Practice Makes Perfect

As the old saying goes, “Practice makes perfect.” This timeless piece of advice is the heart of mastery and success. It is the path of all masters. Even after mastery is reached, practice still retains its importance as it sharpens and maintains the skills of the practitioner. Practice is harder than it sounds. It requires fortitude, consistency and fortitude on the individual’s part. However, I assure you that you will find the pain well worth it many years later. It’s similar to going to the gym. Most of us don’t like going to the gym, but we’ll be glad later that we went. The hardest part of practice is getting yourself to do it. In this article, we will discuss the importance of practice and how you should go about doing it. Before you continue reading, do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter!

The Importance of Practice

#1: Practice Sharpens Your Existing Skills

If there is one thing that your brain is good at, it’s forgetting. The mind, an efficient machine as it is, gradually deletes memories that have been unused for a certain period of time. On the other hand, the brain strengthens retrieval pathways that have been used repeatedly. When retrieval pathways are triggered repeatedly, they become more efficient and stable. These neural pathways can become so efficient that they can be triggered without thought. In other words, these memories become part of your subconscious mind. This is exactly how famous chess masters like Hikaru Nakamura and Magnus Carlsen are able to execute perfect moves with blinding speed while staying calm. This is the end goal of practice – to develop the ability to execute a series of specified actions perfectly and with minimal effort. This also prevents you from forgetting what you have learned.

#2: Practice Is An Unavoidable Part Of Learning

It is in my humble opinion that not a single human being was and will be able to ride a bike fluently on the very first try. In fact, many of us actually fell down. This is similar to learning other skills. We may not get it on the very first attempt, but with repeated practice we gradually become familiar with the subject matter at hand. We may even be able to spot and learn from our mistakes in the process. Gradually the neural pathways involved are slowly refined and performance increases.

Staying Motivated

Failure is inevitable during the process of practice. There will be times when you feel completely demotivated due to a temporary setback. Here, it is of paramount importance that you push through. There is no other way. When faced with failure, keep going. Of course, if you feel tired, do take a break. Just remember to continue practicing the next day. However, if you feel that the skill you are currently learning is not for you, you have the option to drop it. It’s better to learn something that makes you happy. Below are some tips to keep yourself motivated.

  • Give yourself a break if you feel tired! After all, humans are not machines. Practicing for too long will lead to burnout and fatigue.
  • Practice mindfulness and be aware of your thoughts. When faced with setbacks, try to avoid grumbling or throwing tantrums. Instead, think rationally and find out what went wrong. Then figure out how you can stop making the same mistakes.
  • Rome wasn’t built in a day. Many professionals of different arts and fields had to go through years and years of practice to attain the level of mastery they possess today. You will not see improvement overnight. Instead of focusing on the short term, focus on the big picture. Ask yourself what you want to achieve in the end and draw up a plan to work on it.
  • Stay consistent. Memories will fade if not utilised. Come up with a plan to practice in regular intervals. Always make sure that you make it for each and every practice session, regardless of how you are feeling on that particular day. It may not feel great now, but you will be rewarded handsomely in the future.

Conclusion

While practice is hard, its rewards are plenty and bountiful. I hope that this short article gave you an idea of why you should practice and how you should go about doing so. If you did enjoy this article, do consider giving it a like! Comment your thoughts down below! Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more articles.

Are Paper Qualifications Important?

When we were young, many of our parents exhorted us to study hard and find a good job. For most common people, the goal of life is to obtain a respectable income, work hard and then retire. For this plan to work – if it even works, that is – one has to obtain certification of the highest calibre possible. Failure to do so would mean a lower income and consequently a less comfortable life. However, industries are no longer looking for individuals with extraordinary academic qualifications. In fact, unemployment numbers are going up and it is common to be retrenched at middle age – commonly known as mid-life crisis. Clearly, relying solely on a high-paying job is not sustainable in the long run. This brings us back to the question: Is certification that important? Is it a crucial part of success? My answer to this is a resounding NO. In this article, I will the discuss the reasons for this viewpoint and attempt to convince my readers that a person’s learning attitude is of higher importance. Before you continue reading, do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter!

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#1: A Person’s Learning Attitude Matters More

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Knowledge without wisdom is inherently useless. Without the desire to learn, to improve and to explore, your mind will be the prison in which you will rot. The world is advancing rapidly even as we speak. Those who do not embrace change will be swept and blindsided by it. In life, we will inevitably face many crises that threaten to turn our lives upside down, the most recent being the COVID-19 pandemic that threatened job security around the world. It is of paramount importance that we learn to adapt to our surroundings and learn a little of everything. Learning a little of everything refers to exploring all sorts of skills and industries with an open heart, regardless of your current biases. Thus, you will be better prepared to move from industry to industry. Those who master this skill will often fare better than those who have loads and loads of qualifications for a certain skill but know nothing about everything else. Those who are overspecialised face higher risks of becoming obsolete. For instance, a world-class pianist who loses control of his hands due to paralysis will not be able to earn as much as he used to. Furthermore, he has no skills that are valuable in other industries. In other words, placing all your eggs in one basket is not a wise decision.

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#2: Certification Is Nothing If You Lack Financial Intelligence

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Why is it that there are highly educated individuals who face money problems or bankruptcy? How is it that individuals such as Warren Buffett and Donald Trump, who may seem less educated and qualified, are able to build their wealth while others struggle? The difference between the upper and middle classes is financial intelligence. In other words, those who do not know how to control their finances will eventually find themselves controlled by money. How is this so? See, the difference is that the rich let money work for them, while the poor work all their lives for money. The poor work incessantly – our parents once told us to “work hard and get a secure, high paying job” – in hopes of a pay raise. Even after these individuals obtain their beloved pay raises, they still have no idea how to use their hard-earned cash. Often, they lose their hard-earned cash due to taxes and high expenses, which threaten to devour them alive. And when they find themselves without a job, they realise they have nothing left – assets – to rely on. Those who believe that the government care for them will also find themselves disappointed – there has been cases, not only in the US, where governments are unable to provide the money for citizens’ retirement. The rich on the other hand, spend their lives buying assets – stocks, bonds and real estate. Moreover, the rich lead frugal lifestyles so as to reduce their expenses and set aside more towards assets. Initially, time and effort is required in managing and growing these assets. However, after a period of time, the assets no longer need the care of their owners – these assets have become so extensive and self-sustaining that they are paying for themselves over and over. This is much like growing a tree – at first, extensive and regular watering is needed. However, after a while, the tree’s roots become so deep and extensive that they no longer need the support of their owners. In other words, the rich no longer have to work for money, as money works for them now. In conclusion, certification will not help you, in any way, to effectively survive the conditions of this world. You need to have the attitude to learn and diligently build up your financial intelligence.

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#3: Social Intelligence Plays A Bigger Part In Success Than Certification

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Every human brain consists of the left hemisphere, which is responsible for technical knowledge such as mathematics, and the right hemisphere, which is responsible for more abstract subjects like emotions and visualisation. Often, we focus on cultivating our left brains so much that we forget about the right. A scientist can make amazing discoveries, but without the skill to present it to others, his work inevitably ends up lost in time. No one is an island. Each and every one of us has to work with others one way or another. As the saying goes, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” Without the help of others, we will struggle on the path to success – some of us may even die trying. On the other hand, with the support of our friends, associates and loved ones, attaining success becomes easier. That being said, developing one’s social intelligence is easier said than done. Cultivating it requires self-reflection and empathy. Furthermore, the building of trust between 2 or more parties requires time. While it is difficult, mastering the art of social intelligence will pay dividends down the road and make life easier.

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Conclusion

Moral of the story: Certification is not a one-way ticket to success. To achieve success, one must cultivate one’s financial and social intelligence, and possess the passion to learn continuously. The world is changing rapidly. We should embrace change rather than go against it. I hope that you found some enlightenment from my article. If you did find this article helpful, do consider giving it a like! Do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter if you haven’t done so! Thanks for reading!

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Further Reading

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Here’s Why YOU Should Write

Writing is something we have been doing ever since our childhoods. All we had to do was pick up a pen or pencil and scribble away. Back in our younger days, writing seemed fun, even transcendent. Now, many of us find it a boring to do, even worse so when we don’t have the option to type. Technology has rewired our minds to prefer things that are more efficient, simple and elegant. We hate apps that have an obnoxious design. Meanwhile, tech companies are trying to make their devices and appliances thinner and lighter. Many of us fail to see the value of writing and dismiss it as a mere hobby or an ancient relic of the past. At most, we only write down what we need to get at the supermarket. What’s even funnier is that our vocabulary has gradually degraded overtime. In fact, I encounter many people who know no substitute for the word “happy” when chatting on WhatsApp. So why should we write then, given that technological advances have basically eroded the need for writing? In this article, I shall discuss this topic in greater detail. Before you continue reading, do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter!

#1: Writing Helps You To Express Your Feelings

Writing is a great way to release stress – a feeling we all know too well. We have become increasingly absorbed with our jobs and commitments, leaving us with little time for reflection. Many of us have become mindless robots, following a set routine – wake up, work, sleep, repeat. To many, the word “tomorrow” is no different to the word “today”. It’s all the same to them. Writing gives you a sense of time, a sense of what you have done in the present day and what you look forward for the next. This helps to break the monotony between days and allows us to better understand our deepest emotions. Often, we ignore these emotions, hiding them. And when they finally explode, our lives take a big hit. In summary, writing is a great way to understand your thoughts, thoughts that disappear and appear throughout the day. By penning them down on paper, you will be able to capture and study them.

#2: It Lets Your Creativity Run Wild

Much like drawing or painting, writing is a way to express your innate creativity. You can write anything you want. Love science fiction? Go ahead and describe the world of your dreams. It could even be something as simple as planning for your team project tomorrow. Point is, your paper (or text file, if you are using a computer or device) is an open canvas awaiting your ideas. Armed with ideas, a vivid imagination and your amazing brain, anything is possible. Meanwhile, writing activates both your left and right brain hemispheres. According to research, students who read and write extensively show greater creative performance than those who do not.

#3: It Improves Your Communication Skills

Those who write regularly are better able to understand their emotions and those of others. In fact, the ability to empathise is an essential skill in the social world. Furthermore, writing enhances your ability to organise and express your thoughts. This also leads to an increased fluency of speech. This will be useful in team projects of any kind, as you will be able to bring your messages across much more easily, thus allowing your subordinates and superiors alike to understand your ideas at a much deeper level.

Conclusion

Writing is something I would encourage all of my readers to try. Perhaps you could try to write a few lines or keep a personal diary. I hope that you did enjoy this article, and if you did, do consider giving it a like! Thanks for reading!

Here’s Why Smoking Is Bad For You

Smoking has become one of the most dangerous habits in the world. In fact, tobacco use has been shown to kill more than 5.4 million people a year! What’s even more shocking is that approximately 1 billion people in the world are smokers! But what can account for this ridiculously high fatality rate? In this post, we shall discuss the negative health effects of smoking. Before you continue reading, do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter!

#1: It’s Addictive

Source: https://www.additudemag.com/addictive-behaviors-adhd/

One of the top reasons as to why many people are addicted to smoking is the prospect of stress release. Nicotine, which is one of the many components of a cigarette, is an addictive stimulant drug that causes adrenaline release. Thus, a smoker may experience a sudden release of stress and may feel temporarily relaxed. This keeps them coming back for more and many smokers may begin to experience uncontrollable urges to relapse. If left unchecked for a prolonged period of time, this bad habit gradually becomes an addiction, as your mind comes to rely heavily on the stress-releasing effects of cigarettes for pleasure. At this point, kicking the habit becomes insanely difficult and therapy is advised.

#2: It Destroys Your Health

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Many smokers and members of the population are unaware of the toxic ingredients that make up a cigarette. Let’s do a quick check. Do you know that tar is present in the cigarette? Well, if you don’t know, you’d better continue reading. Tar is basically carcinogenic. In other words, it increases the risk of lung cancer. Furthermore, it paralyses cilia (the hair like structures on the surface of ciliated cells) lining air passages, thereby increasing risks of chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Likewise, smoking causes you to take in unhealthy amounts of carbon monoxide, which combines permanently with haemoglobin to form carboxyhemoglobin. This means the ability of your blood to carry oxygen is reduced. Well, you get the picture here. Smoking is extremely bad for your health and if you don’t quit, death is at your doorstep, for real.

#3: It’s A Waste of Money

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Think about it. Isn’t spending money on useless and meaningless things which serve no purpose just a waste of money? Well this applies to smoking as well. What’s even worse that you are driving yourself closer to death with every new cigarette box you buy. Its health effects notwithstanding, smoking is a habit which will wash your money down the drain. Think about how much money you would have saved if you were to stop buying cigarettes for a year. According to the National Cancer Institute, the average cost of a pack of smokes is $6.28. Now let us do some simple calculations. Buying a pack of smokes a day would cost you $188 per month. This would in turn cost you $2,292 a year! Likewise, a ten year smoking habit will cost you $22,920! Well, this is assuming that you only buy 1 cigarette box a day, which is highly unlikely as your mind becomes more and more addicted to and reliant on smoking. Think about what you could do with all that money. Think about how you could use it to provide a better life for your family. Think about how many skills and knowledge you could have learnt using all that money.

Conclusion

I hope that you did enjoy this post, and if you did, do consider giving it a like! Follow me and subscribe to my newsletter if you haven’t done so. Stay tuned for my next articles!

Here’s Why You Should Listen To Classical Music

So, many of you might have noticed that is the 3rd post for this week. You might ask, “What? I thought you said that you would be only blogging once every two weeks or sometimes maybe once a week?” (check out my blogging plans for 2021 at https://bestofwrite.com/2020/12/28/my-blogging-plan-for-2021/) Well, I figured that since I have some free time, why not blog? After all, it’s my passion!


Right, so let’s focus on the subject matter at hand. For this post, let us discuss the reasons as to why you should try listening to classical music. For instance, classical music has been shown to stimulate the mind and improve sleep quality. I personally listen to classical and orchestral music whenever I read or complete a task. You might say, “Hey! Classical music is boring and old! How could I possibly enjoy it?” While it is true that classical music might be considered old, they are gems of the past and are worth listening to. This article will show you why. Before you continue reading, do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter. (Do fill in your email in the newsletter registration section of the website) Without further ado, let’s begin.

#1: It Improves Sleep

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Studies have shown that listening to classical music helps to improve sleep. It helps to relax the mind and remove anxiety, thereby making sleeping easier. Research has shown that listening to classical music reduces nervous system activity, decreases anxiety and blood pressure. It helps to distract you from your thoughts and relaxes your muscles, getting you in the mood to sleep. This effect is corroborated and confirmed by the fact that children of all ages, including infants and school-going children, sleep better after listening to relaxing, classical music. Below is a list containing some of the best pieces of relaxing classical music to help you sleep.

  • Claire de Lune by Claude Debussy
  • Spiegel im Spiegel by Arvo Pärt
  • Gymnopédie No.1 by Erik Satie
  • Nocturne No.2, Op.9 by Chopin
  • Moonlight Sonata, 1st movement by Beethoven

#2: It Improves Memory

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As mentioned above, the relaxing effect of classical music not only helps to improve sleep, but also improves memory. Have you ever wondered why it is so difficult to memorise or learn something when you feel stressed? You’re not alone. Anxiety makes memory formation and retrieval more difficult, and stress has been shown to be one of the prominent causes of neurone death. Yes, you saw it correctly. Stress has been shown to kill brain cells and reduce their ability to function properly. On the other hand, listening to classical music has been shown to enhance memory retrieval and helps to trigger and strengthen neural pathways, thereby strengthening synapses between the respective neurones.

“Neurones that fire together, wire together.”

Donald Hebb

#3: They Are Precious Relics Of History

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There is a reason to why classical music was able to stand the test of time. Some of the greatest classics still continue to be played and enjoyed by many. The classical period has produced some of the most legendary pieces of all time, which never fail to captivate audiences and listeners of every age. In fact, many of these pieces are used as background music in movies and musicians of all kinds are required to study them, with good reason.

Conclusion

Classical music still plays an important role in the evolution of culture and heritage. For many, it has become an integral part of their lives, something they can’t live without. For musicians, the classical period is an essential part of musical history that has helped to shape our overall understanding of music and its associated cultures. This is exactly why classical music is something you and I should listen to. If you did enjoy this post, do consider giving it a like! Do follow me and subscribe my newsletter if you haven’t done so. Stay tuned for my next articles!

What Is An Energy Crisis?

Wikipedia defines an energy crisis to be “any significant bottleneck in the supply of energy resources to an economy.” There are many causes for energy crises, such as overconsumption, aging infrastructure and the lack of energy sources. Energy crises threaten to overturn economies and disrupt livelihoods, and it is exactly because of this that scientists are frantically searching for sustainable energy sources, before it’s too late. Today, I will discuss what an energy crisis entails and how it can be avoided. Before you continue reading, do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter! Without further ado, let’s hop right in!

Fossil Fuels

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Fossil fuels have become a staple in our daily lives. It is used to power airplanes, cars, trucks and manufacture plastic bags. You could say that the world hasn’t been the same since we discovered the use of fossil fuels. We have become so dependent on it, that if we ran out of fossil fuels, we would be sent right back into the Stone Age. Now as our energy consumption increases due to increasing population and advancing technology, we may soon overtake the rate of energy production and use up our precious fossil fuels. We can see this in the constant rise of oil prices over the years. Thus, the search is on for sources of sustainable energy which can help to supplement, if not replace fossil fuels.

The Effects of Energy Crisis

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Imagine your life without electricity, living in a city without lights. There would be no electricity to charge your phones, power your television and elevators. You would be forced to take the stairs up and down everyday in your office. Crime rate would increase as police forces lose access to many of their capabilities. Lives cannot be saved in time as paramedics are no longer able to drive ambulances. You get the idea. Life would stop to a standstill and electricity would be more precious than even gold. However horrifying this might seem, this is what energy crises can do.

Why We Need Sustainable Energy

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Unlike fossil fuels, sustainable energy sources can last for an extremely long time, if not forever, in some cases. Fossil fuels, being unsustainable, are expected to last up till another 115 years (Coal is expected to last 115 years, while natural gas and oil are expected to run out in 50 years). After that, it would be millions of years before fossil fuels are naturally regenerated. As you can see, we will run out of fossil fuels very soon. We cannot overly rely on it. That’s when sustainable energy comes in. Sustainable energy can come in many forms, like solar energy, geothermal energy and hydropower. However, work is still underway to implement them and sustainable energy sources still do not produce as much energy as that of fossil fuels.

Here’s How You Can Play A Part

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This first thing you can do is to reduce your electric consumption. This can be done simply by turning off the lights when you don’t need them, or turning off the power switch when your phone is fully charged. You could also start to take public transport, which leaves you a lower carbon footprint. More details can be found here: https://bestofwrite.com/2020/12/15/heres-how-you-can-reduce-your-carbon-footprint/

Conclusion

This wraps up my first post for 2021! I hope that this article has given you a greater understanding of the effects and causes of energy crises, and that you have learned something from it. If you did enjoy this article, go consider giving it a like! Remember to subscribe to my newsletter and follow me if you haven’t done so! Stay tuned for my next post!

My Blogging Plan for 2021

It has been a pretty rough year so far and 2020 is coming to pass. As I am writing this, 2021 starts in 3 more days. Things will also get busier for me and I regret to inform that I will posting less regularly. In the past month, I have published 27 articles, which I have enjoyed writing. I thank you all for the support I have received in my past month of blogging, which I appreciate and cherish greatly. For 2021, I will be posting probably once every 2 weeks, and when I am able to, once a week. In the meantime, you can read the articles which I have published. For all those reading, I wish you a happy 2021! Thanks for reading! Do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter! Stay tuned for more.