Recipe for success: Seven things that you must do every week

About two years ago, I said to a few young people that ‘if you do the following seven things EVERY WEEK without fail for the next FULL YEAR for only A FEW MINUTES A DAY, you’ll be so successful you’ll never have to worry too much about your career and other things. I’m not sure if any of them is trying it out, but this morning in some other context I was reminded of this. I call these the seven 4-letter words that guarantee success.

Keep in mind, you must do this EVERY WEEK, no exceptions (health issues apart). You can do one of these each day of the week, and by the end of the 52nd week, you’ll be doing nearly all of them all the time. And ‘success,’ in my experience, is largely the sum of this ecosystem.

GIVE – as in, ‘do something for someone in need’. Around us there are so many people who need something, but can’t have it. Could be a local old age home that needs someone to spend time with the people there, a relief program for victims of various circumstances, a feeding program to support an orphanage, … God knows there’s no shortage of need. Give 10 minutes of your time to any such need.

READ – 15 pages of any non-fiction book. Could be on any topic you like. But not from a magazine, not part of your already ongoing reading. Pick up a book, by choice, and read 15 pages of it. I’ve done this for more than a dozen years, more or less daily, picking various topics along the way. It’s been extremely informative.

PLAY – A TEAM SPORT, ideally a contact sport with many players, for half an hour, once a week. Watching doesn’t count.

MEET – a complete STRANGER once a week. If you can’t be introduced to one by someone you know, not a problem. Just look around on the street, find someone you don’t know and go talk to them for a few minutes. About anything.

COOK – This one is a bit illustrative, because sometimes cooking might not be the right thing, if we have to eat what is produced !! What I mean is, do something that is traditionally thought of as ‘someone else’s job’. Could be anything. I wrote my example up when I was entirely dependent on other people to produce food but anything else will do. It just has to be something that until now you thought of as ‘not my job’.

MAKE – something with your hands, brain, and any kind of physical effort. The thing you make need not work, it could be as simple as looking through an origami book, or even a clay toy. But you must ‘make’ it, in the absolute literal sense of the word.

VOTE – This one to is illustrative. What I really mean is ‘support’. There are so many things out there that need expressions of support. Find one and say, “I support this”. On elections days you can actually vote in support of your choice, but during other weeks, all it takes is to tell a few people that you support something. Anything. But you must show the support publicly, i.e. at least 10 people must hear from you about your support.

From my own experience of doing such small things EVERY DAY, I believe that it is possible to build a very positive life. One in which you’ll know a lot more, meet a lot more people, and be engaged with them in doing a great number of things, including building a great society.


  1. Raghavendra S G, Sandhya, Ramakrishnan says:

    This is one of the simplest and direct suggestions on self-improvement! Great work by Ashwin Mahesh and the clarity of thought shows.

    Appreciate Citizen Matters for providing a platform for such wonderful contributions. I believe we are going to see Citizen Matters scale new heights in readership and become a major force in Bangalore, if not already.

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