How to feel golden and blissful!

These are some points that I think can make anyone a happy, ecstatic and better person living a happier life 🙂

1. Always have a smile on your face. This is one of the best qualities to have in a person. Don’t let little things irritate you. Have optimism. When things go wrong, have hope and smile. Besides, there is always at least one reason to smile. Find it. As the quote goes, everyday might not be good but there is something good in everyday. Also, when you don’t smile and are in a really irritated mood, people around you like your family also get irritated. Rather infect the world with your smile and the world will smile with you. 🙂

2. Don’t waste time fighting/arguing over little things. Before starting a verbal fight with someone, just ask yourself one question – is this even important? The conclusion you will get is that this wasn’t only stupid (for something small, you might end up risking an entire relationship) but you have just wasted your precious time!

3. Be grateful for what you already have. It’s not about how much we have, it’s about how much we enjoy- that makes happiness.
The human nature always tends to want more, want what we do not have, and dwell upon the negatives. Rather try to see what you already have, and make the most of it.

4. Focus on the solution rather than what caused the problem. Everyday we go through both good and bad situations. When you face a bad situation, tell your mind that there is a solution, and then take action to solve the problem. Let’s face the fact that we get into pretty bad situations quite a lot in life! But we all know that somehow most of them end and the problem does get over. There are ways to get out of the hole, so don’t make the hole deeper by thinking that you won’t. All it requires is a little bit of brains and a little bit of patience.

5. Always have an “I can do better” attitude and keep learning from past mistakes. This way your mind looks for ways to do better, and your creative power is turned on. A winning attitude will win for you in every situation. Believe you can succeed and think about success, never failure.
Think doubt and fail.
Think victory and succeed.

6. Think about others, not only yourself. Treat others how you wish to be treated. Empathy, they say, is the gift of great kings (and queens!). Helping others makes us feel good from the inside, and this is often more long-lasting and deeper than momentary pleasure we may get by indulging just ourselves.

7. Ask some people around you what you are good at and what you are bad at (your negatives and your positives). By doing this, you know yourself better, and secondly you realise that you have at least one thing in you that will bring you forward in life. Nobody is perfect but everyone has a few good qualities within them that sometimes they don’t realise.
Realise that quality. Develop your qualities and talents to become a winner. Use that quality and let it shine

8. Take responsibilities  – like studying ahead of class, studying before doing other things like being on gadgets, overall be a responsible person. Also, on your health and fitness, balancing calories in and out. This too makes you feel better about yourself.

9. Have a hobby.
Wether it’s singing, wether it’s dancing, or wether it’s writing, have one thing, that could be anything, that you truly enjoy doing besides studies. Focus on it for at least one hour a day.

10. Have people around who truly love you.
Wether it’s your family or an extremely close friend, have a few people who love you, no matter what. They will always build you up when you’re about to break down. You will always find happiness there.

And here’s a bonus – Just look good! When you look good (not necessarily wearing expensive clothes and putting makeup – literally not needed!, just being fresh and tidy and feeling your best), you feel better about yourself. So dress up, chin up, smile and go ahead! You only have one life to live 🙂

These are some points I gathered up that, to me, feel like can make our little stay on Planet Earth a little better.
To be honest, I lack a few of these qualities myself, but this is all about learning and seeing how we can all becoms better individuals.
So live, learn, and enjoy!

– Saania Saxena

 

 

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Book Review – The Power Of Habit

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Have you ever wondered why and how certain habits occur ?
Well, I recently read a book called The Power Of Habit by Charles Duhigg that explores the actual science behind habit creation and even some habits linked to businesses.

In this book, Charle take us through so many fascinating scientific discoveries that explain habits.

For example, in the first chapter he writes about an old man named Eugene Pauly who lost his memory and couldn’t even remember what day of the week it was, or identify his grandchildren, etc. Eugene’s wife Beverly took him for walks every day to make sure he remained fit and healthy until one day, all of a sudden Eugene heads out the door all by himself and takes a walk around. Very surprisingly enough, he returns in exactly 15 minutes back to his house. He starts doing this every single day. However, When the doctors ask him to roughly draw a map of his estate and where his house was, he couldn’t recall a thing! As he lost his memory.

The conclusion scientists and MIT researchers found out was that towards the centre of our skull, there is a lump of tissue called the basal ganglia. And this tissue stores habits even if the rest of our brain doesn’t work which explains why Eugene started to walk every single day all by himself (it became a habit) and get home on time but couldn’t exactly figure out where his house was ( didn’t have the memory). Habits form and operate entirely separate from the part of our brain responsible for memory.

Charles also talks about “chunking”. Our brain converts a sequence of actions into an automatic routine (like Eugene walked everyday until it eventually became a daily habit) and that’s the root of how habits form. There are hundreds and hundreds of behavioural chunks that we rely on every single day. For example, putting toothpaste on our brush before sticking it in our mouth or wearing clothes that could require several separate actions but we do it everyday without thinking twice.

Putting it altogether, there is something known as the Habit Loop which consists of 3 steps:

Cue : a trigger that tells our brain to go into automatic mode and what habit to use
Routine : can be physical, mental, or emotional
Reward : helps the brain know if the particular loop is worth remembering for the future

Eventually this loop becomes more and more automatic. The cue and reward intertwine and a habit is born. It is easier to visualise the loop. Take for example when a phone buzzes with a new email or message, the brain starts anticipating the momentary distraction that opening an email provides.image.jpeg

This is what a habit loop looks like .

Another chapter of the book is called “The Craving Brain – how to create new habits”
It might seem surprising to some of you but in early 20th America, hardly anyone brushed their teeth.
They were left so unhygienic and so gross! Not until Claude Hopkins, a marketing genius was convinced by his friend to popularise toothpaste and turn it into a daily habit. Claude Hopkins was known for turning unknown products into daily used household items. He also worked in advertising Quaker Oats. (The cereal)
He was able to convince America that it provided 24 hour energy – but only if you ate a bowl every day
(So eventually people made it a habit to eat quaker oats cereal each morning to gain energy for the day !)
Moving on… Claude Hopkins thought of a cue to turn toothpaste into a national habit. His toothpaste was Pepsodent. Unlike other pastes at the time, Pepsodent contained citric acids and mint oils. Not only these sounded fresh but it made people have this cool tingling sensation on the tongue and gums. Very interestingly enough, sales of Pepsodent exploded. Pepsodent created a craving.
When people forgot to brush their teeth with Pepsodent, they missed out on the tingling effect. If it wasn’t there, their teeth didn’t feel clean. Once people craved that cool tingling sensation, seeing the result of clean shiny teeth, brushing became a habit. And, within a decade, toothpaste usage expanded from 7% of the population to 65%. So actually people started brushing with Pepsodent mainly because of the tingling effect that ensured them their teeth would be clean. So Marketing genius Claude Hopkins’ marketing plan did work and created brushing into a daily habit. Now brushing has turned into a worldwide habit and after Hopkins, many toothpaste companies began using citric oils and minty freshness for the tingle effect.
Cravings are what drive habits, and figuring out how to spark a craving makes creating a new habit easier, like the crave for the tingle creates a habit of brushing.image

Hopkins’ habit loop for Pepsodent…
How brushing became a habit

Then there is a chapter called the ” Golden rule of habit change

Tony Dungy was a footballer who totally changed the game of American football for the first time.
He was the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers – initially one of the worst teams in the national football league! But he then came up with a new coaching approach.
Instead of players overthinking and spending so much time on their next move, Tony did everything to get his team to stop thinking and react quickly based on habit instead. Tony knew that habits can’t usually be overcome but instead could be changed if a new routine is inserted to the habit loop with the same cue and same reward. He trained his team to automatically link cues they already knew to different on-field routines, ones that involved less complexity, fewer choices, lesser thinking and rather more subconscious reactions. Fortunately, Tony’s approach lead to the Buccaneers being championship contenders and he saved his team successfully.

The most successful habit change is the 12 step program of Alcoholics Anonymous.
The first key is that AA inserts a new routine into the same cue and reward by identifying what need the alcohol is fulfilling and providing a similar type of relief through the AA group. If you think about it people drink alcohol for anxiety relief, relaxation, escape, or to get a stress free mind. But AA forced you to create new routines for what to do each night instead of drinking harmful alcohol each night.
Meaning, creating a new routine with the same cue and reward. The cue would be feeling stressed out for example, the reward would be having a stress free mind, resulting in a routine of drinking every night. AA kept the same cue and reward and added a new routine- which was that you could relax and talk through your anxieties at the meetings, (talk to people which are equivalent to drinking excess or figure out a different routine that will satisfy the cravings filled by drinking alcohol).

However, drinking or smoking is a terrible addiction spread worldwide, so this alone wasn’t sufficient.
There is another element to prevent such things and that is belief. Belief is a thing and skill that makes habit change possible. And if a community or a group of people believe that it’s wrong, habits could possibly change, despite the fact that even today it is extremely difficult.

The conclusion Charles tried to explain was, if we keep the same cue and reward, a new routine can be inserted to the habit loop, just like Tony did with his football team and AA did with alcohol addicted people. Also, we know that change can happen with bad habits, smokers can quit smoking, drinkers can quit drinking access but what is needed is belief that it can happen and that too by a community or a group of people.

Another example from me, when teenagers check their phones every now and then and eventually, it turns into a habit 🙄
Cue: a phone ting (snapchat, Instagram ;-))
Reward: Satisfaction
Resulting in a routine : Checking phone every now and then

You can change this bad habit. When your phone chimes, instantly keep it somewhere else, or somewhere where it’s unreachable, you wont get the craving anymore.
Not that you can’t check your phone at all, of course you should, just don’t create it into a habit.
Same goes to things like biting nails (not to mention I actually do it quite often !). In Fact, there was a girl named Mandy. Her biting habit got so severe that her fingers actually used to bleed but she still did it because it gave her satisfaction. She then met a phycologist who studied habit reversal training. She managed to solve Mandy’s issue. Whenever Mandy felt the urge or the crave to bite her nails, the phycologist asked her to put her hand in the pocket, making it impossible to put her fingers in her mouth. As for the reward, she could decide what she wanted, for example a manicure!
The cue and reward stayed the same, it’s the bad behaviour that changed .

Then there is a chapter called “Starbucks and the habit of success- when willpower becomes automatic”
Starbucks is a coffee shop that operates above 27,000 locations worldwide! So many people love Starbucks across the world but do you know the actual history behind it?

It is scientifically proven that willpower is an essential ingredient for success.
This has been proven through a number of experiments, with one, including the marshmallow experiment which involved children and marshmallows. Kids with less will power to eat the marshmallow later didn’t achieve good grades or SAT scores, and kids with a high will power achieved better grades later on, crazy to believe but it’s a proven fact.. In Fact there is a book based on this experiment called ” The Marshmallow Test”.
Anyway, willpower is known to help you in other areas of life and read on about how Starbucks’ success was achieved:

Starbucks’ business model was based on giving fantastic customer service. The solution, Starbucks discovered, was to turn self discipline and willpower into an organisational habit. The managers noticed that what was happening was that employees and workers were failing when they reached against inflection points ( like facing angry customers ). What they realised was they needed habits to muster self discipline. The workers needed clear instructions about how to deal with the inflection points: a routine for employees to follow when their willpower muscles went limp. Starbucks gave their employees willpower habit loops and explained how to react to angry customers.
Then Starbucks came up with the LATTE method! To listen to the customer, acknowledge their complaint, take action by solving the issue, thank them, and explain why the problem occurred. They gave them many other learnings as well as a lot of training classes to build self regulation and willpower. Throughout the classes they were given plans to overcome inflection points, they then practiced the plans, until it became an automatic habit.

That is how willpower became a habit. By choosing a certain behaviour ahead of time, and then following that routine when an inflection point arrives. When workers studied the latte method, they decided ahead of time how to react to a cue – (a painful muscle or angry customer). When the cue arrived, a routine occurred, with a reward of happy customers. .image.jpeg

The employee training and customer service Starbucks gave the workers made Starbucks into one of the most successful companies in the world

Starbucks also gave their workers authority and self control.
It was also proven that it gave them a lot of self control and worked more effectively with fewer mistakes. They brought self discipline into their job.
“When people just follow orders willpower just becomes more difficult”
Starbucks’ excellent training led to workers having will power and self regulation, leading to customer satisfaction, and Starbucks successfully hit their goal.

There is also a chapter that goes into the detail of how Target achieved success. ( the second largest upscale discount retailer that provides high quality, on – trend merchandise )

Basically Target collects individualised shopping data for each customer using credit, shopping cards, etc, . They notice your age, ethnicity, location, status and so on.
Target looks at individual quirks of each customer using data or simply identifies each customer’s buying habits. A huge thing that adds to the marketing success in target is if a customer goes through a major event in his or her life, for example a child is going to be born. Target’s staff notices that the buying habits of the customer changes. So these type of companies are really good at identifying what goes on with the customer’s life!

Once they notice the buying habit changes, they send coupons or emails with discount for example with the specific items they need. It didn’t take long though, for target to realise that people would mind if they received coupons filled with baby products, sometimes even before they’ve told their families that they are pregnant and would surely think that target stalks them!

So now, when target predicts a customer is pregnant, for example ( there are many more examples ), they will send coupons or emails for baby products intentionally sandwiched between unrelated ads for beer, jewellery or other products too.

I think that’s pretty smart 🙂

So Charles gives us a formula to follow, now that we know our habits and can shape them accordingly in our will after reading this book :

1. Identify the routine

2. Experiment with rewards

3. Isolate the cue

4. Have a plan

Once you understand how a particular habit operates, once you diagnose the cue, the routine and the reward, you gain power over it.”

Why should you read this book ? You can certainly understand and identify your own personal habits, and think about wether you want to reshape or build onto them 🙂

– Saania Saxena

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conquering and learning

Life is all about reaching your goals and trying your best to achieve them, as I talked about on my 16th post -“Purpose of Life”. However, reaching any goal takes effort and hard work and you will make mistakes along the way, that behave like obstacles between your path to success. With these obstacles, people often stop and give up, there is this fear that holds them back from trying. However, it is quite cliché but it’s important to learn from your mistakes – and get over those obstacles. They give you an opportunity- Firstly accept the mistake, learn from the mistake and then try again, and it’s totally up to you if you want to ignore it or if you want to open the door to hope in getting even better. A goal can be as small as getting an A in a class test or as big as getting into one of the best universities across the world or even bigger, becoming the CEO of a huge company. Any goal, big or small, require hard work and there will always be obstacles before achieving them – (after all, difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations! ). When you make mistakes and learn to learn from them, you actually can figure out what works and what doesn’t which is such a great opportunity to bring you further and grow. On the other hand, if a person makes no mistakes at all (which is impossible because no one is perfect and you don’t go forward in life without learning! ), they are not experiencing and not taking a step forward in accomplishing a goal…learning to conquer your mistakes gets you a step closer to success. Let us take a really simple real life example (after all, philosophy is all about discovering things around us and relating it to real life).. So, for example, my sister once sang in front of a crowd in this huge party held at our house. It was one of the first times she actually sang in front of many people. However, It didn’t really go as well as she thought it would. (By the way she really enjoys singing and dreams of becoming a rockstar one day!). Now obviously it must not have felt great at all! But she had two options- never singing again in front of a crowd or figuring out what made her not sing to the best of abilities. Fortunately she realised that singing is one of the only things that interests her (turns out the crowd was the thing that made her nervous, meaning her goal was to sing in front of people without being nervous) ,and then she obviously sang more in front of people (after all, life begins at the end of your comfort zone!) and now, in fact a few weeks ago, she sang in a wedding and honestly it was the best she has ever sang before without getting really nervous . (Goal almost achieved !!)
This example shows to achieve a goal, you have to firstly realise the mistake or what went wrong and take ownership of it  ,overcome the fear of failing at something when you make the mistake, learn from it and try again. When mistakes come along the way, you shouldn’t shy away from it – in fact because of all the hardwork and strugles you will do better in the future. (After all, Alice did have to fall before entering Wonderland!).
Also, every goal achieved is a success in itself, regardless if it’s a big goal or a small goal, the point is that it’s something you couldn’t do earlier and could do now. As long as your goal sounds reasonable to you and you are commited to fulfil it, don’t let any obstacles hold you back from going on further and trying harder.

So let me end with a brilliant quote said by the brilliant Lilly Singh (Superwoman!!) :
“On the path to success, fear and discomfort are only speed bumps. Don’t make them dead ends.”

-Saania 😊

 

What really is maths ?

At school, the maths we learn and see can seem like a set of only rules and a whole bunch of numbers that we must learn. However, maths isn’t all about that, although it may seem as such. Maths is a subject that is really enjoyable to me, so here is what I think it really is. Maths is considered a boring topic for many people. ” When am I ever going to use math? “, ” How will it even help me in life? “, “This is so boring” – these are things that have echoed through the halls of maths classrooms every single day! Many students want to know where math takes place in every day life. The thing is, maths is not just a sequence of numbers and computations that need to be carried out until your patience or stamina runs out! You may not be aiming for a job in the future that includes mathematics but that’s okay, because most people aren’t going to .
However, you can still do maths. You probably are doing math, even if you don’t call it that. 

In a book that I read: How not to be wrong – the hidden maths of everyday life, the author Jordan Ellenberg implies maths with soccer in a really interesting way. Think about this – if you want to play soccer, you need to do a lot of boring, repetitive, pointless drills. The question is – do professional players even use those drills? On a major soccer match, you won’t see any player zigzagging between traffic cones or curling weights, would you? But you will see the players using the strength , speed and flexibility they built up by doing those drills- learning those drills is part of learning soccer. So are those drills really pointless

Also, if you want to play soccer for a living, you will spend most of your time and all your weekends on the field to practice, there is no other way. But the good news is this:

If the drills are too much for you, you can at least enjoy the moment and feeling by just playing it for fun. You will be healthier and happier than you would be if you just sat at home watching the professionals playing on the television.
Mathematics is pretty much the same, isn’t it? Maths makes you better at things, even if you are not one of the best at it. At first, it’s true that is might seem like a subject with only numbers and rules and you might think that it’s a subject for only “smart people” but once you understand this language, you will start to enjoy it and see how it helps you every day, everywhere – wherever you are. It teaches you at least something and It’s all around you, even if you don’t notice it – in the kitchen, in the grocery store, maths is everywhere! Maths makes us make important decisions , perform everyday tasks, and become better thinkers.

I love maths and I really hope many people can see maths in this way because maths in this way is truely a whole new different thing and a whole new perspective, that can change people’s minds when it comes to mathematics.

So to conclude- try to have this thought the next time you write a maths test or exam or are studying for a math test. You don’t learn maths just to score an A or to pass a test, you learn it because it’s a life skill that’s needed in everyday life. You would rather want to understand maths than to take it as a subject where you have to learn it off without understanding what you are doing  because as Eugenia Cheng , a brilliant mathematician said, at school, you don’t ask the question “why”, you are just given formulas to learn. So discover the math around the world, by asking one question – why?

With the tools of mathematics in hand, you can understand the world in a deeper and more meaningful way.

What is the purpose of life?

It’s a question that I often wonder about, why are we here? What even is life? Is it a long vacation? What is even the purpose?

So I thought about it, one evening, deliberating upon the true purpose of life and why we are all here.
Imagine you are on a long vacation. We start, have fun, and then it ends. Now isn’t life something like that?
In my view, life is all about discovering who we are, exploring ourselves, and finding what we are good at, a long time period where we discover ourselves- who we really are.
We must try to be the best at what we like to do, constantly improving ourselves.

However, if we just spend all the time improving and improving, in the end we will say, this was it, the purpose of my life was just improving, and that can be a bit boring. So it is important that we also enjoy the time spent improving. Then the purpose of our life will be enjoying the moment and being better and better in what we love to do.

It is also important to think carefully about what we actually want to do in life and what we want to be the best at. Sometimes our heart tells us we want to do something. However, our hearts often tell us instant feelings which are only feelings we have at that point of time. Listen to our heart but also listen to our brain, which is the logical part of us. And that is where parents come in. Or basically anyone who can guide us and who has already experienced life and can give us advice.

Along with trying to be the best at what we do, I also wondered what actually makes us a better person?
Along with an enjoyable life, it’s important to be a good person. So I came up with these things that I think can make me or maybe anyone a better person:

1. Always listen to your parents, they deserve the absolute best from you. 
2. Take responsibilities, for example be ahead of class in school and study hard
3. Always have a positive mind- if something goes wrong, it is normal, it’s just a bad   day, not a bad life.
4. Always be curious – ask questions, discover the world around you.
5. Always believe in yourself. Have self confidence because you know you can do it.
6. Try to be the best at what you do
7. And lastly, always have a smile on your face- Don’t let the little things in life irritate you. If life gives you a 100 reasons to be upset, show life that you have got a 1000 reasons to smile because everyday might not be good but there is something good in every day.

  X☺️☺️X

 

 

Book Review: Tuesdays With Morrie

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“An old man, a young man, and life’s greatest lesson”

Tuesdays with Morrie is a non-fiction true story in the biographical and philosophical genre.
The main theme of this book centers around what a person can learn about life through death.
In this book, there is a professor named Morrie Schwartz, who has a terrible disease, ALS. One of Morrie’s students named Mitch Albom had Morrie as a professor in his college days when they met every Tuesday learning about the Meaning Of Life.

Morrie is a professor who finds out that he is dying in his late sixties. Mitch Albom happens to bump into Morrie during his final days of life, after almost 20 years. They plan to meet every Tuesday again like they used to in college years.

The first Tuesday they talk about the world. Morrie asking questions, and listening to Mitch’s replies and correcting and adding to it if he missed something, just like they used to do before. Mitch notices a pile of newspapers and wonders why Morrie would like to keep up with the world if he is dying anyway. Morrie answers by saying now that I am suffering, I feel closer to people who suffer than I ever did before. Mitch asks Morrie why he cares for people he doesn’t even know. Morrie gives a great life lesson – he says that the most important thing he is learning from his illness is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in.

In the next chapter (the second Tuesday), they talk about feeling sorry for yourself.
Mitch asks Morrie if he felt sorry for himself, after this terrible disease struck him. Morrie says that he gives himself a good cry if he needs to but then he concentrates on all the good things that are still in his life, for example the people that come to visit him like Mitch.
This chapter basically tells us to try and look at the good side of things. Morrie has a life threatening illness and if he can look at the good side of things, anyone can.
Many Tuesdays pass by and Morrie tries to tell Mitch as much as he could about life and how to really live before he died.

For example, on the sixth Tuesday they talk about emotions. This chapter was pretty interesting. It talks about detachment from an emotion.
If you take an emotion – fear, for example (what Morrie is going through with his deadly illness), if you hold back on this emotion and don’t let yourself go all the way through this emotion, you can never be detached from it, because you are too busy being afraid of it. But by throwing yourself into this emotion and by experiencing it fully, you know what that emotion is and you can get away from it. You can recognise that emotion and detach yourself from it.
In this chapter, Morrie has a rough day and is coughing really badly. He tells Mitch that he doesn’t want to die like this, choking and coughing his lungs out. He wants to die serenely and peacefully.
This is where detachment comes in. If Morrie dies in the middle of coughing and choking, he needs to be able to detach himself from the horror, the pain. He needs to be able to know what is happening and accept it, get to a peaceful place and let go.

Similarly, on the seventh Tuesday they talk about aging.
This chapter is also quite important for people who are old. Morrie now needs to depend on other people for almost everything, except breathing and swallowing, because of his illness, so Mitch asks Morrie if he is ashamed of it and Morrie replies by saying that he feels like a child again and he enjoys the dependency of feeling like a child. Later that day, they also talk about the fear of aging.
Mitch asks Morrie if he ever was afraid to grow old, and Morrie says he has embraced aging. What Morrie basically says in this chapter is that as you grow, you learn more. People say growing older is pain and decay to your body but it is not just that. It is growth. It is more than the negative that you are going to die, it is also the positive that you understand you are going to die, and that you live a better life because of it. Morrie also talks about people having unfulfilled lives. Many people wish to be younger again and very few people wish to be 65 or 80 years old. This reflects unfulfilled lives, lives that have found no meaning. If you have found meaning to your life, you would want to go forward, not backwards. You would want to move ahead, see more, do more.
If you are always battling against getting older, you are always going to be unhappy, because you will grow old and die eventually.
Another thing that really touched me in this chapter is the fact that we shouldn’t envy younger people.
Mitch asks Morrie if he envies younger and healthier people. Morrie answers this question brilliantly.
He talks about the detachment process again. The emotion in this case is envy and jealousy. Get away from it and detach it from yourselves. Morrie says its impossible for the old not to envy young. But the issue is to accept who you are and enjoy the stage you are living in. Looking back makes a person competitive and aging is not a matter of competition. We can delight in being a child when it is appropriate to be a child and we can delight in being an old man when it is appropriate to be an old man. Morrie concludes by saying that he can’t truly be jealous and envious of a younger, healthier man when he has been at that stage himself.

They keep talking on Tuesdays until they reach the Fourteenth Tuesday. In this chapter, Morrie is very unwell and is going to die and this will be Mitch’s last visit. Morrie and Mitch say goodbye and Morrie tells Mitch that he loves him a lot.

So that is basically the summary of Tuesdays With Morrie. I really loved this book and it taught me a lot about life, things that we never actually realise in our everyday life. This book can be extremely helpful for a person who is dying, it makes us think about death in a not so sad way because majority of people are scared of death and think that death is evil and scary.

I also really think that this book has an impact on our life. While reading this book, I learnt quite a lot of lessons on life. So overall this book was brilliant and it definitely made me look at death in a different way and it taught me how to live life in a better way.

– Saania Saxena

Book Review: Magic Of Reality

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Magic Of Reality

Author- Richard Dawkins
Genre- Science

In Magic Of Reality, Dawkins uses an amazing technique highly appealing for young and old.
He explains the questions all of us have about the universe in a very interesting way.
This book taught me that magic has many forms. One that talks about gods and myths but there is
another kind of magic that makes us discover the real answers about the universe.
And that is the magic of reality, or basically what we call science.

Questions like “what is stuff made of?”, “how old is the universe?”, “why do bad things happen?”
We can ignore these questions as something beyond us or they can make us think like a scientist too.
In all the chapters, Dawkins talks about the myths first and then gives the best possible answer to the questions, which is the answer of science.
In chapter 2, “who was the first person?”, Dawkins starts by telling some of the myths people believed (and still believe) like the Adam and Eve story where god made the first man out of dust and called him Adam (Adam just means man) and later in the story, god gives Adam company by creating a woman, Eve. That is a popular myth used to explain a question in everyone’s mind.
But then Dawkins talks about who the first person really was. Actually, there was no first person. Dawkins explains a thought experiment. In the thought experiment, we have to imagine ourselves and then our father, and then our grandfather, and then our great-great grandfather and so on until we reach near our 185th millionth great grandfather.
Another way to visualise it could be to imagine a bookshelf where we are in the near end and the far end has a picture of our 185th millionth great grandfather. If you walk steadily from one end to the other, you will notice yourself in one end and a fish in the other (meaning we all descended from fish who then became apes and so on and very difficult to say the exact moment when one form changes to another).
Dawkins explains this by giving the example of our own lives: we were once a baby and now we are not. When we become a lot older, we will look quite different again, but every day of our life, we are the same person as when we went to bed the previous night. It is like when a baby changes into a toddler, then into a child and so on until an old person. However, there never really is a day when we can say that a baby stopped being a baby and is now a toddler!
Back to the thought experiment, changes in life forms are so gradual that we never notice any clearly demarcated change. We go back through 185 million generations of grandparents until we come face to face with a fish!

The book abounds with similar other thought provoking examples. In chapter 3, “why are there so many different kinds of animals?”, Dawkins first talks about a myth. Then he talks about why are there really so many different kinds of animals.
Every scientific name of an animal or plant consists of two latin words. The first refers to a genus (which is basically a group of species) and the second to the individual species within the genus.
For example, Homo sapiens (wise man) and Elephas maximus (big elephant).
Every species is a member of a genus and each genus belongs to a family.
Cats (including lions, leopards, etc) make up the family Felidae. Every family belongs to an order.
Cats, dogs, bears, weasels, and hyenas belong to different families within the order Primates. And every order belongs to a class. All mammals belong to the class Mammalia.
Dawkins then speaks about the family tree, because we can see a shape of a tree developing in our minds while reading this description. That is what happens in evolution.
Charles Darwin himself drew a branching tree as the only picture in his very famous book, On the Origin of Species. You can see that if you keep on doubling up species, it doesn’t take long to get up into millions of species.

There are many many other examples in the book.
I really enjoyed this book a lot and it definitely made me see the scientific side of magic! I think books written in this fun and engaging style can convert many young people’s mind into one of scientific inquiry. We will become more curious, ask a lot of questions and try to understand the reality behind what we see everyday. Instead of blindly believing in myths.