Tag Archives: lessons

Morning Routines are Important

I like to think that morning routines are important, but there are many people out there who get along perfectly fine without a specific morning routine. If you listen to the Tim Ferriss podcast you’ll notice that a lot of successful people have specific morning routines, and a lot of others have no such thing.

Some of those successful people wake up, eat a specific breakfast, meditate a certain way, perform a specific exercise routine, while others simply roll out of bed and begin working. But, maybe rolling out of bed and beginning their work, immediately, is their morning routine.

Who says a morning routine has to involve more than one activity?

If you’re the type of person that feels perfectly fine getting out of bed and heading to work right away, then maybe that’s for you. If you’re unhappy with your days, and productivity levels, then maybe you’ll do better with added structure to your morning.

I noticed that I have better days when I execute my morning routine. I can ignore it for a few days and feel fine. But, if I skip my morning routine for more than four days I begin to feel off. It’s hard to explain, but I’ve come to the conclusion that I like waking up early and doing my usual morning routine.

I’ve told close family/ friends, and they think it’s odd that I wake up so early to mediate, read and eat breakfast. But, I think it’s odd that they wake up, and 15 mins later they’re heading to work 🙂 .

We’re all different. If you like how things are going for you, then keep your morning routine. If you feel like there’s room for improvement, then experiment and try something different tomorrow morning. Life is a big experiment, and there are very few out there who know how to live it right.

The likeable factor

Do you have the likeable factor? Some people are easy to like, while others automatically come off as wrong. What makes a person likeable can be their smile, appearance, attitude or personality. Those same characteristics can make a person hard to like.

Stephen Curry is a very likeable NBA player. His likeable factor is off the charts. He’s one of the most popular NBA players right now, if not the most. LeBron James is likely number one, at the moment, but not for long.

A few days ago, Stephen Curry got mad at a referee for not calling a foul during his layup attempt. Immediately after the layup he tossed his mouthpiece at the referee. The referee, rightly, ejected him from the game.

The next day the NBA decided that it was appropriate to fine Steph Curry $50,000. While, that might be expensive for you and me, it’s nothing for Curry and his fellow NBA players.

A lot of the major sports analysts were surprised on how lightly Stephen Curry got off. They argued that if some other player would have tossed their mouthpiece at the referee, they would have been fined and suspended for at least one game.

I tend to agree with their logic. I can’t imagine DeMarcus Cousins tossing his mouthpiece at a referee, which is a physical act, and simply getting a fine. He would likely be suspended for the very next game.

Not Steph Curry though.

He definitely has that likeable factor. Whether it’s his smile, appearance, attitude, three-point shooting…he has it. It was evident with the NBA’s fine and lack of suspension.

To me, this is a great reminder that we are all people at the end of the day. We’re not business people, NBA players, lawyers, doctors, car mechanics, authors, photographers, musicians, presidents or anything else. We’re people, and simple (not so simple for many) things like be likeable matter a lot. It matters more than anything else.

Some can argue that it’s the only thing that matters since we are highly social animals. Try to keep this in mind as you go on with your daily life. Being likeable makes a difference.

Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

A few days ago I was browsing the web, and I stumbled onto a cool post (and reminder) by Zen Habits Dot Net. Since all his articles have an uncopyright, I’ll copy and paste it below.

Sometimes it’s good comparing yourself to others, in order to push your own boundaries. If you continually compare yourself to those at your level, then you might fall into the trap of becoming complacent. The problem occurs when you begin to get obsessed with your comparisons to your neighbor, friend or family member. It’s easy to want a bigger house, more money, a faster car and better degree. What’s hard is being happy with what you have, while you strive for more.

If you obsessively compare yourself to those doing better than you, then you can easily fall into unhappiness and/ or depression. It has happened to many others and it can happen to you.

“If you took the strengths of others, and compared them to your weaknesses, how do you think you’d size up? And do you think this would make you feel good?

The funny thing is, this is what most of us do at one time or another — and some of us do pretty often.

It’s a sure-fire recipe for a drop in self-confidence and for unhappiness. It’s also not that useful.

Let’s say I take a look at someone who creates amazing artwork and really top-notch podcasts on their website … and I look at my art and video skills, and realize that I don’t come close to measuring up. In fact, I look pretty pitiful (I’m a lousy drawer and don’t know anything about video).

But wait a minute: it’s not a fair comparison. Just because I don’t measure up doesn’t mean I should get out of the blogging business, or that I should get depressed or jealous or resentful. Instead, if I looked at my strengths — writing useful and honest posts — I can see that I have a lot to offer, a lot to be happy about.

And that’s so important — being able to look at your own strengths, and see your true value. It’s actually one of the keys to success, because without this ability, you will be unmotivated, and won’t believe in yourself.

I wanted to talk about this issue because of an email from a reader recently: 

‘I come from a Tier-2 city of India. I belong to middle class family. My job also such that I can’t meet both my ends, if I get married and start a new family.

The problem is that I have got my teammates, who come from very affluent families. I can’t stop myself comparing my lifestyle with theirs. I know it is not proper to compare myself with them on the basis of what physical possessions they have. I must say that my financial planning is sound enough to take care of my existing family; and I can take care of new family member also, at least for some time even if I lose my current job. But whenever I see or hear them spending so much money after possessions, I start comparing again. How can I stop this habit, without changing jobs?’

This is an excellent question, and a tough one. I think it’s natural to compare ourselves to others, but as the reader noticed, it often makes us unhappy even if we have enough and should be happy with what we have.

My quick advice: try to be aware of when you start comparing yourself to others … once you’ve developed this awareness, try this trick: stop yourself. Tell yourself, “Stop that!” And then start thinking about all the things you DO have, the things you love, the people you have, the blessings that life has given you. Make this a regular practice, and you’ll start to be happier with your life.

The Effects of Social Comparisons
But let’s take a look for a moment at what’s wrong with comparing yourself with others:

  • Like I said, it’s usually an unfair comparison to start with. As a result, you’ll always come off bad if you look at someone’s strengths (including what they have, like houses and cars) and your weaknesses.
  • Even if you compare strength to strength, there will always be those who are better, and those who are worse. Where you are on the ladder of accomplishments or purchases has nothing to do with what you want to do.
  • Even if you do well in comparison with others, you may be artificially inflated from this comparison. It’s a short-lived boost of ego if you win the comparison — easily knocked down.
  • You end up resenting others for doing well, without really knowing the true person. You can see this if you’ve ever resented someone upon first meeting them, and then later realized you got the wrong idea.
  • You might end up talking about your own accomplishments more than is necessary. No one appreciates that.
  • You might criticize someone in public, trying to knock them down, often unfairly.

These aren’t good things. Let’s look at how to stop this phenomenon.

Breaking the Habit of Comparing Yourself With Others
So how do you break this cycle of comparing yourself with others? Here are some tips I’ve found useful:

  • Awareness. Most often we do these social comparisons without realizing we’re doing it. It’s a natural act, I suppose, and as a result it’s something that is done without consciousness. So the solution is to become conscious — bring these thoughts to the forefront of your consciousness by being on the lookout for them. If you focus on these thoughts for a few days, it gets much easier with practice, and soon it’ll be hard not to notice.
  • Stop yourself. Once you realize you’re doing these comparisons, give yourself a pause. Don’t berate yourself or feel bad — just acknowledge the thought, and gently change focus.
  • Count your blessings. A better focus is on what you do have, on what you are already blessed with. Count what you have, not what you don’t. Think about how lucky you are to have what you have, to have the people in your life who care about you, to be alive at all.
  • Focus on your strengths. Instead of looking at your weaknesses, ask yourself what your strengths are. Celebrate them! Be proud of them. Don’t brag, but feel good about them and work on using them to your best advantage.
  • Be OK with imperfection. No one is perfect — intellectually, we all know that, but emotionally we seem to feel bad when we don’t reach perfection. You aren’t perfect and you never will be. I certainly am not, and I’ve learned to be OK with that. Sure, keep trying to improve, but don’t think you’ll ever be the “perfect person”. If you look at it in a different way, that imperfection is what makes you who you are, you already are perfect.
  • Don’t knock others down. Sometimes we try to criticize others just to make ourselves look or feel better. Taking someone else down for your benefit is destructive. It forms an enemy when you could be forming a friend. In the end, that hurts you as well. Instead, try to support others in their success — that will lead to more success on your part.
  • Focus on the journey. Don’t focus on how you rank in comparison to others — life is not a competition. It’s a journey. We are all on a journey, to find something, to become something, to learn, to create. That journey has nothing to do with how well other people are doing, or what they have. It has everything to do with what we want to do, and where we want to go. That’s all you need to worry about.
  • Learn to love enough. If you always want what others have, you will never have enough. You will always want more. That’s an endless cycle, and it will never lead to happiness. No matter how many clothes you buy, no matter how many houses you own (seven, in the case of one famous candidate), no matter how many fancy cars you acquire … you’ll never have enough. Instead, learn to realize that what you have is already enough. If you have shelter over your head, food on the table, clothes on your back, and people who love you, you are blessed. You have enough. Anything you have over and above that — and let’s admit that all of us reading this blog have more than that — is more than enough. Be good with that, and you’ll find contentment.”

Mayweather vs McGregor predictions and themes

Before the big fight this past Saturday, August 26, 2017, of Mayweather vs McGregor I was struggling to make a prediction. If you were following sports talk and news, you would have known that the Mayweather vs McGregor predictions were all over the place. Some experts were saying Mayweather would knock out McGregor in the first round, while others were predicting the exact opposite. I boiled the fight down to three major themes, which helped me make my prediction.

1) The father-time theme. Mayweather was coming out of a two year retirement for that boxing match and he’s 40 years old. As we all know, father-time is undefeated. Eventually, the best of the best will fall to age. The question was, would this be the fight were Mayweather’s age became a huge factor?

2) The underdog theme. McGregor was a major underdog. It was his first professional boxing match, and it would be Mayweather’s 50th professional boxing match. Not to mention, Mayweather is considered to be one of the best to ever box. We all know the story of the underdog fighting against all odds to defeat the giant. Could McGregor be motivated to a level high enough to beat the champ?

3) Skill is what counts in sports. That’s the third theme. Would the other two themes be irrelevant, because the skill gap would be too great. Mayweather has far more experience in boxing than McGregor (a professional MMA fighter). Would this be like Kobe Bryant stepping on the court (he’s currently retired) with the best college player, for a 1-on-1 basketball game? Regardless, of how great this college player is, no one would doubt that a retired Kobe Bryant would still be able to defeat him very easily.

The night before the fight, I decided that the skill gap was too great to ignore, and that the third theme would outweigh the other two themes. Mayweather looked pretty good in his last fight two years ago and he looked in very good shape for this fight. That convinced me that the father-time theme would not play a major role in this fight. Of course, eventually it will because father-time is undefeated.

I also decided that McGregor being an underdog wasn’t going to be enough to overcome Mayweather’s skill and boxing talents. Belief can only take you so far. It would not be enough to cover up his rookie mistakes. I decided that the underdog theme wins and is vitally important when skill levels are equally matched, or very similar. That wasn’t the case for this boxing match.

In the end, I correctly made my Mayweather vs McGregor predictions. Mayweather won the fight by knockout, and made it look relatively easy. It felt cool, because I actually thought about it as opposed to making a prediction based off of emotion or who I liked.

For the next big sporting event, I plan to lay out the themes and choose based off of which I feel will play a larger role. Hopefully I’m correct again!