How To Train Your Mind: Summary, Meditation, & How To 9x Your Productivity!

How To Train Your Mind Book

Lately I have been watching the show called “Life in Pieces“. It’s such a funny show I can just relax to when having dinner after a long day at work.

On one episode, one of the main characters tries to pickup meditating. However, after the first try, she gives up and starts playing video games on her phone instead.

She enjoys her “me time” so much that she doesn’t tell her family what she is really doing every time she excuses herself to go meditate. Eventually, her husband catches her playing, but instead of being upset with her, he joins her!

“Meditation is powerful, not in spite of being hard, it is powerful because it’s hard.”

How To Train Your Mind by Chris Bailey

Meditation is hard. When I meditate all these random thoughts come to my head, I fall asleep, I feel pain or start itching somewhere in my body, etc. I also try to convince myself why it’s ok to skip a day of meditating, including telling myself that I am too busy today or that this doesn’t really work.

It is hard to stick with it because the benefits of meditation are not something we can physically see and because the reward it’s not instantaneous. But, like my father used to tell me, “nothing good comes easy”. Meditation can make us have the ability to control our mind. That is like having a superpower if you ask me!

A few weeks ago I came across the audiobook “How To Train Your Mind” by Chris Bailey. It’s such an easy book to listen to, it’s short, and it will teach you everything a beginner needs to know about meditating.

Book Summary

Below I will share with you some of my favorite lessons I learned from the audiobook.

Insightful Ideas:

  1. We have less control over our minds than we believe we do. Do you believe you have complete control over your mind? Try sitting down and focusing on your breath for 5 mins. It’s not easy, is it?
  2. About 80% of our thoughts about ourselves are negative. Imagine if we talked to our friends the way we talk to ourselves, we would have few friends left. Those thoughts, like movies, are not real. Fortunately, meditation lets us change the channel.
  3. We get used to what we have, so overtime our possessions provide us with less happiness. Then, we need to buy something else in order to get that jolt of happiness again. Ex. economy vs business traveler seats.

“Productivity is not about how much we produce, it’s about how much we accomplish…productive work is work that makes a difference.”

How To Train Your Mind by Chris Bailey

Benefits of Meditating:

  1. Meditating will help you notice the negative thoughts in your head.
  2. Meditating will help you experience flow. Flow is a state of mind where you become completely absorbed in your present task, and you accomplish a lot in a small amount of time.
  3. For each minute we spend meditating we make back 9 minutes, because we are that much focused and productive (Note: Past a certain level of daily meditation, the return on your time will begin to fall. The point of diminishing returns is about 30 minutes.)
  4. Meditation helps not only with emotional and mental health, but also with physical pain.
  5. Meditation lets us experience more moments in life. It helps us remember more moments. We enjoy life more. It helps us fully experience and focus on the present moment. Therefore, it’s like if we were living longer.

Tips for Meditating:

  1. Don’t worry about whether you are doing it right. When your mind wanders, just bring it back. It is in the act of repeating falling down and getting back up that you will increase how much control you have over your attention span and awareness of where your mind is wondering too.
  2. Meditation is just about focusing on your breath.
  3. You need something to sit on and a timer.
  4. The 2 minute rule: meditate for at least 2 minutes, you can stop after that if you like, but never do less than 2 mins.
  5. Regularity matters more than for how long you meditate. Consistency trumps duration.
  6. Meditate the time of day when you have the most energy, and when your mind can be the stillest. Are you a morning person or a night owl?

The book “Train Your Mind” by Chris Bailey covers everything you need to know to get you started meditating.

Whenever I don’t feel like meditating, I remind myself that for every minute I spend meditating, I will make back 9 minutes. That thought usually gives me the extra push I need, and after I am done, I feel so much better.

What holds you back from meditating?


Learn To Be A Fool. Why You Should Consider It To Become A Better You.

learn-to-be-a-fool

I often like to visit Tim Ferris’ website for interesting blog posts to read. I noticed a new one called “The Master and the Fool”. Just the title was so intriguing!

“The Master and the Fool” is actually the title of the epilogue of the book “Mastery” by George Leonard, which Ferris obtained permission from the publishing house to post on his website.

The story is about an experience the author had with a mountain man from the Los Padres National Wilderness Area.

The mountain man wanted to know “how [he could] be a learner”.

To which the author responded:

“It’s simple. To be a learner, you’ve got to be willing to be a fool.”

“Mastery” by George Leonard

When I was about 7 or 8 years old, I remember being in the car with my parents and older brothers. I was asking my dad a lot of questions, and by his responses it was clear that he was getting annoyed with me.

One of my brothers told my dad “Let her ask questions, she is in that stage of life where she is learning and wants to know about everything”.

(That memory always has seemed so insignificant to me, and I’ve always wondered why is it one of the ones I remember.)

Unfortunately, it is common that as grow older we began to lose that curiosity we have as kids. We stop becoming eager to gain knowledge. And we stop asking questions or suggesting ideas out of fear of looking stupid, or like a fool.

Worst of all, just like my dad in that memory of mine, we get annoyed at those asking us questions to get knowledge out of us.

“How many times have you failed to try something new out of fear of being thought silly? How often have you censored your spontaneity out of fear of being thought childish?”

“The Master and the Fool” by Time Ferris

Personally, I think that one of the reasons why I have been successful at school and in my work is because I am the kind of person that asks questions and I’m not afraid to feel stupid for asking them.

On my last day of high school, I went to get my transcript and noticed that I was #1 in my school. I walked back to the classroom and told two of my teachers that were there.

One of them said “You look so giddy!”.

“What does giddy mean?” I asked.

Here was the #1 student asking what the word “giddy” means. (I feel so embarrassed now that I think back to that day, and I ask myself “how did I not know what giddy” means?”)

The truth is, it’s exactly that kind of attitude the reason why I was #1 in my school. I could have ignored the comment, pretended I understood, and changed the subject.

But instead, I wanted to know, to learn, and I didn’t care about looking like a “fool”, even on my last day of school.

Who knew that the word “fool” could have such a positive connotation!

How are you going to make a fool out of yourself today?


What If Everybody Had 3 Lives? But You Only Have One Life Left!

Jumanji movie. Spencer only has one life left.

This past weekend I watched the movie “Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle”. I was pleasantly surprised by how funny and entertaining it was.

The movie is about a group of four high school kids that find an old video game console and get sucked inside the game. In order to be able to return to the real world, they need to beat it.

The problem is that just like in a video game, they have 3 lives, and if they lose them all, it is game over.

When the kids make it to the last level, they all only have 1 life left. Therefore, staying alive is imperative now more than ever.

To end the game, Spencer needs to place a stone in a statue, but first, he must get around a pack of vicious jaguars.

Spencer becomes terrified and tells his friend Fridge that he is not brave enough to do so.

“It’s a lot easier to be brave when you have lives to spare. It’s a lot harder… when you only have one life,” says Spencer.

“We always only have one life, man. Okay? That’s all we get. That’s how it works. The question is, how are you gonna live it? Which guy are you gonna decide to be?” replied Fridge.

– “Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle” movie

When I heard this, so many questions rushed through my head.

How would I live my life differently if I had 3 lives instead of 1? What risks would I take? (Personally, I would try skydiving, and I would have for sure traveled alone a lot more!)

However, that also makes me wonder if I would be a lot more reckless with my life, knowing that if I lose a life, I would still have 2 more. Would I speed up on the freeway just to feel that rush of adrenaline? The world would definitely be a more dangerous place if everyone thought this way.

Then I looked at the other side of the coin. The part when Fridge said, “we always only have one life…how are you going to live it?”

And this may sound stupid, but I then thought to myself “I only have 1 life left”.

For a second I felt fear, not to die necessarily, but fear of not being able to accomplish the things I want to do, fear of not being the best version of me, fear of not doing enough good in this world.

I think it would do us all good to remind ourselves once in a while that we only get 1 chance in life. And so we should not waste it.


I Was Addicted To Saving Time. How I Learned To “Lose It.”

dont-save-time-lose-it

How wrong have I been! I’ve been searching for fulfillment in all the wrong places!

I came across a quote today which hit me like a ton of bricks:

“May I venture at this point to state the greatest, the most important, the most useful rule of education? It is: Do not save time, but lose it.”

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau in Emile, or On Education

This quote is from the Emile, or On Education written by Jean-Jacques Rousseau in 1762. It would later serve as the inspiration for what became a new national system of education in France.

Emile, or On Education “provides the philosophical groundwork for a radical critique of the contemporary cultural framework that supports homework, standardized testing, and the competitive extracurricular activities that consume children’s time” (Wiley Online Library).

For years I’ve been trying to figure out how to “save time”.

I follow YouTube channels and read books about productivity. And I complain to mother nature why she only gave us 24 hours in a day.

I need to work, I need to study, I need to spend time with my partner, I need to follow the stock market, I need to clean, etc. But the guilty feeling if I am not doing anything, is the worst.

It’s no wonder I feel this way though. I remember my science middle school teacher telling me that I would burn out if I kept trying so hard in school. In high school, I had all AP classes. In college, I studied Architecture, where the motto was “sleep is a privilege, not a right.”

In other words, I’ve always been busy, with no time to not do anything.

So what did Rousseau mean by that we should try to “lose time”. In my view, examples of losing time would be: taking random walks, meditating, or staring silently into space.

The funny thing is that taking walks, meditating, and being bored is exactly the medicine I need for my mental health.

I used to tell myself I had no time to meditate, until I read this in Tim Ferris’ book Tools of Titans:

“If you don’t have 10 minutes, you don’t have a life… don’t have 20 minutes to delve into yourself through meditation, then that means you need 2 hours”

— Russell Simmons

That quote by Russell Simmons is what first made me realize I was doing something wrong.

Take note, to “lose time” and to “waste time” (ex. playing video games), is not the same thing.

When we “lose time”, is when gain focus, we get our best ideas, and we reconnect with ourselves and our surroundings.

I challenge you to be brave enough to start “losing time” with me. It is not easy, as trying to “save time” is an addiction.


Next: Read my summary of my favorite book on meditation called “How To Train Your Mind” by Chris Bailey.


How To Unplug For A Few Minutes And Reset Yourself!

Just yesterday I was writing in my journal about how I have been feeling like there is something that I want, and I keep searching for it, but I don’t even know what I’m even looking for.

I watch Youtube videos about productivity and finance, I listen to podcasts and audiobooks, I read blog posts and magazines. I do this every day, on top of work and study.

I feel like I always need to be doing something or learning something, or else I’m wasting time and I feel guilty.

I know that this is an unhealthy feeling.

That I’m suffering from information overload. I know that there is no secret hidden in a podcast episode that will instantly make me rich or successful.

I love learning new things, it makes me happy, so I will never stop doing that. However, I do recognize that I need balance in my life.

By “coincidence” I came across a quote from the writer Ann Lamott,

“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.”

Today.com article on 14 value life lessons Ann Lamott wrote on a Facebook Post.

I can’t argue with that! When my internet is not working, I unplug my modem and router for a minute, and like magic, my internet works again.

Everything finally clicked. To unplug! I need a reset!

“But how do I do that?”, I asked myself.

Joseph Campbell had my answer:

“You must have a room, or a certain hour or so a day, where you don’t know what was in the newspapers that morning, you don’t know who your friends are, you don’t know what you owe anybody, you don’t know what anybody owes to you. This is a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be. This is the place of creative incubation. At first you may find that nothing happens there. But if you have a sacred place and use it, something eventually will happen.”

The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell

This quote made it very clear to me that I need to not be afraid to be with my own thoughts, and at the same time try to clear my mind.

I have many times tries meditating and writing on a journal. However, I never stick with it. I do it for a few days, and then I stop.

However, Joseph Campbell’s quote made me realize what I was doing wrong which led me to quit meditating or writing time after time.

  1. I need to set aside a specific time to meditate and journal, and set a time reminder on my phone. I can’t continue with the “I’ll get to it sometime during the day” ideology, because I never end getting to iy.
  2. I need to assign a specific spot where I can perform meditation and writing. A place I feel comfortable in, and that I like. This way the process will be more enjoyable. My car or my bed ( where I usually would try to meditate) has so far not worked out.

Personally, I know that the best time for me to do this is early in the morning (I set a reminder on my phone for 6:30 am.). My partner and my dogs are still asleep. There is complete silence at home.

For the place, I picked my favorite chair around my home (see my quick doodle above). I’m the only one that sits there, it’s comfortable, and I remember it being love at first sight when I saw it in the store.

Update: It’s been a week since I wrote this blog post. I only missed 1 day of meditating and journaling (Saturday). I’ve been feeling great so far, even if I’m just unplugging for a few minutes. I’m excited to keep it up. I believe in the power of habit.

I would like to leave you with one last quote from one of my favorite authors.

“We have to find time in the day to disconnect with the world, so that we can connect with ourselves”

Austin Kleon on a YouTube Video

Unplug. Reset.


Be A GoldFish. The Key to Being Happier Everyday!

Goldfish

If you haven’t yet seen the TV show called Ted Lasso, add it to your to-do list! The show is not only super funny, but it will also have you crying as it features it all, from love and heartbreak to revenge and deceit.

It is about an amateur American football coach named Ted Lasso. He is hired to coach AFC Richmond, a professional soccer team in the English premier league.

Ted Lasso knows absolutely nothing about soccer, and he sucks at coaching the team. However, there is something about him that as a viewer it is impossible to not root for him.

Ted concentrates his efforts on uniting the soccer players as a team. He focusing on their personal development, and on their state of mind.

In one scene, one of the players makes a mistake that results in a goal for the other team. He beats himself up over it on the pitch, and Lasso calls the player to the sideline to chat with him.

“Do you know why the goldfish is the happiest animal on earth?” Ted Lasso asks the player.

The player doesn’t respond.

“They have a 10 second memory. Be a goldfish” answers Ted Lasso.

More than once in the show, Lasso gives this advice to his players.

What Ted Lasso meant by advising his players to “be a goldfish”, is to not dwell on their mistakes.

Something goes wrong, ohh well, move on!

One of my favorite quotes that I often repeat to myself is:

“Don’t worry about the things that you can’t change”

-Anonymous

Don’t get me wrong. It is imperative that we learn from our mistakes. That’s how we grow and become better human beings. And if there is anything we can do to correct our mistake, we should do it, no questions asks.

However if there is nothing we can do, worrying or dwelling on them isn’t healthy…or productive.

I recently failed an exam I had been studying months for. There was nothing I could do about it. I gave myself a day to cry and feel sorry for myself.

Then I told myself “be a goldfish!”

The next day, I came up with a new study plan, rescheduled my test, and started studying again. Yes, it sucks that I need to keep studying when I could be using that free time to do something fun, but there is no point in me dwelling on my failed exam.

Also, remember that life often gives us a second chance or a chance to redeem ourselves.

And sometimes things aren’t as bad as they seem.

But for now, be a goldfish!


My First Drawing Done On Procreate Using My New iPad (Mickey Mouse)

Mickey-Mouse-Drawing

For Christmas I ordered myself a new iPad. One of the reasons I bought it was because I wanted to use it to draw with it. As a kid, I loved to draw. When I was about 12 years old, I used to say I wanted to be a cartoonist. I like to think that I was talented at drawing, as I remember winning awards in elementary school.

As I got older and busier with life, I stopped drawing. Not even working in an Architecture firm, do I get to draw. We use software that draws everything for us. And although the software makes work 10x times easier, no one would ever stop and admire a printed drawing with the eyes that one admires an old drawing done in paper with a pencil by one of my bosses before computers ever existed.

When I did my research, most websites said that the app Procreate was the best for drawing on an iPad. The first thing I drew when I got my hands on it was Mickey Mouse. It came out pretty good for being my first drawing with an apple pencil.

Although digital drawings is cool and fun, it doesn’t replace the feeling of drawing or painting in real paper with a pencil or paint brushes. When drawing in the iPad, it feels fake.

There is something magical about getting your hands dirty with ink or paint. In that aspect, it was disappointing. However, I’m hoping that the fact that I can essentially never run out of paint and brushes, and I can carry them with me everywhere I go in a 10″ device, will encourage me to continue to pursue this passion and hobby of mine.


Show Your Work! Summary, Lessons Learned, & Why I Started This Blog.

Show Your Work

This website used to be called “WhoopWellness.com”. I had started it about 3 years ago. At that time, I was vegan, and so the website was about educating people on the vegan diet.

I spent a lot of money and time on it.

However, I was never able to grow the number of readers as much as I would have liked to.

I stopped being vegan and become a vegetarian, and so I also stopped putting in as much effort into the website.

In the back of my mind, I knew I had to let my website go because I no longer believed or practiced what I was posting.

But when you have put so much work into something, it is not that easy.

Lately, I had been watching Ali Abdaal’s Youtube channel, which is all about learning how to study and how to be more productive. I came across a video where he recommends the book Show Your Work! by Austin Kleon. I was already familiar with this author because years ago I had read his book Steal Like An Artist, and had loved it!

Ali mentioned in the video how this book was one of the reasons that he started his channel, and that the book encouraged him to start his blog with his name as the domain name.

I became very curious and decided to start reading the book right away, as I felt that the content of this book might help me decide what to do with my own website.

Below I will share with you some of the lessons I learned from “Show Your Work!”, as well as some of my favorite quotes from the book.

  1. It’s OK to be an amateur: when someone is in the early stages of learning something, they are not afraid to make mistakes. They possess a certain enthusiasm about learning and a certain spirit that a professional might have lost in the journey. “Share what you love, and the people who love the same things will find you.”
  2. Document the process: if we record the creative process of the work that we do (not just the finished product), we will form an ongoing connection with our audience. “Whatever the nature of your work, there is an art to what you do, and there are people who would be interested in that art, if only you presented it to them in the right way.”
  3. Share the process: build a website with your name as the domain name, and share whatever it is that you are working on as long as it is useful or entertaining. “One little blog post is nothing on its own, but publish a thousand blog posts over a decade, and it turns into your life’s work.”
  4. Tell good stories: people love stories, and so it is important that we learn how to tell good stories. The more you practice, the better you will get at it. “Artists love to trot out the tired line, “My work speaks for itself,” but the truth is, our work doesn’t speak for itself. Human beings want to know where things came from, how they were made, and who made them.”
  5. Don’t keep what you know yourself: Teaching others what we know will generate more interest in our work and add value to it, so don’t be greedy! “The minute you learn something, turn around and teach it to others. Share your reading list. Point to helpful reference materials. Create some tutorials and post them online.”
  6. Become worth following: don’t waste time trying to get followers, and instead use that time to get better and what you do. “How many people waste time and energy trying to make connections instead of getting good at what they do”

As I read the book, I thought to myself, “I’m always reading books about self-improvement, or watching videos about finance and nutrition. I have all this knowledge that I always wish I could share with others, yet I don’t.”

After I finished reading the book I was convinced that I needed to start over, and this time do it right this time!

I bought my name as a domain name, just as Kleon recommends. I gathered up my courage and I deleted everything from the whoopwellness.com website. Finally, I replaced the domain name.

I came to the conclusion, that even if nobody ever reads my blog, then at least I will have this to leave to my children, and pass down all my knowledge that I have learned throughout life to them.

What is cool about having my name as the website’s domain name, is that the website can evolve with me.

As I grow older and learn from different experiences, my thoughts and values will mature alongside me.

So if I was vegan, and now I’m vegetarian, instead of feeling forced to continue to promote a belief I no longer practice for one reason or another, instead, I can now write an informative blog post about what made me change my nutrition.

Another benefit is that now I don’t feel constrained to just writing about my diet, instead, I can write about anything I have learned, and not care about the google algorithm not ranking my blog posts high enough on the page.

I feel free to be me. I feel free to share whatever I want, whenever I want.

I needed somebody to tell me that was ok, and Austin Kleon’s book Show Your Work! did just that!