Habits Make You Persistent

Cheryl Sandberg (Facebook), Richard Branson (Virgin Group) have something in common. They both carry their spiral bound notebook and a pen everywhere. When they have something important come up in their head that they need to act upon, they note it down. I am not sure about Branson, but Cheryl Sandberg rips off the page when the task is done. I found this article about Cheryl Sandberg’s spiral notebook.

Being effective in life doesn’t mean sacrificing things are Less Important for the things that are More Important. I believe, there is nothing in life that is LESS Important. Everything in life is important. What varies is the priority of every little thing in life at a given time, on a given day. Business, money, work, are all important. But at 2 a.m. while you are fast asleep, if your phone rings for an urgent matter, there is something weird. There is something wrong. That is, because that emergency wasn’t handled during your working day before it was an emergency. Some of us who work like that have made it a habit of dealing with multiple things at once, leaving them all undone at the end of the day, so that in the end, we have to put off the fire. Cheryl Sandberg and Richard Branson are not productive because they are wealthy and powerful, it is the other way around. Wealth, power and peace of mind are the outcomes of their habit of being organised.

I have two hobbies – playing guitar and photography. I have had both these hobbies for over three decades. They did not happen out of the blue. I bought my first cheap guitar thirty-five years ago, and the first cheap camera that my mother bought me was even earlier. I did not study these things. I just started doing them. Bit by bit, mistake by mistake, day by day, I improved. After practising, not getting a note while playing the guitar was just getting that – that particular (wrong) note did not belong there. The next attempt would then be with the right note. After getting the right note, it was practising the piece of music again so that I would remember the right notes and only played the right notes, until the right notes became a habit. In case of photography, each picture had the details that I needed to grasp. An underexposed picture meant using a slower shutter speed or a larger aperture the next time. A shaky picture meant using a tripod, or using a higher shutter speed the next time. Slowly, knowing the conditions of light and the right setting became a habit. I persisted. What made me persist was the practice of doing the right things repeatedly. When things go right, they are much more fun. So, it is important to do things repeatedly till they are right. One right song led to another right song, and a right photograph led to another right photograph.

Photography and music are the things that I enjoy. They are an escape for me, from the day to day grind. So, with them I do not have to persist. They just happen. The other things that aren’t that fun to do though, I have to discipline myself about them to persist. For instance, I am learning German. I have to remind myself to complete a chapter from the book, or else, over a period of time, I have to start from the beginning. Languages are something you forget if you are out of touch. So, I use a calendar on the phone; and I set reminders. Then, there are other things for which I set reminders, too. When I had joined the German class earlier, the tutor had the plan. Without the tutor, I have to plan my work myself. If I do not plan what to do during the time slots, those slots go unused; and life is wasted. Having finished things at the end of the day, I can sleep peacefully thinking, “I finished everything I had to finish”. That is the most important thing.

We have various commitments. We can fulfil them – it is up to us to fulfil them. We need to fulfil them in a manner that we can fulfil them well. Do only what you can do. What you cannot do now, plan it for later. Don’t do a lot. Do one thing, do it well. Plan to do things that really matter, every day.

Think and Grow Rich Principle 8 – Persistence – PERSISTENCE: THE SUSTAINED EFFORT NECESSARY TO INDUCE FAITH

If you have experienced a nightmare, you will realise the value of Persistence. You are lying in bed, half awake, with a feeling you are about to smother. You are unable to turn over, or move a muscle. You realise that you must begin to regain control over your muscles. Through persistent effort of will power, you finally mange to move the fingers of one hand. By continuing to move your fingers, you extend your control to the muscles of one arm, until you can lift it. Then you gain control of the other arm in the same manner. You finally gain control over the muscles of one leg, then extend it to the other leg. THEN WITH ONE SUPREME EFFORT OF WILL you gain control over your muscular system, and “snap” out of your nightmare. The trick has been turned step by step. You may find it necessary to snap out of your mental inertia, through a similar procedure, moving slowly at first, then increasing your speed, until you gain complete control over your will. Be PERSISTENT no matter how slowly you may, at first, have to move.

The Mastermind Principle

In the book Think and Grow Rich, the author Napoleon Hill talks about the Mastermind Principle. In simple language, the Mastermind is your inner group of people who are your teachers, friends and trusted associates. Napoleon Hill himself had an imaginary Mastermind of real people. His Mastermind group included people who were already dead. but, the dramatised them in his mind and he talked to those dead people as thought they were alive, by putting their personalities and characteristics (real, or imaginary) into perspective. Their thoughts (as he created them) and dialogues (imaginary) influenced his thoughts. He created the throughts of the Mastermind in a way that he would feel empowered and energized by those thoughts.

Our brain can create any thoughts of any type. The kind of thoughts we create are the thoughts that enter our mind. In order to create thoughts of a certain type, it is necessary that the thoughts of that type enter our brain. If we enter thoughts about colour, we create colours. If thoughts of music enter our mind continuously, we create music. We can create a world around us that surrounds us with thoughts that forward a certain result, a certain nature.

We become what the world around us is. Among children, we become playful. Among patients, we learn about medicine.

If we want to achieve financial success, we need to be surrounded by people who speak and exhibit financial success. We need to be surrounded by achievers and discuss about achievement. We need to listen to people who work towards achieving success.

People striving towards success may not always be available. but we can condition our mind by reading books. We can form a group of people sharing that common interest of learning success principles. We can set ourselves goals and evaluate the success and failure with the help of this mastermind group.

Life – Now and Later

One person each in the lives of two people whom I know, died. Of course, death brings us sorrow. That sorrow appears because that someone who died in our lives, we were attached to them. Suddenly that chord is broken when the person dies and we feel sad, as there is a sudden void; and we are not used to the void.

Everyone who  lived on this planet, dies. Whether it is a living thing or non-living, everything comes to an end at last. Plants die, animals die, humans die; and even rocks will melt eventually. 

A non living thing like a rock is less complex compared to a living thing like a plant, animal or a human. I think it is because of the simplicity of the physical structure of a non living thing that a rock doesn’t disappear so easily. A living thing on the other hand, is held together by more complex forces. There are various forces in a human that make us human. There are physical, chemical, biological and even social forces which make us human. The complex forces disappear and we die, leaving behind only atoms and molecules – the simpler forms.

Living things have biological forces which are more complex than the chemical forces. Chemicals can be produced in a laboratory, while living things cannot. The only laboratory that can create a living body is a living body of their predecessor. Cats can reproduce cats, and mice can reproduce mice – not the other way around. That is because of the complexity. When a cat produces a kitten, it transmits its biological forces to its offspring. Along with the forces that keep the body together, the cat’s genes also transmit to its next generation the knowhow of how to hunt mice – a survival instinct. This goes on generation after generation and the cat kingdom survives.

Humans have another force in addition to just the biological forces and the survival instinct. We have built a very strong social structure which has moulded even our biological structure.

The two people who died in the lives of the two people whom I know, were teachers. These two teachers had left behind their teaching for their successors. They might have transmitted their genes to their biological successors or the offspring, but they transmitted a very strong human force behind for the next generation who is not biologically connected with them – the force of education.

We live not because of our bodies. We live because of what we use the body for. Human society is the biggest miracle in this world. It has left its culture and teachings for the next generation. That is what makes us, us!

Think and Grow Rich Principle 7 – Decision: The Mastery of Procrastination

DECISON: THE MASTERY OF PROCRASTINATION Every time you open your mouth in front of a person who has abundance of knowledge, you display to that person your exact stock of knowledge, or lack of it. Genuine wisdom is conspicuous through modesty and silence. If you talk about your plan too freely, you may be surprised to learn that some other person has beaten you to your goal by PUTTING INTO ACTION ahead of you, of which you talked about unwisely. Let one of your first decisions be to KEEP A CLOSED MOUTH AND OPEN EYES AND EARS. TELL THE WORLD WHAT YOU INTEND TO DO, BUT FIRST, SHOW IT Deeds and not words what count most. Analysis of several hundred people who had accumulated fortunes well beyond a million dollar mark, disclosed the fact that every one of them had the habit of REACHING A DECISION PROMPTLY, and changing these decisions slowly. The value of the decision depends upon the courage required to render them. The great decisions, which served the foundation of civilisation, were reached by assuming great risks, which often meant possibility of death.

FREEDOM OR DEATH ON A DECISION Lincoln’s decision to issue the Proclamation of Emancipation, which gave freedom to coloured people of America, was rendered with full understanding that this act would mean death to thousands of men on the battlefield. In the end, it cost Lincoln his life. That required courage. The greatest of all decisions as far as America is concerned was reached in Philadelphia on July 4, 1776, when 56 men signed their names on a document which they well knew would bring freedom to Americans, or will leave everyone of the 56 hanging from a gallows. In union there is strength. The citizens of colonies had been waging disorganised warfare against the British soldiers, through incidents similar to Boston riot, but nothing of benefit had been accomplished. Their individual grievance had not been consolidated under one Mastermind. No group of individuals had put their hearts, minds, souls and bodies together in one definite DECISION to settle their difficulty with the British once and for all until Adams, Hancock and Lee got together. Socrates’ decision to drink the cup of poison, rather than compromise in his personal belief, was a decision of courage. It turned time ahead a thousand years, and gave people then unborn, the right of freedom of thought and speech.

UNDP – Sustainable Development Goals

One of the reasons I started this blog is to investigate the evolution of Humanity. If I remember right, it is Deepak Chopra who said, “you are not a drop in the ocean, you are an ocean in a drop”. Humans, as social beings, not individuals alone, but are individual members of the society at large. We wouldn’t have been members of society without the existence of the society around us. We so take the existence of society around us for granted that we hardly even notice it’s there. But the society as a whole has an influence on us and the society as a whole consists of individual members. So an individual and the society cannot be separated. In a way, the individual and the society are the same, just like a drop in the ocean, and the ocean are the same. I believe that the way I think and act can, and has, an effect on not just the society, but the physical universe as a whole.However, for the this discussion I would like to only put the society into the perspective and not the universe, because the correlation between the social phenomena and thinking is much more tangible than the correlation between the social phenomena and the physical phenomena of the universe. Since a lot of variables around us contribute towards our individual evolution as a human being, I considered my thinking as Human Development.

When I started researching the term Human Development, I realised that I am not the inventor of the term. United Nations already had a programme in place called Human Development – a term which was invented by Dr. Amartya Sen. Human Development is a part of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). For years, UN has been publishing their yearly Human Development Report (HDR). This post is a reminder that the UN has a very powerful programme in place with Sustainable Development Goals.

I am not a part of the UNDP; and UNDP does not know who I am. But I invite everyone to have a look at these links and move towards these goals step by step in whichever way we can contribute.

A Simple Guide to Changing the Course of Life

This is a thought that crossed me while taking a shower. What made me the way I am today? That’s the main point of this post. What makes you the way you are?

I believe that most people would agree it is the conditioning that we go through while growing up in life. If you are a psychologist (I am not one, I am an engineer by qualification), you would most probably say that life’s is course is set at an age younger than ten. I am not too sure about this at this moment, but I will find more information about that. But my knowledge from reading books tells me that the pattern in the brain is kind of permanent in the form of synapses (when two neurons connect, they form a synapse, in other words, a bit of information or an experience or a learning or a decision or whatever you may want to call it). Scientists (at least some of them) say that we use our synapses over and over again. When we experience something, that becomes Truth for us. And, we use that information over and over again, in most cases till the time we die.

In life while growing up, we are instructed to do something and not do something else. We are told to behave a certain way, and not to behave a certain another way. In other words, we are born with an instruction manual which we don’t know who wrote. That instruction manual is a lie which we believed all along as truth. But nobody gave us the hard copy of the manual. So it seems that we wrote our own manual when we didn’t know how to read and write. We were pretty small and naive when we wrote it, weren’t we? We heard something and we wrote it into our instruction manual with our limited vocabulary and grammar.

Here is what we could probably do. We could perhaps throw our old instruction manual in the bin. Take out a clean piece of paper and a pen and write a note to ourselves at this moment. Let’s see if this exercise works. In fact we will need TWO, and not one sheets of paper. Let us write what we know from the old instruction manual. That ‘s going to be a big exercise. So don’t start writing on the second sheet yet. Write in the old manual as much as possible and see what it looks like. Write instructions from YOURSELF to YOURSELF. See if it makes sense. When it makes sense how stupid it looks, dump it in the bin. Now, start on the second sheet of paper and write a new instruction manual from YOURSELF to YOURSELF. See what happens.

Why the Book ‘Think and Grow Rich’

Here is a quick note about my posts on Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich. Sometime around the mid nineties, at a business conference, a millionaire speaker was asked which one book he could attribute his success to. That book was of course, Napoleon Hill’s ‘Think and Grow Rich’. I took it on to myself to master this book and make my millions. I began by summarising the points of this book in a spreadsheet so that it would make it easier for me to follow the principles (I have a technical background, so I hope you can understand where I come from). I haven’t made my millions, but I thought it is still worth sharing the wisdom of the book so someone else can benefit from it.

I have been sharing the spreadsheets here in the form of these posts. Each chapter (therefore the post associated with it) is an individual spreadsheet. I do not want to publish them all together. Whoever is reading these posts, I think, they would use the knowledge one chapter at a time. I publish when I feel that I am ready. At this point of time, I am about half way through. It won’t be long before all the chapter notes are uploaded.

As far the book is concerned, I believe it is past its copyright period; and it is now available on public domain. Though I have a free pdf, I believe that the author needs to get paid. So I bought a $1 Kindle copy from Amazon. I believe in giving the Universe its due for the gift it has offered us.

Thank you for subscribing.

Sachin Thakur

Think and Grow Rich Principle 6: Organised Planning – The Crystalisation of Desire Into Action

Intelligent planning is essential to success in any undertaking designed to accumulate riches. Here are detailed instructions to those who must begin the accumulation of riches by selling personal services.

It should be encouraging to know that practically all great fortunes began in the form of compensation for personal services, or from the sale of ideas. What else, except ideas and personal services would one not possessed of property have to give in return of riches?

Broadly speaking, there are two types of people in the world. One type is known as the LEADERS, and the others as FOLLOWERS. Decide at the outset whether you intend to become a leader in your chosen calling, or remain a follower. The difference in compensation is vast. The follower cannot reasonably expect the compensation to which a leader is entitled, although many followers make the mistake of expecting such  pay.

It is no disgrace to be a follower. On the other hand, it is no credit to remain a follower. Most great leaders began in the capacity of followers. They became great leaders because they were intelligent followers. With few exceptions, the man  who cannot follow a leader intelligently cannot become an efficient leader. The man who can follow a leader most efficiently is usually the man who develops into leadership most rapidly. An intelligent follower has many advantages, among them the opportunity to acquire knowledge from his leader.

THE MAJOR ATTRIBUTES OF LEADERSHIP

The following are important factors of leadership:

  1. UNWAVERING COURAGE: Based upon knowledge of self, and based on one’s occupation. No follower wishes to be dominated by a leader who lacks self-confidence and courage. No intelligent follower will be dominated by such leader very long.
  2. SELF CONTROL: The man who cannot control himself can never control others. Self-control sets a mighty example for one’s followers, which the more intelligent ones will emulate.
  3. A KEEN SENSE OF JUSTICE: Without a sense of fairness and justice, no leader can command and retain the respect of his followers.
  4. DEFINITENESS OF DECISION: The man who wavers in his decisions, shows that he is not sure of himself. He cannot lead others successfully.
  5. DEFINITENESS OF PLANS: The successful leader must plan his work and work his plan. A leader who moves by guesswork, without practical, definite plans is comparable to a ship without a rudder. Sooner or later he will land on the rocks.
  6. THE HABIT OF DOING MORE THAN PAID FOR: One of the penalties of leadership is the necessity of willingness, upon the part of the leader, to do more than he requires of his followers.
  7. A PLEASING PERSONALITY: No slovenly, careless person can become a successful leader. Leadership calls for respect. Followers will not respect a leader who does not grade high on all the factors of a Pleasing Personality.
  8. SYMPATHY AND UNDERSTANDING: The successful leader must be in sympathy with his followers. Moreover, he must understand them and their problems.
  9. MASTERY OF DETAIL: Successful leadership calls on mastery of details of the leader’s position.
  10. WILLINGNESS TO ASSUME FULL RESPONSIBILITY: The successful leader must be willing to assume responsibility for the mistakes and the shortcomings of his followers. If he tries to shift this responsibility he will not remain the leader. If one of his followers makes a mistake, and shows himself incompetent, the leader must consider that it is he who failed.
  11. COOPERATION: The successful leader must understand, and apply the principle of cooperative effort and be able to induce his followers to do the same. Leadership calls for POWER, and power calls for COOPERATION. There are two forms of leadership. The first one and by far the most effective is LEADERSHIP BY CONSENT of, and with the sympathy of the followers. The second is the LEADERSHIP BY FORCE, without the consent and sympathy of the followers.

TEN MAJOR CAUSES OF FAILURE IN LEADERSHIP: We come now to the major faults of leaders who fail, because it is just as essential to know WHAT NOT TO DO as it is to know what to do.

  1. INABILITY TO ORGANISE DETAILS: Efficient leadership calls for ability to organise and to master details. No genuine leader is ever “too busy” to do anything which may be required of him in his capacity as a leader. When a man, whether he is a leader of a follower, admits that he is “too busy” to change his plans, or to give attention to any emergency, he admits his inefficiency. The successful leader must be the master of all details connected with his position. That means, of course, that he must acquire the habit of relegating details to capable lieutenants.
  2. UNWILLING TO RENDER HUMBLE SERVICE: Truly great leaders are willing, when occasion demands, to perform any form of labour which they would ask another to perform. “The greatest among ye shall be the servant of all” is a truth which all able leaders observe and respect.
  3. EXPECTATION OF PAY FOR WHAT THEY KNOW INSTEAD OF WHAT THE DO WITH THAT WHICH THEY KNOW: The world does not pay men for what they know. It pays them for what they do or induce others to do.
  4. FEAR OF COMPETITION FROM FOLLOWERS: The leader who fears that one of his followers may take his position is practically sure to realise that fear sooner or later. The able leader trains understudies to whom he may delegate, at will, any of the details of his position. Only in this way may a leader multiply himself and prepare himself to be at many places, and give attention to many things at one time. It is an eternal truth that men receive more pay for their ABILITY TO GET OTHERS TO PERFORM, than they could possibly earn by their own efforts. An effective leader may, through his knowledge of his job and magnetism of his personality, greatly increase the efficiency of others, and induce them to render more service and better service than they could render without his aid.
  5. LACK OF IMAGINATION: Without imagination, the leader is incapable of meeting emergencies, and of creating plans by which to guide his followers efficiently.
  6. SELFISHNESS: The leader who claims all his honour for the work of his followers, is sure to be met by resentment. The really great leader CLAIMS NONE OF THE HONOURS. He is contented to see the honours, when there are any, go to his followers, because he knows that most men will work harder for commendation and recognition than they will for money alone.
  7. INTEMPERANCE: Followers do not respect an intemperate leader. Moreover, intemperance in any of its various forms, destroys the endurance and the vitality of all who indulge in it.
  8. DISLOYALTY: The leader who is not loyal to his trust, and to his associates, those above him, and those below him, cannot long maintain his leadership.
  9. EMPHASIS OF THE “AUTHORITY” OF LEADERSHIP: The efficient leader leads by encouraging, and not by trying to instil fear in the hearts of his followers. The leader who tries to impress his followers with his “authority” comes within the category of leadership through FORCE. If a leader is a REAL LEADER, he will hae no need to advertise that fact except by his conduct – his sympathy, understanding, fairness, and a demonstration that he knows his job.
  10. EMPHASIS ON TITLE: The competent leader requires no “title” to give him the respect of his followers. The man who makes too much over his title generally has little else to emphasise. The doors to the office of the real leader ae open to all who wish to enter, and his working quarters are free from formality or ostentation.

SELF-ANALYSIS QUESTIONNAIRE FOR PERSONAL INVENTORY

  1. Have I attained the goal which I established as my objective for this year? (You should work with a definite yearly objective to be attained as a part of your major objective.)
  2. Have I delivered service of the best possible QUALITY of which I was capable, or could I have improved any part of this service?
  3. Have I delivered service in the greatest possible QUANTITY of which I was capable?
  4. Has the spirit of my conduct been harmonious, and cooperative at all times?
  5. Have I permitted the habit of PROCRASTINATION to decrease my efficiency, and if so, to what extent?
  6. Have i improved my PERSONALITY, and if so, in what ways?
  7. Have I been PERSISTENT in following my plans through to completion?
  8. Have I reached decisions PROMPTLY AND DEFINITELY on all occasions?
  9. Have I permitted any one or more of the six basic fears to decrease my efficiency?
  10. Have I been either “over-cautious”, or “under-conscious”?
  11. Has my relationship with my associates in work been pleasant, or unpleasant? If it has been unpleasant, has the fault been partly, or wholly mine?
  12. Have I dissipated any of my energy through lack of CONCENTRATION of effort?
  13. Have I been open-minded and tolerant in connection with all subjects?
  14. In what way have I improved my ability to render service?
  15. Have I been intemperate in any of my habits?
  16. Have I expressed, either openly or secretly, any form or EGOTISM?
  17. Has my conduct toward my associates been such that it has induced them to RESPECT me?
  18. Have my opinions and DECISIONS been based upon guesswork, or accuracy of analysis and THOUGHT?
  19. Have I followed the habit of budgeting my time, my expenses, and my income, and have I been conservative in these budgets?
  20. How much time have I devoted to UNPROFITABLE effort which I might have used to better advantage?
  21. How may I RE-BUDGET my time, and change my habits so I will be more efficient during the coming year?
  22. Have I been guilty of any conduct which was not approved by my conscience?
  23. In what way have I rendered MORE SERVICE AND BETTER SERVICE than I was paid to render?
  24. Have I been unfair to anyone, and if so, in what way?
  25. If I had been the purchaser of my own services for the year, would I be satisfied with the service I have rendered, and if not, why not?
  26. What is my present rating on the fundamental principles of success? (Make this rating fairly, and frankly, and have it checked by someone who is courageous enough to do it accurately).

Think and Grow Rich Principle 5 Exercise: Imagination

Topic: Imagination

Man can create anything that he can imagine.

Man’s only limitation, within reason, lies in his development and his use of imagination.

There are two forms of Imagination: Synthetic Imagination and Creative Imagination

Synthetic Imagination:

  • Arrange old ideas, concepts or plans into new combinations
  • Works with the material of observation, education and experience which it is fed.

Creative Imagination:

  • Finite mind of man has connection with the Infinite Intelligence. It is the faculty through which hunches and inspirations are received.
  • Thought vibrations from the minds of others are received.
  • This Earth on which you live, you, yourself, and every other material thing are the result of a revolutionary change, through which microscopic bits of matter have been organised and arranged in an orderly fashion.
  • The story of every great fortune starts when a creator of ideas and a seller of ideas got together and worked in harmony. Carnegie surrounded himself with people who could do all that he couldn’t do.
  • Ideas are intangible forces, but they have more power than the physical brains that give birth to them. They have the power to live on after the brain that creates them has returned to dust.