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I write to teach myself and hit “Publish” when I think it might help you.

You Don’t Need Extreme Self-Discipline

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In the gap between who we wish one day to be and who we are at present, must come pain, anxiety, envy, and humiliation. — Alain de Botton

The demand for online courses industry has shot through the roof.

In 2015, the global market for such courses reached $107 billion. Just two years later, the market grew to $255 billion — a whopping 138 percent growth within 2 years!

But there’s something more. And it’s not good.

A study revealed that the average completion for Massive Open Online Courses — MOOCs — is a dismal fifteen percent.

I’ll admit. I’m…


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Recently Amit, a friend of mine, quit his job at a consulting firm.

Amit had been outstanding not just as a consultant but also a team player.

Clients loved him, as did colleagues. He doubled up as a shrink for his clients. He went out of his way to help colleagues. He bagged a few new clients for the firm even though he didn’t get a commission.

At his farewell, everyone said nice things. They said they would miss him and promised to keep in touch.

But here’s what happened.

In less than 24 hours, Amit’s email access was revoked…


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Here’s an old Indian mythological story that has fascinated me since years.

One day, Narada muni asked Lord Vishnu, “Why is the statue of Garuda (Vishnu’s eagle and vehicle) placed in your temples? Why not mine? Am I not your greatest devotee?”

Before Vishnu could answer, a crash was heard outside the main gate of Vaikuntha (Vishnu’s abode).

“I have sent Garud on an errand,” Vishnu said. “Can you check what happened, Narada?”

Keen on seizing the opportunity, Narada rushed out and returned a few seconds later and said, “A milkmaid tripped and fell.”

“What was her name?” asked Vishnu…


Once you’ve had the taste of a simple life, there’s no going back.

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When a patient suffering from a heart attack is admitted to a hospital, doctors need to decide whether the patient should be treated as low-risk or high-risk. If the patient’s life is threatened, he’s high-risk and needs intensive care.

Such a decision can save or cost a life. But until the early ’90s, doctors and medical staff didn’t have the luxury to make it quickly.

At the University of California, San Diego Medical Center, for instance, they measured as many as 19 cues within the first 24 hours for each such patient. …


These books will give your brain the exercise it needs.

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The words “mind” and “brain” often get used interchangeably, but they’re not the same thing.

The “mind” is a large, intangible concept, a collection of your thoughts and emotions which drive your actions. These thoughts and emotions are a result of neural pathways in your “brain” — a three-pound organ inside your head that uses about 20 percent of the body’s oxygen.

The brain also affects your body’s functioning. Apart from how you move and talk, the brain controls activities you’re less aware of. Like the flowing of blood, the beating of your heart, and the digestion of your food.


Improve the quality and speed of how you learn.

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After getting a degree in architecture in Canada, Indian-born Vatsal Jaiswal began to hunt for a job. This was just a few years after the 2007 market crash, so finding a job was a Herculean task. Even experienced architects were being laid off.

Discouraged, most of Vatsal‘s classmates took up jobs outside the field, went back for more education, or moved in with their parents until the economic chaos subsided. Vatsal stayed his course, sending his CV to as many companies as he could. But he heard nothing from them. So he paid unsolicited visits to dozens of offices and…


How to stop anxiety and stress from making you feel powerless

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Anxiety is a real emotion that traps us in endless loops of stress. We get flung around helplessly like cows in cyclones in Hollywood special effects.

But we don’t have to remain powerless in its grasp. We can take simple steps to reduce the effects of anxiety and increase our bandwidth to focus on meaningful goals. The first step among these is to understand what leads to the emotion.

Anxiety stems from how badly you want an outcome to occur. The more you worry about the outcome, the higher your anxiety is, and it can severely affect your performance. …


Proven rituals to help you do your best work every day.

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In the industrial era, productivity got measured by the quantum of work done. In the knowledge era, productivity gets measured by results. The more useful your output is for your employer, client, or audience, the more valuable you are.

The best results today come from “deep work”. Cal Newport defines this concept as work done in a state of flow that stretches your cognitive capabilities, creates value, and is hard to replicate. Digital tools have made it easier for us to achieve this. We can collaborate with people, improve our skills, and increase the reach of our work.

Unfortunately, the…


How to introduce “productive idleness” and improve your mental health.

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In 2012 essayist and cartoonist Tim Kreider wrote a column in the New York Times, entitled The Busy Trap, which was a rallying cry against the culture of incessant busyness.

In the months leading to writing the column, Kreider’s own aversion to busyness was put to the test due to professional commitments. Every day, he woke up to an inbox filled with emails asking him to do things he didn’t want to or presented him with problems he now had to solve. …


And how tiny acts of kindness lift your spirits too.

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“You can’t live the perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you.“

— John Wooden

Nothing lifts our spirits more than brightening someone’s day. According to research, selfless acts don’t just benefit the receiver; they also improve the doer’s well-being by releasing dopamine in our brains. And prolonged acts of random kindness flood the brain with oxytocin, which reduces chronic stress and anxiety.

Smiles, text messages, “thank-you” cards, and gifts are all nice. To an extent, they’re even expected.

But intangible gestures can leave an impact that lasts longer. …

Vishal Kataria

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