Why should you read 52 books every year?

Reading a book daily for even 15-20 minutes can increase your cognitive abilities and enhance your overall personality.

When was the last time you read a book?

If you are one of those who wish to dominate a water cooler conversation in your office or a friendly chit-chat in the smoking zone or maybe impress that dumb boyfriend/girlfriend of yours – googling things out will work for you.

Occasionally, I am sure you do check Wikipedia pages to enhance your knowledge. To sum a few other resources together, your knowledge is getting enriched by :

  • Speed-reading articles chosen by machine learning in your Facebook feed. 
  • Youtube videos suggested by friends shared on WhatsApp.
  • Occasional reading of blogs powered by some news app you accidentally installed, a long time ago.
  • Watching Insta stories.
  • Watching TV shows, movies, and documentaries which are based on real-life events.

No wonder your life is going so well!

Now, all of the above-mentioned resources are best suited for dominating the conversation with an average Joe. 

However, how well would you fare if –

  • You are supposed to talk about something for more than 10 minutes? Ideally, to speak effectively and confidently on a topic for 1 minute, you need to have read a minimum of 10,000 words.
  • You encounter someone who’s genuinely knowledgable? Yes, my friend such people, however rare, do exist.
  • You have to write an original well-researched article/blog/paper? Nothing turns off women more than plagiarised content. 
  • You have to explain a phenomenon to a child? Unlike adults, children are curious and ask questions seeking clarity. You can’t trick a kid.
  • Your job demands you to continually upgrade your subject matter knowledge? You can’t watch Neil Patel for all your answers. 

If not today, then tomorrow or the day after or definitely in the coming weeks – you will encounter one of the above or a similar situation. The one and only solution to all your life issues is READING. Books encompass shared knowledge/wisdom of entire generations in a granular depth. Every other medium of knowledge/wisdom is superficial in nature. If you do not read –

  • Yes, you will learn a thing or two.
  • Yes, you will be able to weave a decent conversation.
  • Yes, you will be able to write killer social media captions.
  • Yes, dumb members of the opposite sex will be attracted to you.
  • And, yes, every now and then, you will achieve one of your life goals.

However, you will still remain hollow inside. That’s the price one pays for superficiality. 

Great, so now I have you convinced that no matter what you do, where you come from – irrespective of your personal goals, desires, and aspirations – you got to read. 

YOU MUST READ!

Summary

Books are the only source of true theoretical knowledge. Reading enables you to participate in intellectually stimulating conversations. (which last more than a minute)

Now that we have moved past our first hurdle of getting you committed to daily reading, let me share with you the benefits of daily reading.

Why should you read daily?

Reading 52 books every year translates into reading one book each week – which means you need to read daily. 

I understand how this sounds.

If you are not a reader, this would appear as an Impossible Task.

However, consider a few real impossible tasks which our ancestors completed, not only successfully but also with panache.

Your forefathers –

  • Hunted the woolly mammoth
  • Established a civilized Roman empire
  • Built the Great Pyramids of Giza
  • Captured the wildest animals
  • Battled the most fierce conquerors
  • Thought of Religion
  • Survived unheard epidemics
  • Crafted the TajMahal
  • Invented electricity
  • Established Democracy
  • Recognized Human rights
  • Conceived The Internet, and
  • Created this amazing unparalleled digital device on which you are reading this blog.

So, consider this – our ancestors defeated every adversity and claimed their glory by creating a marvelous world where even the tiniest of objects are sophisticated beyond imagination. 

And here you are, wondering – 

“Can I really read daily?”

“Do I have the time?”

“Is this really helpful?”

How about you just try developing the habit of reading and find out?

I will also like to admit that even I wasn’t born a reader. Though fortunately, I was exposed to timeless literature at a very early age; however, after my teenage, the only thing that seemed worthy of studying was – Girls!

In my twenties, this passion got replaced by booze and drugs combined with powerful binge-watching. Even after 12-14 hours of slogging my ass in corporations, I made sure that I binge-watched at least two hours daily, for 7-8 years.

It was effortless for me to convince myself that numbing my senses by binge-watching was a healthy practice. I told a unique narrative to myself repeatedly. 

To be a successful storyteller, I need to watch stories.”

It was compelling.

I clearly remember spending entire weekends – 14-16 hours – binge eating and binge-watching under the influence of Marijuana & Alcohol. I had no social life, and I was at the pinnacle of my unhealthiness.

Finally, I realized that my life cannot continue like this and made a conscious choice to go back to my life before my teenage and begin reading again. 

In 2019, I read around 40 books, and my goal for 2020 is to finish 52 books. 

Hope my story got you all geared to take on this challenge of reading daily!

In case you still have issues, please consider these benefits of daily reading –

  1. Reading improves your vocabulary.Real people use real words. (not – r u k?)
  2. Reading makes you articulate. Well-read people discuss concepts and ideas, not gossip about others.
  3. Reading improves your writing skills. One who can write and read is unstoppable.
  4. Reading increases your attention span. You don’t have ADHD. You just ain’t reading. (That is what social media does to you, lowers your attention span as there is no need to be attentive.)
  5. Reading strengthens your mind. Muscles grow in the gym and mind in libraries.
  6. Reading lowers down stress levels. Hate shrinks? Me too! Books are real therapy.
  7. Reading is hugely entertaining. Don’t play with yourself; play with a book!
  8. Reading makes you knowledgable. Intelligent people were not born that way; they read!
  9. Reading enhances creativity. Readers don’t experience writer’s block, losers do!
  10. Reading improves the quality of your sleep. Those pills will kill you; these books won’t!

I rest my argument!

Now you have two choices. Open Netflix or open that dusty book in that corner of your room.

We both know what you will choose!

Hope, you enjoyed reading this. 

Do check this video podcast for more insights.

Also, leave your thoughts and feedback in the comments sections so that I can improve.

Summary

We have achieved unimaginable glory; therefore, the least we can do is pick a book and commit to reading it till the end. Reading enhances your cognitive abilities. 

Early morning routine helps – Myth or Fact?

How would you react if you come to know that research studies indicate – waking up between 4 am – 5 am can transform your life magically?

Before you read this article and maybe get influenced and decide to wake up early in the morning from tomorrow onwards – you need to understand why and how it will help you! To understand the power of magical mornings in shaping your future and narrowing the gap between your goals/dreams and reality, you need to understand an underlying structure called – Hierarchy. 

The textbook definition says – a system in which members of an organization or society are ranked according to relative status or authority.

Therefore as chickens have a pecking order; similarly, humans have a hierarchy. Surprisingly you will see that people who are way above in the hierarchy wake up way early, and those at the bottom mostly wake up late, like you.

Even at 10 am, you are hoping to catch a few more minutes of numb senses and distorted reality.

Well, the bottom is way crowded, you got to get to the top!

Here’s a list of a few people controlling the top and their waking up timing: 

  • Apple CEO Tim Cook wakes up at 3:45 am.
  • Disney CEO Robert Iger wakes up at 4:30 am.
  • Richard Branson gets started at 5:45 am.
  • Warren Buffett begins his day at 6:45 am.
  • Elon Musk rises at 7 am.

This list is exhaustive. There are more than 20,000 people who wake up before 6 am and whose net worth is more than 100 million USD. However, if you are a serial procrastinator (which I am sure you are), these figures and numbers don’t mean shit to you. These are just a misrepresentation of highly complex data, which intends to spark a behavior change into your reluctant being. 

This is shit and nothing more than that!” That’s what your sweet, doughy brain must be yelling into your ears!

Let’s try this. What will you say if I promise that waking up between 4 am-5 am will –

  • Increase your appetite
  • Improve your self-confidence
  • Improve your mental health
  • Raise your self-esteem
  • Improve your sex drive
  • Increase your financial wealth

Will you at least care to listen more?

Awesome!

Thank you for lending me your attention!

Now, before we move ahead, you need to decide, why do you wish to wake up early?

What is your Why?

No one on this planet can change until they are themselves willing to. If you genuinely want to experience long-lasting rewards of waking up early and provide more stability to your body and mind, enriching your soul at the same time – you need to know your why.

Let me share with you a little background about myself. I, too, like you, was a late riser. My philosophy was :

  • Winners sleep late.
  • Losers wake up early.
  • Creative people/ Artists need to be up at nights to create legendary art.
  • Real art is created when you are dead tired, burnt out, and dwindling between sleep & trying to stop those eyelids from shutting down on you.
  • Routine is slavery. Order is constraining. Chaos is where lies success!

I know countless miserable artists who follow the same doctrine as I did a few years ago. There is a handful of whom I indoctrinated. And, that is the reason now it is more critical for me to bring out this truth to you. Writing this article is my way of communicating with my previous nihilist self, who thought and preached Chaos is where lies the gold!

In truth, there is a thin line between order and chaos – that is where lies mastery, creativity, financial wealth, a better partner, and a promising, rewarding future. 

If you are a nihilist or a procrastinator or a combination of both, if you have experienced the darkness, if you have remained up till 4 am’s and woke up at 5 pm’s – my dear friend, you are fortunate. You have already conquered chaos. Chaos (Yin) is your friend now.

However, as you cannot be a crook nor a saint, similarly, you cannot choose either order or chaos. It would help if you balance yourself in the middle. You have already befriended, conquered, enslaved chaos. Now is the time to familiarize yourself with order, discipline – The Yang.

To create an equilibrium between order and chaos, I had to venture into the unchartered waters of discipline. It’s time for you to find your reason. And it could be anything; even a selfish motive isn’t wrong if it helps you become the best version of yourself.

Few top reasons could be:

  • I want financial wealth.
  • I want a better partner.
  • I want to lose/gain weight.
  • I want to look attractive.
  • I want to sound more knowledgeable.
  • I want to save money.
  • I want to make more money.
  • I want to travel abroad.
  • I want society to respect me.
  • I want to quit smoking/alcohol/drugs.
  • I want to quit masturbation/porn.
  • And……………………………………………..

So what is your why?

Now that I have your attention, how about you watch this podcast!

Are you sleeping well?

Sleep is an essential phenomenon in our daily cycles. Yet, a lot of us suffer from poor quality of sleep, which leads to both physical and mental issues.
Let’s learn how to sleep well and improve our physical endurance and overall mental wellness,

Good Morning Planet,

Today we are going to discuss one of the most interesting phenomena of our daily cycle – Sleep!

Before we go full hardcore on the science of sleep – let’s begin with the basics.

What is sleep?

Yeah, well, what is sleep?

The textbook definition saysSleep is a condition of body and mind which typically recurs for several hours every night, in which the nervous system is inactive, the eyes closed, the postural muscles relaxed, and consciousness practically suspended.

In simpler terms, like a computer goes in hibernation after inactivity, our body and mind experiences sleep during which our systems shut down partially, and we get into a power-saving mode.

Let’s explore more!

What will be considered an Ideal Sleep?

If you start researching, you will find countless theories around the ideal sleep time.

  • An artist or an entrepreneur might suggest you four-four and a half hours.
  • A sleep specialist will advise you six-six and a half hours.
  • A general physician will recommend you 7-8 hours.

So we don’t have a general consensus here!

How Does Sleep Impact Your Overall Health?

Proper sleep is necessary for optimal health and can affect hormone levels, mood, and weight. Sleep problems, including snoring, sleep apnea, insomnia, sleep deprivation, and restless legs syndrome (you must have seen few characters around you, annoyingly shaking their legs), are common.

  • Sleep improves cardiovascular health

Heart attacks and strokes occur due to poor cardiovascular health. A good night’s sleep keeps your heart pumping.

You don’t want it to stop, do you?

  • Sleep reduces the risk of cancer

Nighttime sleep is essential. Melatonin is a hormone naturally produced by the human body and is responsible for regulating the sleep-wake cycle. It also protects cells against cancer as it suppresses the growth of tumors.

Lights off, baby!

  • Sleep reduces stress

Lack of sleep can accelerate the production of the stress-response hormone cortisol. The more cortisol your bloodstream contains, the more complicated your life would seem.

Close your eyes, take it easy!

  • Sleep makes you more alert

Sound sleep makes you feel energized and alert the next day. Not only will you experience higher energy levels, but your overall productivity and performance will improve too.

And, when we say PERFORMANCE, we mean between the sheets!

  • Sleep improves your memory

When you are sleeping well, half of the time, you don’t remember where your phone and tv’s remote is. Amplify this 10 times, and that’s what happens if you are not getting enough sleep daily.

You can aspire to be an ‘American Psycho,’ but unfortunately, you ain’t handsome like Christian Bale.

  • Sleep can help you lose weight

If you want to maintain or lose weight, don’t forget that getting adequate sleep regularly is a massive part of the equation. Insomniacs are mostly bone-dry, and obese people have poor sleeping habits.

Sleep to slip in that dress, sister.

  • Sleep improves mental health

Poor sleep can make you depressed. Sleep is essential for your brain to process reality. Sleep impacts many of the chemicals in your body, including serotonin. Lack of serotonin can influence your mood and efficiency negatively and may result in mental disorders.

Sleep, don’t let anyone fly over the cuckoo’s nest!

  • Sleep repairs the body

Your body needs rest to repair and rejuvenate cells. Your muscles need to relax. Those eyes enjoy a little shut lid. Sleep gives enough room for your body to perform repair tasks in a gonzo mode, which slows down while you are awake.

Sleep – that’s the ultimate fix!

Now that we have covered the basics, let’s delve deeper!

Apart from regular sleep, there are other ways to enjoy this fulfilling experience –

  • Napping
  • Lucid Dreams

Napping

Well, they say, napping makes you smarter

Nighttime sleep isn’t the only way to complete your sleep requirements. Day time napping is also a refreshing alternative. So next time, when you feel that caffeine craving to drive boredom away, close your eyes, and take a nap. 

Research indicates that daytime naps, shorter than one hour, can increase your mental abilities four to six times compared to those who don’t nap. People who nap at work show much lower levels of stress. Napping also improves memory, cognitive function, and mood.

Next time your boss catches you dozing off at work – you know what to say!

Lucid Dreams

You don’t need psychedelics to alter reality. You got lucid dreams for that. Lucid dreaming happens when you’re conscious during a dream. Around 55 percent of people have had at least one or more lucid dreams in their lifetime.

You’re aware of your consciousness, during a lucid dream. It’s a form of metacognition or awareness of your awareness. Mostly, lucid dreaming allows you to control what happens in your dream.

Researchers claim that lucid dreaming has therapeutic benefits and could be useful in treating conditions like anxiety, PTSD, or recurring nightmares.

Lucid dreaming allows you to alter the details of your dream, something on the lines of Christopher Nolan’s Inception. 

Say no to drugs; Say yes to lucid dreams!

Bizarre Sleeping Habits

No article is complete without the reference of legends. Therefore we bring to you most bizarre sleeping habits of legendary artists –

  • Winston Churchill enjoyed a two-hour nap every day.

Every day at 5 p.m., British Prime Minister Winston Churchill would drink a little whiskey and take a two-hour nap. Churchill believed that his practice allowed him to get 1 1/2 days’ worth of work done every 24 hours.

  • Charles Dickens slept facing north to enhance his creativity.

Dickens, who reportedly had insomnia, always kept a navigation compass with him to ensure that he wrote and slept facing north. He believed that this quirky practice improved his creativity.

  • Novelist Emily Brontë walked briskly in circles until she crashed.

The 19th-century celebrated novelist and poet had insomnia, and she would walk in circles around her dining room table until her body gave up and she fell asleep.

  • Leonardo da Vinci’s never slept. He took 20-minute naps every four hours.

Da Vinci religiously followed an extreme polyphasic sleep schedule referred to as the Uberman sleep cycle, which includes 20-minute naps every four hours. This unconventional sleep cycle may have a lot to contribute to his genius.

Thank you for not dozing off while reading this!

Also check out our podcast regarding the same.

How to sustain meaningful relationships

Relationships are challenging.Before understanding complexities involving relationships and how to overcome them, we need to understand if and why we need them.

Good Morning Planet

Before we begin, let’s revisit our understanding of a meaningful relationship. Predominantly there are two sorts of relationships. One is referred to as therapeutic, wherein you enjoy your time together and get healthy. The other one is based on a primate dominance hierarchy in which one party is a slave, and the other one is a master. Such a relationship is mostly considered as unhealthy and damaging.

Let’s pause for a moment. Before understanding complexities involving relationships and how to overcome them, we need to understand if and why we need them. New age kids have found a pseudo mechanism wherein relationships are replaced with short term acquaintance. The Internet has brought people closer, but real feelings are farther distant than they were in medieval ages. The first step towards an amicable solution is understanding the importance of a meaningful relationship. I am going to make a powerful statement – We need people. Yes! Irrespective of how relative we consider freedom of existence, we cannot be totally free from the fundamental genetic, social component. Even a hermit is delighted with an occasional visitor and cherishes a disciple. In the same manner, meaningful relationships nourish us as human beings and help us get better.

Now comes the most challenging part: How to sustain a relationship? I have met countless individuals who have excellent social skills and make friends easily, but none of these relationships last longer than a few months. One must wonder why?

Well, the problem sounds complex, but the solution is too easy. We do not communicate. Communication means listening and then talking efficiently. Most of us in this fast-paced world skip the first step. We do not listen. We wait for our turn to speak. Whenever we meet someone, our primary goal is mostly to acquire dominance. We barely pay attention to what they are saying or feeling or expressing. We focus on putting our point across as quickly as possible. We are quick in brushing off their issues with remarks like – Ya I know, yup life’s difficult, shit happens, blah and blah and blah. What we fail to understand is we are undermining the importance of their personal conflicts and making them feel petty. This, in turn, helps us feel better, and we walk away from the conversation as a confident person. All we are doing is acting like a primate and giving way to our most basic primal urges.

A better way would be listening and trying to learn from the other person. Each individual would have at least one new thing to offer us, if we listen. We can always ask questions to seek clarity. We can always paraphrase. Instead of being on top of the conversation, we can stay in the conversation, and after a few such sessions, both the individuals would have a healthy flow of ideas. So if you really want to have a meaningful relationship unlike baboons: Listen.

That would be all folks!

How to be the best in everything you do

Good Morning Planet,

Every human being has the potential to achieve greater success and experience everlasting glory. History is filled with ordinary people who shaped the course of civilizations. From inventors like Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Edison to social activists like Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi – every legend not only got their glory engraved in civilization’s milestones, but also uplifted societies and gave a new direction to the entire humanity. 

In current times, human beings check their phones on an average of 80-100 times every day. Most of them cannot keep their hands away from their digital devices for more than 10 minutes. This is acutely alarming. 

Not only does this behavior steal your attention from the task at hand, but it also steals your energy levels. You set out to create something extraordinary, and by the end of your task – you have a mediocre product/experience. Over time this mediocrity becomes ingrained in your personality, and you compromise your higher self, and slowly your genius fades into oblivion. All you are left with is half-burnt pieces of a masterpiece.

The decline of your being will cease once you have achieved the mediocre status. It isn’t so difficult to compromise with your values, goals, and dreams that lead you to become an AVERAGE JOE. Millions of brilliant minds succumb to the enticing charm of mediocrity. It is so comforting. All you would need to do is wake up, eat a few meals, show up to work, tolerate being insignificant, consume tons of content designed to fulfill your primal urges, and then go back to a sense of limbo. You won’t believe how easy it is to accept this routine.

The alternative is tough beyond imagination.

  • You will have to wake up early. Preferably way early before the world gets up. (Between 4-5 am)
  • You will need to exercise. Fitness is essential for world-class performance. 
  • You must watch what you eat. Healthy food develops a healthy mindset. Goodbye Fries. Tata Icecream. No more Cookies. (Damn, this sounds so hard!)
  • You will need to invest at least an hour daily in learning. Consistently feeding your thinking mind is elemental for creating unparalleled results. Goodbye TV Shows. No More Movies. No more 2-min Reads. No more Videogames. You will need to read books – 52 books every year. One book each week!
  • You will need to surround yourself with positive people. Your clan needs to have similar goals as yours. Only a dream team can achieve results that can change the course of history. No more toxic people. Goodbye friends who choose to remain stagnant.
  • And most importantly – You will need to be focused. Not for a day. Not for a week. Not for a month. Every day for the rest of your life!

So, now we are left with two options –

Option 1. Strive for Greatness – Upgrade your inner being regularly. Invest in yourself daily to become the best version of yourself. Deliver Extraordinary results. Be happy in the process. Get your name listed in the history books. (There is no surety. You can easily fail.)

Option 2. Accept Mediocrity – Wake up at 10. Drag yourself to work. Perform average. Strive only not to become the worst employee in your organization. Check your phone whenever you want. Binge watch on the weekends. Eat a donut daily. Do tons of drugs. Stay hip and cool. Shop & Party. 

It’s so easy to pick the right choice. I hope you choose wisely. 

And, I think there’s a notification on your phone’s screen. Don’t forget to check it.