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Absolutely Make Time for Reading

From the Writing Routines1 pdf that is available on signing up to their mailing list…

“If I had a nickel for every person who ever told me he/she wanted to become a writer but “didn’t have time to read,” I could buy myself a pretty good steak dinner. Can I be blunt on this subject? If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”
Stephen King, On Writing

“I write two pages. And then I read and read and read.”
José Saramago, recipient of the 1998 Nobel Prize in Literature

“I can’t begin to tell you the things I discovered while I was looking for something else.”
Shelby Foote, The Civil War: A Narrative

“The greatest part of a writer’s time is spent in reading; a man will turn over half a library to make one book.”
Samuel Johnson, A Dictionary of the English Language

“...EVENINGS: See friends. Read in cafés....”
Henry Miller author of Tropic of Cancer, Black Spring, Tropic of Capricorn, and more.

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  1. I love the site and its interviews. Go visit and see if you like their stuff. 

A Week of Python

Ok. Time to be a bit honest.
As you folks know, I have been trying to learn programming using Python since June 2017, when I joined the 10th cohort of DGPLUG’s Summer Training.
And time and again, I have failed.
Not just with programming, but with most other projects I tried to do.

At the end of my rope, I decided to just quit everything and considered (very seriously) a return to my old stressful career, thinking maybe that is all there is for me.

Two people saved me.

The first one was Kushal Das.
The man was absolutely bull headed about me being in the right place and that if anybody could do this, it was me.

The other was my better half.
Everyday I count my blessings and am thankful that I that she chose to share her life with mine.
She patiently listens to my frustrated rants and then tells me to just dust myself up and do it again.
That failure is not the end of the world.
And then she told me to do my physio.
And that I really could do this.

Just because you failed doesn’t mean you can’t succeed.
We all fail. Mentally resilient people realize that its not failure that defines your identity but how you respond.

Shane Parrish

So towards the end of last year I decided to focus only on one or two things at once.
And at that time it meant my 12th exams.
I studied really hard for three months.
And I did not finish studying.
And I am pretty sure I am going to bomb my exam results.

Then why do I sound so chirpy?

Because I realised Kushal and Abby were right.
That I can in fact learn.
The past four months have been an exercise in frustration.
But I learnt something new everyday.
I could test myself on what I learnt and realise that I did in fact know stuff.

Which led me to my lightbulb moment.
That I cannot do all my learning like those montages they show in movies.
All my learning came from stretching just a tiny bit, every day.
I learnt the basics of Accounts, and lots of Maths.

The difficulty of a task is irrelevant, if it’s vital to your success.

— Ed Latimore

And now that exams are done, I decided to turn my attention back to programming.
And so I made a big ask of Kushal.1
I decided to go to Pune, and try to pick up the basics of programming in Python all over again.
And he graciously volunteered to mentor me for a week.

And here I am a week later, writing all sorts of tiny little programs that do whimsical things and bringing me joy.
I obviously have miles to go before I can even grasp at fluency.
But this time, I am filled with hope and a good measure of confidence. It’s been a little nerve wracking and there’s been tonnes of head scratching and back stretching.
Kushal has been extremely patient with me, guiding me these past few days, making sure I stretch just the right amount.
And for that I owe him a mountain of gratitude.
Thank you so much Kushal! I hope to pay it forward someday!

I go back home now, and I’ll keep up the momentum with small incremental, regular periods of work.
I will log progress on the dtw blog where I can rant and rave to my hearts content.
My main focus will not be on results though.
Just to stretch myself everyday.
Improve myself just that little bit every day.
And then look back one day and be amazed at how far I’ve travelled.

The way you train reflects the way you fight.
People say I’m not going to train too hard, I’m going to do this in training, but when it’s time to fight I’m going to step up.

There is no step up. You’re just going to do what you did every day.”

— Georges St. Pierre

French, Week 3

It’s going swimmingly well so far.
Still in the phase where there is an avalanche of stuff coming at me.
But a few tiny things, I know now.
Which is how I know I am making progress.

P.S. Crazy idea that just struck me, would to start writing these updates in french as soon as I am able!

Your Very Own Superpower, Saying No

If you haven’t read James Clear’s blockbuster book on habits, you owe it to yourself to. It’s the best way to build habits and routines that are an intrinsic part of you.

One of the best ways to a super productive you is, as James describes in this excerpted post, saying No.

Ever think about the events you set in action when you just say yes as a reactive reflex?

The Difference Between Yes and No

The words “yes” and “no” get used in comparison to each other so often that it feels like they carry equal weight in conversation. In reality, they are not just opposite in meaning, but of entirely different magnitudes in commitment.

When you say no, you are only saying no to one option. When you say yes, you are saying no to every other option. Once you have committed to something, you have already decided how that future hour will be spent.

Saying no gains you time in the future. Saying yes costs you time in the future. No is a form of time credit. You retain the ability to spend your time however you want. Yes is a form of time debt. You have to pay it back at some point.

In short: No is a decision. Yes is a responsibility.

But you can’t just go willy-nilly saying no, nope, nada now, can you?

Earning the Right to Say No

In most fields, you have to go through a period where you say yes to nearly every opportunity before you can earn the right to say no to nearly every opportunity.

Learning to make this switch is hard.

So this week, learn how to say no, and then get better at saying no.
Like James concludes, Say no, more. Say yes, carefully.

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