How to motivate yourself to sustain your productivity!

I am sharing an old post I wrote back in 2015 when I was studying for exams. This is very relevant in current times.

Many of us have so much free time, many of us are bored, binge watching shows. I am not saying that I don’t watch shows at all. I am a big anime fan, psychological and thriller genres being my favourite. My favourite anime is Monster by Naoki Urasawa. An underrated anime definitely. What I mean is, often if this habit is not kept in check, it turns into escapism. Like binge playing video games, binge watching TV shows, movies, binge listening to music. These are all forms of escapism and many of us fall into this trap without ever realising. Escapism although, it can be good at times to keep the mind busy and away from anxiety, stress, depression when you have no other solution. In no way ever, it will solve any of those problems. It will just halt them temporarily much like what other addictions do. Drugs, drinking and what not. Since this is a norm in today’s society and especially the youth. Here is what helped me when I was a student, although I still am, but not sitting any school, college or university exams.

How To Motivate Yourself To Study?

I may not be the best person to answer this query, but let’s just say most of us struggle similarly. Work, life in general, family, commitments, enjoyment and so much more that life has to offer gets in the way of studying. Am I right? (rolling eyes) hmmm i guess so…. On the contrary, sometimes it is simply laziness, poor time management and lack of discipline that gets in the way of studying. I think together the two hold true for the majority. Motivation, is a word so deep that you have to dig out from the depths of your inner self, your consciousness, your conviction, errrr…. thinking deeply, I would say Motivation needs a regular check up. Just like how you get a health check up, how you maintain your diet, how you keep up a work routine; motivation similarly needs to be renewed, pondered over and rejuvenated yet to keep it going strong.

I hope that helps, but let me tell you something, we are capable of a lot more than we can comprehend ourselves. The mind is limitless just like the universe. We are strong and it is said that no soul shall be burdened beyond what it can bear. Getting back to the subject of motivation and linking it with studies, it generally works if you treat studies and exams just like your job or part-time job. Spend 2-3 hours daily, if not then, regularly. Follow a routine, plan ahead, more importantly do some exercise to help relieve stress and keeping a healthy mind and body. Physical and mental fitness is essential, especially in today’s world. We all live a busy life, hard to squeeze new things in our daily routine, sometimes so busy that we don’t pay attention to our closest relations.

I personally being a bit lazy leave everything and do it at the eleventh hour. However, I do pass and score average marks. If I was to work harder, better put like this, if I was to manage my time more efficiently and study properly, I could score better in exams. My point is ‘Motivation’, that’s what I lack too and yet I am writing this article to help you, because sometimes it’s the human nature, people can advise other people better than they can themselves. Does that make sense? hmmm…I guess it does. So by advising you, ultimately I am noting all of this for myself too and work to improve my motivation, and find the trigger to take it one level up every time. Hehe, I think that last line was overly ambitious.

“Find the trigger to keep it in Resonance.” Don’t let it fluctuate too much, just like the Miller Orr Model for cash management. Well, I hope this helps, I want to continue writing but I have to get back on my studies 🙂 Good Luck with your exams 🙂

Well, all exams have been cancelled. You might not be studying at all right now. Think of the consequences when you start again. We are creatures of habit. If you break your good and productive habits during these times, a lot of us will find it a chore to bring those back when we need them. To ensure, that you don’t lose the productive habits, what you ought to do perhaps, is do a little of them. E.g. if you can’t study 6-7 hours like you’d during school/college or exam times. Study 1 hour a day. If you can’t do 1 hour workout in gym, do a 15 minute workout at home. Once more, what I am really doing is, by advising you, I am noting all of this for myself too.

I will share some apps that help me, my 2 favourites are Thenics and Mindfulness. You just need a small space and follow the app for a solid workout. If you can sustain these workouts for 2-3 months, you just might be able to do handstand, pistol-squat and other cool calisthenics moves.

In the mindfulness app, my current favourite meditation practice is Corona resilience. Immunity booster. Although, I always have my own ways to apply and make them work for me. I will perhaps talk about other different meditation techniques I carry out in my next post.

Until then, stay fit and stay productive.

What to do? When there’s nothing to do!

Covid-19 has resulted in a dramatic and unprecedented fall in productivity globally. Many people have lost loved ones, there’s an ongoing healthcare crisis with growing pressure with every rising Covid-19 case.

This has further brought the economy to a sudden stop. Many people are worried about financial security, many people have lost their jobs.

In these times of crisis, we have to rise above solo concerns and do whatever we can to help alleviate suffering. This brings the question, what to do? When there is nothing to do!

Many charities require volunteers, healthcare facilities require volunteers. If you are fit & healthy with no underlying health concerns, then this is the time to show and be the best version of yourself.

This is the time when communities need leaders to rise. There are many other ways to help them too. If you are financially secure, then go out of your way to donate to charities and organisations that are helping and fighting on the frontline.

Our true characters emerge in times of adversity, how we respond, our actions, our contributions. We have seen the good side of the communities emerge, go out of their ways to provide free support of all sorts. Psychological, social, emotional, financial, healthcare, educational.

I attended one of the most enlightening webinars earlier in the morning. It was so informative and educational that I had to leave after 2 hours of attending it. My brain was literally overloaded with information that I needed to digest what I had heard, and couldn’t take in more.

This again brings the question, what to do, when there’s nothing to do!

Be proactive; exercise, learn more, read more, pray more, meditate more. Spread goodness not germs. Take extra precautions; sanitize, disinfect, strengthen your immune system, eat healthy. Prevention is better than cure. Stay Home, Save lives. The quicker this epidemic passes, if we all follow quarantine and social distancing measures, the quicker we can get back to our usual routines or perhaps a new normal.

I am not a medical expert but from the information that I have gathered, everyone knows that a vaccine is crucial to stop the spread. There is so much medical research being put out there which is beyond my understanding. So I leave that to the experts.

This once more brings the question, What to do ? When there’s nothing to do!

Leave the medical research and vaccine development in the hands of capable experts. Worry less, do more. In the UK, we are lucky to have government response and measures which include a stimulus package for many people. Employees, self-employed, companies & businesses. There are still many that the government can’t reach.

So, What to do ? When there’s nothing to do!

In this time of crisis, there’s a lot of stuff that we must stop doing too. Stop arguing, stop domestic abuse, stop talking to your parents harshly, stop raising your voices, stop spreading germs. Find some solace in silence and solitude. Meditate more, be less annoying, be less irritating. Instead, be more cooperative, be more humble, be more generous, be more considerate. Most of all be more self-aware.

Once more, ask yourself this question, “What to do? When there’s nothing to do!”

Assess and evaluate yourself. Cleanse yourself, cleanse yourself of hatred, envy and being a thorn for others. As Rumi said, “Stop being a thorn in the path of others. Be a flower, that releases it fragrance even when crushed.” Purify your soul and hearts, spread love not germs.

I ask myself this question once more, “What to do? When there’s nothing to do!”

Focus on each day, take small steps, even baby steps, crawl if you can’t walk because remember we are confined to our homes! That’s a little joke. I can’t help but be a little cheeky at times 😅🙏 But you get the idea, crawl before you learn to walk, walk before you can run, and run before you become a BIRD and can fly without wings! (Forgive my silly humour)

What I have really done by answering this question several times is, brought to my attention, and hopefully people who read this, what we ought to be paying attention towards. Remember the things where your attention and focus lie, grow. So be mindful of what you pay attention to!

One last message: fast from luxury, abstain from luxury, we should only be focussed on fulfilling necessities and essentials, especially in these times

Until next time,

And Stop Spreading Those Germs!

The Science of Martial Arts

The field of martial arts is full of showmanship, commercial popularisation,
taking the craft and presenting it as a commodity for the purpose of profits
and earning money. This results in as someone has said, “amateuristic
martial arts are a source of serious wounds.” (The Book of Five Rings)

In the pre-modern era the science of martial arts was an essential science
for the warriors. I will take lessons from what Miyamoto Musashi has written in his books when writing about the science of Martial Arts.

The science of martial arts has evolved in the modern era. However, the base teachings and values remain the same. The science of martial arts involves great skill and master planning. Martial arts in today’s world is seen more so as entertainment, blood sport, competitions and fighting. The military aspect of martial arts has been replaced by advanced weaponry, but the principles still work.

Having explained that, I want to focus on the science of martial arts and
individuals. Just like how, a master plumber is first an apprentice, learning from a teacher; the master martial artists too, start as an apprentice. The mentor-student relationship can be seen everywhere. A master scholar is once a student, a master carpenter is once a student. One cannot expect to be an expert at something without having been mentored/coached/taught by a master.

Why do I stress this? In today’s DIY world, where courses and videos are readily available online. The concept of learning from a teacher/mentor/master has become far-fetched. Many thinks and believe that they
can become experts without having been taught. I was lucky in terms of martial arts to have been taught by expert masters and mentors. The craft, the basics, principles and values were instilled after diligent practise over many years.
Practise is key. Bruce Lee once said that don’t fear a man who has practised a thousand different kicks. Fear a man who has practised the same kick a thousand times. I can apply these principles in other walks of life.

Writing these surprises my own behaviour in other fields. I am reflecting on
other arts, skills that I am trying to hone and how and where I went wrong. One lesson I learnt from that- confidence is good, however, doing something you haven’t successfully done before is a mistake without seeking mentors, teachers and professionals. Still, I am happy that I started off in the right direction and learnt from the professionals/experts, went out explored on my own, learnt lessons and took the right direction by seeking mentors. Depending on many variables, journey in mastering a craft/skill can take many different paths. However, if I can highlight the importance of one thing, i.e. finding the right mentors/teachers to learn from in whatever field you are pursuing is crucial to success.

When one has developed practical knowledge of all the skills of the craft, eventually one can become a master craftsman.A master martial artist has similarities to a music orchestra in a sense that the conductor runs the orchestra smoothly, effectively and skilfully. They know all different instruments within the piece, the notes, the structure. They can see the small details and monitor the flow of the bigger picture.

Coming back to the subject of marital arts practise and individuals. The
science of martial arts and how I have come to understand it, is through the
lens of emptiness, state of flow, fluidity, diligent practise. The purpose of
martial arts is to be able to overcome your foes, however, once you become an expert, you can do so without fighting. Understanding this is important. Master martial artists achieve serenity, calmness and understand its psychology and philosophy. These values in today’s world, in my view, are relatively pertinent compared to the military aspect.

Mastering a martial art helps the individual understand themselves and understand others. It instils discipline, routine, creativity and practise of deep focus.These tools and skills are transferable to many other aspects of an individual’s life. To conclude this, in my view, these latter reasons mentioned is why the traditional form of martial arts must be practised and the spirit kept alive. Once the individual understands the true philosophy of the arts, he understands many aspects of life on a deeper level. For example, personally for me spirituality, focus, and discipline have a huge overlap with the practise of martial arts.