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.

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!

How YOU Can Improve Your Memory

Argh! I can’t remember what I’ve read yesterday! Ridiculous!” Ever experienced this? Sometimes we just find ourselves forgetting what we think we will never forget. Isn’t it annoying? So, what we can do about this? Is there anything that we can do to mitigate the process of forgetting? Or are we all destined to forget everything we have learnt? Well, both yes and no. In this post, I will show you how YOU (yes, you) can improve your memory. Before you continue reading, do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter so you’ll never ever miss any new articles!

#1: Focus!

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In my previous articles, I touched on the fact that the brain is simply unable to multitask and that trying to do so will only kill your productivity. This applies to memory as well. Doing more than two things at once affects how your mind encodes information. Often, we find ourselves forgetting what we have learnt or read and we blame it on our mind’s inability to recall information. Let me ask you this question. How can your mind forget something that was not even stored in your brain in the first place? Well, stop blaming your poor brain. Instead, amend your bad habits. Let’s say that you want to study a chapter of Chemistry today. To facilitate a conducive learning environment, you should place all your electronic devices somewhere inaccessible, perhaps in a locked drawer. Furthermore, practice mindfulness when you study. This means staying focused and motivated with your work at hand. (No daydreaming!) This allows your mind to absorb information much more readily.

#2: Method of Association – Using Mnemonics and Acronyms

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The mind is an efficient machine. In other words, your mind will instantly delete anything it deems useless so as to ensure the healthy functioning of the brain. This also effectively prevents information overload as it allows the individual to only remember what he/she needs for survival. This can be both good and bad. Sometimes, your mind interprets what you think is useful as trash and the vice versa is true as well. Why is it that we can remember the embarrassing moments of the past without flaw, while we struggle to remember what we have read as recently as a day ago? This is because your mind places different degrees of importance on different memories. Let’s say you tripped and fell due to a plastic bag on the ground a year ago. I bet you will most likely recall this event today! In this case, this is because your brain has judged this memory as essential to your survival, thus effectively preventing you from making the same mistake again. Do you remember the times when people laughed at you? I can confidently say that you do as well! So why is it that your brain still retains such humiliating memories? In the early history of mankind, being part of a group was a matter of life and death. Being alone only increases one’s chances of being lost and being hunted by predatory animals. As a result, our minds have evolved to prioritise social cohesion and that aforementioned memory (the one about you being laughed to death by others) helps you to understand the minds of others and spurs you to fit in. Meanwhile, our minds have developed to appreciate humour, with the same purpose of helping one build friendships and social connections with other fellow humans.

So what does this have to do with improving our memory? To retain information much more effectively, we can learn to take full advantage of the evolutionary features of our brains. We can do this by using acronyms to represent lists or sentences. The funnier and weirder the acronym, the better the recall effectiveness. You could also utilise rhymes to remember certain information. For instance, “A knight on the rim is grim.” helps chess players remember that a knight is most powerful in the centre of the board.

#3: Taking Omega-3 Supplements

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Our brains are about 60% fat. The architecture of our minds are such that we require an adequate amount of fatty acids to sustain its performance. Omega-3 fatty acids play an important role in this. Research has shown that consumption of Omega-3 fatty acids, which include Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), help to build cell membranes and prevent inflammation in the body. Meanwhile, Omega-3 fatty acids are key components in the myelin sheaths of neurones, which insulates nerve fibres and increases transmission speed of nerve impulses. This boosts memory formation and increases the processing speed of the mind. In fact, the consumption of Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to prevent certain psychotic disorders such as depression, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Conclusion

I hope that this article gave you insights into the inner machinations of the brain and how you can improve your memory. If you did enjoy this article or have found it useful, do consider giving it a like! Do follow me if you haven’t done so! Stay tuned for more articles and thanks for reading!

Social Media: The Dark Side

There is a good, bad or ugly side to almost anything and everything in the universe. Social media is no exception. However, in this case, social media has the darkest side of them all. There has been numerous cases of men and women alike developing psychological illnesses such as depression and other psychotic disorders due to their obsessive and compulsive usage of social media. But why is this so? Why is it that so many people have fallen to vanity? What does this mean for our mental health? In this article, we shall discuss and explore the dark side of social media, but be warned, it is a place you wouldn’t want to end up in, ever. Before you continue reading, do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter!

A New Age

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The invention of the internet has allowed much to be accomplished in the history of mankind. We can now work and share with others in real time. Knowledge can be accessed simply by doing a simple search on Google. And In the midst of all this achievements and breakthroughs, social media was born. In the early stages of the internet, chatrooms and forums were the main platforms for communication for the numerous netizens around the world. As time passed and as the internet became more advanced, social media platforms with higher degrees of complexity and capability were introduced, the notable two being Facebook and Instagram, which has greatly shaped the modern world as we know it today. And in the present world, social media has become a ubiquitous element in most of our lives and it will continue to be so.

The Dark Side Revealed

Source: https://www.thecabinchiangmai.com/blog/social-media-and-depression/

As usage of social media increased over the years, we have become increasingly reliant on social media for communication. We no longer send letters to our relatives and friends. Instead, all one has to do is click on WhatsApp, type out his/her message and click “send”. It’s that simple. Meanwhile, on public sharing platforms like Instagram and Facebook, it is equally easy to post a photo of yourself and comment on the posts of others. Here’s where chaos begins. Many men and women become obsessed with putting their pictures up online for others to admire, while others do so out of vanity. At the same time, users of such platforms begin to judge a person’s worth through appearances alone. In the minds of such users, thoughts like these start to pop up. “She looks pretty, so I’m going to give her a like.” “This one doesn’t look as good, I’ll pass.” These thoughts gradually alter the ways in which these users think. In other words, these unhealthy habit has rewired their minds to calculate the respect they should give another person based on appearances and looks alone. Meanwhile, cyberbullying has taken a new turn. All it takes is a single comment to begin the onslaught. Many begin to target the appearances of others and in turn comment nasty remarks to taunt them. Furthermore, it is now extremely easy to pass on rumours of another person, often with the intent of slandering or demeaning the target in question. As these comments and nasty remarks begin to snowball and accumulate, the person at the receiving end often faces feelings of distress and helplessness. The victim is unable to understand why he/she deserves such treatment and plunges close to the threshold of depression. And eventually, without timely assistance, such scenarios can end with an unfortunate suicide. This problem is especially prevalent among the youth today. It is because of these above reasons that social media has a bad reputation for bringing out the worst in humans, who may seem friendly upfront but are deadly when given a keyboard.

The Takeaway

The world is a chaotic place. Be wary not to blindly follow the crowds. At the same time, learn to keep your emotions on a leash. Do not fall prey to your emotions and subconscious desires. Rather, use the gift that you have been granted at the moment of your birth: Rational thinking. Without it, we are nothing but animals, living in the present, slaves to emotions and carnal desires. This applies to social media as well. Do not fall into the trap of judging the self-worth of yourself and others based on appearances, as they are often deceiving. At the same time, learn not to crave it, as the desire for the flesh often leads to the destructive path to lust. Not only will you lose your mind in the process, but you may very well lose your life and your loved ones as well.

Here’s Why You Should Read Comics

Comic reading has become a favourite pastime for many people around the world. Due to the fact that comics utilise graphics to convey different stories and messages, it has become a popular and attractive form of entertainment for children, the youth and the elderly. There’s always something for everyone. Love espionage and the world of spies? You have James Bond comics. Love science fiction and Star Wars? Star Wars comics can be bought online and even found in your local library. But is there a good reason as to why you should even read comics in the first place? In this post, I will discuss why you should read comics and how it benefits your health. Before you continue reading, do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter!

#1: They Are Exciting

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After a long day at work or school, many of us just don’t have the motivation to read anything anymore. Well, don’t worry. Comics are easy to read, as you no longer have to imagine the environment or situation the character(s) is/are in, as in normal books. Comics give you a visual understanding of what is taking place in the story and thus, the number of words you actually have to read decreases. This subsequently requires less brain power. This is the main reason as to why many children prefer comics to normal books during childhoods. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you abandon text-based books totally! Furthermore, the vivid visualisation of story events may evoke a sense of wonderment and excitement, which in comparison to good, old and plain text, may seem 100% less boring.

#2: They Foster Deeper Connections With The Story

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As mentioned before, comics specialise in presenting stories and events in a graphical manner. This helps readers to connect much more deeply with the story as compared to a normal text based book. For example, rather than stating “He was frustrated.”, a comic drawing would probably depict the character with a frown. As humans, we tend to relate more to what we see, such as facial expressions and colour. As such, not only are we able to remember the story and the associated comic drawings much effectively, but we may also find ourselves having a higher degree of appreciation for the story. For those who love colour and pictures, comics are for you!

#3: They Help To Foster A Reading Habit

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For many teenagers and adults alike, starting a reading habit can be difficult and many of us might end up complaining that we have no motivation to read. We’ve become so used to modern forms of entertainment, like television and video gaming, which not only leaves us with little to read, but also results in us becoming more and more dependent on visual forms of entertainment. We then begin to find reading a chore. So, is this a dead end? No! Comics are a great starting point for those looking to pick up a reading habit. This is because comics are easy to read, as they usually utilise less complicated terms and vocabulary. Likewise, the word count is drastically reduced, as all the focus is placed on the comic drawings. Well you might ask, “Hey! But if I keep reading comics, won’t I be learning nothing?” This is, firstly, a temporary measure (you can continue to read comics if you want). Secondly, the main reason as to why you should first read comics before moving on to harder text-based books, is that it helps to install the habit of picking up a piece of reading material every day. Later, when you have gotten used to doing this, you may eventually find that picking up an autobiography or even a textbook requires less willpower. This is because you have already trained your mind to do so earlier.