Find What You Love and Let It Kill You

The article below is by my favorite author Steven Pressfield.

By STEVEN PRESSFIELD | Published: AUGUST 26, 2015

This is my favorite of all the posts we’ve ever run on this site. (Mainly because it’s not written by me.) I read it every few months just to psych myself up. It’s an article written by English concert pianist James Rhodes that appeared originally in the Guardian (UK).

Why do I love Mr. Rhodes’ story of his bold move to change his life and become an artist?

1) Because James is a late bloomer. Much as I admire child prodigies, I hate them too because they found their calling so young and with so little agony. I like to see someone suffer before they find their way.

2) James’ saga illustrates the depth of passion that such a journey requires—and the depth of madness. (Note the casual allusion to “nine months in a mental hospital.”)

3) James’ does not romanticize his life as an artist. No, he does not sail through the day whistling and grinning. And yes, the grind is still a grind. But he has gone from working for the Man to being the Man himself.

My life as a concert pianist can be frustrating, lonely, demoralising and exhausting. But is it worth it? Yes, without a shadow of a doubt

James Rhodes

Friday 26 April 2013

After the inevitable “How many hours a day do you practice?” and “Show me your hands”, the most common thing people say to me when they hear I’m a pianist is “I used to play the piano as a kid. I really regret giving it up.” I imagine authors have lost count of the number of people who have told them they “always had a book inside them”. We seem to have evolved into a society of mourned and misplaced creativity. A world where people have simply surrendered to (or been beaten into submission by) the sleepwalk of work, domesticity, mortgage repayments, junk food, junk TV, junk everything, angry ex-wives, ADHD kids and the lure of eating chicken from a bucket while emailing clients at 8pm on a weekend.

Do the math. We can function—sometimes quite brilliantly—on six hours’ sleep a night. Eight hours of work was more than good enough for centuries (oh the desperate irony that we actually work longer hours since the invention of the internet and smartphones). Four hours will amply cover picking the kids up, cleaning the flat, eating, washing and the various etceteras. We are left with six hours. 360 minutes to do whatever we want. Is what we want simply to numb out and give Simon Cowell even more money? To scroll through Twitter and Facebook looking for romance, bromance, cats, weather reports, obituaries and gossip? To get nostalgically, painfully drunk in a pub where you can’t even smoke?

What if you could know everything there is to know about playing the piano in under an hour (something the late, great Glenn Gould claimed, correctly I believe, was true)? The basics of how to practise and how to read music, the physical mechanics of finger movement and posture, all the tools necessary to actually play a piece – these can be written down and imparted like a flat-pack furniture how-to-build-it manual; it then is down to you to scream and howl and hammer nails through fingers in the hope of deciphering something unutterably alien until, if you’re very lucky, you end up with something halfway resembling the end product.

What if for a couple of hundred quid you could get an old upright on eBay delivered? And then you were told that with the right teacher and 40 minutes proper practice a day you could learn a piece you’ve always wanted to play within a few short weeks. Is that not worth exploring?

What if rather than a book club you joined a writer’s club? Where every week you had to (really had to) bring three pages of your novel, novella, screenplay and read them aloud?

What if, rather than paying £70 a month for a gym membership that delights in making you feel fat, guilty and a world away from the man your wife married you bought a few blank canvases and some paints and spent time each day painting your version of “I love you” until you realised that any woman worth keeping would jump you then and there just for that, despite your lack of a six-pack?

I didn’t play the piano for 10 years. A decade of slow death by greed working in the City, chasing something that never existed in the first place (security, self-worth, Don Draper albeit a few inches shorter and a few women fewer). And only when the pain of not doing it got greater than the imagined pain of doing it did I somehow find the balls to pursue what I really wanted and had been obsessed by since the age of seven—to be a concert pianist.

Admittedly I went a little extreme—no income for five years, six hours a day of intense practice, monthly four-day long lessons with a brilliant and psychopathic teacher in Verona, a hunger for something that was so necessary it cost me my marriage, nine months in a mental hospital, most of my dignity and about 35lbs in weight. And the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow is not perhaps the Disney ending I’d envisaged as I lay in bed aged 10 listening to Horowitz devouring Rachmaninov at Carnegie Hall.

My life involves endless hours of repetitive and frustrating practising, lonely hotel rooms, dodgy pianos, aggressively bitchy reviews, isolation, confusing airline reward programmes, physiotherapy, stretches of nervous boredom (counting ceiling tiles backstage as the house slowly fills up) punctuated by short moments of extreme pressure (playing 120,000 notes from memory in the right order with the right fingers, the right sound, the right pedalling while chatting about the composers and pieces and knowing there are critics, recording devices, my mum, the ghosts of the past, all there watching), and perhaps most crushingly, the realisation that I will never, ever give the perfect recital. It can only ever, with luck, hard work and a hefty dose of self-forgiveness, be “good enough.”

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And yet. The indescribable reward of taking a bunch of ink on paper from the shelf at Chappell of Bond Street. Tubing it home, setting the score, pencil, coffee and ashtray on the piano and emerging a few days, weeks or months later able to perform something that some mad, genius, lunatic of a composer 300 years ago heard in his head while out of his mind with grief or love or syphilis. A piece of music that will always baffle the greatest minds in the world, that simply cannot be made sense of, that is still living and floating in the ether and will do so for yet more centuries to come. That is extraordinary. And I did that. I do it, to my continual astonishment, all the time.

The government is cutting music programmes in schools and slashing Arts grants as gleefully as a morbidly American kid in Baskin Robbins. So if only to stick it to the man, isn’t it worth fighting back in some small way? So write your damn book. Learn a Chopin prelude, get all Jackson Pollock with the kids, spend a few hours writing a Haiku. Do it because it counts even without the fanfare, the money, the fame and Heat photo-shoots that all our children now think they’re now entitled to because Harry Styles has done it.

Charles Bukowski, hero of angsty teenagers the world over, instructs us to “find what you love and let it kill you“. Suicide by creativity is something perhaps to aspire to in an age where more people know Katie Price better than the Emperor concerto. Copyright (c) Guardian News and Media Limited. 2014 Registered in England.

Failed in 2 Attempts But Topped in 3rd in CAT for IIM: A CAT Topper’s Success Secret

Discover the Difference Between Failing in CAT 2 Times (98 percentile) and Becoming a Topper (100 percentile) in 3rd Attempt

Here is what one of the CAT toppers “Ayush Kedia” (Assistant System Engineer at TCS who did BE in Computer Science from NIT Durgapur in 2008) says in an interview to the magazine Career360 April 2010 issue:

As you can read on the magazine page above, Ayush says, “So, this time round, I devoted all my time to English and that’s what made the difference”.


The secret for you from Ayush’s interview: The path for engineers to IIMs goes through focus on “Verbal Ability”.

It means that it is not enough to work hard but you have to work HARD-SMART. What it means is that you have to work hard, but with right focus in the right direction, and using the best support available to maximize the results in the limited time you have available.

For example, Ayush Kedia is the same person who took CAT exam 3 times, failed 2 times, yet topped the 3rd time. How is it possible? For the first 2 times, perhaps he divided his time equally for the 3 papers, but only after failing 2 times, he realized that the way to work hard-smart is to focus just on “Verbal Ability”.

Find out how you can master vocab the fastest way: CAT Vocab Mind Machine

How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in English (Speaking)

When English Used to be a Humiliating Experience for Me …

We all have great teachers who encourage best in us and brighten our lives.

We also have those who mean well but use negative language that is very discouraging.

Let me tell you about an English teacher I had in class 9 …

I went to a very small neighbourhood school that had only 2 rooms and a few teachers. All students of KG and First class were in one room and class 2 to 5th were in second room. I was in class 3 and there were just 3 students in class 3. I hardly learnt anything.

Then I went to a good government school in class 6 in Ajmer in Rajasthan and they started with ABCD again.

So, when I reached class 9th I was truly weak, never had talked to anyone in English. My English teacher Shri Rameshwar Prasad ji was a typical teacher of that era 1975… he would ask me to stand up and ask “active passive” and “direct indirect” and I would always answer wrong… then his favourite comment used to be this: Karamheen Kheti Kare, Ka to Balad Mare, Ka Kal Pade (English translation: when a lazy farmer wants to grow crop, either the bull dies or there is a famine).

It was a routine humiliating experience for me.

I Continued Struggle …

I continued to struggle with English during the first 2 years in Pilani (during my B.E. studies). I continued to try various ways to learn it. For example, I spent 2 months to read “The Guide by R K Narayan” because I did not know so many words.

And, Finally An “Overnight Success”

Finally, I mastered English and eventually in 1990 became a bestseller author in USA when my second computer book on MSDOS bestseller. I became an “overnight success” in English that took 12 years (now you can benefit from it). Here is the letter I got from the editor.

Just 2 years later in 1991, I returned to India and co-founded “Mind Power Research Institute” with my brother Dr Anil Bapna to help students. We co-authored a book on English that simplified English. That book eliminates 60 to 80% of mistakes for students in about 2 weeks. Then they learn to write and speak in powerful and effective way.

If English / communication is an area you want to improve, get our expanded course. It is more than what you’ll ever need. It will work for you even if you have tried books/classes before without much success. Click here:

My best wishes for your success,

Raj Bapna

PS: By the way, a professor of English can still find some mistakes in the article above. But, that is not important at all to me because what is really important is that I know how to use English in a way to convey my ideas to you and to motivate you towards your own success and greatness.

Do you feel hesitation, frustration or fear when you speak in English even though you can write?

Do you face any of these difficulties and problems?

  • Do you avoid speaking in English because you feel fear or hesitation or because you may make mistakes and look stupid?
  • Do you lack confidence when you express ideas to others in English? Are you very weak in English speaking?
  • Are you missing out on big opportunities in life just because of lack of confidence in English?
  • Do you feel frustration or do you feel depressed when seeing that you are being left behind in life by others who are not even half as good as you?
  • Have you been working hard and struggling for long time trying to become good and fluent in spoken English but not getting success to the level you want and having a sense of frustration and helplessness?

If you answered yes to any, you may want to check out our powerful course.

The Proper Usage of the Words Surprising, Amazing, Overjoyed and Shocking

One secret is to use words precisely, which means to use the “right word” from various available words that seem to have similar meanings.

For example, words “surprising”, “amazing”, “shocking” are somewhat similar, but different in meaning as below:
Surprising – This word is used in situations, where something turned out to be the way, you did not expect.

For example – It was surprising to know that they said yes, in my first request.

Amazing – This can be used in both positive and negative situations, but when there is something unusual.

For example – The story of the 300 soldiers, who won against a whole army, was amazing.

Overjoyed/Shocking – These words are used for sudden situations. Overjoyed is used when there is sudden happiness and shocking is used when there is a sudden kind of fear.

For example – I was overjoyed to know about his success/ it was shocking to know about their accident.
Powerful English Course – If you liked this article, you’ll benefit from powerful techniques, secrets, and skills in our Fluent English Course.

My book reaches Amazon #1 today …

Hello friends,

Thanks to all of you who purchased it on to make it
Number 1 Best Seller in 2 High School Categories
and Number 3 Best Seller in Assessment Category.

Here is the book listing changes rank hourly.

So, if you visit it now, you might still see “Rank #1”.
Here is the link. Please scroll roughly half-way through the page to see the rank.

Raj Bapna

PS: Get our “Exam Maximizer System” if you don’t already have it. The above book in printed form is included in the system.

My Digital Book is #4 on


I am excited to tell you that today

My Digital Book Becomes #4 Best-Seller on in High School Category and #9 Best-Seller in Reference Category

Here is the book listing

Here is the rank 4

Amazon rank changes every hour. My book was added to Amazon on April 21, 2010 and today it reached best-seller status as below:

Offer for You

If you are not yet using my “Exam Maximizer system”
that includes the above book in printed form, now is the time to get it because
the sooner you get it the sooner you benefit.

Click here to get the Exam Maximiser System

My best wishes for your mega success,


Tell me what you want


Please tell me three things in the reply box below.

IMPORTANT: To help me best understand your reply, please make sure your reply / comment has 3 points, numbered as 1, 2, and 3. Nothing more nothing less.

  1. Please tell me what I can do for you to help you get maximum success.
  2. If you have not purchased our courses and mind machine, please tell why. I am sure you are committed. If so, what is holding you back. Please tell me, so I can do something about it.
  3. Tell me what is the biggest problem you are facing and how it can be solved.

My best wishes,


Thank you for your kind comments. Need your help.

Thank you all.

What can I say? I am touched by your more than 300 comments. Yes, so now I know you are reading my emails and that you want me to continue …

Here I need your help.

I maintain the list of your email /names on, which charges a lot (please click here to see how much they charge about $130/month for 10,000 to 25,000 subscribers: Now, a lot of my subscribers are poor students who are only partly committed to success and want my free advice / articles (which I am more than happy to provide), but are not motivated enough or committed enough to their own success to buy our courses / CDs / Mind Machine. So, I have found a free solution thanks to Google, which has a service called FeedBurner. One you enter your email on the form, Google / FeedBurner will send you email whenever I write a new blog entry/article. This is free, which makes it easy to support my thousands of readers. About a year back, I removed about 40,000 subscribers.

So, switch to FeedBurner now:

When you are about to leave this webpage, you’ll seee a form to enter your email into Google’s Feedburner to ensure you continue to get my articles.

May the world conspire to bring success to your door (even if you are lazy and not fully motivated and committed to your success),

Raj Bapna

PS: If you don’t yet have our products, get them because they bring lifetime of expertise to you to help you succeed more …

Please give your feedback and help improve this website

Hello friend,

Please go to the bottom of this page and give your feedback about this new design.

My goal is to make it easy and more helpful, so you can get free information easily and also order my course, CDs, mind machine easily.

In your feedback below, please tell

  1. Which course / mind machine /item you plan to buy within this month of July (it is ok to say you don’t plan to buy anything, too).
  2. How can I make this website more valuable /useful to you?

Thank you,

Raj Bapna

Number 1 Secret of Powerful Presentations and Public Speaking from a True Master

The secret is simple, but not easy.

To benefit from it, you have to first experience it, and for that, you have to invest some time watching a master in action giving perfect presentation (speaking in public).


Warning: it is expensive to learn the secret (I give it away free, but it will take you about 2 hours to watch the complete presentation.)

Still committed to learn the secret?

Watch the video at:

(You can also watch it in parts on Search for “ WWDC 2010 Steve Jobs keynote”)

After you have watched it, come back and write down below what you think is the number 1 secret. I’ll reveal the secret after 50 people have put their answer below.

Best wishes,

Raj Bapna

Happy to be back home from Richard Bandler workshop in Amsterdam (Holland)

Hello friend,

I am happy to be back home from a very rewarding workshop by the genius Richard Bandler, creator of NLP or Neuro-Linguistic Programming.

Learnt new techniques that will help students more through my articles (via email or on this blog) and through whatever I create going forward.

More about the workshop: 190 people from around the world attended the workshop in the beautiful city of Amsterdam. This city has many museums and canals including the museum of Van Gogh and other great painters.

One of the key focus of Ricahrd was to teach “How to be more happy for no reason at all”. When you feel happy, your brain produces certain chemicals that makes you think better and make better decision. You enjoy more what you do. Think about it.

Here are two photos:


More later.
Be happy, make better decisions, and win in the world,

Please help develop new Instant Meditation System

What I am doing

I am developing Instant Meditation System using the mind technologies.

The goal is to create a system that uses just MP3 audio and changes your brainwaves to desired states for instant meditation. The results should be so deep that you feel so deeply relaxed or almost fall asleep within 10 minutes and the program can go on to about 30 minutes.

It should give you the power to choose between alpha, theta, delta meditations and also to awake / energize.

The cost would be under Rs 2,000.

What help I want from you

I want to make sure this has everything that you would want to have in a system of meditation including deep relaxation.

So, please write at the bottom of this page “what benefits / options / features would you like to have in such an instant meditaion system”.

Thanks and regards,

Raj Bapna

Your blog: I want to tell my 30,000+ subscribers about your blog


If you have a blog, I want to tell my subscribers about it.

It is a nice opportunity for your blog to get more readers.

And, when they visit your blog and if you have Adsense ads, you’ll earn up to a few Rupees per click on those ads. Currently we have about 30,000 subscribers and when I tell them about your blog, I expect at least 1000 to visit it and if 100 to 200 of those click on the ads on your web-page, you might earn a few hundred Rupees (for most blogs it is likely to be less than Rs 1,000).

If you don’t have a blog / adsense, you can create free (it’s quick and easy) at: and

To send my subscribers to your blog, I want you to write a blog post about our course, CD, Mind Machine that you are using.

In your blog, include these parts based on your personal experience in any sequence:

Part 1: In the subject line mention the product name (course, CD, mind machine) and what was the biggest benefit you got

Part 2: What problems you were facing before using it

Part 3: How you have improved and what better results you have got as a result of using it

Part 4: What was your process of deciding to order it? For example, did you talk to parents, friends, teachers and who encouraged and who said no.

Part 5: What way do you suggest is the way to use it for maximum benefit. Include a link to the webpage where a reader will find full information about the product you are writing about.

Once you write it, please put a comment below giving the full URL (address) so everyone can visit it.

Tips on how to write well for your blog : Write as if you are telling a good friend’s friend on phone. Write short sentences. Small words. Short paragraphs. Add any photos. Avoid spelling mistakes. Don’t use Hindi words because half of my readers are not Hindi speaking. Keep in mind a simple goal (as I do when I write): Make it useful and beneficial to the reader.

My best wishes,

Raj Bapna

PS: I also request you send me an email at and tell me how much you earned on 4th day after I tell my subscribers about your blog because I really want you to benefit (Of course, you understand I do not earn anything from helping you other than your goodwill and friendship).

ICE: In Case of Emergency: Make an entry on your mobile phone

If we were to be involved in an accident or were taken ill, the people attending us would have our mobile phone but wouldn’t know who to call.

Yes, there are hundreds of numbers stored but which one is the contact person in case of an emergency?

Hence this “ICE” (In Case of Emergency)” Campaign

The concept of “ICE” is catching on quickly. It is a method of contact during emergency situations. As cell phones are carried by the majority of the population, all you need to do is store the number of a contact person or persons who should be contacted during emergency under the name “ICE” (In Case Of Emergency).

The idea was thought up by a paramedic who found that when he went to the scenes of accidents, there were always mobile phones with patients, but they didn’t know which number to call. He therefore thought that it would be a good idea if there was a nationally recognized name for this purpose.

In an emergency situation, Emergency Service personnel and hospital Staff would be able to quickly contact the right person by simply dialing the number you have stored as “ICE.”

For more than one contact name simply enter ICE, ICE1, ICE2 and ICE3 etc.

Let’s spread the concept of ICE by storing an ICE number in our Mobile phones today!

Please copy this message and email to your friends.

3 Ways to Study Any Subject So You Learn Maximum without Wasting Effort and Get the Best Results

Way #1: Use Your Text Book

Use the same text book as your teacher uses. This helps you to revise faster whatever you learn in your school.

But, just be aware that text books are written mainly to teach subjects and not for success in competitions. So, text books are not sufficient for sure success in today’s cut-throat competitions in India.

Way #2: Join Good Classroom Coaching

Join some good, reputed classroom coaching.

Generally, there is nothing as good as good classroom coaching. So, you should join a good classroom coaching if you can afford to spend Rs 10,000-80,000.

If not, then you should join some good correspondence coaching (cost Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000).

Talk to your friends, classmates, and teachers to find out which are the best coaching options in your city.

Way #3: Use Special Notes Such As Memory Maps, Mind Maps

If you can find, use some special types of notes that allow you to revise a lot of your course material within very short period of time. Such revisions help you to memorize and help get success in competitions.

You can learn to create your own memory maps or mind maps in Mind Power Exam Maximizer.

If General Knowledge is not one of the papers in your competition, is it a waste of time to read newspapers and magazines?

Yes and No.

Yes as far as your success in the competition is concerned.

No because it has some value as discussed below.

It is popular belief that good students read newspapers and magazines. But it is not correct. Good students do not have to read newspapers and magazines.

Some people say reading newspaper improves your English. Yes, it does. But in a very slow way. You can improve much faster by learning what you do not know and with the help of personal tuition.

The value in reading newspapers and magazines is “entertainment” and “general awareness”. Just like you watch a TV serial or a film. In addition, newspapers and magazines are very good for you to practice reading fast, reading very fast, and still understanding the essence of the writing. Textbooks are not the best for such practice.

If you have General Knowledge as one of the papers, then reading newspapers and magazines has a value. Even then, I suggest that you spend more time on reading some books on General Knowledge rather than wasting too much time on newspapers and magazines.

How to Control Your Brainwaves for Relaxation and Stress Management

First, What are Brain Waves

When you drop a small stone in water, you see waves. Similarly our heart and our brain have wave patterns. The wave pattern of the heart is measured by ECG (electro cardiograph). The brain waves are measured by EEG (electro encephalograph).

Using the brain wave studies, scientists have discovered that our brain waves are of four types.

The brain waves also have peaks that are similar to the peaks we see in water waves. The number of times the peak appears in one second is called “cycles per second”. For example, the electricity in India is of 50 cycles per second.

Beta (13 to 25 cycles per second)

This brain wave indicates that your conscious mind is in control. It indicates a mental state of logical thought, analysis, and action. You are alert and awake talking, speaking, doing, solving problems, etc.

Alpha (8 to 12 cycles per second)

This brain wave indicates relaxation and meditation. It is a state of relaxed alertness good for inspiration, learning facts fast.

Theta (4 to 8 cycles per second)

Deep meditation. This is associated with life-like imagination. This is best for suggestibility and inspiration. This brain wave is dominant in children of age 2 to 5.

Delta (0.5 to 4 cycles per second)

Deep dreamless sleep. Deep relaxation, healing.

How to Control Your Brainwaves
for Relaxation and Stress Management

  • Anything that makes you relaxed changes your brainwaves.
  • Meditation is one way to control your brainwaves.
  • Relaxing music is anther.
  • And, mind machine is perhaps the single most important new method of changing the brainwaves easily and quickly for desired benefits such is memorizing, relaxing, learning, sleep, healing, meditation, etc.