Train your brain to kick bad habits

The title of this post, ‘train your brain to kick bad habits’, might sound like a medical thesis or a white paper on psychology. However, I got the inspiration for this from a comedy movie. I kid you not, there is an old Telugu comedy movie in which the protagonist wins the heart of his lady love by helping her family get over a few of their bad habits. It might sound whimsical and far fetched, but, the idea behind the plot is a simple trick to train your brain. Without further ado, I will give you a brief explanation of the story.

The father of the heroine has a bad habit of swearing and cursing for the smallest of reasons, this in turn is seen by his son as a carte blanche to misbehave and abuse everyone around him. Since the child’s behaviour stems from what he sees in his father, the hero first tackles the father. He sets about to cure the father short temper and habit of using swear words. Everytime he gets upset at anything and has the urge to start cursing, the hero advises the father to tell out all the inanimate objects in front of him. Instead of saying bad words, he would be listing harmless objects around him. This results in some good comedic situations, but the idea behind it works. Since the father is now consciously making an effort to watch what he says, he has subconsciously started moderating his speech and actions.

Watching his father change, the son also takes it up as a game. The hero challenges the child to play games and the loser has to learn any new lesson, moral, concept etc that the winner teaches. The child’s natural curiosity takes over and he begins to play and learn, thereby changes his aggressive and competitive spirit is channelled in the right way.

The movie might seem like a comedy and the problem may have been trivialised, but the fact remains that our brain is powerful enough to cure and change all our bad habits. With the will to change, we can make our brain bend the way we want. Like a machine, with all the right commands our brain will start churning out the best results every time.

Start with simple tasks like waking up at a set time daily. Before you sleep at night, tell your brain to wake up at a set time and repeat this command 5 times. When you practice this with a calm mind and make the effort to wake up when your brain reminds you, you will notice that without an alarm, your brain will wake you up. I have tried this and it did work for me.

In the same way, we can train our mind to stop many habits like picking things that do not belong to us, smoking, being lax in our work etc. It just takes a determined effort and anything is possible.

All that remains is for us to stop using excuses and start to make real efforts. I do not promise that the task is easy, yet the results are always worth the hard work we put in.

Political correctness

In the present day, more than diplomacy, political correctness is more important. Many of us do not bother much for diplomacy and prefer straight shooters. However, no one wants to compromise on political correctness. So what is this political correctness, what exactly does this entail? Is it really that important or necessary to be politically correct?

Before launching into this discussion, I would like to tell a little about myself. I am very lean, I wear spectacles and had buck teeth. As a result, I have often borne the brunt of the jokes of my friends and colleagues due to my appearance. I would not say that I was bullied badly, but I have faced some hurtful and insensitive comments, whether it be intentional or unintentional. My experience on the matter of bullying, prejudices, may be limited, though they give me an insight into that world and need for political correctness.

Being politically correct means to speak in a way that does not offend or hurt the sentiments or feelings of any community, race, sex or ethnic group etc. Being careful in our choice of words and usage of expressions so that one does not demean or belittle people of disability or different abilities. In a world of bullies and trollers, being politically correct and being considerate of the sentiments of all groups of people is a good thing and many consider it an essential attribute in communication. The intent of the concept is to make everyone feel welcome and included in our world and not to differentiate. People around the world have taken to this concept very seriously and practice it. However, is the good intention behind this concept really working, how far is it helping?

Political correctness is like a mask that one wears to hide true identity. The problem with haters is not so much with their words or actions but with their intentions. While practising politically correct rhetoric, one can still harbour hatred in their hearts. In fact, I feel, when a person is not allowed to speak their minds and when society starts policing the freedom of speech and expression, the hatred only grows.

Any dispute, disagreement or agreement can only be resolved when all parties speak openly and honestly. With a veil like this, one can never completely address the hatred, xenophobia, bigotry, intolerance in the society. Even if we set aside the matter of fighting all these battles and only consider the fact that most of us just want to navigate through life peacefully and calmly. Would it not be simpler if we knew each other’s standpoint on issues of race, abilities, ethnicity, etc? I can at least steer clear of those that do not match my viewpoint.

The concept of Political Correctness, in my opinion, only masks the ugliness that lies within. To truly rid the society of such ugliness, we require a change of heart, ideology and thought process, not a change of wording or change of rhetorics. We should all think honestly and deeply before we come to any conclusion and stick to our guns in this fight.

Disclaimer: I do not own any of these images. They are sourced from Google and Pinterest.

Does Positive Thinking Really Work

Hello friends!! When someone spoke about positive thinking, I always made fun of them by asking, will it help me get away with murder just by wishing it away. Yet, I have seen it work and I have experienced its failures too. You might understand my perspective if I tell you the backstory about a coworker of mine. I have known her since my school days, but never really warmed up to her until we started working together. Since the beginning, she was always a bundle of positivity and this rubbed me the wrong way. In school, when all of us wished for the teacher to fall sick so that we get an extra day in the assignment, this girl would just say that the teacher won’t mind it if she didn’t submit and it worked for her. We all thought it was favoritism, but after the same story repeated in college and work, we realized she can’t have so many fans. It was her luck maybe?

Well, this good luck did not limit itself to assignment submissions or tests. From getting comfortable seats in buses to the last dress in her size at a sale or chance to meet her favorite star in the airport, she had all the luck. At one time, we even suspected that she might have a stock of rabbit feet that brought her all this good luck. However, that was not the case and while working with her I realized the truth. The secret was her positive thinking. As you can guess, I did not believe her. She would say, ‘don’t worry, it will all work out’ or ‘you will win this time’, and her words came true. The positive thinking did not work for me though. No matter how many times I thought positive thoughts when I did I shoddy job, I always got caught.

One day, I sat down with her to get to the bottom of the matter. How come positive thinking worked for her and not me? The answer she gave me took a while to digest and understand. When one thinks about positive thinking we already have a set outcome in our mind and everything else is a negative outcome. She explained that that is not how it works. We should be open-minded about all the outcomes and ask for one that is the best suited to us. Whether it is the one that we foresee or not is of no consequence. We have to have faith that we will be given the best outcome. She was, quite literally asking for the best outcome and nothing else.

This was a difficult lesson to learn for me. When I tried practicing it, I had difficulty accepting the outcome. Maybe it was because I could not see far into the future and determine that the outcome was for the best in the long run. If we want to succeed in making positive thinking a way of our life, we need to be more accepting and open-minded in our approach. I decided to start with small steps by applying it to my daily tasks and everyday issues rather than starting off with all of life’s big problems straight away.

I am still practicing it and have not become a master at it yet. As of now, I can safely say that Positive Thinking is not quite the impossible concept that I thought it was. There might yet be more to this than just getting the promotion or getting away with murder.

Disclaimer: I do not own any of these images. They are sourced from Google and Pinterest.