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How can someone who has underachieved for years change their

course and exceed their potential?

DJ Patil, U.S. Chief Data Scientist


Written Sep 16 Featured in Forbes Upvoted by Anita Sanz, psychologist
I was about as under achieving as you could get.

Barely graduated from high school. Suspended, arrested, etc.

Luckily I went to an awesome community college and they turned me around.

The full story is here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/2...

Given one of the suggestions, heres the speech:

Failure is our only option

Have you ever been in one of those moments where you realized that gee, whats the harm if
I take the quick shortcut, whos going to notice? (of course none of you did anything like
that while here at Maryland) Well, I decided to take the opportunity to give myself an edge.
As a Silicon Valley tech guy, I decided to use technology and the world to help me prepare
for this commencement address. So, I asked people on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and
Quora to figure out what wise words you should be imparted with and also what they
remember from their graduation speakers. You know what most people remember?
Nothing! Zilch! Nada!

So knowing this, I realized, I can say anything I want! Although, Im sure someone will post
this on YouTube. But seriously, as I got feedback from around the world and wracked my
brain about what to say, one theme began to emerge.

On your day of such great accomplishment, Id like to talk about something we rarely
celebrate: failure. And why we are counting on you to fail. Now bear with me, and youll see
where Im going.

Were all products of failure. You dont remember it, but your parents definitely do. From
the first time you rolled over, to your first steps. These successes were a culmination of
failures. Need further proof? Make sure to ask them over dinner to recount your potty
training.

The funny thing is you can read all about me in the bio or my LinkedIn profile and youll see
that I received my Ph.D in Applied Math from here 11 years ago. Ive worked for the
Department of Defense and been to Kazakhstan. But you wont see all the failures that made
up the journey. What you cant see from my Facebook or LinkedIn page are whats behind
the most important moments of success all the failures.

While growing up in California, to simply say I was bad at Math would have been an
understatement. My freshman year of high school, I was kicked out of my algebra class and
had to spend the summer retaking it. This (unfortunately) would become my regular
paradigm for the next few years. By the time high school graduation came around, two
things happened to me.

First, I almost didnt graduate. For the record, I did actually graduate, but it was only
because a very kind administrator took pity on me and changed my failing grade in
chemistry to a passing one.

Second, I got a girlfriend. Since I didnt get into any of the colleges I liked, I opted to go to
the local Junior College with her. Do you remember that moment when you first got here
and tried to figure out what classes youre supposed to take? Well, I had a winning strategy.
I enrolled in all the same classes my she was taking.

One problem, the first class was Calculus. Wow, did I get my ass kicked that first day. It was
then I realized that I wasnt just stupid; I was really stupid.

As I looked around at everyone else nodding along with the instructor (including my
girlfriend), it dawned on me, I hadnt failed because of the teachers or the material. No, I
failed because I didnt try. I didnt even put my self in a position to fail.

I was fundamentally afraid of being uncomfortable and having to address the


failure that comes with it.

To me it was like when you get to the top of the high dive, walk out the edge, looking down
that the clear blue water (you can even see the dark lines at the bottom of the pool) everyone
telling you to jump, and then running back down the steps. I couldnt commit.

So what did I do about my Calculus class? I committed. Instead of dropping out (my usual
method), I went straight to the local library and checked out all the high school math books
I could find. I then spent the next week going through them. And it was awesome. Suddenly
I was failing at a problem, figuring out what I did wrong, and then course correcting. This
feeling of being able to iterate was very new to me.

Now, five weeks later that same girlfriend asked me one afternoon why I was spending so
much time on my math homework. It was then that I uttered the fateful words that I will
never forget:

I dont know Its not like Im going to become a math major or something

Much to my great surprise, I ended up becoming a Math major. (Actually, I think my


parents are still surprised). Then the same thing happened when I got here to the University
of Maryland for my graduate work. I got my ass kicked by everyone, again. I failed my first
graduate class and even got the 2 lowest score on my first Ph.D. qualifying exam. (The
lowest score was actually by a guy who didnt even show up.) I really, really wanted to quit,
but that wouldnt be the uncomfortable path.

So I stayed in the game by failing, getting back up, and continuing to push forward. It was
probably one of the toughest and loneliest years of my life. The next time the qualifiers came
around, however, I had the highest scores.
The big take away I have from this is that tenacity and failure go hand in hand. Without
both, you cant move forward.

Now its easy to say go forth and fail! But thats not really that useful. Whats most
important is how you fail. The best method is to fail fast. To help explain it, I want to tell you
about one of my most recent experiences at a company called LinkedIn. Some of you may
have gotten a few emails from us

LinkedIn wasnt the first social network in a very competitive space nor did we know exactly
where we were going. It was an extremely tough fight. What allowed us to succeed was our
mantra of failing fast in order to survive. We would build products quickly, test them out,
many of them failing, then learning about went wrong, and then trying again. In fact, if you
looked at all the projects, code, design, and peoples time that was invested into building the
company most people would be shocked by how much didnt work.

As my good friend Reid Hoffman, one of the founders of LinkedIn, says: Entrepreneurship
is jumping off a cliff and assembling a plane on the way down.

I think thats a great analogy. First because its a statement that you have to fully commit by
throwing yourself at the problem. Second, to build that plane in time, you have to be
comfortable failing, learning and repeating the cycle until you accomplish your goal.

If there is one thing that you take away today, remember this fail quickly, dont fail slow. I
know it can sound a bit contrarian or even conflicting, but your goal is to move from a path
of eventual failure to a path of success through iteration.

For the clich, but very necessary sports analogy you are aiming for a home-run by taking
as many chances at bat as you can.

Its essential you take risks, just make sure you have put yourself in a position to fail quickly.
Failing slow is painful for you and painful for your loved ones to watch. Its like watching
your best friend being in a relationship that is clearly doomed, but they just wont listen.

So whats the worlds advice (remember I cheated) on how to achieve success though
failure?

First and foremost, find your passion and work on what you love. There is a good chance
many of you dont know what your passion is yet. (Thats okay, after all, it too me over a
decade to find out math is my passion). In fact, if you analyze LinkedIns data, the trends
show that your generation will change jobs more times than any previous generation. Thats
great in my opinion! You should try lots of things out. Why? Once you find your passion,
youll never give up, take no for an answer, or have the patience for those that stand in your
way. Youll become an entrepreneur in your own right, by making your passion a reality.

Now before we go on, we need to clear up something on entrepreneurship. Some people


think entrepreneurship means going off and doing a startup. I think those are people who
have either watched The Social Network one too many times or are following Facebooks
stock price a little too closely.
My definition of entrepreneurship is finding what you believe in, and creating something
meaningful by failing at it over and over again until you eventually figure out how to make it
a reality.

When a few of us had the idea to build the first digital library in Iraq, it wasnt because we
wanted to profit at it or to have an IPO, it was because there was a need. People were 30
years out of date (to put that in context, 30 years is just when the computer mouse was
becoming a reality). And to figure out how to make it work, we had to try a massive number
of things (most that didnt work). But it became our passion and we refused to accept defeat.
Today that digital library is one of the cornerstones of the Iraqi education system.

Secondly, surround yourself with people you value and those who value you. Just like your
body responds poorly to junk food (ok maybe in 10 years when it responds poorly to junk
food), your mind and energy levels also respond to the company you keep. Keep the
company of those that inspire you to do better, the people that arent afraid to tell you the
unvarnished truth. It will hurt to hear, but it will allow you to iterate faster. Embrace
those that will pick you up when you are down, because they will become your greatest allies
in life.

Thirdly, experience other peoples lives and continue to share your own. Youve already
done this. I remember many late nights cutting across the Chapel on the way to Wawa being
in deep conversations with people who would become my closest friends and trusted
advisors. You all know what Im talking about. As you went through this journey, you
opened up to each other. You shared your dreams, passions, heartaches and failures with
those around you. Dont let that go away. Thats where you learned about the human
condition and what it means to have true relationships. The virtual ones will keep you in
contact, but they dont mean anything unless you have a common foundation of shared
experiences.

Lastly, strive to regularly put yourself in uncomfortable situations.

The world is changing as we speak. Right now there are two people in a garage with a dog
(dont ask me why there is a dog, but there always seems to be one) creating the next
iPhone, Facebook, Google. Those of you that are graduating today with your undergraduate
degrees, you are the first generation to go through your entire social years (puberty
onwards) with Facebook. During your entire educational experience youve had access to
Google, mobile phones, and the Internet. And yet already during your time in college you
have seen the introduction of the tablet. The notion of using a desktop or a laptop is already
outdated to any preschooler. Given this rapid pace of change, the only advice that I can give
you to stay on top of the curve is to keeplearning. This means putting yourself in
uncomfortable situations where you fail and subsequently teaching yourself new skills as a
result.

Why is this so important?

Class of 2012, you are all about to embark on your next great journey. While many of you
will travel far and wide, we are all counting on you to fail fast. While our society is moving
forward faster than ever before, we are also facing a world with massive challenges.

- Our health care system is going through a great debate.


- Clean water is rapidly becoming a luxury.

- We know the importance of education, but the majority of the world is restricted from it.

- The capital and human costs associated with keeping our nation safe continues to rise

- And, we have a disparity in the rights, both moral and physical, for all humans both here
and abroad.

The solutions to these problems wont come from just having debates, relying on
technology, or even worse, pushing the inevitable on to the next generation. The resolutions
to our challenges will come through the process of trying, failing quickly, and then trying
again with increased resolve.

Finally, a graduation speech wouldnt be complete without this most critical advice. Wear
sunscreen. Yes, its the advice that is given over and over, but there is truth in it. If youre
stuck in bed with a cold, or a bad back, the world wont stop and wait for you. In fact, many
of the best leaders I know, take religious care of their bodies. The race is long and your body
has to last for it.

There you have it my advice to you. We love to say things like Failure is not an option.
But believe me, the most important thing the University of Maryland taught me is, Failure,
is our only option.

So if you can only remember one thing from this speech; remember: Every failure is an
opportunity to succeed. Fail fast, dont fail slow.

Class of 2012 this shared experience at college will always bind you together, and on this
fantastic day remember that your success will be determined by how rapidly you learn from
you failures.

Congratulations class of 2012, I wish you a future of fast failures!

PLUS, MINUS, EQUAL

I asked Stephen Dubner, author of Freakonomics, how much he remembers when he reads
a book. I thought he would answer something like 1020%.

He said, 1 or 2% tops.

I thought it was just me. I thought I had the worst memory in the world and I couldnt
remember anything. I thought that made me stupid.

Now I do this every time I meet someone, every time I read a book, every time I take a
photo, have a conversation, listen to a story, have a bad experience, etc.

Have one takeaway. Say it out loud even, I am taking away X. And say out loud X.

Two more quick stories.

Sergey Brin used to interview every applicant of Google, when it was much smaller.

I would know within seconds if I was going to hire the person. But still, he was stuck in the
interview for an hour even if he already knew.

So I would try to learn one thing from each applicant.

Another story:

Frank Roberts, martial arts instructor says you need a plus, minus, equal to get better.
This is my one main takeaway from Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday.

A PLUS is what you learn from. He meant it to be an instructor. But Im going to change
that to mean anything you can have one takeaway from.

An EQUAL is someone who can challenge you. Im going to change that to mean, this is
the reason your one takeaway makes you better.

A MINUS is someone you teach. Lets keep that. The best way to remember your one
takeaway is to teach it to one person.

SoOne takeaway in every situation.

Plus, Minus, Equal.

Today I saw a guy selling shirts out of his car.

I got one takeaway from him: how to set up a pop-up store.

I found a way to use it: I took a photo of him and told his story on instagram (he was a
prosecutor who got sick of chasing drug addicts and felt his life would be better if he was
creative).

Im telling the story to you. Pursue your creativity above everything else. Life will be better.
136.7k Views View Upvotes Answer requested by Anil Mohandas

What psychological tricks and hacks are useful to know?

Shahzeb Ahmed, Founder, ZahsLine.com, Premium Shoes Fashion Brand

Written Sep 24
The Benjamin Franklin Effect

The Misconception: You do nice things for the people you like and bad things to the
people you hate.

The Truth: You grow to like people for whom you do nice things and hate people you
harm.

Turn Haters into Friends by Asking Them for a Favor

Benjamin Franklin knew how to deal with haters.

Born in 1706 as the eighth of 17 children to a Massachusetts soap and candlestick maker, the
chances Benjamin would go on to become a gentleman, scholar, scientist, statesman,
musician, author, publisher and all-around general bad-ass were astronomically low, yet he
did just that and more because he was a master of the game of personal politics.

Franklin set out to turn his hater into a fan, but he wanted to do it without paying any
servile respect to him. Franklins reputation as a book collector and library founder gave
him a standing as a man of discerning literary tastes, so Franklin sent a letter to the hater
asking if he could borrow a selection from his library, one which was a very scarce and
curious book. The rival, flattered, sent it right away. Franklin sent it back a week later with
a thank you note. Mission accomplished.
The next time the legislature met, the man approached Franklin and spoke to him in person
for the first time. Franklin said the hater ever after manifested a readiness to serve me on
all occasions, so that we became great friends, and our friendship continued to his death.

What exactly happened here? How can asking for a favor turn a hater into a fan? How can
requesting kindness cause a person to change his or her opinion about you? The answer to
what generates The Benjamin Franklin Effect is the answer to much more about why you do
what you do.

What should one do in their 20s to avoid regrets in their 30s and 40s?

Lukas Schwekendiek, Self-Made Life Coach, Writer and High-Performance Coach

Written Sep 24

There are thousands of things you can do that will make you avoid regret little by little, but
nothing will be as strong as these 4 things that will completely eliminate regret from your
life:

1. Start doing what you are afraid of. Be courageous enough to do some scary things. I
do not just mean sky-diving or asking a hot person out on a date. But
something really scary!
Try out a new job, go to a country and live there for a year, or completely change careers to
what you want, no matter how scary it is! Right now you have the time to explore yourself,
your interests and everything that you might have an affinity for.

At no other point in your life do you have as much freedom as when you are in your 20s.
You can screw up everything and still be able to live an amazing life! So go explore! Do the
things that really terrify you. Even if you fail it will not matter, but if you do not do them
now, you never will.

2. Never settle. If there is something you want, then go and get it. Period. Do not settle on
things you want because you are too afraid, too comfortable or because it is too difficult.

See a expensive sweatshirt in the store that looks really incredible but dont have the
money? Find out a way to make more! Fall in love with a girl/guy that is way out of your
league? Learn more about relationships and become someone they cannot say no to.

Whatever it is: Never give up on it. That is the biggest difference between successful
individuals and everybody else. While normal people give up in the first couple of weeks of
working towards something, successful people might spend 20 years or more until they get
what they want.

That is because they do not allow themselves to give up on what truly matters. That is how
most of them got such amazing relationships, jobs that they love to no end, and lives that we
all wish we could have.

No matter what it takes, if you want it, go and get it. Do not settle on some shitty job. Do not
settle on a relationship that is sub-par. And do not settle for an average life! You can have so
much more and you deserve so much more if you just keep pushing for it! But you cannot
give up! NO. MATTER. WHAT!

3. Challenge yourself. During most of our lives we get stuck at one point or another. This
often happens when we first get our real job and then we hardly ever leave it. And even if
we do leave it, we hardly ever go up the corporate ladder and improve.

Some of us may get promotions and start to move ahead, but most of us stay in the same
place. This is a killer when it comes to both motivation and happiness, as we get very
stressed and depressed when we see that our lives have stagnated.

And the only way to get rid of this stagnation is to truly push ourselves. Challenging
ourselves in new ways to progress is the best way to avoid regret of not doing enough and to
keep moving forward in life, giving you a feeling of meaning and value.

In your 20s you should challenge yourself to the highest limits you can. Train your body,
expand your mind, and learn as many skills as you can. Challenge your fears, conquer your
limitations and progress in all areas of your life so you learn how to keep doing it for the rest
of your life. Which will stop you from stagnating, meaning you will always move closer and
closer to your desired future.

4. Trust in your abilities to figure things out. With all the tips above come a lot of
different problems, most of which are fear-based. We are afraid to do scary things, work
through the hardships instead of settling and challenging ourselves in new ways. Because, in
the end, we have no idea whether it will all work or not.

So the most important thing you should always keep in the back of your mind is the fact that
you have the abilities and capabilities to figure things out. You are smarter, more powerful
and more creative than you give yourself credit for. No matter what happens in your life,
you are equipped enough to deal with it all!

Believe in yourself and your ability to make things work out in some way. This will remove a
lot of fear from your life because you will simply stop worrying about the future, as there is
no reason to anymore. After all, you can figure out anything that comes your way, so why be
afraid of anything?

What can I do to make sure I am becoming the best version of myself?

Ken Mazaika, CTO @ Co-founder @ thefirehoseproject.com

Written Aug 15 Featured in Time

I identified 21 actions that could help you become the best version of yourself.

#19 is the most actionable of them all.

1. Just show up. Say you want to run a marathon, but have no prior experience. The first
step is lacing up you shoes and hitting the pavement. Even if you only make it half a mile on
your first training run, youll be about 2% closer to your ultimate goal than if you didnt put
in any work at all.

2. Start from the beginning. You dont just happen to stumble upon the best version of
yourself. You need to start from the beginning and take a high number of small steps in
order to become what you envision.
3. Recognize that the best version of yourself should be your vision, not
anybody elses. Dont waste energy trying to live up to what somebody else wants you to
be.

4. Stop looking for a secret trick. There is no miraculous shortcut to the better version
of yourself.

5. Use Twitter to network. Its never been easier to get in touch with influential and
powerful people. Earlier in my career, I reached out a high-level executive of a company I
was interested in. He was hosting an AMA session on Twitter. I asked him for advice about
how to get hired for his company, and not only did he reply with some helpful tips, he also
connected me with specific people at the company about an open position.

6. Dont sweat the details. Just make sure that youre moving in the right general
direction. You probably dont have the knowledge you need today to know the shortest path
to your happiness 5 years from today. But you probably have some idea about how to move
in the right direction. Take those steps.

7. Recognize the opportunity at hand. The Internet has fundamentally changed


everything. Previously, knowledge was locked away in the minds of industry experts and in
the pages of books that you needed to buy or check out from a library. But now, its easier
than ever to learn new skills. This is essential to becoming the best version of yourself.

8. Write on Medium. Translating your thoughts into written narratives pushes you to
think about the ideas in your head at a much deeper level.

9. Dont count the hours. They dont matter. Think about the last time you ran on a
treadmill. If you looked down at the timer every few seconds, you probably didnt enjoy your
run. In turn, this made it far more difficult to run far.

But what if you took the opposite approach? You plugged in your headphones, lost yourself
in the music, and took it one stride at a time.while resisting any temptation to look at the
timer at all. If you did this, you probably discovered that you enjoyed the run and made it
pretty far. Counting hours just slows you down from reaching your goal.

10. Accept help from other people. Dont let your pride get in the way. Most successful
people needed help along the way, too.

11. Launch a personal website. Maintaining an online presence of yourself pushes you
to become the best possible version of you.

12. Write answers on Quora. Quora is an amazing place to help and inspire people at
scale.

13. Ignore the social media scoreboard. People depict an extremely exaggerated
version of life on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and other social platforms. We only share
the good things, not the bad. So when you compare yourself to what you see on social media,
youre just hurting yourself.
14. Celebrate the small wins. Appreciating what youre doing in the presentgives you
the motivation to keep making strides towards your ultimate goal.

15. Stop pretending to know things you dont know. Youll never learn anything if
you pretend to already know everything.

16. Embrace failure. You cant become the best version of yourself by playing it safe.
Heck, getting fired could even be the best thing that ever happened to you, just look at Noah
Kagan (employee 30 at Facebook).

17. Call your family. This is just the decent thing to do. But you can also learn lessons
from your family that arent available through any Google search and arent accessible to
pretty much anyone else in the world.

18. Exercise in the morning. Once I started doing this in the morning, I became far
more focused and relaxed throughout the day. Science backs that up, too.

19. Create a side project. Doing something productive outside of work that makes you
happy helps you become a better version of yourself. So, whatever it is...an app, film, album,
whatever.start doing it on your nights and weekends. And who knows? It might just turn
into a full-time job that you love.

20. Help other people become the best version of themselves. Pay it forward.
Doing so keep you motivated on your own path, and youll find that the lasting connections
you build from helping others will greatly benefit you moving forward.

21. Launch your MVP early. If youre not satisfied with the current version of yourself,
then the quickest way to solve the problem is to begin working towards the better version
today. There is no right time to get started.

It can be tempting to think about the best version of yourself as some intangible point in the
future. You know, the one where you are:

More successful
Doing what you love
Existing as an overall happier person
You see your current self as the regular season, and youre just waiting for the playoffs to
start before giving it your all.

But if all you do is wait for the best version of yourself to happen, youre forever going to be
stuck with the current version.

So, how do you launch the best version of yourself? Start making progress today.

Sometimes, you need to make a big change in order to unleash the best version of
yourself. If one thought recently entered your mind, then its time to do it.

If you liked my answer, Id really appreciate it if you upvoted it by pressing the


light blue button below.
What are some uncommon habits that contribute to success?
Lukas Schwekendiek, Been studying Fortune 500 CEOs and how they reached success
with what they do

Written Sep 22 Featured in Inc and Time

1. Sacrificing important things. In the end, we all only have 24 hours in a day. To reach
success you have to sacrifice spending time on important things to be able to have more
time to spend on the things that really matter. Check every week what you can give up to
gain something better.

2. Believing what you want instead of what others tell you. Most beliefs people
hold are not based on fact and are not true whatsoever. Get into the habit of believing that
which empowers you and makes you feel amazing instead of the things that others tell you
to believe. If it is not certain what is real, believe the thing that makes you feel better.

3. Getting motivated. Motivation is an emotion that doesnt last, but that is of enormous
help. Find things that motivate you every day.

4. Thinking less. Thought usually hinders us in our actions. When we think about things
to do we tend to think about ways it can go wrong or reasons why we shouldnt do
something. Stop thinking and start doing.
5. Going to bed early. To be at the top of your game you need enough sleep. Yes,
successful people get up somewhere between 4 and 6 in the morning, but they can only do
that because they go to bed between 9 and 11 in the evening.

6. Keeping track of your progress. Even though you may believe that you know, unless
you can actually see the evidence in front of you, you will never know for sure. Know exactly
how you spend your time and how you are doing in your habits. If you are really motivated:
Graph it!

7. Having a clean space. Keep your apartment, room, and/or house clean. Leave as little
clutter as you can, and always take care of the mess right away. Anything that aids your
motivation and makes you feel great is worth doing.

8. Speaking only positively about your future. Say things as if they already
happened, or as if there is no way they will not happen. If you believe it is a fact that you will
get an amazing life, you will act accordingly and receive it.

9. Gratitude. Thank as many things and people as you can. Most successful people come
from a place where they had absolutely nothing, which is why they are grateful about every
little thing that they have. This makes even the most simple things special and amazing.

10. Doing it all. Whenever you see tips online, or hear about some great strategies, do
them all. You can never have enough of a good thing when it comes to reaching success.

11. Never giving up on what matters. If you want something, find a way to get it. Not
because you necessarily want that thing that bad, but instead because youabsolutely have
to prove to yourself that you can get whatever you set your mind to.

12. Doing what you said you would no matter what. Success comes from not giving
up halfway through. Everyone is on the way to be successful in what they do, but only 1% of
all people actually see it through. Do what you said you would. No matter what.

13. Spending more money on yourself. Not on beauty products, clothes or video
games, but instead on gathering information, finding connections and learning more
through books. Spend money on the only thing that lasts: Yourself.

14. Stop caring. Not only about the people around you, but also about whether or not you
will accomplish your goal. The less you care about it, the less stress you will experience
when you work, which will make your work more fun and you will get to success much faster
than you thought you could. Stop chasing it and you will get it.
What steps should I make if I want to develop my brain to the
maximum?

Supriya Rao, Engineer by profession, Psychologist by passion

Written Sep 26
1. Your brain can feel others pain as its own

When you are in pain, a set of neurons are fired in a specific area of your brain. Watching
others in distress can also fire the same set of neurons in us. We literally feel others pain
in our system. In the same way, doing small random acts of kindness towards others to
make them happy, releases endorphins in your brain. Endorphin is the pleasure hormone.

Scientists suggest that even watching someone else being kind can trigger endorphins. So be
kind. Result? Your brain is happy. The person receiving your kindness is happy. And people
watching you both are also happy.

2. For the brain, imaginary is real.


Imagined fears cause us the same degree of pain as real life situations, maybe more. Your
brain cant differentiate the fear it feels from imagining a spider, versus seeing one in reality.

Fear generates the stress hormone cortisol and the response hormone adrenaline. Cortisol
and adrenaline may be quite effective in assisting your body in a dangerous situation. They
shut down many less-priority but essential functions of the body and help save energy for
fight or flight. But again the brain cannot differentiate from a real danger and an imagined
worry. And 75% of our worries are imagined. Just imagine the amount of cortisol and
adrenaline in our bodies right now. Phew!

That is why self-help books go gaga over positive thinking. It is not a myth. It is a fact. Keep
your focus on good things as far as possible. If this is too much to ask for, at least do not go
about imagining problems where there are none.

3. The brain cannot tell emotional pain from physical ones.

Ah we know this one. Its scientifically proved that a heartbreak can cause the same degree of
pain as a broken bone. Only no one can see it.

Somehow knowing this brings relief. Emotional pain is very, very real. No matter what
people call you (cry-baby, drama-queen, sissy, womanish, unmanly etc) when it hurts from
the inside, it really does hurt bad. Do not question emotional pain (Why should I feel like
this? Why does it have to be me? Why do I make the same mistake a 100 times?). Do you
waste time questioning your pain when you have a fracture? (Why do I have a broken
bone? Why should it hurt so much? Why does it have to be me?). No. You go ahead and
plaster it. You give it healing time and it heals. Do the same with your emotional wounds.
Just go ahead and give it time to heal. Get out of your body and brains way of healing itself.
Dont keep digging for answers. They will come in time. First heal.

Compassion for others and gratitude for whatever you have in life, does a great deal of work
in shielding your brain from emotional pain. Try it. Today. Be a little kind. Say a small
prayer. Watch your brain swim in pleasure hormones.
Good luck!

Pictures/Content Outline Source: A Very Happy Brain by Dr. Amit Sood


What is the best habit you've taken up from another person?

Hector Quintanilla, 1% improvement every day = Compounding Improvement

Written Sep 15

I learned this habit during a very stressful situation.

I was reviewing a very detailed contract for a new construction building. The meeting room
was full with about 12 executives that represented different companies involved in the
project.

The meeting went much longer than expected. It was past 3 hours and we couldn't finish
with our goals. As everyone was getting more and more anxious, stress was taking over the
room.

I remember one top executive of the engineering firm excused himself every 30 to 40
minutes and walked out of the meeting room

5 or 6 minutes later he would walk in and be totally fresh and sharp. His
mood was relaxed and I could sense he was free from stress and with new
energy

We finally got past the long meeting. I was completely depleted of energy. I felt like I just
finished running a full marathon, yet this guy was fresh and ready to go for the next round

Excuse me I asked

Im curious what is it that you do every time you walk out of the meeting room? I can
clearly see how refreshed you are right after you drink whatever you're drinking.

Drinking ? He laughed out loud, No, I'm not drinking anything. I do some quick exercises
combined with deep breathing.

That's it? I asked amazed but, what is it? Could you please share your secrets?

Qigong exercises he said.

Qi-what? My mind just couldn't get it. I had no energy left in me. Q-I-G-O-N-G he
added.

He immediately started jumping in his place. Breathing heavily inhale with his nose exhaled
through his mouth. Small little jumps while swinging his arms back and forth.
He had a huge smile full of energy on his face.

He then stopped jumping and started swinging his body to the left and to the right while his
arms were swinging like an ape

He then raised his right knee and started balancing on one foot while slowly punching this
leg with his hands a balancing act then, the next knee and did the same.

He balanced forward and started punching his back while he continued breathing heavily.

He raised his right arm 90 degrees and with his left hand he would be punching the full
length of the arm.
He continued breathing heavily for a few more seconds while slightly bumping on his feet
and then he stopped still breathing heavily.

That's my secret! He said.

That's it? I asked with amazement.

Yes! I do this exercises every 40 to 50 minutes all over the day Specially when I'm sitting
for a long time. I also have a bottle of water with me. Hydrating the brain is huge. Always
drink water! He explained.

So I've tried this. It works! I'm working towards doing this as a regular habit, but whenever I
feel stressed or tiered I always remember this guy who taught me this ancient Asian
technique to energize our bodies.

Try it!

Picture credit and more information visit: Qigong for stress relief and health