Month: January 2010

Decisions

Wherever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision. Peter Drucker

One of the most apt quotes from the foremost management guru’s of this century, it is very relevant to us,  for decision making is perhaps the toughest and most critical competencies that a human being has to have,  in order to progress. Your decision to read this blog now,  is the reason you have reached so far and now you have to make the decision to read more or to do something else.  Perhaps at this very moment you get a telephone call or a chat message, it is more likely that you will take a decision to focus on that, than to continue to read this. Notice that the distractions/ the temptations/ the alternatives are there are all moments and you and you alone take the important decision to succumb to them or prioritize your actions.

Apart from distractions, many of us suffer from another dimension of decision making viz. Paralysis by Analysis. Fear of failure is the main culprit for this. We would like to fail proof our decision, but that is easier said than done. To this end though, we seek facts, more facts and still more facts in the form of tables, charts, data, information etc. pertaining to some critical item on our agenda, but rather than getting clarity on the next course of action, we are often confused, caught up in the myriad of figures and data and would rather sit on the available information than take a concrete decision. Our sub conscious logic being if things turn out to go well wonderful; else we aren’t responsible, it is fate. What we fail to realize is that not taking a decision itself is a decision! Your fate is in your hands my friend – you make it or break it!!

Half hearted compromise decisions are not decisions at all; and this is the third leg of decision making that we often fail to appreciate. We are more often than not, guilty of this because we want the decisions to be palatable to all, we do not want to hurt anyone’s sentiments and we would like  to ensure that our image as being  fair and reasonable is maintained when we take the decision. The end result is that the decision taken is just a compromise and not a decision. In such cases the short term effects could be productive but in reality is a mirage and the long term implications could be disastrous.  Political decisions offer classic insights into this phenomenon.

Remember: “Theodore Hesburgh ‘s  advice  ‘My basic principle is that you don’t make decisions because they are easy; you don’t make them because they are cheap; you don’t make them because they’re popular; you make them because they’re right.”

Try these :

  • If you haven’t made and written down your New Year resolutions – take a decision and do it NOW. Don’t give any excuses for not attempting to list them out.. The more the resolutions the better it is for you – since you will have some direction and goals for the coming year. Outline how and when you propose to go about trying to achieve them. This will cement your resolve to achieve it. Notice how many decisions you made in the process.
  • Do you have any regrets in life? It could be the poor grades you got, a failed love affair, your inability to be an extrovert, Lack of friends, poor interpersonal relationships, your inability to forgive, your quick temper etc.  Do you think you have taken sufficient steps to try and overcome these? Are you still oscillating about the course of action to be taken? Do you have many excuses for those regrets and the accompanying bitterness or disenchantment?
  • Self discipline is a key attribute for success. Can you make a decision as to what areas in your life you need to exercise more self discipline? Ask yourself if you have a few friends who are actually a bad influence on you? If yes can you take up the challenge to distance yourself from them? If you have to seek help from someone experienced or more mature and have avoided it all these days, can you now decide to do it at the earliest?

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our weekly inspirational and motivational blog www.poweract.blogspot.com

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Change

Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.  George Bernard Shaw

Change is the natural progression of life. Every day is a new day with a new set of challenges, a new source of energy and a variety of trials and triumphs. As individuals too we are growing older, perhaps wiser too, growing in girth perhaps and definitely growing in experience. However, it is our passive acceptance of change that creates problems for us. We see change merely as something inevitable and not as an opportunity.

When we realize that we need to respond to change proactively by acknowledging it, adopting or adapting to it and by embracing it whole heartedly even though we do not like it, that is when change becomes our allay, our catalyst for growth. If we simply examine the changes that have occurred in the last few years, we can see the rapid influence of changing technology, changing values, changing attitudes on our social, economic and emotional fabric. We need to constantly adjust ourselves to these changes or we soon find ourselves stranded alone on an island of ignorance with crisscrossing pathways way of confusion and dimly lit experiences which shatter our pride, ego and enthusiasm.

Once we have made peace with the rapid changes around us, we can be sure that these changes will not steamroll you and flatten you on the highway to tomorrow. More importantly, you will then become an agent for change, a crusader for new systems and perhaps even the master of change. You will be faced with doubts, your abilities will be challenged and sometimes you have to traverse a lonely road but when you reach the end of the trail you would be ahead of the pack, for the rest would have opted for the old and beaten circuitous path.

What one must not change though is our good value systems, our ability to love, our large heartedness in forgiving and our zest for life! All change will then revolve around this axis and then you will easily adjust to change but never succumb to lures of change.

Remember: “Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”

Try these:

  • What are the 5 changes each, that you have noticed over the past 5 years in the area of technology, health care, education, environment and politics? How does any or each of these changes impact you? How will you respond to these changes?
  • What are the personal changes in your life over the past 5 years –look at your lifestyle, education, physical fitness, social interactions, value systems when listing these changes. How many of the changes are beneficial to you. Have the changes made you compromise somewhere?
  • Try changing your route of daily travel. Experiment with exotic cuisines. Read a different genre of books or see a different genre of movies / TV serials. Try to wear some different types of clothes. Experiment with new technology like using a digital book reader/ touch screen mobiles/ using speech recognition software. What were your experiences? Did you learn from the experience. Did you give up too fast? Did you discover their utility?

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our weekly inspirational and motivational blog www.poweract.blogspot.com

Role Model

Example is the school of mankind, and they will learn at no other. Burke

It is said that imitation is the best form of flattery. How many of us would wish it weren’t so true, because if others were to imitate us too often, we would be more embarrassed than proud. If you don’t believe me, here is a quick check. Ask your spouse/ children/ colleague/ superior / subordinate / friend to list out 5 things in you they wish you changed. More often than not, the list would exceed 5 easily. Guess that is a good reality check to realize that while most times we are at our best behavior, quite often we set poor examples for others to follow.

The poor examples we set may relate to a poor personal character or a bad habit. It could also be because of a lack of self discipline or a dubious moral value structure or simply a bad disposition. What ever the cause or reason, if what we do pricks our consciences though we may rationalize it to one an all, you can be sure it is not worth emulating. Telling white lies, a couple of pegs when one is recommended, gorging on food when you have to diet, using abusive language because it is not really meant but just an expression of myself, being stingy  are unfortunate examples of bad habits masquerading as necessary evils. Boorish behavior, cheating, telling blatant lies, physical abuse, having a violent temper are worse behavior on a rising scale of the poor role models.

On the other hand, many of us choose role models who have excelled in something maybe sports, academics, entrepreneurship, acting, technology etc. When we adopt role models, it is imperative to go beyond their success and actually see the effort and sacrifice put in by them to attain the accolades. It is important to realize that the end product is actually the outcome of tremendous hard work, self belief and sacrifice. Are we prepared to follow them up the same path they have and feel the pain they felt?

Remember : Lives of great men all remind us we can make our lives sublime; and, departing, leave behind us, footprints on the sands of time.- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Try these:

  • Who is your role model? Ask you self why you have chosen that person as your role model. Do you know a lot about your role models upbringing, background and efforts? Are there some blemishes in the role model that you would not want to imitate in your life?
  • Can you list out the faults in yourself that you need to correct or work on? Ask a close friend or your spouse to evaluate you and see if there are many areas of improvement in you, that they point out to. Outline your plan of action to tackle these areas of improvement and ensure you put a start date and a time frame to see the results.
  • Make an attempt to take on a new task or challenging assignment voluntarily. It could be something related to your profession like learning a new professional course or it could be a social oriented activity but something you have never attempted before. What is the new learning you got by playing a different role?

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our weekly inspirational and motivational blog www.poweract.blogspot.com

Visualization

We all live under the same sky, but we don’t all have the same horizon. •Konrad Adenauer

There is a popular misconception that only artists, poets and writers are really creative and have extraordinary powers of visualization. In reality, every human being is blessed with these powers and this is one power that no one can take away from you. Look at the varied dreams that you have, which in many ways reflect the expanse of the mind in going beyond time, space and reality. Visualization is seeing beyond the obvious, thinking with the eye on the future, giving flight to imagination and stimulating passion to scale newer heights that can be translated into action.

While all of us have the ability to visualize, the extent, depth and scope of visualization would vary from individual to individual. Visualization helps one to see the big picture, the grandiose scheme of things and the success of ones mission. Perhaps that accounts for the fact that Visualization is one of the essential qualities for any leader. The exploits of Alexander the Great or East India Company or the Google Team have all one thing in common a large vision set by the leader.

Some may argue that day dreaming too  is a form of visualization which is but an exercise in futility. Day dreaming is for the fools, Visualization is for the enlightened. Daydreaming is merely a lazy way to live in a make believe world, visualization is the proactive way to chalk out the road map to building edifices that give expression to our yearnings, our talents and our efforts. While some look up and see just the tree tops or high rise buildings, others see the stars; those with vision see the patterns in the stars and follow them. Do you remember the three kings in the bible who went in search of the new born king by following the odd star.

Remember : See things as you would have them be instead of as they are. Robert Collier

Try these:

  • Do you have a personal list of all the things you would have loved to do in life if you ha the time and money? If not, write down that list NOW. Don’t worry if the list is having 25 items, more items means better visualization. Don’t limit your list for any reason; if it is something you wanted to, do just jot it down.
  • Do you visualize computers being able to help you smell, feel touch, read your mind? If you say yes, even if you are a non scientific person, write down what or how would you go about achieving this? Use layman’s language for your description.
  • If you have written down your list.. only then click on the link and see Mr.John Goddard’s list of 127 things he planned to do. http://www.johngoddard.info/life_list.htm Is your list as long? Do you have any item as challenging as some of those on his list? Do you think you need to visualize bigger, better, braver!

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our weekly inspirational and motivational blog www.poweract.blogspot.com

HOPE

Hope is putting faith to work when doubting would be easier. Anon

In the previous post, we saw the wonders that enthusiasm can work. One of the reasons that we can get up every morning with a smile on our face and a song on lips is the ‘Hope’ that we have, that the new day would be even better than the previous day. Hope is like the battery recharger that connects you to the positive energy in life and fills you with enthusiasm and motivation.

Hope works best when you are plugged into reality knowing fully well that the pitfalls of life never sound the death knell, unless we give up and wallow in the shallow cess pool of self pity and doom. Death of a loved one, failure in some of our attempts, financial crisis, personal crisis are all inevitable;  hope is the balm for all these torturous moments. Faith in the future, in your abilities, in your will and determination boost your HOPE and will provide you the wherewithal for any emergency or calamity in your life.

Helping Ourselves Pursue Excellence is a wonderful way of visualizing HOPE. No matter what the dangers, however harsh the criticism, inspite of many failures, you can always succeed if you commit to a worthwhile goal, and with the knowledge that you can visualize success, that ordinary mortals find hard to imagine. When Hope gives us inspiration and you provide the perspiration, the results will vindicate your aspirations.

Remember: Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out”

Try these:

  • List our some of the crisis that you encountered in your student days. How did you face it and what was the outcome. Do you feel you could have handled it better? Did the event/s make you stronger emotionally and mentally?
  • If you analyze your recent crisis do you think you had any power to avoid it? Do you feel responsible for some of the crisis? Do you think you can work out an action plan to face a crisis?
  • What is the next major project that you plan to do. It could be a personal project like a long overseas vacation with the family or a major house redecoration or an official project. In the event that these plans go for a toss because of an unexpected crisis, how would you ensure that the family or your team cope with it.

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our weekly inspirational and motivational blog www.poweract.blogspot.com

Enthusiasm

Give me a man who sings at his work. Thomas Carlyle

It is no secret that a person with a pleasant disposition and countenance, is often the most popular person around. It is true in all walks of life and the best part is that such people liven up the environment they are in. A fairly reliable indicator of such positive, happy and energetic people is that they always have a smile on their face, a song on their lips and faith in themselves.

The world at large puts a premium on education, skills and hard work in order to separate the wheat from the chaff. However, when it comes to selecting team members, it is soon evident that these attributes have to be supplemented by subtle qualities in the individual like creativity, motivation and enthusiasm if one has to get a winning combination. One on one too, a single individual with conviction in himself, can take on any challenge and deliver results if he is driven by enthusiasm and is equally motivated.

The beauty of enthusiasm is that it charges up the person, gives him boundless energy, fires up his spirit and enables him to transmit the fervor to anyone who comes in contact with him. Equally importantly, work on hand becomes a pleasure for him, the completion of the task a welcome goal and excellence the only standard that he believes in. Who would not like to be associated with such a person – be it a superior, a subordinate or a team member.

Remember : Nobody grows old merely by living a number of years. We grow old by deserting our ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul.”

Try these

  • List out the leisure activities that you are most enthusiastic about. How do you ensure that you find time for that activity / activities? Can you draw up a list of tasks in your work that you are equally enthusiastic about? Are there tasks that you dislike / hate and how do you cope with them?
  • Select 3 jobs that you would hate to do. Now outline how those doing those jobs motivate themselves to do it. How do the following people motivate themselves- a grave digger, the doctor doing post mortems, the guards on trains, the watchmen on night duty.
  • If you had an option to change your profession or subjects of studies (if you are a student), what would your alternative be. Do you think you will do much better there? If yes- then are you prepared to make the switch? If no- what is holding you back?

This blog is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also welcome to visit our weekly inspirational and motivational blog www.poweract.blogspot.com

Give your best

Give to the world the best you have and the best will come back to you. Madeline Bridges

There are times when we enthusiastically plunge into a task with confidence and vigour. The task complete, we might be taken aback to see that our hard work and efforts have not given returns commensurate to our expectations. It is at this point that self doubt creeps in and we begin to question our abilities, wonder if we really need to put in as much effort as we did and mentally remonstrate that next time we just do the bare minimum to get the talks done.

Giving up is easy, but it is self-defeating. Throwing in the towel even in a boxing match is actually done by the coach of the loser not the loser himself, so how justified are we in giving up simply because the returns fall short of our expectations. Giving of our best, ensures that we have planned well, put in our best efforts and we have done a diligent job. When we can consistently replicate that, we would experience a tremendous sense of achievement irrespective of the results of the effort. When we examine our work done we would also notice that in many subtle ways we have been rewarded ; the experience itself is invaluable, the feeling of achievement is very fulfilling, our confidence in ourself is reinforced and we can be optimistic that we will be justly rewarded too.

The most amazing thing about giving of our best is that more often than not we actually end up getting the best that life has to offer. It could be a promotion, a better job offer, appreciation from the least  likely source, recognition by peers and superiors or simply the sense of achievement and contentment that soothes us in body, mind and spirit. If we step back and count our blessings we will realise that we are fortunate to get so much and you can be sure it is not an accident but as they say ‘ What goes around comes around”

Remember : “The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today.”

Try these :

  • Outine 3 – 5 tasks that you have done that you are very proud of. Ask yourself if you were forced to do it or you did it own you own. When forced to do it how did you over come your reservations about the task. Did you experience a sense of achievement at the end of the task?
  • In your current role, what are those tasks that you dislike immensely and why. Do you think there are better ways to tackle those tasks? Are there only a few tasks that you find it hard to give of your best or most tasks look tough to you?What activities excite you and motivate you the most? Have you examined the possibility of making a career out of those tasks?
  • How do you realise that you have given of your best in what you do? Do you appreciate good jobs done by others? How do you indicate your appreciation or dissatisfaction to others?

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You ar also welcome to visit our weekly inspirational and motivational blog www.poweract.blogspot.com

Patience

The secret of patience … to do something else in the meantime.•Anon
Patience is a virtue that is both rare and valued. Patience tests our self control, nudges our value systems, challenges our emotions, makes us question our self belief and exposes our fragility in matters of mind and heart. It is the ultimate test of our character and our composure. Anyone who has the gift of patience will never be short of friends.

Look at ourselves; as children we lost our temper when forced into anything, refused goodies, threatened with dire consequences for indiscretions  and bullied into studying. As teens, the issues remained the same but the scope of parental and societal pressures just kept piling up. As adults, when our patience was tested we continued to rebel but now the consequences were more serious and so we often cloaked lack of patience and our annoyance in varied masks of indifference, avoidance of people or tasks, backbiting and gossip and in extreme case with subtle threats.

With the pace of the world getting faster, our patience levels are getting much lower and our reactions much stronger. Perhaps that accounts for higher incidence of violence, increasing road rage, divorce cases shooting up, the rise in psychiatric cases and the large number  of suicides. The pressures of meeting academic excellence, the unrealistic parental expectations, the craving for financial success and the craze for instant success and recognition have been resulted in more frustration and dissatisfaction.

Patience can be cultivated if we recognize that our life is to short to waste on  just disciplining  and monitoring others;  be it our children, our spouse, our elders or our neighbors and acquaintances. At the same time, we cannot avoid our responsibilities, but we must know where to draw the line and let others lead their own lives. When our patience is tested, we need to focus on other areas that require our attention and let the irritants be sorted  out  on  its own. The key is to deflect our attention from what makes us lose our patience to what can give us positive results and happiness.

Remember : “The keys to patience are acceptance and faith. Accept things as they are, and look realistically at the world around you. Have faith in yourself and in the direction you have chosen.” Ralph Marston

Try these

  • Think of the situations and people who test your patience. Be honest and ask yourself how many of these situations are created by you? How many the people who test your patience are known to you intimately? The answers will be a revelation.
  • How do you normally react, when you lose your patience? Does your temper go up; do you get abusive; do you sulk; do you demonstrate physically; do you get sarcastic; do you simply walk away; do you crib and indulge in backbiting?
  • How will you recognize that you are losing your patience? Outline the steps you will take ensure that your patience levels increase. What are those compulsive behavior that you will attempt to check when you realize that you have lost your patience.
  • Can you identify the person in your life who displayed exemplary patience? How do you think this person managed to have such extraordinary patience. Have you ever thanked the person for the patience shown to you?

This blog is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our weekly inspirational and motivational blog www.poweract.blogspot.com

Work

Everything considered, work is less boring than amusing oneself.  Charles Baudelaire

It is very rarely that you come across people who say that they thoroughly enjoy what they do. If you probe that further, you will realize that most of us are working to earn a living and not working because we enjoy what we are doing. The reasons for frustrations strangely enough have less to do with the nature of work itself, but more to do with our attitude, our pre conceived notions and our personal failings in terms of envy, jealousy, ego etc.

In the rat race of life, most of us do not follow our heart and instead are guided by well meaning parents and elders who push, goad and pressurize us into academics and careers that they perceive offers the best job prospects. Unfortunately, the overwhelming large majority of us, in our formative years are clueless about our real passions, risk averse in exploring opportunities that interest us but are far removed from the family history or the social norms and even more bound by family expectations and values to assert our independent views. Work therefore is not a choice but thrust on us and we often find it difficult to reconcile to the monotony and drabness of our work.

In reality though, the ideal thing is to follow our hearts desire and chart out own course. In practice though we might be stuck with a job or career that can in theory be thrown to the winds and a fresh start made but we lack the courage to do it. Then the best option is to find motivation in the work we have, make creative allowances to love what we do and accept changes in work as being for the best. Once we have changed our mental frame of reference to our work, you will discover new pleasures in mundane tasks, gladly take on challenges that others refuse, wont make monetary rewards the focus of our work, we will revel in team work and the fruits of team success and wont be envious of others or jealous of their apparent successes.

More importantly, it will dawn on us that not having anything to do will bore us to death and if retirement is what we pine for when stressed at work, how much more stressful will it be when we have nothing to do and a life time ahead. How often and how long can you amuse yourself doing just daily chores and keeping busy with trivial pursuits? The lucky person is one who has a passion to pursue and all the time and resources in the world to do it. Of course then it becomes our daily work that we enjoy and embrace, proving that Charles Baudelaire was absolutely right!

Remember: Take up a profession that is your passion and you will never have to work a day in your life!

 Try these:

  •  Look back a your childhood- what were the dreams you had when you were 7 years, 11 years, 15 years, 17 years and 21 years old. Did these dreams change over time? Have you pursued any of these dreams? Are any of these dreams still a passion? Do you have it in you, to risk everything to peruse that passion?
  • Ask yourself if you enjoy Monday mornings. Do you enjoy the job profile, the work environment and the job itself? If you got an opportunity to choose your job what would you choose?
  • It is never too late to follow your passion provided you know what you want to pursue. Identify that today. Then fix a time slot on a daily or weekly basis to pursue it, It could be learning something new, maybe teaching someone, maybe a creative pursuit like writing, photography, painting etc, maybe a social activity like helping the less privileged, maybe traveling to explore nature, new destinations, etc.

 This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our weekly inspirational and motivational blog www.poweract.blogspot.com

Tomorrow – Brings Opportunity

Tomorrow is the mysterious, unknown guest. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

When we buy a lottery ticket or gamble in a casino or lay a wager or bet, it is hope that gives us impetus to make a payout, even when the odds are heavily stacked against us. Tomorrow is a FREE lottery given by God and Nature and it is for us to seek out the opportunities that come with the new day. The beauty of tomorrow is that we make no payout, there is a very high probability of reward (being alive to see the morrow itself is the biggest reward) and brings it with a fresh beginning, new friends and opportunities galore.

Tomorrow is like a guest who rarely comes empty handed. Some are a pain, a few are tolerable and amidst all these, there are a few whose company you enjoy. Despite these differences, we play good hosts to all the guests, thank them for their time and company and invite them again and often leave them with the promise of a return visit. Tomorrow is a guest that encompasses all these traits with one difference; the traits we see in tomorrow depend on us, our moods, our temperament, out thinking and our emotions. If you decide to have a good day, a good time, and have a song on our lips, tomorrow is the most welcome guest.

Alas, far too often we look at tomorrow as a piggy bank to deposit our unpleasant chores, the tough tasks that we hate to do, relegate to the back burner what irritates and bothers us (like seeing a doctor for our illness). Tomorrow unfortunately then, becomes a piggy bank carrying excuses, regrets, sorrows and apologies. Look at tomorrow not as a piggy bank but as the Bank of Life – doling out abundance of hope, exciting gifts wrapped in various hues of friends, lucky breaks, self growth and tons of Opportunities.

Remember: The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today. Franklin D. Roosevelt

Try these

  • List out the undone work of today, prioritize them and keep it ready to be tackled tomorrow. Add new work and chores for the day each morning to this list. Focus on doing the most dreaded work, the toughest chores and the unpleasant tasks and you will love your today and eagerly await tomorrow.
  • Do you have a planner to list down the tasks on due dates whether it is bill payments, sending greetings, scheduling appointments etc.? Make it a habit and where possible (like sending greetings) do it well on time.
  • Who and how will you surprise tomorrow; make a list every night before going to bed. You will be amazed how much pleasure you get by being the surprise guest in other peoples lives.

 This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our weekly inspirational and motivational blog www.poweract.blogspot.com