I am a fan of James Altucher‘s writing and he is one big proponent of the practice of “writing 10 ideas everyday”. He claims that coming up with ideas is like exercising a muscle and you need to keep doing it everyday to not let it atrophy. You should read his “Ultimate Guide to becoming an Idea Machine” which explains the process. I used to follow this for a few days, but then coming up with 10 ideas everyday was very very hard.
I have decided to combine this 10 ideas along with my daily challenge. To give some context, I have started to challenge myself to do one task everyday for a month. My previous challenges were taking a cold shower and talking to strangers everyday. My current challenge is to write one blog post everyday
I am going to write 12 challenges that I can do everyday for a month each. Here are the ten ideas, in no particular order:
1. Smile at a Stranger
This is a variant of the “talk to a stranger” challenge. I got the idea for this challenge while I was walking home from work. I walked past lot of strangers, but no one had a smile on their face. Maybe it was after work hours and everyone was tired. But a better explanation would be that we Indians don’t generally smile/speak to strangers. We have been trained to not do it from an early age.
When I see a stranger, I want to just acknowledge them, nod and smile at them. No expectation of any sorts. I think this must be easier than maintaining a conversation.
2. Meditate for 5 minutes
I have tried meditating before and have failed miserably, numerous times. I just want to see whether it really has all the mental and physical benefits. I have a lifetime subscription to Brain.fm which has special tracks for meditation. I would also suggest the Headspace app to learn train.
3. Walk more than 10000 steps everyday
This was a challenge I took last year – to clock in an average of 10000 steps for a year. Didn’t work out for even a couple of weeks. I want to try walking 10000 steps everyday (not average) for a month. Of course, 10000 is just a psychological number and has no significance.
4. Wake up really, really early everyday
I am a night owl. I can easily stay awake till 2 or 3 am and work on anything. I do want to slowly try out an early morning schedule. I want to experiment and see if it’s possible. It is going to be very difficult, unless I prepare myself by slowly increasing my waking time by 15 minutes every week. My goal is to wake up by 5am.
5. Learn a new language
I tried to learn a new language – Spanish, when I was living in Chile for nearly an year. I tried various mp3 lessons and then found Duolingo to be a good app to learn any new language. If you want to learn a foreign language, check it out.
What language should I learn? Maybe Spanish itself? Or something really obscure and having non-latin characters like Japanese or Chinese?
6. Draw something on paper everyday
I am not an artist. The maximum I can draw are very basic stick figures and repeating patterns and doodles. I want to see what I can doodle everyday. Doesn’t have to be too complex or even have a story. But if it does, bonus points.
7. Provide one helpful suggestion to a colleague or person
Not everyone knows everything. This challenge involves helping out someone with something. It could be a piece of code they are working on, a design review or even something personal thats been troubling them. Just help them out by providing some suggestion. Sometimes, the best help would be to just listen to them talking. If so, listen.
Would be difficult as not everyone would be having an open mind to listen to suggestions. But you have to try right?
8. Take one street photograph everyday
I am not a photography enthusiast, even though I have bought all the equipment and try to take some interesting photos. But I do want to take local street photographs. I should take photographs of local places and people everyday.
9. Maintain a daily journal
Maintaining a daily journal is something I have been trying to do for many years, but haven’t been able to. The recent time I tried to maintain a journal, I started tracking all the negatives that happened in a day for a change. Even that didn’t work out. I just want to try journaling for a month and see if I am journaling kind of person or not.
10. Use only public transport
I usually travel by Uber or drive my own car. Some days I travel by train or walk. For a month I will challenge myself to use only public transports or walk. On weekdays it would be easy. But on weekends, when I have to take my kid out, I prefer driving my car. Those days, it would be difficult. Also whenever I travel outside for any conferences, I have to use an Uber. Will have to schedule this in a month when there aren’t many conferences.
11. Watch one informative video everyday
Our daily entertainment time is filled with Netflix. Of course, it is addicting and interesting to binge watch a series, but we should also have time to watch some informative videos. There are lot of interesting channels in Youtube. There are also interesting TED Talks to watch instead of Stranger Things (yes, I said it).
12. Write 10 ideas everyday
There has to be a meta challenge in this post right? I want to restart writing 10 ideas everyday. It would be difficult to write 10 or more ideas every day, but only if you try doing it everyday, your idea muscle grows.
Oh, it’s already point № 12 and I have listed enough ideas for an year. What are the other challenges you think I should do? Leave them in the comments below.
Also published on Medium.