Know what your dreams are
It has been a month since we uploaded The Perfect Beginning on the website. The aim of the guide was mainly to communicate the need to start working on your dreams without aiming to be perfect first.
This blog is a continuation of that conversation and thus I recommend that you read the guide before reading this post. For those who haven’t read it here’s a link where you can claim it- The Perfect Beginning
What this blog will focus on is how you can manage your moods and what steps you can take to stay committed to your dreams.
The perfect beginning is not something unreachable and esoteric. The Perfect beginning is to have faith and begin. Because to have the courage and follow your dreams against the overwhelming might of the critic is the most challenging thing you can do.
The moment you take the first step, you have beaten the enemy within. You have proven to yourself that it is possible. You have defied years of limited perceptions and belief systems that have corrupted your mind and imprisoned you in a bubble of easy living.– Daksh, The Perfect Beginning
Writing down dreams
We all have so many wants, dreams, and desires and yet writing them down seems so foreign to us. Did you encounter any resistance while writing them down?
Was it hard to complete the exercises given? When we have to define our dreams and think about them clearly it feels like an immensely difficult task.
What’s more amazing is that in our entire life most of us haven’t written down our dreams before.
Writing 40 – 50 goals in itself might have been a challenging task. Some might have even stopped at the first 10.
If you were serious, however, you might have gone all the way, completed it, and noticed how that made you feel.
What knowing your dreams does for you
People that know exactly what they want in life are much more likely on achieving it than people who do not. That is just common sense.
However, the main question here is did it make any difference in your life? You realized what you want in your life. You might have even made a few of those goals your priority.
Could you act on them? Did you make enough progress in the time you read the pdf and now? Maybe the guide made no difference at all and you fell back into the default way.
We are creatures of habit and resistance is a formidable enemy. How can we defeat it after all?
You took the first steps and figured out what your goals were. That in itself was a remarkable achievement. Most people in life do not know what they really want.
They might have an idea about what they want right now. Maybe a hint of what they feel like doing this year. However, they do not know their purpose. They cannot define their goals.
My idea of Success
By writing down your goals, you are ahead of almost everyone around you. Not ahead in a social race sort of a way, maybe not fame-wise, maybe not even money-wise.
You see success is a personal construct that is unique from everyone else.
What success is for you will be very different from what success is for everyone else. You are unique.
Your experiences, where you come from, your surroundings, thoughts, and values are all unique and that is exactly why your idea of success will be unique as well.
Still do not believe me? Well, let me prove it to you. Maybe you think success is having a lot of money, fame, and power.
Everyone that has that might feel like they are successful and have immense joy and happiness in their life.
This, however, is not the case. High profile celebrities commit suicide because of depression. Even though they live a life, which most people would consider a definite success.
By writing down your goals you are closer to the success that your internal unique self has designed for you.
So well, you know what you want in life. However, that has not done any good so far. You are still the same. Nothing has changed. Not a lot anyway.
What to do now?
“Even if I know what I want what difference does it make? I want a million dollars. Money won’t drop out of the air tomorrow just because I want it.” I assume that is what you are thinking.
It is true. It will not make much difference by itself. It will make some difference. Knowing what you want will subconsciously alter the choices you make every single day.
That will take you much closer to the place you want to be than the version of you that lacks that knowledge.
It will not be a significant difference though. Not unless you use the most powerful thing in your arsenal.
Consistency and mood
Consistency, the most powerful tool that you have is also perhaps the hardest to master. It is easy to say to others that they should be consistent.
Everyone agrees that consistency to be the end all be all. If only I was consistent, I would have aced my grades. Gotten the best job possible. Have the perfect physique etc.
Yet almost everyone breaks their New Year resolutions in their first week. Why is it so hard?
You have read the perfect beginning and you know why that is. The all too familiar resistance that lives inside all of us. You see we humans are creatures that are vulnerable to our moods.
Our moods are our passing state of mind. They are fickle and can turn on a whim.
This temporary state of mind is always subject to change. Thus you can be in ecstasy one moment and in utter gloom the next.
You would not even realize how or why it happened. We might not be able to control the changes that we face in our moods but what we can learn is how to manage them.
Six Steps to Manage your moods
- Understand the Sensitivity of the mind
- Manage the body
- Manage peer group and social-circle
- Understand freedom of choice and Self-control
- Learning Self-Empathy
- Understanding Patience
The sensitivity of the mind
Humans are sensitive. This sensitivity is what helps us appreciate the beauty that is present all around us. When we visit a sunny beach, we admire it with all its intricacies.
The sand we walk on, the feeling of the sun’s heat against our skin, melody of the waves.
We cannot expect to have that sensitivity at the same time as having a thick skin that does not react to anything that happens to us. Instead, we should be willing to open ourselves to new experiences.
When we accept that sensitivity as a virtue, we become much more empathetic towards ourselves.
“This, then, is the human problem: there is a price to be paid for every increase in consciousness. We cannot be more sensitive to pleasure without being more sensitive to pain. “-Alan Watts
Body and its effect on thoughts
We like to believe that all the thoughts we have are our own and based on our experiences and logic. That isn’t very accurate. Research says that more often than not our thoughts are influenced by the state our body is in.
If you have not slept properly, you are much likely to procrastinate and be lazy. Not drinking enough water, not having healthy food plays a major role in our mood being blue.
Let’s try something out. For the next 10 seconds force yourself to smile from ear to ear. You can do it no-one’s looking. Just try smiling for no reason whatsoever.
Did you experience a shift in your mood? Just the act of forcefully smiling can make you happy 😛
If we take good care of our bodies, we are much more likely to feel happy and vibrant. It will also result in being more capable of handling any negative and unforeseen circumstances that we might come across.
Try sleeping for 5-6 hrs. Have healthy food, exercise and drink more water than you feel like. Take care of your body so the body can take care of your mind.
The people we surround ourselves with play a huge part in our moods. Sometimes the people we believe to be our closest friends might be holding hostility towards us hidden behind a friendly face.
We must recognize these people and start maintaining our distance from them.
People with abusive parents or partners face a life where they are constantly in a cycle where their self-worth keeps deteriorating.
We need to have friends that treat us with empathy and compassion. People that know that our faults do not define us and are willing to console us in times of sadness.
Humans are social animals and thus the state of your relationships and the character of people surrounding you will have a great effect on your moods. We talk in detail about how to maintain healthy relationships in our blog here.
Stay close to the people that make you feel light and stay away from the people that make you feel heavy. It sounds like mumbo jumbo but I guess you know exactly what I’m talking about.
Make sure that you have friends that encourage you to pursue your callings and urge you to improve on your flaws. Work towards interdependent and fulfilling relationships.
The ability to choose our response is like a muscle within us. The more we train ourselves to respond and not react the more control we gain over it.
It starts with realizing that we are not a product of our thoughts and emotions. When we react to circumstances, we lose control.
In responding to circumstances however we take our destiny in our own hands.
You should choose to be driven by principles instead of emotions. We discuss this much more in-depth in our blog that talks about an individual’s freedom of choice and the four components that it comprises.
This freedom to choose our response is what makes us different than all other animals.
Acting in the right way despite our terrible moods is the fundamental quality that separates greats from the would-have-been.
Whenever you are about to act on impulse or emotion, take a deep breath and try thinking it through. More often than not you will find a better course of action than you would have taken if you reacted.
We all have an internal critic inside us. The judgemental inner voice criticizes us on every action we take. It is like an internalized image that is formed over many years by the experiences we have faced in our life.
No matter what we do this Internal critic will criticize us nonetheless. It is thus important to realize the difference between when what we think is true and when it is just the judgemental voice of the critic.
Instead of letting our critic control our life and choices, we must learn to empathize with ourselves. You can read much more about the internal critic on our blog post here.
Whenever you feel trapped in a circle of worry and stress when everything you are thinking about feels out of your control, take a step back and realize that you can’t do anything about it.
Focus your mind back to the things that lie within your control. You will make much more progress if you be mindful in the present than worry for the future or regret the past.
There is a story of a king and his advisor. The king asks his advisor one day if he can tell him a sentence that will make the king feel good when he is sad and feel bad when he is happy.
The advisor thought for a moment and then replied, “This too shall pass”. That is a state of our moods as well. They are temporary and no matter how bad and terrible your mood might be this moment. It will pass soon.
In the book Letting Go: The Pathway of Surrender by David R. Hawkins he talks about the focus on feeling instead of thoughts.
He said if we can let go of our feelings we will be able to let go of all the countless and overwhelming thoughts that are associated with those feelings.
He says that people try to suppress feelings by pushing them down, some try to express them by bursting out when they are overwhelmed or others try to escape from those feelings by drinking or distracting themselves.
None of these work out. Instead what works is letting go of those feelings. How do we do that? Let’s try doing that.
Try to tap into your feelings. Don’t try to resist or modify those feelings. Just let them come up. Don’t fear them or judge them.
Only acknowledge them and surrender to them. Just stay with those feelings and when you do that you will feel uncomfortable for a while and then they will dissipate.
People addicted to smoking are taught to let go of their urges this way. They are said that think of those feelings and urges, visualize placing them on a leaf floating on a river and imagine them leaving you.
Compounding towards your dreams
What we learned from that is that our moods are a temporary state of mind. No matter how bad and terrible your mood might be this moment. It will pass soon. What’s important
Even though they have a huge amount of control over our functions day-to-day, these moods are not the root cause of our problems.
They are mere small symptoms that aid and assist our procrastination. By managing the moods however we will be able to tackle the issue of consistency that we face.
Our consistent efforts seem small and meaningless at the start but they have much more power than we realize. These consistent efforts can drive us towards our goals much faster than we can ever imagine.
When we make consistent efforts, they tend to compound over time. That compounding can help us make massive strides towards our goals. We talk about this in much more detail in our blog about long-term philosophy that you can read here.
5 steps to stay consistent towards your dreams
So in this post, you learned that your moods even though random, can be managed. You do not have to be piloted by the circumstances that surround you.
However, here are five actionable steps I’d like to give you to assist on your journey. If you use these steps, you will be able to reduce the resistance you have every day when you work on your dreams.
1. Plan your week
Having a routine does not always work for most people because you can never account for unexpected changes that happen in the future.
However, a week is like a snapshot of our life. We can always figure out the tasks that we need to do and assign those in our week.
As a famous saying goes- Budgeting is telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went.
Similarly, when you plan your week you already assign your time and do not have to think about what to do every day.
Break down your dreams in small steps you can take and spread them throughout the week. This way you will have much more control over unexpected things that might come your way.
Before the start of your week write down 7 tasks for each day that you have to complete. One for each day.
2. Make your days top-heavy when you work on your dreams
Every day you should do the stuff that is most important (not urgent) in the beginning. When you do important things at the beginning of the day, you feel much lighter and more confident throughout the rest of the day.
You are most active and capable in the morning. Thus the tasks you tackle in the morning are much more likely to be completed.
Even if things don’t go according to plan, you will still have plenty of time to complete those.
When you finish an important task at the beginning of your day you feel a sense of accomplishment. That momentum from the start of your day helps you push through the rest of the day.
Try sleeping a bit early and make time at the beginning of your day.
Make it a habit of preparing the nitty-gritty of the tasks the previous night and as soon as you get ready for your day, get busy with the task at hand.
3. Change your environment
Sometimes it is important that we separate ourselves from the things that distract us while we work.
You might put your phone in airplane mode when you study or go to a library to read.
By changing your environment to suit the need of the task, you better prepare yourself to focus on it. This way you stay in a productive state much longer than if you were in an environment privy to distractions.
Assign a workspace in your home. Every time you sit there you should focus completely on the task and get rid of all distractions. Put your phone on airplane mode or in a drawer.
If you can’t find peace at home, try finding a quiet place that you can go to do your work. Maybe a library if you don’t get distracted with fiction books 😛
4. Start small and build momentum
Whatever goal you choose to pursue, you should start with small and actionable steps that you could take every day.
This way you are much more likely to complete those tasks and keep learning while staying consistent.
By planning your week and placing small and achievable goals for each day, you reduce the chances of you procrastinating and giving up on your goals.
It is not the completion of tasks that gives us a sense of accomplishment, it is actually the growth associated with that task. This is something that I wrote a while back.
“When you set your self up for growth, you set yourself up for success.”-Daksh Rai
For the week keep the easiest tasks for the starting days and the harder tasks towards the end as you reach weekends.
This way you will face a progression in difficulty. You will be able to stay consistent and you will have ample time to deal with any unforeseen difficulties that come up during the weekends.
5. Being mindful while you work on your dreams
It is easier said than done. However, the things you are passionate about are where you are much more likely to be mindful.
When you are working on your dreams there is less resistance and work feels more like play. As we explained in The Perfect Beginning,
“There is nothing at the end of a task that’s more fulfilling than to be completely present in the task itself.”– Daksh Rai
Once you are consistent and make it a habit of working on your dreams each day, you will experience a state of flow more often than you presently do.
The more mindful you are while working the more you will be able to learn. When you keep learning nuances as you progress you will be in a much better state of mind to take on difficult tasks in the future.
This way you will learn even more moving forward rather than staying stagnant on a task of more or less equal difficulty.
If you want to learn more about it, we explain it in much detail in our first blog post that talks about an ancient philosophy of Wu Wei.
This following month choose a few dreams from your list. Think of the smallest individual and actionable steps you can take to move closer to them.
Assign them to your week and start making progress. You now know how to better manage your moods and stay consistent with your progress.
That is all for this post. I hope you keep working on your towards your goals and I’ll keep following up on you.
Following us on social media will keep you up to date on our new posts. I hope you have a good day and a good life.