Thursday, February 11, 2016

Solitude: A Wonderful Effect of Enjoying it!

Whosoever is delighted in solitude is either a wild beast, or a god.~Francis Bacon

Francis Bacon may have exaggerated, but his point was clear: most people despise being alone. People will surround themselves in harmful relationships to avoid solitude. They will change their clothes, hobbies or even their religious beliefs just to fit in. And, the idea of being completely alone in the world is a common theme in horror films.

However, there is a power in being able to find contentment in solitude. Bacon, wasn’t far off when he ascribed god-like powers to the people who can enjoy solitude. If you are able to be happy alone, then even in the emptiest times in life you can find peace and even joy.

I’m not suggesting solitude is better than being with people. Simply that it’s impossible to completely avoid aloneness in life, so it’s worth having a strategy to find joy in those moments. Enjoying solitude can also give you an independence that makes you less desperate with friends and less likely to cling onto lousy relationships.

How to Be Happy Alone

My experience with this challenge started several years ago. I lived in a small town, hundreds of kilometers away from any major center. I had few close friends in my city, and I didn’t connect well with the people around me. Additionally, I was planning to move in a year, which reduced my motivation to improve my social skills, which had been lacking.

At first, I found the solitude unbearable. I had other friends in the past, so I wasn’t used to being nearly completely isolated. I can definitely say this wasn’t a fun experience, but it did teach me a valuable lesson about how to enjoy my time alone.

By working on my internal life, I was able to not only bear the solitude, but actually enjoy it. Even now that I have many friends and my social skills have improved considerably, I still benefit from the lessons I learned enjoying solitude. It gave me an inner calm and independence that means that, although I place value in relationships and work to improve them, I don’t feel desperate to stay in any friendship or relationship that doesn’t fulfill me.

If you’re caught in the same situation I was, I feel there are two steps you can take to turn it around:
  1. Learn to draw contentment from your time alone.
  2. Improve your social skills and build new connections.
Each approach on it’s own is insufficient. If you only work on drawing contentment from your time alone, that approach can be unsatisfying if you still feel isolation is forced upon you. But if you work on your social skills and peaceful solitude in unison, you can enjoy the present while increasing your options for the future.

Side NoteImproving your social skills is outside the scope of this article, but if you’d like to read more, I’d suggest reading: Succeed Socially

Loneliness is Forced Solitude

In my opinion, a great deal of the pain caused by loneliness is due to a lack of control. Solitude is easy to enjoy when it isn’t forced. I think most people enjoy a few hours or even a few days to themselves if their regular lives are full of activity and interesting people. In fact, many people complain of a lack of space when deeply involved in relationships, which shows that solitude isn’t universally bad.

But when you lack control over your situation, solitude becomes loneliness. If you feel your isolation wasn’t chosen, and you can’t control it, that exile can be unbearable. The key, in my opinion, to regaining enjoyment in solitude and reducing loneliness, is to regain some control.

Part of that control can come from simply improving your social life directly. If you practice your social skills directly, that can boost your feeling of control and make the world seem less isolating, even if you’re still finding it difficult.

However, for some people this process will be slow or difficult. It may be hard for you to make new friends, either because you’re social muscles are still weak, or because you are stuck in a lousy situation, such as working at an isolating job or stuck in an unfriendly, small town. In that case, I think it also helps to gain control in another way.

Perfecting Your Inner World

The breakthrough for me in learning to enjoy solitude was in improving my inner world first. I may have had difficulties controlling my solitude from the outside, but I could control my inner world so that it would be more pleasant to live in.

As an analogy, imagine your house is constantly being attacked by violent weather. You have two options: you can try to change the weather (by, moving your house, for example) or you can improve the foundation of the house so that, even in violent weather, it is more comfortable to live in. The first approach is directly working on your external environment, the latter is perfecting your inner world.

I’m sure you’ve heard stories of wandering ascetics who can live without people, shelter or food for days. People who seem at peace and content, despite total isolation and harsh conditions. While stories of these people may be somewhat exaggerated, I think they are a shining example of the benefits of building a strong inner world. When the scaffolding of your inner life is strong, you can be comfortable in almost any environment.

Just as there are many ways to build a house, there are many ways to build the foundation of your inner life. However, I’m going to suggest three, as these have been the most successful for me in my own life:
  1. Build order
  2. Create drive
  3. Find meaning

1. Build Order

One way you can gain more control over your inner life is to bring more order to it. I’ve found building a routine centered around activities I care about is one of the best ways to turn otherwise painful isolation into enjoyable solitude.

I usually do this by installing habits. For me, activities I care about are exercising, working on personal projects, reading and learning new skills. You can build a habit out of any of these activities by committing to do the habit every day for at least one month. Those habits will then run more or less automatically.

The side-effect of choosing this route to enjoying solitude is that it usually improves other areas of your life as well. When I did this, I found my productivity increased, my physical fitness went up dramatically and I read hundreds of books in just a few years.

Even now, when I have a longer period without as much human contact, I am far happier with an ordered personal life. That order allows you to stay active and engaged, even when your brain would rather shut down from the lack of social stimulus. The order also provides a sense of peace that comes from knowing you are in control of your world.

2. Create Drive

Another way to improve your inner life is to build a fire of enthusiasm for something. If you have a passion or sense of meaning for your daily routine, any temporary isolation is far easier to enjoy. I’ve found the best way to create a drive is to set goals and plans of action to accomplish them. The goals need to be tied to something you have an interest in, but the act of creating the plan can often start a cycle of motivation.

If you already have goals, focusing on your goals can enable you to enjoy solitude more. I always found, even in my most isolated moments, that when I recaptured the idea of what I really wanted out of life, I felt much better. Goals can’t replace having a social life, but they can allow you to push through a temporary patch of isolation.

This route can sometimes be difficult if you aren’t sure where to start, so if you aren’t sure what might interest you enough to work passionately on it, try starting with one of the other paths.

3. Find Meaning

You might not be able to control every part of your life, but you can control the meaning in your life. If you can create a purpose for your current isolation, that doubles your strength in moving through any obstacle. For me, I decided the meaning of my current isolation was to allow me more time to build personal skills while I worked on my social life from the outside.

Sometimes people will talk about the difference between good pain and bad pain at a gym. It’s actually a silly idea: how can any pain be good, all of it hurts? The difference is that there is a meaning for the good pain, a purpose it serves as a process in making you stronger. The bad pain, alternatively, just hurts for no purpose.

The same analogy applies to solitude: there is good solitude and bad solitude. The good solitude has a constructive purpose. It may still hurt occasionally, but if you know what it’s for and why it benefits you, the solitude can be enjoyable (just as some people love the pain they get from the gym). Your goal is to turn bad solitude into good solitude by defining the meaning it has for you.

If you think there is no possible reason for your being alone, think harder. You can probably come up with many opportunities it can allow, if you try. The solitude might help you focus on another important goal you have, give you a chance to increase your independence or even just give you a better appreciation of the relationships you do have.

Are You a God or Wild Beast?

My guess is neither, but you can still enjoy solitude if you set out the right intention. Solitude may take some time and practice to master, but it can allow you to achieve an incredible sense of inner peace and calmness.

Share your thoughts and stories in the comment section. See you there! Before you go: please also share this story on Facebook, RT on Twitter . Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Subscribe to receive email updates. Thank you for your support!

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

A Leaf From One's School Diary!!!

     School days however uneventful always has a special locker within our hearts. The people we met, the people who guided us, the innumerable heavy subjects that we somehow managed to lift!! That place definitely changed us and has a vital role in making what we are today!!

       To those of who do not know My school... Udyogamandal school, the brain child of the visionary, Late Mr. M K K Nair, earlier CMD of FACT, is affiliated to ICSE board.

       Having studied there for 12 long years... This place definitely had a role in moulding me into the person I am!! So, by the time I left I knew how much I was going to miss this place.. Because it had been ingrained into my blood and its memories shall never perish!!

        Yet, as I entered into that building again after quite a few years... I felt so detached and misfit... The place had been recently renovated... It had been repainted... The cemented floors had been replaced with shiny white tiles... Quietly I admired the divine splendour that the cheap but cemented floors bore!!

I couldn't recognize the place.. All my memories were so attached to the place that I once knew!! The place had new students, new teachers.. The faces that seemed familiar were few!!

I felt like being lost in a once known land that suddenly became strange and unknown!!

       May be all these were my inertia to change!! Or is it inherently embedded in the human nature to not to change.. Even when changes are for good.. Human reflex is to say no to change!! Most of us are afraid to change... Is there anyone who've not thought- Would the change grab away everything I have now?? -

Have u got any idea as to why!! If so do enlighten me!!

Share your thoughts and stories in the comment section. See you there! Before you go: please also share this story on Facebook, RT on Twitter . Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Subscribe to receive email updates. Thank you for your support!

Monday, February 08, 2016

Precious Secrets: How to Achieve Any Purposeful Goals.

This article looks at how a deliberate shift in our views on goal setting can net drastic cumulative results in the long run.

Whether it’s career goals or personal goals, we’ve all been there – setting aggressive and sometimes overtly ambitious goals, chasing after it, hitting road bumps and eventually become de- motivated to never see the goal come to fruition.

Nobody likes to be stuck in a plateau. You might spend months working hard towards a goal without seeing any progress. It can be incredibly frustrating to feel your motivations go unrewarded.

How you react to a plateau will decide whether you’re going to eventually be successful. While many people react by burning themselves out or quitting, some people continue showing up, every day. The people that show up, through sheer patience, will eventually break through their plateau.

Why Get-Rich-Quick Schemes Fail

I see this as a blogger. A new writer will start a blog, often with great content, but after 8 months they stop blogging. Some expressed ideas that the blog would become their future business, so they can’t claim they weren’t committed. While they stopped writing, the soon-to-be successful bloggers continued to write, every day.

I see this as a gym-goer. Every January the gym is full. After a few weeks it’s quiet again. People purchased year-long memberships to use them for 3 weeks. Sure, they can claim they were too busy, or that they didn’t really need to exercise, but that’s a rationalization. While they quit, the truly healthy people continued to show up, every day.

I see this as a student. There are a lot more pre-med students than medical students. There are more people at the beginning of an academic program than at the end of it. While some people cram for exams the last minute, other people develop studying habits that last them their entire degree program.

Getting rich quick doesn’t just fail because the methods are scams. They fail because the people they attract were never interested in what it takes to succeed to begin with. They wanted an immediate solution to a problem that requires a lifetime of dedication.

The Secret to Goal Setting: Deliberate Slowness

Instead of offering the fastest path to success, I want to offer the opposite: the slowest path to success. Instead of promising you can get rich quickly, I’d like to suggest that you can get rich over several years or decades. Instead of promising to lose 14lbs in a week, I am suggesting that you can be healthy for a lifetime.

Deliberate slowness to goal setting isn’t a popular mantra these days. In a fast-paced world, everyone is looking for shortcuts. They want to know how the superstar managed to becoming incredibly successful in a few months. They don’t want to hear about the person who meticulously planned her success for a decade.

However, despite it’s lack of glamour, deliberate slowness with goal setting is a more effective mantra. It forces you to stop craving the immediate acquisition of your goal, focus on the process and get down to the doing. This focus on process makes it more likely you’ll keep your goals once you achieve them. More importantly, a focus on process allows you to actually enjoy the path to success instead of viewing everything as an obstacle towards it.

What Are You Going to Master in 10 Years?

Think about your plans in terms of the next decade, and not the next few months. When you think in terms of a decade, your strategy changes. Instead of trying to frantically push effort into the current moment, you focus on the continuous behaviors you need to succeed. Instead of trying to achieve a goal for the moment, you focus on how to sustain it for a lifetime.

Malcolm Gladwell, in his excellent book Outliers, proposes that it takes 10,000 hours to master any skill. Virtuosos and computer hackers alike all need to put 10,000 hours of work in before they reach true mastery of their craft. If you spent 3 hours a day, for almost every day of the year, it would take you a decade to master a skill.

Instead of looking for the quickest route, look for the most sustainable route. Don’t worry about what will get you there immediately, look at what will keep you there in five to ten years.
As a blogger, this means continually outputting content, on a regular schedule. My own website ( has over 700 articles in the archive, most of which still gain traffic and comments to this day.

As a gym-goer, this means sustaining the exercise habit, rather than adopting radical workout strategies. I’ve been going to the gym 3-5 days per week for over four years. Instead of taking on every dieting fad, I try to maintain a simple diet that is both healthy and sustainable.

My goal setting aims for the long-term. I don’t subscribe to the motivational advice saying you should manufacture unlimited confidence in yourself so you can achieve any goal. I think the downside of this approach is that whenever your false confidence doesn’t meet reality (which often happens) you crash and find it more difficult to put in the effort. I’d rather set highly realistic goals and commit to investing the energy in them day after day, year after year.

Building the Foundation

Beneath any skyscraper there is a large foundation. In order to build upwards, you first need to dig downwards, otherwise you’re resting on uncertain ground. The same is true of life. Before you can try to radically shift your blogging strategy, experiment with your gym routine or juggle a double course load, you need to build a foundation.

That foundation is your habits. The things you do, regardless of your motivation or feedback, every day and every week. I write articles for my website twice per week, regardless of whether my traffic spiked or it crashed. Regardless of whether I made a thousand dollars or a dime. I write because writing is the foundation of my work, and it comes before everything else.

If you can build the proper foundation, you can build almost anything on top of it. Because your foundation will continue to put effort in for you, even when you’re stuck in a plateau, too busy or exhausted, it is the most valuable part of your goal setting strategy. With a foundation, you can then try all the experiments and tricks you want to use to speed your success.

Figure out what you would need to do, every day or every week, in order to sustain your goal. What’s the bare minimum output level you’d need to meet. Once you define this level, make it a habit. Commit to it for at least thirty days without stop. Then commit to continuing it for another ninety days.

Once your foundation is set, you are far less likely to quit out of exhaustion or frustration. You can experience virtually any setback, and continue to show up, every day.

Goal Setting Motives – Lifestyle? Or Means to an End?

One major difference between people who continue and those who quit, is the way they approach their goals. The people who continue see the path to their goal as part of a lifestyle. The people who quit see the path to their goal is just a means to reach their objective.

If you go to the gym, is that because going to the gym is part of your lifestyle, or only because you’re trying to lose thirty pounds? Are you blogging because writing every day is part of your life, or is it just a stepping-stone in order to become wealthy?

Integrate your goals into your lifestyle. While part of this is the same as setting habits, it’s also an attitude. Ask yourself whether you would continue to work this hard, once you’ve reached your goal? If the answer is no, then you probably won’t be able to continue in the long run. If you get stuck or your goal takes longer than you realized, you may never reach it.

Set Aggressive Goals, Realistic Deadlines

Set big, world-changing goals for your life. Just be patient with the deadline. I’d rather have world-changing goals for myself that I foresee taking decades, than minor goals I anticipate accomplishing well ahead of schedule.

Your deadline is more than just a motivational tool. It also frames how you view your goal. Setting longer deadlines forces you to pick sustainable, deliberately slow strategies for success. Setting unrealistically short deadlines forces you to cut corners, take shortcuts and scam your way to the top.

Goal Setting Sustainability

Sustainability is a popular word for the environment. It means choosing solutions that will continue to work in 50 years, just as they work today. But, sustainability also applies to your life and goal setting. If you take on paths that aren’t sustainable, you’re violating the principle of deliberate slowness.

Ask yourself how long you can continue this current path. When will you give up after not seeing any results? If the answer is less than “forever”, your strategy isn’t sustainable. If there is a clearly defined quitting time, you aren’t pursuing a sustainable strategy.

I’m not saying you need to continue the same strategy forever. But, if you have the potential to do so, then you greatly increase the odds that you won’t quit for the wrong reasons.

Don’t Pursue Half-Committed Ventures

The side-lesson of deliberate slowness is that you shouldn’t pursue half-committed ventures. If you want something, you should be committed to realizing it whether it takes only a month or a decade. If you aren’t willing to wait ten years to complete your goal, then you probably don’t have the persistence it takes to see it through to the end.

When Deliberately Slow is Surprisingly Fast

In my life, I’ve taken on goals from a deliberately slow perspective. When I started my business, I set my first important income goal for three years, not six months. When I started exercising my fitness targets were measured in months, not weeks. When I set out changing habits, I did so, one at a time, for at least one month each.

Talking to a short-term thinker, and my approach seems painfully slow. They will point out how I might be able to double my business in a few months, or increase my strength within a week.

But if you actually look at the track record, deliberate slowness is the faster approach. If you only focus on one habit change per month, you can completely rewrite the behaviors of your life in less than a year. Three years to build a business looks painfully long in the future, but after it’s done, people comment on how amazing your success is.

Just Do It. (Every Day)

The current motivational mantra is “get started.” Nike says, “Just do it.” Guy Kawasaki’s book focuses on the Art of the Start. But I think a better mantra than get started would be to “show up, every day.” Instead of just trying to get started, show up every day so that you have a chance to finish.
* What are your goal setting secrets to achieving your dreams? Share your thoughts and stories in the comment section. See you there!

Share your thoughts and stories in the comment section. See you there! Before you go: please also share this story on Facebook, RT on Twitter . Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Subscribe to receive email updates. Thank you for your support!