7 Things I Learned in May 2020

Examining what you learned is a good way to consolidate those learnings. So here are 7 of my biggest takeaways from last month.

7 things I learned in May 2020:

  1. Most professional podcasters have pretty extensive and involved workflows. Even the simplest workflow I came across during my research had at least (record the main content + edit + join/create finished podcast audio + finalise + publish). My workflow seems a bit too simple in comparison. That caused me to consider adding some steps as that would potentially improve the quality of the audio – but after some soul searching I decided against it. Yes, my workflow is incredibly simple, but that works for me. From experience, I know that I will lose interest in processes that take up a lot of time and energy. I hate complexity. Currently, I do one take podcasts. That can and does mean that my podcast episodes sometimes (often!) contain errors and bloopers, but I’m ok with it. The key for me is to provide value, and as long as I’m doing that I’m sure my listeners can get over the human errors. The desire to seek perfection is a continuous struggle, but I continue to get better at prioritising progress over perfection. Keeping things simple help, as does my increased self-awareness level.
  2. Self-awareness is valuable and is a continuous journey. This carries on from the first point. How I do things now is very different from how I used to do things even a few years ago. In a good way. The more I learn about myself, the better I get, especially since the insights help me to design strategies and do things in ways that leverage my strengths, and weaknesses.
  3. Not all chilli powder is the same. Chilli powder is chilli powder, right? That’s what you’d normally think. But if you did, you’d be wrong, as I learned recently. Being a big fan of spicy food, chilli powder is a staple in my groceries. The last time I was in Malaysia I got a big packet of their local Chilli powder, which I was excited to try. I usually add chilli powder to my coffee (the result of one of my food experiments last year). But adding the Malay chilli powder did not work out very well – it tasted very umami! This experience has made me realise that their chilli powder isn’t just chilli powder. That or their chilli has a different flavour profile. Either way, that umami flavour doesn’t pair well with coffee.  Tip: By the way, if you are a fellow spicy food lover, here’s a tip for you – next time you make got chocolate/cocoa, add a bit of chilli powder. It’ll take the drink to a whole different level!
  4. Applying a cold pack to the base of your neck helps you cool down faster. Very useful during summer.
  5. Practice does make you better. I came across my first podcast episode the other day and had a listen of it while considering putting it on YouTube. I’ve been podcasting for nearly 2 months now, and have over 10 episodes. Even though that’s not a lot or a long period of time, I can already hear the difference. My first podcast episode wasn’t that great. My latest episodes are much better. Yes there’s still a lot more for me to learn, I am pretty new to Podcasting still, but this is encouraging. The more you do something, the better you get. It’s a fact.
  6. Nutmeg works nicely in bread. Most of you probably know this about me by now – I love food. It’s one of my biggest passions. This doesn’t just involve trying things and cooking from scratch, but also includes experimentation. One such food experiment involved putting nutmeg Inn the flour while baking bread. The result is very promising. Bread flavoured with nutmeg works well, especially when paired with something sweet.
  7. It’s not a bad idea to stock up on essentials during times of panic. The Coronavirus lockdown caused a lot of stockpiling. I wasn’t too keen on that but realized later the problem with that notion. Stocks now are running low and prices are going up. My views have changed a bit now – stocking up on essentials during an impending crisis isn’t a bad idea after all. It’s not about following the crowd and panic buying, or overreacting, but rather about realising that panic creates self-fulfilling prophecies, like the grocery shortage that most places are experiencing right now thanks to the extended lockdown. As such, being prepared and stocking up isn’t a bad idea. Lesson learned for next time (hopefully there will be no next time, but it’s smart to prepare for the worst while hoping for the best).

It is a huge shortcut to learn from other people’s experiences, and mistakes – that is common knowledge. Hopefully, you will learn something useful from my learnings.

Now, here is a question for you – what did you learn in May?

Post them in the comments section below.

222,994 (+ free giveaway)

I was doing some data crunching this weekend, and that’s the number that tallied.
That’s the number of people I’ve helped so far.  (Yay!)
However, it’s not an accurate number. 
For a couple of reasons…
  • Some of the data sources dried up a few months back so I don’t have the latest information on them – the challenge of relying on third-party data sources.
  • A lot of it is down to personal reasons – I forgot or stopped logging some of the data – mainly because I got bored.
  • Also, it only includes data from the last few years, rather than right from the time I started actively helping others. 
So the number above, 222,994, is a fairly conservative tally. 
It’s not quite there yet, but it’s more than 1/5th of the way to my first milestone – helping a million people. That’s progress. It’s a good, solid number. And it’s good to know where I stand – helps me know that I’m on the right track. But more than that, those numbers represent lives I’ve impacted positively, and that makes me really happy 🙂
This is also progress for me, personally. Even a few years ago I wouldn’t have considered making anything of the number. I would have been too focused on how much farther I have to go, rather than noting how far I’ve come. I most certainly would not have talked about it publicly. That’s one of the things I’ve learned over time, that it really is important to celebrate your progress, even the seemingly small ones. This though isn’t a small progress – positively impacting over 200,000 lives is by no scale a small feat, and I am very grateful for being able to do that. So it’s a double cause for celebration. On top of that, it’s Eid today!
Now, I have three takeaways for you, if you will…
  1. Track your numbers. It helps you know where you stand and how far you’ve come, plus how far you are from your goal. Knowing these are important for moving forward, for continuing to move towards your goals. Tracking your metrics can be the boost you need to keep going even if you start losing morale, or feel like throwing in the towel. They help you know whether what you’re doing is working or not, as well as what to do more (or less) of. 
  2. Celebrate your milestones and progress. Your achievements, even the small ones, are what ultimately add up to big things. And celebrating them reminds you that you’re doing something right, that you’re on the right track.
  3. Help people – however, and wherever, you can. We all have the capacity to help others, even if it is something as small as being kind to them with your words. There are always opportunities to help others, you just need to look. Helping others makes the world a better place. Do your bit, make a positive dent in the universe. 
As for my goal, I still have a long way to go to reach my moonshot – the goal of positively impacting a billion lives. So I will carry on, renew my efforts, and do what I can to help. My latest book is out, and my podcast is going strong, so those will help. And I have a few more things in the pipeline – if you’re subscribed to my blog, you’ll get a heads up about them. 
To mark the occasion, I have decided to give away a copy of one of my books, for free. I really do appreciate you, my readers. I hope this book will add some value to your life.
You can check it out in the link below (or, on Issuu).
Now before I end, I do have an ask for you – if you have any ideas or suggestions on how I can positively impact more people, let me know. Reach out. Connect. And more importantly, spread the word. Let’s make this world a better place together.  
PS. For those of you who are celebrating Eid today, Eid Mubarak. 
PPS. You can learn more about my Billion goal here

Mindset hack for success – Changing this one thing can be the difference between overcoming failures, and giving up

Mindset hack for success

Prefer audio? You can listen to this here

Do you know what the one thing is that everyone has in common? Rich and poor, old and young, tall short, pro novice… Everyone, no matter their current trajectory in life, no matter how successful or otherwise, no matter their race, religion, gender…
This is one common bond that binds everyone.
EVERYONE has this one thing in common.

What do you think that is?
Have a guess.

Ready for the answer? Here it is…
It’s failure.
Or rather, challenges, and/or setbacks, as I prefer to refer to them – those are more accurate descriptors. As a matter of fact, from here on I will mainly refer to failures as challenges and/or setbacks. The why will become clear a bit later, during the rest of today’s talk.

Challenges and setbacks are a normal part of life.
No matter who it is, no matter how successful they are, everyone experiences setbacks and challenges.
This is as true as the sun rising in the East, and as true as us needing Oxygen to survive.

Setbacks and challenges are universal experiences.
Everyone experiences them.
Some more than others.
Some bigger than the rest.

The degree and type may vary, but one thing that is certain is this – absolutely no one is exempt from experiencing challenges, and setbacks.
It doesn’t matter who they are.
So it should come as no surprise to know that one’s ability to deal with such “challenges” makes a big impact on the course of their lives.

How someone deals with challenges and setbacks determines how successful they are, or not.
That also has a big impact on how happy or unhappy the person is, since challenges and setbacks influence our happiness levels.
And this is usually what sets apart those at the top, and the rest.

Suffice to say, your ability to deal with challenges and setbacks plays a key role in your life.

So, how do you boost your ability to deal with challenges and setbacks?

The key to that is changing your mindset.
Yes, mindset again.
Like I mentioned before, the way you think impacts everything.

I’ve talked about mindset a fair amount over the last few weeks, and if you’ve followed them you know just how important mindset is to every facet of your life.
And you also know that changing it does not happen overnight. It takes perseverance and practice to change one’s mindset.

But when it comes to dealing with challenges, I have a mindset hack for you, something that can jump-start your ability to face them, and deal with them well.

Want to know what the mindset hack for success is?
Here it is: it is to change the language you use.

The way you think about something, anything really, is by and large dependent on the words and phrases you use to describe them.
As such, how you deal with a particular situation changes when you change the language you use to describe the situation.

Makes sense, right?
Don’t worry if it doesn’t, because I will expand on this.
Specifically when it comes to the word in question today – the word “failure”.

I am not exaggerating when I say that there is a hugely negative connotation attached to the word “failure”.
You know this yourself.

But here’s what you need to understand – words have power.
And just by making this one change, just by changing the language you use to describe a situation, can make a big difference to your ability to deal with the situation.
It can be the difference between dealing with a challenging situation or giving up.

Let me ask you something, which seems more possible to you – overcoming a challenging or difficult situation, or overcoming failure? They are both the same situation. Both of these phrases – “overcoming a challenging situation” and “overcoming a failure” can be used to describe the exact same scenario. But because of the negative meaning attached to the word failure, the second scenario seems much harder to deal with, and much harder to overcome, doesn’t it?
Which one hits harder, and feels worse: experiencing a “failure”, or experiencing a “setback”?

Everyone hates being a “failure”, but no one hates “overcoming challenges”.
If anything, the latter can actually inspire people to deal with a situation!

Just changing the words you use makes a huge impact on your ability to deal with a situation.
It can, in fact, completely transform your ability to overcome more or less anything!

Let’s face it, dealing with challenges and setbacks are a natural part of life.
They’re unavoidable.
You might not like it (no one does, really), but the sooner you accept this reality, the sooner you can start working on preparing yourself to deal with such situations.
And overcoming them.

With me so far?

Here is something I want you to realise – failures, or rather, challenges and setbacks, are hardly ever, if ever, the end.
They are only the end of you give up.
That is the only time they become conclusive.
But until that point, you give up, those situations are just momentary speed bumps, speed bumps that you need to get over to move on.

Until you decide to throw in the towel, you are still in the ring, and you still have a shot.
Understand that, and I mean really understand that, and you will not only significantly change how you deal with difficult situations in your life, you will also give your ability to overcome challenges and setbacks a massive boost.
If not completely transform them.

Everyone deals with challenges.
But those who face them head-on are the ones who move forward.
And changing the language you use to describe such situations can give your ability to overcome challenges a massive boost.

So be more mindful of the words you use to describe the situations in your life.
Especially the difficult ones.
Because there are no failures, only challenging situations and setbacks waiting to be overcome.


Want to learn more? Subscribe to the Growth Philosophy podcast to get bite-sized weekly lessons on upgrading your mindset.

Free Workbook – How to Think Better in 7 Days

The readers of my latest book, How to Think Better in 7 Days, were promised a workbook to help them implement what they learned in the book.

I am glad to announce that the workbook is ready.

And, it is available for free!

Get your copy here: 

Get The Workbook

Free Workbook for How to Think Better in 7 Days

You can also download/view it on the following sites: 

Even though the workbook is designed as an accompaniment of the book, you can still benefit from it even if you do not have the book. 

So, try it out. 

Hope you find it useful.

What Children Can Teach You About Growth Mindset

What Children Can Teach You About Growth Mindset

Over the last few weeks, I have touched on quite a few things related to the way we think. I have talked about mindset (which is a term for the way we think). I have gone over the concepts of growth mindset, and its counterpart, fixed mindset. In fact, last week’s episode was mainly focused on fixed mindset. As well as clarifying those concepts, I also covered the key differences between those two mindsets, along with some essential points about growth mindset, and fixed mindset.

Related reading: Fixed mindset definition

If you are not familiar with them, I suggest checking out the last few posts/my podcast. Having clarity on these fundamental principles will be hugely beneficial to improving the way you think, not to mention the positive impact it can have on your life.

That said, if you have listened to last week’s podcast episode on fixed mindset (which I hope you have), you now know what fixed mindset is, and why it is not good for you. The goal of the last episode was to give you clarity on fixed mindset, and help you clearly see the contrast between the general thinking pattern (a.k.a fixed mindset), and how it is different from a growth-focused thinking pattern (or growth mindset).

Understanding and getting clarity on fixed mindset gives you an important perspective on what NOT to do. It also helps you become aware of what you might be doing when it comes to the way you think that is not good for you. This is an extremely important part of personal growth and improvement. I cannot stress just how important this is. After all, if you do not know what you might be doing wrong, how can you improve them?!

Understanding and getting clarity on fixed #mindset gives you an important perspective on what NOT to do Click To Tweet

This is, in fact, one of the main reasons why having a fixed mindset is so common. So common that it is the default mindset for most.

Yes, fixed mindset, unfortunately, is the default mindset most people have. It is incredibly unfortunate but this is how most adults think. Now here’s something really key I want to point out to you – fixed mindset might be the default way of thinking for most, but no one is actually born with a fixed mindset.

We are all, in fact, born with a growth mindset.

Don’t believe me? Then here’s a glaring example for you – you will never see a baby give up trying to walk just because it fell several times (if not lots of times). You don’t even need to look at other babies, just consider your own case. If you did that, give up after you fell a few times, you would never have learned to walk!

The fact that you can walk today is a testament to the growth mindset that drove you when you were learning to walk. That focus on growth, rather than what is possible and what is not, is what enabled you as a child to overcome the challenges of walking, and learn how to walk. The same principle holds true for nearly everything children learn how to do, it holds true for nearly everything you learned how to do.

We are all born with a growth mindset #growthmindset #mindset #mindsetiseverything Click To Tweet

Children hardly ever, if ever, call it quits.

Yet, that is exactly what most people do as adults. If something does not work out after a few tries (or even one try!), most people throw in the towel. This behaviour is new, it is not our innate behaviour or thinking style – this is learned behaviour.

This is a mindset people learn during their formative years, while they are growing up.

Fixed mindset is a mindset developed based mainly on what they learn from the people around them while they are growing up. The parameters and metrics like possible and impossible are not known to children – we learn about them while we are growing up.

The fixed mindset is actually not our natural mindset. It is NOT how we think when we are born, it is not how we think when we learn to develop our essential motor and life skills as children, and it most certainly is not the mindset that we have that enabled us to learn to survive and grow up.

Our natural mindset is a mindset focused on learning and progress. Our natural mindset is a mindset focused on growth.

Fixed mindset is not our natural mindset. It is NOT how we think when we are born #fixedmindset #mindsetmatters #thinkbetter Click To Tweet

So, just in case it is not abundantly clear by now, growth mindset is our natural state.

That is our original mindset.

We just forget about it along the way.

It is very normal to pick up a limiting mindset. Things happen – often things that are not very pleasant, things that make us reevaluate our possibilities. We learn about subjective boundaries of what is possible and what is not, be it from teachers, parents, those around us, the media, and so on. We learn about what our limits are supposed to be. We learn about what we are, and are not, supposed to be capable of. We learn about what is and is not. realistic. And so on.

From the time we start making sense of things and start thinking, we pick up a lot of things about our world and our reality, many (if not most) of which limit our beliefs of what is possible. But as you learned in the last weeks, the limits of our own possibility are often subjective, as impossible is nearly always a matter of perspective. If you believe something to be impossible, it will absolutely always be impossible.

Impossible is nearly always a matter of perspective #doyourimpossible #success #perspective Click To Tweet

Related reading: Why you need to examine your perspectives

But when you believe that something is possible, or even that it can be possible, then you open up a whole world of possibilities. This is how Neil Armstrong and the others achieved the impossible and stepped foot on the moon. This is how Roger Bannister ran the humanly-impossible 4-minute mile. And this same lack of belief in what is possible is also what helped Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay to reach the peak of the Everest.

When you believe that something is possible, or even that it can be possible, you open up a whole world of possibilities #doingtheimpossible #growthmindset #personalgrowth Click To Tweet

It’s all in our minds. Good or bad, possible or impossible, probable or improbable… the way we think is ultimately what defines each of those labels for us.

So if you take away just one thing from today’s episode, I want you to understand this – learning about growth mindset is not really about installing a new mindset, or a new way of thinking. Rather, it’s about going back to our roots, it’s about going back to our natural state of growth, and progress.

We all have it within us, it’s simply a matter of getting back in touch with that state of mind.

It’s about reminding ourselves what we have forgotten.

On that note, if improving the way you think is something you want to learn more about, check out my latest book “How to Think Better in 7 Days“. You can get your copy from Amazon, Kobo, or Barnes&Noble.

That’s it for today. I hope you found this guide useful. Share your thoughts and notes in the comments section below. Also, if you have any suggestions or requests for future episodes, feel free to add them in the comments.

Keep working on your mindset, because that is one crucial factor that affects every area of your life.

A better mindset always equals a better life.

So, think better.

I’ll see you again next time. Have a great week!

These are the show notes/abridged transcript of my latest podcast episode – What Children Can Teach You About Growth Mindset. You can listen to it (and the other episodes) here: Growth Philosophy podcast.