Day 5 of the 40-Day Challenge

In the name of Allah, most gracious and most merciful,

Thanks to Allah I have managed to succeed on the fifth day of the 40-day challenge. I was nearly highly engaged on average throughout my day. In this post, I will share the challenges I faced, how I overcame them, the key takeaways from these things, and some useful information that I learned.

1. Challenges I faced and how I overcame them

1.1 Challenge 1

Again, since I didn’t sleep well the day before, after starting my work session I was not engaged and really wanted to sleep but my nap time didn’t come yet. However, I remember one day in my work when I encountered something that I didn’t know, I had to search for it to understand but this won’t affect my short-term work, but it will affect my long-term work. Therefore, I kept this thing I wanted to search in a file to watch a video on for example when I am not engaged. Now, its time has come. I could watch an engaging video to boost up my engagement, and then go back to work.

After this video and returning back to the material I found my mind more alert and I started to get engaged and understood what I was stuck in my work due to lack of concentration. It may be that my mind was working on it in the background while I was watching the video. I managed to continue working until my allowable nap time came.

1.2 Challenge 2

Yesterday I didn’t strictly follow the plan I decided on which I talked about in the Day 2 of the 40-Day Challenge post in which I shared my plan for preparing for an exam. The reason was that after I read the book’s chapter, and went to watch the videos while taking hand-written notes I found the videos really boring. Someone explaining many things on slides in bullet points. I tried to be patient and waited for about 3 to 4 videos until I realized that I must be missing something. Either this person is not explaining well enough or there is a prerequisite that I am missing.

I stopped watching the videos and went to search for other resources to study for the exam. Blogs, books, and videos. After a while, I saw myself going nowhere. Resources are increasing, and no clear plan for me. After doing this for a while feeling frustrated, I encountered a YouTube video in which someone explained how he studied for that exam and passed. In this video, he mentioned the course I was just watching as one of the great courses that helped him. Then I thought to myself, oh this course seems to be good. Really? Maybe I wasn’t patient enough. After wasting much time, I decided to return back to my plan at least for the rest of the week as I have planned previously. My learning session ended and I just finished some videos from the course while trying to maintain engagement.

Today I continued the videos as usual, and then the instructor started applying some of the things he explained by a hands-on lab. I followed him step by step, and it was really engaging and fun. I really lost myself and lost track of the time that I finished my learning session in one sitting about 2.5 hours. On practicing things seems much easier. I feel that I learned very useful things, and what didn’t make sense before seemed much easier. It seemed that my main previous problem was not that I don’t have some prerequisite but that this technology basic idea is not too difficult, and doesn’t need too many explanations in my current beginner level as far as I understand. But you just need to make your hands dirty and try it with yourself. After my learning session although I didn’t understand everything but things made much more sense to me now, and I was really happy. The idea here is that if you are taking a course that includes hands-on practice don’t stop watching the course or don’t decide to search for another one until you actually practice with the course and start to experience its real usefulness.

1.3 Challenges 3 (Other Usual Challenges)

Apart from these challenges, there were the usual non-engagement challenges that kept fighting again with changing my voice while having a sense of humor, taking a nap or a break, and making my hands dirty and directly applying what I am learning even if I won’t necessarily use that same piece of code. Actually, while I was doing this today with some code that I just wrote for following up with the book and understanding it, this same code turned out to be the solution to my problem but just with minor changes.

2. Key Takeaways

  • If you encountered something you didn’t know now but that understanding won’t be useful now but will be useful later, then write it down somewhere. After this when you feel disengaged from your work, return back to this thing and search it. It will give you something new to understand, and you may even watch a video that will keep you engaged throughout your work. Build up your toolset with which you fight non-engagement.
  • Don’t judge a practical course that includes hands-on practice until you reach that section of practice and follow up with him.
  • It is better to search what others say about the course or the book that you decided to learn from. See its reviews. Although the reviews are not 100% accurate of the course usefulness to you, but at least they could act as guidelines for you to filter out less useful material that was agreed on by many learners before you to not be useful. Therefore, after doing your research you will probably stick more with the material for a longer time because you know that you searched up its usefulness, and you know it is useful. So, you will fight any lack of understand with being patient with the material you have, going back and forth with it until you finish it instead of keeping jumping between different courses and materials without finishing any of them. Make your research, choose your resources wisely, and give them a real try by committing to learning from them as much as you can.
  • Try to engage as much as you can with what you are learning by making your hands-dirty. It may turn out that this thing that you just done for following up will be useful in your actual task.

3. Useful Pieces of Information

  • Leaders produce leaders by teaching them how to be leaders, and don’t just produce followers.
  • Our mind is somehow wired to search for what is going wrong in our lives. Instead of surrendering to these thoughts, try to think how to solve these problems and exploit the growth opportunity that you have by solving them. In addition to this, try to be grateful to what you already have.
  • A lot of worry, and anxiety comes when we compare ourselves with others. People are different. Mostly, there will always be someone who is better than you in something. Replace envy with seeing the opportunity to learn from those who are better than you, but not for the sake of just being better than them. If you always feel worried, and not happy because there is someone who is better than you, you may never be happy. Appreciate what you have, see what you can do, and enjoy your learning process and observe your growth.
  • It is found that people who do things by intrinsic motivation (i.e. they have a reason from their inside that they want to do something because of their deep reasons) are better than those who are extrinsically motivated by rewards and superficial things for instance.
  • Pay attention to your relationships. In whatever relationship you have try to understand the listener’s interest and goals, and see what you have from your experience that could help him achieve his goals. In other words, try to be useful, and beneficial to others. Of course if has wrong goals, or wrong desires try to make him better by explaining to him what is the problem with their goals and desires.
  • Here are somethings that may make you feel better if you did. They are taken from The Happiness Equation book. Try to do them for one week, then for another one, and so on until they become a habit.
    1. Walk for 30 minutes three times a week. Moving, and exercise make us feel better.
    2. Writing your good experiencing. By writing them down it is as if you are reliving them. You can return back to them later when experience negative emotions.
    3. Do five random kind things to people.
    4. Gratitude. In each morning try to right five things that you already have, and you are grateful of having.
    5. Enter the flow state where you lose yourself, and when time passes without noticing. It comes when you do something that needs high level of skills, and when you have some comparable skills that make this challenge doable. Flow may happen when the challenge is neither too hard to the level of frustration, nor too easy to the level of boredom. It is something in between.

Finally

Thank you. I hope this post has been beneficial to you. I would appreciate any comments if anyone needed more clarifications or if anyone has seen something wrong in what I have written in order to modify it, and I would also appreciate any possible enhancements or suggestions. We are humans, and errors are expected from us, but we could also minimize those errors by learning from our mistakes and by seeking to improve what we do.

Allah bless our master Muhammad and his family.

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