So here I am Pritpal Singh, the founder of this blog, which claims to end your search for happiness. But this page is not about my blog, it’s About Me!!
I was born in a middle class family in New Delhi, the capital of India. As a kid I was very obedient and innocent in school. I remember I used to like mathematics and get good marks in this subject. At the same time, I used to find english or any subject like science, social studies etc, which was taught in english language, difficult. If I remember correctly, due to some reason the story was the same for the majority of my friends, siblings and cousins. In short I had never thought I would become a writer in english language. Funny enough, a couple of decades later the same language (english) earned me my first Salary.
Sports and Hobbies
I was fortunate enough to play a lot of sports during childhood starting from cricket, table tennis, soccer, hockey, badminton, lawn tennis, squash etc. I have even tried my hands on not-so-conventional sports like baseball and golf, thanks to my friend who was aware of the rules of these sports. Among the sports that I have played I am pretty good at Table Tennis probably because it’s one of the sports which I have been playing on and off over the years and continue to play it till now.
Kite flying was one of my favourite hobbies and i really enjoyed it as a kid, i still do. But nowadays owing to our hectic schedules I don’t fly kites as often as i used to. It’s usually a once in a year kind of activity, enjoyed on 15th August which is Independence Day in our country. My other hobbies included coin collection, cycling and playing video games.
How I became an Introvert
I was leading a happy and enjoyable life as a preteen until puberty happened. During puberty everyone goes through certain changes in their bodies which is part of nature. Unfortunately in my case one of those changes were pimples, thanks to my oily skin and lack of awareness about side effects of using face wash.
During that stage I was not wise enough to know that forcefully removing pimples by squeezing them will further worsen the problem. Having a face full of pimples marks at the tender age of 14 was not at all cool hence it played a major role in making me self conscious as well as introverted as a teenager.
If that was not enough a dumb joke by a classmate landed me in one of the most embarrassing situation of my life that too in front of a person of the girl who was enjoying some sort of celebrity status. This stupid incident, had a very deep impact on my state of mind. It resulted in me abstaining from talking to girls for the remaining years of my adolescence. Imagine the life of a guy who didn’t talk to girls during the most exciting years of his life.
It was only during my graduation days I started interacting with a few of the girls, that too only when they were the ones to initiate the conversation. Needless to say this limitation on my part acted as a major hurdle in achieving success in all aspects of my life be it academics, career, sports, relationship or extra curricular activities for that matter.
By the way I was pursuing a Bachelors of Computer Applications degree in my graduation and to be honest I chose to do it because IT was in boom and I happened to crack an entrance exam to secure admission in this course on a free seat. Free seat does not mean I don’t have to pay any fee. It just means my fee will be lesser as compared to some other students because I got a better rank.
My First Lowest Point
Till my high school despite my introvertedness, I was quite a talented guy who was physically fit, good in sports and decent in academics. But when I took admission in BCA course I didn’t know what am I going to study in this course and what kind of work I will be doing for the rest of my life, by pursuing a career in the field of computer softwares.
As expected, I literally struggled in my academics during those 3 years of graduation. First couple of years were all about daydreaming, eating, watching movies, cricket and other useless stuff on TV and playing racing games on the computer. In short I was becoming some version of what you call a couch potato. By the end of second year of my college I ended up with a paunch which was as large as 33.5 inches.
Being a short and introverted guy, paunch was the last thing I could ask for. However this was not the only problem I was dealing with at that time. I had another colossal burden of five backlogs. I was supposed to clear at least three of them, in just one year, in order to complete my graduation in time.
You can say this was one of the lowest points in my life:
- I could not focus on my studies.
- I cannot carry myself in public with confidence due to my fat belly and
- I couldn’t initiate a conversation with girls.
I knew it pretty well that I needed a 360 degree transformation in my life. But Rome was not built in a day so I had to start with One thing at a time. I had one good habit of noting down things that I should do, every time I witnessed a low phase in my life. By that time, I had already written about getting rid of my paunch, a few times in the last 18 months.
Taking into account that the year end summer holidays, which lasts for two months, were going on, I told myself there cannot be a better time to reduce my tummy size. I went ahead with full force with a single minded focus of getting rid of my belly fat naturally within two months.
When and How i got rid of my Belly fat
I went to gym, told about my goal of losing belly fat to the instructor. Due to some reason, he stayed adamant that you are fit enough and don’t need to lose your belly fat, he even made other people at the gym agree with his opinion. He kept trying to convince me that you should first do weight training to increase your muscle and then we will start working on your paunch.
Within a couple of days I was totally convinced neither the instructor nor the gym can help me in achieving my goal of reducing belly fat. After all how can a person who thinks i am don’t have paunch can help me in reducing it. The only advantage of working out in a gym was that I was getting machines to do crunches that made it little bit easier for me to do them. I was able to do crunching exercises at home as well without any equipment, with little more effort but that way they were more effective.
I decided to work on my tummy on my own. From the next day my routine was like:
- Jogging in the morning in the park
- Exercises focussed on my belly that include some crunches and yoga postures
- Warmup followed my some variety crunches before lunch
- Warmup followed my some variety crunches before dinner
- Made changes in diet by excluding all junk food
By following the above routine I was able to work on my focus area i.e. on my belly thrice a day. For the first few days there was a lot of pain in different parts of my body especially bones in my abdomen. To add to it there was no change whatsoever in size or shape of my tummy. It was very demotivating and it required a lot of determination on my part to remain focussed on my goal.
My Motivation Skyrocketed
I don’t exactly remember but within less than a month i was able to notice changes in both shape and size of my belly. It was still a paunch but its size had shrunk a bit. When I measured it, it had reduced by more than one inch. This skyrocketed my motivation level and thereafter it was smooth sailing.
In about two months I had managed to completely get rid of my paunch. It was not as simple as it sounds because I cannot cover a two to three months long struggle within a couple of paragraphs. But yes I was eventually able to achieve my goal of becoming slim, naturally.
There were a few mistakes as well in the process that I followed, I will definitely cover my journey to get rid of my belly fat in a detailed article soon. The key takeaway from this endeavour was once you have built up the momentum by dealing with initial resistance of body and mind nothing can stop you from reaching your goal.
Following this routine for over two months, improved different aspects of my life be it confidence, concentration or energy level. It left me with an unshakable confidence of being able to deal with my paunch or paunch of anyone for that matter, if required. And today, after 17 years, it (paunch) has not dared to reoccur.
Graduation got Completed
Coming back to my graduation, when most of my classmates were planning and preparing for post graduation entrance exams in last year, I didn’t have that luxury as I already had enough load of clearing my backlogs and passing all exams of third year.
I somehow managed to clear all exams of third year including enough backlogs to complete my degree in time. With no clarity on what to do in post graduation I decided to drop the year and search for the job. I got some good opportunities which I almost capitalized on however I couldn’t get the job offer, in some cases due to bad luck and in some cases due to my own mistakes.
Second Lowest Point
I was living a life of regret, constantly cursing myself for not working hard enough for the interview and not studying hard enough during my graduation. At the same time I became addicted to online chatting. As it was a good medium to chat with people of opposite sex for someone like me who can hardly talk to girls in real life, at that time.
Due to this addiction, my routine got spoiled as i used to remain awake till very late in the night, chatting with or trying to chat with girls online. The curiosity to check if someone is online or if someone has sent me an offline message can be very dangerous. Unsurprising enough this very curiosity became a major cause of anxiety in me.
Anxiety combined with a bad sleeping routine further lead to serious digestion problems. So much so that over the next six months I had to deal with several health problems including heartburn, acidity, diarrhea and constipation. In short I was suffering from IBS (Irritable bowel syndrome). But health was not my only problem at that stage of my life because I was aimless, jobless and worthless as well.
It is only when a person is down and out when he seeks real solutions to his or her problems and I was not exception. During those days, I used to get a newspaper (Times of India) but i was never reading it regularly because i could not understand parts of its content, thanks to my poor vocabulary. Everytime i come across a word whose meaning is unknown to me I had to refer to a dictionary which was quite irritating as it used to break the flow of my reading. There were times when I had to recheck the same word in the dictionary after a few days of doing so because I used to forget the meaning of such words.
My tryst with Meditation
It was during the same time that I came across the editorial section of Times of India. I started reading it and found it to be very interesting and relevant. Before that I was not aware of such a section as I had never really explored all pages of the newspaper. There is a column named “The Speaking Tree” on the bottom-right corner of the Editorial page of Times of India.
It covers topics like spirituality, meditation, happiness, peace etc. it was for the first time in my life that I was reading something beyond materialistic world and so deep and pure in nature. I immediately resonated with articles of The Speaking Tree column and started reading them daily. It guided me to search for solutions to my problems inside me rather than outside. It gave me hope that it is possible to overcome my problems and live a happier life.
As most of the things I was reading were making a lot of sense to me and after a point remembering each one of them was not possible I decided to note them down. While doing so I built another important habit of jotting down the meaning of all the words which I had to search for in the dictionary. This new habit of mine played a crucial role in improving my vocabulary because as a result of it I began to remember meanings of some of those words as well.
My knowledge about spirituality, enlightenment, meditation, conscious and subconscious mind, soul etc. increased but till that time, majority of it was theoretical. Yet this theoretical knowledge was enough to restore peace in my life, to an extent. Slowly and steadily my sleeping routine improved, I reduced the amount of time I was spending on online chatting and began to spend more time on doing productive things like reading, learning, watching talk shows etc. As my anxiety was receding and my mind was becoming calmer, I began to notice that my health problems were also beginning to alleviate.
During that time, one day I had visited a dispensary, as my mother was standing in a queue I happened to recall that there is a Yoga room in our dispensary which has an instructor as well. I asked my mother if I needed to get some registration done in order to meet the instructor. To my surprise my mother told him he is a down to earth kind of person and is mostly free, you can directly meet him.
I straight away went to his room, at that time my primary motive to meet him was to learn some asanas which will help in completely eliminating my indigestion problems. He taught me some asanas and made me do them in front of him. I observed that breath control plays a crucial role while doing Yoga asanas. Meanwhile he also kept telling me how each posture helps in improving digestion. It was a fruitful session and he asked me to practice these postures at home and meet him after a couple of weeks.
During our second visit I asked him if he can teach me meditation as well? He said, “Definitely, in fact it’s a good thing to practice meditation for a person like you who is suffering from anxiety”. He started teaching me meditation with a warm up session in which I had to do some simple body movements while observing my breath and holding myself in different positions for a count of 5 seconds.
The idea was to stretch a body part for example turning by neck towards the left as much as possible and then hold that position for 5 seconds while observing the sensation in the neck muscle, due to the stress and pressure on it caused by its stretched position. This way I had to stretch different parts of the body like arms, back shoulders etc. The aim of warm up was to get some amount of control over my mind.
After completing this warm up session which lasted for 10 to 15 minutes he began to teach me meditation. Yes this was the very first meditation session of my life. I will discuss the technique he taught me in detail in a separate article. In a nutshell, he instructed me to focus on the air entering and exiting my nostrils while inhaling and exhaling, respectively. The aim was to be able to focus on the slight amount of coolness inside nostrils while the air was entering my nostrils and to be able to focus on slight warmness while air was exiting my nostrils. After a while he asked me to do the same while focussing on the air passing my throat during inhaling and exhaling.
This meditation session acted as the key to open many doors of happiness in my painful life. I began to practice it regularly and even experimented with it to improve the technique further. Over the years, this improved meditation technique has helped me immensely in increasing my concentration and energy levels, facilitating clarity of thought and in making me fearless in difficult situations of my life.
Regular practice of this meditation technique had played a great role in enabling me to secure admission in a very good college for post graduation. I used to practice it while i was preparing for the MCA entrance exam. I made the most of it as it helped me sharpen my mind, improve my memory and increase my focus. The first few months of my post graduation days were very awesome thanks to the positive effects of doing meditation regularly.
Despite discovering such a powerful meditation technique to control my mind and direct it the way I want I was not practicing it regularly enough. I used to practice it only in extreme situations, for example, if I have to cover a lot of syllabus in a couple of days just before the end semester exam and my focus is haywire. I used to practice meditation in such situations in order to direct my mind to focus on studies. But under normal circumstances I was ignoring it and not practicing it.
How I became a Writer
As my vocabulary had improved thanks to my habit of noting down the meaning of newly discovered words by using a dictionary, I was regular at reading newspaper. Every time I come across a new word I’ll find its meaning and jot it down in my diary. By 2006 the count of such words was more than 1000. During that time I came across an opportunity for freelance writers.
I got an idea for preparation to crack this opportunity. I decided to go through all the words I had noted down and make a meaningful and interesting sentence using the good ones. That way I will not only remember all the good words I discovered over the last year but will also gain momentum as far as writing is concerned. I remember I made interesting sentences for all the words that can be used frequently, in my style of writing. Being in the zone is very important no matter what activity you are going to perform be it reading, writing, gyming or fast bowling for that matter.
Viola!! I got my first Job
It was my first interview for a writing job and I couldn’t have prepared better. I had to take a written test in which I was supposed to write a couple of articles. I gave my best and was satisfied with the quality of content I was able to produce using my creativity. They asked me to wait while their recruitment team evaluated my articles. After sometime the HR asked me to come and follow him to a room.
I remember these were exactly the first words that came from his mouth, “Congratulations Pritpal, you have been selected”. Damn!! I just got my first job. Don’t forget I had been trying to get a job after my graduation and had faced several rejection in the past. I controlled my excitement and listened to him carefully as he explained to me my tasks, income and the process to be followed while working with them as a freelance content writer. I was supposed to write 300-500 words articles and I’ll get 100 bucks for each article.
Interesting enough within 1 month of working with them, the recruiter decided to increase the payment to 150 bucks per article. I was literally making 150 bucks in like 15 to 20 minutes that too in the year 2006 when inflation was relatively lower. This was how I got my first job and how I became a writer. Over the years I had given several interviews and even joined a few writing jobs and had managed to clear the written test in almost all of them.
I remember in one such opportunity although the recruiter couldn’t select me as they had only 1 opening but they were so professional that the GM of the company himself mailed me to appreciate my efforts as I stood among top 3 out of 21 candidates were intreviewed for that opportunity. Please find a screenshot of his reply below:
I got placed in one of the large cap IT companies from campus placement, although my joining was delayed due to the 2008 recession. During that time I worked as a full time writer in a couple of companies. Eventually my joining letter arrived and I joined the IT company because my qualification was aligned to the software field. Life was quite normal but the spark was definitely missing. I was hesitant, lacked confidence, was not bold enough to take my stand and due to all these limitations my success and happiness were limited.
The Real Game changer
Being an introverted guy, I used to spend a lot of time browsing the internet. During one such browsing session in the year 2013 I came across a self-development forum. The founder of this forum was one of the most knowledgeable people in the areas of spirituality, confidence, self improvement, internet marketing, finance, health, relationships, laws of attraction, politics, conspiracy theories, naturopathy and so on. You name it and he had an active thread on all the topics that mattered most at least to me.
It was this very forum from which I came to know about renowned internet gurus like Ramit Sethi and Pat Flynn. Knowledge available on this forum was nothing short of a treasure. I immediately joined that forum and used to read and post on it for 4 to 6 hours daily. I was so engrossed in extracting the knowledge available on it that, for me, that forum became synonyms to the internet during those days.
Experienced members on this forum, who had tasted success in improving in their lives by applying the knowledge that they gained from it used to organize meetups to help newbies like me to overcome their fears and problems in life. They used to share their experience by posting on the forum and during the meetups and helped others to deal with their sticking points. Till 2013 I was mainly an online only participant however in 2014 I became very active in meetups as well.
At that point in my life I had nothing to lose as self improvement, growth and pure happiness were my only goals. I left no stone unturned to lead life the way I always wanted to full of confidence, without any self doubts. I began to read books recommended in that forum like The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho and Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People By Stephen Covey and several other books on the same lines.
How I was got introduced to Vipassana
I met a few members, some of whom became my mentors and some became my good friends and my growth story started from there which is still progressing. It was one of the members of this very forum who introduced me to Vipassana Meditation. He along with another member of the same forum had done 10 days of Vipassana meditation course and he suggested that I do the same without thinking much about the outcome.
It was just a matter of getting leave approval from my manager and I registered for a slot in the next available 10 days Vipassana Meditation retreat. I shared my plan with some of my friends one of them just told me that if you are going, make sure you come back only after completing it.
After all, spending 10 days without speaking, staying far away from home in a remote area without mobile, laptop, TV and any other access to the outside world, sitting and meditating from 4:30 am in the morning to 9 pm in the evening, definitely sounds like a impossible task. It’s not surprising that some new students leave the course within the first few days without completing it.
I made my packing list and packed all the things necessary for a 10 day vipassana meditation retreat, accordingly. The first 3 days of the course were the most difficult days of my life. I cried every night and I almost decided to leave the course for 2 reasons. Firstly, they were just teaching what I already knew there was nothing new. Secondly, I was facing a strange problem in which I was occasionally getting stinging sensations on some parts of my hands, arms and legs due to which I was unable to sleep properly at night.
There is a query session with AT (assistant teacher) after the last meditation session at 9 pm. At the end of the third day during this session I shared my concerns with AT. He told me after the first 3 days we will start Vipassana meditation which involves observing sensation on all parts of the body which was definitely new for me. These inputs from AT calmed my mind and I chose to stay there. From the fourth day onwards it was a smooth ride and I successfully completed the course during which I had experienced a very deep sense of peace and calmness. My focus was lazer sharp and there was no limit to my happiness.
I will write a detailed article on my Vipassana meditation experience as well as I have done over 11 such courses over the years. Even currently I attend 1 hour vipassana meditation online group sittings in the morning and evening over zoom meeting app. I remember it was after completing my second vipassana meditation course in 2016 at Dhamma Dhajja in Punjab, during which I faced a lot of problems, when I decided to be regular at practiving meditation. It’s been more than 4 years and I have been doing meditation daily for 15 to 20 minutes before going to sleep at night.
My self improvement journey which is still very much On consists of some more interesting aspects like becoming an active member of a public speaking club in my office which was conducted on the lines of Toastmasters Club, for over 2 years. Remaining on No Fap for over 90 days on 2 occasions. First time in 2013 when I was introduced to this new concept through that self development forum. I came to know that No Fap has numerous benefits such as vitality, fearlessness, more stamina, better alertness and extrovertedness. For the second time in 2017 when i was riding high on my self development journey and was in the process of testing my will power.
Talking about will power and determination I had a couple of long streaks of being regular at the gym for over 3 months. In the beginning of 2014 when i started my self development journey I was very thin, I hardly had any muscles on my body. Many people recognized it and pointed it out including my mentors. It was then that I realized the importance of due weight training and doing it consistently. Thus I regularly went to the gym from May 2014 to August 2014 wherein I gained about 6 kgs and I was in the best shape of my life.
I had to stop going to the gym intermittently due to a hernia problem and misleading instruction by an allopathic surgeon. Anyway hernia was detected at an early stage and was taken care of through yoga by myself only.
My second long streak of working out in the gym started in 2017 and it lasted for more than 2 years and ended in October 2019. During this journey I had worked on different parts of my body including biceps, chest, shoulders, latte muscles and forearms. Apart from body muscles I developed the muscle of strong willpower, determination and discipline in my mind which was priceless. I think this pretty much completes a rather long description about myself. There is so much to write about me, perhaps I can write a biography about myself, I will probably do it someday. But as of now as the founder of Happy Liberated Soul my aim was to give the readers of my blog as much as information about me.