Day 7 – Consistency

NaBloPoMo November 2016

I am uber talented. In everything I take up.

Something always prevents me from making it to the top. Even if I do make it, there is a nagging feeling of being unaccomplished. Why?

I do everything in bursts, not streaks. Example : I started NaBloPoMo and fizzled out on Day 3.

Streaks happen when the doer is consistent. Here’s a piece I wrote in January about how being consistent can bring about a major change.

As I mentioned before, I am preparing for pre-nationals in 10m  Air Pistol to be held in mid-November. Our coach has started a new program where we train in group. First he gives us individual targets (e.g- Shoot 46 in 5 shots, each shot has a maximum value of 10 points). Then we are divided into teams and have to shoot the given number of shots to the best of our capacity.

One day, I consistently shot well and won a tie-breaker by scoring a perfect 10 (bullseye). Our team won. Next day, barring some problem with the weapon, I shot okay-ish. The highlight was – a perfect 10, which I followed up with a measly 6. A 6! At this level, I should not be going beyond 8 and this was in the white-space. Anyhoo, our team won one round and next round – we at least did not end up in the bottom.

Why am I telling you all of this? Because despite having all the potential and skill required for a certain task, I often fall short of giving my best to it (forget doing best). And the reason of falling short is – not giving enough time daily to the activity. Be it shooting, writing or my in-pipeline start-up – everything needs chunks of time DAILY from my routine. Instead, I end up doing stupid mundane things like doing the dishes, making food or organising the closet. Or in extreme cases of escapist moods – I can be found dozing off or reading. Grrr…

Coach’s advice : Do not belittle yourself. Pat your back every time you do well. You have to practice daily to achieve a certain level of confidence. But, if you are not coming to practice regularly, you can still shoot well if you believe in whatever training you have managed to do.

Bottomline : You can get away with being irregular, if you manage to do the required thing on time and with quality. To do this, you have to believe in yourself. Because (and I realise this at this precise moment) regularity or repetitions are different from being consistent. Consistency is performing well regardless of how regularly you do the activity. There is a shadow of doubt though – can you really be consistent without DAILY practice? Of course, there is a bare minimum level you need to attain first. After that, you can be fairly good, even great, if you have ‘just enough’ practice and a truck load of confidence (not over confidence).

Do you have difficulty in being consistent or regular? How do you deal with it?

It’s okay if you tell me this is a pretty pointless post, but this self-talk at least makes me post the Day 7 NaBloPoMo post.

DAY 21 : What three lessons do you want your children to learn from you?

It is difficult to pick only 3 lessons from the truck loads that occur to me every minute of the day. I shall prioritise though :

  1. Do not be bogged by the habit of procrastination. It can be overcome.
    Dear children, if you ever read this, you’ll know that this post was supposed to be written on 21 July 2015. Instead, it comes on 23 September 2016. Reason? Procrastination.
    I procrastinate for one or more of these reasons :

    1. Often, procrastination is a result of a deep desire for perfection. If you are old enough, you will understand what I am saying.
    2. I put off things which are important to me, but may seem unimportant to the family. I do this to accommodate the demands of the mundane. Postpone that painting I so want to finish, for the dishes that need to be done. This is my example, you will have yours.
    3. I am afraid of gratification. You may have heard of people who are too afraid to acknowledge that they are happy, fearing they will be plunged into deep sadness soon. This leads me to delay doing things I love to do. An equally possible reason I procrastinate is – I try to do the thing I want to do so earnestly, at the last – like a dessert.
    4. What about the things I don’t want to do but have to do? You’d think I procrastinate the most on them. Nope. Think hard and you’ll notice I put off things I love to do rather than have to do. One exception is workout. I know I have to workout, but put if off every morning and then every evening.

      Have I overcome all this? Well, not all at the moment that I am writing this. But I have overcome parts of it. I have let go of the heavy expectations of perfection from myself. I have realised that I can find time pockets if not hours on end to do things which I love to do – I read while waiting for the cab to arrive, I read while travelling in the cab. I am not afraid to be happy doing what I love to do – it doesn’t matter if my activity is termed useful or a waste of time by the family. I have learned to enjoy things I don’t want to do but have to do. If you do anything, even an unwanted chore with concentration, it gives you a peace of mind which will be useful when you do things you want to do. You will find that if you do the dishes well, you will enjoy your reading break more. Otherwise the reading will be harried.
      So yes, voluntary or involuntary procrastination is curable.

  2. Bullies will be there in every walk of life. Learn when to ignore and when to confront them.
    The first bullies come disguised in the form of friends. The second walk up to you in the form of authority. They can be people you can avoid and they can be people you cannot avoid at any cost. They may be temporary fixtures or permanent relations in your life. The worst bullies are those who pretend to be your well-wishers. The more tolerable are the ones who openly impose restrictions on you in schools, colleges, workplaces and your social circles.
    In my case, I am brought up to be sensible to the feelings of others, I unknowingly get bullied emotionally and confirm to others’ notions of life just to avoid confrontation. Physical bullying probably ends at school level and can be dealt with if you talk to your parents. However, emotional bullying is a bit complex. I have found a way to deal with it by shielding myself against the hurt expressed by the bully, at the risk of appearing cold and rude. This has to be done in moderation and you need to remember not to turn into an island by meting out the same treatment to your real well-wishers. The other kind of bullies – the authorities – believe you me – you just have to complain to the higher authority and/or stand your ground, look them in the eye and say, ‘Hey, dude, Sir/Madam, this ain’t gonna work on me. You will have to do the right thing, and by the book. And if you think of threatening me with consequences, well, I am ready to face them. At least I won’t have to submit to your bullying.’
    Now the best part of my advice – a very few bullies fall into ‘the ones to be taken seriously’ category. You can easily deal with the rest by just ignoring them. Learn that from me, I am perhaps the most skilled confrontation avoider you’ll ever meet.
  3. Be friends with nature and animals.
    You know children, as you grow up, you’d think the world becomes simpler, the exams stop, the pressure to do well in studies and sports is lessened, the money is easy and you are at liberty to stay up well past your bed-time and get up whenever you want to. This doesn’t happen. At least not in the way you might picture it. I longed to grow up so that I’d be taken seriously by others. Even that doesn’t happen. If it happens in your case, well and good. If not, you will be stressed more often than not and will need an outlet to vent out and calm down. The best place for this is anywhere close to nature. Even your balcony garden counts. You also need to understand and form bonds with animals around you (not only the humans) – so that you can retreat to them, talk to them and learn the art of life from them. Mark my words, when happy or sad, when elated or depressed, when rich or bankrupt – go close to nature and animals – your spirits will be grounded or uplifted – as per need. Great balancers, these.

This was all my advice for now. And I am positive you’ll find I do follow my own advice, when you will be reading this.

Day 23 : A letter to someone, anyone.

This letter is to my inner critic.

Hello Critic,

I will not give you the privilege of addressing you as my inner editor. No. You are the critic in me. You are a perfectionist. At least, you think you are.

They say writer’s block happens because of you; because you think I do not have anything worthwhile to write on. They say the only way to deal with you is to write to you and overcome the fear of facing you. Alright, here I am.

I am here to tell you – judge me all you want! I am not afraid to face you anymore. I have gone through my earlier blog posts, my journal entries, my short stories, my poems, my tweets and even my Facebook posts several times. I have never felt that I don’t write anything worthwhile. I have seen Ratatouille and know what critics can do to an artist. I am not letting you get to me like Anton Ego.

You are a good fellow. However, you are not well read. How do I know? Because I am not well read! Ha! Well, I won’t hinder your progress, now that I have decided to focus on reading too. Do not think this is to give you more ammunition to blast my works before they find their way to paper. It is to boost my confidence in my capabilities as a writer. So be prepared to be surprised by the quality of my work.

It’s not that I can do away with you entirely. Even if on most days you are the nemesis of my work, I need you to keep me grounded. If I know that you are not there to screen my work, I’d think I am perfect and won’t feel the need to write. I need you to motivate me to write, to prove to you that I can and I will! I need you like Buck from Ice Age 3 needs Rudy.

So we make an open pact, eh? You don’t rubbish my work before it is written and I don’t ignore your critique after it is given. After all, to survive any longer, you too need writers like me to laud or trash.

Here’s to constructive criticism.

Your writer self,
Meta Wordcoiner.

First ramble

February is a month of rambling. So I have heard, from the bird Lady at Shail’s nest. I am going to participate this good year. What better than letting off some steam and even getting page visits for them. All goodie…

So the first ramble is about procrastination. Hear you…you evil streak in my mind…why are you so perseverant even though thy name is procrastination? Before you assume things, let me bring you up to speed. I have stopped procrastinating in the literal sense since a long time, but I still tend to put off certain things – like writing – to accommodate more pressing things….like doing the dishes, or the laundry. 

Since I have left my day job, I have all the time in the world. Little do you know – when you have money, you have no time for your passions. When you have time, you have no money for your passions. It’s one daunting inverse relationship. Well, well, who am I fooling but myself? Writing needs no money! 

Anyhoo…I have not procrastinated on reading neither – finished some 5 books. Hope writing picks up something from it. I think I am secretly waiting for a fictional age in my head when everyone will take me seriously enough if I write a full fledged book. That’s a good reason for procrastinating eh…NO. I put my foot down, now! 

Ramblings shall mark an end to writing procrastination.

It’s a deal!

Yesterday, out of nowhere, I and Pritam Barhate [he writes!] struck an impromptu deal.

The deal :

He is on a strict diet and as long as he sticks to it, I will write a page-a-day. For every page I write, he will write one too!

Seems like an exponential equation eh? So here I am, typing the first page in the series.

We have lost track of how many times he went on a diet, I vowed to write a novel and he declared that he shall finish his book. All these declarations made independently of the other declarations. Now, a dependency has been introduced in the picture – in the form of ‘THE DEAL’. (Quite ironic that it anagrams to EL DEATH).

The deal about deals is, if you make them subconsciously, they never materialize. You have to be serious when you say yes. Which I almost never am 😛 as you might have observed from my twice stalled Project 365.

One of the biggest factors from a deal going off-road is not the willingness to complete it, it is a nasty trait called Procrastination. I have never procrastinated in my professional life, and am the complete opposite when it comes to my interests – read >> writing a novel.

One of the reasons may be that my profession happens to be perfectly aligned with my favorite hobby – interacting with people, exercising my brain cells over a developing app idea and etching out a POA in ‘my writing style’! (I don’t need to indulge in hobbies separately, you see 🙂 )

The above circumstances are something I share with Pritam Barhate (for those who do not know him, he is my mentor from my previous job. We call him the coding guru, a title which he politely refuses to acknowledge.). Time and again, he has given me reason to write a blog post and vice-versa (when he wrote in reply to my Naam naa hota to kya hota).

This deal has high chances of working out, for

1) He is my mentor and one cannot let a mentor down. 2) Similar circumstances make us allies rather than rivals in the deal 😀

So yeah, it’s a deal!