How to make the best of your college life?

Like millions of young people across the globe, you may be starting your college this year. Here are some suggestions for you to make the best out of your college life.

To two men living the same number of years, the world always provides the same sum of experiences. It is up to us to be concious of them.

Albert Camus, The myth of Sisyphus

The next 3-4 years of your life will be the most stimulating years of your life. These years will help you gradually move from teenager to adulthood. It is a brilliant opportunity to learn about the world you are about to become a tax-paying member of. These are some of the things you could do to not miss out on this golden opportunity.

Take it slow

It is not that i am mad, it is only that my head is different from yours.


My first advice is to hold your judgments.

You are going to meet different people from different parts of the country, some even from different parts of the world. Don’t be too quick to conclude about someone’s habits, culture or goals. Whenever you get a chance, talk to new people. Try to listen to their stories, experiences and opinions. You will not get to meet so many new people in such a short period of time again in your life. This will broaden your perspective about how people live, which is what you must aim to learn, a way to live.

Find your voice

Knowing yourself is the begining of all wisdom.


As you are learning to accept that the world is weirder than you thought, you must also find some things to stand for or stand against. Voice your opinions. If you are not so vocal, write them in the privacy of your journal. Just listening or reading to yourself will make your thoughts about matters around you clearer. Understanding your preferences is important because when presented with a choice, such as choosing a career or a life partner, you must know what you want. The choice you will make will have real life-altering consequences.

It all starts with testing the boundaries of your comfort zone. If you have been studious throughout your life, try going to a couple of parties and see what is it about. If you have been the star of every party so far, try to isolate yourself from the crowd for a while. If you like food, try to fast once a week. See how that feels and what do you like or do not like about that situation. The more you challenge yourself, the more you will learn about yourself.

Learn to speak

Your success in life will be determined largely by your ability to speak, your ability to write and the quality of your ideas, in that order.

Prof. Patrick Wilson, MIT How to Speak, IAP 2018

Speaking in a formal environment is essentially a presentation skill. I mean that you need to learn to be an orator. Speaking in a group presentation, presenting your thesis, and speaking in an interview are some examples of this. Statistically speaking, you may be one of the people who fear public speaking. That is why working on this skill during college is necessary.

Formal speaking is a skill just like any other and hence, can be improved. One effective method is to write notes and practise before a mirror. Write in short bullet points and not whole sentences. This will allow you to learn to speak by looking at your audience and not forgetting what you are talking about. This is just one of many methods available and I do not want you to stick to just one. Try out what works for you and practise. Take lead in projects and fight if you must for a chance to speak. This is the safest and lowest stakes public speaking forum you will ever get. Use it well to hone your skills.

Meet your heroes

I don’t feel that it is necessary to know exactly what i am. The main interest in life and work is to become someone else that you were not in the begining.

Michel Foucault, Truth, Power, Self

Wouldn’t it be great if someone showed you a movie of the next 40 years of your life? And not just one, 10 different versions of what your life could be? And you could choose any of those paths and with some preparation and luck, live an exciting life.

Well, that’s not possible. Sorry.

But you have the next best thing.

Learn the life of the people who inspire you. Learn about the events which shaped their lives and the situations in which they grew up. Examine each milestone, each failure and everything in between. Choose people from your field of profession, cultural and religious background or any criteria in the way you relate to them.

These introspections will tell you at least two things:

  1. They lived and worked in very different situations than you.
  2. The opportunities they got were a combination of being in the right place at the right time, talent and perseverance despite difficulties.

These humbling truths will guide you to choose your profession and your life partner, two decisions that will be responsible for most of your excitement or lack of it.

Discover your ambition

“I bargained with Life for a penny,
and Life would pay no more,
However I begged at evening
When I counted my scanty store;

Life is a just employer.
He gives you what you ask,
But once you have set the wages,
Why, you must bear the task.

I worked for a menial’s hire,
Only to learn, dismayed,
That any wage I had asked of Life,
Life would have willingly paid”

Jessie B. Rittenhouse

For me, this poem reminds me that what I am doing today is just what I have settled for right now. Neither my present job defines my being, nor does it limit my potential. I can aim to be something seemingly impossible and work my way towards it and with luck and preparation, achieve it. It is possible. Hard work is your vehicle to reach your aim while your ambition is the fuel that makes that vehicle move.

Sometimes in your life, you will go through a phase, where just doing the same thing day in and day out would be the only option. Don’t worry, we all go through it. It too shall pass.

Imagine a life for you. What inspires you. What excites you. Try to find something which allows you to help humankind. This one thing can hold together your life when things get tough and everything seems to fall apart.

Develop a hobby

A foolish consistancy is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by the little statesmen and philosophers and divines.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, self-Reliance

Break routines and find some activities not related to your curriculum. That can be any sport, playing a musical instrument, standup etc. And dedicate yourself to these pursuits. Try many things but come back to a few which give you peace of mind. Become proficient in them. These hobbies will always help you settle in a new city, make new friends and find people with a similar passion. These will be social skills that will not only entertain you in your personal time but also increase your value to the people around you.

Parting words

College life can be many things. If I have learned anything from experience, you will have free time at your hand. Utilise it well and you would not regret it.

That’s all for now. Keep being awesome.

How to choose a career after school (esp. in India)

How to choose a career to follow at the age of 16 is a difficult task, especially if you have Asian parents. Here is a guide to help you navigate through this difficult decision making process.

I’ll get right to the point.

To choose a career in India, or any Asian country in general, is a special type of problem. The main obstacles– our own loving parents and the lack of time for hobbies. I am, myself, a product of such a society. So, following is an insider’s solution to tackle this problem.

Steps of construction

Go through these steps, one-by-one and follow a timeline. I will provide my understanding of each section as you proceed and provide a sample timeline at the end. The steps are:

  • Step #1: Find out which technology excites you.
  • Step #2: Find a place that teaches a course in that technology.
  • Step #3: Find out what kind of jobs one can do after that course.
  • Step#4: Find out more places and respective courses in that same thing.
  • Step#5: Create a list of the top 5 courses of your choice.
  • Step#6: Convince Parents.
  • Step#7: Apply and wait for the results.
  • Step#8: Pack and leave the nest.

Step#1: Find out which technology excites you

Photo by Kyle Loftus on

If you know what excites you

If you have an idea of what excites you and you also know how to turn that activity into a profession, Congratulations! You have completed step 1. You can skip reading this next part and go straight to step 2.

If you are not sure what excites you

Don’t worry, we all have been there. First point is, that it does not have to be just one thing for the rest of your life. It can be many things over the course of your life that excite you. Second thing, if you think there is nothing exciting, you just need to look from another perspective.

Jobs change all the time. Some best paid jobs of today may not exist in coming 10 years, all due to changing technological landscape. If you do not keep up with changing technology in your chosen field, whatever it may be, you will find it hard to be valuable to the society. Or in other words, be jobless. On the other hand, if you keep up with the changes and update your skills accordingly, you may end up being the leading person in your field. Beeple is such and example. His digital art sold for $69 Million. Being a traditional graphics designer, that would have been hard to imagine if had not learned about NFTs.

What to choose?

So, start by finding a technology that you find exciting. That can be technology of travel, carpet making, engineering, medical science, food, painting, financial systems, education, film making, acting, language or Space. By technology, I mean the inner workings of your field, the rules and devices which make things happen and knowledge of under-the-hood of your favourite product.

how to choose?

And if you are confused about what to choose, you need a reason to chose. You need to find a “why“. Why should you do this job or that job, Why does this profession feels better than the other? Questions like these are very important because this “why“, is the basis of job satisfaction and your productivity as a member of the society and your organisation. And trust me, if you think that money and affluence are the only goals worth pursuing, without a solid “why“, it’s just a matter of time before you burnout or feel lost.

This why will serve as a guiding compass in the uncertain future. Just like a compass always points to the north, your reason, your why, will help you go in the right direction.

Photo by Joshua Woroniecki on

what is a good reason?

There are many ways to find your reason. For some people, this reason can be money, happiness, stability, safety, altruism or, excellence. But I find excitement is one of the key factors related to all these others. It is not only at core of them but also what makes these other values worth perusing. Let me provide my reasoning behind it.

To earn or achieve any of these targets, you need to spend time doing your chosen activity or profession. During this time, you will make mistakes, encounter resistance, criticism and disappointments. Successes, if any, would be small, short lived and mostly celebrated alone. So, you need to stay disciplined and motivated to stay on this path. And if the goal is a far off fantasy land with all your wishes come true, it may seem too far, especially when you are down. You may loose motivation, have self doubt and as result, give up. This means you will be again where you first started, faced with choices. Only this time you will be a little wiser but older. This happens to people more often than you would expect.

Excitement is a good value to work with. It is an excellent reason because it is linked to our neural pathways, which have developed overtime. If those pathways are not that rewarding, that means you need to adapt to a new way to do things or try something new. Excitement is an emotion which connects your inner self to the outer world. Excitement is happiness. So, if some activity excites you, it will also make you happy. And isn’t happiness the whole purpose of doing anything we do?

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Following is a very small guide to explore your choices regarding technology.

Long approach (time required: 1-3 months)

  • Step #1: To get an overview of what it means to find a work-life balance and why is it necessary, read any or all of these books:
  • Step #2: Follow the exercises provided in the books to get a better idea about your interests. Then, make a list of top 5 activities that excites you.
  • Step#3: List the technologies/techniques needed to learn to master those activities.

Short approach (time required: 1-3 days)

  • Step#1.1: Take a free personality test at 16personalities and read the sections named ‘Introduction’ and ‘Carrier path’. You can also read the Biographical description of some well known people in your profile type to see if some of your characteristics, ambitions and situations are similar to them or not.
  • Step#1.2: Pick 2-3 people from the list given in the introduction whose work inspire you. Observe the common theme there. If their professions are similar, that is your area of interest. If they have varied Professions, that means you may find more than one thing exciting.
  • Step#1.3: Come back to the result of the test and pick the list of famous people from your profile again the next day. See if you pick the same people as last time. If your new list remains the same, lock target on the excitement. If not, feel free to update the list. So, by the end of this exercise, you must have a list of carrier choices which are exciting to you and are also actual professions.

These two exercises are meant to guide you in the direction of self exploration. There are of course numerous other way for self exploration ranging from meditation to joining a personality development course to doing multiple internships overtime. Feel free to choose whatever method works best for you and remember the goal: to find what area of knowledge excites you.

Step#2: Find a place that teaches a course in that thing

After selecting your area of interest based on what excites you, you need to find a master to learn from. Or in our case, a group of masters in form of a course. A master is someone who can guide to through the process of learning and self discovery. A master can help you figure out your personal best way to learn and show you the possibilities on this path of learning. If you have 3-6 months time, you can try to find a short term course of 3 or 6 months to get a feel of the technology you want to learn for the rest of your life. But most of you will not have the luxury of time because of the pressures from parents, peers and the society. I do not like this way and I strongly believe that no one should be allowed to jump to a bachelor degree directly after school without taking a gap year to explore other choices or testing your ideas.

But let us get back to our present reality. we are locking on to a degree program in a limited time.

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So, start researching about the places that teach such a thing. Start with Google and type “Course on …..” fill in the name of your area of interest. If you want to work with marine animals, type “Courses on Marine Animals“. It will take you some time to get to the correct words to type but you will get there. Google is like a Genie from Aladdin. He can find you anything you say but you have to be careful what you say.

So, after you have optimised your search tag words and have reached the correct name of courses, try to find what is the course content of that program.

  • What is the syllabus?
  • How much time is for practical training?
  • What is the qualification of course instructors?

These information can be easily extracted from the course website. Also, check YouTube for videos related that course to learn about the actual experience.

Step #3: Find out what kind of jobs one can do after that course.

Now that you have the name of the course that you want to learn, its time to see what kind of jobs one can do after it. Every field of knowledge is ever expanding and new roles related to it keep emerging. So, there is probably more than one kind of job that you can do after you complete this course. You will have plenty of time during your 3-4 years of study to make that choice but before joining that course, it is good to know that you have choices.

So, we head to Facebook and LinkedIn for research and type in the name of the course you want to do. It will give you a list of people who are related to that course, most probably, graduated from the same one. Look at their resumes, locations and the companies they have worked with. You should message them and ask about their experience and recommendations of the course. Do not hesitate, people are happy to help if you ask nicely. Not all of them will reply but even if one of them replies, you can take their guidance in your decision making. You can some of the following questions to them:

  • Did you find the course updated in terms of actual industry demand?
  • What was the biggest challenge for you during the 4 years of study?
  • What was the first job you took after college and how did you find it?
  • What is your ambition in this profession?
  • Do you want to do a masters course? If yes, then in which field and why?
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These are some of the things you can ask without falling into the trap of asking about salary, job perks and other monetary questions. And avoid asking obvious questions like ‘What is the chance of getting placed after this course? because of course if you did well, you will get a job. And you will do well because it is what excites you. Studying will be fun, not work if you choose wisely.

Step#4: Find out more places and respective courses in that same thing.

So far you have done the basic research about the field of technology you want to learn and found at least one course, which is taught in some universities/colleges. Now is the time to cast a wider net and look at some similar courses.

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You should also search for the variations of the original course you selected. There might be something you did not notice or simply did not care to check because you were focussed on only one course. Now is the time to do a more open minded search as see what are the possible variations of that course or the field. Ask yourself:

  • What can be other applications of this course?
  • What other fields can be combined with this field to make a new specialisation?
  • Is there a course with just the parts I like?
  • What are the highest paid jobs from this field?
  • What kind of master courses are offered based on this course?

Step#5: Create a list of the top 5 courses of your choice.

To be sure to get an admission in your desired course, you need to make a list of 5 courses in different colleges. If you are sure, you can make a list of 3 colleges. The main criteria should be that these all should teach similar course content in order to choose one direction and maximise the chance of getting an admission.

If you are making a list of 5 colleges, they should look like this:

  • College #1 – Hardest to get admission in.
  • College #2 – Moderate chance of getting admission.
  • College # 3, 4 & 5 – Good chance of getting admission.

If you list consist of 3 college, then

  • College #1 – Hardest to get admission in.
  • College #2 – Moderate chance of getting admission.
  • College #3 – Good chance of getting admission.

The main criteria to filter a course can be found in the course requirements. Course requirements will give you an idea about how hard or easy can it be to get an admission. Although you will not know for sure but still you need some criteria for classifying the courses. These are:

  • Academic requirements – minimum percentage
  • Language requirements – International course require a English Language certificate from TOEFL or IELTS.
  • Application Deadline – Last date to submit your application
  • Recommendations – Letter of recommendations from your faculty.
  • Financial requirements – These are your personal limits to which you can take a loan or use your parents savings to pay for college tuition fee and accommodation, food and travel fees. We will consider this in a while.

Step#6: Convince Parents.

There are two ways to fund your education. One is that your parents to the initial investment and you manage to support your studies by earning from a part time job. Other is that they fund all the course fee. The last is that you do not take any money from them and only use your savings for admission and late for semester fees, pay from earnings from a part time job. If you are lucky, you will have no problem with convincing your parents about your future plans and getting money from them to support you in perusing the plans.

But assuming you are not that lucky, let us make up lost luck by hard work.

So the problem with parents is that most of them have their own expectations and ambitions from you. Mostly it will be one of their repressed dream that they could not fulfil or if they could, continuation of their legacy by including you in family business. Also, they tend to have very telescopic vision of carrier choices and lack knowledge of existence of other fields out there. Also, they do not consider you an adult yet, who can make life decisions. Maybe even you think so about yourself. This aspect of parenting is very different in eastern and western world. Western world focuses mostly on self-reliance and independence while most of the Eastern societies cultivate a culture co-dependence of family members.

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But this is the time to change it. If you do not follow your plan, you are doomed to follow someone else’s plan. So, we start by convincing ourselves that I need to take charge of my life. No matter what happens after I decide to go on this path it, I will not back off and keep moving forward. It is my life and not anyone’s property. Be responsible for your own fate.

Now to the parents. They mean well and wish the best for you but they probably also had a plan about your profession even before you were born. Sometimes love can act like a golden chain, tied to your leg. It can keep you safe but will also limit how far you can go. They will not take this chain off until they trust you that you can make your own decisions. That may not happen anytime soon but we have to start somewhere, right. So, to convince your parents of your plan, you need to convince them of your decision making abilities. If they trust you to make a decision, they will most likely let you make it.

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To convince your parents, you need to show them your decision making process. You need to show them your work so far. What is that you want to study, the names of the courses and the job prospects after that. For them, the most important thing is that will you be able to earn decent amount of money to support yourself. So, prepare this part well. If you can show them the profiles of some people on Facebook and LinkedIn from your research, it may help. Also, if someone replied to your questions, show that. It is a proof that you are able to take action and get results. You have to win this argument because your life literally depends on it. Prepare your whole presentation in advance and ask for an appropriate time when you can present it. Ask them formally that you want to show your research to them that want to have a discussion about it.

Suppose they get convinced and fully support you in your decision. Best case scenario, right. But let us face the possibility of rejection, the worst case scenario. To mitigate failure to get their approval, you need a backup plan.

Here is the time for first big decision of your life, whether to follow your plans despite opposition from your parents or follow their suggested carrier path and follow your plans on the side. If you have the time to save enough money for admission by working part time for a year or two, take that that path and work towards your chosen carrier. If you do not have time, choose the path thought by your parents but make a plan to study your field. Maybe your university or college has some course in your field too and you can switch to it in the second year of your course. It is a long shot but if you are trying to salvage your idea, this might be your best practical shot.

Main idea here is, present your best idea but be prepared for whatever outcome it generates and keep on your choose path. Whatever path your decisions lead, just remember your compass, and seek excitement. You will find your goal.

Step # 7: Apply and wait for the results

Going ahead with your best case scenario and successfully convincing your parents, you start the application process.

As you have the list of colleges and courses ready, you know the application deadlines.

  • Prepare each application with the same care and responsibility. If you need to get letters of recommendations for each course and letter of motivation(LOM), prepare each one custom and modified according to each course. Do not send a general sounding LOM to every college.
  • Check for spelling and grammar errors in all written documents.
  • Check if all necessary forms are signed and dated.
  • Check if the colleges require attested copies or normal copies of your certificates.
  • Apply at least 15-20 days before the last date of application, if possible as early as possible.

After application is the period of wait. It can excruciating to wait for the results as you have no way of knowing it otherwise. Find something that will keep you engaged like doing a short term course as a primer for the course you want to do. Or just chill with your friends if they are free. It will be the last time for most of your friends to spend time with you as they too will soon leave to follow thier paths.

Step # 8: Pack and leave the nest

So, you did it. You got admission. Congratulations for the beginning of a beautiful friendship with work. This day marks an important day in your life because you are going to face the world on your own for the first time alone. But do not worry. They are also going to face you for the first time.

This also marks the start of your skill development – both hard and soft. Hard skills are the technical aspects of your trade and the soft skills are the emotional skills that you need to successfully work with other. Some of the most important soft skill to learn are:

  • Goal orientation,
  • Resilience,
  • Empathy,
  • Assertiveness,
  • Ability to work in a team and
  • Social support

What you should learn during your studies is a discussion for another time. For now, following is a summary of all the steps and a possible timeline.

Hope this has helped you. Till next time.

How to improve your Handwriting

Handwriting can be improved, at any stage of life. The only difference between improving your handwriting being in school vs improving your handwriting as an adult, is the amount of practise. As an adult you will get less practise to actually write and ponder over the shapes you just drew.

It is actually easier than it looks to improve your handwriting. Let us explore how.

Side quests

Before you go on for Boss fight, some side quests need to be taken care of. These are the following three:

  1. Get your favourite pen
  2. Get some sheets of paper
  3. Free your time (even 2 minutes count)

It is important that you know your tool. Choose a pen that you find the most satisfying to write with. It can be a ball point pen, ink pen or a roller pen. As long as it feels right in your hand, it is fine. My present favourite is Lamy ink pen because of its smoothness on the paper.

Any type of paper will do as long it is not made of raw pulp, hand made or anything that drinks ink. Check if it is compatible with your pen. Also, it should be smooth enough to let the pen skid without getting stuck in it.

And lastly, time. Just start with 5 minutes. And if you still like it after 5 minutes, you will make time yourself.

4 Steps to improve your Handwriting

Start with the Alphabet.

It is a good place to start to improving your handwriting by practising Alphabets. Back to school but his time with your choice. Following are the 26 letters of the English Alphabets for you to observe and practise.

Following Alphabets are a guide for you to practise. If you don’t like it, try a different one. Or maybe change these and make new ones. As long as you take care in drawing each letter, it’s fine.

Do not rush

I learned to write fast because I needed to. Writing fast is one way to write your language paper in time in exam. So, I had to balance the handwriting and speed to get the best marks. But you are in no rush now. You do not need to write under a time constraint. So, whenever you write, do not rush and write with half the speed you previously used to write. It will instantly improve your handwriting.

COpy letters

I used to pick typography as a kid from sign boards, tv ads, movies, even from cartoons. Keep your eye open for any interesting letter and add it in your arsenal. Try any letter couple of times with different styles and see how it fits. If it doesn’t, leave it. Full disclosure, I picked my ‘f’ from Professor Dumbledore’s handwriting in Harry Potter.

Mix letters

Try to scribble on any piece of paper you get and try to write as many possible versions of a letter as you can. One way to do this is to write different words with the same letter such for practising a with other letters, write apple, bat, create, master, camp, lamp, arc etc.

Benefits of having a good handwriting

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Leave A lasting impression

Writing something is literally leaving a lasting impression on someone. When someone will look at your handwriting, they will make an assumption. Your handwriting can make you look confident or meek, optimistic or pessimistic, careful or careless.

Enjoy Writing

If you are fascinated by your handwriting and try to improve it, every written piece can become a relaxing experience. Doing something you like makes you happy. So enjoy writing, enjoy making each alphabet and it will bring you enough joy to write.

Train your brain

Good handwriting requires a good hand-eye coordination. It automatically takes a lot of concentration to do something good and repeat that. Once you reach a level that you do not require any longer to write well, challenge your handwriting again and start the process all over. Your brain loves challenges because they keep it fit.

That’s all folks. Hope you have fun improving your impression on this world.

How to loose weight quickly

Ok, so you are looking to loose weight “Quickly”. But how quickly ? In one month, one week, one day? And how much weight are we talking about here – 10 kg, 20 kg or, 50 kg ? So, what is the correct rate of loosing weight?

According to the Centres for Disease control and Prevention, the healthy rate of Weight loss is 0.5 kg to 1 kg per week. So, if you want to loose 10 kg, it should ideally take 10-20 weeks, that is, 3 to 6 months. So, pace your progress accordingly otherwise you risk loosing hope by failing to meet unrealistic goals like 5 kg in one week.

I am not an health expert but just like you, I once searched for an answer. I am sharing what I found and used in my life so far.

These are my tips:

  1. Eat lesser
  2. Choose you snacks wisely,
  3. Drink water, not Cola
  4. Choose a Workout you can do

Eat lesser

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Eating lesser is far better strategy than eating salads because eating salads is tough. I tried making salad one time but ended up with a green fodder. A goat may have loved it but I ate it just to prove it to my wife that I can make a salad.

do it like this

Eat in a smaller plate and each every time in the same plate. Eventually, in a day or two, you will find a sweet spot between food and hunger where you are not hungry but you can still eat more. Stop right there. Get up, wash your hands and drink a gulp of water. Walk away, that is your cue.

Choose your snacks wisely

Your snacks are the ones that is killing your hard work of eating lesser. As you will get hungry again or maybe soon after eating, you look for comfort snacks. First step to avoid eating junk is not to buy it. You are lazy enough not to go shopping just for snacks right when you are hungry. Good, use this as your strength.

do it like this

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Next time you go shopping, buy unsalted peanuts. Instead of Chips and cupcakes, buy some nuts like almonds, pistachio, walnuts and raisins if you can. These are rich in minerals and omega-3 fatty acids, which your brain needs but cannot produce. Buy at least one fruit, such as Banana, which is easy to eat and you enjoy eating too. These are superfoods that enrich your body and mind. Plus they keep you lean.

Drink water, not Cola

Do you have any idea why you drink Cola or any other carbonated soft drink for that matter? Because it quenches your thirst? Well, is Water a joke then? Because it digests food – No it does not, it stops the digestion because it is alkaline and your stomach acid is well, acidic. Makes your burp? Well, that it does. But is a Burp enough price to pay for all the damage it does? Let me name the one biggest reason not to drink it – Sugar. All the carbonated drinks are laced with sugar and if not, even zero sugar drinks have some kind of replacement sweetener. Sugar is evil. It literally modifies your brain‘s pleasure and reward centres to eat more sugar, keeping your weight out of control.

Do it like this

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Keep a couple for bottles of carbonated/mineral water at home. Normal water, just with that fizz that make you Burp. Problem solved. Drink it and see what you miss. The taste you miss, is from the sugar that was killing your gains.

Also, remember to drink at least 1-2 bottles (1-2 litters) of water daily.

Choose a Workout you can do

This is a big one. No one wants to deliberately hurt their bodies. Most of us don’t do it until we are shamed beyond our limit or a doctor tells us to do. But even then, we shamelessly forget the pressure in some time and go back to being our old self. But the problem was not exercising itself. It was the type of exercise you choose.

Do it like this

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Start with the simplest thing you can do and build up from there. Is it walking? Good. Walk for 10 minutes a day, slightly faster than normal. Increase 1 minute daily in your walk until you reach 40 minutes. So, today you walk 10 mins, tomorrow 11 mins, and so on until you reach 40 minutes per session. Then if you decide to keep sticking to walking, add 1 minute running to it. So do 1 minute running and 39 minutes walking. Next day, do 2 minutes running and 38 minutes walking. keep adding the running and subtracting walking as you go ahead. That way, you are competing against yourself, not repeating a boring routine and getting better at something.

Walking is just one example and maybe it it not for you. Maybe it is cycling, swimming, boxing or dancing. There are many things you can on your own. Choose one activity and keep adding difficulty in that to improve your performance and keeping it interesting.

Pro Tip: Get someone to do that with you. Your success rate will increase tremendously by just committing to someone.

Get enough sleep

This may be problematic to you because of weight but it goes on in adding to that weight. Sleep is one of the most mysterious human behaviours and Scientists are still not 100% sure that they understand why do we sleep. But the best guess is that in this time our body repairs, resets and reboots itself.

Do it like this

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Wake up at a fixed time. No need to get up at 5 am, just choose sometime you can do daily. The first couple of days in starting a new routine are difficult but if you keep your alarm far enough, you will have to get up. Then drink a glass of water and go start your day. In the evening, do not drink any stimulant drink like tea or coffee at least 3 hours before going to the bed. Then 1 hour before going to the bed, keep you phone away from you. And go the bed with a book in hand or your partner. Make best routines for the best results.

Make realistic plans

Setting up a really tough plan, with things you have never done in your life before for a long period of time is a recipe for disaster. You will fail, loose hope and go back to being the older you. You have to be realistic in your assessment of your limits and expectations and then make a plan you can actually follow. But the goal should be to have such good habits that you do not need to plan.

Do it like this

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First, find out how much weight you have to loose weight. Then, calculate how much time it will take to loose that weight. As I said above, ideal would be to loose 0.5 kg to 1 kg per week. Set a realistic goal and as you will make progress, you will pick up better habits and eventually, a healthier lifestyle. That’s how not only will you loose weight, you will also keep it away.

It is important to stay in a healthy weight range to avoid getting sick. But please beware of the beauty standards on social media. Loose weight to get healthier, not to get a body like a supermodel. It is far more important to have a healthy, flexible and strong body than looking cosmetically good.

Have fun changing for better.

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Optimising our ordinary lives

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Let us have a conversation about optimising your life. To set the mood, let me put on some Gandalf style declaration: “this article is not about becoming great or achieving something extraordinary in your life. It is about living an ordinary life to the fullest”.

All right, mood set. I will now proceed with my monologue, like an overconfident villain explaining his plan to his captor who will eventually find a loophole in that plan and eventually kick his butt. But my monologue will not end in a butt kicking, instead it will end in lifting that butt and putting it somewhere useful.

Also. Talk to me. Answer my questions in your words in your head before reading ahead every time a question pops up.

What is a small step ?

There is huge power in small, consistent actions. Tiny drops of water can overtime carve mountains. One breath at a time is enough to keep us alive. One day at a time lived adds up to a lifetime. Each meaningful step completes one part of the journey. Anything you want to do or have, can be broken down to small very do-able steps. This is the small steps I am talking about.

Why should I take these small steps ?

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If you are human, your belly size will start expanding with affluence. If you have money, your money will eventually run out. If you are in a relationship, you will eventually disagree on something. If you like gadgets, you want to buy the new iPhone. These all examples illustrate one single fact. I like iPhone. And also, that even living an ordinary life requires keeping up with the changes around us. This keeping up with life requires calibration of our habits and routines and optimising your resources such as time and money to the best of your advantage. The ordinary and extraordinary life just differs in the frequency of calibration and optimisation. So, did you get your answer ? My answer is, to keep up with life and if possible, be prepared for the coming changes.

How to create a small step ?

Human mind is unique. Our vision, the ability to imagine multiple futures for us sets us apart from rest of the life on Earth. I can not think of any other animal being able to imagine an alternate ending of Avengers: Endgame where Antman goes all diabolical over Thanos. Can you imagine your cat pointing towards a new nap pillow she really likes. No. We can imagine futures. So, how this juicy knowledge nugget helps us ?

You can imagine what you want. You can imagine yourself with six-pack abs. You can imagine yourself writing a book. You can imagine yourself retiring from a job at the age of 30. All sorts of amazing things. And then there are those non-goal goals of keeping up with life, remember, like keeping fit with age ? So, we can imagine a future, where we are up to date with the challenges of the life and if required, we can imagine additional wishes. Because we are not boring ass robots but interesting, sexy ass humans.

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And after you have imagined yourself a future, you can now trace it back to your present situation to chart out a path. First, you need to locate, where you are. What is your present waist size ? How much writing have you done so far ? How many sources of passive income have you created so far ? Second, calculate what do you require to reach your end goal. How much weight do I need to loose, how much do I need to write, how many sources of passive income do I need to create ? And please do not limit your imagination to my examples. These are just illustrations to guide your thought process. I am just the train conductor, you can take any passenger with you on this journey.

How often should I repeat the step ?

Past exists in memories. Future doesn’t exist yet. Present exists in a day.

A day is the smallest unit of life. An hour is too small, a year too long. Biologically, we are programmed to wake up with the sunlight and go to sleep with the advent of darkness. During a day, we have periods of sharp concentration and high energy and then contrasting periods of lethargy. There are periods when we want to socialise, and then those where we just want to be with ourselves. So, in essence, a day is a representative slice of the full spectrum of our life.

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The best way to optimise a process is to tweak its smallest unit. So, my suggestion is to do a small step everyday. Workout for 20 minutes everyday to reach from a 40 inch waist to 28 inch six-pack. Save €100 each month to buy that iPhone next year. Make a part of your tube video daily to put up 2 videos a week to create a sustainable passive income source from YouTube. The path may seem exhausting but the alternative is hard too.

How to keep myself on the path ?

This is where motivation meets grit. This is where life takes a turn for better. This is where you live. You have to balance your motivation and discipline to stay on your path. Motivation is like taking the first sip of hot coffee, which will slap you to attention. Discipline is like drinking the whole cup of that bitter coffee because you know you know you need it.

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To invoke motivation towards your goal, put up a picture of your imagined future everywhere you can. And don’t overdo it, just good enough to remind you of the goal but not enough for people to call you a psycho. Write your goal as a statement and paste it above your bathroom mirror. Do not stick it above your laptop or somewhere in your constant view because then you will just learn to ignore it like you ignore a Microsoft update notification.

But the main driving force of success is discipline. Motivation is overrated. It is sheer grit and determination to do the necessary that takes one person places. But no one is motivated 27×7. Discipline gets the job done. The best way I found to install discipline in myself is to make the clock my drillmaster. I schedule my tasks so that I know when to start a task and when to stop. I suggest you to do the same and schedule your one small step at a fixed time of the day. Do not bother about arranging everything in your day with fixed timings but focus on doing that one thing at a fixed time.

What if I need help in any of this ?

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I am not inventing these ideas here, people have already done all of these things and much more. And these same people can help you too. Just look at their journey and examine it with our questionnaire.

  • My imagined future: What do I want ?
  • My present: What is my situation now?
  • My pathway: How to reach from my present situation to my imagined future?
  • My daily small step: What change do I need to make in my daily routine?

And commit yourself to taking that one small step each day for your calculated period of time. That’s it. You can now peacefully live a perfectly ordinary life with your imagined future. Isn’t that a nice feeling? Being stress free from uncertainty and controlling some part of your life.

Mic drop

Everybody has answers, they just don’t have the right questions sometimes. I hope these are the right questions for you, right now. If not, let me know what are your worries and challenges today and maybe, together we can find their solutions.

Yasir out.