23 August 2014

The 1000 Days Challenge By Marathon Monks, Gives Athletes A Run For Their Money


On Mt. Hiei, Japan on the northeastern hills outside Kyoto, lie several unmarked graves. Tendai Buddhist Monks who fail to complete the Kaihogyo quest are buried here.
The Kaihogyo
According to the Tendai monks, you can only achieve enlightenment in your current life through extreme self-denial and they achieve this by taking up the Kaihogyo quest. Due to this, the monks are often referred to as the “Marathon Monks”.
The Kaihogyo
Image Source: www.odditycentral.com
The Kaihogyo however, is more than a marathon. It’s a challenge that goes for 1,000 days and takes over seven years to complete. When a monk chooses to take up this challenge, they have to do this:

During year 1, for 100 straight days, the monk runs 30 km (about 18 miles) per day. 

During the 2nd year, the monk runs another 30 km every day for 100 straight days

During the 3rd year, the monk runs the same miles per day for another 100 straight days.

During the 4th year, the monk runs 30 km every day but for 200 straight days this time.

During the 5th year, the monk runs another 30 km per day for another 200 days straight. After completing this, the monk goes for 9 consecutive days with no food, rest or water. Two monks stand guard to ensure he doesn’t fall asleep.

During the 6th year, the monk runs 60 km per day (approximately 37 miles) for 100 straight days.

During the 7th year, the monk runs 84 km per day (about 52 miles!) for another 100 straight days. During the final 100 days, he must run for 30 km per day.

During the first 100 running days, a monk can withdraw from the quest but after that, there’s no withdrawal- the monk either completes the quest or kills himself. For this latter clause, the monk has with him a lengthy rope and short sword during the journey, at all times.

Only 46 men have succeeded in the journey for the last 400+ years. Others are a memory to be found on the unmarked graves on Mount Hiei hills.  Lessons to learn from this on commitment and mental toughness include:

1. “Complete or Kill”
‘Marathon monks’ are completely devoted to this extreme mentality- “complete or kill”. You can adopt the same mentality to your work, goals and projects. If a project is important to you, make sure you complete it. If it’s not, kill it.

We all have those half-finished projects and it’s time to get rid of all the loose ends. Two options are left- either a goal or activity is important enough to complete or kill it. In your life, you should only have goals worth finishing while you eliminate the rest.

2. Commitment to nothing leads to a distraction to everything
Though none of our challenges has a death possibility, the monks teach us a huge lesson on commitment and conviction. What they are working towards is clearly clarified and their life for the next seven years is organized around that goal. All distractions that may come along the way are rendered unimportant. They have no time to be distracted by movies, the internet, celebrity gossip, the TV or anything else.

Your goals may not have a sense of urgency like that of the monks but you can decide to have a similar sense of conviction while approaching your goals. Things we claim to be important to us like losing weight, writing a book etc., that we never get around doing. You can decide to organize your day around them and take time for them no matter what.  Commitment to nothing will make you distracted by everything.

3. Just get started no matter how long your goal takes
The Tendai monks are 900 days and a thousand miles from their goal by the 101 day. They still have a long and arduous journey that sounds and looks impossible to normal man but they still accept the challenge and work day after day, year after year. Seven years later, they have finished! The amount of time a goal will take to reach should not be a discouraging factor.

“Never give up on a dream just because of the length of time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.”   —H. Jackson Brown

The fortunate difference between yourself and the monks is that there will be no death if your goal is not reached! As Seth Godin says, you have the privilege to be wrong literary. You will only learn from the failure if you do fail.

Another difference is that, you can always change your mind. If after a year a goal you were working on isn’t what you wanted, you can choose something else freely. If it’s difficult to choose between different choices, you can always choose one and if it doesn’t work out adjust to the other. You have an opportunity to choose an important goal and the privilege to fail with very little consequences. Don’t waste such a golden privilege.

Commitment and conviction are the biggest lessons we can learn from the Tendai monks. These is clearly shown on the 101 day where they commit even though it’s ‘do or die trying’ for the next 900 days.

You can also take up a goal of yours and decide you are going to finish it or die trying. Get rid of all unimportant tasks you have, start on your goal no matter how big or long the challenge will take and be committed to it.  Make today the 101 day on your goal. Make it your day of commitment!
[Source: www.jamesclear.com]

22 August 2014

10 Of The Maddest Scientists To Ever Exist. 6 Is Slightly Sadistic!


There are people who love science and then there are those who go a little overboard. Not all men of science follow the scholarly scientific process to determine the validity of their experiments. Some of them go beyond normal processes and methods to test their theories. They are a curious lot who find even the strangest methods to prove their theories right. In fact, most of these inventions exist due to the craziness of these scientists.
10 Of The Maddest Scientists To Ever Exist. 6 Is Slightly Sadistic!

20 August 2014

This Woman Drinks 3 Litres Of Water Every Day And The Results Are Shocking!


42 year old, Sarah Smith is a British mother of two who was suffering from migraines. The suggested cure by her doctor, turned out to be the secret to her youth fountain. The doctor suggested she stops taking caffeine and increase her water intake. The picture on the left shows Sarah as an average 42 year old. During this time she was always sluggish and suffered from constant migraines. The picture on the right shows her as a woman in her low to mid thirties. The fountain of our youth is clearly right within our reach.
After four weeks: Sarah looks like a different woman
Image Source: www.dailymail.co.uk
The amount of water she drank drastically made a change to her appearance. Her daily routine was normal during the photo on the left. “Usually I start my day with a cup of tea, then I might have a glass of water with my lunch and one with dinner - that's about a litre of liquid in 24 hours. It feels like plenty, but apparently it's not nearly enough.” She said in an article on Daily Mail.

She read a survey that said that one in five women usually consumes less than the recommended amount of water in the UK. This is what led to her experiment. The photo on the left was taken the day she started the trial. It clearly indicates what dehydration can do to a face. 
I am 42, but have to admit I look more like 52 in this picture, which is shocking. There are dark shadows under and around my eyes, which make me look exhausted, a profusion of wrinkles and strange reddish blotches, and my skin lacks any lustre. It looks dead,” She says.
Most of our body functions and systems depend on water. It helps carry nutrients to cells, flash out toxins from our vital organs, eliminate waste and ensure a moist environment for our nose, ear and throat tissues. Not drinking enough water impairs most of these functions.
For 28 days, Sarah took 3 litres of water daily and these are the results: 
Week One: Waist 28in, Weight 8st 7lb 
Sarah inquired from her local GP on whether taking all that water (three litres sounds like a lot) will affect her health. "I suggest you have a big jug of water in the morning, then another in the afternoon and another in the evening," he says. "Your kidneys, which filter waste products from the blood before turning it to urine, will quickly feel the benefit, as they will be getting a good flush through."
This Woman Drinks 3 Litres Of Water Every Day
Image Source: www.whydontyoutrythis.com/
Her migraines began to go away and her flexibility improved. Water, according to Gemma Critchley, (British Dietetic Association) helps lubricate joints.
Week Two: Waist 28in, Weight 8st 6lb 
She lost a pound.  “My complexion is improving and my skin tone is more even. I still have wrinkles under my eyes, but they look less creepy and shadowy than before. The blotches on my face are diminishing, and the shadows around my eyes are less pronounced,” she says. She also had stopped having headaches.
This Woman Drinks 3 Litres Of Water Every Day
Image Source: www.dailymail.co.uk
"Our brain is 73 percent water, so poor hydration can affect how it functions. Dehydration can reduce our ability to concentrate as well as our cognitive performance," says nutritional physiology senior lecturer at Metropolitan University, Dr Emma Derbyshire.
Critchely advises on water being the best choice because it doesn't have calories and will provide the much needed hydration. She also warns against taking juice since it will provide you with excess energy than you need. 
Week Three: Waist 27.5in, Weight 8st 6lb 
She lost half an inch on her waist. “The dark rings and wrinkles under my eyes have virtually disappeared, and my skin looks plumper and more nourished,” she says. She also stopped rubbing her eyes in the morning, which meant the extra water was keeping them moist. 
She ate less since water made her fuller. Studies show that 37% of people usually mistake being thirsty for hunger.
This Woman Drinks 3 Litres Of Water Every Day
Image Source: www.dailymail.co.uk
Week Four:  Waist 27in, Weight 8st 5lb
She lost another 1lb and half an inch on the waist. "I genuinely can't believe the difference in my face. I look like a different woman. The dark shadows around my eyes have all but disappeared and the blotches have gone. My skin is almost as dewy as it was when I was a child. The transformation is nothing short of remarkable."
This Woman Drinks 3 Litres Of Water Every Day
Image Source: www.dailymail.co.uk

That’s the difference drinking lots of water can bring to your life. "I feel fitter, leaner and healthier, and my husband and friends tell me I look ten years younger. Who in their right mind would not want to try something which gets such incredible results?” she asks.
[Source: www.dailymail.co.uk]

17 August 2014

Shadow Of Alien Like Creature Sighted On The Moon


Conspiracy theorists have always been fascinated by dark secrets they believe are hidden on the moon. One YouTube user for example, believes he has discovered from Google Moon images, an alien like figure lurking in the deep crates of the satellites. Wowforreel shared a video that shows what he terms as an alien like figure seen walking on the surface of the moon. In less than a month, the figure has been seen more than two million times. It can also be seen on Google Moon at 27°34’26.35″N 19°36’4.75″W. The most likely explanation however, for this sighting would be a psychological phenomenon known as Pareidolia. It’s how the brain responds when it sees faces and significant objects in random stimulus. 
Shadow Of Alien Like Creature Sighted On The Moon
Image Source: www.dailymail.co.uk

14 August 2014

10 Mind Blowing Psychological Findings That Will Contradict What You Know To Be True


Psychology is the science of commonsense that most often than not confirms what we already know in our minds to be true. We can however battle this misconception, according to Jeremy Dean, a psychology and master of ceremonies PhD candidate, by thinking “about all the unexpected, surprising, and just plain weird findings that have popped out of psychology studies over the years."
10 Mind Blowing Psychological Findings That Will Contradict What You Know To Be True
Image Source: www.io9.com
1. Cognitive dissonance
It’s one of the weirdest findings in psychology. According to cognitive dissonance, it’s difficult to hold two contradicting beliefs and so we adjust to one unconsciously, so that it fits with the other. A study done on the same, found that a task is interesting to a student if they are paid less to take part. We reason that since money was not involved then the task must have been interesting for us to do it. A boring task will become interesting because it’s hard to explain the behavior. This theory is unsettling because our minds seem to be performing rationalizations like this many times without consciously knowing. So how can you be sure of what you really think?

2. Hallucinations are common
Hallucinations are common
Image Source: www.sleepcare.com
We mostly consider hallucinations an indication of some serious mental illness. They are more like dreams you have while awake and in reality, these dreams are more common to ‘normal’ people. In a study done by Ohayon, 2000, one third of the population reported having experienced hallucinations. 20% experienced them once a month while 2% once in a week.
Normal people similarly have paranoid thoughts. In a recent study, 40% of the population experienced paranoid thoughts during a virtual study. Apparently, the gap between the ‘sane’ and the mentally ill is smaller than we imagine.

3. The placebo effect
The placebo effect
Image source: www.wired.com
You are having a headache. You take some aspirin and a few seconds later, you are feeling so much better. Have you experienced this? Well, it can’t be as a result of the drug because the drug would need at least 15 minutes for it to kick in. This is what is called the Placebo effect. Since your mind knows you have taken a pill, you feel better. This effect is mostly strongest in medicine where pain is involved. A placebo of salty water (saline) would work just as powerfully as morphine would. 
The word Placebo is Latin for ‘I shall please’. In another study done, 80% improvement from taking drugs like Prozac was placebo. They could as well have taken the sugar pill. The placebo effect can be considered counter-intuitive because the body and mind are not separate.

4. Obedience to authority
Obedience to authority
Image Source: www3.niu.edu
We consider ourselves independent minded. We would not harm another unless undergoing serious duress. But if ordered to electrically shock another by an authoritative figure wearing a white coat, would we?
Stanley Milgram did the experiments to test obedience to authority. He wanted to find out how far people would go if an authoritative figure orders them to hurt another human. 63% of those participants continued administering shock even when the victims cried in pain. They continued administering it until the victims grew silent. The participants were just ordinary people like you and me.
Situations in life dictate how much control we have on our behavior. It’s a power we find hard to notice however until it’s revealed dramatically in studies like this one.

5. Fantasies reduce motivation
Fantasies reduce motivation
Image Source: www.spring.org.uk/
We mostly motivate ourselves by fantasizing about the future. We have this idea that if we fantasize about the future, we will get motivated towards reaching our goals. Psychologists however have found that fantasizing about our success is bad for motivation. When you get the taste of goals coming true in the here and now, your drive to achieve it is reduced. It’s also hard to notice problems we could face in the future when fantasizing. A better way to achieve our goals would be through mental contrasting. With mental contrasting, one is forced to decide whether a goal is achievable or not. If it is, commit and if it's not, let go.

6. Choice blindness.
Choice blindness.
Image Source: www.flickr.com
Do you have a reason for every decision you’ve made? Like, why you are attracted to a certain person? Don’t be quick to say yes. According to a certain study, people were tricked easily into justifying choices they had not made about those they found attractive. We sometimes exhibit, choice blindness. We tend to have very little or no awareness at all about the choices we make and the reasons as to why we make them. Then we use rationalization to cover our tracks. We apparently have very little access to the inner workings of our minds.

7. More heads are not always better than one
According to psychology, brainstorming should not be a solution to problems. When people are in groups, they tend to be lazy, forget their ideas when others are talking and worry too much about what others are thinking of their opinion. It would be much better if everyone went off and came up with their own unique ideas, then the group evaluates them.

8. Suppressing thoughts is counterproductive.
Suppressing thoughts is counterproductive
Image Source: www.spring.org.uk
Remember when you were worried about something and everyone kept telling you to ‘put it out of your mind’? Well, this is bad advice. It’s counterproductive to suppress your thoughts. When you suppress thoughts, you experience an ironic rebound effect. Whatever you were thinking about becomes even stronger than it was before. A better way to solve it would be looking for a distraction.

9. We all have incredible multitasking skills
We can train our minds to do incredible things despite all limitations we may have. In fact, with practice, one can be able to read and write at the same time. In a multitasking study, two volunteers were trained for a period of 16 weeks. By the end of training, they could read a short story and categorize a list of words at the same time. In time, they could execute as well on both tasks using the same time they could on each of the tasks individually before they started the study.

10. The little things are what matter in life.
The little things are what matter in life.
Image source: www.medimanage.com
We consider big events like, graduating, getting married or getting a baby as most important. However, the major events in your life are not often directly important to your well-being; little uplifts and hassles of everyday life are. The major events affect us mainly through the uplifts and hassles they produce daily. For example work satisfaction is mostly achieved after one is hit by everyday hassles. Things like quality sleep, little ups and downs at work and friends and family relationships are what affect our happiness: the little things in life make us happy.
[Source: www.io9.com]

13 August 2014

8 Vegetables You Only Need To Buy Once, Then Regrow Forever


It’s easier to go to the grocery but growing these vegetables from kitchen scraps would be totally badass! It does require some time though but the benefits riding on the project are many. It will save you money and you need no farm; you can do it indoors. All you need to do is use fresh scraps. Do not use stuff that has been composting for weeks. When regrowing the plants, make sure you provide them with enough light and water.

1. Scallions
Image Source: www.thecollectiveint.com/
Regrow them using their discarded roots. Leave an inch of the scallion attached to the root then put them in a glass of water. Place the glass of water in a room that’s well-lit.

2. Garlic
Image Source: www.endoriot.com
Garlic sprouts can be grown from the garlic clove and have a mild flavor from that of garlic. The sprouts can be added to pasta, salads and other dishes. When they begin to sprout, have them placed in a glass that has little water.

3. Bok Choy
Bok Choy
Image Source: www.imgur.com
In a well lit area, place the Bok Choy’s root ends in water. Give them 1-2 weeks then transplant them to a pot that has soil. It will grow a new full head.

4. Carrots
Image Source: www.projectfidgetyfingers.blogspot.com
Carrot greens can be regrown from carrot tops. Have the carrot tops put in a dish that has little water. Place the dish in a room that is well-lit or on a window sill. Carrot greens are a bit bitter but when chopped up together with garlic and sweetened with vinegar, they can be used in salads. 

5. Basil
Image Source: www.cepsinthecity.blogspot.com
Basil cuttings can be used to grow new basil. Put basil clippings that have stems of 3-4 inches in a glass of water. Place them in direct sunlight and when the roots get to 2 inches long, transfer them to pots. With time, they will grow into full basil plants. Be sure to change the water constantly though, so they don’t get slimy.

6. Celery
Image Source: www.imgur.com
You can use the leftover celery bottom for this.  Cut the base off and place it in a shallow bowl or saucer in the sun. The leaves will thicken and grow with time in the middle of the base. Transfer it to soil after 3 days.

7. Romaine Lettuce
Romaine Lettuce
Image Source: www.healthybodynow.net
Romaine lettuce can be grown from the bottom of a lettuce head. Put stumps of the romaine lettuce in a ½ inch water. Make sure the water level is at ½ inch. Few days after, transplant the romaine lettuce into soil once new leaves and roots appear. The leaves can grow up to twice the size. Cabbages can also be regrown in the same way.

8. Cilantro
Image Source: www.imgur.com
If you place the stems of cilantro in a glass of water, they will grow. Transplant them when the roots become long enough, to a pot that has soil. Place them in a room with ample lighting. The plants will be fully grown in a few months.
Share these tips with friends and family!

10 August 2014

This Family Ate No Sugar For A Whole Year. What They Found Out Was Shocking!


Story by Eve O. Schaub
Once upon a time, I was healthy; at least I thought I was”, starts the story of Eve. She didn't have enough energy to get through the day. But the energy drink commercials targeting all tired Americans gave her comfort because she knew she was not suffering alone. Everyone in her family dreaded the cold season and coming flu but by January, everyone had developed a degree of germ phobia.
This Family Ate No Sugar For A Whole Year. What They Found Out Was Shocking!
Image Source: www.mbblife.com
According to experts, Sugar is making many Americans sick and fat. When she heard this information, it greatly disturbed her and suddenly it started making more sense to her. One in every seven Americans was suffering from the metabolic syndrome, one among three is obese, diabetes rates are skyrocketing and the number one killer in America, is the cardiovascular disease. Their theory is that all this problems can be linked to one common toxic presence in what we eat…sugar.

With this newly found knowledge, she formulated an idea and wanted to see just how hard it could be if her family spent a whole year eating foods with no sugar. She decided that her husband, two children ( 6 and 11), and herself would cut out anything with added sweeteners; be it honey, sugar, maple syrup, molasses, fruit juice and agave. They also got rid from their diet anything made using sugar alcohols or fake sugar; unless the sweetness came naturally like from fruits, they didn't eat it.

On looking closely they found sugar in some amazing places; sausages, tortillas, chicken broth, cold cuts, salad dressings, mayonnaise, bread, bacon, crackers and baby food. “Why add all of this sugar? To make these items more palatable, add shelf life, and make packaged food production ever cheaper, “she says.

Avoiding sugar for an year, was a grand adventure for her. She wanted to know what would happen, how hard it could be, whether anything interesting would happen and how her shopping and cooking would change.  After doing some research, she was convinced that by avoiding sugar, they would get more healthier. What she wasn't expecting was how it made her feel better in a real and tangible way.   

The longer she went without the sugar, the more she felt better and energetic. But her doubts if any about this were removed during her husband’s birthday.      
During the year the family went without sugar, they had rules. In a month, they only had one sugar containing dessert. You chose what dessert to have on your birthday.  By September, their tastes had changed and they slowly and with time started not enjoying their monthly treats. But she knew change was upon them during her husband’s birthday. He had requested a multilayered banana cream pie. Not only did she not enjoy it, she could not finish it. She found it sickly sweet and it actually made her teeth hurt. Her head began pounding and her heart began to race. It was an awful feeling. It took her an hour of rest on the couch for her head to recover. “Geez,” she thought, “has sugar always made me feel bad, but because it was everywhere, I just never noticed it before?”     
This Family Ate No Sugar For A Whole Year. What They Found Out Was Shocking!
Image Source: www.everydayhealth.com/
After the year without sugar, she counted how many times her kids were absent from school that year and compared it to other years. She was surprised. Greta, her older daughter had only missed two days of school compared to 15 the year before. 

Their grand adventure; one year without sugar is now over. They will occasionally indulge but their way of eating has changed. Sugar is appreciated in smaller amounts and they avoid it totally in everyday foods. They however save desserts for only truly special occasions.  Her body, she says, is thanking her for the decision. She no longer runs out of energy and during the flu seasons, she doesn’t have to hide in bed with her children.  When they do come up with something their bodies are better equipped. They rarely get sick and get well so much faster. To her surprise, after the no-sugar life, they all feel stronger and healthier. There is nothing to sneeze at. 

Eve O Schaub authored Year of No Sugar: A Memoir. She holds a BA and BFA from Cornell University and a MFA from the Rochester Institute of Technology.       
[Source: www.everydayhealth.com]

7 August 2014

Captivating Images Of People Who Abandoned Civilization For Life In The Wilderness


Sometimes in between our jobs, families-everyday life, we hope and dream of escaping to an isolated countryside. Well, Antoine Bruy, a French Photographer, made that dream reality by hitchhiking from the year 2012 to 2013, across Europe. He wandered through some remote mountain regions with no fixed route or destination in mind. On his way, he met people who had willingly left the city life and retreated into the wilderness. They had sacrificed their modern comforts for something greater; freedom and autonomy.
Captivating Images Of People Who Abandoned Civilization For Life In The Wilderness
Image credit: Antoine Bruy (taken from)