in Cognitive Wisdom, Prism of Life

We act like mortals in all that we fear and act like immortals in all that we desire.

Since life is lived one day at a time. You often forget that “Life is really short”.

Considering a lifespan of 75 years, one has 657,000 hours in total.
With 7 hours of sleep daily, the person sleeps for about 200,000 hours.
Hours one is awake – 457,000 hours

Research says that we spend about 46% of our wake up time thinking about things we are not doing at that moment. This takes away about 215,000 hours. So we are effectively left with 242,000 hours i.e. 28 years to live.

Shouldn’t you spend this relatively small amount of time in making smart choices that help you in reclaiming your unique life?

You are not the center of this universe

“I guess real maturity, which most of us never achieve, is when you realize that you’re not the center of the universe.” — Katherine Paterson

The universe doesn’t seem to be advancing toward a particular goal. Things happen because of the law of nature. But we humans like to deceive ourselves by thinking that everything happens for a reason.

Extremely sorry to disappoint you but the truth is — the world keeps happening, in accordance with its rules; it’s up to you to make sense of it and ascribe value to it.

Another truth is — most people just don’t care about you. You simply don’t figure in their universe.

Of course if you happen to be a celebrity of any sort then this may not apply to you, but for most mere mortals like us there is absolutely no point in worrying about what other people think of us.

At the same time all the constructive feedback coming from people who are emotionally invested in you and really do care about you should get your undivided attention.
Your entire focus should be on — being the best possible version of yourself.

# How to make this work

1: Start Identifying your obsession with labels and hierarchy: Just become more sensitive to the ground reality of your existence. You need to understand, you are more than sum total of all your identities.

2: The very idea of your self worth needs to be revisited regularly:
Please do find out whether the idea of your self worth is figment of your own imagination, largely dependent on the external validation. If your answer is affirmative, then there is an urgent need to revisit them.

3: You need not arrive at a particular point to start doing what you think you are suppose to do: You just need to have the requisite faith to start believing that you are at a very opportune time, place, and position to make your existence count.

You are a product of your support system: Never forget that

“If you think the ocean isn’t important, imagine Earth without it. Mars comes to mind. No ocean, no life support system.” – Sylvia Earle

There are only a handful of people who really do care about you. Make sure you stay close to them.

They are your primary support system, so continuous emotional investment in them should always figure among your topmost priorities.

They’re the ones who were always there for you when you were all alone. Anytime you turned around, you will always find them behind you.

# How to make this work

1: Make a list of people holding a special place in your life: Mind you it can be quite an intimidating task to make a list, specially when our friend list runs into thousands.

2: Classify the list into four categories: One- people who needs to stay in touch once a week. Two- people who needs to stay in touch once a fortnight. Three- people who needs to be communicated at least once a month. Four- people who needs to hear from you at least once in a quarter.

3: Set a reminder in your Calendar: Stick to the schedule, even if it’s just for five minutes, please do make sure to call or commit to the scheduled meeting. In this age of technological advancement you really don’t have any excuse not to stay connected with your identified people.

Stop judging people for who they are, and what they do

“Stop judging others by what you see. Because what you see is what they want you to see.” — Anonymous

Simply, because you aren’t privy to every detail of their journey and life struggles. So please refrain from making a total ass of yourself.

Get rid of this default habit of judging people on face value.

I know… it’s kind of tough to make any drastic changes in your default habit, yet you need to really push yourself hard to make it an integral part of your newly acquired habit.

# How to make this work

1: Listen with intent and empathy: When you do engage in any conversation, make sure to listen with intent. Curbing your eagerness to prepare your reply in middle of conversation goes a long way in establishing your credibility as a good listener.

2: Stay away from polarizing viewpoint: Your default tendency to paint everything into black and white, where people/events are either with you or against you is not helping you for sure. So start observing and questioning your extreme views.

3: Start challenging most of your assumptions: If you are not willing to challenge them, you will end up making the mistake of identifying with them. Start digging deep to get to the roots of your assumptions.

Don’t empower your emotions to dictate narrative of your life’s story

“I don’t want to be at the mercy of my emotions. I want to use them, to enjoy them, and to dominate them.” ― Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

People in general don’t exercise much choice about the way they opt to view situations or the way they choose to react emotionally.

Most of your responses are instinctive. Aren’t they?

As a consequence, much of the thinking responsible for your unwanted emotions is involuntary. Which I guess is never the right way to approach your life, ’cause you are letting your emotions to run the entire show.

# How to make this work

1: Start writing a fifteen minute journal to get a glimpse of your true emotions: As you practice recording your feelings and thoughts, you will get better at identifying.

2: Start identifying patterns in your thoughts and emotional response: I know when it comes to pinpointing your thoughts, feelings, and associated emotional response it can feel a bit like trying to catch a wave and pin it down on the shore. But don’t you worry, with practice you will soon learn to make sense of it.

3: Revisit your behavior to detect any incongruity in your thoughts and beliefs: The visible defect in any of these will give you an opportunity to make necessary amendments in your response. Be prepared to bring the necessary changes.

Invest into the daily habit of learning

“As long as I’m learning every day of my life, I will never feel old. Never. And I don’t feel old; I feel in my head and in my heart — I don’t know, ageless!” — Pat Mitchell

If possible Learn at least one new thing a day. This could just be one word from a new language, a trivia, a historical incident, a new scientific fact, a unique strategy or anything else that might excite you.

Once you translate this into a habit, your journey to become an awesome person would get more effortless.

# How to make this work

1: Whatever new skill you want to learn, set a realistic short and long term goal: For example if you wish to learn a new language, set a three month goal of developing the proficiency, so that you are able to frame couple of basic sentences.

2: Challenge yourself to reach the next level: Your transition from the present level of skill to the next level requires you to struggle through the phase of no growth. Don’t let that phase discourage you. Keep gaining momentum.

3: Have someone to give you a feedback: If can’t find a coach or tutor to keep a tab on your progress, please make sure to join a group where everyone is pursuing the same goal. Accountability brings the best out of you.

You can’t have all the answers, so stop running after them

“You don’t have to have all the answers all the time. But the best thing to know is what you don’t know.” – Christine Quinn

When in doubt, the best strategy is to simply respond with “I never thought about it, Let me think.” If you choose to do so nobody is going to question your intellect and label you as an incompetent.

Because deep inside we all know that we don’t always have all the right answer to every query. So instead of rushing to an answer, tell the person that you need just a little time to think it in detail.

This gesture succeeds in projecting you as someone who is a bit thoughtful while giving you invaluable time to respond accordingly.

# How to make this work

1: Start with keeping your ego in check: You were born a tiny little helpless baby, now you are a grown up. Similarly, I doubt, whether you were born smart. Everything you are today is just result of all the accumulation.

2: Bring some skepticism in your certainty: Lack of certainty is precisely what makes conclusions more reliable than the conclusions of those who are certain. Your cognitive growth depends a lot on whether you are ready to shift to a different point of view if better evidence or novel arguments emerge.

3: Becoming more aware of your inbuilt biases: Although bias is a product of how you select and perceive information, its influence on your thinking cannot be ignored. We live in the world where bias cannot be eliminated. Therefore it is better if you learn to critically utilize them, so that you can sharpen the collection of data by knowing when to look, where to look, and how to look.

Figure out your “Why”

“There are two great days in a person’s life — the day we are born and the day we discover why.” — William Barclay

In fact it’s such an intimidating question that we often try to push it under the carpet as long as we can.

Why is it so important?

If you can successfully figure out your “WHY” then it would serve as a lifelong fuel for your motivation. You would stop looking for inspiration anymore.

Whether it’s becoming a millionaire or achieving a celebrity status or making an ultimate dent in the universe, figuring out your why is going to be critical in propelling your work to the next level.

# How to make this work

1: Get into the habit of questioning: The real secret sauce here is building a habit of curiosity. The change of behavior that’s going to serve you most powerfully is simply this: a little more curiosity to scratch beneath the surface. Find your own questions to identify your own voice.

2: Start a periodical review of your goals: Please make it a point to ask yourself, “What positive outcome am I seeking through goals? And what’s the one thing I should start doing right now to get that ideal outcome?

3: Make it a point to revisit your beliefs and hypothesis: Man’s natural inclination is to cling to his beliefs and hypothesis.

In fact Charles Darwin used to say that whenever he ran into something that contradicted a conclusion he cherished, he was obliged to write the new finding down within thirty minutes. Otherwise his mind would work to reject the discordant information, much as the body rejects transplants.

Don’t ever stop yourself from experimenting

“Experimenting with your own life is the most fundamental medium you have.” – Natalie Jeremijenko

You are so afraid of failure that you refrain from trying new things.

But if you never try, you’ll never know what’s on the other side. You need to leave the comfort of the shore to explore new horizons.

So what are you waiting for?

Want to explore a new career? Want to learn a new language? Wish to explore a completely different country and culture? Want to start your own business?

Just start with one step at a time. Test some water and then take the plunge.

# How to make this work

1: Push yourself out of your comfort zone: The entire objective of getting you outside your comfort zone is to make you do something you can’t do. Instill some confidence in you so that you muster courage to practice it over and over again. Here the focus is on getting a grip by identifying all the chunks involved in the process; so that you can get better at ones that are falling short.

2: Identify one habit that needs to be changed: By focusing on just one pattern of your “keystone habit” you can teach yourself how to reprogram the other routines as well.

3: Don’t let fear of failure stop you from pursing your dream: If you ever face this feeling, just revisit this quote “Success is never final; failure is never fatal. It’s courage that counts.”: The Wizard’s Wisdom: John Wooden.

Focus on doing a few things exceptionally well

“Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.” – Steve Jobs

Once you accept that you just can’t do everything, you will start focusing on few things important to you. Things you are really passionate about.

You can simply get more done in life if you just focus on one thing and try your level best to do it really well.

It takes a whole lot of sacrifices to achieve anything special in life. Be always relentless in your pursuit of excellence; meanwhile don’t forget to enjoy the view of your journey.

# How to make this work

1: Focus on single tasking: Start with batching your tasks( grouping of similar tasks), Minimize your distractions, and reward yourself for small wins.

2: Allow your passion to guide you: Start with asking “what’s your philosophy of life”. “What you are trying to get out of your life”. How about “making things better than before”

3: Find a purpose larger than yourself: If possible try to find out a work that is both personally interesting and, at the same time, integrally connected to the well-being of others. Then you would never hesitate in overextending yourself to do something exceptionally well.

Learn to pace yourself

“Life is a marathon, not a sprint; pace yourself accordingly.” — Amby Burfoot

There is absolutely no harm in slowing down once a while.

No one is disputing your lifetime objective of making a dent in the universe. However your mad rush in reaching your goal should never kill all the fun associated with the journey.

There is nothing special waiting for you once you reach your final destination. So you can always afford to take a deep breath and slow down.

Slowing the pace will always give you an invaluable opportunity to reassess your current situation and adapt accordingly: course correction.

# How to make this work

1: Train yourself to focus at not more than a single thing at any given point of time: The more you are clear about your choices, and priorities, the better your outcome would be.
2: Learn to celebrate your small wins: It acts as a reward for your dedication and perseverance. Your small wins should be celebrated religiously with your team. Make it a point to assure their participation.
3: Every now and then you need to recharge yourself: Because, there is no way you can function at your peak for longer period of time. Schedule some of your time for rejuvenation, and stick to it.

Start taking care of your health right now

“A man too busy to take care of his health is like a mechanic too busy to take care of his tools.” — Anonymous

And I mean right now…no more delays. The way you treat your body has a holistic effect on your long-term well-being.

Once your body obtains the complete adulthood, it’s on an uninterrupted path of decay. If you keep neglecting few of the obvious signs, the speed at which the body keeps disintegrating will keep gaining unwarranted momentum.

So developing an early habit of healthy eating and regular exercising should get the top most priority without any excuses.

#How to make this work

1: Learn to respect your biological rhythm: Just because every second article on personal growth is recommending an early morning routine for success doesn’t mean you need to start following it blindly. Try to have a grab on your own body clock. Find out what’s best for you and keep experimenting.

2: Stick to a regular exercise routine: It can be just 10 minutes of burpee or simple jogging, whatever suits you. Just make sure you are consistent. Start with two days a week and gradually increase the frequency. There is absolutely no hard and fast rule, except the rule you set for yourself.

3: Bring some conscious awareness to what you eat: You are what you eat. So get out of the default habit of mindless eating and make some informed choices.

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