Visual Notes: The Secret to True Happiness

Seneca and Will Durant writing about the secret to happiness.

Two interesting characters from different periods of human history and situations.

Seneca says,

True happiness is to rest satisfied with what we have.

While on the other hand,

Gladly I surrender myself to love and parentage!

says Will Durant.

I was inspired to make a visual note for my own reference. It was taken from the wonderful book ‘Light from Many Lamps‘. I’m sharing the same with you.

From Seneca:

From Will Durant:

May you all be bless with true joy and happiness!

Reflection: The Art of Talking to The Self

“Of course, I talk to myself.
Sometimes I need expert advice.”
— Unknown

I read the quote above somewhere and it stuck to me. Clearly one of the best people to take advice from is ourselves – which we often avoid.

Most of you by now must have known I extensively use ‘Freewriting‘ as a medium to ideate, think and even find it therapeutic. With the quote above, I was wondering whether I was simply documenting my inner monologue or even a dialogue on paper or a word document.

I read about an interesting idea proposed by Tal Ben-Shahar called ‘110-year old you’ exercise. Tal suggests imagining ourselves meet our future 110-year old self and talk to them. People reported remarkable improvements – like cancer patients radically changing their lives. Tal notes that it is not that people got more information, but they tapped into their inner wisdom during this imaginary conversation.

Nobody can deny that we constantly talk to ourselves. That’s how we think. We have our inner dialogues and conversations. If we are what we think, then thoughts are but words in our head.

Wisdom is already within us. We just have to listen. Here are few tips to help you have such a meaningful self-dialogue.

  • Prayer: I have come to believe that the ancient art of prayer is a form of an internal dialogue or self conversation. It is like talking to a close friend – loving and caring – He could be friend or a philosopher, a guide or a guru, or even a therapist. In ‘Prayer’ we call Him, God. His personality is so flexible, anyone can make him to be any one they want and as personal they want him to be. He is simply there – authentic, pure and all accepting. Psychologically I believe it a wonderful exercise.
  • Freewriting: The concept of writing as thinking on paper and a conversation with oneself is something that I could recommend to anyone on any day. It can be meditative and could even prove to be a brainstorming tool.
  • Questioning: I learnt this from Mark Forster. He even wrote an entire book using this technique. Mark recommends a Q&A conversation between our present self and our future self. I was using this technique very sparingly,

I have learnt few other techniques to facilitate self-conversation. Though personally I am yet to get a hang of it, I felt it was worth recommending.

  • Walking Meditation: It has become legendary of Steve Jobs taking his long walking strolls across his neighbourhood. Steve later mentions, in one of his later interviews, that his long walks in the evening helped in consolidate and clarify a lot of concepts and ideas.
  • Think Room: I read about this CEO of a large corporation who shuts himself from everything, every week for an hour – simply to spend time thinking. Bill Gates’ famous ‘Think Week’ is a testimonial to find your own sanctuary of thinking. Though I am yet to find such a luxurious position, but I hope to experiment it soon. 

I always believed that guru is not someone who throws us advices and sagely aphorisms. But guru is someone who helps you find it (the wisdom) within you.

I hope you’ll find your wisdom within you!

Request: If you find any of those ideas useful and took time to experiment with it (which I really hope you do), I kindly request you to share it with us, by leaving a comment below.

Great Posts from Mark Forster-Round 1

I like his genius, his simplicity and direct message. I’ve made an effort to read and cull-out as much of lessons from Mark Forster post – hopefully to apply in my life.

Here is my first round of posts by Mark Forster that I think are great.

Sustainable Productivity: Analogy from Energy Sector

If you’ve been reading my blog, you must now understood that I’m obsessed, or may be simply curious, about the idea of productivity.

I’m inventing a concept here: Sustainable productivity – not in it’s generic definition, but particularly in the field of personal management.

It is something in my mind and that is keeping coming often.

What do I mean by that?

I was listening to the video by Tony Schwartz. He says how the best energy is the renewable energy. That said, I’m going to extend this analogy to the Energy sector. That sustainability is the notion to not be dependent on ‘fossil fuels’.

I believe that the current productivity techniques are like fossil energy – conventional but easily draining. I’m more comfortable as Tony suggests to use renewal source of energy. Or use renewing as a good use of our energy. So take breaks and renew. Unfocus to focus. That said, what is sustainable productivity. It should not burn you – it shouldn’t be un-sustainable – meaning it should have resilience, it should not be given up by a week. It should be an anti-thesis to the statement that says ‘Any productivity system works well. For a week.’ It should have less maintenance. It should aid consistent practice.

So here are my ideas of what a Sustainable Productivity should not be and should be!

It should not be like a conventional energy system.

  • It is dirty. Ugly.
  • It pollutes the environment
  • It is not infinite. That is the coal or anything else is finite and scarce resources. It’ll soon dry up
  • It involves centralised planning. Only government can do it. Naturally it is expensive and costly (building a thermal power plant or hydro power plant)
  • It cannot be decentralised.

Sustainable Energy source is better. Why?

  • it is cheap to set up. Requires minimum space, time and money
  • Even a small normal person can set it up – without grandiose investment – like solar energy, gobar gas set up
  • it is renewable. Meaning it can be dependent on energy which is infinite or recyclable – like sun, wind, gobar
  • It is not chemical, but biological.
  • it is 100% harmless for the environment. Unlike the petrol, coal-based systems – extraction, refining, transportation and usage – causes pollution. But this one nothing. May be except having the ‘lithium-ion batteries’
  • Though it is not ‘powerful’ as it the conventional source of energy, it has consistency. Difference between ‘power’ and ‘energy’.
  • Low maintenance cost. There is literally zero operational cost in ‘producing’ energy out of this systems, except the initial investment cost. Once set up, it simply produces energy free of cost, work.

If you know a method that is ‘sustainable’, do share.

How Millionaire’s Schedule their Day: 1-Page Planner from Brendon Burchard

I recently learnt about this amazing 1-page Planner from Brendon Burchard.

An internet celebrity, youtube coach, Brendon, as part of his mission for facilitating ‘High Performance’ also talks about productivity. You can download the 1-page template here.

I tried it out. Here are the results.

  1. The Daily List (Priorities) ensures focus
  2. Categorizing work under ‘3 Projects‘ applies the divide and conquer rule very efficiently. [The other productivity guru, who recommends such categorization is Peter Bregman in his 6 boxes to-do list].
  3. Separating calls/ emails under an exclusive task box (People) to reach out to and waiting from ensures great way of tracking. This works especially when one is on ‘Manager’s Schedule’. One it doesn’t get mixed with ‘tasks’.
  4. Writing one’s big goals under Projects facilitates goal-based/ outcome-based thinking

However, there are few drawbacks.

  1. I still need a master list (uncategorized) to capture not only tasks, but also ideas, random stuff that I may want to think later
  2. I need a separate list for Habits/ Routines – I prefer avoiding in my ‘priorities’ list
  3. Re-writing my 3 Projects and its Goals every day seems useless and it leaves too little space for me to work around on an ‘1-page planner.
  4. It seems to focus too much on a ‘Manager’s Schedule’ than on ‘Maker’s Schedule’

Before you take my word for it. Try it out. You may get a couple of inspiring ideas to model your 1-page planner.