Thursday, 8 October 2015

1% Of Everything

I hope your day started off well today. I decided to skip gym this morning as I have played intensive 3-hour badminton yesterday night with my colleages at the Bank, and the joy I had derived from the whole session was ineffable. I decided to sleep early yesterday night around 11pm and got a good 7 hours sleep. 7 hour was good enough for me, because normally I only sleep for 6 hours or less.

Why am I telling you all these? Remember I am sticking to a my daily schedule which is to go for gym workout every morning, writing blog after having breakfast, then work and read after I come back from work. This is how my day goes for now. But what I can do to improve it? Improvement comes from doing something different, regardless of how small the difference may be. So the question to ask yourself is, what differences have I done over the past few days? 

Do you find yourself stuck in the same old routine, following a mundane schedule every day? I do! And I felt frustrated. I just started my working life not long ago and I am bored of it already. I hate being stagnant! I tend to want new things happening every day! Who doesn't fancy new things? What I meant by new things here do not constrained to material possessions (although getting a new shoes or clothes can be enticing too haha!), but new ideas, new activities and new people! 

New ideas make me excited. They train my idea muscles and if possible, I would like to exercise it every day. But meeting new people?! It is funny to say this because I was (I still am at times) shy to meet new people. I have always been the last person to initiate a conversation with new people because I am just not good at it. But I love it! I love meeting new people because I think everyone I met is for reason. I believe I can learn at least one thing from everyone. At least. The simple fact that you even get to meet that one person, out of 7.3 billion people on Earth, speaks volume of how this meeting is not a mere coincidence. 

If you can improve something by 1% every day, your life would have been very different in a year time. 1% each day doesn't translate directly to 365% in a year, but rather 507%, because of the compounding effect! In other word, the 1% would double in 72 days, not 100 days. If you want to pick up a habit, 1% a day practicing the habit propels you towards the habit. Here's a quote by James Altucher: 
Habits don't change in a day. But 1% a day makes every habit work. Every. 
So what are the things you can improve by 1% every day? What I did yesterday deviated a little from my usual daily schedule. I played badminton instead of going for morning gym session. Playing sports is a good way of cardio exercise and stress relieving. It also forced me out of my comfort zone. I decided to sleep 7 hours instead of 6 hours, the final result being a good night rest. I felt totally revitalised this morning, ready to take on another day of challenges.

Say if you read 7 pages a day of non-fiction book, in a year you would have read 2555 pages of knowledge and experiences. 2555 pages most people won't bother to read. If you write 1000 words a day, in a year you would have written 6 to 8 books depending on the quality of the books. I am currently reading Crisis Economics by Nouriel Roubini, and I am still reading Seven Things That Steal Your Joy by Joyce Meyer. I am also halfway through the One Up On Wall Street by Peter Lynch. Three books at at time, one on economics, one on investment and another on spiritual development.

Many people tend to give excuses on not having time at all to read. I beg to differ. If I can read three books at at time, at least 3 pages every day for each book I am currently reading above, you can too! Reading may not be your top priority, it's just not your thing. Okay, what about doing something you love? Sports for instance. 1% in everything. Go to gym for 35 minutes instead of half an hour. 40 minutes after a week. The key here is slowly but steadily stretch yourself out of your comfort zone. I guarantee you will see wonders!

Given our current situation in Malaysia, many of us the ordinary people have no control over it, tend to complain and get ourselves upset and disappointed. Each day when I was driving to and from work, whenever I heard the radio news updates especially on political updates, I would cringe. My mom loves listening to all those BS, but I don't so I switched channel. I always switch! Why bother stacking up my stress level by listening to things that don't add values to my life, when I could have listened to relaxing songs on Lite FM or Melody FM (for Chinese speakers)? 1% improvement.

But here's the thing: 1% change can go either way. "It's just one day, give me a break!" You say. One day of missing a yoga session means there would be another day of missing the upcoming yoga session. Soon you will miss out the whole yoga sessions and six months later you no longer attend the class. In my first year of university, I have picked up a French for Beginners lesson. Every Monday evening I attended the lesson, but I was tempted countless times to just skip that one week. I never skipped any lesson in the end, because skipping one week of French class would have made me fell behind my peers and I would need to catch up.

Now another problem arises. How to quantify that 1%? It will be absurd to calculate everything by 1%, don't you think? How to quantify 1% less stress? Not very plausible. But here's my take on the solution: You simply don't have to. You just have to improve a tiny bit on each area of your life daily.

It may be helpful to make a list and ask yourself these every day: Can I abit more thankful today? Can I read one page more? Can I exercise 5 minutes more? Can I spend more time with God? Can I take the stairs instead of lift? Can I eat a little heathier diet? Can I spend a little more time with my family today? Can I improve my emotional bank account with my family members and girlfriend/boyfriend? Can I be a little nicer today to people? Can I be more kind and generous? You name it. There are plenty of things you can improve on.

I get happy improving each area of my life daily, consistently.

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