Highlights of the day

  1. Did 200 push ups (on toes with breaks, of course!) in eight minutes with three other colleagues as part of Movember fund-raising at workplace. I am proud of my employer’s fitness culture.
  2. Weighing scale showed 74 kgs on a full stomach post dinner at 7:30 pm. I thought the scale is faulty, but no, it is not. I know, body weight is not everything but couldn’t resist to step on it when I bumped into a scale.

My Friday is made.

Mindful November

At the end of October I finished reading this book titled Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff. So during this month, I hoped to practice some of the things I learned from this book. Hence Mindful November.

I liked the idea of conserving mental energy that’s otherwise wasted on small stuff so we can use it for the things that really matter. The central theme of this book is to help keep the little things from taking over our lives.

I picked twelve things to practice during November. These rules sound like truisms, but as with all truisms, the challenge is in practicing. I failed miserably multiple times when situations have arisen. Lately some of my ducks are getting out of row (if they aren’t, they are not ducks, are they?). I would have saved a lot of mental energy had I applied some of these rules. But alas, such is life!

It is not all bad though. I did well in some of them. For example, I am not an aggressive driver but I am neither sagacious. I received a rather expensive speeding ticket in mail during the Bay of Islands road trip last month. Much earlier to this, since the start of the last year I decided not to honk at anyone on the road, regardless. Who knows what the other driver is going through. Everyone does mistakes sometime. So there is no point in getting zealous with horn as if I am saintly.

However, I was only not honking. I am still disturbed within when I see bad or dangerous driving. This morning someone cut in front of me in the traffic. But this time, instead of feeling angry, I recalled the following from lines from the book and instantly felt better.

Why not simply allow the driver to have his accident somewhere else? Try to have compassion for the person and remember how painful it is to be in such an enormous hurry. This way we can maintain our own sense of well-being and avoid taking other people’s problems personally.

And from the essay 57,

…you end up saving no time in getting where you want to go.

Nevertheless, I am an optimist and believe in practice. So I will get going.

Here are the twelve things I will continue to practice.

Let others finish.
Don’t interrupt others or finish their sentences.

Let others be right.

Let others have the glory.

Let others be more enlightened.
Imagine that everyone is enlightened except you.

Choose being kind over being right or being intelligent.

Praise and blame are all the same.

Become a less aggressive driver.

Think of what you have instead of what you want.

Look beyond behavior.

If someone throws you the ball, you don’t have to catch it.

When trying to be helpful, focus on little things.

Mind your own business.
Avoid analyzing or trying to figure out other people.

Ben Horowitz’s Commencement Speech at Columbia University

Ben Horowitz’s speech at Columbia University is a great commencement speech I enjoyed in a long time.

It is witty, insightful, optimistic and unconventional.

I loved his main idea: follow your contribution instead of your passion. The next thing I loved is this quote:

As human beings we want to be liked. It’s anthropological. If people didn’t like you in caveman days, they will just eat you. So you really have a natural built-in instinct to want to be liked. And the easiest way to be liked is to tell people what they want to hear. And you know what everybody wants to hear? What they already believe to be true. So the last thing they want to hear is an original idea that contradicts their belief system. So it is very hard to even bring that kind of stuff up. But those are the things – those are the only things; things that you believe, that everybody around you doesn’t believe, when you are right, that creates real value in the world. Everything else people already know. It is just business usual. So it is very important to think for yourself.

A must watch!

Weet-Bix October

I ate Weet-Bix for breakfast everyday in October.

Weet-Bix is a high-fiber, low-sugar, and low-cost breakfast cereal widely available in this part of the world. It may not be the healthiest breakfast but I bet they are healthier than most cereals. I reckon only rolled oats are healthier than Weet-Bix. I like Weet-Bix because they are super simple to make, I can’t eat more than two of them and they feel nice and light in the stomach. But like most of the healthy foods, Weet-Bix are bland and tasteless. So I haven’t been eating them as often as I would like and was eating tongue-pleasing options like bread with peanut butter or nut and seed flavored muesli.

At the end of September, I felt I had enough and decided to eat only Weet-Bix for breakfast in October. I haven’t done any 30-day experiment so far this year. So this sounded like a good and healthy experiment.

Here is my breakfast recipe for the last 31 days: Boil little milk for two minutes, add two Weet-Bix, and a smattering of sunflower and pumpkin seeds and a few roast almonds. Wait for two minutes and enjoy!

As a result of this experiment, I loved Weet-Bix more than ever. So I am happy to continue eating them.

My four-year old too loves Weet-Bix and eats two of them with milk and some raisins. Hopefully he will not give in to sugary cereals as he grows up. I will try my best to keep him interested in Weet-Bix by eating them myself, which I am more than happy to.

What do you eat for breakfast and why?

/now page

I am now part of theĀ /now page movement started by Derek Sivers. I created a What I’m Doing Now page on this blog.

I felt this is a brilliant idea because it made me pause, think about what is important to me and write how I am spending my time.

Here is Derek’s Now page. Here is the list of sites with /now pages.

I bumped in to Derek when Leo tweeted:

I then found and liked Derek’s No more yes. It’s either HELL YEAH! or no post and started following him in twitter.

I can touch type

It is a shame but I couldn’t touch type until recently.

One day in July 2013 my boss was passing by my desk. It was not the first time he was passing by me or noticed me typing with two fingers. But that day he stopped by my desk and encouraged me to learn touch typing so I could type at the speed of my thought. He told a little story about how he learned touch typing when he was in high school. A little later that afternoon,  he returned to his desk, which is at the far end of mine, skyped me to turn to him and smilingly skyped something which I can’t remember. In that chat he also shared the website he used to learn to touch type: http://www.typeonline.co.uk/index.html

Later that evening, I checked this website at home. This is not the fanciest website to learn touch typing but I liked its simplicity. I clicked around on the links to see how the lessons are structured. On one of the pages, I noticed a message that struck chord with me:

Typing is learned by practice.

Expert typists are not born with an innate affinity for keyboards. They have not taken a magic typing pill. Nor do they rely on enchanted keyboards for their skill. They practice.

So this sounded like a perfect opportunity to put the deliberate practice theory to practice.

751 days of practicing as little as 20 minutes a day, I can now touch type. I am yet to practice numbers row but I mastered the other three rows. However, it wasn’t easy in the beginning. I struggled a lot while starting to learn. But I accepted that as a part of learning and put up patiently with each lesson. Every new lesson and new row was a struggle. Many a time, I used to practice the previous lesson or row just to get going and not give in. Eventually I mastered all the three rows and then moved on to copy practice lessons.

Another thing that got me going was the feeling of mastering the keyboard. Deep inside me I felt very happy to be able to type without looking at the keyboard. One day I turned to my boss, pinged him in skype to look at me, and while smiling at him, I skyped and thanked him for nudging me to learn to touch type. He was impressed that I took his feedback positively and worked on it deliberately.

I continued to practice even after I learned fully because I only needed fifteen minutes a day. I never missed a day of practice in the last 180 days. Now typing has become my new normal that I see no point in tracking this habit. So today is the last fifteen minutes of practice. I archived the habit in Lift and am not going to waste any more time tracking this habit. I anyway type a lot as part of my job and hobbies. 

For the records, here are the Lift stats:

TouchTyping Stats

My boss was not the first person to encourage me to learn touch typing. During the first year of college in the year 2000, one of my computer science professors encouraged our class to learn typing. I took his message and in the ensuing semester holidays, went to nearby town to learn typing on a mechanical type writer. I learned for about two weeks and eventually gave up and settled with two finger typing. 

Fifteen years later, I am glad I finally learned it.

Worldwide WP 5k 2015

I completed WWWP5k this afternoon. This is my first 5k run. I’m pleased that it is part of worldwide WordPress community event. 

My WWWP5k Run Full Map

My WWWP5k Run Full Map (Click to enlarge)

I ran in the Unitec university campus near my home. I hoped run in the nearby park but the day got hectic and I ended up running in my beautiful neighborhood.

Run Stats

Run Stats

I am happy with my stats, given this is my first 5k and the last run before this was in December 2013 for 3.39k. I exercise regularly but I know running and exercising are not the same. But I think my routine Thursday legs workout helped a bit. I set the expectation lower and budgeted about an hour for the run. I surprised myself by completing 5k in half the expected time.

Finish Line

Finish Line (Click to enlarge)

The above picture is taken when I finished the run on the footpath by the side of Carrington Road and Woodward Road intersection in the Mount Albert suburb of Auckland at 6:22 p.m.

I ran non-stop for about 3k at moderate pace. Then the terrain got steeper uphill and I had to switch between walking and running for the rest 2k.

It’s a great feeling to combine two of my passions, WordPress and fitness and join the fellow bloggers across the globe for the fun run.

Go WordPressers!