Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.
— Vincent Van Gogh
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
The Elephant represents our big goals, and the answer to this question represents the easiest way to fulfill those goals.
This expression is the philosophy of this book and the “Be Better Bit-By-Bit” programme.
Do you know your limits?
Do you know your potential?
No one does.
We all try and do our part to achieve what we perceive as best for us. Setting big goals is usually not that easy, and if you do set goals for yourself and follow them up with actions, the results become even more stringent.
Place “big,” and “results” in the same room, and a lot of people will walk away. Mention big with achievement, and their first thoughts are: “hard, complicated, and time-consuming”. Big goals become overwhelming and intimidating in our heads. There is always a fear that big success will crush you under pressure, and stress; it will lead you to make a compromise on several of all your personal, and other goals.
Before we begin
“Promise me you’ll always remember you’re braver than you believe, you are stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”
— Winnie the Pooh
Why did you pick this book?
In fact, why pick any book?
Do you want to look smart by holding a book in your hands? Or did you want to pass the time on a flight, or did someone recommended you this book or do you want to learn something new, or is there something else?
There are plenty of other more comfortable choices than reading to do all of this. So why this book?
Let me tell you.
You picked up this book because you are learning how to live. Because you want to be freer, fearless, and achieve a state of contentment.
The Kaizen philosophy assumes that our way of life - be it our working life, our social life, or our home life - deserves to be constantly improved.
— Masaaki Imai, Japanese organizational theorist and management consultant
Kaizen, in straightforward terms, means “small improvements.”
That is why this concept always inspires me. Kaizen is an automatic fit to my philosophy of “Be Better Bit-By-Bit.”
When I set big goals for myself, they overwhelm me. On the face of it or on when they are on the paper or my social media wall, they look fantastic. But when it comes to implementing them, my mind gets scared. As soon as I break them into chunks, my brain tells me a big thank you and is excited to make the first move. This journey from “overwhelm” to “excitement” is not long; it probably takes me a few seconds, and what helps me do this is the clarity of this topic — Kaizen.
“It is always our own self that we find at the end of the journey. The sooner we face that self, the better.”
— Ella Maillart
The dictionary meaning of self-awareness is: “Conscious knowledge of one’s own character, and feelings.”
The word “conscious” is critical here. From childhood to adolescence to later stages of life, we are being assessed by others. It becomes the mirror for us to be self-aware. Our parents, teachers, friends, relatives, all play a part in making us aware of ourselves. These are all unconscious ways of building awareness. But unfortunately, this does not bring in self-awareness.
To become self-aware, you need to put in conscious efforts in this specific direction. Deliberate attempts to attain knowledge about oneself, about one’s character, and one’s feelings.
"What day is it?" asked Pooh.
"It's today," squeaked Piglet.
"My favourite day," said Pooh.
Be present in the present.
“The mind is everything. What you think you become.” — Buddha
To me, mindfulness is as simple a concept as this. “To Be Present in the Present.”
Whichever exercise or activity or act lets me stay in the present is Mindfulness.
Yes, without any doubt, Meditation is one of the most essential and critical elements, but I use a varied method of Mindfulness to stay in the present.
Mindfulness prepares an individual to recognize his behaviour and thought process without any judgment. Mindfulness allows you to acknowledge your feelings and thoughts, and then release them.
Self-criticism, anxiety, anxiousness, and worry: these feelings often disturb your mind. Mindfulness teaches you to be present in, and welcome the moments of our everyday life. It helps you to release all these feelings and thoughts, and enjoy the present.
Traffic congestion in Mumbai leads to 135per cent more time in road travel than any other Asian city, according to a recent study conducted by consulting firm Boston Consulting Group.
And similar is the condition across metro cities in India.
“Someone who is busier than you is running right now.”
I was initially reluctant to include this chapter. I have already talked a lot about how running has helped me in my pursuit of daily self-improvement. But still, during one of my early morning runs, and the fact that I use this time to introspect and think, I started thinking about this book.
How can I offer more to my readers? How can I make this book more attractive to them? How can I provide more giveaways to my readers? At that moment, a fellow runner was coming toward me,he waved at me, gave me a big smile, said good morning, brushed my shoulder, and just went past. It was a sight to cherish. I felt like looking I was looking in a mirror. I saw myself.
At that moment, I saw two versions of me running side-by-side. It was then that it struck me that through running, I can offer so much to this world.
- Running is healthy.
- Running is meditation.
- Running is self-improvement.
- Running is a sport.
- Running is confidence.
- Running means entering a new life.
- Running means new friends.
- Running means being part of a new tribe and a new community.
- Running is fresh air.
- Running means, the rising Sun.
- Running is falling rain.
- Running is lush green hills.
- Running means experiencing waterfalls.
- Running means pain.
- Running means joy.
- Running is frustration.
- Running is exciting.
“A journal is your completely unaltered voice.”
— Lucy Dacus
Writing in a simple notebook has yielded me results that are difficult to express in words, but still, I will try it. I could have never imagined the kinds of perspectives flowing to me had I not converted this simple tool into a habit, and that too a practice which I now am deeply in love with.
Journalling is so much for me. It’s mindfulness, it’s self-awareness, and it’s meditation. I firmly believe Journalling is one of the most powerful tools to gain self-insight, learn from your past experiences, and redesign your thought process.
“Journal writing is a voyage to the interior” — Christina Baldwin
“Sleep is the best meditation”
— Dalai Lama
“Scientists have discovered a revolutionary new treatment that makes you live longer. It enhances your memory and makes you more creative. It makes you look more attractive. It keeps you slim and lowers food cravings. It protects you from cancer and dementia. It wards off colds and the flu. It lowers your risk of heart attacks and stroke, not to mention diabetes. You’ll even feel happier, less depressed, and less anxious.“Are you interested?”
Wow….I want it!
We all have this medicine available to us, and that too for free! And unfortunately, we all are reluctant to use it to our advantage.
It’s called SLEEP.
After several studies, scientists are now able to plot diagrams, graphs, histograms, scans, and detailed reports to prove that a simple habit of having a good night’s sleep can improve your life dramatically.
“When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive, to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.”
— Marcus Aurelius
How many times have you woken up in the morning in a hurry, alerted by your 8 a.m. snoozed alarm, and realized that half of your day is gone?I am sure a lot of times.
If that doesn't happen with you during weekdays, it’s undoubtedly a story of the weekend.
Have you ever looked at those successful people and questioned what they are doing differently with their lives which allows them to do almost everything correct each day?
The answer is simple - It’s their morning routine.
The way we spend our mornings has an outsized impact on the rest of our day. The choices and decisions you make in the first hour after you wake up give a direction to your day and your life. That will decide whether you are going to have a day full of productivity or a day full of confusion and anxiety. Your upcoming day will be full of surprises, and if you don’t keep yourself full of energy and enthusiasm, you don’t stand a chance.
Is it a hobby? A passion? A must?
Why do we pick up a book?
Why should you pick up a book?
What do books offer?
What if you don’t feel like reading?
You have asked yourself all these questions before deciding upon adding this to your next year’s resolution list, or probably it’s still not on that list. But surely, you never got an answer!
You are still searching for that friend who can lend you your first book, or the book is still pending in the shopping cart, or after going through those first pages now, it’s part of your dead bookshelf.
The probability of you falling in any of these categories is very high, but it is straightforward to change course now and follow what you always intended to do, Reading.It’s effortless!
You only need two things.1. A book, and
2. Some patience.
So, let’s do this bit-by-bit.Why read?
Because you and I don’t know it all. It is as simple as that.
School and college didn’t teach us everything, and learning should simply never stop.
“Be Better Bit-By-Bit” - The Programme
“Be Better Bit-By-Bit” is a programme, a philosophy, and the way I live my life.
I believe that our minds are full of ideas, and they keep appearing in front of our eyes in the form of “flash thoughts” (you read about this earlier). I treat this as self-awareness, and so I always keep a sticky pad with me to record these flash thoughts as they arrive because I know that if I don’t capture them, they are going to fly, and catch someone else. This habit has helped me already to convert a lot of “flash thoughts into action, which otherwise would not have been possible.
One day while I was writing my daily journal and answering one of the 31 questions from the Dan Luca book, a “flash thought” came to me.
I realized that during the past couple of years, a lot of my learning was helping me to bring a lot of positive shifts in my attitude and my habits. I had followed a set pattern and a schedule that helped me achieve this. So why not pass my learnings to as many people as I can through some kind of a platform? Why not let others learn through my mistakes and my learning? Why not put my self-improvement journey on a fast trajectory by simply turning myself into a teacher or a coach?
And “Be Better Bit-by-Bit” was born.