How to build habits for effortless progress

This year, I created a workout plan to go to the gym 4–5 days a week.

And I planned all the way. I got an accountability partner, a calendar to cross off days, made daily to-dos. But still, eventually I stopped going to the gym.

In the same year, I…

The point was to write one sentence

The Thinker | Photo by Valentin B. Kremer on Unsplash

The reason you cannot write is because somewhere along the way you stopped being content with writing one sentence, aligning one phrase or conveying one concept.

At some point you decided you were writing an article, a short story or a book. …

Photo by Steve Johnson on Unsplash

“When the winds of change rage, some build windmills while others build shelters”

- Chinese Proverb

On its own, building shelters seems reasonable. If you’re expecting catastrophic weather, isn’t that the responsible thing to do? Yet, windmills remind us there’s a whole other possibility: we can see opportunity in crisis.

Meditation isn’t complicated — let me show you in 4 minutes.

Photo by Quinten de Graaf on Unsplash

This is a reading meditation. There’s nothing to do other than read, nowhere to go, and no audio version to listen to.

Do not read it all at once. Sit with each paragraph or sentence for a few moments. It will take only 5 minutes.

You don’t need to close…

Really, this whole article is four quotes — and one book recommendation at the end.

Photo by MANH LAI VAN on Unsplash

The Rational

“If there is a cure, what good is discontent?

If there is no cure, what good is discontent?”

- Santideva, 8th Century Buddhist Monk

The Purposeful

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”

- Mahatma Gandhi

The Zen

“Before enlightenment; chop wood, carry water.

After…

How to do fulfilling work by tapping into the right reasons for creating

Photo by Rowan Freeman on Unsplash

Too many people belittle their work by drawing on lesser motivations than the ones available to them.

It is a mistake to draw on motivations that are selfish, short-term, and extrinsic. …

What I’ve learnt from my ridiculous writing routines

Creativity happens when the ego is blurry | Photo by Jr Korpa on Unsplash

My ridiculous writing routine

Last week I returned to creative writing after a while. Here’s my routine has been:

Turn off your phone. Then run. Then walk. Then meditate outdoors. Then walk some more. Then watch the turtles and fish from over the bridge. Try to forget all about yourself. …

Photo by Sara Kurfeß on Unsplash

My eyes had been closed for a few minutes when an old world rematerialized, like coral lifted from the bottom of a lake.

I had been meditating with a friend. We were sat on a black stone slab under a small banyan cove curated for some such purpose by people…

Photo by Marjan Blan | @marjanblan on Unsplash

When we left India for Singapore, I was eight years old and we had lived all this time in the university campus off the main city of Lucknow. It seemed to me at that time that I had sprung from the Lucknow soil, like the neem tree in front of…

Siddharth Chatterjee

Writer-philosopher. I've tried every self-help practice under the sun and waded 20 million words on creativity & happiness. siddharthchatterjee.com/email-list/

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