Praveen Ramesh

I write about things I learn from books, and my observations on being a creator

Writing and clarity dance with each other.

Writing is something that I never enjoyed. I used to write to “sound” intelligent. And eventually ran out of ideas, motivation and drive. All this changed once I started to see writing as an outlet.

Feeling overwhelmed? Write

Have an idea to work on? Write

Not sure how you feel? Write

Have a brilliant idea? Write

Feeling too blah? Write till your mind is empty.

Writing has helped me put shape to thoughts. Feelings and emotions suddenly come to surface. And all this with a pen and paper that costs less than $1.

Clear writing gives poor thinking nowhere to hide.

Habits are weird. They are exciting when you start, and incredibly hard to maintain once you see some results. I’ve had my fair share observations of NOT staying put with a habit for long

  • Losing weight is easy- maintaining it is difficult
  • Starting a blog is easy- posting on a schedule is not
  • Having 1 great appraisal is easy, having consecutive ones is hard

All of us love having one time validations. But they mean just that- validations. Not results.

Magic happens when we stay put.

A horse is standing between a haystack and a can of water confused on what it should consume.

Enough time passes and eventually the horse dies of a hunger and thirst. This analogy reflects my thinking process. Stuck & confused on picking the right choice. And ultimately giving up because of fatigue.

Here’s how I’m changing it

When stuck with choices, I force myself to act. When acting we’re forced to pick or make something a priority. And even if we go with the wrong choice, we would have learnt something.

For most people routines are boring. And I for one hate the rigidity it brings into my day. This until I quit my previous job, and was in a little break.

After some reflections, wandering I really didn’t know what to do with my time.

And slowly but steadily the freedom became draining.

I was bogged down by

  1. What to do next?

  2. Constant effort in choosing my next project

  3. And burnt out with all the decision fatigue.

I set out to have a simple routine in the morning. Something that will just set up me for the day, and that’s not too taxing. And KA-BOOM I instantly start to feel better.

These routines have changed, have been altered, but I’ve constantly stuck to some kind of a morning and wind down routine. But then begs the question

How much routine is too much?

We never want to go overboard with our routines. Because they cause rigidity and boredom. And eventually we beat ourselves even if miss a day. I for one, don’t schedule every hour of the day.

I try to have a routine that gives me enough flexibility to try new things, yet gives me the predictability to my day.

Mornings: Wake up and just be, workout, breathing/meditation, read, meal preparation.

Evenings: Meal prep, watch something, read and sleep.

Apart from these, I have theme days.

Like Thursday’s are my shoot days, Saturdays are my socialising day, and Sunday is complete rest with no fixed agenda.

Bad behaviours are kinda funny. We know we shouldn’t be doing them, but we keep doing them. We think we might be the exception to not be affected by it. Or we think too short-term to NOT know of its effect.

For instance there are a lot of scammy businesses in tourist locations because they don’t have repeat customers. Contrast that to a businesses in a city or a suburb that optimises for service and repeat customers.

Local businesses understand that you cannot hack your reputation.

And I see this pattern with personal habits as well. You cannot hack your way to a fit body or a state of being. You have to work on it for a long period of time.

Bad behaviours is rooted in short term thinking

It’s kinda natural to do self-destructing things because we’re not wired to think to 10,20,30 years.

This insight is something I heard in this episode of The Knowledge Project.

This is an ongoing debate. I wanted to add my observations to this debate from a creator perspective.

Advantages Of Going For Quantity

  1. With deliberate practice you will get better

  2. You’re increasing your luck surface area. You have a better chance of getting discovered

  3. You form or force a routine

Advantages of Going For Quality

  1. You have fewer, but more impactful things

  2. You’re more likely to have WOM, or build a loyal base when your bar is high.

  3. You’re thorough and well-researched in your work.

Going for quantity is good for the creator/performer. They get better with time and practice.

Quality is good for the consumer. Consuming from quality sources ensures your information density is not distorted.

Of course these will vary widely based on chosen field.

For strength workouts I would go for quality reps.

For meditation I would go for quantity

For reading, I would go for quality

For writing, I would go for quantity ;)

You get the drift!

I wrote about the REAL magic bullet, a.k.a the compounding effect. I had some reflection on it’s so hard to embrace the compound effect. I realise something

The barrier to doing something long enough is our microwave mentality.

We want our results to be ‘quick’. Like how things get heated in under 120 seconds on a microwave. Or how we start to get likes immediately after posting a picture.

The world around us constantly encourages this behaviour.

When results are not as quick as I want it, I get into a state of self criticism. Press the try harder button. And eventually give up.

How often have you been caught in this trap?

“Work on your passion” is an advice I despise.

The problem with this advice for me is that I’m interested in way too many things. Too many topics across streams. How do I pick one?

Rather than picking on one, I think of them as nurturing them over a period of time.

Which is the idea that I’m most excited about now? Why am I so excited about it? What’s the time commitment I’m willing to give?

And I try and work on them diligently for a year or two before deciding “this is it” or “maybe not my cup of tea”.

You don’t find your passion magically. You nurture and grow on it.

Thoughts?

How often do we go back to our camera rolls to check the 565+ pics we took in a vacation?

How often do we check the countless articles saved using our chrome extension tool?

How often do we call or text the countless contacts on our phone?

The answer to all this is- far fewer than what we could.

With abundance of storage, and ease of getting things done, we rarely attach value or emotion to these acts. Taking pictures, storing articles, and saving contacts have become mere acts without much emotional value.

Contrast this to the times when these were scarce.

We used to take pictures that meant something. Because camera rolls were expensive.

We used to read, and discuss articles, because our access to wide information was limited. We used to ‘memorise’ numbers of special ones.

This is not to say I’m against tech, and we should go back to stone age. Just trying to see if we can bring back the magic and joy of little things in this digital age.

I feel great about what I’ve done. I’m content where I am

We rarely feel this way. In fact most of us (including myself) are perennially dissatisfied though we tend to accomplish a lot of things.

  • We remember the 2 things we didn’t strike out from our to-do list
  • We remember the 1 failed assignment at work
  • We beat ourselves over the one argument or stupidity we committed in a relationship.

And we hold on to it forever. Experts call this Zeigarnik Effect.

The psychological tendency to remember an uncompleted or an unpleasant task/memory rather than a completed one.

I tend to press the “try harder” button when I experience this uncomfortable feeling. A friend told me that she pictures me as a track runner jumping hurdle after hurdle on an endless track, only to keep running until there are no hurdles.

Without rest, pause, and the choice to be satisfied- I end up getting myself burnt out.

We all have a choice to be satisfied, and that’s a decision we have to seek every single day.

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