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Power of One. A YouTube Live with Mindselo

On April 10, 2021, Mindelso conducted an interactive webinar with Mr Nilay Jayswal, the co-founder of the Zuv Foundation and a TEDx speaker, on the topic "Power of One: Your Focus Matters." The webinar began with Mr Nilay introducing himself as a successful entrepreneur, a TEDx speaker, and a student of IIM, Kozhikode. Then Mr Nilay went on to explain the upcoming concepts and matters in the webinar. He said that in the entire course of this webinar, we would understand the required stages for a shift from a phase of constant low self-confidence or self-doubt to how one should improve focus and efficiently channelise it.

Speaking about the main agenda of the webinar, Mr Nilay said that there would be four major concepts that would be brought forth. The first and second are, "What is one’s understanding of power?" and "How does one perceive focus?”, respectively. This would be followed by a glimpse of personalities from Indian history that had the focus to achieve milestones despite the existing disadvantages in their lives. And the endpoint would be how one channels their efforts to receive maximum benefits.

Mr Nilay talked descriptively about the concept of power and defined it as the ability by which one can exercise their will, belief, opinion, decisions, etc. over others. He then talked about the understanding of the extent to which power can be exercised and how the use of power in a positive manner can help in building relationships, shaping the future and adding benefits to the community or society at large. He further went on to address the negative connotation that people often associate with power. He mentioned the notion of violence, dominance, and force being linked to power, which is not completely legitimate. He explained this by stating the example of social media giving its users the power to spread awareness across the globe yet not being forceful or violent.

Then he moved to the concept of "Acceptance of Power". He took the example of how people imply the rules and regulations of the legislating body, so this is how they accept power from a body. This acceptance is also called authority. Concerning this, he addressed the issue of how people feel powerless at times and suggested asking three questions in such scenarios. First, "What’s going on?", second, "Why or how did this happen?" and third, "What can we do about it?" If you can assess the situation and find a solution to it, then you have power. If not, then in that situation, you are powerless.

Mr Nilay then spoke on the topic of "focus". He explained it by saying that a very simple question can be asked to oneself to comprehend one's stance on focus. One can simply ask if they are focused on finding a solution. There would be multiple solutions to the same questions, but when a person clenches on to one of those and stays firm and determined, they are said to be focused. When we talk about focus, a very simple debate about focus vs. multitasking arises. When we talk about focus, it has fewer constraints and crystal clear paths. However, merely deciding is not focusing, but staying affirmative and determined towards it is focused. He also mentioned that staying over-focused is of no benefit either and gave the example of students skipping their meals and developing unhealthy lifestyles during exams. Multitasking is when one consistently shifts attention from one thing to another and vice-versa. Swapping between tasks develops less attention and less focus.

Further, he proceeded to discuss the power of focus by stating three examples from historical instances: Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa, and Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar. He mentioned that the war of independence was a great struggle, and people from all the sections participated unanimously to achieve the goal, which once seemed impossible. They made national freedom their sole focus and remained committed to the cause. Speaking of Mahatma Gandhi, he mentioned that he made it his focus to end racial discrimination, first in Africa and then in India, and later he fought for the country’s independence. Mother Teresa dedicated her life to the service of the poor, blind and disadvantaged. She had set up multiple charity homes in India and abroad. Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar was consistently determined to improve the living conditions of the Dalits, and later on, he went on to draft one of the largest constitutions in the world. So a combination of focused goals and paths was what made them achieve what they aspired to.

Then, Mr Nilay discussed how one can realise their true potential and start focusing on it to bring effective change. He answered this question by suggesting seven major points to improve and develop focus and prevent any distractions.

The first was "Get Rid of Distractions". He advised everyone to uninstall all unnecessary and junk apps from their phones and turn off all notifications. Adding to that, he spoke about sitting in a peaceful place and getting indulged in self-introspection. This will allow one to have productive time for themselves.

The second point he suggested was the "Pomodoro Technique." He explained the logistics of this method as follows: if one has to work for 2 hours, they can divide it into 4 quarters of 25 minutes each, and the five minutes saved from each of these quarters could be utilised as a small break. This will keep one’s energy and focus on rejuvenation and will enhance productivity.

The third point was "Eating Healthy". Eating affects the body's behaviour, health, focus, and concentration. One should drink lots of water and stay hydrated at all times. People should avoid trans-fat, which is usually found in packaged food, unhealthy food, or junk food. People should try to consume ample proteins and carbohydrates.

The fourth point was "Getting Enough Sleep". One should get enough sleep, and this can be done by avoiding the consumption of caffeine, usage of social media, or any screen involvement before bed. Sleeping premises should be tidy, hygienic, and the temperature should be suitable as per the body’s requirements. One should sleep comfortably to wake up in a fresh and happy state of mind.

The fifth point was to "Put a Lock on Social Media." Minimal social media usage and involvement allows one to devote more productive time to themselves rather than mindless scrolling.

The sixth point was to “Make a To-Do List”. Adhering to a particular to-do list or schedule keeps plans and development in check.

The seventh point was to develop "Smart" goals where "S" stands for specific, i.e., the idea should be very specific. "M" stands for Measurable, i.e., the progress and development should be measurable. "A" stands for Achievable, i.e., assessing the possibilities of the planned goals. "R" stands for Relevance, i.e., questioning its relevance or validity in daily life and "T" stands for Timely, i.e., to keep track of time in the due process.

Apart from these suggestions, Mr Nilay also provided everyone with certain additional basic lifestyle improvement points that would enhance the development of focus, like solving puzzles. Getting involved in games like puzzles or carrom helps the brain stay active by developing various tactics and strategies for the game. He mentioned that getting involved in indoor and outdoor games keeps the mind and body active. Next, he suggested everyone to meditate, as meditation helps align the chakras and also develops peace and stability within the mind. Improving the pattern of sleep is essential for leading a healthy, calm, and balanced life. Listening to music and spending time in nature develops recreation within the mind and body.

All these points put the body and mind in a state of relaxation, balance, calm, productivity, and peace. Adhering to all the points stated above will develop focus and would also help align one’s thoughts into a pattern. This will help in the realisation of power within the self. To be able to channel the power efficiently, one should again ask the three questions. First, "What’s going on?", second, "Why or how did this happen?" and third, "What can we do about it?" and note down the respective answers.

When we speak of power, it influences a lot of people. One has to be empathetic to the people around them, or else the purpose of power is in vain. These six points should be kept in mind to make the most fruitful use of power.

The first is to “Fulfil Others’ Wishes”. A lot of people around us are not in the same comfortable conditions as us, and if a small effort of yours can make them, make sure to go for it. Lots of people lack basic amenities, so one should try to donate, give, and share.

The second is to “Make Others Feel Important”. Everyone should try to spend time with loved ones. Spending time with people who are important to you and to whom you are important is very essential to developing bonds.

The third is to “Listen to Opinions First”. People should never pass any judgement without listening to other people's opinions. This creates disparity and discourse.

The fourth is to “Connect with Others’ Emotions”. People should try to understand others' points of view as well. This helps in improving communication and fewer gaps.

The fifth step is to “Empower and Motivate Others”. If one has enough resources to help others, they should make use of them to help others get out of a situation.

The sixth step is to “Show Empathy”. Showing empathy is the best way of helping people and having a positive influence on them.

After this, a set of questions associated with improving the focus of children, how to set smart goals after retirement, how to get more involved in reading, etc. were brought forth, to which Mr Nilay gave beautiful yet practical answers.

Mr Nilay put an end to his word by stating a quotation from Basch, a Holocaust survivor, "Each one of us must do our share of improving our society one day at a time. We can all defeat evil in our way."