The bicycle mechanic who owned the store called me with a smile and asked me about the issue. The gears didn’t change without a hitch, and I said that to him.
He took some time to do the repair work, took a road test and handed me the keys.
During that period, I noticed how cool, relaxed and confident he was. The kind of self-assurance – where did that come from?
Now, I’m going to leave you with one simple logic using two situations. And then give you a bottom line based on that. Then you can tell me whether my logic is accurate or not. And finally, I’ll tell you what you can do to build trust. works?
Now, the first scenario is when the same mechanic visits a hospital and meets a doctor for a medical check-up.
Is the mechanic going to show the same level of confidence that he showed in his garage? Or will he face a man more relaxed and confident than he is – the doctor – at the clinic?
The mechanic is not going to show his confidence when he’s in front of a doctor. If he does, he’ll sound silly and arrogant.
Let’s imagine the second scene – the same doctor visits the same mechanic’s shop to get his bike repaired.
Who do you think will be more confident in this situation?
Of course, the mechanic.
Perhaps he is more modest because the doctor who treated him is now his client. Nevertheless, his level of confidence is superior to that of the doctor.
The doctor can walk like a king in his clinic, but when he is in the mechanic’s shop, he needs to be quiet, listening and watching. Just like the mechanic at the clinic.
You understand the point I’m trying to make?
Both scenarios tell you a couple of things:
You should not attempt to express your confidence when you are in an unknown location or a strange situation.
If you want to build your confidence, you’ll need to build your forte.
Self-confidence is not something you develop by posing to be confident. Or by using auto-suggestions. It develops by knowing who you are and where you fit into the world.
You’ll have to learn a skill and practice it so well that you’ll be the best in the world. (`Best in the world’ is a debatable topic. But you can be as good as possible for you.)
If you do that, self-confidence will follow you like your shadow. Because you’ve built your world around your skill.
But even in your world, you could go over the edge with your self-confidence. A mechanic with too much confidence can wreck a vehicle. And an overly confident doctor might kill a patient.
Is there some other way we can focus on strengthing self-confidence?
Well, there is one.
And that is CONSCIOUSNESS.
Consciousness is about being aware of oneself and its environment at the same time.
If you practice being aware all the time, you may be able to do well both in your world and in other people’s world.
As you develop that consciousness, you will naturally react to any situation. You won’t make mistakes. (Or a little bit.)
You have experienced this in many places, especially in offices.
Your manager or boss talks about big ideas and uses words that are full of hot air. And in every meeting, he (or she) speaks the same thing. Again and again.
Or sometimes, he suddenly gets angry, or is always reserved, or acts as if he is hiding something.
If you observe closely, behind this brimming ego, what you’ll see is a lack of knowledge or skills.
But, he fears admitting that he doesn’t know something.
To admit that you don’t know something is a big relief. It makes you humane and creates empathy among your co-workers, friends, and family.
But it’s not true that only certain people do this all the time. You and I have done this at least a few times in our lifetime.
I remember something I did when I was in high school.
One day, I was walking from the classroom towards our dormitory. One of my classmates was passing by, and she stopped me. She wanted to ask me the meaning of a Kannada term from the subject she was studying. I told her the meaning without a second thought.
During that time, my classmates thought I was very good at the Kannada language. And to some extent, I was good too. I used to read a lot and practiced creative writing most of the time.
That was exam time, and I still remember her reaction when I answered her question. (Oh God, he knows everything.)
But I was not sure. I went back and checked the dictionary. I was wrong. (No, I didn’t go back and admit it with her.)
But I felt ashamed at what I did.
I had to change how I dealt with such things. You can’t keep the reputation by doing such dumb things, you see.
And not exactly from that day, but over the years, I developed my mindset to admit when I didn’t know something.
But admitting that you don’t know something doesn’t solve the problem.
By accepting you don’t know something, you may appear truthful for the time being. But such repeated admissions create a bad impression about you in the long run. Also, you’re not helping either yourself or the person asking the question.
So, whenever such situations arise, I use a different approach. I answer the question by saying: “I think <THIS> is the answer. But, let’s Google it to make sure”.
This stops me from growing my ego, or even meekly accepting my lack of knowledge.
And when you’re working in a particular field, you cannot escape by saying you don’t know. You will have to try to understand it and be able to answer as quickly as possible. The best is to do it immediately.
If you neglect that, your colleagues or subordinates won’t respect you.
But an even more dangerous situation is when you maintain you know everything. With that, you begin to create an inner fear. And subconsciously you try to cover it up by keeping yourself reserved. It makes you angry often or you begin to talk bigger nonsense.
So, if you don’t work to learn your trade well, you tend to grow an unnecessary ego.
Again, learning is not about reading something and thinking you know everything.
For example, imagine that your team is implementing a new SaaS product. Reading the product instructions or watching a YouTube demo is not going to be enough.
You’ll have to have hands-on experience with the product. Because that’s how you’ll know the actual challenges your team is going to face. Otherwise, you’ll be clueless when your team talks about it in meetings.
If you do that extra work, you’ll be able to answer them well, and you’ll be a good leader.
Remember, if you don’t grow your skills continuously, you tend to grow your ego.
Improving or increasing concentration is not a one-time problem. It’s a problem that you face every moment of your waking life.
So, a one-off solution is not going to help. You need a solution that not just solves the problem in different situations, but also creates an impactful, long-term and life-changing effect.
Here is a solution that is going to help you build a laser-like focus. So, let’s get started.
Why I’m not able to concentrate
It’s the most common problem people face. Some consciously think that they need to improve their concentration. But, for most people, they don’t even know there’s a lack of concentration that’s hurting their life.
They feel they don’t have enough energy and carry a sad face.
They don’t know the root of the problem and they fight in the dark.
There’s always an unconscious struggle within.
Lack of concentration is a problem that needs an immediate solution for everyone.
Students have many subjects to study, but their mind is craving to go out and play. Professionals have a lot of pending work, but they cannot put their mind into the work.
You see here, their initial problem is not even concentrating. The real problem is getting the work started.
During my college days, whenever there was an exam, a friend of mine would do something strange. Whenever we decided to sit and begin to study, he would open his suitcase and start cleaning it up. And it would take an hour. That was his first ritual before starting to prepare for an exam.
And when I thought about it, I realized I also did something like that. Whenever I have something to write, I get tea, watch some YouTube or do some research on the web. And convince myself that these are all preparations for my writing.
But, they’re not. These are delay tactics employed by my mind. Are you not doing these kinds of rituals that only delay your actual task?
If you’re doing that often, consider these two things:
First, there’s a lot of unconscious actions happening within your mind. And these random actions are preventing you from focusing your mind on one action.
The second one is, your mind DOES NOT want you to find focus. (Why so? I will explain in a while.)
This leads us to a crucial question…
What is the mind?
This question is crucial. Because if you understand what the mind is, then you’ll know the root of the problem.
First of all, understand that your mind is not you. You’re a different entity using the mind. The mind is an instrument that you use, and you are not the instrument itself.
Next, the mind is not the brain. (Yes, some people don’t know the difference.) It’s not a physical entity but an entity that you call yours.
So what is the mind? The mind is simply a flux of random thoughts.
That’s why Yogis say the mind doesn’t exist. Because when there are no thoughts, there’s no mind.
If you ask how do you exist without the mind, a simple answer is you’re beyond your mind. When there’s no mind, when there’s no thought, your pure consciousness is operating. But that’s an ideal situation. That’s a different journey.
Let’s get back to solving the immediate problem.
Scientists say you and I think about 60,000 to 80,000 thoughts per day. That’s about 50 thoughts per minute. And about 1 thought per second?
I don’t think it’s that simple.
The mind is a flux, and every second wave of thoughts are moving in different layers of the mind. Some you recognize and some pass without you noticing them. You catch some of them and spend time with those thoughts — and call them YOUR thoughts.
They were not your thoughts. They were some passing random thoughts. From the moment you own the thoughts, they begin to influence your actions – both physical and mental.
Now the next question is, how can you catch only some thoughts and not all of them? Is there a pattern to these thoughts that you catch?
If you observe carefully, you don’t catch any random thought. You catch only a type of or a pattern of thoughts.
If you have a habit of thinking sad thoughts, you catch sad thoughts easily. If you’re a happiness seeker, you identify only the positive aspects of every situation.
And the thoughts that you catch depend on your personality type. The personality type you’ve developed over the years of your life.
Because you have enjoyed thinking about them, now it has become a habit for you to think only those patterns of thoughts (Some people easily catch fearful, depressing, jealous (collectively called negative thoughts…).
Power of thoughts
Until now we discussed what is mind, what are thoughts and how individuals have their own pattern of thoughts.
Now, let’s see the power of thoughts and how they influence the world.
Basically, thoughts themselves are not powerful. Thoughts that pass through your mind are very random and contradicting in nature. (If you just observe them, they pass like waves, and behind them come more thoughts.)
Let’s see how these thoughts are random in nature. Let’s say, you think that you want a new car. If you have that one strong and pure thought, many doors open for you. You’ll find a way to get that car.
But, as soon as you think of owning a car, there’s an opposite thought that you don’t have enough money to buy that car. Or that you don’t need that car for now. Even while you’re thinking all this, some more random thoughts are passing aimlessly through your mind.
Because of this kind of multiple and directionless thoughts, you’re not able to create powerful intentions.
When there are no powerful thoughts and intentions, you cannot create new things. No miracles happen in your life.
Also, because this random thinking has become a habit, you’ve lost the ability to focus.
Now, if you really want to develop the power of concentration, you’ll have to create a new habit of thinking.
And that begins by making efforts to understand, analyse your current thought pattern. And then choosing what you want to think.
But there’s a nature of the mind that you can use to develop new thought patterns.
And that nature is – you can bend it by choosing to think new thoughts.
And thinking those thoughts more often to make them habitual.
So, when you choose a new thought habit and work on it consciously for a few days, your mind will soon adjust itself to the new pattern. Soon, without your conscious effort, your mind will start catching the new pattern of thoughts.
For example, you want to become a singer. But, there are opposing thoughts that you don’t have that talent.
Now, you decide to create a thought pattern of you becoming a singer. (Try it as an experiment, without stressing yourself.)
Keep that desire for a few days. Imagine yourself singing. If you do that sincerely, your mind will prompt you to spend more time singing and listening to good music.
Wherever you go you will see hoardings of music concerts on the road, music stores on the street and you will begin to notice music-related news in the newspaper and magazines. (Those hoardings, music stores and news stories were always there. But because you started a new thought pattern, they’re becoming clearly visible to you.)
Now, if you compare it with your life a few days back, you’ll find that a new life blossoming around you. And it all started with a single act of working on your thoughts.
Observe what is happening with your life from now on.
People interested in music begin to appear in your life. You will soon become a part of a community that loves music. And these people become a strength for you and your music career.
See how powerful your thoughts are?
You didn’t consciously think of a community that loves music or visualised people coming into your life. You focused on music and those thoughts created a world around you.
(This is how the Law of Attraction works. But, you don’t need to directly work with the law of attraction and force things to happen.)
I can give you more examples of how your thoughts if focused properly, can impact your life. But for now, just understand that your thoughts have the power to change the world around you.
But if you focus on changing the world, you have deviated from your purpose. Don’t worry about the results. Now, let’s move on to…
How to create thought patterns
There is one secret you need to know at this point – you don’t need to CLEAR old thought patterns to create new ones.
In the case of a blackboard, you need to rub off what is already written on it before writing something new. But with the mind, you can directly start writing new ones. The old ones will fade away automatically.
To create a new pattern, the first step is to calm your mind. There are many ways to calm the mind, like meditation, intense work and practising systematic breathing.
Once you feel you have a calm mind, start thinking new thoughts. As discussed in the previous example, start thinking about your music career.
Remember, don’t begin by thinking that you are a great musician. The Law of Attraction teachers teach this method. But it is a difficult path. It’s overwhelming and you will soon feel tired. When you’re creating a new thought pattern, start slow.
If you are trying to create a pattern of being a sportsperson, begin by watching the sport that you are interested in. Focus on one kind of game. If you want to be a footballer, for the time being, don’t watch other games like badminton or volleyball.
Start reading about the game and people who have achieved great heights in that game. That way, you’re strengthening your new thought pattern.
If you continue to do this, soon your mind will create more avenues and opportunities for you to go in this field. You become more knowledgeable than other people in the field.
And after some time, you don’t need to consciously force yourself into this thought pattern. The mind has become habituated, and it will take you further. As time passes by, you will become an unstoppable force that’s moving towards creating wonders.
Note: There is one thing I want to clarify at this juncture. When I started telling you about focusing on your interest, I didn’t tell you to – go to a secluded place or to NOT watch TV or to NOT meet negative people.
I didn’t tell you about things you should NOT do.
You know why?
Most people do it the wrong way.
Whenever people want to build focus first start by fighting with their current thought patterns. They force themselves to STOP watching TV or to STOP having junk food.
Remember what I said about the blank board?
Don’t try to erase the old writing. Don’t try to remove the old thought patterns.
Because when you try to remove old patterns, you’re actually concentrating on them. And giving them more energy with your focus. And the more energy you give them, the more it becomes difficult to erase them.
Don’t worry about the current pattern. If you are obsessed with TV, Netflix or junk food, let them be there. Just focus on what you want now. Soon you will see that your old obsessions will begin to subside.
Remember, your mind does not recognise your words. It recognises your focus.
So don’t struggle with the Don’ts.
So, how long do you need to focus on new thoughts to make them permanent?
It takes 21 days to create a new pattern.
For a lot of people, focusing for 21 days is a struggle. But see it’s a challenge for your commitment. If something is going to change your whole life, are you not willing to commit for the next 21 days?
If you fail in the beginning, start again from the first day. This way, you’re concentrating more and giving more power to yourself. And your power of commitment becomes stronger.
And the more committed you are, the more respected you will become in society. Remember how society respects committed people?
Have you not observed this? People who are illiterate, poor and those who cannot speak a sentence properly become popular leaders. How? Commitment Boss.
So 21 days.
And this is the problem with the majority of people. They lack commitment. And if you want to grow above the mass, you’ll have to commit to your self-development.
Did I inspire you enough? Now, let’s move onto the next part.
How creating a new thought pattern builds you a personality
Your personality is what you think, what you do and what you care for. This is what the world sees in you.
As long as you are entertaining hundreds of thoughts, you are clueless about what to do. You don’t know what to respect, what values to stand for. You are just a confused personality. That means you have nothing to offer to the world but more confusion.
Some people may love you and others hate you, but if you have clear thoughts and goals, the world looks at you with awe and respect.
Continuously breathing proper, uniform and intense thoughts give uniqueness to your personality.
The thought pattern you cultivate crystalizes your personality traits. And they directly influence your actions.
Some people have a crystalized negative personality. If you observe them, they always find negative sides of people, events and always complain. For them, even if great things are happening in their life, they can’t recognize them. Because they have tuned themselves to negativity.
If you have a positive personality, even on the darkest night you will be able to see some light. That’s because you have trained your mind to see only the light.
When you are that kind of person, people who are seeking the light desperately start coming to you. Because you are their hope.
Now let’s go to our primary question.
How to improve concentration?
With everything you have read above, you have understood the following:
Concentration is not focusing on things that distract you
Concentration is not forcing yourself into something that is an interesting
Building concentration is about transforming your complete thought patterns. It’s about creating a personality for whom focusing is a natural inclination.
Now, I have a question for you – what type of methods did you practice to develop concentration? And how did it work for you?
For years, I continuously studied psychology and spiritual methods to discover how anyone can be successful in life.
And I made a discovery for myself.
After all these years of study and practice, now I decided that I should start writing and share my knowledge. With that purpose in mind, I have created two websites – I have my personal blog here and another digital magazine.
Here, I will begin by writing about creativity. Because creativity is a basic necessity to your and my life. You can live without doing yoga or meditation, but if you don’t start creating, then the energy within you guides you to the grave.
Understand that there’s ONE energy-form within you. Or to put it better, YOU ARE ONE ENERGY.
This energy works in multiple ways in your body and mind, but there’s ONE energy. If you use it creatively, it takes you forward in your life, but if you don’t use it consciously, the autopilot system takes the charge.
When autopilot takes the charge, it takes you backwards.
That means you will automatically start living in your past, creating nothing, and regretting.
Now it’s in your hand either to focus your energy on your present and future or fall back into the past. Because to make the energy to move in the right direction takes a conscious effort from your side.
That’s something you’ll have to do if you really crave a successful life. This is where your CREATIVITY comes in.
Creativity is not just drawing or writing some fiction. It’s an art of giving life to everything you do. And when you become capable of doing that, the world will begin to see you in a special light, with your true capability shining.
Most people think creativity is not for them. Because initially, it’s hard work.
But if you cannot take up this challenge, you’ll miss the fruits of abundance too.
But if you really care about success in your life, you’ll have to understand what creativity is and start becoming creative. Because it’s the most important thing in your life. Because life is about creativity.
And you cannot truly live without being creative.
When you start using your creativity, there’ll be a remarkable transformation happening in you:
You’ll go deeper into your own being, the depth where you’ll find the causeless joy – the bliss of being you.
When this bliss starts oozing from within you’ll become absolutely free – free of craving for attention and things from life.
And when this craving stops, you’ll soon find all things you want are flowing into your life.
When you start being creative, everything you do will turn into gold. Because you have that power within you. Only, you’ll have to put it in the right direction.
That’s what I have realized, after years and years of study and applying.
And there are many more benefits. Look at the most successful people around, and you’ll see how creativity played a crucial part in their success.
From today, I will be writing to you about the most powerful energy within you and how to use it to take you to great heights.
For now, you’ll have to do one thing, subscribe to this blog. I will make sure every email I send to you is valuable for you.
And you can always ask questions in the comment box.
Recently, a friend was showing me an email he received for some clarification, and I saw that his inbox had 897 unread emails.
“Clear it up, you don’t know what you’re missing”, I said.
Because the best knowledge of every day for me is coming from emails.
I read at least 5 emails a day, and these emails are from experts from different fields. Not the inspirational theoretic ones, not from what’s-right-what’s-wrong intellectual propagandists.
They’re coming from people who are making dents in the universe, in their own ways. Some of them are highly accomplished entrepreneurs, successful writers and people who are highly creative. I can simply say, from masters.
For now, I will not say who is sending me these. It’s for two reasons.
You may not be interested in them, or may not be prepared enough to read from them.
It took me a considerable time before I opted-in to receive emails from these people. I had to decide if what drops into my email box was worth my time and temperament.
So, what I’m trying to tell is, I want you to select your own teachers.
Because they’re so valuable, maybe you’re not ready. But if you want to be ready to receive this knowledge, and make a positive impact on your life, there’s one thing you need to do immediately.
“Clean up your email inbox.”
Not tomorrow, not after some time, but immediately after you complete reading this.
Of course, there will be people who don’t even take this simple step, because it feels very simplistic for them. These kinds of people always look for miracles to happen in their life but miss the fact a minute touch is enough for an avalanche to take place.
Remember, even miracles have a clear cut way of blooming. Happening is rapid, but they begin with a negligible trigger.
Now, I’ll tell you how to clean up your email inbox. The way I have customized it for myself.
Over a period of time, you might have signed up for many services. They’re regularly sending emails, but you’re not opening them because they’re not important to you. Select all those unessential ones and push them to spam. This unsubscribes your email from all these services, and you’ll no longer receive another mail from them. This clears about 70% of junk from the inbox.
For the essential ones, create labels and archive them. This includes the e-commerce and banking emails, which are important because you’re continuing with their services. Be careful not to push them to spam. (Even if you have pushed them to spam, you can always mark them as not-spam and bring them back into your inbox.)
From now on, don’t sign up for any services, unless you need them absolutely.
Once you’ve done this, take the next step – the one where you sign up to learn.
Thousands of experts are using blogging as a medium to teach their skills. You can learn subjects from internet marketing to roof gardening, and from painting to bodybuilding. Not some theoretic education, but from people who are doing it first hand and making it big. So, choose the topic of your interest and then:
Google and find the blogs/websites that match your interest.
Sign up as a subscriber and whitelist their emails.
Two important points to remember here:
Compared to other social media, email is considered as the best communication tool. It’s more personal. When someone sends you an email, it’s not some random social media update, but a message from an expert. On social media, you get to see every Dick and Harry spitting their opinion. On email, you choose who you want to read.
Secondly, when you read an expert, you impress your subconscious mind to start thinking like an expert. This is the best part.
So, clean up your email today, and start searching for experts.
In the next article, let’s discuss the next part: the INFO DIET. With that, we’re going from mail to mind.
The way you cleaned your email inbox, you’re going to make your mind more efficient than it’s currently.
Everyday I hear people talking about their interest in learning a new language. Some people want to learn the language of a region they are currently living in, while some want to learn to make use of their spare time.
So, I have put together seven mistakes people can make when they take up this new interest. Here are they:
Starting with the grammar
A new language is like a wild territory you are trying to enter into. You don’t know what you might have to face in there.
A lot of people try to approach it with the hardest route – the grammar.
Because they have learned it that way, from schools.
After learning a few other languages, I have understood that going with the grammar is hard path. It doesn’t make you emotional about a language. It doesn’t create any sound or dream in you.
At a very young age, I started reading Kannada folk tales. And folk tales from all over the world, translated into Kannada.
By the time my teacher started to teach Kannada grammar, I already knew a lot of those concepts. Though I couldn’t name them, I could easily find grammatical mistakes in sentences.
Even now I cannot tell what kind of a grammatical error it is. I cannot name it from the grammar book, but I can tell where the mistake is and can correct it.
I didn’t study grammar, but grammar grew internally from reading a lot of literature. So, for whoever wants to learn a new language, I’ll tell this – don’t start with the grammar.
Because it is dry. Grammar means you are still outside the border. You didn’t enter into a language. Instead, approach it with love and passion.
2. Learning multiple languages at a time
Again this is a mistake from schools.
Even before a child learns reading and writing in her mother tongue, the school has already put two more languages into her syllabus – the second and the third language. Soon, she ends up hating all three.
Remember, every language has its own long history. Each one has its own civilization hidden within it – every word is uttered millions times, polished through ages.
So, learning a new language is literally entering into a different civilization. You need to approach the language with that reverence.
For that, you must approach one language at a time.
Every language has its own tone – the way people twist their tongue while speaking it. To grasp it, you’ll have to listen to it a lot.
For the next six months or one year, decide that you’ll not read or listen to other languages, other than the one you are planning to learn.
If you are learning French, only watch French TV shows and movies. Try to move to a place where French people are residing. Listen to them interacting. Just listen to their tone, their use of words. Don’t try to understand it, but listen to their tone.
Let this language go into your heart. But, if you become greedy and try to learn multiple languages, or if you cannot abandon TV shows from other languages, forget it. You’re not gonna go far, kid.
3. Going the book or the traditional way
People try to learn a new language from reading books. It helps. But, some people directly take up classics, which is a huge mistake. You’re not prepared to read Camus or Kierkegaard. Instead, start with Charles Perrault, his children’s stories.
Now you have more avenues – multimedia and internet. Use video streaming apps to watch movies and shows from that language. (I don’t recommend using language learning apps at this stage.)
If you are travelling a lot, podcasts can be your company.
4. No commitment
Most of our dreams are airy. There’s no strength of commitment and desire to turn them into a reality.
It’s because for most people, singling out their most important goal and achieve it is difficult. Singling out means you’ll have to drop many things – your habits, everyday inclinations, and fears. You need a great will power to do that.
Your WILL POWER is so powerful, it can seal all your energy leakings and set you in one direction. The more inclinations you have, the stronger the WILL POWER you need. The stronger you WILL, the stronger your commitment gets.
Using will power is easy for short term goals.
For example, if you say I’ll not watch movies anymore, it’s a difficult decision. Just say, for the next three months, I’ll not watch movies. Or until I learn this language, I will not watch any movie. See the change happening in you.
Commitment is planning and executing something with complete sincerity. If you can do that, you’ll know how much you’ve learnt in a few months.
Commit and plan a short-term goal; it becomes easy.
5. No Planning
I used to dream a lot. But, didn’t know the planning part.
Planning means – to create something, you’ll have to chalk out each step, and assign it with a timeframe.
Once I started planning my goals, they became a lot more easy and concrete.
So, to learn a new language, you’ll have to commit to a plan.
Try this: For the next 3 months, you commit yourself to learn a new language. And for those 90 days, spend at least one hour on learning. Make it the same time everyday, like from 7-8 in the morning or evening.
6. No passion
Some people say passion HAPPENS. But, if you wait for it to happen, it may not happen at all. Passion needs to be developed, and it can be developed.
Passion is a state of mind. Try this example to make it clear: One day you watched the sunrise and you liked it. The next day may not be so joyful. But, if you start imagining, experiencing the first day’s phenomenon in your mind, soon you’ll become emotional about it. Begin to feel the sunrise often, and soon it becomes your passion.
Similarly, in learning a language, you’ll have to emotionally connect with it. Think about its history, dream about its civilization.
And, every word from that language, when you hear or read – it should mesmerize you. Then you begin to adore the language. If you can create that adoration in your heart, learning is magically easy.
7. Doing it alone
Some days back, I was talking to a colleague. Her school-going son is studying Kannada, as a second language. Though his marks are comparatively low, he’s committed. He’s not ready to change the language. At the same time, she’s also interested in learning Kannada. Living in Bangalore, she knows it helps her.
Why don’t you make your son your learning partner, I asked her. Sit together for an hour a day, and learn it. Read together, try to talk to each other in Kannada and correct each other. Challenge each other to learn 10 new words each day.
That’s how you learn faster.
Some people like doing it alone. But with a partner, there’s accountability. And motivation to keep going.
Alright, we’ve read seven mistakes to avoid when learning a new language.
These are not just seven mistakes, these are seven steps you can use in learning a new language. Here, are they:
Forget grammar, begin with easy step
One thing at a time, one language at a time
Get into real-life situations, you’ll learn faster
Commit to something, it’ll strengthen your mind
Begin with short term plan to see concrete results
Be passionate, put your heart to grow faster
Go in groups, to sail easy and fast
These seven steps help you in achieving any of your goals, not just in learning a new language.
“I am a Software Engineer. My job is not interesting. So I am thinking to quit my job to learn music. Please guide me”, one of my readers wrote to me.
Jumping from one field into another is a big decision.
You cannot take such decisions simply based on your emotions or desires. Changing into another field is not as simple as taking another job. It involves a radical change happening in your personality, identity and your life.
If you are also in such a dilemma, consider the following points before taking the leap. You will know why it is crucial to take a smooth transition instead of taking a sudden jump.
1. Downgrade from expert to student
As a software engineer, you are already an expert in a field. When you leave it to pursue another career, you are downgrading yourself – From being an expert to a student.
This affects your psychology in many ways. For some, money may not be a major factor. But, when entering into another field, where you are a beginner. You will have to work hard towards keeping your confidence level high.
Remember, you will not recognize the psychological downgrade happening within you immediately. But, handling that while focusing on learning is strenuous. So, it is better to transition from your day job to your interest in a smooth way.
2. Can you give 8 hours to music a day?
Secondly, as an engineer, you are working for about 8 hours a day. When you quit the job, you cannot put all those 8 hours in learning music. Because it is relatively a new field, you cannot focus for long. Even if you practice music for 4 hours, the other 4 hours will be spent on less productive works. This drains your focus and eagerness.
It takes time to tune yourself up to this new journey. Your body, mind, and your routines need to be tuned.
What to do instead:
Apart from the 8 hours you give to your job, you have another 16 hours. Isn’t it?
So, instead of sacrificing your 8-hour job, try doing this – Sacrifice an hour or two of your sleep, an hour of TV and an hour of social media. Now, you have 4 hours a day to practice your music.
Then slowly increase the time.
3. Dealing with the changed self-image
There is another thing you should keep in mind. That is your idea of yourself – your self-identity. Now you identify yourself as an engineer. As a software engineer, you have a self-image – the way you present yourself, communicate with others and also the people you meet and admire.
When you change your field of interest, you might undergo a radical shift in your self-image. Now you will stop reading the tech news, meeting or following those tech personalities. You will begin to read about musicians, meeting people with similar interests.
So far you were identifying yourself as a software engineer. And changing that identity does not happen immediately. It takes time to engrave the new identity in your mind.
That is why you need to transition smoothly.
4. Are you serious?
People are crazy. One day they dream of becoming movie actors. The next day, they dream about going back to the village and becoming agriculturists.
The problem with people is not the lack of energy. It is the lack of focus. It takes at least 6 months to know if you are serious.
So, when you go for a smooth transition, within 6 months, you will know how serious you are. If you are doing it because ‘others are learning music’, you will see soon your interest evaporating day by day.
5. Creativity and hard work
As a software engineer, mostly you are doing the same thing every day. But with music, after a level, you will start experiencing creative juices flowing from within. And the joy pushes you to go deeper/higher. It is a hard journey. Are you ready for it?
So, what is a smooth transition?
Think of an hourglass. The sand starts slowly moving from the top part into the bottom one. This is how you should change your career.
Now, you are interested in learning music. Instead of leaving your job, make the best use of your free time to learn music. Also, develop your interest, reverence towards the art. Can you devote yourself to this completely? Like there is nothing else in your life? Even devotion takes practice. So, practice it.
Start practising music. Read about music and musicians. And do Satsanga.
No, I am not talking about Bhajans.
Satsanga is when you spend time with people who energize you towards your goal or greater ideal.
Talking and reading about tech titans is Satsanaga for a software engineer. But, to become a musician, you should start having Satsanga with great musicians.
Also, build a long-term plan for your new field of interest.
While doing all this, observe how you undergo a change in your personality. This helps you understand yourself better.
Whenever you are depressed, you put your head down.
And whenever you are joyful and proud, your head automatically goes up. Isn’t it? (Observe your sports heroes and how they react in both instances).
It happens the other way too.
Sit somewhere, raising your head to the sky, you will experience a joy raising within you. Then, put your head down. Soon, all depressing thoughts begin to haunt you.
Why does this happen?
A cosmic light or prana is continuously showering on you from the cosmos. This cosmic prana is permeating your body and is keeping you healthy and happy. Whenever you raise your head, you let that cosmic prana to shower and enter your being.
But, whenever you put your head down, it stops showering on you. Then, you suddenly feel broken from this connection with the cosmos. This breaking creates loneliness, a feeling of deprivation.
So, it is always energizing to keep your head up – whether you are sitting, walking or even sleeping.
But, you can take this a step further.
Raise your head, and talk to the sky.
What to talk?
There are many things you cannot tell anyone in the world. There are secrets deep within your heart, there are deep cravings and aspirations. And there are many confessions to make. But, you don’t find anyone with whom you can share all this. Right?
Here is an opportunity. Just open your heart to the sky and speak.
Be in an open field. Sit down leaning to a tree or lie down on the grass. And begin to speak. Go on talking – even if you feel that you are talking nonsense.
The more you talk, the more trust you develop towards the sky. And the more trust you develop, the more your heart opens up.
Religiously, people make confessions with a deity form. But, this deity has a personality. Unless you trust this deity with your whole heart, you don’t open yourself up completely.
So, don’t worry about imagining a God or an angel up there in the sky. Just keep it as an unending emptiness.
“Whenever you speak to the sky, it responds in a peculiar manner. It creates a great joy in you. That is the response. And that joy takes you where you truly want to go”. – Raghavendra
As you continue to express, the pent-up emotions will start releasing. Sometimes, you may feel to cry also. Don’t resist. Let those emotions release.
Soon, you will find your breath deepening, your body relaxing, and a kind of meditativeness rise in you.
Breaking old thought patterns to create a new life
Your habits are nothing but your old thought patterns. The thought patterns that won’t let you experience anything new.
If you have failed in achieving a goal, an exam, or a relationship in the past, the thought pattern of a failure might have lingered within you, keeping you from welcoming a new success, a new relationship or a new place to live in.
The above method of talking to the sky can break such old thought patterns.
But, you need to make it a deeper emotional experience for that to happen. Give yourself completely to this act of expressing yourself.
Don’t hold anything back. Anything related to your life, anything you wanted to do or have done – all that your heart wants to express. Just let it outpour.
This may feel strange in the first few days. But soon you will know that you are connected to the sky. And you will begin to feel that whole cosmos is listening to you.
An eternal companion
As the days pass, you will build a deep connection with the whole existence. The existence becomes your companion.
This companionship dismantles all kinds of negative bondings you were suffering from. If you continue this practice for whole life, it continuously purifies you from all Karma, giving you an energy bath and keeping you fresh as an eternal waterfall.
You can just continue with this simple method and be happy.
One evening, I was walking along the bank of the Tunga river. On the way, I found a turtle plodding through sand, towards the river.
When I reached near, I found the turtle stop moving, pulling in its legs and head. I picked it up and it appeared like an empty shell.
For years, I did the same – I always shrank my conscious back to my body whenever I faced a stranger. Have you done that too?
It is the fear of facing a stranger or a strange situation that turns us into turtles. Shrinking feels safe.
You might ask what is consciousness and what is shrinking.
Your consciousness is your awareness. At one time, you are aware of everything around you, and at another time, you are aware of only your body. In the first instance, your consciousness is expanded, while in the second, it is shrunk.
To be more clear, imagine this:
You are in an open field enjoying the green grass and butterflies fluttering around. Suddenly, a jeep comes from somewhere and 4-5 people get down. Now, you are not the same person who was enjoying nature. You are aware of the strangers – they are better built, better dressed and more active than you. You look at yourself. Your consciousness is shrunk.
And whenever your consciousness is shrunk, you feel lonely and sad.
This kind of expanding and sinking of yourself is your ego.
Whenever your consciousness contracts, it makes you feel that the people that you have excluded from your consciousness are against you. Soon those people will start acting against you.
You have not done anything to them. You think you just have excluded them. But you have abandoned them.
But, if you expand your consciousness and begin to include those people as part of you, soon you will realize that they begin to support you.
So, whenever you are afraid of any person, begin to feel that the person is a part of you. This very feeling brings makes you feel powerful and relaxed.
But with the current state, you may not easily drop the ego and accept people as part of you.
Redefine yourself and your mission
You need to redefine yourself, your purpose and the mission of your life.
Redefining yourself is about who you are, what you stand for and what makes you proud. This can be done by finding your mission and master.
A mission in your life, a dream to build something big, helps you let go of ego. Look at the people who have dreamed of building great products, they were so humble and egoless.