Yes, this one trait has the power of changing your destiny. And the name of this trait is power of self control which was established by the legendary Marshmallow Test.
As you might be aware that this trait is also known in academic circles by the name of delayed gratification.
How strong this power of self control or delaying gratification is and how it affects your life, we will be discussing soon.
There have been many experiments related to how a person’s behavior and decisions affect his future life.
However, the Marshmallow Test on the role of self control, in the shaping of future of a person is among the most respected experiments.
And why not? As, for your knowledge, Marshmallow Test study is one among the longest study running for more than 5 decades.
Marshmallow Test is a series of tests which Walter Michel, a psychologist, then at Stanford University, has started conducting around 1960. The findings of this test first got published in the year 1972.
Follow up studies prove the power of self control
However, study didn’t end here. As psychologists again conducted follow up studies in the years around 1980, 1990 and again latest in around year 2011.
The follow up studies were conducted on the same children, who now have been grown up, to find out how they were performing in their respective lives now.
And what the researchers have found was just astonishing.
We will be discussing the results of these follow up studies on the subject matter of delayed gratification or power of self control soon.
And I also invite you to dive a little deeper in the subject of power of exercising self control against instant temptations.
But before that, I would like you to understand the hypothesis of Marshmallow Test directly from, none other than, Walter Michel himself, the proponent of Marshmallow Test, in this video-
The power of self control results in bigger rewards in life for you
The marshmallow test study was conducted on children, aged between 4 to 6 years old both boys and girls. The test basically was to find out how many children can resist the temptation of eating two of the marshmallows or other two of cookies of their choice.
Children were taken in to a room, one child at a time. The room was free of all distractions except for the marshmallows and other cookies at the table.
Then the children were given the choice to eat the marshmallows or the cookie of their choice at the table or wait until the instructor comes back, after a waiting time of around 20 minutes.
They were told that if they wait for the instructor to come back before eating the marshmallows or the cookies of their choice, then they will be rewarded with the twice the number of marshmallows or cookies of their choice than the what was offered now.
Watch this very entertaining video of a Marshmallow Test-
Findings of Marshmallow Test prove power of self control in attracting success
After the test psychologists found that around 67 % of children could not resist the temptation of immediate gratification and ate the marshmallows within the allotted waiting time.
However, around 33% of the children were able to resist the temptation of immediate gratification.
These children chose to delay the gratification. They waited for the allotted time and as a reward got twice the number of marshmallows or the cookies of their choice in comparison of the children who could not resist the temptation of immediate gratification.
Studies shows that People who don’t fall prey of immediate gratification turn out more successful in their lives
Study didn’t end here. Around the year 1980 and 1990 psychologists came back to find out how the children who were able to delay gratification and on the other hand, who have fallen prey of immediate gratification were performing in their lives.
And the results were astounding once again.
People who were able to delay the immediate gratification in the child hood were more successful compared to their counterparts who couldn’t resist the temptation of immediate gratification.
Result of studies demonstrate that children who could exercise self control
– And they were overall more successful in their lives.
The study is still continuing. And psychologists are still tracking the achievements of the children who could exercise self control against whom who have fallen prey of instant gratification.
And every time it turns out that the children who could restrain themselves against temptation were more successful and have achieved more in their lives compared to the children who could not exercise self control. This shows the power of self control in achieving success in your life.
How can you get benefited by this study
So this was the study and you have witnessed the power of self control or delayed gratification in your life. Now the question arises how can you employ the power of self control or delayed gratification in your life and get most of it in your life?
And here I will discuss with examples where in day to day life, you can exercise self control and power of self control.
These examples will show you where you can exercise self control over the always prevalent tendency of getting instant gratification. And this may prove one of the deciding factors, how far will you go in your pursuit of achieving your goals.
Instead of falling prey of immediate temptation of a lazy morning, you can find out some time for exercising.
In place of instant gratification of watching TV or arguing on Social Media, you can exercise power of self control and use that time to read some good books which will forward you in your career.
Instead of immediate gratification of shopping for the things which are not needed, aren’t useful or are available only at an exorbitant price, you can exercise discipline of saving and investing the money properly for long term.
Instead of falling prey of instant temptation of junk foods, sweets and ice cream you can exercise power of self control and choose to eat nutrient rich healthy food.
Start practicing self control now for a life full of contentment and achievements
The choices for exercising power of self control are limitless. More you exercise them in your day to day life, bigger your reward will be in future. In fact you will be rewarded many folds in comparison to self control you exercise.
Further, your rewards will also be more meaningful and more fulfilling. These will be much bigger and more satisfying for you than the instant and shallow gratification you are getting now.
Your, self restraint, for not falling prey of shallow useless stuff and instead of going for life enhancing habits and achievements, will decide what course your life will take in future.
So get prepared, exercise power of self control and take charge of your life now. Further, never allow short term pleasures take away from you, your long term achievements and fulfillment .
And start practicing power of self control now for your better future and of course for a better healthy and happy life full of contentment and achievements for you.
In these articles I have discussed the subject matter in further details. At the end, based on the discussion in the article, may I ask you to always be prepared for enduring short term pains in favor of long term gains.
Wish you a life full of contentment and achievements!
In this article, we will discuss scientifically proven health benefits of happiness.
You might be aware of it or not but fact remains that all your actions in life are always directed towards becoming happy or maximize your happiness.
This happens because happiness is the natural state of a being. God has created you for living in bliss; this is why infants and toddlers are almost always in a state of bliss.
And the unhappiness is an abrasion; it is not the natural state of a being.
So, staying in a state of happiness is your duty towards God and if you stay in a state of unhappiness then it is disrespect to God.
Modern science has also proved that staying unhappy affects your health adversely. On the other hand there are many scientifically proven health benefits of happiness.
You will know in this article with evidences that how happiness can add to your well being, ranging from reducing small pains and aches to adding some more years to your life expectancy, just keep counting the health benefits of happiness–
Health benefits of happiness: happiness is good for your heart, blood pressure and levels of cholesterol
Happiness may be a function of more of mind than of heart but happiness results in a healthy heart. This study shows that happy people are less subjected to develop heart diseases.
And the same study also shows that happy people are less subjected to fall prey of blood pressure related problems.
Happy people are also tested for lower levels of cholesterol.
Health benefits of happiness: happiness combats stress and boosts your immune system
The research has established that happy people feel less stressed and combat the stressful conditions better.
Further, happiness strengthens your immune system as well, so if you don’t want to fall prey of common flue and cold more often, then care for your happiness.
Health benefits of happiness: happiness protects you from aches and pains
Happy people are blessed to experience less of aches and pains and this has been proven scientifically.
Being happy not only provides you already mentioned health benefits, it also helps saving you from dreaded diseases like cancer and is capable of adding a few more years of happy and healthy living in your life expectancy.
These health benefits of happiness are detailed here under-
1. Health benefits of happiness: happiness also protects you against severe and chronic diseases
Research shows that happiness not only protects you from common cold and small aches and pains, it also protects you from falling prey of dreaded diseases like cancer.
The research further shows that happy elderly people are less likely to develop severe vision impairment compared to their unhappy counterparts.
2. Health benefits of happiness: happiness results in longevity
Who would not like to live a long life and that too full of happiness? Yes, the answer for the quest of longevity, in addition to several other factors, also lies in being happy.
It has been scientifically proven that happy people tend to live longer. Read this scholarly article based on the scientific research for the details on the relation between happiness and longevity.
3. Delay your happiness at your own peril
The study also suggests that positive effects of happiness on longevity are limited to the healthy people.
This means that if you are already suffering from some chronic disease then happiness will not increase your life span.
So, idea is that happiness although protects you from many health disorders ranging from protecting you from small aches and pains to protect you from severe vision impairment and chronic diseases, however, if you delay your happiness and fall prey of some chronic disease then happiness will not come to your rescue and will not be helpful for your longevity.
So respect your happiness, this is your guard to protect you from numerous ailments, small and big and it also adds to your longevity.
Further, the end result and REWARD of a pursuit for happiness is happiness itself, other benefits are just by products and bonuses.
Practicing gratitude can make you happier
Research has established that practicing gratitude can make you happier. As when you practice gratitude, the reward center of your mind gets activated, this results in improved relationships. And surprisingly enough can lower your blood pressure and induce better sleep.
Whenever you find that practicing gratitude is hard. Then just think behind the efforts someone put in behind that small gift or behind that small act of kindness towards you.
Find more details in this wonderful small video-
So, think no further, be happy now. As happiness is one of the main pursuits of life. You will also find valuable tips on the subject of producing your own happiness in my article- How to Produce Happiness on Demand.
In addition to this, you get so many health benefits if you lead a life full of happiness and avoid loneliness. For knowing in detail the ill effects of loneliness on your body and mind read my article effects of loneliness on your body and mind.
Further, happiness not only protects you from deadly diseases but also adds few more healthy and happy years in your life expectancy.
Also as Happiness is a choice so from now on vow to choose happiness everyday when you wake up in the morning
Need not to emphasize, how important being happy is for you. I have discussed this in my various articles in detail, which you can readhere, here, here and here.
But, what if you can produce your own happiness on demand? As and when you need it.
As happiness to a large extant is the result of level of happiness hormones in our body and therefore, in this article, I am going to tell you how can you produce happiness hormones naturally and in effect create your own happiness as and when you want to be happy.
Although people and circumstances around you do contribute in your happiness or otherwise, yet you need not be always depend on people and circumstances around you to stay happy.
As you can produce your happiness up to a large extent by yourself. So take charge of your happiness. I am here to show you how, just navigate through this article along with me.
Exercise and produce happiness hormones naturally
You know that engaging in physical exercise is good for health. But is it good for your happiness as well? Well, We people striving for happiness are really lucky, as answer of this all important question is in affirmation.
When you exercise, body starts releasing hormone called Endorphins. If you want to know more about happiness hormones click here.
Release of this hormone during exercise makes your body to cope with the pain and stress generated by exercising. Further, it is also useful in combating anxiety and depression.
Now this is the same hormone which is also known as the happiness hormone. And when your body releases this hormone, you feel happy. So start exercising from now on and add up your happiness.
If you find that your environment is not conducive for exercising right now. Then don’t be disheartened, in that case just go for a long walk. And a long walk can be taken in almost all the circumstances and at any time of the day.
I rather suggest you, to go for a long walk whenever you feel sad and unhappy. And experience for yourself how you feel after returning from this long walk.
I bet, you will feel a lot happier and relaxed.
Laugh and produce happiness hormones naturally
In addition to exercising, laughter also results in release of Endorphins in your body. For achieving this expose yourself to people who are cheerful, crack civilized jokes which make you laugh.
You can also consider watching some funny stuff on electronic media or reading books which contain funny stuff, which results in breaking out you in laughter.
Produce happiness hormones naturally with company of the people who appreciate you
Respect and care for the people who respect, love, appreciate and acknowledge you.
Apart from simple logic of being grateful towards the people who love and respect you, the other reason is that when you are appreciated, loved, respected and acknowledged, it results in your body releasing Dopamine, another hormone which adds to your happiness.
Now you can realize that, why you feel so happy when you are appreciated. Yes, thanks to release of Dopamine by your body.
Produce happiness hormones naturally by practicing giving
Ever wondered, why it feels so good when you help someone? When you share with someone quality time? Or when you contribute for some social cause? Give some gift to someone? And when you do any act of kindness or any act of giving?
And why it feels so good when we practice gratitude, when we are thankful for the small things which are right now adding up our happiness?
That serene feeling of deep satisfaction is the result of release of one of the happiness hormones Serotonin. So if you want to produce happiness hormones on demand, just practice giving more and the some more.
And it is not always money.
Any act of giving will produce the result, including saying some comforting words to somebody who is in distress to expressing gratitude to someone who helped you in any manner. More intensely you practice it better will be the results.
In this wonderful video you will further find many reasons to be thankful, to be filled in with gratitude-
Produce happiness hormones naturally by being more social
Don’t be home bound or office bound whole day. Instead, go out. Meet the people. Be part of some social groups or activities which excites you.
As I have also discussed in my article- How can I Spread Happiness Part I and Part II -that we humans innately like to live in groups and it is embedded in our mind from primitive ages.
Being part of some group, some social activity, being one from a group creates a deep sense of belonging and security.
This happens because when you are close to other human beings, when you hug or shake hand with them the other happiness hormone oxytocin is released in your body.
How happiness hormone oxytocin is beneficial for our social bonding
Oxytocin, which is also called love hormone or cuddle hormone, is known for promoting-
Bond in relationships
Known for combating stress
Release of oxytocin in body helps in reducing drug addiction
It is found to result in increased generosity and empathy
In my last articleHow can I spread Happiness I have discussed why spreading happiness is so important? And the answer is that happiness is one of those few things like knowledge, which increases when you spread or give it to someone or to the society at large.
It comes back to us increased manifold. In my last article, I have also discussed that for spreading happiness first you should also be happy, as only a happy person can spread happiness. As you can give or spread only those things which you already possess. Read my this article to know how to produce happiness on demand.
And for being happy you should also have to weed out the people who suck your happiness. I have discussed the strategies for weeding out such people from your life in my article-Don’t Allow anyone to steal your happiness.
Further, I have also discussed in my last article that quality time is the most precious gift you can give to anyone. And that key for spreading happiness is caring for and giving quality time to your children and spouse.
In this article we will discuss spreading happiness by caring and giving time to our parents, friends, relatives and society at large.
Give time to your parents
Our parents are unlikely to live with us forever. Give time to them, discuss and talk to them. And you will also certainly get some pearls of wisdom in the process of increasing their happiness.
If you establish this loving and caring culture in your home, then it will result in a very precious tradition and you will also be a beneficiary of this tradition. This action of yours will spread happiness around you and your family.
Don’t leave your parents alone. Loneliness kills. If your parents live alone, away from your nuclear family, consider making them part of your family. They may or may not oblige, but at least ask them sincerely to stay along with your family.
This will also benefit your children as your children will learn many a things which connect them with their values and heritage. This will also result in a very strong bond among all the members of your family, which is the backbone of the unit called family.
To spread happiness practice giving to friends and relatives
After taking care of happiness of yourself and your loved ones, now is the time to consider doing something for your friends, relatives and society.
Again not only this target group will benefit from your giving but you will also get benefited immensely. As better connected are you, more opportunities come to you. For achieving this make a list of friends and relatives who have done anything good for you.
Also write down in detail what exactly good they have done for you. Do preferably meet them and express your gratitude towards them for favors they have bestowed on you.
Let them know that you care for the good friends and that you love and respect such friends.
Spreading happiness in society at large
Next, of course, you can spread happiness through service to the society. By your act of helping the needy, imparting some skill which you possess to the people who are in need of that skill and likely to be benefited from your particular skill.
You can also join some group or community which is active in social work which results in spreading happiness. Join and judge if this is the right place for you?
The parameter of judging is that you should also enjoy the activity. As spreading happiness must also add to your happiness as well.
For spreading happiness practice giving
For some more ideas of spreading happiness, see this wonderful video by Chad Brownstein which has already attracted millions of views, in this video you will find that giving doesn’t always mean parting with money, there might be infinite ways of giving-
When you practice giving it instills in you a deep sense of satisfaction. The act of giving results in percolation of idea in your mind of being worthy and important for the society.
This feeling, that you are contributing to the society and that you are useful to the society, is highly fulfilling.
This feeling percolates into your psyche, resulting in multi fold increase in your happiness. And this increased happiness will also make your body and mind healthier.
Spreading happiness also increases your happiness
And in the last a very important stuff, when you are connected with some group or community, your circle of influence also gets increased. You suddenly find yourself in a class apart.
Very few people realize benefits of being part of a large group or community. Your being part of a large group or community results in you getting well connected.
This satisfies your primitive desire of being part of a large group and thus adding to your happiness and giving you a deeper sense of security and satisfaction.
Getting well connected also increases your chances of getting lucky as it throws more opportunities in your way compared to a person who is not well connected.
So as you are now aware that how spreading happiness also increases your happiness. And also you have become aware of the multiple benefits accruing to you when you are busy spreading happiness to others, then just go ahead and start spreading happiness.
It should be like offering fragrant flowers to someone where some fragrance is also retained in your hands.
Happiness is one of the most cherished emotions which when spread results in enhanced happiness to the person who is spreading it. So let’s explore the ways and means of spreading happiness.
As I always emphasize charity begins at home. So always keep yourself first, not because you are very selfish, but because it is necessary to take care of your happiness in order to being able to spread happiness among your loved ones and in society at large.
So, do whatsoever it takes ethically to become healthy, prosperous, skillful and of course happy in your life, if you want to do any good to your friends, family and society at large.
To spread happiness first take care of your own happiness
Happiness is contagious. This study shows that when a person becomes happy then chances of his friends living nearby also becoming happy, improve by as much as 25%.
Watch this beautifully created video to further explore the benefits of spreading happiness –
As only a happy person can spread happiness, so first take care of your own happiness. If you yourself are not happy then there is hardly any chance that you will spread happiness.
You can spread or give only the things you possess. To spread happiness first you have to take care of your own happiness, as then only you can spread happiness.
To spread happiness plug the holes which are draining your happiness
In order to spread happiness you need to employ a two pronged strategy, first you need to plug the holes which are draining your happiness. I have discussed this strategy in detail in my article don’t allow anyone to steal your happiness.
And secondly you should take care of the things which are responsible for your enhanced happiness. Things like your health, your job and your financials.
Take care of these areas as if you mismanage any of these, each of them will take no time to turn into a devil. And this devil will not only take away your happiness but also your peace of mind.
Not to talk of your ability to be useful to the society or fulfilling your dream of spreading happiness. Not staying happy results in a lot many unwanted repercussions including hazards to your health.
So, give top priority to your own happiness. This is a very virtuous cycle, when you are happy you spread happiness and when you spread happiness this results in your becoming happier and the cycle goes on.
Keep these cycles rolling. Now let us focus on the practical aspects of finding answer of our moot question how can I spread happiness?
To spread happiness – key is GIVING
Believe me when it comes to giving, there is hardly anything better than giving your time, quality time. Why I rate it so high? I rate it so high because I am a little selfish.
Because, this is the only thing when you are giving you are also receiving simultaneously. As the other person is also giving his time to you simultaneously, which is one of the most precious gifts we can give or receive.
Gift of quality time creates a bond that lasts long and is foundation of a lasting happiness.
Give time to children
Talk to them and play with them. And in the process, you are the party which gets more, as children are naturally in bliss.
Talking and playing with children not only makes children more happy and develops a bond between you and them, it also results in increased level of happiness for you.
Company of a little child sucks stress out of you. When you talk to and play with children your stress level automatically comes down.
You might have already experienced it, you just need to be more aware of the phenomenon and do this more often for the benefit of both, you and your children.
Give time to your spouse
Just sit beside and let your spouse talk to you. If you listen with an intention to understand then you will get a lot many insights in connection with behavior of your spouse, which was such a puzzle until now.
Don’t take your spouse for granted. Perhaps your spouse is the most important person in your life, as with your spouse you spend most of the time of your life. More than you spend with your parents or with your children.
Your relationship with your spouse is most important for your own happiness
Your relationship with your spouse is most important ingredient of the recipe of a happy life, for you as well as for your spouse. Don’t allow it to get sour at any cost, barring the exceptions.
Focus on understanding emotional needs of your spouse. Look, what results in positive response and what is disliked or is even hurtful to your spouse.
Try to fortify the behavior which results in positive response and at the same time eliminating the irritants.
Reflect on the behavioral changes needed in you to further strengthen the bond between you and your life partner.
Need of spreading happiness in this particular relationship can’t be over emphasized. As perhaps this single relationship is responsible for 80% of happiness or unhappiness in your life.
And happiness or otherwise in this particular relationship will ultimately decide whether or not you lived a happy life.
In my next article on the same subject matter – read here , I have discussed about spreading happiness towards your parents, friends, relatives and society at large.
So keep on spreading happiness as among other things most importantly it is beneficial to you as well.
People like you and me, who want to contribute more to the society and nation we live in, almost always keep on asking to ourselves this question. And question is- how can I become more responsible?
How can I become more responsible to myself, to my friends family and loved ones, to my profession and clients, to the society I live in and to the nation at large.
In this article I will try to address these questions. In order to become responsible or more responsible, first you have to understand what your responsibilities are.
Here is a detailed analysis on the subject of responsibility for those who would like further details.
Taking care of yourself, your health, your family, your job, your time and of course your finances will ensure that you are a responsible person.
Being responsible towards yourself
Well, charity begins at home. So first of all please understand that most importantly you should be responsible for your own development.
First of all you must take care of your health and happiness. As you can perform responsibly only when you yourself are happy and healthy. For achieving this state of health and happiness, you need to ensure that you have time to exercise regularly and you consume healthy food.
You must also ensure that you are honing your skills on a continuous and ongoing basis with an eye on daily improvements.
You should expend your time responsibly. For achieving this feat, you should invest your time in positive activities like learning, reading good books and being with loved ones.
Further, you should practice some skills which will improve your chances of getting ahead of competition in life. And you should not waste your time on unproductive activities like gossips and spending too much time watching TV or on social media.
As a responsible person, you are bound to be responsible towards growth and development of your children, their health, their happiness and their education.
You are also responsible to raise them in such a manner that they turn out to be a responsible citizen of the nation and are self dependent.
To achieve this you have to provide for their higher education and you should follow some financial goals for the purpose.
Being responsible towards your spouse
Further your relationship with your spouse will ultimately decide whether you have lived a happy life fulfilled with contentment or not.
So take ultimate care of your spouse. As your spouse is the most important person in your life. This is also the relationship in which you spend most of the time of your life.
As your relationship with your spouse can make or destroy your health happiness peace of your life as well as your social reputation.
Being responsible towards your parents
Further your parents will not be there for always. Take care of them when they are still there.
If you live in a nuclear family at least ask your parents to please live with you. I don’t know whether they will oblige or not but they will feel happy and will certainly shower their blessings more on you.
However ask sincerely and with the intention of really taking them with you. Don’t try to game them.
Responsible people don’t procrastinate
One more very important trait of responsible people is that they don’t procrastinate. And if you are having a habit of procrastination, then you have to initiate some action to get rid of this urgently.
To start with, you can apply 2 minute rule to get rid of your habit of procrastination.
The rule basically insists that you should immediately start doing the works which can be completed within 2 minutes. And you should not procrastinate at least those small works, which can be completed within 2 minutes.
And on the other hand, for the tasks which can not be completed within 2 minute you are expected to at least initiate some work on such tasks in these two minutes.
This rule is basically to getting you started at a very small level, where you can’t say No. Just to getting you out of the inertia, which ultimately aims at getting you out of your habit of procrastination completely and turning you into a responsible person.
Use these tools to become responsible and avoid procrastination
Another method of getting out of the habit of procrastination is 5 minute rule. This rule stipulates that you just start working on the tasks which you are procrastination just for 5 minutes. And after 5 minute you have full liberty of either continue to work on the task in hand or you may stop working on it.
And the results indicate that more often than not you are likely to continue doing the task even after completion of those initial 5 minutes.
Both of these techniques are for getting you started as this is the toughest part of your fight against the habit of procrastination. Choose whatever fitted you best.
But initiate some action, today.
Assume responsibility of your life and take ACTION to improve it
You cannot always keep on blaming people and circumstances in your life. Everyone has more or less of them in their lives. You need to take control of your life. As you can’t change your past so instead of living in your past you need to focus on NOW.
Take charge of your life now. If people and circumstances are not favorable in your life, then instead of keeping on dwelling on them, rather get up and do whatsoever you can, to change those circumstances and get those people out of your scheme of things.
As if you are reading my articles from any length of time you know that I always emphasize that ACTION is the key of change. If you want to change anything in your life you have to take action to change that.
So, stop fretting on your misfortune in past and start to write the script of your bright future by taking action now.
Watching this wonderful video will also be of great help in preparing yourself for taking control of your life and also starting taking actions to improve your life and achieving your goals –
Being responsible towards your finances
As a responsible person you also have to take care for your finances. For achieving this goal you have to ensure that-
You have to ensure that you get some job, government private or self employment.
You have to keep your expenditures well within your earnings.
Further, you must save at least some part of your earnings, no matter how less or more your earnings are.
You need to set financial goals as per your future needs.
You need to understand the power of compounding. So start investing early and for the long term as per your financial goals.
Don’t indulge in speculative activities. This is the worst thing to do to your finances. As there is a limit of losses in all other investment vehicles but there is no limit how much you can lose in speculation.
Further, speculation is habit forming activity which leads to compulsive behavior.
Many people who are earning a lot of money from their businesses or jobs are forced to live a life less financial freedom due to their habit of getting indulged in speculative activities.
Indulging in speculative activities hurts your reputation.
Speculation drains you emotionally.
Speculation hits hard to your professional development, as your mind gets stuck in the speculative bets.
This results in hampering your ability to concentrate on your job. And outcome of which is your poor performance and poor progress in career or profession you pursue.
Trading and investing in stock markets are speculative, habit forming activities which drain you out emotionally as well
Trading in stock markets is a speculative activity and I consider it an irresponsible behavior. It is a full time job and if you decide to choose this as your career do it at your own risk.
As odds are highly against you. It is believed that only one out of 1000 trader is successful. Further the activity also drains you out emotionally, which in turn takes a toll on your mental and physical health as well.
However, you can invest in the stock markets through a less speculative vehicle like mutual funds which aim at investing in large cap companies.
Go for the growth scheme and not for the dividend paying ones. Keep in mind the almost miraculous power of compounding.
You can also invest in index funds to further mitigate your risk. To know in detail what an index fund is read here.
Being responsible towards your friends, family and loved ones
Next we come to the question of your being responsible towards your friends, family and loved ones.
However, please understand that being responsible towards you is of utmost importance.It is the first and most necessary step in becoming responsible towards your friends, family and loved ones.
As only if you are healthy, financially sound, skilled and manage your time well then only you will have necessary resources, to become responsible and useful to your friends, family and loved ones and to the society at large.
If you want to become more responsible, first be responsible to yourself, then to your friends, family and loved ones and then to the society at large.
Being responsible towards your profession, society and nation
If you are responsibly managing yourself and your family, then you are already contributing to the society indirectly as you and your family is an integral part of the society you live in.
Need not to say that you have to pay your taxes honestly and on time. Further, you have to obey laws of the land willingly, which makes you a responsible citizen.
If you are a professional then please ensure to keeps the interests of your clients ahead of your own interests and ensure not to part with the information of your clients which can harm the interests of your clients.
A litmus test of whether or not you are behaving responsibly towards your clients or in the society is to find out whether your actions are beneficial to your clients and the society at large or they are detrimental to your clients and the social cause.
And finally you can start contributing directly to the society and nation. You can do it by taking part in or initiating, some positive social activities of your interest in which you are skilled and can be a person of resource to the society and nation.
I left you wondering in my last article – How to attain expertise in your field, whether the 10000 hour rule which tells us how to become expert is correct? Or does it apply to all of the people? What are the missing pieces of this jigsaw puzzle of becoming an expert?
Now allow me to answer all your questions. First of all let me assert that 10000 hour rule is correct but with certain conditions.
In this study, Ericsson proposed that expert performance can be achieved by Deliberate Practice. Anders Ericsson further elaborated the concept in his year 2016 book coauthored by him with Robert Pool, titled- Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise.
So, the next question you would like to ask is – What does Deliberate Practice implies? As defined by Anders Ericsson, basically Deliberate Practice require these four components –
1. Have clearly defined goals to become expert
Goals keep you motivated to challenge your limits and get past from them. Further, these goals if kept in writing keep you focused.
Writing goals bring them out of your mind and in to the realm of reality, from where actions to achieve these goals can be initiated successfully.
2. Get guidance of a teacher/coach/mentor to become expert
Importance of having a teacher cannot be over emphasized in achieving your goals and attaining expertise in your chosen field.
Your teacher sees you from outside and provides you with immensely valuable feedback and suggestions for improvements, until you are able to become expert and able to deliver your expert performance.
3. Distraction free practice
You have to practice those 10000 hours with great focus on the skill you want to master. And for that you need to practice in those 10000 hours free from all distractions like simultaneously indulging in watching TV, social media, making some phone calls etc.
Now, when you have clearly defined goals, have a teacher for mentoring/coaching. Then you can just start deliberate practice to reach your goals. Push your limits and try to go beyond them, where there are hardly any limits for your performance and achievements.
As for learning any art, craft, skill, profession or games and sports, in fact in any field of any importance and their branches, you have to put in considerable deliberate practice in order to become an expert .
It may not be exactly the same for all the fields and for all the people. But we have to draw a line somewhere and that is approximately 10000 hours.
So the missing piece between attaining expertise or not even after working for this magical figure of 10000 hours is how you practice your work in these 10000 hours.
And therefore for becoming expert in any field in addition to working for 10000 hours, you have to ensure that–
In order to become an expert continuous improvement is the key
Without an eye on your performance, without ensuring that your performance is getting improved with each passing day, it is really hard to get expertise in any endeavor.
There is no stage exists in reality called stagnation. Either you are improving or you are deteriorating.
As soon as you stop improving you start deteriorating. And sometimes it is too late before you start noticing the deterioration.
And in the meantime competitors might have gone so much ahead of you that it may be difficult or even impossible to catch with them.
Don’t Repeat your Mistakes if you want to become an expert
If you keep on repeating same mistakes day in and day out, then you will become an expert in committing mistakes and not in the desired field.
There is nothing wrong in committing mistakes, everyone commits mistakes, but the real problem is when you don’t learn from your mistakes and keep them repeating.
In order to become expert Mentor/Coach is necessary
Have you ever noticed that in any field of any importance successful people always have mentor/coaches?
It is more visible in the field of Sports and games.
However, if you keep a mentor/coach in whatsoever field you want to achieve expertise,then you will have to do much less effort and your time to reach at the expert level will also become dramatically less.
Teachers/coaches /mentors make the attainment of mastery so very easy. As they have already walked the path you are going to walk. With the guidance of your mentor, you don't get stuck at every twist and turn in the path of success.
As your mentor already knows which turn to take, at what stage of your journey towards attaining expertise.
Read here a Harvard Business Reviewwhich explicitly proves how people who were mentored reported higher income, achievements and job satisfaction compared to those, who were not mentored.
You must also have noticed that, particularly in case of highly successful people that their coaches have lesser abilities than the celebrity himself in that particular field.
Yet they continue to practice under that coach because for improving their performance coaches are so much, not only important but also necessary.
To become expert: you need someone who sees you from outside
This contribution comes because your coach watches you from the outside. His view of you is different from your own view of yourself.
If you are a base ball player, your coach can tell you that a slight change in the angle of your bat can improve your performance a lot.
This is hard for you to notice yourself, when you are so immersed in playing. No matter at what level of your fame you are, scope of improvement is always there.
Don’t try to do each and everything by yourself. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel. Take advantage of the expertise of your coach/mentor. However, until you don’t find a mentor, don’t keep your growth in abeyance.
Until then find your way with the help of some good articles on the subject, some good books, some online courses etc. But these should be in addition to some human mentor/coach and not in place of him.
As you desperately need someone to see you from outside for really identifying, where are you lacking.
It is like while your eye sees everything but it cannot see itself. For seeing itself it needs something out side of it, a mirror. Your coach/mentor is like that mirror for you.
Let us explore this phenomenon a little further
Now, Let us explore this phenomenon a little further. Assume that a group of friends’ practices some game or sport like chess together; they are practicing regularly and giving the same time for that particular sport.
And one player among the group decides to become world class expert in that particular sport.
He finds out a professional coach and practices under the guidance of that professional coach for two months, where he gets the guidance regarding diet, exercise and also a chance to practice with other highly motivated aspirants and faces the really tough competition.
While his other group members chose continue to practice among themselves. After a period of two months, what do you think who will be a better sportsman? The answer is obvious.
How to become expert if you can’t find a coach/teacher/mentor readily available?
This is a valid question. And of course some of you might be in such a position where you can’t find a coach/teacher/mentor due to things like your geographical location etc.
Here the answer is- make Google your coach. Yes, Google has answers for almost all of your learning needs.
Explore the vast reservoir of the knowledge available at internet and follow your pursuit with whatsoever means are available with you.
In absence of availability of a teacher in person, you may also consider taking online classes.
The other thing you can do is to learn through the good books available on the subject related to the skill in which you want to become expert.
To become an expert: find out someone to practice with
Further, if not a coach then at least try to find out someone who is following the same pursuit as yours and company with him. Provide input to each other; help each other in attaining expertise as much as possible.
Don’t hesitate to cooperate with such a partner. As always keep in mind that he is not the only competitor for you in the world. In such a situation always remember the adage that cooperation is a greater value than competition.
However, please understand that this will not take you much far. You will always need a teacher in person, if you really want to excel in your field.
These are the things you should be doing in addition to a teacher in person and not in place of him.
Meanwhile keep on searching for a personal coach, coaching class etc. And rely on the other means of attaining expertise only when you are not in a position, for whatsoever valid reasons, to find a teacher/mentor/coach in person.
Be passionate towards your chosen field in which you want to become expert
Good news about 10000 hours rule is that you may even reduce the hours it takes to become an expert in your chosen field.
You must have experienced that there are people who get mastery and become an authority in their field earlier compared to their other counterparts. How does this happen?
The answer lies in their passion towards the field they are working in. If you are passionate enough for getting expertise in your chosen field, then you will even not be counting the hours you have put in practicing.
You will just be wanting doing and practicing more of it, just because you enjoy doing it so much. Because it is your passion, because it is not a work for you, instead it is a source of joy for you.
If you are such a passionate person then attaining expertise in your chosen field will not even be taking 10000 hours. You will become an expert in your chosen field much earlier.
10000 hour rule to become expert doesn’t work for people who don’t enjoy their work
Need not to say that if your heart is not in the work you are doing. Then any number of working in your chosen field will not make you an expert in that field.
If you are not enjoying your work and always counting the number of hours you are putting in and always complaining and waiting when these 10000 hours will come to an end, then chances are that even after working for more than 10000 hours you will not become an expert in your field.
You can find such examples spread all around you. Where you will find people working in their field for more than 10000, 20000 or even for 30000 hours are still not the expert in their respective fields.
These are the people who are not enjoying their work. They don’t have a mentor, keep on repeating their mistakes and don’t care for the daily improvements in their work.
Results of pursuit to become expert may vary
One more thing to understand about 10000 hour rule is that all individuals are not created equal. Some of you may be more talented than others in a certain area.
So if you follow your passion, if you work in the area where your heart is and where you are supported by your talent, then the results are likely to be more profound.
You might have noticed this phenomenon all around you in your day to day life. you may find such people easily who weren’t having a good academic record but are highly successful in some other field like sports, music, entrepreneurship etc.
So, it is very important to choose your field where your talent is, where your heart is and where your passion is.
Further, you also might have noticed the phenomenon that all the students in a class don’t get the same grades in examination, although they share same school and teachers.
And all the athletes under the coaching of the same coach don’t share the same level of success and expertise.
This happens because although school, teacher or coach might be the same but other background, individual talent level and circumstances at individual level of students or athletes are widely different.
This is still not a fair world.
Further, even after all the tall talks, it is still not a fair world.
So barring the exception, issues ranging from your gender to which geographic region you belong to which faith you follow to color of your skin, all have a potential to support or drag you, as per the perception of the world toward your background, fortunately or unfortunately, as the case may be.
Further, you can’t do much in this regard.
Ultimately how much success, recognition and acceptance you get will largely depend on a lot many factors, some of which I have discussed and few of them are not under your control.
Still, I urge you to go for the practicing 10000 hours as discussed in this article with passion. And do all that you can do, which is under your control using all your resources which you can use.
As if you practice for 10000 hours passionately while having a mentor, learning from your mistakes and with an eye on daily improvements, after practicing 10000 hours, results are bound to be stunning.
To become an expert keep your goals in writing: it keeps you focused
And this one is one of the most important stuff. Keep your goal of attaining expertise in any field, always not only in your mind but also in writing.
This helps you to remain committed to your goals. The same stuff has been emphasized at the start itself, in this excellent video on productivity –
Keeping your goals in writing helps a lot, when during your journey for attaining expertise you start felling like giving up; it keeps you on track and provides courage to stick to your goals.
It reminds you that why you have started to work on this goal at first place? What has changed now? Why you want to give up now after putting in so much effort?
And that giving up following your goals now will result in living a life of mediocrity which you will most certainly wouldn’t like to live.
Further proof: Neuroscience has proved that keeping your goals in writing helps you in achieving them.
This happens because you keep on giving so many instructions throughout the day to your mind by thinking.
And when you give some instruction to your mind in addition to thinking also through writing, then your mind differentiates this written instruction from the other ones and starts producing ideas and circumstances conducive to desired result.
Your mind treats this written instruction more important, works on it more seriously and keeps you focused on your goal.
This step of writing, about in which field and also of what level of expert you want to become, is important. Don’t miss it. It will make a difference in sticking with your goals and actually attaining them.
Straight from the horse’s mouth – Watch Malcolm Gladwell himself discussing, practice, talent and 10000 hour rule to become expert.
But before I sum up, what about the idea of listening it straight from the horse’s mouth?
Please watch here none other than Malcolm Gladwell, The legendary writer, of the book outlierin which he has introduced the world to the 10000 hours rule, citing the example of Bill Gates, one of the richest people in the world and Beetle, the legendary rock music band.
But more importantly, watch him insisting the need of practice and putting it above the talent –
Now the stage is set! Just start performing, keeping in mind that you are making at least some progress every day in your chosen direction, that you are not repeating your mistakes, have a mentor/coach and just not working but working for attaining expertise.
Before we discuss practical ways of attaining expertise in your chosen field, let me introduce you to a very interesting concept in connection with the topic of how to attain expertise in your chosen field.
10000 hour rule of attaining expertise
And the concept is known as 10000 hour rule. The concept was introduced by the well known writer Malcolm Gladwell, who has discussed this concept extensively in his book titled Outliers.
The book is based on a year 1993 study titled- The Role of Deliberate Practice in the Acquisition of Expert Performance- by renowned psychologist Anders Ericsson.
The rule stipulates that if you work at a chosen field for 10000 hours, you will attain expertise in that field. But first of all let us become aware, what does it takes to work for 10000 hours.
It takes 10 years if we work 5 days a week and for 4 hours per day. Suddenly it starts appearing a long wait to attain expertise.
You can attain expertise earlier
But the good news is that how many years will it take, depends on your passion to attain expertise. If you are passionate enough to attain expertise in your field then certainly you will effortlessly be putting more than 20 hours per week, resulting in early achievement of expertise in your field.
So, how quickly will you attain expertise in your chosen field will obviously depend on how many hours of practice you put in every week and how many days per week you put in practice.
The idea behind discussing it is to get you mentally prepared for paying the price it takes to attain expertise in your field.
However, if you are really passionate about attaining expertise then you should not be complaining. Instead you should be enjoying this journey of attaining expertise in your chosen field.
Now, I presume that you are among the ones who are committed to attain the expertise in your chosen field. And you are ready to pay the price it takes to attain the expertise in your chosen field.
And the price is working passionately for 10000 hours to become expert and producing high quality work to get at the summit of your field.
You have to complete those 10000 hours of work as quickly as you want to attain expertise in your chosen field.
But wait! That is not enough to attain expertise in your chosen field
If working for 10000 hours in a particular field makes one expert then why we witness in our day to day life an employee who has put in more than 30 years of service in an organization and still not an expert in his work.
A doctor with decades of practice still doesn’t attract enough patients and still not attained expertise in his field.
On the same footing why an artisan in his sixties and even after working whole of his life on his craft, still not producing quality crafts.
Had this been only about working for 10000 hours in a particular field then they all must have been experts in their chosen fields attracting big fame and fortune.
But it is not the case.
On the other hand, we witness doctors, artisans, employees and people in other fields and professions, who in a very short time and young age are considered experts in their fields.
They are generating quality crafts, curing patients, producing unparalleled performances and productivity and attracting hordes of clients, reputation, recognition, are well paid and putting in amazing contribution to the society.
So what makes the difference? Is the 10000 hour rule not correct? Or does it not apply to all people? Or is it selective? What are the missing pieces of this jigsaw puzzle?
Who doesn’t want to be happy and search for that ever eluding happiness has landed you to this article. Further, if you let someone steal your happiness on a continuing and ongoing basis then you can perhaps never be a happy person.
Here, I want to introduce the concept of reaching out to happiness by at least avoiding, if you are not in a position of eliminating the people who steal your happiness from your life, and not just continue to live in a miserable unhappy life.
Need not to say, this requires some action at your part.
As we all know that distance between you and your success in any endeavor is – ACTION.
The 80/20 rule
Before we discuss how to reach out for your happiness and action required at your part. Let me share something very interesting with you and this is Pareto Principal or more commonly known 80/20 rule.
Now another thing which I feel necessary to clear is that 80/20 is only a more common figure. In different cases this figure keeps on changing. It may be 60/40 or it may be 99/1 in different cases. So,the idea here is that efforts and results are skewed. That only a little part of our efforts leads to most of the results.
For instance, a large part of the world’s wealth is concentrated in the hands of a very few people. And only a small number of employees are responsible for most of the productivity.
Further, only a certain number of your products account for most of your sales. And only a small number of customers are responsible for most of your profits and so on.
On the other hand only a small number of employees are responsible for most or sometimes the entire nuisance. And only a small number of your customers are responsible for most of your complaints.
Apply 80/20 rule to stop people steal your happiness
In the same manner, have you ever noticed that in large reservoir of your friends and relatives only few are the continuous source of almost all of your happiness. You feel flowers blossoming inside you whenever you come in contact with such people.
And similarly, there are only certain number of people who are responsible for almost all of your unhappiness. You just come in their contact and expect the expected. Your happiness is gone! As if someone has thrown a bucket of water on a brightly lit up candle.
These are the people who are stealing your happiness. They suck your happiness. Don’t allow them to do so. Don't let them steal your happiness.
The way out for not letting anyone steal your happiness
If you want to lead a life full of happiness then you have to find hot some action plan for the people who steal your happiness.
But how can you accomplish that? What to do? So what you do with the unprofitable customers? What you do with non selling products? And what you do with unproductive, nuisance making employees?
You got the idea – you get rid of them. You weed them out from your so passionately created business.
In the same manner, you have to weed out these suckers of your happiness from your life.
And for protecting your happiness from such persons ACTION is required, which I have discussed in introductory paragraphs of this article.
This action part is the most necessary part for protecting your happiness and is not that difficult as you think. Lack of this action part is the distance between you and your happiness. So go for it now. How it sounds going like this –
List the people who steal your happiness, for action
First, make a list of people, interaction with them make you sore. You know that every interaction with such people will leave you unhappy. Of course, people who are cause of most of your unhappiness will top the list and further in that order.
Make another list, on the same lines this time of the people who are the source of your happiness, every time you interact with them you feel rejuvenated, bursting with joy.
The idea is to realize that these are the people, on two lists, who on the one list are responsible for your most of the unhappiness and on the other list responsible for most of the joy in your life.
Make lists in writing
Making a list in writing is important. Just knowing it in your mind is not enough. As when you write something down then ideas come out of your mind and in the realm of reality.
From this stage it is easy for you to take action on these ideas. The action of making a list in writing is an indication to your mind that you are serious about happiness. Then your mind registers this indication and responds with generating wonderful ideas for achieving your goals.
Well, now is the time to work on these two lists. And here comes the Pareto Principal in picture.
As you have already created the first list in which you listed people who are responsible for your unhappiness. In the order of who is responsible for most of your unhappiness on the top.
If you start working on only two or three people listed on the top of the list, it will take roughly 80 to 90 percent of unhappiness out of your life.
Who are listed on the top of the list responsible for your unhappiness? A less cultured boss who humiliates you? A close relative who is disrespectful and doesn’t care for your emotions? A colleague, who always makes fun of you, laughs at you and ironically calls himself a friend of yours.
Don’t let these people or anyone else steal your happiness.
Take action to not letting people steal your happiness
Take action. Gather courage. Let these people know that you are a changed person now. Don’t wait until they do one more act of hurting you. Be proactive this time. Go to them and say politely but firmly that the way they treat you is hurtful to you.
Let them know what you feel like when they hurt you.
And if possible desert them. Get rid of them.
Believe me such negative people FEED on your politeness, on your gentleness; on the goodness you possess inside of you. Stop accepting them, and stop FEEDING them.
The other way out to deal with the people who steal your happiness
I am fully aware that, it is not always easy to get rid of, completely from such people or desert them. As they might be interwoven in your life so closely that it is really hard to completely throw them out from your life.
But then, what is the solution? You don’t want to continue to live a miserable life with such people and at the same time you are not able to get rid of them. The answer lies in the moderation.
Different people find different strategies easy or hard to practice depending upon their personality type. And it is hard to change your personality type if not impossible.
Take the decision which matches your personality type
If your personality type doesn’t allow you to take courage and get the people, who steal your happiness, out from your life or desert them, which I still think is the best way out to deal with such people, then take the strategy which matches your personality type.
However, as I have already discussed that changing personality type is hard if not impossible. But unfortunately the same phenomenon applies to your tormentors as well.
Your tormentors are also unlikely to change their ways at least unless you stop behaving like as an easy prey.
So, if you even not prepare to express your feelings and confront your tormentors, then of course next option left is ignoring them. Not getting disturbed by them.
Learn to tolerate them without being unhappy. Accept these people in your life, believing that they might be there being a part of a big scheme, God might have created for you for pushing you to the next level.
In this scenario, ignoring them and staying focused on your purpose might be the answer, which has been explained beautifully in this video by Joel Osteen, a famous motivator –
But please care for your happiness. Don’t allow negative people to steal your happiness.
Another strategy: Respond and not react to them
Another strategy can be responding to their bad behavior and not to react. In other words, whenever they misbehave or hurt you, don’t react immediately. Instead, after some time when things don’t look that bad go to them and tell them politely that their behavior was hurtful to you.
This strategy is also believed to be a very powerful strategy. And sometimes results in change of attitude and thus behavior, at least up to some extent, of your tormentor towards you.
However, if this doesn't work then you may choose between IGNORING such people and DESERTING them as per your personality type.
Further, I earnestly urge you that before deciding in favor of ignoring such people, at least give one try to communicating, as I fully believe that COMMUNICATING is a better choice than IGNORING.
Need not to say, the other list in which you have listed the people responsible for you happiness, is your life line. Spend more time with them, love them, care for them and just see garden of your mind and life blossoming with happiness.
More you focus on the people who are unbounded source of your happiness, expect even more happiness coming to your way. As it is the principle of life that on whatsoever you focus more, more it magnifies in your life.
I have also discussed how you can produce happiness whenever you want it, wherever you want it and also how to spread happiness around you, for that read herehere and here.