start a good day

Chanakya Thoughts: Tips to start your day on a good note

In different cultures, there are prayers people chant as soon as they wake up. Some sit quietly and meditate for a while and then begin their day. But, what is the purpose of all this?

‘Good morning’…these are the two words we greet people with when we wake up. Be it family members, school or college friends, teachers and colleagues at workplace—we greet people in the morning on this positive note. But, how to make the morning really good? Have you ever wondered that the first thought of the day is the most important for the rest of the day? In Indian culture, we have a method where we divinise our thoughts first. We start the day with an attitude of ‘Thank You’ and a feeling of gratitude.

In different cultures, there are prayers people chant as soon as they wake up. Some sit quietly and meditate for a while and then begin their day. But, what is the purpose of all this? That one should start the day in a good ‘mood’ and a positive frame of mind? Chanakya, who wrote the Arthashastra, also had some good tips on how to begin the day.

Chanakya suggested, “He (the king) should awaken to the sound of musical instruments.” (1.19.21).

The first book of Kautilya’s Arthashastra is about the training of the king. It is called Vidyasamuddesh. He gives knowledge and tips to leaders on how to be a good leader. Chanakya also gives practical tips on practising leadership. Note that, these tips can also be followed by those who are not leaders—a common person like you and me. But, the beauty is that once we practice it, we automatically develop leadership qualities. The first step of leadership is the way one begins the day. Chanakya says one should awaken to the sound of musical instruments.

This means when a person wakes up listening to music, the mood is set right. Imagine, if you wake up with a bad dream the whole day starts on a negative note. You feel tired and less energetic. You might start the day with frustration and dejection. Here, even if you had a nightmare, you can correct it with the sound of musical instruments.

How do we practise this message by Chanakya in our daily life? Here are some tips:

Sleep well

It is not just how you wake up that matters, but also how well you sleep in the night. A good seven to eight hours of sleep is essential for an average person. If we sleep early and have undisturbed sleep, then waking up will be an easy task. You can start the day on an energetic and rejuvenated note. So, make sure you sleep in time to wake up in time.

Alarm clock

There are two types of alarm clocks one can use to wake up—an external alarm clock and an internal one. Most of us are aware of the external alarm clock that rings at a set time. But, do you know there is an internal alarm clock as well?

People who have control over their minds use this alarm clock as well to wake up. They are so self-disciplined that they tell the mind, “Tomorrow morning, I want to wake up at 5 am,” and you would be surprised that they actually wake up exactly at 5 am without an external alarm.

This requires little practice with your mind. Try it for some time and you will also wake up automatically at the time you have decided.


Those who use the external alarm clock, the alarm sound is very critical. These days many people use mobile phones as alarm clocks. In that case, it’s important to choose an alarm tone carefully—opt for something light and melodious or a tone that is inspired by nature like the chirping of birds or the sound of the wind.

If you keep a loud and heavy ringtone, you may wake up, but the mood set is disturbing. If there are others in the room, they too get disturbed. They might also feel irritated. And, this in turn will affect and spoil their entire day. As Chanakya said, do wake up to the sound of music—but the right music. Some even start their day with devotional music and spiritual hymns and mantras.

Carry the mood

It is not enough to wake up in the right mood, but also carry a good mood throughout the day. Be a positive inspiration to others around you. When you feel nice about yourself, you can make others feel nice about themselves as well. Greet others around you with positivity and create a positive mindset. As the old saying goes, “The best make up on your face is a smile.” Make sure your ‘good morning’ becomes a ‘good day.’

Dr Radhakrishnan Pillai is an Indian management thinker, author, and Founder of Atma Darshan and Chanakya Aanvikshiki. Dr Pillai has extensively researched Kautilya’s Arthashastra, the 3rd century BC treatise and incorporated it into modern management.


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