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Archive for October, 2010

Success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm. Sir Winston Churchill

Even if one is born with the proverbial golden spoon, failure is an unannounced visitor that will drop by at the most inopportune moment. For the less fortunate, failure is a constant companion, despite the best efforts to befriend success. Failure obviously conjures a negative, unsavory and avoidable image in our mind and so we often side step the issue of failure even if it is looming large or literally staring us in the face. Escapism is the first reaction of those who are paranoid about failure. However escapism is only a temporary relief with the probability of it turning into catastrophe remaining very real. So the question uppermost in our mind is ‘How can we cope with failure’?

The first step is to accept the reality that failure is an unavoidable evil that we cannot escape from. Once we are prepared to accept this reality, then we are prepared to face it fairly and squarely when we stumble upon it or when failure pays us a visit. Most times, we cannot recognize failure because we are not prepared to believe that we can fail. Accepting the reality about failure, allows one to be forewarned and forearmed to identify and square up with failure when the time comes.  More importantly we won’t brush aside failure as just a passing phase but we would give it the importance that it deserves so that we learn from it and use the learning to our advantage.

This brings us to the second step in tackling failure viz. learn from our failures. This is a very tough step because the natural tendency when we fail is to rationalize it. In addition we try to find a scapegoat to blame or conjure up numerous reasons to deflect attention to our own shortcomings that was responsible for the failure.  There are times when the failure is taken so personally that we try to blank it out completely but refusing to analyze it or even talk about it. On the other hand we must pay attention to our failures and study it closely to find out the reason for our failure. That way one can pinpoint our mistakes and take corrective action.

The final step is to enthusiastically correct the mistakes and never give up pursuing your goal. Correcting a mistake is often very tough because it hurts the ego. To do it enthusiastically takes a lot of conviction and a strong will. The true test of a person’s character is reflected in the person’s ability to not just correct mistakes but to do it with zeal and enthusiasm. Unless the person is enthusiastic the will to learn and improve will be lacking. In the long run to be motivated and pursue ones goal, mistakes have to be taken in ones stride and corrections effected to proceed ahead. True success is not merely in attaining a goal but in also enjoying the process and striving to set bigger, better and even more challenging goals. It is when one can enthusiastically overcome every failure that one has developed the right mindset to pursue success, more success and still more success.

Remember: “Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.”  Herman Cain

Try this:

  1. Take a daily news paper and attempt to do the crossword or Sudoku or any of the other challenges. The challenge is to do it for at least a week continuously and to enthusiastically work on it and improve your performance.  After a week ask if you are enjoying it or finding it painful and laborious. If it is painful and or laborious find reasons for it and work out your won solutions. Eg. If you chose Sudoku and don’t like dealing with figures then change the game to a word game or attempt to like figure work.
  2. List out 3 aspects of your daily work that you dislike immensely or are prone to make too many mistakes.  Attempt to find a way to either like the work / do it efficiently by motivating yourself properly or find an alternative to ensure the job is efficiently done.

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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Courage to start and willingness to keep everlasting at it are the requisites for success.  Alonzo Newton Benn

The easiest thing to do is day dream when awake and dream when asleep and one is transported into a world of pure magic and make belief till we are rudely awakened. It is at this point that we make the painful realization that real life demands that we can attain success only by the courage to begin working towards our dream and more importantly keep at it till we attain it. (Let me take the liberty of sharing a personal example here. For years I believed I was a good writer and I had the right blend of academics to back up this belief. The trouble was, I always believed that I could pen to paper and presto my book would be ready but I just never got around to doing it. On 1st Jan2010 I finally took the first step to write a daily blog. The going was very tough because I was not quite sure that I really could write consistently and interestingly daily. With a wide variety of motivators, particularly the number of views nearly 34,900 at this point and fast growing numbers of followers 260 as on date and the numerous positive feedback and comments, I have managed to write almost every day for 300 odd days)

There are 3 secrets of success. The first is to begin. We often confuse thinking about an activity as the beginning, which is partially true but far too often we are just planning and planning and remain at the drawing board for eternity. In reality what we are doing is giving into our own laziness and lethargy and camouflaging it under the veil of planning since it is done in a very passive way most times. A plan is not even worth the paper it is written on, unless someone actually rolls up his/ her sleeve and BEGINS. It is the execution of the plan that proves that the plan is complete and workable. We do not start because we lack confidence, we are afraid to commit and we fear failure. As long as we are in the planning stage we believe that we can succeed but when we begin there is no looking back for the die has been cast.

The second secret is to persist no matter what the odds are. Anything that we first attempt always seems daunting and tough. Remember the number of times you fell down while learning to ride a bicycle or the tardy and embarrassing attempts at first playing pool/ snooker.  The learning process and the success achieved are testimony to the reality that if we persist we will be able to mange success provided we have the aptitude and attitude for the venture. Aptitude and attitude are very vital qualities that have major bearing on the success of our venture. If one does not have one of the two attributes persistence will be akin to foolhardiness and obstinacy. The key is to do what our heart desires and not to chase goals that we have neither the interest in nor any aptitude for. E.g. It is widely expected that a child of doctor parents will become a doctor but if he/ she chooses to become a painter or historian, there will be societal pressure on him/ her to follow in the parents footsteps. Succumbing to that pressure is a sure shot way to failure.

Success is really established by the third secret viz. consistency and quality of output. Mediocrity is the bane of success, for anyone can attempt and mange to do something without any urge to excel. It is the urge to be excellent, the pride of being recognized, the appreciation of the peers and competitors that one must aim for to really relish success. This involves continuous improvement, benchmarking and strict quality adherence. This is therefore a slow process for there is a lot of trial and error that goes into the process of improvement. When we improve, we enhance the output and establish our own benchmarks of excellence. The beauty of success is that it is not a destination but a journey and so every single day one can savor unlimited success.

Remember: “Success means having the courage, the determination, and the will to become the person you believe you were meant to be”  George Sheehan

Try this:

  1. Outline 3 changes that you will work on to improve your own personality. By Monday ensure that you are implementing your plan and see the results after 1 month. Repeat this exercise every month.
  2. List out your 3 major success in your life and the reason you succeeded. Also list out 3 plans you have for the future that when achieved will be a major success for 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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You’re only as sick as your secrets. Anon

Everyone has secrets; be a secret crush, a broken affair, some silly folly’s that are better kept under wraps, some embarrassing fears or some illness that you prefer to hide or some harsh realities that you hate to even recollect let alone recount to others etc. Unfortunately, secrets have a way of corroding the insides mentally and then physically of the person keeping them undisclosed. The net result is that people having too many secrets locked away within themselves fall sick, suffer from various ailments and are often depressed and cagey. Far too often they find the burden of carrying the secret a very heavy cross to carry.

One reason why secrets have an acidic tendency and corrode the inside is that most secrets have a touch of sinfulness if not being out rightly sinful. This is a tough situation to be in, because anyone with bare minimum value systems find this an indelible blot that cannot be cleansed in the normal course. People do find ways and means to mitigate their guilt like rationalizing it, ignoring it, denying it etc. The Catholics have an even more legitimate way through the confessional box, where their darkest secrets and sins are told to the priest and he dispenses absolution and pardon. Presto, the guilt and secret are nonexistent and the penance that gives pardon a small price to pay for a big relief.  Some secrets are too embarrassing to be shared. Being rejected in love tops the list. Using unfair means to top exams come a close second and taking bribe and other considerations follow nearabouts too. Our fears and ambitions too figure in this list.

Unless one is a spy or a secret agent, who is trained to keep secrets and indoctrinated that secrets are for the larger good of the society or nation, the average person can be sure to suffer some problems that can be directly attributed to holding on to secrets. The most common problem could be insomnia and that could be accompanied by paranoia that our secrets could be found out. Irritation, anger, withdrawal and nervous breakdown could also be symptomatic of the ill effects of stress. The lurking fear of being exposed and humiliated if our secrets are out in the open are a perennial source of tension and stress for people who have secrets kept deep in the recess of their hearts. It is important to note that having secrets and being secretive by nature are two very different things. There are people who are secretive by nature for they deliberately keep the facts and knowledge to themselves. Almost all of them are selfish by nature and their reluctance to share information could also be attributed to them wanting to deny others an advantage or their personal conviction that knowledge is power especially if they are the only ones having it.

There are two techniques to lead a more balanced and relatively less free life, by being out of the clutches of the troubles brought about by having secrets. The first is to live in a manner that does not warrant having any secrets. The second is to share our secrets with someone in whom we have some confidence so that we reduce the pressure of carrying the burden of the secret all alone. The latter option thought is fraught with the risk of having to be hundred percent confident of your confidant. In short, the secret to having no secrets is to be diplomatically straightforward or alternatively being able to confess your secrets.

Remember: “The man who can keep a secret may be wise, but he is not half as wise as the man with no secrets to keep” Edgar Watson Howe

Try this:

  1. Did you know that secrets can be fun too. Do you remember reading the Enid Blyton series of books of The Secret Seven etc. If you haven’t read it, give it a try although it is meant for young children, there is adventure in the secrets.
  2. You can attempt to organize a game called secret friend if you have a team/ group of at least 5-7 people in your workplace. The rules are simple. During the festive season, make as many chits as there are team members. Write the name of one member on one chit and ensure all members are covered. The week preceding the festivities, the chits are distributed to team members so as to ensure each member has one name (not his/ her own). The person holding the chit will be the secret friend of the person whose name is on the chit. The holder of the chit is to get a secret gift not exceeding a prefixed amount and place the gift with the receivers name of the secret friend marked on the gift in a common designated area.  On the last day before holidays, these gifts will be distributed to each one. The most important thing is that no one should reveal in any manner what gift they gave or got nor to whom they gave the gift.

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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And the trouble is, if you don’t risk anything, you risk even more. Erica Jong

We are all familiar with fence sitters who believe that they are very safe by not committing to anyone and thereby taking minimum risks of annoying anyone or being held responsible for any decisions.  On the face of it the strategy looks good, but in reality when the mud settles, the fence sitter has a status almost akin to that of a traitor and for no one trusts him/ her. This is just one of the many downsides of being risk averse. Each day brings about a fresh set of challenges and there are risks of varying degrees every moment. Obviously it is human nature to avoid all risks possible and to venture only if there is reasonable chance of mitigating the risks. However in a fast paced world the changes taking place are stupendous and we cannot simply wait and watch; this means we have to commit and that is a risk by itself.

Making a commitment is the ultimate test of risk taking. This is because once the commitment is made there is no turning back and even if things are going downhill, we cannot make a U turn and reverse the pledges made. Commitments are made based on certain understanding, certain assumptions and a whole lot of trust. A misunderstanding can prove costly, as will a wrong assumption and a breach of trust will fully negate the original commitment but those committed cannot turn tail for there might not be any escape route or exit provided for. In today’s day and age, one of the biggest commitment is the marriage wows. The world wide statistics show that the divorce rate is fast catching up with the marriage rate; thereby showcasing the big blot on the institution of marriage. The risks in marrying as so real that today pre nuptial agreements have become a hedge against the risk of marriage.

If we observe those actively trading in the stock markets we would notice that they are driven by the urge to take risks. No doubt the lure of filthy profits is the key motivator for the stock traders but it is their craving to take the risks and beat the odds that really stimulates them. Someone on a losing spree, is often tempted to risk double his money in order to recoup the losses. This is an extremely risky strategy but by not taking that risk, the chances of recouping are almost negligible. A venture capitalists on the other hand has perfected the art of risk taking. They see opportunity in radical ideas, new technology, innovative strategies etc. and they study it in depth before taking the risk of funding some of these concepts. Venture capitalists are very clear that unless they take calculated risks they cannot function. However they are also clear that they need to spread their risks and so they fund a slew of identified ideas knowing fully well that a couple of them will fail, but they are confident that the vast majority will be hugely profitable and their risks are well managed.

In our own lives some of the most risky decisions pertain to our educational choices, career choices, marriage, family, retirement plans etc. It is imperative to note that whatever the reasoning or ultimate decision we are taking a risk. In most cases we have the freedom and choice to take the decisions but if we don’t, then the risks are almost certainly thrust on us by circumstances or fate. Why leave that risk to chance when we have the opportunity to take calculated risks?

Remember: “Take calculated risks. That is quite different from being rash.”  General George S. Patton

Try this:

  1. Make a list of things you are passionate about but never attempted. Choose one of the items and work out a plan of action to indulge in it and if possible take it up passionately. E.g. Learning to waltz or playing the trumpet or running a marathon
  2. To get a first hand feel of risks go once to a casino or a derby or an auction and participate in it to the best of your ability. Be aware that you risk money but perhaps you will also experience the adrenaline flowing when your stakes are high.

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 difference between one man and another is not mere ability … it is energy. Thomas Arnold

How often have we come across people who by all accounts would have been voted ‘ least likely to succeed ‘when in school, but who today are the envy of those very same classmates. In all probability, these people when in school were academically not inclined, perennially involved in a variety of mischief and were possibly hyperactive too. After bumbling through academics they may have stumbled upon some opportunity and suddenly discovered their own interest and abilities aligning in this opportunity. This backed up by their never ending flow of energy now channeled and directed towards results would have set them up for success. It is also possible that the person voted most likely to succeed has also had a similar good run and have attained the pinnacle of success in their own filed.

If one were to study these individuals carefully, they would perhaps note that they are as different as chalk and cheese, except for the one vital quality which both display in ample measure- enthusiasm and energy. It is this vital quality that distinguishes those who excel and succeed in life from those who have more than enough potential but fail to realize it. The question that many people ask is how can anyone have so much energy and enthusiasm?  They are also keen to know one can continuously generate such high levels of energy? How does one recharge when one feels low and dispirited especially when one faces a setback? The unfortunate reality is that there are no magic pills or portions that can boost your energy but the good news is that with some effort, practice and patience each one of you can see the energy flow within you and translate into success.

The most important requirement to build up enthusiasm and energy is developing a positive attitude. This by and large is a mind game where the challenge is to see any problem as an opportunity. It is not easy because a problem worries us, it saps our energy, it sometimes forces us to retreat and that we look upon as a defeat and worse of all many problems seem insurmountable. A positive attitude simply seeks the small eye of a needle in the problem through which one can thread the string of persistence and sew our success story. Notice that almost heroes in history or mythology are characters who have never let their failures dampen their conviction nor let it distract them from their goal. Everyone of them achieved success by overcoming terrible odds by being positive about the outcome and believing in themselves. This brings us to the next quality self belief. Unless a person has the inner conviction that he/ she is capable, they would simply surrender to any force that seems threatening. Self belief emits from sound knowledge, daring, confidence and clarity of goals. A good part of self belief is scripted in childhood by the encouragement of parents, teachers and friends. A large part comes from early successes and the rest comes from having a brave heart.

The final ingredient that if available in ample measure escalates the energy and enthusiasm is motivation.  At the heart of motivation is the inner urge to achieve. Notice that even the most non- descript individual would love to achieve success in some form, even if it be as simple as not ending up last. For the high achievers it is not just proving their mettle but doing something different and unique. There are variants to motivation like lure of financial rewards or fame and recognition being the driving force. Other drivers of motivation could include a sense of achievement, a sense of having power or the need to be popular and liked. Whatever the inducement, one has to have the thrust of motivation to boost ones energy and generate enthusiasm so as to ensure we are self driven successful individuals.

Remember: “When you discover your mission, you will feel its demand. It will fill you with enthusiasm and a burning desire to get to work on it.” W. Clement Stone

Try this:

  1. Ask yourself if you suffer from Monday morning blues where you get up every Monday morning with a scowl and disgust that a whole week lays ahead.  Do you suffer from frequently being the victim of negative self fulfilling prophesies?  Eg. You lobby hard for a contract and no sooner you get it, your mind is filled with thoughts of the consequences of not executing the contract properly on time. Subsequently you end up fouling up the job and get dispirited and possibly fatalistic too.
  2. Jot down 3 of the most frequently overheard complaints/ negative feedback about yourself. Now if you really believe that there is a problem find 3 motivators that will help you focus on overcoming your weakness. If you are convinced that the feedback is wrong, how will you ensure that the misconception is removed in the eyes of your critics?

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 only way to make a man trustworthy is to trust him. Henry L. Stimson

Human nature being what it is, we tend to have strong likes and dislikes largely based on our perceptions which in turn are deeply influenced by our biases and prejudices. One of the most  common bias pertains to assuming that someone who is shabbily dressed is poor and perhaps not to be completely trusted whereas  someone nattily dressed is rich an therefore trustworthy.  World over the quantum of white collared crimes is rapidly growing and yet using our quixotic logic, we tend to mistrust people who we are biased against. What we forget this old adage that ‘trust begets trust’.

As individuals we may have often resented our own parent’s inquisitiveness into our affairs which may have bordered on the cusp of insensitive distrust of our activities.  Our rational and oft repeated argument would be that we are mature and responsible and so we must be trusted to do the right thing at the right time. In fact if we are pressurized by the constant peering over our shoulder behavior, in frustration we would resort to some unruly behavior, bend some rules, express our annoyance more aggressively or simply revolted.  The human mind is conditioned to value its independence and responsibility which unfortunately is often overlooked by those in authority or power, be it parents, teachers, superiors or colleagues.

On the other hand, observe the behavior of people to whom we entrust responsibility and also express our confidence in. More often than not they exceed our expectations, simply because they do not want to let down our confidence in them. There would always be exceptions, but they are few and far and in between. Many of those who fail our trust have either foolish self centered interests or are simply incompetent. While the later can be excused and if possible given a second chance, those who deliberately fail us also need a second chance and perhaps closer supervision.  Trusting a person also offers the other person a chance to act independently and discover his/ her own abilities and potential. Even more important is the fact that by trusting a person you are giving the persona seal of our approval not just for his / her integrity but also for their skill, their competence and their resourcefulness.

How does one trust? It is never easy to overcome our personal bias and prejudices. So the first step is to be aware of our skewed thought process and possible irrational approach when we have to deal with people. Once we identify the people to who we need to entrust work, it is essential that w make sure that they have the ability and knowledge to be entrusted with the task. This is to be followed up with a conscious, well thought out plan of gaining the confidence of the others which often entails explaining our expectations of the other, reasons for our confidence in them and outlining the parameters which govern the relationship. Eg. If we employee a driver, it is prudent to check his credentials, then test his driving skills. Give them the brief and expectations and if possible make reference to any favorable recommendations received.  Avoid all temptations to do back seat driving but do pass on specific instructions that you would like him to follow. It is Bon Voyage then.

Remember: “The key is to get to know people and trust them to be who they are. Instead, we trust people to be who we want them to be- and when they’re not, we cry.”

Action Points:

  1. Read the well known parable of the tree talent from the Bible by clicking the following link. http://bible.org/seriespage/parable-talents-matthew-2514-30-luke-1912-28Notice that the master TRUSTS his servants and the first two servants in turn trust the master.; alas the third servant does not TRUST his master and so faces the consequences of his lack of trust.
  2. Ask yourself if you mistrust people because of your biases and if that is true identify those biases.  Do you attach too much importance to hearsay and as a result do not trust easily? Recollect at least 3 instances where you made an error in judgment about people you had to deal 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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The greatest mistake you can make is to be continually fearing you will make one. Elbert Hubbard

Fear paralyzes and that in two words is the only problem with fear. Unfortunately those two words are responsible for a whole life time of failures, dashed hopes, unfulfilled potential, abject performances and even financial woes. When we are afraid, our natural instinct is self preservation and this means taking evasive action pronto. Moe often than not the flight response is so dominant that we are mentally set to flee long before the feared possibility even appears on the horizon. However when we are suddenly faced with a fearful situation, often we find ourselves quaking in fear and rooted to the spot unable to move or react.

One of the most commonly experienced fears is the fear of making a mistake. Perhaps this is one of the chief reasons why the majority of the population around the world is terrified of public speaking.  Usually if we maintain status quo the chances of making a mistake are minimized for then we haven’t triggered anything that will be linked back to us. However while most times we can get away with doing nothing, there are many critical times when being paralyzed with fear can be life threatening. Take the case of a person trapped in the topmost floor of a high rise building on fire who is asked to cross over to the next building by slithering across the ropeway attached. The fear of the fire and the fear of heights can trigger panic in the person who might end up immobile.  A similar fate could befall a person who suddenly encounters a big cat like a lion or a tiger in the jungle.

A situation that drives people crazy with fear is the possibility of public humiliation if one commits a faux pas or mistake in public. Rather than seeing a mistake as a natural outcome of action gone wrong, people with a tremendous ego, fragile confidence or those who are timid by nature avoid any situation that brings them to the spotlight. As a result some of the most talented people never display their talent or ability and lead an inglorious life, punctuated with regrets and envy of others. There are many others who are so fearful of mistakes that instead of learning from mistakes, they are constantly trying to cover up, give excuses, find fault with extraneous things and absolve themselves of all responsibility. In the long run their growth is stunted, their potential remains unfulfilled and at best they play second filled all the time.

The best way to overcome the fear of mistakes is to realize that the vast majority of mistakes are never fatal. Equally important is the realization that mistakes will happen no matter how well one prepares. Eg. Look back at the numerous silly mistakes you made while answering your examination papers. Perhaps they may have cost you a merit rank but it never dampened your enthusiasm to do better next time. Mistakes are a humbling experience and reveal to us our human weakness and fragility. Finally if  one has  benefited from a mistake, then one needs to take that as a rare grace of a mistake.  When one can overcome the fear of mistakes, only then can one explore the frontiers beyond and yonder.

Remember: “If you don’t make mistakes, you don’t make anything”

Try this:

  1. Total the following numbers (without jotting it down again and without using a calculator or excel sheet or any external aid)  23456+45678+98765+413289+243546+765849+132589=             Jot down the speed with which you calculated the total. Now try to beat that speed by calculating the same numbers without counting the fourth number. Recheck your total using a calculator. If you made a mistake in totaling is it because you were focused on speed or simply careless.  If you didn’t even attempt it, is it because of your fear of mathematics or you think it is absurd doing the exercise. Do you think you are making a mistake by not attempting?
  2. If you have to relive your life again, list at least 3 mistakes in your life that you would correct or ensure you would never repeat.

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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