Remember the One Week Challenge which was hosted in April? One of the blog members, Utkarsh Pandey, who is a graduate of Graphic Era Hill University, Dehradun, reached out to share his experience of reading 7 books in 7 days as a part of the challenge. Here is what Utkarsh has to say about his learning:
In Utkarsh's Words:
“Each book you read not only teaches you something new but also opens up different ways of thinking about old ideas.”
Lockdown should be made productive, right?
The same thing was going in my mind, when I was just exploring stuff related to MBA and I found the Non-Engineers Blog. That's when I came across ‘The One Week Challenge’ to build a new hobby. It captivated me a lot and then I decided to give it a shot.
A lot of questions were running through my mind, will I be able to complete this challenge? Given that I don't like to read much, how will I read a book a day?
On 5th May, I spent the day to figure it all out. I installed the Microsoft To-Do List, sticky notes and arranged all the books according to their names (with the most eye-catching name first).
Which books did I read?
I decided to read the genres which were not of my choice to move out of my comfort zone:
Day one started with Atomic Habits and it was a very interesting day. Usually, any new work or challenge seems interesting and then it becomes a rut. Right? But,
Anyone can work hard when they feel motivated. It’s the ability to keep going when work isn’t exciting that makes the difference.
Day two began with “Start with Why”. This was the first time that I had finished an entire book in a day. I could see that there was a sense of self-satisfaction and fulfillment.
As I moved forward, I found the book to be business-oriented, about entrepreneurship, how great leaders have succeeded in their life. But, I was struggling to connect with it. That's when I was recalling excerpts from the other book - Atomic Habits. I could see how boredom impedes our path, why people let go off their good habits just because they don't find them to be interesting.
Then, as time passed, I realized why some people succeed in their life and some not? And the reason was clear: successful people are clear about their WHY but others are only aware of their WHAT and HOW.
Take a look at me, I was clear about what to do: that is reading; and how to do it: by managing my time and reading fast. Right? But, when I thought about my WHY, I figured it was not that strong. That’s why I was struggling so much.
So, I kept reading the book to get a clear vision of my WHY. And I found it as I finished the book. The realization just helped me keep myself motivated each day to complete this challenge.
Day three started with “Outliers”, again excited but only for a new book on a new day. The boredom was still kicking in but rather than ignoring it, I tried to befriend it.
In my opinion, this book is a test of your patience, you have to stick with it, read it and then slowly you will be able to build a connection with it.
Success is a function of persistence and doggedness and the willingness to work hard for twenty-two minutes to make sense of something that most people would give up on after thirty seconds.
From day four it became a rut, the same routine, nothing new was there, but yes the everyday the thought of a new book was what kept me going. In my opinion, to build a new habit, you have to appreciate yourself daily for every small accomplishment.
You can track your daily progress, by crossing the day on a calendar, you can make a to-do list and tick it off after completing it. In simple words, you have to make it attractive to enjoy your habit otherwise it will force you to give up.
On the fourth day, I was reading Tuesdays with Morrie, a simple and short book with a message to make every moment simpler, there's no need to complicate anything in life. Live your moments to the fullest no matter what is coming in your way.
From the fifth day I saw a new mood, a fresher one. On the fifth day, I got a chance to read "The Obstacle is the Way" and I was really excited to read it.
But, I didn’t finish it on the same day and that's okay. Something or the other will always try to distract you. It's always better to make your challenges more attractive, that's one of my biggest learning from this endeavour.
Day 6 & 7
On the sixth day, I read "Steal Like an Artist". It gives you the idea of learning or stealing anything new and productive from anyone and to add it to your personality.
By now, I was extremely happy because the final day of my challenge had arrived and I was so close. It was a matter of great pleasure. And I finished this with a very interesting one “Catalyst”.
Two Simple Takeaways
1) Note Words
I'd like to share a screenshot of how I used to jot down new words that I came across during this challenge:
Jot down every new word, take screenshots of some fancy lines or the pages you want to revisit. Make sure to keep a repository of all the learning points that you'd want to apply to your lives.
2) Track Progress
The second one is a way to track your progress - take two glass jars, one filled with pebbles (you can replace pebbles with anything else) and another empty jar. Every day, before going to bed just check your daily accomplishments and transfer one pebble from the filled jar to the empty one. After a few days, you will be able to see your growth.
Utkarsh pursued B Com (H) from Graphic Era Hill University, Dehradun and graduated in 2019. He likes to travel and read (now after the challenge, absolutely). He is a person who respects hard work over talent and is always on the lookout for learning new things.
I'd like to thank Utkarsh for sharing his thoughts with us. This was a much needed post given many of us are taking the latest challenge of going in-depth of a topic for a week. Hope he inspired you :)
If you also have anything worthy to share with the members, any experience that might benefit all, feel free to reach out to me, would be happy to host your story.