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What I Love and What I Need To Do – Finding Balance.

Photo by Andreas Dress on Unsplash

A lot of people my age have this issue of being disconnected from their passions and their everyday lives. Luckily, I don’t have this problem. At least, not all the time.

I am so grateful to say that I do what I love, and I absolutely love what I do. These things vary from trigonometry and evolutionary biology to music technology and blogging. And if we’re being honest, it also includes dancing to This is America when no one’s around. Honestly, Donald Glover’s moves are SICK.

I also have the pleasure of connecting and collaborating with people who love the same things that I do. This is true especially in the blogverse. Over the last one year that I’ve been blogging, I have talked to people from all over the world and we have shared ideas that help everyone. I have become more self-reliant, self-confident and I have learnt how to make a mark for myself. The fact that I can now change people’s minds with what I write is the biggest achievement of my journey so far as a writer.

And this feeling of love has also made its way into another part of my life which I don’t really talk about much on my blog-school. I have taught myself to stay strong in the face of adversity and extreme boredom. I have learnt to push myself to new limits without burning out in the process. Over the last few weeks, I have come to love and appreciate myself more strongly than I EVER have in my life. And I love this feeling that I love everything I do.

I have a feeling that I’m going to change this soon. For good.

By the time you read this, I will have been in 10th grade for about a week now. Remember that time when I made a post about 9th grade? It’s the same experience all over again-just now there seems to be a deathly aura all around us at school. Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely love being in 10th grade, I love learning new things again, I love being able to organize my life and focus on something new. I love cleaning out a slate and starting fresh with a year’s worth of wisdom to help me get better and smarter and stronger. It’s just that the idea of 10th grade tends to stress us out. Primarily because of the boards. Really, there’s no other reason. And no matter how much you want to just ignore this anxiety that everyone seems to have, it will get to you soon. Better to acknowledge it than fight it.

I, too, acknowledged this way before I even entered into 10th grade. I know that I’m going to have to work harder than I ever have this year, not because it’s hard, but because it will feel hard if I don’t push myself a little bit above the rest.

But the key here, as my mum said (love you ma), is to work hard with a sense of ease. She said, “You can be successful and still be as happy as you want.” I know this might seem very obvious, but this is very hard to put into practice. Believe me, I know. When you put your heart into something, you tend to perceive the situation as a high-stakes battle. That’s just not the case.

So, for 10th grade, my main goal is to combine what I love — learning — with what I need to do — step way out of my comfort zone and sphere of knowledge to really excel at studies more than I ever have.

And what will the status of this blog be?

Honestly, I don’t know.

I know for sure that my weekends will be filled with extra studying and mock tests and olympiad preparation and I don’t know how I’m going to fit posting into that hectic schedule. But what I do know is that I love this as much as I love myself. And when you love something that much, you always manage to do it.

Cheers,

Udita.

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5 Ways to Strengthen your Willpower this Summer

This post is part of a collaboration with Jess from JessofEarth. We’re both writing blogs on improving work ethic this Spring/Summer season. Check out her post on tips to improve work ethic and give her some love! Actually, give her a lot of love. She deserves it.

OK. Listen. I’m gonna be straightforward here: I don’t wanna write this post. I feel like I’ve hit a blogging wall that’s taking every ounce of my energy to climb over. I am mentally strained and emotionally fatigued.”

That was me, two Sundays ago. Two Sundays ago, I had absolutely zero chill whatsoever and was at a dead end. And soon I came to a conclusion: There are two things that a person loses when they are at a dead end- appetite and their desire to live. Seriously. I’m not kidding. That whole Sunday was a rhythmic medley of passive starvation and passive, unhealthy introspection.

I knew I had to do something about my appalling state of mind. So I turned to the best person for advice, my one true friend: YouTube.

I spent the rest of the day binge watching some of the world’s biggest stars talk about work ethic and self-discipline and inspiration, but the one recurring core value I saw in all the videos was grit; specifically, willpower.

Willpower is the mind’s ability to stay focused and work tenaciously in the face of various challenges and hurdles. Willpower is basically the supremacy of the mind over the body. It allows us to stay determined, persevere, and achieve success in spite of the ups and downs. Willpower acts as your daily health counting bar. But it’s a finite resource and gets drained for absolutely every activity that you do in a day. So it’s essential that we utilize our willpower in the most efficient way possible.

I found an amazing video by Charlie Houpert on willpower, where he clarifies many common misconceptions about the value and gives really cool tips to strengthen it. Here they are.

Make decisions quickly.

Come on. How much time do you spend deciding which ice cream or soda you want? Or whether you’re gonna finish your work today or later? The answer obviously is a lot.

Not only does this waste your time and energy, but reduces your willpower, bit by bit, each time you deliberate over a petty issue.

Mindlessly going back and forth over multiple decisions only creates more trouble and confusion for your brain. So take it easy, make a snap choice and just do it.

Create ground rules.

It’s always easier when you have a set of predefined rules that you just have to follow. This can be as simple as “I’m going to wake up at 6 and that’s it” or something more serious like “no more than 2 chocolates a month.” Besides, who eats only 2 chocolates a month??

Setting an unfixed rule won’t let you reconsider any other option, therefore not letting you mindlessly deliberate over things and saving your willpower.

Create an environment that supports your work.

This concerns two things: your phone and your friends. But mostly your phone.

If you thrive on social media platforms all day instead of finishing your work, try deleting your apps. If you check Pinterest a lot (like me), try deleting it for a week.This will force you not to check for notifications or get distracted.  Unless you want to go through the gruesome task of opening your laptop and signing in again, which I’d really rather not do.

Changing your environment could also mean changing the people you surround yourself with. It is best to live with people who have the same dedication and willpower as you. They don’t need to have the same interests tho. As long as they work as hard or harder than you, you’re doing good.

Prepare for the challenging task first.

No matter how amazing your work might be going at one point, a speed bump is inevitable. And if you’re not ready for that reality, it’s definitely going to be a major blow to your mental strength. So do what you can to prepare yourself for the unwanted or negative outcomes in a situation, so that when they do happen, you’ll be ready to fight the battle. And it’s ok if you lose the battle, as long as you win the war.

Figure out your identity.

*sigh* Look, man. I hate to break it to you, but you’re…. you’re not Will Smith. Ok? So stop trying to act like you got that kind of Willpower(I hope you saw what I did there). Was that too cheesy or was it ok?

Trying to achieve your dreams by following the ethics of someone else is never going to help in the long term. In order to truly flourish in life, it is necessary to know yourself inside out. Know what drives you, your strengths and weaknesses, your flaws and frustrations, and figure out what work ethic works best for you. Because if you don’t, someone else will. And it might not fit you perfectly.

I know sometimes work might seem like a heartless, lifeless job, driving us to the edge of humanity and towards mechanical and robotic emotion, but if you mix your work and willpower with individual identity, that’s when work stops being work and becomes fun.

It’s not that some people have the willpower and some don’t. It’s that some people are ready to change and others are not. -James Gordon

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I’m not feeling it.

This whole week has been a frenzy of activity. I’ve been reading, singing, coding, creating apps, brainstorming for hours at school, and doing my school work on top of all that. I guess you could call that a busy week for 14-year old standards. And if that wasn’t enough, I realized that I hadn’t written a blog post!

Today morning was extremely windy and cold and dark and rainy(which is what i love), and I was trying to enjoy the rain, but all my mind could think of was,”Uhhhhh, it’s Sundayyyyy. I gotta write some stuff, whyyyy?” No part of my body felt like pushing buttons on a screen and hitting Publish in the hopes that maybe, just maybe, I would get a solid 15 views on this post. Only to do this again next week. From scratch. I’m not saying I don’t like blogging (that is absolutely false), it’s just that I’d rather put my brain in a blender than write today.

Maybe I feel like this because I started blogging with the unrealistic hopes of getting a million followers in a year, and until now, I really thought it was possible. I am addicted to the idea of success and fame, and I used to believe that blogging would let me achieve my dreams as quickly as possible. And the realization that success isn’t even guaranteed, let alone easily achievable, has shaken me up considerably over the past few weeks.

So is success really achievable? Is it worth putting all your time, energy, strength and willpower just to make sure that your dreams are achieved? What if you don’t have big dreams? What if you just want a cheeseburger, and don’t care about getting a degree in experimental psychology? Is it okay to risk everything you know and have to just follow your passions?

Yes and no. But don’t just take my word for it.

It is valid to be obsessed with your dreams. It is not valid to sit on your couch with a coke in your hand and complain that your dreams haven’t been fulfilled. Work ethic is key to success, as you’ll see in next week’s post. So get off the couch. Work hard and enjoy the process of working hard. Work till your work pushes you forward. And once you reach your goal, revel in your success and find a new goal to work towards.

However, I think it’s wrong to get so caught up in one particular goal that you forget that there are other goals you can achieve. That’s very messed up. I used to be obsessed with learning to play basketball at school, but I never felt in love with the sport. Then last week I made the decision to change my sport to football, and I love it. I guess the key is to do as many things as possible at a young age, and figure out what you’re best at as you grow up.

That’s what blogging is to me. A chance to explore. I’m coming up on my blog’s 3-month anniversary this Saturday and I can’t begin to describe how happy I and grateful I am. I have learnt so much from this writing endeavor and I’m excited to see what I can come up with next. Sure, there will be rough patches. But no pain, no gain, right?

“I have to face life with a newly found passion. I must rediscover the irresistible will to learn, to live and to love.” —Andrea Bocelli

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A Guide to Surviving Freshman Year of High School

-From a high school freshman.

You’re not running a Fortune 500 company.

So stop acting like you have the world’s weight on your shoulders. These 4 years of high school do look extremely daunting. I feel it. And I’ve been in 9th grade for a week. But trust me: don’t stress. We’re gonna get through it unscathed. But:

These 4 years are gonna matter a lot.

So spend every waking, breathing moment either working hard, feeling great or being nice to others. These should be your top three priorities. Get in your best hustle game. Make the best and closest friends who lift your spirits up. Smile!

Notes.

Words simply cannot describe how important taking good notes are. Organized, neat and simple notes will become your best friends in these 4 years. So treat them write. Here are links to up your note-taking game:

Rihanna:*work, work, work, work, work, work*

Work ethic is gonna become key if you want to ace every one of your tests. It’s also very subjective. So experiment with different methods of studying, different locations, and create a timetable that lets you slay all your work and also leaves you energy to do other things. And do this in the first week of your new year. Once you come up with a plan, commit to it.

Do more than just textbook studies.

I know. Don’t virtually curse me. I know there’s also a truckload of stuff to do in our textbooks. But for the sake of your individuality, please don’t restrict yourself to the information in your textbooks. The world is bigger than your wildest imagination of it. Don’t live in a bubble. Expose yourself to as many new, wild, crazy, truly innovative things as possible. Google absolutely everything you see. Learn to play a musical instrument. Learn Calculus, Laws of Thermodynamics, Coding, World History or a new language. Experiment with your strengths and weaknesses. But please, don’t close yourself in a bubble of fear and call it comfort.

You are going to do absolutely amazing in your first year of high school. For sure. Trust me.

I just got in.

High school is neither a democracy nor a dictatorship – nor, contrary to popular belief, an anarchic state. High school is a divine-right monarchy.
― John Green, Paper Towns

P.S. What’s your best advice for high school? Leave your advice in the comments. They might just help me out:)

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Watch a TED Talk.

#TEDTalkTuesday

From TED Talks: The Official TED Guide To Public Speaking by Chris Anderson :-

The house lights dim. A woman, her palms sweating, her legs trembling just a little, steps out onto the stage. A spotlight hits her face, and 1200 pairs of eyes lock onto hers. The audience senses her nervousness. There is palpable tension in the room. She clears her throat and starts to speak.

What happens next is astounding.

The 1200 brains inside the heads of 1200 independent individuals start to behave very strangely. They begin to sync up. A magic spell woven by the woman washes over each person. They gasp together. Laugh together. Weep together. And as they do so, something else happens. Rich, neurologically encoded patterned of information inside the woman’s brain are somehow copied and transferred to the 1200 brains in the audience. These patterns will remain in those brains for the rest of their lives, potentially impacting their behaviour years into the future.

The woman on the stage is weaving wonder, not witchcraft. But her skills are as potent as any sorcery.

Ants shape each other’s behaviour by exchanging chemicals. We do it by standing in front of each other, peering into each other’s eyes, waving our hands and emitting strange sounds from our mouths. Human-to-human communication is a true wonder of the world. We do it unconsciously everyday. And it reaches its most intense form on the public stage.

The campfires or old have spawned a new kind of fire. A fire that spreads from mind to mind, screen to screen: the ignition of ideas whose time has come. From the first time our ancestors teamed up to take down a mammoth to Neil Armstrong’s first step onto the moon, people have turned spoken words into astonishing shared achievements.

We need that now more than ever. Ideas that could solve our toughest problems often remain invisible because the brilliant people in whose minds they reside lack the confidence or the know- how to share those ideas effectively. That is a tragedy. At a time when the right idea presented the right way can ripple across the world at the speed of light, spawning copies of itself in millions of minds, there’s huge benefit to figuring out how best to set it on its way, both for you, and for the rest of the world who need to know what you have to say.

Are you ready?

Let’s go light a fire.

Watch the most popular TED Talks of all time:

https://www.ted.com/playlists/171/the_most_popular_talks_of_all

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How to get motivated

#MotivationMonday

1.Cut off distractions.

Ruthlessly.

Anything that eats on your time, energy and resources must be cut off fiercely. You decide what you want to spend the majority of your time on. And don’t let false priorities set you off. So choose widely.

2. Be clueless.

Try not to push yourself too hard when you’re feeling unmotivated. Just acknowledge the fact that you don’t know what to do and use this to your advantage. Let your mind wander freely. Don’t hold back.

3. You are a canvas.

You are not the painter. You are the one being painted. So stop acting like you have a big responsibility to create the best life for yourself. Just enjoy the process and put on your biggest smile.

4. Positivity is essential.

Because everything is better when you’re thinking happy, powerful thoughts and you’re chilling with friends. 😁

5. You control, you conquer.

Own your life. Stop slacking. Get off your t.v. and do something that changes your way of life. You have one shot. One shot at living your life.

This life is yours, and yours only. Do what you want. And do it with all your heart.

Mirror, mirror on the wall,

I’ll always get up after I fall.

And whether I run, wall, or have to crawl,

I’ll set my goals and achieve them all.