Day #519: What I learnt From 30 Days of No Sugar Challenge

On the 1st of November I wrote about my commitment to take a 30 days of no sugar challenge. If you remember from my first posts that this was how I started this blog in the first place.

Like all challenges, they are easy when you make them. More importantly, if that commitment is to abstain from doing something you always do, it’s easy when you don’t have the opportunity to do that thing. But we all know how this works, once you decide you don’t want to do something, it’s as if the universe got a message, suddenly you start getting more opportunities to do this thing.

In my case, right after I started this challenge I started getting invitations to birthday parties and people expect you to eat the cake they give you. So you are starring at cakes at birthday parties and everyone is wondering why you are not eating cakes. In some cases it’s chocolates from friends returning from a trip. So the challenge becomes: Should I reject the cakes, chocolates, drinks and say I am on a ‘No Sugar Challenge’, or should I accept them and give other people or just accept them I keep them till the end of the challenge? As you can guess,with chocolates I went with the later.

Here is what I learnt:

1. It’s always hard in the beginning: The first days after you start a challenge are the hardest. And I will admit I forgot I was on a ‘No Sugar Challenge’ on one or two occasions after drinking a bottle of soda. Then quickly put myself back on track.

2.People won’t understand at first: Every time I had to turn down cakes, chocolates or drinks in the office or on social events with friends and I had to explain why, they never got it. You will get a lot of  blank stares and a lot, ‘whys?’.

3.Consistency is key: The argument on how many days it takes for a habit to stick is an ongoing one and I do not intend to contribute to it. Most Psychologists say it takes 21 days for a habit to be locked in and most people have said it takes more. What I know is, if you do something consistently enough, you would soon forget what it was like not to have been doing that thing. I have written this blog for more than 500 days I can’t even imagine how it would feel like not to write in a day. Try to be consistent with the challenge and you can go all the way.

4.Reward yourself: Our brains like reward. Because we associate everything we do with a pain/pleasure mechanism. If you convince your brain it’s a pleasurable thing to stay away from sugar or to exercise, soon it would start prompting you to do more of that thing. Every day I stayed away from sugar I rewarded myself with fruits, good food or something I like. Don’t wait till the end of the challenge. Reward yourself every time you take a step forward.

5. You learn a lot about your habits: One of the things doing  a challenge teaches you is to understand yourself more. Especially as it relates to your habits. During the course of this challenge I realized how my afternoons right after lunch was dependent on sugar. I always had a drink of soda to get back into rhythm and get back to work. I simply substituted that need for soda  which is a much healthier option.

In conclusion, 30 days without sugar might look like a very easy thing to do until you try. It’s 1st December tomorrow. What are you going to do in December??

Day #518:What You Get When You Mix Talent, Perseverance and a Bit of Luck

Whether it’s having the precision to complete a golf hole-in-one from a helicopter, or the skill to perform almost impossible basketball trick shots, there are some pretty talented people out there. This video is a compilation of the incredible feats humans are able to achieve when they train hard, and also have a bit of luck on their side. There are no instant action replays, so get ready to hit the pause button and rewind because you’ll want to watch some of these tricks over again to make sure they actually happened.

Day #517: Simon Sinek Inspires You to Lead in 5 Ways.

If you aren’t familiar Simon Sinek, here’s your chance. The author and motivational speaker recently jumped on the scene in a big way when he spoke at a TedX in 2009 on the topic of how great leaders inspire action. Considered one of the most popular Ted talks with over 20 million views, Simon Sinek delved into why certain organizations and companies make an impact while others do not. All his research boiled down into one word – why. After looking into the patterns of how impactful leaders act, Sinek devised the Golden Circle, which starts with asking people why they do what they do, instead of traditionally starting with the what and how. Simon Sinek has patented his method for inspiring people to find their life’s calling through books and courses on his website called Start With Why. Whether you’re looking to unleash the leader in you or invigorate your current work situation – start reading.

1. The more we do good for each other, the more we WANT to do good for each other.

While speaking at the World Business Forum, Sinek laid out three top qualities to being a great leader; empathy, selflessness and grace under fire. This quote speaks about the importance of empathy and taking care of others, resulting in a ripple effect of kindness in the workplace and in all other facets of life.

2. A leader’s job is not to do the work for others, it’s to help others figure out how to do it themselves, to get things done, and to succeed beyond what they thought possible.

Instilling trust and confidence in employees is one of the surefire ways to cultivate future leaders. Being at the top doesn’t need mean going at it alone, but rather delegating and sharing the responsibility. Nurturing and promoting a collective team effort will result in a cohesive and productive work environment – making employees feel safe.

3. People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.

This is one of Simon Sinek’s mantras that he repeats often in his popular TedX talk. He provides the example of what made the company Apple so popular and attributes it to their belief of thinking differently (their ‘why’) –  not just producing computers and iPhones.

4. There is a difference between listening and waiting for your turn to speak.

How many times has this happened to you? Really engaging and listening to those around you – whether they be family members or colleagues – can make a huge difference in making lasting connections and enacting change.

5. We follow those who lead, not for them, but for ourselves. And it’s those who start with “why” that have the ability to inspire those around them or find others who inspire them.

Take a moment to think about your own ‘why,’ with some leading questions from Simon Sinek himself.  What’s your purpose? Why do you get out of bed in the morning? What’s your cause? What’s your belief?

Day #516:Silence in action

 “Silence of the total human mind does not result in paralysis of action; does not result in withdrawing from the active world; does not result in benumbing any of your capacities. On the other hand silence of total mind sharpens your wholebeing; every pore of being becomes active. That is why the totality of being coming into operation and moving with the movement of life is a tremendous event.” 
“Do you know how much energy is wasted in the chattering of the mind? Every thought consumes energy. Everyemotion consumes energy. Even when you are physically alone and by yourself you could be spending lots of energythrough the chattering of your mind. The chattering which consumes energy will have to come to an end. Energy shouldnot be wasted in reactions. Reacting and brooding also imply consumption of vital energy. Unwarranted indulgence inthought and emotion is sheer waste of energy. So please find out how much energy you are wasting throughout the day.If you allow that energy to gather itself unto itself, you will have immensurable more energy

Day #515:QUOTE OF THE WEEK: You Can’t Procrastinate On Your Own Life

There’s a ton of advice swirling around for twenty-somethings, career-switchers, or for people just feeling stuck in monotony of the daily grind. What’s worth ignoring, and what should you take to heart?

Founder of Appleseed Communications, Ashley Crouch, compiled some of the best, straightforward advice, in this Fast Company article, “10 Ways To Make The Most Of Your Career In Your 20s.”

This week’s quote inspires a new adventure or lifetime dream, whether you’re 21 or 71. Gabrielle Jackson, President and Millennial Strategist at The Millennial Solution, shared her advice:

“You can’t procrastinate on your own life.”

Jackson continues: “We think things are just ‘going to happen’ whether it’s a raise at work, fulfillment in relationships, or even that pile of laundry we’ve been putting off . . . Your twenties are your time to take risks and start a business, learn a new language, try a different career and build the life that you want. Show up for your own success. When you hit 30, you won’t be wondering where your twenties went, you will be excited about where your thirties will go.”

Day #514:Become a Child Again From Osho

The child never dies in anyone. It is not that the child dies when you grow, the child remains. Everything that you have been is still within you, and will remain within you until your very last breath. But society is always afraid of non-serious people. Non-serious people will not be ambitious for money, or political power; they would rather enjoy existence. But enjoying existence cannot bring you prestige, cannot make you powerful, cannot fulfill your ego; and the whole world of man revolves around the idea of the ego.

Playfulness is against your ego—you can try it and see.

Just play with children, and you will find your ego is disappearing, you will find that you have become a child again. It is not only true about you, it is true about everyone. Because the child within you has been repressed, you will repress your children. Nobody allows their children to dance and to sing and to shout and to jump. For trivial reasons—perhaps something may get broken, perhaps they may get their clothes wet in the rain if they run out—for these small things a great spiritual quality, playfulness, is completely destroyed.

The obedient child is praised by his parents, by his teachers, by everybody; and the playful child is condemned. His playfulness may be absolutely harmless, but he is condemned because there is potentially a danger of rebellion. If the child goes on growing with full freedom to be playful, he will turn out to be a rebel. He will not be easily enslaved; he will not be easily put into armies to destroy people, or to be destroyed himself. The rebellious child will turn out to be a rebellious youth. Then you cannot force marriage on him; then you cannot force him into a particular job; then the child cannot be forced to fulfill the unfulfilled desires and longings of the parents.

The rebellious youth will go his own way. He will live his life according to his own innermost desires—not according to somebody else’s ideals.

The rebel is basically natural. The obedient child is almost dead; hence the parents are very happy, because he is always under control.

Day #513: From Paulo Coelho “The Lesson of the Butterfly”

A man spent hours watching a butterfly struggling to emerge from its cocoon. It managed to make a small hole, but its body was too large to get through it. After a long struggle, it appeared to be exhausted and remained absolutely still.The man decided to help the butterfly and, with a pair of scissors, he cut open the cocoon, thus releasing the butterfly.However, the butterfly’s body was very small and wrinkled and its wings were all crumpled.The man continued to watch, hoping that, at any moment, the butterfly would open its wings and fly away. Nothing happened; in fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its brief life dragging around its shrunken body and shriveled wings,incapable of flight.

What the man – out of kindness and his eagerness to help – had failed to understand was that the tight cocoon and the efforts that the butterfly had to make in order to squeeze out of that tiny hole were Nature’s way of training the butterflyand of strengthening its wings.