Monday, January 29, 2018

Screw New Year Resolutions

Let us first understand Newton's law of inertia. It states that, unless acted upon by an external, unbalanced force, an object at rest remains at rest, or if in motion, it continues to move in a straight line with constant speed.

New Year Resolutions work exactly the same way. 

You like to rest your body rather than exerting yourself. When you take a resolution every year in January to change this equation, you fail. Have you wondered why?  Because your own resolution is not an external force. Now imagine, a person of opposite sex is egging you on, your chances of going to a gym even after the new year is one month old, increase dramatically. If that person of opposite sex, who is egging you on, is highly attractive and promises you a date, the force on you is external as well as unbalanced. Now you will be seen working out in the gym, even in March. 

Then, how do you explain the behavior of people, on your facebook timeline, who regularly keep posting their Fitbit stats, or marathon pictures or their resolutions to run more this year, every year. I can offer two theories for them:

1. 'Invisible unbalanced, external force' theory: These buggers are only putting up posts related to  their resolutions, completely hiding from you the reason behind it. Their reason is more beautiful or smarter than yours. Don't fall for this trap.

2. 'State of motion' theory: They were already doing it. They are just flaunting it now. Their bodies are used to exertion and now an external, unbalanced force, say the most delicious cheesecake or a Netflix series can only bring them peace and their bodies to rest. 

Let us examine if these postulates, are equally applicable to other categories of New Year Resolutions. Then you will have a universal law, to screw the new year resolutions, on your side.

Given below is the list of 10 most popular new year resolutions, as per a poll I saw on internet:

1. Eat better
2. Exercise more
3. Spend less money
4. Self Care (i.e. get more sleep)
5. Read more books
6. Learn a new skill
7. Get a new job
8. Make new friends
9. Get a new hobby
10. Focus more on appearance

We have already discussed at length, the second one (Exercise more) and I believe 'Eat better' and 'Focus more on appearance' work exactly the same way. So they don't require a separate discussion.

I don't think 'Get a new job' and 'Make new Friends' are even resolutions. You either suck at what you do or you have bad body odour. Please work on the real issues rather than making stupid wishes.

Those who resolve to spend less money, have not much to start off with. Please don't read such blogs and save on your data costs.

'Get more sleep?' Come on. Be serious. How can this be a resolution?  Change your mattress or take a sleeping pill.

That leaves us with three real resolutions - Read more books, Learn a new skill and Get a new hobby.

Why would you read more books, when you don't already do it or learn a new skill? Definitely not for the enlightenment it provides. That is not an external force. You will always fail in your resolution, if you do something only for yourself. To ensure you stick to these resolutions, check with your boss, what books he will like you to read or skills he would like you to acquire. Do whatever he says. He will continuously breathe down your neck and that is the external force you were looking for. Ensure you keep giving him updates till your appraisals in March. After that you don't need these resolutions. 

Getting a new hobby just for the sake of getting a new hobby? It doesn't work like that. The reward or penalty of not doing it has to be greater. For example, if you want to do photography, buy a costlier camera first. Your spouse's regular barbs will act as an external force, more powerful than any other force known to human. The camera will automatically levitate into your hands every weekend.

Now you know the truth behind new year resolutions. Do you really need one?

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Book Review: The Chaos Project - The most hilarious project of 2017

'The Chaos Project' is Nishant Kaushik's seventh book. And I have read them all. 

Here is what I wrote in 2016 about his previous book, 'My Father is a Hero'. 
(Reproduced from my LinkedIn article dated 31st March 2016)

My Father is a Hero - A not so ordinary fairy tale

This is Nishant Kaushik's sixth book and I am so happy I picked this one too. He writes simple human stories about complex emotions. I have identified with all his books till date, because he narrates slice of life stories, peppered with enough humour and pathos. Each time I have read his books, my eyes have welled up with tears. That is the power of simplicity in his stories. 

This book traces the journey of a single father raising an extraordinary girl child. It is the story of his travails and struggles that make us laugh and cry. It is the story of her dreams turning to reality. It has a fairy tale ending which will tug at your heartstrings.

The writing in the book is lucid and quite a page turner. A perfect read for the Sunday afternoon. Remember sometimes our heroes are far closer than we know.

I reproduced my views about his previous book here, because I am amazed at
Nishant's ability to cut across genres and still as a reader you identify with the characters in each of his books. The Chaos series is totally different than the other books, he has written. The Chaos Project is the third book in his Chaos series. It is about a young MBA, Nakul Kapoor, trying to leave his imprint on the corporate world. His character is part clever, part stupid, but largely smug. Nakul always manages to put himself in sticky situations. As a reader, you get invested in his character and want him to come out of these situations without getting bruised. Despite the dark undertones about how the corporate rat race kills millions of dreams, the book never feels heavy. Nishant injects humour in situations, where you don't expect. The ending of the book is satisfactory, but you know there is another chapter down the road.