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8-one-change-at-a-time

With exams around the corner, it is inevitable that students and often their parents feel the pressure of managing the study time tables so as to perform well. That is also the time when time pressure, the accumulated backlog of studies and the need to overhaul one’s life suddenly begins to overwhelm all the stake holders in this game. A similar situations crop up in our life off and on and the need to overhaul our life is the one common constant irrespective of which phase of life we are in. In trying to overhaul one’s life, the cardinal mistake we make is, thinking that we can overturn all the bad habits we have imbibed over the years, overnight. Just as you and I took nine months to be born, just like a year takes twelve months to change and a day requires 24 hours to be completed before a new day begins, we have to patiently work on small changes in our attitude, style and behavior before the effects of transformation are visible.

The four essentials for transformation are:

Deciding to change – This is the first step in bring about any meaningful change in one’s life. Until one decides to change, the status quo would always seem impossible to change. Excuses, rationalization and reconciliation with the existing situation would constantly nag you into succumbing to the status quo. Decide that you need to change your habits, your style, adopt a different strategy E.g. You know you have to spend more hours studying. You will find enough reasons why you are unable to do so and rationalize your decision for not being able to change and finally reconcile that you are a mediocre student. The same holds true for those wanting to lose weight but not being able to get themselves to eat healthy or exercise.

Planning the change – Once you decide to change, the key is to spend some time planning how you are going to bring about the change and be the change you want. Many of us fail in this step simply because we visualize that implementation of the plan is impossible. If you can outline the map to achieving what your goal is, you would at least have a clear agenda to follow. E.g. Having a clear time table to study is the first step in ensuring you are able to do justice to each subject that you have to study. Those subjects requiring practice or additional study, however much you dislike the subject, must be allotted more time.

Implementing the change – This is the toughest part of the process of transformation. At this stage you are attempting to move away from all that you felt comfortable doing despite knowing the consequences, to disciplining yourself doing unpleasant things, in the hope that it will give you good results. The tough part is beginning, the tougher part is motivating yourself to continue but the toughest part is keeping the momentum going. The trick is to visualize the small changes, mentally see yourself inching yourself forward towards your goals and occasionally noting how much you have progressed and how closer you are to your final goal.

Being patient – This is the most important virtue because without it, one would be tempted to give up. Patience comes from self belief, from charting out progress and being reasonable about your expectations at every given time line. Occasionally you could be slipping as per your plans, at other times you feel your pace is slow and many times there seems to be no motivation to pursue your plans. Remember the number of times you fell of your bicycle before you managed to master it or the number of times you felt you were drowning before you learned to swim. The lure of the eventual goal must be so encompassing that you become patient enough to trudge along despite all the obstacles that come your way.

Try these:

  • Try to play a new sport or pick up a new hobby. Notice how you take time to gain expertise, despite your possible talent in that field.
  • List out 3 changes that you want to bring about in your life. Outline what is stopping you from doing it. Plan and implement the plan to bring about the change.
  • Challenge yourself to overcome a constant criticism that you often encounter either from your spouse / child/ friend / colleague / well wisher.

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog

www.poweract.blogspot.com

7-12-feb-17-listen-to-the-guruTime and time again, we are admonished that we do not listen. In any communication lecture, you would invariably be told that of all the skills of communication the most vital one is the art of listening. The trouble is, almost all our life we have ended up as listeners and there is a certain amount of boredom, lack of motivation and prejudice against the speakers and or topics, that we have developed over the years. Part of the reason can be attributed to ineffective teachers who bored us to tears, part of the reason could be that we were forced into listening to boring lectures on boring subjects and the rest of the problem could be attributed to sheer indifference we have developed over the years. Criticism whether from parents, teachers, friends, well wishers, colleagues or bosses (especially at appraisal time) and worse of all from the spouse, have just hardened us to pay a deaf year to the feedback received. All in all, over the years, we have become indifferent, immune and largely deaf to any most forms of communication especially those that we dislike, disapprove or dread.

However, it is never too late to change and begin afresh.  Bear these facts in mind when focusing on listening. The first thing to remember is that listening is not a passive activity but an activity one must actively engage in. This means we need to take the effort of listening. The next thing to keep in mind is that when listening all our senses are engaged. While the ears absorb the spoken word, every other sense also absorbs the signals relevant to them. Hence any form of distraction be it noise, smell, weather changes, movement etc. influence the quality of our listening.  The third and most important element of listening is to understand the essence of listening; which is wanting to hear. Unless we want to hear, find a motivation to hear, pay attention to the entire communication and not be selective in our listening, we could misunderstand, partially understand, miss out on key information or interpret the communication conveniently.

Once we begin to appreciate and adopt good listening skills the process of our personal improvement and growth would be enhanced dramatically. This is because we learn to value the lessons, however unpleasant or critical that we interpret from the communication signals received from around us. We also begin to value and respect our strengths by listening to the positive and encouraging responses we get. The value we derive from listening is maximized when we explore opportunities, dare to take risks, begin to change, learn to appreciate and never get discouraged.

Remember that the word LISTEN comprises of the same alphabets that form the word SILENT. So the more silently you absorb the communication that is around the better your listening skills. Make the world your GURU by simply listening to everyone and everything around. Absorb, learn, implement, change !

Try these:

  • What is your favorite joke that you enjoy sharing with friend’s. Did you notice that it is how keenly the other person listens to you, that makes the joke effective. More importantly the joke may have something absurd and illogical that actually triggers the punch of the joke. Conventional listening, where logic and order are essential do not trigger the response as much as the non auditory visualization does.
  • Here are some non auditory listening challenges
  1. Take a standard deck of cards and find out the only one eyed king in it. Also note the subtle differences between the Jacks as also the four different queens in the deck.
  2. Ask a friend to prepare a bag full of assorted articles. Without seeing the articles but by merely putting your hand in the bag and feeling the articles try and identify each of them.
  3. Blindfold yourself and ask a friend to hand over various currency notes into your hand. Identify the denomination of those notes.
  4. How often have you entered your house, smelled the food being cooked and decided what kind of a meal to expect?

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog

www.poweract.blogspot.com

6-6-feb-17-what-is-your-excuseExcuses come naturally to us. It is our defense mechanism against inertia, criticism and failure. Part of the reason is our upbringing. As children, if we were encouraged, appreciated and motivated chances are that we minimize excuses and focus on getting results. On the other hand, if as children we were discouraged from exploring, criticized for failing and shouted at for the mess created rather than appreciated for the outcome, excuses are the only shield we have to take refuge under. Unfortunately, over time, excuses become an extension of our personality and we rationalize every unsavory action of ours with creative excuses, most times merely fooling ourselves.

Once we remove excuses from our lexicon the benefits are enormous; just try it and see the difference.

You begin to dare/ explore – Fear of failure and criticisms are the two red flags that often derail our hopes and ambitions. We limit our actions to only those that we are sure will succeed, those that meet approval of peers and elders and those that are tried and tested. We have ready excuses for anything untoward. Give up excuses and then you become more daring and start exploring options that you are passionate about. Success and failure are just milestones/ markers along the way not millstones that weigh you down.

You discover hidden potential – You give expression to your passion, move out of your comfort zone and discover talents and potential that remained dormant within you. You do not have to rationalize your actions or the consequences; no excuses for anything; you take responsibility. Dare do win is your only motto.

You become creative – When failure is not a fear, when justification is not needed, then excuses have no place in your lexicon. You can give expression to your inner spirit, the vivid imagination you have, the adventure of a lifetime with you owing no one an explanation or justification. No excuses needed; more life explored; fun and failure is just a phase of life but the process is what brings the thrill.

You do not fear failure – If at first you don’t succeed you just begin to try again. If you find that you were following the wrong trail in life, all you need to do is change tracks with no excuses for your actions or the past. No fear of failure comes from the freedom of not having to explain or justify or give excuses.

You succeed – Success is not just a destination; it is actually the enjoyment of the journey. The destination is merely a marker in life that tells us how far we have come. Every moment is a challenge, so also an opportunity to make life more colorful and meaningful. When we leave behind the baggage of excuses to be given we are no longer weighed down by expectations, More importantly we are on a journey in which we set the pace, the destination and the breaks. Every move forward is success for we have traversed ahead. No excuses, no regrets, no failures, no finish line.

Try these:

  1. How can you color up the monotony of your work life, personal life and social life? Be creative, be daring, explore and act.
  2. Find creative ways to do the following:
  • Overcoming a bad habit / addiction
  • Becoming more productive in the work place and at home
  • Surprising friends and family
  • Overcoming an inhibition or fear
  • Picking up a good habit
  • Increasing your savings every month

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog

www.poweract.blogspot.com

5-scale-down-your-goalThe title of this post may sound ironical, as most times we are urged to have loft goals.  No doubt that it is good to aspire for the stars so that you may at least reach the moon; however if we have goals that are unrealistic then chances are that we get daunted by the task we have set for ourselves, get easily discouraged by visualizing the enormity of it and more often than not we give up easily.  This is invariably what happens when we set a personal goal, which focuses on being better than anyone else rather than making it more personalized and stating that I will be better than what I was yesterday.

You would observe that the goal to be better than what ‘I used to be’ is more personalized, it is more manageable, as we know what areas of our life we need to focus on and improve and most of all we can measure our progress every moment. E.g. we need to get rid of a bad habit. Once we identify that habit and make it our goal to get rid of it, then every time you lapse into it, you become aware of it and try consciously to overcome it.

The earlier example focused on overcoming a negative trait. A positive goal could be even more motivating and the results perhaps equally exhilarating. E.g. Students could have a goal to map out  a study schedule and complete the set task before indulging in their favorite relaxation like seeing TV or going for a weekend gig. Note that the first step though is to map out the schedule, without which, focusing on the goal is near impossible.

Scale down your goals but have lofty dreams. Make the goals become the steps of the ladder that you need to climb to attain those lofty goals. Inbuilt a mechanism to track progress, a motivator to keep going and definitely a penalty to ensure you get back on track if you stray.

Surprise yourself with the tremendous progress you make when you begin; never mind the baby steps; even Usain Bolt began by crawling, tottering and then steadying his walk before he realized he could outrun everyone. All you need to focus is on outrunning yourself !

Try these:

  1. Just list 3- 5 personal changes you want to ensure for yourself before the year end. Follow this up with specifics you will do to ensure you can attain your goal before the year end.
  2. List out how this year you will surprise
  • A friend
  • A family member
  • A neighbor
  • A colleague
  • A stranger
  • Yourself ( set a goal to overcome a fear or do a dare )

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog

www.poweract.blogspot.com

04-get-richTake away money as a measure of richness and ever single human being can be as rich as he /she chooses to be. True riches lies in being rich in mind body and soul. 

Keep in my mind the mantra:

I alone have the power to become as rich as I want to be.

The formula is simple, the application requires discipline and it’s your life your riches your choice.

Rich in knowledge – Read, observe, learn, teach, assimilate, experience, explore.

Rich in adventure – move away from your comfort zone, take risks, do something different, be creative, experiment.

Rich in laughter – See the funny side, laugh at yourself, share laughter, learn to see the funny side of the worst, think fun, be fun, make every moment fun.

Rich in family – Be together, meet often, celebrate together, keep in touch, talk more with each other, listen, touch, and hug.

Rich in health – Eat healthy, exercise, avoid stress, have a positive attitude, be around with people who make you happy and comfortable.

Rich in love – Love yourself! Love those around! Learn to love life! Learn love each moment.

Try these:

  1. Identify and use a website for each of the above riches. Oh yes there are ample alternatives online. If you want you can even identify a suitable app.
  2. Make it a point to do the following off and on
  • Tell (not share on whatsapp) a joke to a friend / colleague
  • Pay attention to a frequent criticism that you get and do something to overcome that.
  • Read something that is totally different from what you normally read
  • Surprise your family members for no special reason
  • Announce and do something challenging e.g. losing weight or dancing / singing at a function etc.

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog

www.poweract.blogspot.com

03-first-3-wordsOne of the problems many of us have is our inability to really identify something positive to focus upon. This is partly because our minds tend to stray towards what troubles us, our problems real and imagined and varied anxieties that we have made ‘much ado about nothing’. The problem becomes more acute at the start of the year for most of our plans/ resolutions tend to center around unfinished business, challenges to be met and overcoming our limitations. The grid above, however, has ample positives that stare at us and it would help if we focus on the first 3-5 positive words noticed and for the rest of the year align our goals to meet the goals those words beckon.

Honestly I would have loved to list out some of the words above, but then it would take away the fun for you.  Instead, my friends, I am using my power of identification to share my experience of using my time to focus on some goals that have helped me gain friends, popularity and happiness. While money is important, it is the fun of influencing lives that really drives me. The beauty of this is that, I can with all honesty confess, that I have a large circle of young friends and interacting with them makes me feel young at heart. By the way, you also need to use your time not just for yourself but also for others. Keeping busy would also ensure good health in mind and body. If you look carefully there is something positive in every line except for one word. It is not for me to identify it but yes if you have the lust for life, even that word would be positive although most times we use it in a negative context.

Have fun decoding the above and more importantly use those words to make this year a wonderful and productive year for you and all those whose lives you influence.

Try these:

The grid gives you enough to focus on. Break time for both you and me. Actually, it is break time for me just for this post; you have ample scope to keep busy for the rest of the year.

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog

www.poweract.blogspot.com

02-07-01-17strength-comesWhen a baby learns to take his/ her first step, it is always tentative and for the first few times it will fall down. Yet, it continues to trust its instincts and when he/ she has mastered the art, there is a perceptible sense of achievement and happiness on the child’s face as well as on the faces of the onlookers. We as adults have lost that sense of adventure, we do not trust our instincts and more than anything, we fear failure and so prefer not to attempt something new, different and exciting. Our strengths remain out of sight, undiscovered and we go to our grave clutching our potential.  Perhaps that also explains why we fear death; because suddenly there is so much more to achieve.

Obviously then, the challenge for us is to dare, do and win. Yes you can, if align the following within yourself and begin:

Self belief: Unless you believe you can do something, chances are that you won’t attempt it. Wish self belief comes the thrill of the challenge.  If you do not have self belief you would end to find excuses not to dare. Questions like why should I? What is in it for me? How will it benefit me? May be it is not my cup of tea etc. would constantly keep niggling you.  You would then prefer to ignore the challenge than confront it.

Planning: While self belief will give you an impetus, a motivation to begin, never attempt a challenge like a casual dare. Outlining a plan to succeed is the key to every challenge. It is also the way to ensure that you have clarity about your objective, a clear road map forward and the required resources to achieve success. E.g. If Public Speaking is your fear, simply getting up and blabbering when forced to, may not give you the desired result. You must plan your topic, prepare for it, practice it and then create the opportunity to demonstrate your ability.

Daring: Self belief will give you the motivation, planning will largely insure your success but without daring, you may falter and fail to start. Daring comes from visualizing success, from having confidence that you have planned and prepared well and from the self belief that you will succeed. Sometimes, daring comes from having no alternative. This is typically what happens in a class room presentation, when every student has to overcome his/ her fear of public speaking for there is no alternative. Remember it is the first time that is the hardest.

Focus: Our limitations are accentuated when we lose focus while attempting the challenge. If we let ourselves be distracted by some blips or glitches that we encounter despite the best of planning the chances are we let our confidence slip. Focus on the resources available, delve into your creative inner self and calm your pounding heart to regain your focus. E.g. when learning to drive initially we grip the steering wheel too hard, we tend to view the accelerator, brake and clutch separately thereby stalling the car more often. It is only with some practice that we tend to see that the three have to work in tandem and that we need to relax a bit more when steering. The focus must be even and that happens when one has sufficient practice and then expertise takes over.

Persistence: Remember the time you learned to cycle or swim. Chances are that you fell, scraped yourself when attempting to cycle or when in the pool drank a lot of water or felt yourself drowning. You mastered the art only because a scraped knee or the fear of sinking did not kill your self belief. The same resilience is called into action whenever you dare to do something different, something challenging, something you have never attempted. There is always the possibility that you may not succeed in your first attempt but persistence is what ensures you succeed.

Look back on the thrill of having overcome many a challenge when you followed your creed to dare, do and win.   It is the same thrill that now beckons you; you suddenly discover both your potential and your strength; the happiness that you get is a huge bonus.

Try these:

Make a list of dares / challenges that you would like to attempt. It could be as dramatic as parachuting or conquering a fear of holding a reptile (like a snake) in your hands. Dare, do and win is next.

List out some of your latent desires e.g. writing poetry, having an exhibition of your art work, singing on stage etc. Assuming you have a decent talent in the respective field, take up the challenge to do this year.

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog

www.poweract.blogspot.com