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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

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…

I learned the real formula for happiness in five minutes.

how to be happy by yourself
how to be happy by yourself

For years, I went out of my way for others.

Whenever my girlfriend was in a bad mood, I put everything aside and went to meet her. When my colleagues struggled to complete their pending tasks, I ignored my work to help them. I often went out of my way to offer my help to friends, even when they didn’t ask for it.

Here’s the kicker. I didn’t do any of this because it felt right. I did it because I thought they would appreciate my effort, and that would make me happy.

But let alone appreciation, even their acknowledgment…

And why ignoring it is a recipe for disaster.

Can a solution make a problem worse than it was before? That question lies at the heart of the “cobra effect,” a concept Vikas Mehrotra shared on the Freakonomics podcast.

During the UK’s colonial rule of India, a British administrator was worried about the number of cobras in Delhi. So he declared a bounty: Bring a dead cobra, get some cash. He thought this would solve the problem.

But a part of the population in Delhi began to farm cobras, and the administration began getting overloaded with cobra skins. …

How to make conversations feel as comfortable as your pajamas.

how to become better at conversations
how to become better at conversations

Which tool is responsible for the most progress in our species? Is it microprocessors? Artificial Intelligence? Or the internet?

Each of these answers is right, but they’re incomplete. Microprocessors, AI, the internet, and every tool you can think of is a means for the real tool that has helped humankind progress in leaps and bounds: collaboration.

Collaboration was what put humans on the moon. It’s what enables humans to address humongous challenges like hunger, poverty, and the pandemic. And meaningful conversations are the scaffolding of collaboration.

Deep, constructive conversations turn strangers into friends, unite people to work for causes they’re…

And why reading them will drastically improve your life.

“Which is your favourite book?”

If someone asks me this question, I get tongue-tied. Not because I don’t read, but because it’s like asking a chess grandmaster which her best move is. The answer is not carved in stone. It depends on the situation of the game at that moment.

Likewise, the answer to the “favourite book” question depends on the juncture of life you are at. It could vary within the span of a week.

A better question to ask is, “Which book have you gifted others the most?” According to Tim Ferriss, this question is easier for voracious…

Go with the flow, but don’t drown in the river.

how to be happy in life
how to be happy in life

In 2018, I started a content marketing firm. Within a few months, I was making more money than ever. But it wasn’t long before the work stopped feeling fulfilling.

Many clients didn’t get content marketing. They wanted the results I promised by following their processes. I spent a disproportionate amount of time and energy in futile meetings. My own learning plateaued, to the extent that I could feel I was growing dumber.

So in November 2020, I pulled down the shutters for good. The pandemic didn’t kill my business. …

It’s a feeling we’d forgotten but now crave like crazy.

how to build stronger relationships
how to build stronger relationships

In 1896, Hindu monk Swami Vivekananda delivered a series of lectures in New York.

After one lecture, a journalist in New York sat down to interview him.

The journalist said, “Sir, in your last lecture, you told us about Jogajog (Contact) and Sanjog (Connection). It’s really confusing. Can you explain?”

Swami Vivekananda smiled. Seemingly deviating from the question, he asked the journalist, “Are you from New York?”

“Yeah,” the journalist said.

“Who is present at your home?”

The journalist felt Swami Vivekananda was trying to circumvent his question by asking personal and unwarranted questions of his own. …

Just read one page from ‘The Daily Stoic’ every day.

In the movie The Dark Knight Rises, Selina Kyle goes to various lengths to get her hands on Clean Slate, a computer program that can delete identities from databases around the world. In the process, she ironically ends up doing things she regrets, including presenting The Batman on a platter to Bane.

Kyle might be fictional, but her desires were real. She wants to wipe off her past and start afresh. (The beauty of fiction is that there are always hidden nuggets of reality in them.)

Many people harbour a similar deep-seated desire. They wish they could press a magic…

4 ways to win friends at work without compromising your values.

how to become more likable
how to become more likable

When I joined the corporate world, I was keen on climbing the ladder quickly.

The secret to achieving this was to be likeable, my seniors said, as did books and articles on the subject. But what did “being likeable” mean?

Did I have to appear smart? Did I have to establish my credibility? Did I have to say yes to everything? Did I have to do whatever it took for people to see me as a nice guy?

Nobody knew. So like everyone else, I made up my own answers. Unfortunately, many of them were wrong. …

It’s a sign that you’re ‘Turning Pro.’

how to grow myself in my life
how to grow myself in my life

Many people hate their lives. And hate is a strong emotion to feel for something as beautiful as life.

They don’t go through major trauma. In fact, their lives are what anyone would call normal. A stable 9–5 job, a monthly paycheck, a spouse, children, mortgage… But they hate it. And by association, they hate themselves.

For such people, there are two common remedy models.

The first is the therapeutic model, where they’re told (by others or themselves) that they’re sick. What torments them is a “condition” or “disease.” They rely on psychiatrists or spiritual gurus’ medicine or magic to…

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