A year and a half ago my life was in real mess. A relationship I had just broken out of a few months ago had left too big a void for me to easily make up for. So, what instead began to fill up that void was anger for myself and the world, ego about something I still don’t know what, and dissatisfaction about my failed existence in this world.
I wasn’t doing good in studies either. Neither did I have any idea about where I was headed in life. The anger and ego I mentioned above had also begun to vitiate my behaviour with others, which was driving my close ones away from me. Most of them would just not say it on my face, because they knew how I would pounce on them with all my ire, as soon as anyone tried to point a finger on me or my friendship.
So, I kept growing more and more cantankerous day after another. My relationships kept exacerbating. I didn’t realize that this rage and ego were only blurring my thoughts. They were disabling my clarity and making it tougher for me to realize that my situation was not as bad as I was comprehending it to be. And, as a result, then I had reached a state when I finally began to feel sorry for myself.
I simply wasn’t able to take control of anything. Back then, I had grown really infamous among my batchmates for my reactive and violent characteristics. Well, they weren’t that wrong either. I completely acknowledge the wrongs I had done. And then one day while surfing over Quora, I just happened to come across an answer from a prominent writer whose name I can no longer recall.
And, that person had mentioned one name in many of his answers. This was the name of the person whose writings had transformed his life. And, this name was James Altucher. So, I headed on to Altucher’s Quora profile, and began to explore his writations. And, I can say it with absolute certainty that hitherto that day, no one man’s writing had impacted me as strongly as this man’s.
James observations on life were all raw and fresh out of the inferences he had borne from his own failures, bigger failures and absolutely shameful ginormous failures. Yup, he and his living were all about bigger and bigger setbacks and conquering over them. Already inspired by a number of these posts that James had shared on his blog, “The Altucher Confidential,” I then reached another one his blogposts.
I didn’t know then that this post was going to change my life in the next few days. It was titled “The Ultimate Cheat Sheet For Reinventing Yourself.” But, won’t tell you what it said. For that you can go read it. I am going to tell you how it changed me forever. Ah! Wait, I first ought to search my pocket app, because I think I still have the link to that passionately written post.
Explore it if you ever find enough time. It’s quite long. Anyways, this cheat sheet had imbued me to such extent, that almost within hours of immersing into it, I was on my prime mode. I was already like, I had cracked my code to success. I had never felt so liberated and confident in a long time. It had basically gotten me started for something new and good.
Then, just a few hours later, I came across this video on YouTube which went something like “200 Push-ups For 30 Days.” In that video a person recorded his everyday body transformation as he performed 200 push-ups every day for a month. And, boy! The way his body had transformed in just a matter of month, I was left gobsmacked. It was magic!
And, thanks for the enthusiasm that had been gushing in my veins after reading all those posts from James, I immediately decided I have got do this too. I then and there took up a challenge on myself- To perform 300 push-ups a day for 30 days in a row. Now, you see, that was me at a stage when my body could hardly sustain three or four push-ups in a set.
In fact, even that would have left my shoulders and chest with a pain that would take days to dissipate. So, I could not have just jumped into performing 300 of those push-ups every day. That would shattered my body and mental strength further. So, I had to build up myself to that capability first. Thus, I channelled myself into a build up process first with a month-long deadline.
That date was 1st of February 2016. Over the month that followed, I would go running along the 2.2 KM long boundary wall of my college. I did that almost every day with some exceptions. Also, I would do over fifty sit-ups in the initial days, which was gradually incremented to a hundred by the end of the month. And most importantly, I had been doing more and more of those push-ups too.
I had begun by performing as many sets of five push-ups, I could in a day. Slowly I incremented that count to ten, then to thirteen, then fifteen and finally to twenty. And, it’s not like I was always full of that zeal and vivacity. Remember, emotionally I had still been going through a rough patch. Ergo, I had to make sure that I didn’t get demotivated during this course, and gave up.
For that though I didn’t have to much. I simply made it a ritual to spend at least half an hour everyday reading at The Altucher Confidential, because I knew that Altucher’s thoughts, ideas and experiences were more than capable of empowering me to push my limits, and not focus on other negatives that my life had been abundantly surrounded by back then.
And, it worked. Also, what helped me more was the change I was witnessing in myself. I mean, the guy who could hardly perform a few push-ups at a go, was now doing over fifteen in a set at average. And, the change in my triceps and pectorals was also quite tangible. Thus, I had every reason to feel proud and super confident.
Also because, those triceps and widened chest had earned me some compliments from friends too. So, these factors automatically ignited a fire, and unending motivation in me to give it my all. I must also mention though, that this was a month in which I had completely abandoned my studies, as push-ups excited me more than engineering. And, this had certain consequences.
So, please don’t take away any wrong ideas from this post. Moving on, by the end of the month, that is on 2nd of March 2016, I had been performing over 200 push-ups every single day. And, that was the greatest feat I had accomplished in my recent history. Or maybe, even in my entire life. Further, this experience had taught me a very valuable lesson about life as well.
The lesson was-
Never think that you aren’t meant for something unless you have tried it and given it your very best. Otherwise, you are only letting yourself fall for a myth and belittling your potential. Because, given you have the inner motivation and natural likening towards something, there is practically nothing what can stop you from achieving that.
As long as a task requires just you, you can always accomplish it with upmost perfection, given you also want to do it. And, that was a great revelation that my experience had taught me. It went on to reshape my behaviour and the way I respond to challenges that life throws my way today. This way, I had transformed my life for the best.
Over the upcoming days, I first took up a 300 push-ups every day of a week challenge. Then I moved on for 300 push-ups every day for two weeks. And, finally I accomplished the goal with which I had started it all about two months before this- 300 push-ups every day for a month. And, not just that. By then end of that month, I had been crunching 450 push-ups a day.
Bliss! My confidence had by now risen so very much, that all the negativity that had settled in my life just effaced off. My anger and rage too had been suppressed largely. Probably one of the reasons was because I simply didn’t have much time and energy to invest into them, as my push-ups craze ate it all up. And, probably also because that was a time, when I was cutting myself off from the company of lot of people.
These were people who had been driving negativity and pains of multifarious kinds into my life. They had been pulling me down, burdening my head with superfluous fights and worries, and were just vitiating the quality of my life. But, anyways, I have written extensively about that episode in a number of other posts, so I am not going to delve deeper into that here.
Another thing that this push up experience had taught me by now was that the key to transform my life was to expose myself to more of such challenges which I thought I was definitely incapable of achieving, but if I did, those would help me add tremendous value to my life. And, this also was the time when I had already bought a Kindle with my first book on it being James Altucher’s bestseller “Choose Yourself.”
And, that book helped me identify how to choose the right challenges to delve into- Challenges which would help me better my life, by at least a percent every day. The book in the initial chapters established that our life has precisely four states which govern our happiness, character, behaviour and success- Physical, Spiritual, Mental and Emotional.
Having stated that, James shared that in order to hone the best of living, one must hone the best of all of those four facets of our living. In a nutshell, everyday one must engage in activities which would enhance their physical fitness, make them mentally more aware and stronger, bring in emotional peace and pleasure and engage into deeds which would make oneself feel positive about their existence.
And, I could not have denied any of what James had written. I agreed to every bit of what James had just stated there. One reason because, it made complete sense. Second reason because, I already had begun to trust Altucher’s words like gospels which just had to be followed if I really intended to transform my life. So, I just went on with devising a sleuth of challenges over the upcoming year and a half.
I made some mistakes by blindly trusting everything. But, more or less, I reaped great growth by learning from him. The process that began this way is what I often refer to as “My Phase of Reinvention” which has completely elevated my life and the joy with which I live it. Now these challenges are what I have extensively written about even in the past, so I am not going to type them out again.
I am going to straight away copy paste that stuff from my previous writations:
Vocabulary Boosting Challenges-
- Add 150 words to vocabulary in a month. (Accomplished twice.)
- Add 200 words to vocabulary in a month.
- Add 300 words to vocabulary in a month. (Accomplished twice.)
- Add 300 words to vocabulary in a month with another person in tandem.
- 300 push-ups a day for two weeks.
- 300 push-ups a day for twenty days.
- 300 push-ups a day for a month.
- 450 push-ups a day for two weeks.
- Eating Habits Challenges-
- No fried food for a month.
- No canteen food for four months.
- No aerated/cold drink for two years. (Still in progress)
Social & Gratitude Challenges-
- Say thanks to at least three people a day for a month.
- Call three people every day and make them smile for a month.
- A letter a day for a month to some celebrity or renowned personality who inspired me in one way or another.
- Write ten ideas a day on any subject/topic for two weeks.
- Write ten ideas a day on any subject/topic for a month.
- Write average one answer on Quora a day for three months.
- Write average two answers on Quora a day for a month.
- Write two answers on Quora a day for six months.
- Write minimum 500 words a day for a month.
- Write minimum 2,000 words a day for a month.
- Write ten ideas a day on any subject/topic for six months. (Ongoing)
- Save Rs.30 a day for a month by cutting expenses.
- Save Rs.15 a day for a month by cutting expenses. (Extended to two years with daily savings set to at least Rs. 20)
- Read 30 pages of a book a day for a month.
- Read 50 pages of a book a day for a month.
- Read 5 Newspaper editorials and 50 pages of a book a day for a month.
Better Living Challenges-
- No gossip for a month.
- Wake up by 6:30 am for a month.
- Wake up by 5:00 am for two weeks.
- No social media for a month. (Accomplished thrice)
- Fifteen minutes of deep breathing meditation a day for a month.
These challenges in tandem helped me excelling in all those four facets of my life in some way or another- The physical, emotional, spiritual and the mental dimensions. And, probably none of these profound transformations would have happened in my life, had it not have been for James Altucher. This journey which James had set me on is the very reason I am whatever I am today.
I am flawed in many aspects. But, I am nowhere close to being as flawed as I used to be. I am great at expressing my thoughts and ideas via written mediums. But, great only in respect with how bad I was at it over year and a half ago. I still have to learn a lot more, write a lot more, and most importantly, be prolific and dedicated at it, to be real good.
But, I know I’ll get where I yearn to be, because I am confident now that I can make it happen. A year and a half ago, I didn’t even know what I wanted. And, that is the clarity I have earned in this span. That is the confidence and optimism I have earned. That is result of self-discovery which I have went through. And, that is how I attained this progress.
Having written all of that, my head is now asking me to stop to drink some water. But, to be true, even thinking about this awesome journey makes me feel so positive about myself that I just don’t want to stop. However, I also realize that I have already made it a very-very long post. So, long that many readers would have already left the post and unread or half-read.
Thus, to all the readers who have been reading to this very end, I am utterly grateful for you showing such love and interest. This was how I managed to make whatever progress I have made in my life. Also, here is a video summarizing the above answer. In case the reader is familiar with Hindi, and wishes to watch the video, here it is. Bliss!