Here are five things I do every day to make my day worth it. Without even one of these, my days are incomplete and lesser than the best I envision. And, I will be listing these things in decreasing order of the amount of time I allocate to them. So, let’s roll.
I used to speak a lot. I mean, gabbing at length on any topic used to be my true nature. Then I slowly began to write more and more and more. And, today the situation is such that I have become someone who writes more and speaks less unless it’s one of the five best buds who I talk to at length like a beast.
Writing is the agenda always, on the top of my head, every day. Almost every morning post waking up, the first thought which crosses my mind is what I am going to write about today. It’s an activity without which it’s tough for me to even define myself. That is how much of my time I spend involved in this activity each day I live.
The days when I don’t write, I feel incomplete, like something is not right and is missing. It keeps me balanced emotionally channelling my thoughts. Thus, days when I skip my writing ritual, I tend to find it difficult to channel and manage all my emotions and feelings in the right manner. I get quite disarrayed at times as well.
All in all, each day I spend about four to five hours typing and verbalizing my thoughts. Also, as of this present, I have been engaged in a self-imposed challenge to write 4000+ words each day. And, that helps me push my limits further, be more creative while teaching me to fight and demolish the writer’s block on a daily basis.
And, that explains how writing is an indispensable part of my life.
Reading books is like a staple diet for that grey matter which rests up there in my skull. I dedicate at least two to three hours a day to this habit. However, unlike most other readers, I detest the practice of speed reading, and neither do I read with targets like 3 books in a week or anything else of that sort.
I read, to garner lessons that I can implement in my own life to better myself for self and my loved ones. I read to reinvent myself. Thus, I read slow, with a pen in one hand, my Kindle in another and a paper in front of me all the time. And, every time while reading I stomp on some good idea, thought or experiment to try on myself, I just jot it down immediately, and then I continue with the reading.
Thus, reading plays a very crucial role to fuel my growth trajectory. But, reading books is not all about my reading ritual either. There is a lot more. I also read over five newspapers every day. Yeah, so being aware matters volumes to be. It is a habit for which I thank my father, as he imbibed the knack in me at very nascent age.
These five newspapers I just mentioned about are namely, The Economic Times for updates, Business Standard for comprehensive analysis of the business world and economy, The Hindu, LiveMint and Indian Express for their editorials and Op-eds alone.
Apart from these, every now and then, I refer to The Dawn from Pakistan, The Guardian of the UK and China Times for an even better view of the happenings and viewpoints in the world with a global perspective. Similarly, I also refer to Project Syndicate once or twice a week for its excellent and in-depth researched editorials on macroeconomic issues.
I guess that explains how my reading ritual consumes a very solid proportion of my day.
Until almost a year ago, I had been keeping aside the first hour of every morning only to watch stand-up comic gigs. And, then after that, I also began to keep aside a half hour long slot every day in the afternoon or the evening. So, that means that every day as of this typing, I spend at least an hour and a half just watching those masterful comics giggle the shit out of my cheeks, as I laugh and laugh and just laugh.
And, why did I start to allocate such a big proportion of my days to watching these comic gigs? Well, it has everything to do with a paragraph on the importance of smiling and laughter that I had read in James Altucher’s book Choose Yourself. The crux of the paragraph emphasized on how smiling boosts the secretion of oxytocin and serotonin in our body while also suppressing the levels of cortisol in our veins.
In layman terms, oxytocin and serotonin are hormones which pilfer our stress, make us feel happier and calmer. Meanwhile, cortisol acts as the perfect anathema to all that and is often the primary reason why people panic or get stressed out in certain situations. I was amazed to read all of that. But, I didn’t really believe what James had written there and then.
So, I jumped on to the Google Chacha, and clipped on my research boy cap. And, after about hour or two of being fascinated by whatever I had learned, I was convinced. And, this entire research work also brought me eye to eye with a wonderful and concise quote from the father of Modern Psychology, William James which went as follows:
We don’t laugh because we are happy. We are happy because we laugh.
This one statement made it all settle in my head, and I began to formulate strategies using which I could make sure that I will be smiling a lot each day. And, me dedicating an hour and a half every day to those stand-up videos is also a very critical component of this process of nurturing happiness and uplifted behaviour.
There are several other things too that I have set up in my room which reminds me to smile from time to time. Like there is this sticky note just above the knob of my door, on which I have drawn a big smiling face with a blue ball pen. Now, every time I leave my room, I leave smiling. And, every time I get back into my room and shut the door, I do it smiling.
I have put up similar sticky notes on the wall next to my work table, my cupboard and so on. Basically, smiling and laughter are rituals that I practice very religiously. And, given I have been doing this for almost a year and a half now, it’s kind of obvious I must have experienced some exceptional results and outcomes which kept me going on with the ritual.
It works. And, I know it. Laughter and smiling shoot up my productivity and happiness to insane levels, and I can vouch for that.
I have five best of friends. Four of them know that they are my best buds, and one doesn’t know that yet. But, that is not the point. The point is that I have made sure that I don’t make many friends, but only best friends. Rest all to me are connections. I value them. But, they are not my priority.
Now, given those five buds are my priority, further flourishing my bond with them is a job I take with utmost seriousness. Ergo, I make sure that each day, I spend at least 30-45 minutes connecting with one or two of those amigos. There is one late night buddy who listens to my crying and sobbing and then who I hear to rant about her miserable life.
Then there is one who is my debate partner when it comes to politics. Then there are two who are my all-time secret keepers. One of them is now an old friend, while another one is relatively new. I mined her here on Quora. Okay, what’s the use of keeping secrets? Krima Tanna, you are the unlucky one. Then there is one who I don’t bother much, given she studies all the time for UPSC.
Spending my time hearing about their day, sharing my tales with them, and learning about their lives, hits and misses make me happy. It all makes me feel positive and connected. I don’t need a big bevy of friends to be there for me. I need a few dependable ones. And, in these people, I find that dependability. Thus, I try to make sure that I invest a good amount of time talking to them over a phone call every night.
They are like rocks. They stay close to me, and never move no matter what unless I push them away myself. Such good people!
Each day after dinner, I do one thing. I head to my room and turn on my laptop. I open the WordPad. And, then I write a short letter to at least one person who has had a positive impact on me in any way over the recent past. At times, I wrote to the people I know.
And, at other times, it’s the people I don’t know. Like I have written letters to various businessmen whose ideologies and books have helped me shape a better understanding of the art of negotiations and leadership. Also, I have written letters to stand-up comics who add so much of joys to my life with their awesome content.
Do they reply? At times, yes. Albeit, I have never received a reply from any of those businessmen I wrote to, but on the other hand, all but one of the stand-up comics who I wrote to replied to my messages. And, they have all been just so humble. And, writing these letters is something I do not for replies from those people anyway.
It’s a habit to build pools full of gratitude in me and then maintain them at peak levels always. It’s a habit I am pursuing because it reminds me from time to time there is so much goodness scattered all around and in my life, and I often just act ignorant to all that beauty and awesomeness. Furthermore, writing to a number of people I already know, has actually brought me much closer to them. So, double whammy!
And, these letters don’t take much time for me to write either. Since I am very fast at typing, each of those letters takes hardly ten to fifteen minutes for me to draft, edit and send all together. Ergo, it’s without any doubt a very worthy investment that I have been making for myself and people who have ever been good to me.
That said, those are five things I abide by each day I survive. These habits largely define the present me and make me whatever it is that I am. Some of them make me a better person. Some help me better my craft at writing. Some contribute towards strengthening my relationships. And each one of them helps in making each day an experience worthwhile.
I hope reader may have gotten something valuable to take away from this post. Thanks for reading till the end, because I know not many people choose to read such lengthy posts. I mean it. Bliss!