“I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.” ― Mark Twain
Today, world is changing faster than a few decades ago. What is true today may not be true ten years from now. That is why the concept of micro learning has gained importance and we will discuss about micro learning in detail in this blog post. This fast changing world is demanding change in skills or improvement in skills on a regular basis if you want to be in demand professionally as well as socially in today's world and today's industry. And that is why the concept of micro learning is becoming so popular. Unlike a few decades ago when learning was a process that led you to getting job and you climbed the ladder of success based on your experience alone, today you need to keep upgrading your skills or learning new skills in order to keep up with rest of the world.
Micro Learning Examples
So what is the solution? Going to university again for long 2-3 years is definitely not the solution. That too when, unfortunately, our present education system has not changed to meet the demands of this new scenario. Hence solution is to be very specific about what area you want to improve your skills in or what new skill you want to learn. And then take up a short course in that specific field. I wont call it a "subject" because because the word "subject" provides a very broad area of knowledge, e.g. let us take geography as a subject. Your goal may not be to learn everything about geography but because of some reason you want to learn about changing weather pattern of a particular country. Or taking yet another example, you may not be interested in knowing the details of all the aspects of internet marketing but you may want to learn about affiliate marketing which is a small part of internet marketing.
Sources of Micro Learning
Click Here to Join world's best membership site for Micro learning.
Fortunately our industry has started working towards the concept of micro learning and a few companies have taken these challenge in a very innovative way. Skill Share is one such company where you can join their online portal on a monthly basis. You may either choose a course from one of many available categories or you can search for a course using a keyword. I found some very interesting courses like "blogging for beginners", "Affiliate marketing without paid traffic" etc. Another advantage of Skill Share courses is availability of many courses by different experts on the same topic. I found six to seven courses on the "Affiliate Marketing". You can undergo all theses courses and pickup the best points from all of them.
This is what I call micro learning and this is what will make you successful either in your existing career or else if you want to start a new carrier. You improve your skill in an area that you want to by being very specific, in the shortest period of time possible without investing thousands of dollars as in college fees. Gone are the days when you spent years after years in university to uplift your career. Micro learning is here to stay and is the necessity of tomorrow.
What is advertising? Are They Proving Us Dumb? Do not underestimate the influence of advertisement in our daily lives.
"Good advertising does not just circulate information. It penetrates the public mind with desires and belief." After all What is advertising?
So, Let us try to understand what is advertising and how they are proving us dumb by illustrating a few examples.
Last week I was watching an Indian comedy show on YouTube. The comedian was Varun Grover. He just joked about one of the advertisement that was being shown on one of the Indian TV channels. And that ad was really hilarious. The ad goes like this. There is this dark skinned girl who applies for pilot's job. She goes for the interview and doesn't make it. She comes back, uses fair and lovely cream for 15 days, goes for the interview again and gets selected. Don't you think it is the dumbest ad that has been conceived? But its working. This stupid ad is motivating many to start using Fair and lovely cream. How dumb we can be? But then, I thought, it had always been like that. These big business houses will come out with a dumb product which doesn't make any sense and they will build a brilliant story around their dumb product and prove the public that you are dumb if you are not using their dumb product.
So, I decided to make a list of such products.
Top dumb idea in my list is, shampoo and conditioner. Do you remember way back in 70s, it used to be only shampoo that used to turn our hair shiny and silky and it used to cost $4. Then they came up with the idea that No, shampoo is only for cleaning the hair and another product "Conditioner" is required to turn your hair shiny and silky. Come on, Why? Original shampoo was working fine. They didn't even need to prove it. They just said that a top Hollywood superstar uses shampoo and conditioner so you all must also use, else you are dumb. We gracefully accepted it. Final result was, now instead of buying shampoo in $4, we spend $4 on shampoo and $4 on conditioner. We even pretend that it all works so well. I again decided not to be trapped in their quest to fool me and searched in the market, any brand of shampoo that doesn't need a conditioner. I could not get, but my wife being an expert shopper managed to find one. But their was a catch. It was only for men!! I fail to understand, whats the difference between a man's hair and women's hair. Or is it easier to fool women? Just kidding.
Second in my list is after shave lotions. Do you remember, way back in 70s, we used to rub slab of alum to stop blood when you cut your skin while shaving? Then these so called smart guys came up with this dumb idea of after shave lotion. Show me one after shave lotion which will stop blood coming out of your poor skin. None. But these guys will convince you by saying, listen you will feel fresh if you use our after shave. See that hero is fighting with 10 guys after using this after shave. O My god!! How dumb but still they force us to accept it, else you are declared old fashioned. You have blood coming out because of a cut while shaving, let it keep oozing out, use after shave and feel fresh. Its like instead of giving first aid to a person injured in an accident, offer him a new shirt so that he could feel fresh. I decided not to be proved dumb by these guys. Last week I searched almost all the markets of Wellington and found a slab of alum that costed me 99C. It stops blood immediately and I don't have to spend $15 to buy an aftershave that does nothing. If you want to feel fresh, buy any dam perfume.
Now, coming back to toothpastes, I fail to understand if sweet is bad for our teeth, why all these toothpastes are made sugary? Not only that, An independent body conducted a research by lab testing all brands from cheapest to the most expensive toothpastes. Click Here to read the result of this research. Result was straight forward: "In reality, you're paying extra for essentially the same product.". But can you believe, the power of advertising is so profound that shops continued to sell expensive toothpastes in spite of this result which was properly broadcasted on a very popular TV show here in New Zealand. They keep proving us dumb again and again and we tend to feel honored that they have proved us dumb. I searched on google for a few home made tooth pastes and found this one quite effective. Again like, after shave lotion, they will say you will not feel fresh after doing this. Come on, chew a few fresh mint leaves from your garden. That will make your mouth real fresh. Alternatively, if you belong to tropical country, pluck a soft stem from a neem tree and crush it from one side and use it to clean your teeth. (And because it really works, do not expect it to be sweet).
Latest product entering my great list is Fitbit. By the way, my whole family is Fitbit crazy. Before I go into the details of Fitbit, let me tell you a small incident that took place before Fitbit arrived in the market. We were in the process of developing an App that will count how many steps you have walked through out the day and if you don't move for 2 hours, it will prompt you to get up and go for a walk. All the modules were made but only problem was that one has to carry the smart phone in the hand if the App detects the movement else it will keep reminding you to get up and go for a walk. One of my colleagues even joked that we may tell people to wrap the phone around their knees to make it work. Anyway, after many brain storming sessions we abandoned the idea of this App. Now, coming back to Fitbit, it was introduced with great pre-launch advertisement gimmicks as it always happens. My wife gifted one to me on Christmas. I configured it wore around my wrist, walked 10 steps from my living room to my car, drove to a suburb in Wellington about 15 Kms away, parked the car and walked another 20 steps to attend a meeting with a client. Guess what? Before I could enter the room, I hear a "Beep", and my phone announces, "Congratulation Ranjan, you have just been awarded a silver badge (or something like that)". I was stunned, I have hardly walked and this fellow has awarded me a badge for walking 30 steps. Then, I realized, these guys have made the same thing that we had conceived off, we abandoned it because we didn't want to fool the people and here these guys are openly fooling the whole world leaving all their ethics on the back burner. Anyway, I reached home and narrated the whole story to my wife and to my surprise, she was already aware of the fact. Then why are you using it if it is giving wrong data to you, I asked. "Well, at least it is giving me some data", was her reply. Attention guys, this is called the power of advertisement. These guys are bent upon proving us dumb and they have created such an atmosphere that we feel proud of being proved dumb. I give up. Why do you need garbage data to know whether you have walked enough or not. It is not going to improve your fitness. You can't punish your body to improve your fitness. It has to be joint exercise between your body and mind. There has to be a "feel good factor" when you go for a walk to improve your fitness. Go and walk bare foot on the beach. Let the waves touch your feet when you are walking and feel it, enjoy it. Listen to the sound created by the waves, smell the air and keep walking. Go for forest breathing. Feel the trees, listen to the song of birds. Try to relate to it and keep walking. That's how you can improve your fitness. Not by, feeling great by receiving a fake silver badge generated by a fake App using a garbage of data.
Guys, what do you think about these facts? If you agree with me, can you think about more such products and concepts which are thrown on us using powerful (?) business houses and powerful media? Or we are simply dumb? Give your verdict.
And finally is it a right way of explaining what is advertising?
The Worst Advice We've Ever Heard About meditation techniques
The thing about meditation is that you become more and more YOU. – David Lynch
Let me explain why I thought of writing this post about meditation techniques. I grew up in a very traditional orthodox family in India. During my childhood, pressure of following traditional rituals was so much that I actually started hating that environment and as soon as I left home, I almost rebelled against that orthodox Hindu environment. I declared myself as an atheist and lived with my new belief system for more than 15 years. As I grew older, I started realizing that actually I am not what I am trying to project myself. I was a deeply spiritual person but by declaring myself as an atheist, I was trying to take my revenge towards a society which was imposing their ideas and beliefs on me whether I like it or not. The system was such that if you agree with them, you are a good boy and if you do not agree with them, you are a bad boy. During my teen years, I lived with that guilt throughout that I am not a good boy. Fortunately, I got hold of a few very good books which changed my life forever. I read almost all the books by Deepak Chopra, "Same Soul Many Bodies" by Dr Brian Weiss, "Home with God" by Neale Walsh etc. All these books helped me understand myself and get rid of all negative energies that I was living with. I learn t how to think spiritually and truthfully without following any religion. And that is how I wanted to live since my childhood. I respect all religion, but I refuse to be a salesman of any religion. I wanted to think about cosmic structure and principles instead of following religious rituals. Topic of soul body integration introduced me to the world of meditation. I was too satisfied with newly found interests and instead of following spirituality as a boring subject or process, I started finding it as a real cosmic adventure.
Today, many options are available to learn the art of meditation and I have tried a few of them. Every style has its own positive points but it all depends on you what satisfies you the most.
Deepak Chopra has given a new dimension to meditation techniques and spirituality. May be in my case, I showed more interest to what he says because; I was able to relate with his style of liberal philosophies better than a religious preacher. He always backed up his spiritual principles with scientific theories. Deepak Chopra gives too much importance to the audio-visual frequencies around us and he says these frequencies have power to alter our state of consciousness. Meditation has capability to elevate our level of consciousness from being conscious to subconscious and then to super conscious. I have followed Deepak Chopra's style of meditation in the past where he gives too importance to lighting condition of the place of meditation and the vibrations that are created in the atmosphere by speaking a few Sanskrit mantras. I found this style very very useful and works really well specially if you are using meditation as a tool for your stress management. It really works. This was all going OK when Deepak Chopra came out with a new product "Dream Weaver" and for me it surpassed all my expectations. It is a mind boggling product and you really have to use it to understand what I am trying to say. It is very difficult to express in words, the state of mind that this product creates.
Basic principle of this product is same that audio-video frequencies around us have power to alter our level of consciousness. This time, Deepak Chopra has taken the help of electronic gadgets to induce these frequencies in our minds. If nothing else, you will at least feel relaxed as soon as you start using it. This product is a real game changer and it has completely changed the concept of meditation techniques.
Bramh Kumaris Raj Yoga:
I completed one week Raj Yoga free course and loved the experience. I came to know about them accidentally. I read in one of our local newspapers that St. James theater is showing a free one hour movie on the concept of "time". I went to the theater and there you had to write your details before you enter the theater. As soon as I wrote my address, the lady exclaimed! Oh you are our neighbor. I did not know but Bramha Kumari's meditation center was at one of the houses on our street which was a few blocks from our house. So, I
decided to enroll for their free meditation course. I liked their style of meditation and sermons. It is one of those places where you realize beauty in simplicity. Their style of meditation is emptying your mind from all kind of thoughts. It is a bit difficult to do but you improve with regular practice and feel better and more peaceful every time you do it. The teachers there are full of compassion in their approach and you feel good just for being there.
My Very Own Meditation Technique:
Earlier I had stated that I take meditation and spirituality as cosmic adventure and that is why in addition to following meditation techniques experts, I keep experimenting with my own ideas as well. At times I get mind blowing results. Here I am sharing one of my techniques which have given very productive results for me. I have named this meditation technique "Meditate by letting your imagination go wild".
Our thoughts, fantasies and imaginations are restricted by laws of physics, our brain's social conditioning, religious conditioning etc. as we have been always taught these facts and hence our brain gets conditioned to restrictions. Not only laws of physics but the cause and effect theory also restrict our imagination. We need to train our brain to take that flight of imagination unrestricted by scientific laws known to us. We all know, the outcome of our efforts is never proportional to the efforts that we put in. Life will be too boring and easy if you are sure that if you do this, the result will be this. All our efforts are being controlled by an unknown source and by an unknown logic. We can never ever quantify the effort of a person from all logical point of views i.e. intelligence, logic applied and amount of effort put in.
So, one day I decided to let my imagination go wild irrespective of any logic. I still remember, I was sitting at a secluded beach in Wellington and sun was setting in. I closed my eyes and let my brain go wild all out. Within minutes, I was imagining myself flying in the sky with full speed without my body. It was as if my soul is out and is traveling in the space. I was moving away from the earth. I was in the middle of the universe and was watching the earth below. The whole sky was dark and the twinkling stars were giving the whole scene an amazing beauty. I moved towards the Milky Way. I had that sense of freedom where no force is imposing any control over me. I was in complete control of myself. I felt very light like a snowflake. I am giving my experience only as an example. You are free to choose any type of imagination. Beauty of this kind of meditation is that you can be very creative. Unlike other meditation techniques where you put an effort to block any thought intruding your mind, here you become a part of thoughtlessness. Instead of putting an effort to stop the external intruding thoughts, here you create your own internal thought process which automatically stops the external thought. I have been doing it for a few months now and I am sure if you do it for 20 minutes every day, you will see the difference in your personality. You will not only enjoy those 20 minutes but it will become a perfect way to lower your day to day stress.
Overall the whole exercise is very enjoyable. Try it out and let me know whether it created any difference in your life.
And finally, watch this video to improve whatever meditation techniques you follow.
“We're taught to expect unconditional love from our parents, but I think it is more the gift our children give us. It's they who love us helplessly, no matter what or who we are.” ― Kathryn Harrison
This post will help all those parents who unnecessarily have illogical great expectations from their children and keep moaning that their kids do not listen to them. Well, when you decided to have a baby, it was yours and your spouse's decision and no consent was taken from the baby who was going to take birth. So, you have to maintain that one sided love and in 99% of the cases your love will be reciprocated but if it is not the case you need to continue loving your own creation. This will help you live in peace. You are having an unnecessary stress because you are considering them as your asset or an investment which is totally wrong from your part. Remember, they have come to this world to perform their journey not yours.
Your guidance may help them in their life but final decision has to be theirs. You should never ever try to control their soul on the pretext of guiding them. They are your creations and it is your duty to give them unconditional love even if it has to be one sided.
Many a times, I have seen, parents wish to fulfill their dreams through their children which is so unfair. They might have totally different expectations from life. It is your duty to help them achieve their dreams instead of you imposing your desires on them.
Another type of parents I have come across are the ones who literally want to control their children's life on the name of guiding them to take the right path. Come on guys, your kids are not your pets.
Religion plays a very important role in enslaving kids. Let them have a chance to be a thinker. Do not force them to follow what you followed all your life. May be, they will come out with some revolutionary ideas. Why do you want to decide for them what is right and what is wrong. Teach them how to think rather than forcing them what to think.
If you browse through the movies in the film industry, you will find hundreds of movies showing all negative emotions, how parents sacrificed so much for their kids only to be treated so badly in their old age. Come on, your kids are your creation, not your investment. You have not raised them so that one day when they grow up, they will serve you all their life.
I am writing here considering the worst case scenarios when things go wrong because of the problems that we parents create and the kids are not left with any other option than turning vindictive. If we parents, enrich the life our kids with positive emotional bond rather than imposing our ideologies, I am sure, they will positively reciprocate with all their heart.
"He is happy and fully aware that happiness is his very nature and that he need not do anything, nor strive for anything to secure it." - Nisargadatta Mahara
Oh This Happiness!!!
We are all trying to be happy. But what is happiness? Everyday we make a new target that if I achieve this, I will be happy. So many people are striving so hard to have a happy retirement. Does it really happen? Or Is happiness an illusion only? As soon as we achieve a target, we create a new target for ourselves. This goes on and on and finally we take final breath without achieving this "Happiness". So I decided to find what is exactly happiness. Why it always keeps running away from us. Last week I decided to make a list of all the moments that made me happy and I still remember those moments. The outcome was so surprising that I thought of sharing with you all. So my list goes like this:
Once I was bed ridden for about a week because of my lower back pain. I was at home with my 7 years old daughter. She instructed me early in the morning, Don't try to get up at all. I am in my room, just call me if you need anything. That sentence still sounds like music to me and brings smile on my face.
We once went to a local cafe to celebrate my older daughter's birthday. She had turned 16. I asked the young waitress for a glass of chardonnay, she brought it but when I took the first sip, I told everybody that I think, she gave me sauvignon blanc instead of chardonnay. I tried to call the waitress but my daughter stopped me saying, Dad, the cafe is full and she looks too stressed out. Please just drink whatever it is. I was suddenly so surprised that when my little teenager became so responsible and mature!! I still remember her expression when she asked me assertively.
Once we took my daughter's pet bunny Beethoven to a vet for something very minor. Beethoven was to be given an injection. As soon as the vet put him on the table, he sensed that something is not right and suddenly he climbed all over me. I still remember my daughter screaming, Oh dad, he knows that you only may be his savior.
4. I am a big fan of Lego blocks. When my kids were little, I always asked them if they would love to have Lego on their birthdays? They always politely responded, "Not really dad". I got a surprise of my life time when my grown up daughters combined to give a large Lego blocks set on my 50th birthday. I was so happy just to know how these guys remember something that happened 15 years back.
5. I had an heart attack in 2006, following which my doctor had strictly asked me to stop smoking (obviously). I was trying my best to stop smoking. One day my daughter came home excitedly and told me, Dad, I found a book "How to quit smoking" in the library and I have hidden the book at the end of the shelf so that somebody else should not be able to get it issued. So let us go and get it now.
6. I was always a camera conscious person. I made many videos but they were all made either by converting a slide show into a video or using "On Screen Recording". One day, I decided, let what may happen but I will go in front of the camera and record the video using my web cam. And after many retakes, finally I made the video. Guys, that process of overcoming my camera consciousness brought so much delight to me that I can't express it here. When I look back the memory lane, I never remember what video brought maximum clicks or got many likes or generated dollars. But what brings smile on my face, is that my very first video that I recorded using web cam.
Guys, I have not created this list just to write this blog post. I made this list of events that I always remember and that still bring joy to me. It is not a coincidence that I never recalled when I got a lucrative job or when I topped in that exam or when I started my own business. There is a thin line of difference between being happy and getting relieved. We are always so stressed out for paying bills etc. that we subconsciously start thinking that we will be happy after we achieve this or when I get more money or get that. These results will not bring happiness but help us get relieved.
If you don't believe what I have written about happiness, try making your list of happy moments and then ponder over the content of your list. You will surprise yourself over what really makes you happy. So stop waiting for that day when you will be happy and start loving your life journey, enjoy the process and be happy now.
Finally, I will bring the most controversial issue of all time, Can money buy happiness? Thousands of words have been written on this. My experience about it has been quite unusual. Well, 2016-2017 had been quite good years for me as far as finance is concerned, I did pretty well when I compare with the years before that. Did it make me happier? Well, just having dollars in the bank definitely doesn't make you very happy but its indirect results are awesome and it creates such conditions that you always feel to be over the moon. I remember one experience. We traveled to Queens Town for vacation and my daughters were discussing whether they should do paragliding or parasailing (anticipating that both of the adventures may not allowed by us). I very casually said, okay, let us go for parasailing today and if the weather permits, we will do paragliding tomorrow. They were literally stunned and their face expression was enough for me to trigger that feel good factor. Although my happiness was not a directly caused by money but money was indirectly responsible for that.
Henry Ward Beecher has rightly said...
The art of being happy lies in the power of extracting happiness from common things.