Fantasy and Science Fiction: The Human Mind, Our Modern World – Statement of Accomplishment



The 11-week-long course called ‘Fantasy and Science Fiction: The Human Mind, Our Modern World’ put out by The University of Michigan on Coursera ended a few weeks ago, and involved writing several theses, details of which I’ve written about here.


I scored a respectable 66.7% on this course. 🙂

You can view the previously published theses here.

(I took screenshots of the statement and the two courses’ grades, which is probably why they look so tiny in this post.)

Introduction to Philosophy Course - Statement of Accomplishment

Coursera had offered a 7-week-long Introduction to Philosophy course in collaboration with the University of Edinburgh. I scored a respectable 57.5%

Course details here –

Lessons From 2011

There’s a bunch of things I learned during the past year. I believe it’s important to ruminate over events and actions and evaluate the decisions made in those circumstances. Here’s five:


1. The Value of ‘systems’

More often than not we let the tide of circumstances sweep us away, affecting us on an emotional level and creating a barrier to dealing with the situation effectively. Probably the best way to approach a problem is to rely on a method of dealing with it.

A ‘system’ is learnt by reflecting on past experiences and understanding what could have been a better reaction to that situation. It’s more a process of discovery than a textbook way of doing things.

Having said that, flexibility is essential within a system, to deal with events outside the realm of one’s past experience.


2. The merit of taking small steps towards a goal

The problem with large goals is just that; they’re large, vague and encompass many steps and hurdles to get to them. I won’t be the first one saying this, but breaking down the process into small, actionable steps is easier to envision and execute.

For e.g. One of my goals is to gain ten kilos of muscle, to be fitter and, as a byproduct, look better in the clothes I wear. To break it down into smaller steps the first thing I start with is my high metabolic rate. Gaining weight has always been a problem for me and I need to figure an exercise routine keeping that in mind. So my routine involves gym only twice a week and no cardio. My focus is to increase strength so I can lift more, so I can gain more muscle. I’ve put on as much as 10 kilos in a month before but have never been able to sustain that weight once I stopped working out. This time I’m aiming at a much more modest increase of two kilos a month of sustainable muscle gain.


3. The importance of a vision

Again, visualizing your goals isn’t something new or revolutionary. But it is the single most effective thing you can do to get closer to achieving those goals. I visualize daily, weekly and monthly goals and that keeps me on track and focused. No more ‘monkey brain’ syndrome.

Here’s a useful article from www.instigatorblog.comAchieve Your Goals With 3 Types of Visualization






4. A healthy mind and body

I fell violently sick last year, losing six kilos in a span of a few days, being hospitalized for ten and taking a month off from work. I knew then that my health had to be ‘fixed’. It was alarming to find, after hitting the gym four months later, how much strength and stamina I had lost. Even worse, my mind took longer to recover, feeling dull and distracted during those months of incarceration. Never again.

The most effective way to achieve overall well-being is any amount of activity, physical and mental.

At the office, get out of your seat every hour and walk around, stretch, get out and get some fresh air. Take the stairs instead of the lift. You don’t need a gym, fad diets or run miles to stay fit.

Read. The single most important thing you’ll ever do to keep your brain at its peak.

I use to make well-being a social activity. It sends a daily health ‘task’ to your inbox, pushing you ever so slightly to be more aware of the little things you can do to vastly improve the quality of your life. Highly recommend it.


5. Budgeting Time

Your time is a finite resource. Know what needs to be done and allocate a fixed time of a particular day to deal with it. Get it out of your to-do list and allocate more time for the things you like doing. Treat time as your most important resource and be selfish with how you spend it.


Whatever you do, start small, set achievable targets and reward yourself constantly for meeting them.

That’s all I can do for now. Let me know if any of this works as well for you as it does for me 🙂