to stretching or if I’m feeling overly ambitious I’ll end up going for a run.
  2. Pocket 2: Reflect – This second segment of 20 minutes is designed to help you re-access your natural power through reflection. By journaling, meditation or breathing techniques to heighten your measure for dissolving stress. 🙋‍♂️How I’ve implemented this rule? This is my second segment – I end up dedicating 10 minutes to practicing the Wim Hof breathing technique. The remaining 10 minutes, I dedicate to writing my morning pages and journaling to highlight my story-worthy moment from the day before.
  3. Pocket 3: Grow – The third segment of 20 minutes is designed to fortify your growth through the means of investing in reading a book or listening to an audiobook. 🙋‍♂️How I’ve implemented this rule? This is my first segment of the formula – I usually find myself investing about one hour towards it. As soon as I wake up, I consume a bottle of water and cascade into my reading from 5:30 – 6:30 AM.

10 tactics for lifelong improvement

Tactic 1The Tight Bubble of Total Focus (TBTF) 📲: To strength, the bubble of your focus, the overstimulation towards digital consumption is a costing factor to your creativity, spirituality, mentality and financially. Imagine the focus bubble as a porous membrane – you control what goes in and out. To implement the tactic, schedule the day that is flooded with honing your creativity, energy and productivity.

Tactic 2The 90/90/1 Rule 👉🏽: This draws on the idea of the default activity. The 90/90/1 rule is the commitment of 90 days and 90 minutes of your day to a single activity. These 90 minutes are a result of implementing deep work without any interruptions.

Tactic 3The 60/10 Method 👨🏽‍💻: The structure of a working cycle is the result of oscillation work – an alternate burst of deep work followed by rest and recovery. The 60 minutes is the result of a productivity sprint that is compensated by 10 minutes of recovery. The practice of recovery is achieved by reading a book, listening to music that distracts you from current thoughts and worries.

Tactic 4The Daily 5 Concept ❺: Incremental success by 1% are micro-achievements – done consistently overtime compounds the results. By building, a practice of improving by 1% is a habit practised throughout the day creates an aura of confidence. The more you practice, the easier it gets to execute.

Tactic 5The 2nd Wind Workout (2WW) 🏋🏽‍♂️: The practice of implementing a second workout in the evening to rejuvenate your willpower batteries. Walking for one-hour promotes creativity, engenders deep thinking which flows value-based ideas. It also limits your digital consumption. 

Tactic 6The 2 Massage Protocol (2MP) 💆🏽‍♂️: Massage therapy generates significant improvements in brain performance, mood and ability to fight stress. Enjoying the practice of deep tissue massage every week promotes stress reduction, prevents degradation of telomeres and optimizing good health. The benefits of a massage include a 31% reduction of cortisol (the fear hormone) levels; a 31% increase in dopamine (the neurotransmitter of motivation); a 28% elevation of serotonin (the neurochemical responsible for regulating anxiety and raising happiness); reduced muscle tension; improved pain relief via the sending of anti-inflammation messaging to muscle cells; and elevations in the signalling of those cells to make more mitochondria.

Tactic 7Traffic University 🎓: By leveraging your travel time towards continuous growth – listening to audiobooks or podcast whilst driving to and from work. Enlarging the surface area of knowledge and subsequently compounding through the implementation of that knowledge can be a winning ticket to a great idea.

Tactic 8The Dream Team technique ☁️: This technique draws upon the notion of pursuing what you feel passionate about and enjoy doing. By practising the use of the Eisenhower matrix to focus on such endeavours within the scope of the day.

Tactic 9: The Weekly Design System (WDS) 📆: the tactic draws upon positioning yourself to create a weekly schedule. By allocating 30-45 minutes of Sunday morning to assemble the blueprint for the upcoming week. Position yourself to record your goals that you wish to achieve and how you could improve in the coming week. Within the schedule, you set out your victory hour, 90/90/1 sessions, 60/10 cycles and the second Wind Workouts.

Tactic 10: The 60 Minute Student 👨🏽‍🎓: Within the waking hours of your day – dedicate 60 minutes to learning – reading, journaling, learning through an online program or building on a skill through theoretical and practical implementation. In doing so, you’re creating market value for yourself which makes you indispensable in your organisation.


11 Maxim Rules for life

To Create Magic in the World, Own the Magic within Yourself:

French mathematician Blaise Pascal wrote: Release your need for complexity and immerse yourself in the stillness only the early morning can provide so you get to know yourself again.

Collect Miraculous Experiences over Material Things: Be more alive to the wonders that inhabit your days. Never compromise the state of your life over increase income or larger net worth. The more you find value in everything in your life through experiences – you end up creating memories of wonder which adds blissful volume to your life. The real treasure is encapsulated in the shire experiences rather than the materialistic components we shower ourselves.

Failure Inflates Fearlessness: Previously, I used to believe the term failure ponders such negative connotation. One must consider that failures are a form of learning experiences. At times we must even consider ‘What is my favourite kind of failure?‘. To ‘fail as a scientist’ expands on the value that failures are just any other iteration we have experimented with in our process to achieve the desired goal.

Proper use of your primal power creates your personal utopia: Human beings live in a facade of satisfaction. This rule draws upon focusing on four resources that are your thoughts, your feelings, your words and your deeds. To establish a mindset that is persistent in establishing gratitude, ascending mastery in happiness, building a positive influence. To build a speaking habit of encouragement, uplifting attitude that transpire hope, but most importantly people.

Avoid Bad People: Even one enemy is an enemy too many. Pass through life gracefully, taking the high road when conflict shows up. Should someone do you wrong, let karma do the dirty work. Our nature as human beings is to get back at people who have done us wrong and in hindsight – we end up hurting our energy by thinking of ways to get back. By shifting away from such situations, or ignoring what wrong has been done we allow karma to provide that well-needed response.

Money Is the Fruit of Generosity, Not Scarcity: Poverty is the consequence of an inner condition, not an outer situation. There are four practices to consider when developing your financial fortune. Positive expectancy – To develop a mindset that money is available to me in abundance. You welcome refreshing avenues of thought and with the correct opportunity creating additional streams of income. Active faith – is when you behave in a way that shows life you trust it in its abundance and benevolence. Gratitude – in the premise of showing gratitude, as a child whilst I resided in India. My parents instilled a habit of worshipping the God’s in the morning before I left for school. As a form of gratitude exercise, I have lost touch with this habit. I hardly pray now. So, to keep some reminiscences of the old ways, I use an A5 pocket notebook to write a few sentences of gratitude. Value delivery – To over-deliver to the commitments you make in life. I have come to find that its difficult to build that level of commitment when engrossed in multiple projects and interests because you end up over-committing without realising the unintended consequences of first-order thinking.

Optimal Health Maximizes Your Power to Produce Magic: Exercising first thing in the morning initiates an early win of taking care of your health. This leaves your cognition, energy, physiology and spirit primed to create wonders within your day. Optimising health should also include a second workout that acts as a recharging boost. A means to get away from technology with a late-night walk.

Continue Raising Your Life Standards Toward Absolute World-Class: Realising the hedonic adaptations of life and not taking them seriously like getting a promotion. The excitement lasts for a couple of days until it evaporates and then it just becomes another role or buying a luxury car – the feeling evaporates and it becomes another car you own. How does one raise living standards? Investing in the finest books you can buy, and you’ll be rewarded in multiples. Eat fantastic food of the highest calibre, even if all you can currently afford is an excellent starter salad at a luxurious local restaurant. Visit art galleries… so the creativity and consciousness of the painters will rub off on your soul.

Deep Love Yields Unconquerable: This rule is something I don’t practice enough – probably based on the fact that it hasn’t been exercised on me. It seems like an intergenerational habit that I picked up for not advocating praises and goodwill compliments to people around me. This needs to change. A statement from the book that has left an imprinting mark and somewhat a guiding mantra to follow ‘Part of your job as a fully alive human is to make people feel better about themselves. And to make others smile‘. 

Heaven on Earth Is a State, Not a Place: The importance of wonder is a critical aspect of ever-expanding genius. 

Tomorrow Is a Bonus, Not a Right: The precedence of time should be valued to a great extent. Tomorrow is a privilege – one should not consider it for granted. Hence, the moment that we have control over should be made the most off. In the uncertainty of life which is often witnessed in the form of illness, injury and death – we should never assume that it will never happen to us.

I would love to get your feedback or thoughts about this summary, so please consider leaving a comment below 🙂

Photo by Roland Lösslein on Unsplash

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The Motivational Myth: By Jeff Haden

This book argues the structure and functioning of ‘motivation’ is simply a basic unit of a process which is repeated over and over again. So it is futile to look for external stimuli to provide that dopamine boost. The central theme of Motivation Myth, which Jeff defines throughout his book expands on the notion of motivation, success, and the benefit of sticking to a process. In the progressive pages of this book, Jeff highlights step by step processes for some of the insights I’ll discuss within this summary. I shall distil and summarise influential points and draw out the lessons I’ve found highly beneficial.

Please note:

  1. This summarisation is bias and based on my perception.
  2. I hope that readers reach out and acquire the book themselves to draw upon their learning. Please assume all other substantive ideas are from the book.

Author: Jeff Haden – if you wish to find out more about him, check out his site.

Motivation, Success and Result

Motivation is not the Spark. Motivation is a Result.

To become successful is by setting a goal and then focus all your attention on the process to achieve that goal. The incremental success of a process, however small is a motivational tool that allows you to get closer to your goals. And, when repeated over time with the right habits and strategy can provide you with the desired results.

I once read action cures fear and as a byproduct motivation is a result.

Accept your weaknesses and work to improve them, and as you become stronger, your motivation provides comfort against those weaknesses. Initially, I hated parallel parking because I would find it difficult in pressured situations. Over time, I improved with copious amount of practice and now it’s my default parking manoeuvre.

Confidence comes from preparation and practiceThe anxiety you feel—the lack of confidence you feel—comes from feeling unprepared.

Stop sharing

This was something I was unfamiliar with and when I read this insight I knew I’d to share it:

Say you have a huge goal you want to accomplish: a massive, audacious, incredibly challenging, and ultimately worthwhile goal. You think about that goal, dream about that goal, obsess about that goal and talk about it with your friends and family. That last part can sometimes be a big mistake.

By sharing your goals, you’re less likely to achieve it. When people take notice of an individual’s identity-related behavioural intention – the individual adopts a premature sense of possessing the aspired identity.

The issue lies in our sense of identity. Each of us wants to be certain things, and we naturally declare those intentions, even if we have not yet become those things. Declaring what we want to be and how we will get there causes us to feel we are further along the path of becoming who we want to be—even though we have in reality done nothing but talk.

How to set a goal?

To achieve your goal, the focus should be on the process or routine that are used to build a system. And such a system is not driven by hope or wishing to achieve your goal. It’s driven by incremental steps of small progress that are consistent towards your goal. Through the use of the acronym “SMART”, every goal should be specific, meaningful, attainable, realistic, and time-bound.

  1. Specific – A breakdown of your goal that provides direction to specific detail. How will you know you’ve arrived if you never knew where you were going? And how will you follow the right process to get there?
  2. Meaningful – The more you work to find or contrive or manufacture some sense of meaning, the less likely you are to achieve the goal. Most of the time the meaning of a goal is immersing yourself in a routine.
  3. Attainable – If it’s attainable its a target, not a goal.
  4. Realistic – if you’re able to break down a goal into targets, tasks and objectives – you visualise the realistic value of that goal.
  5. Time-bound – setting an end date for completing is important, but it no way to help you focus.

How to create a successful process?

A successful process is a self-initiator to satisfy your itch for getting started.

  1. Set your goal – choosing a process and setting your mind towards that process which matches your comfort level.
  2. Be specific – breaking down areas of focus which requires attention within the scope of your day. By adding time and location to your objectives, you start to specify details for instance, reading at 6 AM in the study or going for a run at 7:15 AM around the park for 40 minutes.
  3. Rework your schedule – refine your daily routine to incorporate your newly established process.
  4. Map out your daily plan – Each day requires a commitment to your desired goal. The process should complement the progression of the goal by creating a daily plan.
  5. Work the process – a contributing factor to your process is build on the difficulty. So if initial miles feel difficult, start with something simple and build on your difficulty as you become comfortable.
  6. Fix your schedule problems – By adapting accordingly, fixing underlining issues that may have arisen within your process, for example, waking up 5 AM to read may not have always worked. It is best to evaluate your results before altering your process.

Don’t underestimate ‘I don’t’

Here’s something I want to share from the book:

Participants were told to set a personal long-term health and wellness goal. When their initial motivation flagged—as initial motivation inevitably does—one group was told to say, “I can’t miss my workout.” Another group was told to say, “I don’t miss my workouts.” (The control group was not given a temptation-avoidance strategy.) Ten days later the researchers found: Three out of ten control group members stuck to their goal. One out of ten “I can’t” group members stuck to their goal. Eight out of ten “I don’t” group members stuck to their goal. Not only was “I can’t” less effective than “I don’t”; “I can’t” was less effective than using no strategy at all. “The refusal frame ‘I don’t’ is more persuasive than the refusal frame ‘I can’t’ because the former connotes conviction to a higher degree.

How to become a serial achiever?

A serial achiever is someone who achieves this, and then that, and then that again all while working in an advancing career. The ability to expand your identity provides a realm of separation from others; it broadens your market value because you have a broader skillset.

If you’re thirty years old, that means you have eight to ten five- to seven-year periods ahead of you assuming you’ll live up to the age of 80.

This provides an opportunity for ten different phases of your life where you can accomplish concrete goals. And, over time achieving more than one goal, you become more than just one identity.

How to Avoid Interruptions?

Interruptions are the curse to productivity. Having contingency in motion is an optimum way to avoid being disturbed, especially when working on high calibre tasks that require your optimum attention.

  1. Let everyone know you won’t be available – this is achieved by putting a sign outside your study or having an email alert that highlights your availability.
  2. Decide how long you will work – stick to a timeframe that you can obey and commit.
  3. Commit to how long you decided to work – in the scope of that timeframe retract from any peculiar distractions, build contingency to avoid using your phone, or going onto social media. Use this timeframe of 60-90 minutes as your daily highlight; a means to achieve your deep work.
  4. Start your EPD at an unusual time – this steps expands on the fact we should utilise the advantage of (5-7 AM), use this to our advantage to work on ourselves and devote this time for personal growth. 
  5. Delay and space out your rewards – Your treats are like your productivity ammunition, a supplement used to boost your productivity as you begin to plateau. Recently, I have been experimenting with mushroom coffee, which I found to love when doing deep work. I’ll leave a link here for you guys to check it out.
  6. Refuel before you think you need to refuel – A productive body in motion helps the mind stay productive. This draws upon the need to keep your body engaging in exercise and the benefits it presents to your productivity.
  7. Take productive breaks, not relaxation breaks.
  8. Take your breaks at a counterintuitive moment.
  9. Don’t stop until you’re done—even if finishing takes longer than expected.

How to have the most productive mindset?

  1. Stop making excuses for doing less – I recently came across a well-practised productivity trick and this has been an absolute game-changer in how I manage my tasks based on its importance and urgency. Consider using the Eisenhower Matrix.
  2. Stop letting disapproval, or even scorn, stand in your way – Aristotle who once lived 384BC told us exactly how to avoid criticism is by saying nothing, doing nothing and being nothing. So as long as you doing anything worthwhile in life – you’ll be criticised, so take pleasure from it. Use it in a positive connotation, instead of viewing it as a criticism.
  3. Stop letting fear hold you back – and to overcome such fear is through action, however incrementally small it may be.
  4. Stop waiting for inspiration -creativity is the result of effort: creating, editing, drafting and experimenting. The work itself results in inspiration. Don’t wait for ideas.
  5. Stop turning down the help you need – Asking for help is a sign of strength and is the key to achieving a lot more. In asking help, you’re positioning yourself to learn. You’re allowing yourself to grow like levelling up to the next level.

How to strengthen your willpower?

Tips you can use to accomplish your goals, without needing to possess incredible willpower.

  1. Eliminate as many choices as possible – This is something that was also highlighted by Derek Sivers in his new book called Your music and people. By implementing restriction is a means of establishing a parameter used to limit juggling between options.
  2. Make decisions tonight so you won’t need to make them tomorrow – create a default activity by deciding on what you intend to wear, what will you have for breakfast the next morning, for lunch and dinner. The end goal is to sleep the night before making those decisions and avoid excess mental energy being utilised for non-essential activities the next day.
  3. Do the hardest things you need to do first – this draws on the idea of waking up early in the morning, utilising your 5-7 AM to carry out tasks that require the greatest amount of mental energy. If you wish to explore this – I’m currently reading the 5 AM club by Robin Sharma, check it out here.
  4. Refuel often – turns out glucose is one of the foundations of willpower. Although your brain does not stop working when glucose is low, it does start doing some things and stop doing others: It responds more strongly to immediate rewards and pays less attention to long-term outcomes.
  5. Create reminders of your long-term goals – I found this step to be energising because I’ve never positioned myself to create reminders of my long-term goals. Having a visual representation of the goals that you wish you achieve through a reminder provides a sense of closeness. Hence, I’ve decided to invest in a vision board
  6. Remove temptation altogether.

Fewer the goals; greater the resolve

The more goals you try to achieve at one time, the more questions and decision you are pushed to make. The result of such outcome tends to leave you with decision fatigue. And, then you utilise your willpower to overcome the decision fatigue.  Willpower is a finite resource; the fewer decisions you make, the less willpower is required.

The 1% advantage

I’ll share this example from the book:

In 2009 Sir Dave Brailsford, a former director of British Cycling, was seeking funding for the program. He told the British government he could build its first-ever Tour de France winner in four years by using a strategy he termed “aggregate marginal gains.” His plan was to break down each individual component that goes into making a world-class cyclist and cycling team and improve each of those elements by 1 per cent. Not 5 per cent or 10 per cent or 20 per cent, but just 1 per cent. Three years later Bradley Wiggins of Team Sky won the Tour de France and an Olympic gold medal. And for three of the next four years, Chris Froome of Team Sky won the Tour de France.

We overestimate the value of one defining moment and underestimate the value of small incremental improvements. The “1 per cent advantage” works well for one reason: Small improvements add up to a major overall improvement. The compounding effect of making small incremental changes plays a big role in improving drastically.

In the book Atomic Habit by James Clear also highlighted improving 1% isn’t measurable at the moment but built over time can be astounding.

Let’s provide some math for clarity:

  1. If you improve in a given subject every day for one year, you’ll end up improving by 37x.
  2. If you don’t make any improvement in a given subject for the same amount of time, you’ll decline below zero.

I would love to get your feedback or thoughts about this summary, so please consider leaving a comment below 🙂

Hell Yeah or No: By Derek Sivers

‘Hell yeah or No’, the title hasn’t caught me by surprise because I initially came across it in Derek’s first book called Anything you want.

I picked up this book because it echoed my interest in making decisions instead of dwelling on them. This book has expanded upon various ideas and stories that were presented in a manner that looked familiar through my personal experience. But, the unfamiliarity of others seemed intriguing to learn about.

Please note:

  1. This is my summary and interpretation.
  2. My bias perceptive is a means to reflect the message I acquired from this book and will be paraphrased. Please assume all other substantive ideas are from the book.
  3. I hope this summary encourages readers to reach out and read the book for themselves.

HELL YEAH OR NO: WHAT’S WORTH DOING

The abstract concepts that are highlighted within this book give light to what we could do versus what’s worth doing. The difficulty in optionality it makes us open to choices. Within the norm of deciding which option to proceed with we become confused or suffer from decision fatigue. However, there are advantages in practising optionality; it provides insights that opens our mind to new information. We brainstorm information and begin to understand the pros and cons of our options to avoid sunk cost bias.

ADVICE IS LIKE AN ECHOLOCATION

Derek raises an intriguing notion – advice given from a perceptive of one-directional thinking can never be assumed correct or incorrect. The advice provided from one’s point of view is based on what has been experienced by that individual alone. Such advice is just another option. To broaden the spectrum of advice we should listen, talk and attract ourselves with people of all walks of life and jump into action that brings us the most joy. Advice should be like echolocation. Bounce ideas off of all of your surroundings, and listen to all the echoes to get the whole picture.

FOCUS YOUR ENERGY

Focus all of your energy onto one thing. I have divided my energy into various activities. Targeting my week to create a YouTube video, managing ideas to write about a blog post and assembling my thoughts for the next issue for my weekly newsletter. And, recently, I become part of a network marketing company. Derek highlights the solution is to think long term. Do just one thing for a few years, then another for a few years, then another because most people overestimate what they can do in one year, and underestimate what they can do in ten years. Think long term. Use the future. Don’t be short-sighted. I realise my energy is divided within the scope of writing and creating, the solution to managing my focus is to be able to manage my time more effectively. 

LEARN WITH A BEGINNER’S MINDSET

This approach draws on Feynman technique learning with a mindset of a beginner. Learn as you are doing it for the first time. There is benefit in such transition:

  1. You ask a lot of questions.
  2. You stop assuming people are stupid or smarter than you.
  3. You make it your mission to assume what you know isn’t enough so, you drive to learn more. Your focus is directional, it’s based on improving continuously and not be held up with past accomplishments.
  4. You cherish the fact that you love being wrong, which highlights you have more to learn. And, that’s where true learning takes place when you come across new information.

Derek advocated a go-to rule in his life, which I’ll highlight below as a quote. It’s important to consider this rule in every facet of our lives. 

Life is an ongoing process of choosing between safety (out of fear and need for defense) and risk (for the sake of progress and growth). Make the growth choice a dozen times a day.

Is EVERYTHING MY FAULT?

A predictable pattern is witnessed whenever we suffer from an atrocity. We question ourselves:

  1. Why did this happen to me? 
  2. What was my fault?

Our instinct to adopt victimhood when we suffer from people lying, cheating, misguiding us. Derek highlights the way to avoid victimhood is to accept that it’s our fault. We accept victimhood by forgiving those who have wronged us. By accepting it’s our fault, we wouldn’t need to adopt victimhood. Ultimately, we gain back that power and wouldn’t need to apologise anymore. This chapter was a revelation to me because it provided clarity on two factors: a. that I have control over on how I choose to work against my atrocities and b. blaming is easy; accountability is hard.

Some examples to consider:

  1. My broker cheated me on my investment. I should have taken control by doing rigorous research on the broker.
  2. My relationship plateaued with an ex-girlfriend. I should have taken control by investing more time into her. 
  3. Rogue teenagers vandalised my garage. I should have taken control by placing a gate and security cameras to protect my asset. 

HAPPY SMART AND USEFUL

There are three things to consider when making life-size decisions:

  • What makes you happy
  • What is smart—meaning working for long-term
  • What is useful to others

Derek highlights that we tend to forget one of these. For example: just happy from the parable of the Mexican fisherman. You might want to check out this post if you haven’t come across the story before. I originally came across this in the the 4-hour workweek by Tim Ferriss.

What’s smart is highlighted by Aesop’s fable of “The Ant and the Grasshopper,” you’ll be full of regret if you think of nothing but today and don’t prepare for tough times.

Here’s the story:

The Ants & the Grasshopper 

One bright day in late autumn a family of Ants were bustling about in the warm sunshine, drying out the grain they had stored up during the summer, when a starving Grasshopper, his fiddle under his arm, came up and humbly begged for a bite to eat.

“What!” cried the Ants in surprise, “haven’t you stored anything away for the winter? What in the world were you doing all last summer?”

“I didn’t have time to store up any food,” whined the Grasshopper; “I was so busy making music that before I knew it the summer was gone.”

The Ants shrugged their shoulders in disgust. “Making music, were you?” they cried. “Very well; now dance!” And they turned their backs on the Grasshopper and went on with their work. 

There’s a time for work and a time for play.

What is useful to others can be highlighted in service of those who need your help. It could be anything from helping through volunteering to helping a friend get a job. Taking time to serve others is a rewarding activity because you are providing a service that can elevate the troubles of someone.

OVERCOMPENSATE TO COMPENSATE

You have something you want to change: a thought process or habit you want to fix.

Let’s use the metaphor of a bunch of bricks on a seesawRight now all the bricks are stacked on one side. This is the way you have been. To make a change, most people don’t do enough.

And to correct such thought process one must consider the behaviour model of change. It is based on four elements: cue, craving, response and reward.

  1. Cue – the idea of making a habit obvious.
  2. Crave – the motivation to complete that habit.
  3. Response – to perform a habit through action or thought.
  4. Reward – if a habit is attractive, it is worth remembering and hence it acts as a feedback loop.

If you do something small and sensible, it’s like moving one brick to the other side. You’re still unbalanced. You think you made the change, but it’s not accounting for.

When considering to refine your habits or to shift your bricks to the other side, consider the following questions:

  1. How can I make it obvious?
  2. How can I make it attractive?
  3. How can I make it easy to follow?
  4. How can I make it satisfying

To make a change, you have to be extreme; you must crave it. It will feel like overcompensating, but you have to stack a huge pile of bricks on the other side.

I would love to get your feedback or any thoughts on this summary. So, please leave a comment below 🙂

The Magic of Thinking Big: By David J. Schwartz

Introduction

The magic of thinking offers plenty of intakes on how we should shape our thoughts to trigger empowering beliefs. Presented by David J. Schwartz, the magic of thinking is a best-selling book; it offers many useful strategies and tools to equip the reader in overcoming fear and becoming confident.

In this article, I’ll summarise the main ideas and help spread the message that is expressed within this book.  I read this book earlier this year, so it was nice to come back and distil some of the influential ideas from this book. I’m going to paraphrase to a certain extent and include my own experiences. Please assume all other substantive ideas are acquired from the book. 

Please note:

  1. This summarisation is biased and is based on my perception.
  2. Any errors or omissions are my own.

Building Confidence

The cure to building confidence is overcoming your fear. Take time to write down what are you afraid. It helps provide clarity in visualising your fear. Take action against that fear; building confidence is a means of becoming comfortable around that fear.

For example, “if you’re afraid of public speaking”.

Write down why you’re afraid of it, what opportunities you should practice becoming comfortable with that fear. Possible solutions – leading a presentation, speaking in workshops, volunteer as a student ambassador to lead a group.

Isolate your fear. Pin it down and enjoy your newfound confidence.

Five confidence building exercises

Be a front seater – don’t isolate yourself or hideout at the back of a classroom. Expose yourself

Practice making eye contact – It’s easier to achieve this while you’re listening. Focus making eye contact on just one eye. I have always found it helpful when I’m practising this on people who are taller than me or who exude a greater degree of confidence than myself. If you get interrupted with statements like “What are you looking at?”. Use your charm – ‘Smile’ and possible suggest ‘my bad, I thought you were an old acquaintance of mine’.

Walk 25% faster – Avoid slovenly posture and sluggish walking, which can be seen as an unpleasant attitude towards oneself, work and people around you.

Practice speaking up – I see speaking up like a muscle, that needs constant practise to become stronger. Consider the following practices to heighten your “speaking up muscle” like leading presentations, being a chaperon during college tours or becoming a member of a book club. 

Smile Big – it’s empowering when you look at something that’s challenging and your first response is to ‘Smile’ and have that mindset – ‘I got you’.

Building Morning Motivation

I recently came across this statement – you make it or break it between 5-7am. Consider a 10 minutes practice before commencing your day and ask yourself the following:

  1. How can I do a better job today?
  2. What can I do today to encourage my employees?
  3. What special favor can I do for my customers?
  4. How can I increase my personal efficiency?
  5. My work is important because…
  6. I am a first class performer

Think enthusiastically. Build in yourself an optimistic, progressive glow, a feeling that “this is great and I’m 100 percent for it“. Be the broadcaster of good news because good news makes you feel good. And, more importantly others begin to emulate the same energy.

Joys of Imitation

Carry with yourself the belief and the attitude of positive reinforcement – spread it like a contagious bacteria. By exercising showing positive attitudes toward your job or an endeavour that you devote your energy and time towards allows your subordinates to “pick up” right thinking.

The goal for such practice is to become a preset marker to carry each day and ask yourself – “Am I worthy in every respect of being imitated? Are all my habits such that I would be glad to see them in my subordinates?

Success building program

  1. Circulate in new groups. Restricting your social environment to the same small group produces boredom, dullness, dissatisfaction; equally important, remember that your success-building program requires that you become an expert in understanding people. Trying to learn all there is to know about people by studying one small group is like trying to master mathematics by reading one short book.
  2. Make new friends, join new organizations, enlarge your social orbit. Then too, variety in people, like variety in anything else, adds spice to life and gives it a broader dimension. It’s good mind food.
  3. Do select friends who have views different from your own. In this modern age, the narrow individual hasn’t much future. Responsibility and positions of importance gravitate to the person who is able to see both sides.
  4. Be environment-conscious. Just as body diet makes the body, mind diet makes the mind. Experiment and adapt to a diet that heightens your energy levels and brain performance. 
  5. Here’s a list of things to test out in your diet. 1. Avacado 2. Walnuts 3. Blueberries 4. Olive oil 5. Kale or spinach 6. Eggs 7. Dark Chocolate 8. Salmon 9. Broccoli Stems 10.Turmeric
  6. Get a clear fix on where you want to go. Create an image of yourself ten years from now. Write out your ten-year plan. Your life is too important to be left to chance. Put down on paper what you want to accomplish in your work, your home, and your social departments.
  7. Let your major goal be your automatic pilot. When you let your goal absorb you, you’ll find yourself making the right decisions to reach your goal.
  8. Achieve your goal one step at a time. Regard each task you perform, regardless of how small it may seem, as a step toward your goal. 
  9. Don’t strive to follow the default route – take detours in your stride. A detour simply means another route. It should never mean surrendering the goal, it simply a means of creating your own path to success. 
  10. Invest in yourself through the power of education and group learning. Invest in quality learning to yield a high return on investment (ROI). 

Becoming an Effective Leader

  1. Take the initiative of making friends – because leaders always do. Join communities, engage in forums. Make it a daily mission to meet three new people every day.
  2. Next time you find yourself in a large gathering observe for the following: which person in the conversation does the most talking and which person is more successful. I often practice this when I’m part of a group meeting – at times I’ve noticed the individual who is more successful, sits quietly and absorbs information to make a decision at the end of the meeting. 
  3. Trade minds with the people you want to influence. It’s easy to get others to do what you want them to do if you’ll see things through their eyes. Ask yourself this question before you act: “What would I think of this if I exchanged places with the other person?”
  4. Apply the “Be-Human” rule in your dealings with others. Ask, “What is the human way to handle this?” In everything you do, show that you put other people first. Just give other people the kind of treatment you like to receive. 
  5. Think progress, believe in progress, push for progress. Think improvement in everything you do. Think about high standards in everything you do. Over a period of time subordinates tend to become carbon copies of their chief. Be sure the master copy is worth duplicating. 
  6. Take time out to confer with yourself and tap your supreme thinking power. Managed solitude pays off. Use it to release your creative power. Use it to find solutions to personal and business problems. So spend some time alone every day just for thinking. Use the thinking technique all great leaders use: confer with yourself.

Action to cure fear

  1. The how-to-do-it always comes to the person who believes he can do it. Belief triggers the power to do.
  2. When the mind disbelieves or doubts, the mind attracts “reasons” to support the disbelief.
  3. It is well to respect the leader. Learn from him. Observe him. Study him. But don’t worship him. Believe you can surpass.
  4. person is a product of his own thoughts. Believe Big. Adjust your thermostat forward. Launch your success offensive with an honest, sincere belief that you can succeed. Believe big and grow big.
  5. Believe in yourself, believe you can succeed. Thinking success conditions your mind to create plans that produce success.
  6. Remind yourself regularly that you are better than you think you are. Successful people are not supermen. Success does not require a super-intellect. Nor is there anything mystical about success. And success isn’t based on luck. Successful people are just ordinary folks who have developed a belief in themselves and what they do.
  7. Believe Big. The size of your success is determined by the size of your beliefThink little goals and expect little achievements. Think big goals and win big successRemember this, too! Big ideas and big plans are often easier—certainly no more difficult—than small ideas and small plans.
  8.  Break up fixed routines. Expose yourself to new restaurants, new books, new theatres, new friends; take a different route to work someday, take a different vacation this year, do something new and different this weekend.
  9. Action feeds and strengthens confidence; inaction in all forms feeds fear. To fight fear, act. To increase fear—wait, put off, postpone. Do this today: Pick the one thing you like to do least. Then, without letting yourself deliberate on or dread the task, do it. Make the initial effort to bring about in yourself to act on your fear through small baby steps. 

A wise man will be master of his mind, a fool will be its slave.

By Publilius Syrus

Your music and people: A non-musician’s perspective

Your music and People by Derek Sivers

When the book was initially released, I wasn’t quite sure what value this book could provide to someone like myself because I’d no connection to music or playing music.

The book is designed to be referenced towards individual who are pursuing or are in contention of pursuing a career in music. Derek enlightens readers with his knowledge of business and psychology, which I found to be an advantage even to a non-musician like myself.

His mini-chapters as I like to call it breaks down the rhythm of the book and the insights are ever so different from the previous or next chapter.

Note:

  1. This is my summary and interpretation of the book, in the hopes that people are encouraged to reach out and read this book for themselves.
  2. My bias perception will be different to others.
  3. I’ll be highlighting some of the influential points from this book. Any errors or omissions are my own.

Restrictions are subjective

Restriction – the connotation associated with this word is seen as:

i. a means to limit something from happening.

or

ii. a parameter set in place to narrow down our choices in avoiding decision fatigue.

We are defaulted into thinking the basis of restriction limits us from accomplishing our goals. But, that’s where Derek suggested implementing restriction is a means of establishing a parameter that is used to assist us in limiting juggling between options.

Creative freedom can be achieved by setting restrictions. For instance, if an artist is to create a painting from a selection of paints, he’s confounded by the thought which primary colour to use. However, by placing restrictions in his path with a single colour let’s say, the colour blue is to be used as a primary colour. The artist can avoid decision fatigue and begin his process of creativity.

The ladder of success

Success is a process. The book expresses multiple ideas that I view as a recipe to climb the ladder of success.

  1. Giving gifts to those that are under-appreciated – the ability to make a small gesture has tremendous value, this brings about appreciation and gratitude one notices and will be remembered for the longest time.
  2. Being patient and persistent – being persistent in chasing a goal but having patience in the process to accomplishing that goal highlights value. The value can be seen as expanding your network, making mistakes and acquire a reflective understanding of what’s next after achieving that goal.
  3. Make your own success, before you ask for help – achieving success at your own merit highlights independence. It signifies you’re able to achieve your goal and build on your momentum. Initially, I found to disagree with this because asking for helping from someone who’s already achieved that goal is a means to accelerate the process. But, I realised that the dependence of someone’s help shields you from the enjoyable mistakes that are part of the process. 
  4. The importance of feedback is a core component for making improvements. Allowing others to provide their inputs can be viewed as a progressive growth – with any feedback you become aware of your strengths and weaknesses. And, there’s power in such practice, here’s what I recently experienced.
  5. Rejection at its core hurts. And why shouldn’t it? We raise ourself to this ‘imaginary hope of wanting something’ – this could be a promotion or an increase in salary increment. Constant exposure to rejection is a means to overcoming fear, a practice that doesn’t raise your false hope. I’ve been practicing this whenever I get a cup of coffee – asking the cashier for a 10% discount on my coffee, only to see his awkward face and a blunt response for a ‘NO’. The point being rejection allows us to create unusual situations where we are either asking difficult questions or having difficult conversations.
  6. Heed the advice of everyone around you, but only act on those that are spontaneous enough to make you want to pursue. Ignore advice that is masked with confusion, fear and manipulation. As Derek mentions ‘Nothing is worth losing your enthusiasm‘.

Why is it important not to wait for help?

Being creative, determined and working with an unwavering desire to learn something new is a direct result of asking for help, but not waiting for it. In taking responsibility for one’s learning, it makes us accountable.

We can approach this in two ways:

  1. Write down what we know
  2. Research what we don’t know

Let’s provide an example to demonstrate this – Learning to code

  1. What I know? – I want to become better at JavaScript – with a mediocre foundation. I know I have resources like DataCamp, codecademy or Udemy at my disposal to improve.
  2. What I don’t know? – how could I use what I’ve learnt as a means to monetise – can I create an app, a website or should I freelance with my new skill. What path would provide me with the exposure to new challenges?

A third point to highlight – where you can apply restrictions to pursue one single path. Because learning a new skill expands a world of opportunity – rather than placing our foot in each door. The focus on opening one door completely is a means to experience the depth of that skill.

Waiting for help is a means to ‘walking in blindly’. Assume no one is going to help you by focusing what’s in your control and not completely relying on outside circumstances. By working with what’s in your control – you’re able to highlight a ‘go-get’ attitude, like building the momentum of your flywheel. It enables you to work outside your comfort zone and acquire new skillset.

I love to know your thoughts on this – please leave a reply 🙂

Anything you want: By Derek Sivers

Derek Sivers author of Anything you want

As, his first published book, it was only right I began with his initial work. In this book, Derek expands on his journey as he cultured and grew CD Baby, which he eventually sold for 22 million. And, through his experience, he’s able to share tremendous value and insight in this book.

His other literature work can be found here.

Necessity is a great teacher

I took away a valuable lesson out of this statement. Much recently, I invested in a Canon M50 mirrorless camera to upscale my production value of creating Youtube videos

The necessity to make this change was due to pixelated quality that I’d observed whilst using my Nikon D3100 DSLR camera during the initial stages of starting Youtube. With 20 published videos and few feedbacks, I diverted away from using my DSLR and found myself using my phone to shoot videos. The necessity to acquire Canon M50 not only added value to my creative endeavour but also enhanced my video quality. Something I wasn’t able to achieve with my DSLR.

Ideas are worth nothing unless they are executed. They are just a multiplier. Execution is worth millions.

And, it is true – initially as I started out blogging, I had a bucket full of good and bad ideas that I wanted to express. I tested out my ideas by executing them onto an online platform for others to review and provide feedback. With each post I published, I was able to determine how to execute effectively. Understand the importance of typography, post imagery etc. Having pursued this writing endeavour, I’ve also started to understand the niche of ideas I want to pursue writing about with the ambition to add value to others and also enjoy the process of writing. 

Imitation VS innovation 

Derek shares:

Most people don’t know why they’re doing what they’re doing. They imitate others, go with the flow, and follow paths without making their own. They spend decades in pursuit of something that someone convinced them they should want, without realizing that it won’t make them happy.

As I read the first sentence, I reflected whether what I’m pursuing through my writing and content creation is a pre-designed path that I’ve unconsciously adopted.

Am I just imitating the rest?

How do I differentiate myself?

And, Derek had an answer to these questions too – in a podcast interview Derek talked about the idea of “imitation VS innovation“. You can find out more on this in my weekly newsletter.

He stated:

creating a table provides a different kind of joy, then buying one from IKEA.

In other words, whatever path I choose in my writing and content creation – I know some of my ideas will be recycled, but some would be inspired from real experiences and in those unique moments, I would find inspiration to create new ideas and execute to provide value. Here’s one I feel excited to share with you all.

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Storyworthy

Sharing three reflective thoughts from the book Storyworthy that I’ve implemented in my daily practice. The book is a personal account of many anecdotal experiences which the author shares in a captivating manner. Along, with strategies to become a better storyteller. One of which, I have already shared in a post called Homework for life.

THE DINNER TEST

The Dinner Test is a means to test your story at the dinner table before announcing to the world.

This could be in front of a stage, the boardroom, the sales conference. Express that particular story in front of your family members.

As a testing point, I have tried this on various occasions – creating a scene, engaging my family in a plot, heightening up the climax only to get mixed reactions at the end. Ultimately, this has been a working method that require much practice. So, I’m just going jot this down to work in progress.

HAVING A PROMPT LIST OF MEMORIES 

“First,” “Last,” “Best,” and “Worst,” along with a column labelled “Prompts.” Along the left side of the page (the y-axis), the prompts are listed. The prompts are possible triggers for memories. What was your first kiss? What was your last kiss? What was your best kiss? What was your worst kiss?

As a system, I like to add and refer back to this table. And, the advantage of having such a system in Notion. I can write short snippets to which I can call upon whenever the need calls for it.

STRUCTURING A STORY

Instead of memorizing your story word-for-word, memorize three parts to a story: 1. The first few sentences. Always start strong. 2. The last few sentences. Always end strong. 3. The scenes of your story.

This compliments my blog post on the book called Superhuman: Social skill which is written by Tynan. I find the combination of using two methods as one to help me structure a story, especially when answering the all-important question at the end of my day – What was the story worthy moment of your day?

The basic structuring of the two methods has even assisted me in creating story based scripts for my Youtube channel – where I’m putting greater attention to B-roll clips as part of my buildup.

Show your work: By Austin Kleon

The accumulating learnings highlighted in this book are boundless. Many of the learnings feel like a sight for sore eyes. A lot of which have been beneficial in my progress as a creator. I opened my creative process, which is documented through my blog channel, YouTube channel and weekly newsletter to be viewed by the world.

Please note:
I will paraphrase the learnings of this book to highlight my perceptive; which will be biased. Please consider all other substantive ideas are from the book.
I hope this summary encourages readers to reach out and acquire the book to draw upon their learnings.
I credit this book for the value and growth I’ve accumulated this year through my YouTube channel, blog channel and my newsletter.

Austin Kleon author of Show your work

Document your life whether that is through an audio recorder, notebook, journaling or even taking photographs at stages of your life.” – by documenting your work and the advantage of this as you reflect over time – you can see the gradual improvements in your work. This acts a great source of encouragement in continuing to pursue and create. And, that’s one of the reasons why I started writing blog posts and documenting my learnings through my YouTube channel. It also acts a way of taking accountability and commit to learning in front of the world.

Be so good they can’t ignore you.” – taking precedence over our learning and the progression we go through to become exceptional in our field. This is the result of what we learn from the failures of our mistakes. There’s a sense of advantage it makes us aware of what we need to improve upon. This process of learning from our mistake makes it impossible for others to ignore your progress. It enables you to teach others by preventing others from making the same mistakes.

Creativity is the result of a mind connected to other minds” – connecting to like-minded creators engenders a unique sense of creativity. There is new growth in your workflow which is dictated and directed by others perceptive. Often, being inspired by the work of others and replicating it in your terms is a mean to highlight your taste for the art.

Find a scenius, pay attention to what others are sharing, and then start taking note of what they’re not sharing – to find a niche, narrowing down on a topic that highlights a missing element and compounds your direction to teach others. I have found this to be a challenge – to niche down on a particular topic, a subject that provides value to others. In my current stream of creation, I’ve focused on what I find to be of value. Perhaps, I may need to start reviewing my process and be more strategic in my creative process. 

Shoot video of you working. This isn’t about making art, it’s about simply keeping track of what’s going on around you. It adds value to record or capture story-worthy moments of your day. Imagine being 80 years and re-watching yourself and the moments of various highlights of your youth. Instead of recording, I have been practising this method of capturing the story-worthy moment by creating little stories of my day. I initially came across this concept in the book Story-worthy by Matthew Dicks.

If you want to be more effective when sharing yourself and your work, you need to become a better storyteller. You need to know what a good story is and how to tell one. It’s the second time that I’ve come across this advice of learning to be a storyteller. As a skill, I am constantly practising this while considering a storyline whether that is through my writing or video production. An additional source of material to consider would be the book by Superhuman social skills – which breaks down the steps of storytelling or alternatively this article highlights the three components.

Don’t think of your website as a self-promotion machine, think of it as a self-invention machine. One of the fundamental reasons, I started abhisheknair.org was actioned on this advice. To find value in others perceptive via constructive feedback or comments that encourage. Through such advice, you create opportunities to invent and improve.

The impulse to keep to yourself what you have learned is not only shameful, it is destructive. Anything you do not give freely and abundantly becomes lost to you. You open your safe and find ashes.” – the avoidance to not share your learnings with the world is like suffocating it. The result of such suffocation is the hindrance in growth. For instance, by practising to learn how to play the piano and then you teach others. The vast improvement is highlighted when someone more experienced can provide their own perceptive to enhance your growth. The world’s feedback is important if you intend to improve.

A way of identifying who you should let in and out of your life. If, after hanging out with someone you feel worn out and depleted, that person is a vampire. If, after hanging out with someone you still feel full of energy, that person is not a vampire. Of course, The Vampire Test works on many things in our lives, not just people—you can apply it to jobs, hobbies, places, etc – the author expresses this quite simply, I won’t digress.

I want to conclude this summary with this quote, which in itself a reminder of our everyday success.

Above all, recognize that if you have had success, you have also had luck—and with luck comes obligation. You owe a debt, and not just to your gods. You owe a debt to the unlucky.” —Michael Lewis

Atomic Habits

James Clear author of Atomic Habits

My thoughts

I’ll be highlighting three key messages from this book. Atomic Habits provides a plethora of strategies that can be used to establish good habits and redefine bad ones. The book also highlights the compounding element of making small changes to your behaviour for a long time can result in desired outcomes. The Atomic habit planner, as I like to call it, provides an excellent way to start making those changes.

1. The behaviour model of change

The behaviour model of change is based on four elements: cue, craving, response and reward.

  1. Cue – the idea of making a habit obvious.
  2. Crave – the motivation to complete that habit.
  3. Response – to perform a habit through action or thought.
  4. Reward – if a habit is attractive, it is worth remembering and hence it acts as a feedback loop.
The Behaviour model of Change also known as the backbone to establishing habits

So, while considering new habits or working to refine your bad ones, consider the following questions:

  1. How can I make it obvious?
  2. How can I make it attractive?
  3. How can I make it easy?
  4. How can I make it satisfying?

2. Temptation bundling

Temptation bundling works by linking an action you want to do with an action you need to do.

This strategy can be used inline with the Premack’s principle. A principle of reinforcement which states that an opportunity to engage in more probable activity will reinforce the less probable activity. For example, I have applied this principle every time I use my phone to check my social media. I would complete 10 reps of push-ups and then only I would check my social media. I’ve found this to be an effective way of creating an additional layer of friction.

3. Reflection and Review

The book further highlights the element of establishing a system of reflection or review. My initial thought was how do I avoid this because my sporadic attempts to journaling were always inconsistent and I failed to stick with the habit. So recently, I changed my system and created a reflection or review question set that I follow each day. 

  1. What is the daily highlight of my day? 
  2. What are my affirmations?
  3. What is the story-worthy element to my day? This truly allows me to reflect on my day and enables me to write a story that is only a few sentences short.

Photo by Zoltan Tasi on Unsplash

5 step exercise for building confidence

Over the years, I’ve become a lot more confident – at an early age I couldn’t distinguish the difference between being overly confident or simple being self-confident. However, this changed as I progressed in life with many of my experiences I finally learnt to see the difference gradually. Coming across this book called – ‘The Magic of Thinking Big‘ written by David J.Schwartz. He educates us on how to build confidence and overcome our fears through action.

I thoroughly enjoyed this particular book for various reasons, but the one key element I wanted to share in this post is called the ‘Five confidence building exercise’.

What are the five confidence building exercise?

  • Be a front seater
  • Practice making an eye contact with the individual you’re speaking to – The reason for this as suggested by the author: Failure to make eye contact says one of two things. It may say, “I feel weak beside you. I feel inferior to you. I’m afraid of you.” Or avoiding another person’s eyes may say, “I feel guilty. I’ve done something or I’ve thought something that I don’t want you to know.
  • Walk 25% faster – Psychologists link slovenly posture and sluggish walking to unpleasant attitudes towards oneself, work, and the people around us.
  • Practice speaking up
  • Smile big

The one I resonate with the most is ‘speaking up’ – during my undergraduate year I knew I wanted to improve my skill of ‘public speaking’. Hence, I decided to become a Student Ambassador. However, the level of exposure I was given to speak in front of a large audience was very limited. And over time, the more I did this through my three years, the more confident I became, to the point that I was elected as a student representative during my postgraduate year. This gave me added responsibilities of presenting in meetings, speaking to my cohort on a weekly basis. I now continue to train my ‘speak up‘ muscle at any chance I get whether it be meetings, training sessions at work. Had I not been practicing this I don’t think I would have the confidence to start blogging.

So the aim of this blog is to find what you’re struggling with and practice to put yourself out there, create steps to tackle your struggles and in the process of it enjoy your new heights of confidence.

So check out the book – The Magic of Thinking Big

PS. I have also done a book review highlighting four key messages I enjoyed from the book on my Youtube channel.