Elevate milestone

I reached 401 day long streak on Elevate today. I was at 101 last time when I wrote about  this cool educational app.

Elevate combines two of my passions: deliberate practice and building tiny habits. This is what makes me reach out to Elevate as soon as I wake up every morning.

It hurts to break a habit streak. Especially, when it only takes about five minutes a day to build it. It totally sucked when I broke the streak twice, once around 30 days and the other at 52 days. Luckily, I am yet to miss a day since. Until I break the streak again, I will say that it is easy to build streaks on tiny habits :). Touchwood!

Completing three games daily takes about five minutes. It is easy to do, it is also easy not to do, as I recall a note from the fourth chapter of The Slight Edge. Add another five to seven minutes if, like me, you need multiple attempts to score perfect games. So it only takes at most ten minutes to make the day count and score perfect games. Everyone has ten minutes. There are no excuses really. I think this is what has helped me stick this long.

Following are my stats and Elevate Proficiency Quotient (EPQ). I love how both the app’s design and my EPQ have evolved over time. I did not improve in listening because I always skipped listening games.



Now that I celebrated the 400-day milestone by writing about it, 500, here I come.

How much is too much

As a personal blogger mostly writing about myself, my biggest dilemma is to decide how much is too much. I often wonder if I am exposing myself too much on the internet. Until recently, I did not even dare to have my photo on this blog. I am certainly not ready to post my family’s photos here. I may, in the future, but for now, I play safe. And I don’t know what’s the harm with sharing personal photos on the blog. I still ponder.

On the other hand, I love writing. Writing well is important to me. I write a lot in my day job about software and technology. I believe no one can practice enough of any skill, let alone writing. So I use this blog to practice a different form of writing.  It is easy for me to write about myself. Which is what I do here.

I could write privately. But I enjoy reading personal blogs of normal people around the world sharing their day-to-day life. I find those personal blogs far more enjoyable to read compared to reading something like latest iPhone or movie reviews or even news. Personal blogs are enlightening and at times inspiring. This, combined with my reluctance to be a passive consumer, makes me blog about myself. Although, deep down I am afraid of making myself vulnerable to judgement.

Okay, Seth Godin is not your ordinary Joe but I found this inspiring quote from his 6000th blog post on his personal blog that he published today:

It doesn’t matter if anyone reads it, buys it, sponsors it or shares it. It matters that you show up.

Seth linked to another great post titled Shut Up, Sit Down, and Type which highlights something I deeply believe:

So whatever the voices or gremlins in our heads are saying, our response is the same: just show up every day and do the work.

And lastly, today’s installment on The Daily Post articulates what I love most about personal blogs:

I am drawn in by their passion, not by their perfection.

All this will get me going for the next 200 posts. 

About me in three words

For a long time I described myself as unparalleled, unpredictable and unassuming. I had filled all my online bios with just these three words. They still apply to me but I stopped using these adjectives for no clear reason.

Later I learned that using adjectives is a terrible way to describe oneself. While I think there is merit in “show, don’t tell” idea, adjectives are the only way I can express myself in minimal possible words.

Unparalleled, not because I am special but because I am unique. This spared me lot of “me too” comparisons.

I hate to fit into stereotypes. So I choose to be positively unpredictable.

Until such time I know everything, I better be unassuming.

Which three adjectives describe you?

Back to Toastmasters

I recently quit Toastmasters as I am not finding enough time to practice my speeches. Insufficient practice shows up pretty badly in front of audience. Toastmasters are incredibly forgiving. They will put up with the worst of the speakers.  But it hurts to not live up to the Toastmasters Promise.

There is one thing that all bad speakers have in common. They don’t practice enough. It takes about  an hour of practice for every minute of a speech. So you got to practice at least five hours to deliver a five-minute speech reasonably well. This is in addition to the time spent to research and write the speech. I don’t have that much free time. This was the reason I quit.

But I really loved being a Toastmaster. So I decided to go back to the club meetings as a guest and take part in impromptu speeches. I won’t have a membership but that doesn’t matter. What matters is practicing in front of audience and remembering to use word of the day in the speech.

In that sense, I am calling myself a Toastmaster again.

Leveled up in Pushps

I just completed the Level 2 Pushp Challenge and signed up for Level 3.

Level 3 helps me do 30 pushups in four weeks. I reached to 30 pushups in the last few days but today, on the last day of Level 2, I had to land on my knees at 28. But the numbers doesn’t matter much. The aim is to keep practicing. So I just signed up for Level 3.

That is 130 days to nearly 30 pushups. Not too bad.

I also bought this Dead-Simple Exercise Plan yesterday to complement my three high intensity exercises a week. I hope to use this plan on those days I don’t exercise.

James Clear

James Clear is one of my favorite habit bloggers. I came across him some time last year. I am reading his blog ever since. It changed me for better. I love his content, consistency and writing style. His work has been immensely helpful to me while I was forming my habit philosophies.

Until last week he published two high quality articles every week on his blog JamesClear.com. From this week he is only going to publish only one. I welcome this change, wish him all the best and look forward to continue reading his posts.

I can go on talking about the lessons learned by reading his blog. But if I were to pick only one, it is this post titled Identity-Based Habits. And this image in that post sums it up.


“Decide the person you want to be and prove it to yourself with small wins”, he prescribes. This idea has helped set up my exercising habit.

I told myself exactly what’s in that image. I have been consistently showing up three times a week to exercise. I can’t do 100 pushps in a row yet but I did 30 this evening on my toes; my highest ever in a row. I have proved myself that I can do pushps on toes, over the last 128 days. I have no plans to stop; so I may be able to do 100 pushups in a row some day. I lost a bit of weight by the looks. Nevertheless, performance and appearance are external and doesn’t matter as much as my identity. I don’t pretend that performance and appearance are not important. They are. But focusing on them isn’t going to take me far. What if people don’t say anything about my performance? Does that mean I am not performing? Instead, I focus on my identity and see performance and appearance as offshoots.

I have few other identities that I would like to keep to myself at this stage. But the point is, identity is a powerful concept. Once you find who you want to be, it is difficult not to prove your identity to yourself. Do it often times and it becomes your reality.

I have no affiliation to James. I have only emailed him once to thank him for his great work and he thanked me back. But I always like to spread the good work and endorse its creators as much as I can. So go to his newsletter page, scroll down a bit and give your email id. You will learn a thing or two.