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Archive for August, 2010

To keep a lamp burning, we have to keep putting oil in it. Mother Teresa

Sometimes we have no choice but to cheerfully keep doing what seems boring, insipid and repetitive. The fact is that these are small inconveniences that we have to put up with in order to ensure that we can keep going forward and attain our goals. In the winter, when we are cozy in bed enjoying our sweet dreams, the alarm rudely jolts you and signals the beginning of another day. You then reluctantly get out of bed. What is worse is that this goes on for a couple of months and yet you wouldn’t dare to shut of the alarm much as you hate it. Similarly most of our life goes in doing repetitive tasks be it ironing our clothes, polishing our shoes or brushing our teeth and taking a shower and we do it cheerfully sometimes, reluctantly occasionally but most times we are indifferent.

On the larger canvas of life, there are many other tougher challenges that irritate and disturb us but we might be left with no choice but to go through it. Perhaps it is the daily commute, the nasty boss whom you despise but have to meet daily or it could be the insufferable canteen food that challenges you daily.  The real issue is not the repetitive action but the attitude to it. If one were to look at these tasks as chores to be done, it would be painful, never ending and accepted in bad grace. On the other hand if one were to see it as an opportunity to contribute, learn from, influence others etc. we would eagerly await the chance.  When in love for example, we never seem to tire of meeting the same person daily and spend hours with him/ her. When we keep solving mathematics problems because we want to score well we visualize the success and cope with the strain and stress of solving as many problems as we can.

To ensure that we not only cope up with the daily grind, what we need to do is change our attitude. Looking at the resultant benefits is a sure shot way to make peace with ourselves and enjoy the work on hand. E.g. If we are overweight, the thought of losing weight and looking handsome/ pretty will  spur us on to hit the gym and do the workouts with vigor and enthusiasm. If we can see the big picture it helps us better appreciate our contribution to the whole structure and we also realize what an important role we play in scripting the success story. E.g. Instead of merely seeing our job as that of a brick layer if we realize that we are contributing to building a palace, we realize our contribution and strategic utility and then even the most mundane job becomes interesting and important to us.  Be motivated by the opportunity to learn and grow. Then if one has to chase ones dream then no job is too tough or too demeaning. E.g. Most students pursuing their studies in the west are acutely conscious of the steep fee structure and so they pick up part time jobs well below their educational level, status  and dignity but see it as contributing to their long term goals and so they are motivated and charged up.

To brighten our future, our life and the present moment we need to constantly fuel our desires, plans and our efforts, all of which may be very repetitive and monotonous in nature but critical and unavoidable. We need to seek out a reason to like these tasks just as one constantly refills the lamp with oil in order to dispel darkness and provide light.

Remember: It is better to light a lamp than curse the darkness.

Try this:

  1. If you are a habitual procrastinator identify 3 reasons for your behavior. ( If you do not know what is procrastination check the meaning right now or you are guilty of procrastinating.) List out 5 jobs that are still pending and begin attempting to complete the tasks.
  2. If you are guilty of any two of the following, it could signal your aversion to doing mundane / repetitive tasks.
  • Not filing your papers regularly
  • Polishing your shoes only occasionally
  • Delaying paying your bills even if you have sufficient bank balance to pay off your outstanding
  • Not doing some task requested by a family member / friend simply because you can take them for granted.
  • Not keeping appointments because you find there are more pleasurable alternatives

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 greatest grief’s are those we cause ourselves. Sophocles

The common tendency among people is to claim credit for all success and pass on blame for all failures. While there are many times we can legitimately claim to be the chief architect of success, there are as many number of reasons for us to take blame for.  Broadly we are guilty of failing on 3 counts and causing grief for ourselves; Poor attitude, ineffective communication and terrible time management.

The great fault many of us are guilty of most often is our very poor attitude. Most times we are negative about happenings in our lives. Other times we are extremely critical and go around as if on a fault finding mission. This results in us making more enemies, being critical unfairly and we find it very difficult to appreciate something.  Some of us have perfected the art of having excuses for every criticism that is directed at us and we have honed the fine art of escaping all responsibility. There are others who can always find someone to blame for anything that goes wrong. At various times we display other unproductive tendencies like being indecisive, self centered, loud mouthed, boastful, bashful and in extreme cases being foul mouthed and brazen.

Our ineffective communication manifests itself in us being ‘I’ focused and not ‘WE’ centered. This implies that we draw attention to ourselves thereby alienating peers, subordinates and group members. This also makes us vulnerable to be perceived as selfish, self centered and sly.  We are also guilty of being selective in our communication, either not communicating to some people or holding back critical information with deliberate intent. To be effective in our communication it is imperative that we have both the right spirit and use the right tools to communicate appropriately. A common tendency for most people is to delay communicating any bad news for fear that the messenger will be shot in the process. If communication is not timely the consequences can be disastrous for it can be too late to take corrective action. The greatest communication crime is to be silent when one has to open up and to be over communicative when one has to observe restraint.

In business terms not meeting deadlines is the greatest crime for it upsets carefully laid out plans and causes monetary loss as well as loss of reputation.  On a personal level not keeping appointments, being frequently delayed on flimsy grounds or being fashionably late are unpardonable crimes in the lexicon of the disciplined and punctual. Not keeping time implies that we are casual, unprofessional and disrespectful to others. There are other time related crimes that we perpetrate like giving unrealistic deadlines,  giving casual time commitments like saying ‘ We can revert in 1 – 2 months’ and not being apologetic for not meeting our time commitments.   The worst possible time management crime is penalizing the punctual person by keeping them waiting despite having a prior confirmed appointment .

If we look at the above ineffective behaviors that each of us guilty of sometime in some degree, the common thread is that we have full control over these and are fully responsible for it and yet we take the whole business casually.  What we don’t seem to consciously realize is that in the whole process of being tardy, casual and inefficient we are hurting ourselves the most.

Remember: Casualness leads to casualties.

Try this:

  1. The next time you are going to miss an appointment, make it a point to inform the concerned as soon as possible.  When giving commitments think twice and make sure that you can live up to your promise.  Use the maxim ‘ Promise less and deliver more’ to guide you in being perceive as more effective.
  2. Watch your attitude, words and habits for anything negative, disruptive, cynical, casual and self centered. If one can control these and turn them around to something positive, energetic and exciting we would be enhancing the quality of our lives and the lives of those who come in contact with us.

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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Perhaps I am stronger than I think. Thomas Merton

Each of us is blessed with numerous qualities, skills and abilities which we often take for granted.  However we find it very hard to recognize our strengths and acknowledge them, partly because we see ourselves as ordinary people and partly because we are modest to a fault. In fact human nature is such that we seek out those qualities that we wish we had and then we end up feeling sorry for ourselves that we are not blessed. Other times we are aware that we have some key strengths but we find it hard to acknowledge it, least we convey an impression of being pompous or haughty. In rare instances some of us who are very talented mistakenly compare our talents with that of the maestros in the field and conclude that we are woefully inadequate. The net result is that we undermine our strengths and do not leverage it to our advantage.

To understand our strengths we need to analyze our personality on 4 broad dimensions; the physical, the mental, the emotional and the spiritual dimensions. There could be specific strengths under each of these broad dimensions that we need to study and the we have to put our own personal competencies in perspective. Eg. To be very creative education is not a prerequisite but our creativity can be enhanced by education. So even if we are not class toppers our ideas maybe one in a million. If one has to get a good self analysis done, the key is to be open and receptive to feedback from others. There are times when this can be very painful particularly when we are criticized unfairly or the honest truth is a bitter pill to swallow. Conversely, when we are lavished with praise we suspect that people are being sarcastic or too liberal with their judgment and we discount their honest feedback.

To leverage our strengths the key is self belief. If we do not trust our own abilities and mental strength to face competition and overcome it, we can never realize our full potential. All successes and victories are first conceptualized in the mind before they are achieved on the ground. It is therefore essential that we begin to accept that we are no ordinary mortal but someone special who has some very special skill sets and talents. In the movie the Rain man the protagonist suffers from a mental disability that makes him in a deviant from the societal point of view. Yet he has the rare ability of calculation which he himself is unaware of but is identified by others. Many of us are like Rain man with one vital difference we are not considered social misfits and we don’t have extraordinary gifts but we are simply not able to utilize our special strengths. E.g. We are very perceptive when we analyze data but we prefer to do some paper pushing job because we lack the confidence to use our analytical powers to take on more responsible assignments.

Can we develop self belief? The answer is a resounding yes but the path is not so easy. The key to self belief lies in our ability to accept failure as a part of the learning process and more importantly to believe that failure is not the end of the road but the critical fork on the road where we need to perhaps retrace our steps and take the right fork. When we let perceived failure or failure itself to dominate our thought process, we have lost the strength to bounce back. Self belief is all about bouncing back for no one ever succeeded without failing at least once.

Remember: “For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who don’t believe, no proof is possible.”  Stuart Chase

Try this:

  1. Look back at the days gone by and list out the bravest things you did. Perhaps it was coming in as a tail ender and facing up to a terrifying pace balling in order to save your cricket team from losing a match or it could be not being pressurized into allowing someone to copy from your answer sheet in an exam or it could be severing a relationship that you were convinced was going nowhere and not giving into emotional blackmail. Did you realize then that these were examples of your real strength manifesting itself?
  2. List out 3 of your worst fears. Now choose one of them and make an attempt to overcome it. E.g. You are terrified of dogs. Now try to overcome this fear of dogs by going near a pet dog which the owner says is very docile. Perhaps if you gain in confidence you must attempt to pet it too.

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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No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. Eleanor Roosevelt

Nothing feels worse than the bitter taste of being accused of being a fool in front of people by some megalomaniacs who go out of their way to use their power and position to humiliate, insult and trample upon your ego. We do not retaliate simply because we are helpless in the presence of authority and possibly are too frightened to face the consequences of retaliation.  While not retaliating for one’s own good is common sense it is the deep humiliation that rankles us, which is what we need to objectively analyze and get control off.

To begin with we need to understand that the sick feeling we get in the pit of our stomach when insulted and humiliated is because of our primary feeling of being made to feel inferior in front of others. If we see it objectively, there is no reason why we need to feel that way because the faux pas is committed by the other party in attempting to run us down. That in no way means that we are not competent or capable and we should never let that feeling pervade our senses or our psyche.  However we are by temperament sensitive and while deep in our hearts we know that have our solid merits, our mind plays tricks and a seed of doubt starts sprouting. For no apparent reason we being to start doubting our abilities, question the motives of those who question our abilities and mentally juggle the humiliation seeking to find proof that we are not what is insinuated.

There are times when we fall into the trap of self depreciation and undermine our own strengths and abilities. When our mindset itself is skewed to doubts and failure, the slightest suggestion that we are in some way not meeting the standards makes feel inferior and worthless. We tend to harp psychologically on the minor mistakes we may have committed and then blow it out of proportion and conclude that we are not capable. Ironically when we have major achievements to our credit, we underplay it as something that is expected of us and so not of special significance. On the other hand if we believed in ourselves we may be subdued in our successes but definitely we would at least seek to clarify mattes if we our credentials or abilities are questioned or challenged.

What is common to the two reactions viz. the feeling of being made to feel inferior and the undermining of our own abilities is that we are responsible for both situations. If we had the self belief in ourselves and the courage of conviction to stand up to showcase our achievements we would never have to ever feel hurt, insulted or humiliated. Obviously then there is no feeling of being inferior to anyone and we actually have the daring to side step any false insinuations with dignity and self confidence.  It is when we give our consent to let people get away with false propaganda against us and when we do not take a proactive step to correct wrong impressions that is when we let ourselves feel inferior. The antidote is to think positive, have a winner’s mindset and project our true strengths to the world at large.

Remember: “While one person hesitates because he feels inferior, another is busy making mistakes and becoming superior.”  Henry C. Link

Try this:

  1. Make a list of the 5 most challenging achievements you have managed to date.  Outline the key factors that helped you succeed. Was your own self belief a major reason for your success?
  2. Ask yourself how often other peoples negative comments about your work or contribution have made you feel insecure, hurt and worthless?  Were those comments of the others really justified? How could you have responded differently and corrected the false impression they have about you?

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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When you cannot pray as you would, pray as you can.  Edward M. Goulburn

For many of us there are two categories of prayer Ritualistic and Spontaneous prayers.  Most of us are well trained and deeply ingrained in the ritualistic aspects of prayer simply because that is one way to impart religious beliefs and training. It is imperative to highlight the fact that ritualistic prayer also fulfils a deep need for even the uninitiated to connect with GOD and spares people the agony of wondering how to reach out to GOD.  Most times ritualistic prayers are said in the confines of a place of worship or in a formal setting at home or chanted at fixed times and specified days. There are ritualistic prayers designed to cover every situation, every eventuality and there are generic prayers to cover the unanticipated too.  There are a large number of us who use prayer as a balm to soothe nerves, tranquilizers to dull pain within and believe prayer will be the right vaccine to keep at bay the evils of this world. There is no doubt that prayer often gives these results too but such prayers are a poor substitute for a free and spontaneous communication with GOD.

Spontaneous prayers are those that are said from the heart with faith and gratefulness. There are no set rules for such prayers but it is free flowing, often rambling but definitely original and heartfelt.  There are no particular reasons for such prayers but it often transpires that such prayers are a prelude to some important events or are prayers of thanksgiving for favors received. Spontaneous prayers also take on the garb of desperate prayers which are said when one is in dire need and in a hopeless situation.  Spontaneous prayers are often resorted to in any situation, in any place and for any need or thanksgiving. Off and on we also endorse spontaneous prayer in a formal set up like in a place of worship. Most spontaneous prayers are self centered and revolve around ensuring that the person saying the prayer is comforted. E.g. We may pray for the good results of a family member but in reality we are seeking peace of mind from the good results.

Real prayer is communication with GOD where we share all our feelings, our problems, our joys and happiness. Irrespective of whether it is ritualistic or spontaneous real prayer is said straight from the heart and need not be loudly articulated or dramatically proclaimed.  In fact the power of prayer arises from the depth of the faith and honesty that accompanies it. Most times our prayers are perceived to be unheard simply because we never stop to listen to GOD’s responses in our hearts. God actually whispers his acknowledgement of our prayers but we persist in seeking tangible evidence of GODs response.

Perfect prayer though is in doing our duty and a little more for it is in sharing, caring and sacrificing that we are blessed with a GOD experience. It is our thoughts words and deeds that actually stand testimony to the prayers we offer.  The truly blessed are those who only ask GOD for strength, wisdom and health to carry on zealously with their duty be it at their work place, their homes or in society at large. We need not sing paeans to God nor build mammoth edifices to glorify GOD but simply do our bit to help our fellowmen and GOD hears our prayers booming loud and clear.

Remember: “It is in vain to expect our prayers to be heard, if we do not strive as well as pray.”

Try this:

  1. Read these modern prayers that are non denominational and yet easily identifiable by all those reading it.  These prayers are in a lighter vein but reflect the present day mindset and need.Computer Prayers
  2. Attempt to LISTEN to GOD when you pray next time. Silence is the best prayer for then you don’t have to say anything and yet there will be plenty said to you.  List 3 people who you would like to pray for who are not part of your family or not known to you intimately. What will you pray they be blessed with? E.g. The security guard at the ATM because you overheard him saying he will lose his job soon.

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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Talking about God is not at all the same thing as experiencing God, or acting out God through our lives. Phillip Hewett

God has been central to the lives of human kind and religion has been the vehicle used to reinforce the belief in god amongst the believers. Religion itself has evolved over time and has acquired various hues, has been instrumental in polarizing people and continues to be the epicenter of fundamentalism, bigotry and extremism.  When objectively studied from the point of view of the metamorphosis of religion over time two facts emerge – God becomes a tool in the hands of the religious and we become slaves to our religion. In effect what we end up doing is preaching and practicing as per our convenience.

To begin with almost all religions have a predominantly ritualistic bias. This is partly a social need so as to rally in numbers and become aware of our faith. Without exception each religion fiercely protects its turf from any form of thought that even remotely questions its dogma or authorities. Followers are happy in the solace they draw from the unknown power of God and rationalize their suffering, pain and fears. They will with impunity amass wealth illegally, part with the spoils under the garb of religious donations and won’t hesitate to pay obeisance at the cost of other ordinary mortals. The outward symbol of religion becomes the focus of people, while they blissfully ignore, sidestep or blind themselves to the core of religion viz. experiencing God and being a living example of God.

To experience God the fundamental requirement is deep faith, undying love and crystal clear values. When these are aligned, one can experience GOD in the wonders of the beauty that abounds in this world; be it the beautiful sunrise or sunset, the lush green meadows and flowers that bloom in spring or in the dazzle of the fireflies that light up the dark evening. One can experience it in the silence of the heart or in the chanting of the prayers; in the solemnity of the rituals or the boisterousness of festivity. The peak experience is the peace and calmness that pervades our stressful life, the joy and ecstasy in the  cry of a new born and the comfort that we get in believing that a loved has gone on to eternal reward.

The ultimate experience is in being a living example. We must be able to touch other lives with empathy and love bringing peace and hope to all those who come in contact with us. We must be prepared to sacrifice so that others can benefit; be merciful just as we are merciful judged by the God we believe in and be unbiased and fair and ensure that everyone gets justice without fear or favor.  If we truly love god we must be able to spread that love to every human being that we are privileged to reach out to through our own personal, caring and loving touch be it in words, thoughts or deeds.

Remember: “What we are is God’s gift to us. What we become is our gift to God.” Eleanor Powell

Try this:

  1. Read the famous Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi by clicking the following link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prayer_of_Saint_Francis You can also hear the audio song by clicking on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jRvtkZs7oNg
  2. If you are finding it hard to be at peace, not experiencing the joy and happiness of life, if every day is stressful then ask yourself if you truly experiencing God in your life or being an example to others.  Examine the inconsistencies in your life where you are often found doing what troubles your conscience be it telling lies, defaming people, being brash, rude and brazen or pilfering and robbing, being unfaithful 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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One thing everybody in the world wants and needs is friendliness. William E. Holler

It costs nothing and yet is so invaluable that we are often left wondering why people can’t be more friendly and spread good cheer. In fact if you look around there is an acute need for friendlier people  for you will see plenty of glum faces, worried expressions and harried people ambling around with shoulders drooping  and a defeatist attitude written all over them.  Notice also the sudden spring in their steps of people when someone comes along who is enthusiastic, sports a big smile and goes around back slapping one and all enthusiastically. Man’s best friend, dogs, have perfected the art of being friendly and anyone who owns a dog will swear that a dog can lift your spirits, soothe your nerves and recharge your batteries without uttering a word or more correctly a bark. What is their secret?

Friendliness is something each of us can learn from a dog.  A dog has no particular expectations except the warmth of its owner; it never carries any of the past hurts in its mind and so is unhibited in its responses; it has no mental blocks and warms up to anyone and everyone; it understands moods and can sensitively respond appropriately; it expresses itself freely and generously by wagging its tail, jumping around and cozying up to its masters. Unfortunately we human beings have too many expectations from our fellow human beings. We carry our burdens in our minds and use that as a convenient excuse to behave in an aloof manner. We carry our baggage of social status, caste, creed, nationality and the like in choosing even our response to friendly overtures by others. We are constrained by our inhibitions and upbringing in giving measured responses to our innermost feelings and thereby erect an unseen barrier in both our behavior and responses which lack the spontaneity to seem free and friendly.

Being friendly is the best gift that you can give yourself. Try smiling at someone and giving them a hearty greeting and chances are that they will respond equally enthusiastically. Such a response more than makes up for any worries or cares that have being bothering you. A friendly approach helps you widen your circle of influence and helps you network effectively. With a friendly attitude you can banish negativity, inject enthusiasm and grasp success in relationships and life. By being friendly, we help others view us as approachable, stimulate dialogue and interaction and initiate the possibility of having a long lasting and enduring relationship. Similarly friendliness injects vitality into the environment by bolstering those around; kick starts new associations, ignites communication and spreads the fragrance of joy, peace and happiness all around.

Friendliness is as simple as giving and accepting a smile, encouraging with a word of praise, appreciation or a pat on the back, empathizing with someone in trouble, soothing the pain of others by our simple presence, comforting those in agony and being there for those in despair. All it takes is some time, our involvement and a very large heart and mind. Real friendliness is reaching out!

Remember: “A good motto is: Use friendliness but do not use your friends.”  Frank Crane

Try this:

  1. Over the next week starting today try to be friendly / express your friendliness to at least 3 people who can never repay you in any way. E.g Smile at the bus conductor or appreciate the good work done by the watchman etc.
  2. List out the times when you are least friendly and most friendly. Examine the possible reasons for these drastic mood swings. Be aware of the times others have been friendly to you and your response to their friendly overtures. Can you reciprocate similarly to others who you are not so comfortable with?

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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