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Archive for May, 2010

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In the post dated 18th May 2010 on the topic Life is to be lived, we had sought entries from you as under

I would welcome some original epitaphs to be emailed to mailblj@yahoo.com along with your name, age and location. Please avoid copying epitaphs from the net or other sources but attempt to write one for yourself. Quality contributions received up to 31st May 2010 may be published and showcased on this blog around 6th June 2010.

Unfortunately as on date we have not received any original epitaphs. It could be indifference, it could be personal difficulty or it could be fear  of death itself. What ever be the reason it is a wee bit disheartening and I am wondering if the Try This is really a useful section.

Your feedback will be much valued.

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Because things are the way they are, things will not stay the way they are. Bertolt Brecht

Every single day the sun rises in the east and sets in the west; yet each day is very different from the previous and you can bet it will change tomorrow too. Similarly there are no major changes that happen in our lives on a daily basis and that are why by and large we are able to follow a routine. That is also the reason we are able to predict the future and plan for it too. However we are also aware that there could be sudden upheavals, unforeseen happenings and definite changes in a planned routine and so factor in this when we draw up plans.

The bigger problem is when changes creep up and we do not see it happening. This is extremely dangerous because we are often not forewarned, preparing for an unknown eventuality is a near impossibility and when things change we could be swept away by the sheer scale, intensity and novelty of the change. This is why R&D occupies an important place in the business set up especially where there is competition and where there is huge demand. Market driven companies can provide ample examples right from the innumerable varieties of mobile phones to the onslaught of sachets, ready to cook food and the personalization of the mass media because of the internet.

It is on the personal front that it becomes more challenging for us to anticipate change. The generation gap is often a good barometer of this sudden emergence of a reality that was always creeping home but one we side stepped. Fashion, style, art, music and lifestyles have changed over the years and we find it hard to identify with the new trends. While in the old days only the tough soldiers and particularly the navy men who got themselves tattooed, it is today a rage amongst the youngsters, particularly the girls. The music space too is seeing a proliferation of styles with rap and metal giving way to influences that are continent and country specific like Latin American, Indian and Arabian influences integrating with the pop and rock.

Technology is responsible for this sudden spurt in the changes that are rapidly engulfing us and paradoxically it is technology that also provides solutions to foreseeing trends. Technology itself is undergoing a major metamorphosis and so relatively new technology like the floppy, the CD’s and the desk top itself have almost become obsolete and will shortly be extinct. The computer is here to stay but the computing will be very different from what was originally conceived; in a nutshell that sums up the crux of today’s post.

Remember: “Change is the essence of life. Be willing to surrender what you are for what you could become.”

Try these:

  1. Take on a challenge to give yourself a new look beginning with the physical go on to try and harness your talents and give in to your passions.
  2. Predict 5 changes that you think will happen in the next 5 years. Can you outline the type of change that will come about and its impact on you, the society at large and the world?

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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A good example is the best sermon. Anon

Often we are carried away by the eloquence and oratory of an excellent public speaker. Primarily this is because he or she has the expertise, has prepared well and has the personality and ability to communicate well. We get inspired and charged up and it is possible that we also attempt to put in practice the take aways from the preaching. Unfortunately, many of us lack the will power to sustain and soon we are back in square one. Other times, we are disinterested in the talk and except for some odd remarks or pearls of wisdom most of the talk does not register. Yet those few words linger long and we might frequently reflect on them for it has touched a chord in us.

However what remains etched in our minds and our hearts are those acts of kindness and love that you experienced first hand or that you were privileged to witness. It could be the tenderness and patience of mother who has to take care of a mentally or physically challenged child. Perhaps you have a special affection for a neighbor or a teacher who believed in you and encouraged you. Sometimes it is the real life incidents which we read about that brings fresh perspectives and touches a raw nerve within us. The success of the Chicken Book Series is a case in point. Remember the story of an old couple who were force to live apart because the wife was stricken with Alzheimer’s and had to be institutionalized. Yet every single day the old man made a trip from his house and spent long hours with his wife who would barely recognize him. Finally  a well meaning nurse suggested to the old man that it was futile that he waste his time, money and energy coming daily to meet his wife who could not recognize him. The old mans reply will bring a lump to your throat ‘She may not recognize me but I know who she is and that is why I come to see her daily’

‘Seeing is believing’ is an old adage; however the true meaning of it is in the domain of examples set by those who we look upon as role models. Parents are the primary source from whom we learn be it the 3 R’s or values or temperament. This is closely followed by the observation of teachers, relatives and neighbors and all those whom we are in close contact with. It would be hypocrisy for a parent who smokes to tell his kids not to smoke or for a teacher to tell students not to copy in exams while they allow students leeway when they are supervising. It is normal for people to prefer the easy path, the pleasure filled road and imitate the behavior that is most prevalent.

Each of us must realize that we are being observed, our actions imitated consciously or unconsciously and our words and actions minutely analyzed for discrepancies by very many people whom we come in contact with. More importantly it is imperative that we recognize the fact that words are very easy to articulate; it is very very tough to Walk the Talk.

Remember: “Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.”St. Francis of Assisi

Try this:

  1. Name a close relative (it could be either of your parents or grandparents or uncle or aunt) who you greatly admire. Now list out 5 qualities that endear that person to you. Also name one quality of that person which you feel needs to be changed/ worked on /is irritating.
  2. For the next one week, make an attempt at improving your behavior, working on changes that your loved ones always want you to incorporate. It could be spending more time at home or it could be increasing your study time or it could be keeping your room and cupboards neat and tidy etc.

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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Every new adjustment is a crisis in self-esteem.  Eric Hoffer

Adjustment definitely indicates a shift from the status quo. For almost everyone this shift brings with it a number of questions relating to ‘what happens next’.  With the rare exception of very desperate people or extremely positive people, most normal people would be circumspect about the adjustment, primarily because we are concerned about how what the possible negative impact of the change would be. Desperate people will go with an attitude of it can’t get worse whilst the positive people will look at it as another opportunity around the corner.

The bigger problem of adjustment though, is its impact on our self esteem. Invariably the adjustment is because of changing circumstances most of it not initiated by our self. Worse still if the adjustment is forced up on us our ego will first question the authority and authenticity of the source of change. The human mind will then go on the defense and conjure up imaginary negative impact of the adjustment so as to take preventive action if and when the eventuality happens. Job transfers are a classic case of an event requiring a major adjustment. Beginning with accommodation and schooling of kids, it also raises worries about the new work environment, the quality of work, the type of superior one will have to deal with and the cultural and social adjustments one has to make.

Our upbringing and personal nature also play a major role in either minimizing the crisis of the self-esteem problems in adjustments or precipitating it.  There are times when we take a high moral ground and refuse to budge from your position even if you realize that your argument is weak. Eg. When we refuse to give alms to a beggar ostensibly because you are opposed to encouraging beggars but realistically because you do not have any small denomination currency. Other times we make the adjustments with poor grace and an even worse temperament.  Road rage is a vivid  example of such behavior. Our inability to cope with change particularly technological change is a major crisis in self adjustment.  While we would love to own the latest gadgets, finances permitting, we actually hesitate even when we can afford to acquire the gadgets simply because we fear w may not be able to operate the equipment. Eg.The latest mobile telephones are a rage with the youngsters but don’t cut much ice with the older generation who put on a façade of ‘not really requiring the features’ to justify themselves.

A good test of knowing your own ability to cope with adjustments is to check on how often you decline opportunities, ask yourself how weak is your argument for declining and what are the first thoughts that come to mind, when you see a change coming. Finally also ask yourself if you are ashamed to attempt and fail. If the answer is an overwhelming yes, then you have a major crisis of self esteem on hand.

Remember: “The golden opportunity you are seeking is in yourself. It is not in your environment, it is not in luck or chance, or the help of others; it is in yourself alone.” Orison Swett Marden

Try this:

  1. Assume that you are travelling in train with your family and you have reserved seats.  At a certain junction a very old lady enters the compartment and requests you to make a small adjustment and let her sit since she has no reservation and she has to go to another place which is 6 hours away. How will you realistically deal with the situation? Will your response be different if the lady entered at 9 am or 9 pm?
  2. Go and attend a concert or play or musical show or a magic show or a circus or any program preferably of a genre that you have never been to.  For best results go alone and avoid all temptation of taking a friend along. Examine your own feelings before, during and after the show. Irrespective of the quality of the show or your ability to appreciate it, did you enjoy the experience?

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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The world belongs to the enthusiast who keeps cool. William McFee

Though it sounds paradoxical, an enthusiast while being overtly exuding energy and confidence can succeed only when he can rein in his exuberance and calmly go about achieving his goals. As Dale Carnegie correctly identified, enthusiasms holds the key to success. Without enthusiasm we can achieve very little but we can definitely hope to achieve much with enthusiasms simply because your heart and mind is focused on the task on hand. Enthusiasm however has the tendency to let people get carried away. They get so focused and energetic that they may be oblivious to some pitfalls along the way or may ignore the strengths and strategy of the opponent with disastrous consequences.

Keeping cool is a pretty tough task for an energetic, charged up and high strung person. When the adeline is pumping, when the competitions is hotting up and smell of success overpowering it takes a lot to calm down and relax for the tension is at its peak and the keeping the momentum paramount. However, time and time again one will see that it is those who can keep their nerve by taking things calmly and approach a task systematically who often triumphs. Take the case of a pulsating T20 cricket match. No matter what score the team batting first scores, there is always the perceptible tension when the team batting second begins. No doubt the larger the score to chase, the greater the tempo and the tension. Most times, the results vindicate the approach of the team that has kept its nerves.

Many of us are guilty of enthusiastically staring a task and then feeling deflated at every obstacle and if we are losers, we simply give up. The challenge for the enthusiast is to pick up tasks that are within the ambit of his/ her capability and to approach the task systematically and methodically making due allowances for setbacks and hindrances. Sad to say, most of us lose steam midway not because we are not capable but because we don’t have the persistence and discipline to see the task to its logical end. Assume you have the stamina and technique to run a marathon and complete it with a decent timing. However, it would be futile and foolhardy to participate in a prestigious tournament without adequate preparation, practice and sufficient motivation.

Enthusiasm will ignite the spark that sets us on the path to glory; but we need to have enough resources within us, the right temperament to leverage the resources correctly and above all a cool head to ensure that we think and act in sync with one eye on our goal and the other on ourselves. That is when we can honestly say that we have kept our cool and grasped the world.

Remember: “Enthusiasm is the mother of effort, and without it nothing great was ever achieved.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Try these:

  1. Stop reading the post pick up a pen and paper and list 3 things you hate to do. If writing is one of the things you wrote, attempt to enthusiastically add another 5 pet hates. Choose the first 3 things you hate and for the next one week, attempt to enthusiastically attempt it. Eg. You might hate to do anything that involves maths or numbers. So your challenge is to enthusiastically do a Sudoku challenge daily or attempt a maths based puzzle daily.
  2. In your daily routine, it is possible that you have formed the habit of doing the unpleasant tasks last. During the coming week try to make a conscious and enthusiastic effort to do those tasks first before you go on to do other chores. Also make an effort to postpone or avoid those tasks that you look forward eg. Reading the newspaper first thing in the morning or drinking a hot cup of coffee. Can you inject some enthusiasm into the postponement?

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 your thoughts and you change your world.  Norman Vincent Peale

We are all reconciled to the fact that change is the one permanent thing that we are going to face daily. So it is in our interest to make friends with change so that change becomes an allay and a motivator in our lives. The easiest way to do that is to begin changing our own rigid thoughts, becoming more liberal in interpreting events around us and accepting with grace the reality that we are faced with. Unfortunately, we are creatures of habits and worse still is our unquestioning dogmatic adherence to customs, traditions and rituals and that is capped by our obstinate refusal to see events unfold in the correct perspective. Perhaps some of us also have the additional handicap of myopic foresight and redundant ideas of progress.

Take the case of a middle class individual. He/ she is conditioned to believe that we must have modest aspirations, set ‘rational goals’ and be risk averse and safe guard ones income. When these are drilled by family, society and circumstances, making a mental change and thinking big becomes a near superhuman effort, for the mind will not let the heart follow its path. Logic will supersede emotions and safety will override risk taking. Fortunately there are ample examples of success stories of people who have dared to dream differently and who have achieved their dreams. So making that mental adjustment is much easier than it was in the past. However a mindset change is the sole prerogative of the individual concerned and he/ she alone can attempt it.

History is resplendent with examples of men and women who changed their thoughts and changed their world. Helen Keller stands out as a beacon both metaphorically and figuratively when one lists out the torch bearers of change. The exploits of Douglas Bader during world war are immortalized, while Arthur Ashe and George Washington Carver showed the world the lofty heights that the black man could scale. Closer home, the triumph of Mahatma Gandhi’s non violence policy, the staunch belief of the social reformers like Raja Ram Mohan Roy and  Maharishi Karve  and the social reformer Dr.B.R Ambedkar  are testimony to how self belief ignited a change that translated into footnotes in history. If the names of these towering personalities overwhelm you, perhaps it is time you changed and started believing that you can be as influential as them if you set your mind to the right cause and persist with tenacity.

If you really want to change yourself, your circumstances, your life style, your world begin by having a goal. Yes each of us can pinpoint our goals provided you believe in yourself and are prepared to realistically and rationally outline what you want in life. This cannot be done by merely reading so far, but by stopping to get a pen and paper and actually writing down in tangible terms all that you want in life.  I bet you have never done this before, and if you have started it and have written down at least one page of your wish list you have already begun to change your world.

Remember: “Life can either be accepted or changed. If it is not accepted, it must be changed. If it cannot be changed, then it must be accepted

Try this:

  1. If CHANGE is an acronym, how will you expand it meaningfully? Don’t give up; you can give it a try. If you don’t know how, visit www.poweract.blogspot.com and see how some of the other acronyms have been expanded and get inspired. Now attempt it once again before you go to the next activity.
  2. For the next one week, try to bring about at least one change in you physically. Eg. Don’t shave for a day, wear clothes that you would never attempt to wear in terms of style or color, change your hairstyle, change your behavior and or style of communication. Reflect on how you felt, the comments of others, the learning from the exercise.

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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God grant us patience!  William Shakespeare

Just visualize the scene where as a family we are sitting in a restaurant and debating what to order. We take our time about ordering the food, since most of us take an eternity to make up our minds. Finally when we give the order to the captain, we have this compulsive urge to instruct him to ensure that the food is served fast. While we dilly dally about our choice of food, we have no patience to wait for the food to be served. In a day and age where instant coffee and instant noodles are standard fare, where pizza delivery is timed in a clock work fashion and where ‘please hurry up’ is a standard appendage to any request, the virtue of patience is at a very high premium.

Contrast this with natures wonder called life cycle. It still takes 9 months from conception to delivery for a human being. If you plant a seed today, it might take years for someone to be able to enjoy the fruits of the tree. Look at the wild animals patiently stalking their prey or imagine the patience of the migratory birds for they have to fly very very long distances which take days on end. This phenomenon opens our eyes to a very critical weakness in most of us living in the fast paced world- lack of patience. You may disagree and say you are very patient and perhaps you are right too. If you are still reading this post, give yourself a clap for your patience; for the net speed may have been too slow and yet you persisted or the contents up to this point may have tested your patience but you optimistically go on.

On the other hand, examine your own investment strategy. Do you believe in quick money and indulge in daily trading in the stock markets or regularly buying the lottery or gambling? On the other hand are you a long term investor and / or do you prefer slow and steady returns as in bonds and debt markets? Examine your own tastes in music and sports. Do you prefer the classics to rap and metal music? Do you like to watch golf or F1 racing or prefer tennis to a football match? No doubt the choice is based on your personal interests and factors other than just your patience level, but it may give you a clue to your personal operating style which could have patience as dominating variable.

When we get impatient we also get irrational. We are then overpowered by irritation, annoyance and get easily provoked. That is when we attempt to speed up decisions leading to poor decision making, try to short circuit the system and end up messing things up and often lose our bearings and consequentially end up looking foolish and stupid. Worse still, impatience makes us lose time for in our hurry we botch up things and setting that right almost invariably takes double the original time frame. Patience is a virtue that will bring us peace of mind for then you will never be riled or ruffled.

Remember: “Patience is waiting. Not passively waiting. That is laziness. But to keep going when the going is hard and slow – that is patience.”

Try these:

  1. Observe your own reaction when caught in the tail end of a line that does not seem to be moving or caught in slow moving traffic. How do you analyze the situation? Do you curse the people in front of you or do you simply work up a rage and abuse one and all or do you calmly use it as an opportunity to think and introspect or if in a car increase the volume of the music and make the best of a bad situation?
  2. Name 3 activities that you think really test your patience frequently.  What are the alternatives that will enable you to cope with that activity with least irritation and most profit?
  3. Ask yourself the following questions .Do you enjoy teaching children?  Do you think you can spend a couple of hours at the home for the aged or with mentally challenged people?  Can you work with slow learners or Alzheimer’s patients? If you answered yes to all of the above….GOD has BLESSED  you with the virtue of PATIENCE…please return the favor and go and volunteer in one of the above activities.

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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