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Archive for February, 2011

Peace of mind is that mental condition in which you have accepted the worst. Lin Yutang

I have been beseeched by inquiries from well meaning friends as to why I have not been consistently updating my posts as I was doing  through 2010. I do plead guilty of being a tad lethargic but more importantly there have been other personal, professional and social commitments that are now competing very hard to be treated on par with my other priorities. I must confess that in the process, the daily blog has got pushed out to the periphery but I can assure my readers that it will still remain a priority for me. It has taken me a while to attain peace of mind with respect to taking the decision to reduce my daily blog to writing 4-5 times a week. Yes, today’s quote aptly sums up my dilemma and my response to it.

One dreaded word that is the bane of those seeking peace of mind is CHANGE. This is because for almost all of us change signifies a shift in the status quo and this means one has to constantly readjust to adapt to the change. Most of us are tempered to follow a planned, preordained path and anything that disturbs this causes anxiety which translates to mean that it disturbs our peace of mind. To cope with change, the focus should be on looking at change as an allay rather than an adversary.  A simple example could be the stimulus that makes us follow a good diet and exercise regime. While one has to possibly sacrifice some of the most tasty and appetizing food, the pain of strain and effort in exercising  begins to both unnerve us and makes us anxious about coping up. If what drives us to diet and exercise is fear of illness then both the effort and the results would be labored. On the other hand if it is our inner desire to feel good, look healthy and be fit that is the stimulant the results would be far more spectacular.

Worry is the real culprit in disturbing the peace of mind. This is because we are constantly anticipating problems, imagining worst case scenarios and oozing negative emotions and feelings. One reason for this is that we believe that it makes the reality easier to bear if the worst happens. What we fail to see is that most of worries never happen and so we have expended our energies fruitlessly. Equally tragic is the fact that by worrying we have often missed out on opportunities and possibilities of learning, earning and growing.  The trick to tackle worry is change our mindset and attitude. This means one has to work on one’s self belief and positive attitude. This does not mean that we ignore our concerns but we build up the will power to address our concerns by having alternatives lined up but after that we proceed to leverage the opportunities that are available to us. An example of this could be those who worry about a job loss if the company is shut down during a recession. If the probability is high they would plan out the alternatives but having done so they would go about doing their job so well that they would be retained till the end because of their sheer performance.

Accepting the reality is where people really flounder. Very often when faced with an unpleasant reality, the common response of most people is denial. Denial simply implies that people do not accept the reality. They tend to fight it, ignore it, manipulate it and camouflage it. They expend their energies in a futile way hoping that some miracle would restore their original status quo. Subconsciously too they are aware that they are fighting a losing cause and hence do not enjoy the peace of mind that could help them cope with the reality. People who are detected with life changing or life threatening illness or disabilities would for example try all types of cures including alternative therapy, faith healing and could even fall prey to the guile’s of god men. Finally it is only when they reconcile to the reality that they actually give up fighting the illness and learn to enjoy the rest of their life. Enjoying life particular all that is left when we run short of time is perhaps when peace of  mind is experienced in its regal splendor and majesty.

Remember: “You’ll never find peace of mind until you listen to your heart.”  George Michael

Try this:

  1. We find it hard to forgive ourselves for our indiscretions. If we carry this burden then we lose our peace of mind. Saying sorry is a very simple means to retain our peace of mind. Read the following to know more about forgiving ourselves. https://actspot.wordpress.com/2010/12/10/forgiving-ones-own-self/
  2. Check if incidents in the following situations are even today making you lose your peace of mind
  • Your inability to forgive someone who wronged you
  • Your personal negative qualities e.g. Quick temper/ extreme jealously/ possessiveness/ avariciousness etc
  • Some incident from the past that has traumatized you e.g. dog bite in child hood/ scenes from some horror movies / being ditched by a loved one

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 person with insight enough to admit his limitations comes nearest to perfection. Johann von Goethe

As human beings we are all prone to make mistakes, tend to stray from the acceptable norms and succumb to our personal limitations and weaknesses.  Some mistakes could be trifles like overlooking the niceties in a social situation, others could be more severe like not discharging our critical duties and some could be out right dangerous and fateful like drinking and driving. The reality is that at some point or the other we are prone to fall prey to any or all of these traps and usually we try and rationalize our faults instead of acknowledging our mistake. It our reluctance to stand up and accept our faults that is often the worst of our faults for then we compound our error and worse still miss out on an opportunity to correct our faults and redeem our self.

By admitting our limitations, we are doing ourselves 3 favors.

  • We consciously realize our fault.
  • We are able to then take steps to correct our faults and learn from our mistakes.
  • We grow through our strength of character, reinforced self belief and improved abilities.

By admitting our faults, we are acknowledging the fact that we are conscious of what we do, we are aware of what the norms are and that we have realized that we have violated those norms. Many a time, making this admission is difficult because we may have to end up paying a heavy price for our faults. We also are open to being branded as inefficient, irresponsible and incompetent. What we fail to appreciate though is that a fault can be corrected only if we realize that it is a fault. Then we can get guidance, seek out ways to rectify and in the long run ensure that we have learnt and reduce our chances of repeating the fault. By refusing to acknowledge our faults we are merely falling into following the wrong practices, run the risk of making more gross mistakes and definitely increasing our chances of failure.

By admitting our fault we display our strength of character that we would rather be honest and be branded ineffective than lie and run the risk of being caught in an even more embarrassing position. Our character is further strengthened by our willing acceptance of the consequences of our admission of fault.  The moment we admit our fault, we are telling ourselves that we have it in us to overcome the set back and bounce back. This is the reinforcement of our self belief. Self belief comes from a pragmatic evaluation, oodles of confidence and a steely resolve. Finally when we learn from our faults, we are actually participating in a process of self development which ultimately leads to improvement in our abilities and talents. The star athletes and sports men would readily testify to the vital role their coaches’ play in correcting their technique by first critically evaluating the performance and then making the much needed corrections. Strange as it may seem, at the peak of their careers many an athlete has relied on the insightful observation and good counsel of their coaches to turn out superlative performances.

Remember: “Genius has limitations; stupidity is boundless

Try this:

  1. The annual appraisals for employees / the customer feedback forms/ the complaints made by clients are good indicators of third party perceptions about faults. Ask if we tend to constantly refute it, rationalize it, dismiss it casually or simply refuse to acknowledge it.  On the other hand those who take this feedback seriously will invariably use the feedback to alter their style, improve their work ethics, investigate the core issue etc. and in the long run change for the better.
  2. Can we list out and acknowledge 3 of our faults for the following spheres of our life
  • Our family life
  • Our personal life
  • Our professional life
  • Our social life
  • Our lifestyle

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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Nothing of worth or weight can be achieved with half a mind, with a faint heart, and with a lame endeavor. Isaac Barrow

To really understand this saying, look back at your school days and reflect on those subjects that you disliked, found it hard to study, got relatively poor marks and those that you desperately wished could be done away with. For many students mathematics was their bugbear, for some it was science, for others it was either languages or the social sciences. Of course there could be some who hated the art and music class and those not liking physical activities the PT classes were dreaded.  What is uniformly true for all students who hated any subject was their half hearted attempts at studying, their inherent dislike and fear of the subject and the very low priority they gave to the subject.

Now look at those areas in your life which you excelled in or indulged in. At this precise moment, there is a feeling of euphoria in you, a sense of self worth and a rising passion merely thinking about those activities that you really relish. Notice that it is these very feelings and approach that have made you both successful and committed to those activities. In effect, this means that once we make up our minds to be involved in something because we like it, we normally give it our best shot and even if we don’t get the expected results we still enjoy the effort and resolve to commit to it again.

We can distill these feelings and learning into 3 broad requirements; passion, motivation and commitment.

Passion is what makes a person become deeply interested, focused and determined to make a success of his/her interest. This means that he/she will be constantly seeking out ways and means to be involved in those activities that are very fond of.  They will also try to improve themselves so that they are the best in what they do because they are passionate. When a person is passionate, the person automatically gets motivated. Motivation ensures that the person will accept any challenge, work extra hard and will sacrifice a lot to get success in their passion. Motivation also ensures that people have the drive and energy to wait for success and they do not get discouraged easily. It also provides the energy to people to keep pegging away patiently in faith and hope. Commitment is ability to continue to traverse the path chosen even if it is paved with thorns. This means overcoming many obstacles, being steadfast in ones resolve and being thick skinned enough to shun criticism, negative thoughts and occasional failures.

The life story of the rich and the famous would reveal that without exception each one of them exhibited strength of character, had clear vision and focus and above all believed in themselves and worked to attain their goals no matter what the cost.  Ironically the valor and sacrifices of our freedom fighters, our soldiers and our martyrs reveal the same sterling qualities. To cap it all the great sporting icons of those nation, the superheroes and heroines who have a large fan following and our well respected seniors and colleagues in the workplace also are testimony to the success story that they have scripted through dint of hard work, vision, self belief and commitment.

Remember: “There’s a difference between interest and commitment. When you’re interested in doing something, you do it only when circumstance permit. When you’re committed to something, you accept no excuses, only results.”

Try this:

  1. List out 3 of your passions. Now for each of them identify 2 icons in that field, 2 new areas of opportunity to be explored by you and find out 2 new websites that will help you develop your passion even more.
  2. How will you be able to motivate yourself in your current field of study / current job/ current profession? If you are struggling and not able to break free of the shackles that weigh you down how will you find the energy and resources to be committed and be positive. If your current activities does not enthuse you how will you motivate yourself for a change?

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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He who is ashamed of asking is ashamed of learning.  – Danish Proverb

It was Rudyard Kipling who wrote the Poem that began as follows

I keep six honest serving-men
(They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.

Almost all of us have extensively used these six honest serving men throughout our school life and possible till we graduated. However thereafter most of us felt a little ashamed of using the questioning technique and preferred to remain in ignorant bliss rather than admit we lacked the knowledge. It is also possible that we continued to believe in some possibly mistaken notions. The reality of life is that there is far too much knowledge for any individual to grasp and absorb and so the only way forward is to humbly seek out the facts when we lack the knowledge; yet we have our psychological block of admitting our ignorance.

The technique of questioning had 3 distinct advantages.

It keeps us grounded to the reality that we have a lot to learn.

When we are willing to question, we are acknowledging our own limitations and weakness and readily accept the wiser counsel of others. It opens our eyes to the fact that it is not our intelligence alone that helps us to grow in life but our ability to harness the knowledge that is around us provided we first accept our personal limitations.

It facilitates us learning.

Questioning also helps us to search for answers and makes us aware of the need to seek out more intelligent people, find out more authentic information and search for new avenues of updating ourselves. When we ask questions we also are looking for answers. We use the questioning technique very effectively when we are faced with a problem and require some answers to progress ahead.

It enables one to connect dots and be creative.

Questioning is the best method to solve problems. By constantly seeking to find answers we would stimulate out thinking, dream up apparently illogical possibilities and succeed in finding unique solutions to our problems. Riddles that we asked in school may now look ridiculous and childish but provided the vital stimulant required to develop the spirit of questioning and sharpening our creativity. Eg  Two mothers and two daughters went for a picnic but they were only 3 of them. How is this possible? Or Name 3 consecutive days that does not include Sunday, Wednesday and Saturday in it.

In fact the questioning technique was the bass of most human progress. One of the key players in the development and enrichment of human thinking and philosophy is the Greek Philosopher Socrates whose Socratic Method of inquiry revolved around asking questions. Notice that the educational system irrespective of the discipline of study uses the questioning technique to evaluate the knowledge and aptitude of the students. Similarly the journalistic profession extensively uses the questioning technique to get quote and sound bytes to feature as news.  Researchers and scientists too use this technique to come up with new inventions, discoveries and improvements. Finally it is important to note that the questioning technique is what makes the human race very distinct from the other living creatures. Our evolution and progress can be solely attributed to our ability to use the six honest serving men effectively.

Remember: “Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn.”  Benjamin Franklin

Try this:

  1. Play the game 20 questions in which the leader thinks of a well known personality and will respond only with a YES/ NO/ Pass (if they do not know the answer) to your questions. You have to ask questions and based on the response of the leader guess the personality in 20 questions.
  2. Ask yourself if you suffer from the following indicators of being question shy.
  • You are lost in a new city and struggling with the map but feel awkward to ask the local person to help out
  • You watch Formula racing and / Golf on TV but have yet to find out the rules of the games.
  • You recently shifted to a new home. You are finding it hard to make inquiries with the neighbors to know more about the locality and the important landmarks.
  • Your child’s progress report indicates that he/ she is lagging behind. Yet you do not make efforts to meet the teachers and learn more about the reason for the child’s poor performance.
  • You are invited by your host to a fancy restaurant serving French cuisine. The menu card lists all the dishes in French. You feel awkward to ask the steward to update you about the dishes.

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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What we see depends mainly on what we look for. – Sir John Lubbock

If you are one of those who ends up as a frustrated shopper rarely finding what appeals to you or one who finds too many faults in what  you plan to purchase, ask yourself the question ‘Do I really know what I want?’ Take the simple case of buying a new mobile phone for personal use. While the budget constraint might be very clear, the other parameters of type of the phone viz. style, color, features, utility, functionality etc. are not very clear to us. Obviously then we flirt from phone to phone secretly wishing to own all, but finding it very difficult to narrow down the personal choice. On the other hand when we have to book tickets for travel, we are fairly sure of the dates, the mode of transport and the preferred choice of seating. We are clear about our requirements because the choices are so limited and we need to decide clearly before we lose out the opportunity.

Many a time, we do not leverage this great insight and that is why we often end up angry, frustrated and despondent when we are challenged, face obstacles and are confronted with seemingly insurmountable problems. The trick is not to avoid the problem or deflect it or give up in frustration. Instead if we continue to persist seeking the answer we will come up with some of the most innovative solutions and perhaps there are extremely simple solutions at hand which we have overlooked. All the great innovations of the world are testimony to the unquenchable thirst of the scientist and discoverers to search for that solution to their challenge. In fact the progress of mankind can be attributed to man’s self belief and search for answers for his/ her problems.

This brings us to another powerful use of this wisdom of seeking and finding what we search for. When we are prone to complaint, criticize, run down, cast aspersions or find fault we need to take a pause and see the good points, the positives, the strengths and the opportunities that exist and our negative mindset will be largely nullified. Similar if one wants to get the best out of people all we need to do is look out for their strengths, seek out something to praise them for, identify their positives and seek out opportunities to communicate these positives to them. Notice how they get charged up, work to live up to their promise and actively seek to get your attention and a reinforcement of the earlier appreciation from you.

It might sound ironic but good friendships are often developed not because we are consciously aware of our requirements for a type of friend but invariably it is our sub conscious that helps us gravitate towards the right people with whom we blend well, have the perfect rapport and forge a long lasting bond. This again simply proves the point that when we seek consciously or unconsciously, we get what we want.

Remember: Seek first to understand and then you will be understood.

Try this

  1. Assume you are rushing to a formal meeting. You are not wearing a coat but just a full sleeve shirt and tie.  Unfortunately your sleeve gets entangled in a nail and the button is ripped off. You wouldn’t want to attend the meeting with one sleeve buttoned and the other unbuttoned. What are the various options before you to salvage the situation.  ( You have no time to resew a button). Come up with at least 3 different answers and email it to contact @actspot.com.
  2. Find at least 3 positives in the following situations
  • You have lost your wallet
  • You get injured on the eve of an important match and you miss the opportunity to play the match.
  • Your best friend suddenly stops talking to you and avoids your attempts to communicate with him/ her

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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Everyone is trying to accomplish something big, not realizing that life is made up of little things. – Frank A. Clark

As you read this post, notice that it is actually alphabets put together to form words which are placed logically to form sentences. The sentences in turn are arranged sequentially to ensure that a whole thought is expressed and the paragraph contains about one or two ideas. The paragraphs taken to gather will form the sum total of the major subject being elucidated. The key learning is that to translate ideas into tangible offerings, one has to traverse the humble and often painfully slow paths without excluding even the most lowly process. The big accomplishments are actually the fruits of the labor that one puts in with faith, hope and competence.

A close study of the lives of the well know personalities in history be it politicians, philosophers, artistes, musicians, sportsmen etc. would bring out some interesting facts. Without exception each one of them has had to begin in humility, pursue in earnest, work unceasingly and constantly cope with the pain of failure and yet retain their determination, drive and discipline even when standing on the slippery mount of success. A sportsperson provides the perfect example of how the little things in life actually add up to reflect the major accomplishments in their lives. Kenya and Ethiopia throw up the maximum  number of world class middle distance and long distance runners. Also most all of them come from impoverished backgrounds and credit their success to the long distance they travelled as children particularly while going to school. The high altitude and harsh climatic and topographical conditions just helped them become more resilient and sturdy.

It is also important to appreciate that big accomplishments are also relative. For a person coming from an uneducated background, going through school and college would qualify as a major achievement. For an athlete representing his school, college, state and country would be the natural progression of achievement. For a management trainee achievement could begin with getting confirmation as an employee and then climbing the corporate ladder possibly to become the top honcho. On the other hand the parents of new born’s will look out for the baby’s smile and the first tender steps he/she takes and the first words the child says as major accomplishments of the child. While a child’s achievements while growing up would be the result of biological evolution, each of those achievements signals a healthy development and the accomplishment of small but critical stages of growth. The similar feeling of small accomplishments translating into big achievements is experienced by the uneducated when they learnt to read and write and the sportsman when he gets his first and subsequent selections.

Remember: “My mother taught me very early to believe I could achieve any accomplishment I wanted to. The first was to walk without braces.”  Wilma Rudolph quotes (First American woman Runner to win three gold medals at a single Olympics. 1940-1994)

Try this:

  1. Read up on Wilma Rudolph ( she was suffered from polio before she became an Olympic winner) http://tinyurl.com/47duhb6 and on http://tinyurl.com/cm3el3
  2. Outline your major accomplishments in the following categories and also think of 3 reasons why  / how you achieved that success.
  • Academics
  • Sports
  • Honesty
  • Friendship
  • Positive Thinking
  • Overcoming some fear

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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This time like all times is a very good one if we but know what to do with it  – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Last night, I was deeply disappointed that I ran headlong into a writer’s worst nightmare ‘the writer’s block’ and after pottering around for more than an hour attempting to get going with the blog I simply quit. Funnily enough I enjoyed a good sleep but on waking up was racked with pangs of guilt on not writing the blog, suffering the ignominy of being idealess and I suspect more depressed at the blow to my ego. However as the day wore on it occurred to me that the experience of the previous night was not entirely wasted; after all I was subject to the painful realization of my own limitations; having made the decision to give up and go to sleep my dilemma was resolved and I enjoyed blissful sleep; and on waking up I was glad to rediscover my competitive drive. That time (yesterday when I stared for an hour at a blank screen attempting to write)  just like the present moment that I am writing and this moment that you are reading this post are all equally invaluable provided each of us is doing exactly what was/ is required.

Our successes or failures in life are nothing but net effect of the time we spend fruitfully minus the time we waste in doing things that either we ought not to do or should do at another time. Look back at our own student days and reflect on how much effort we put into studies and how much time we spend in day dreaming, hanging out with friends, sleeping, watching movies TV partying etc. It is not as if to suggest that the latter activities are to be avoided but definitely they must be restricted for each of us is fortunately or unfortunately privy only to 24 hours of the day. A good test to understand how much time we utilize productively is to ask if we have any regrets. The more the regrets the greater the waste of our limited time. Ask if you have taken time out to smell the flowers as you traverse the paths of life. If you haven’t then soon you would realize the frustrtionof having the time but squandering it.

Another test to find out if we have made good use of our time is to answer the question’ what will I do with the last 10 minutes of my life?

Ask if you would end telling yourself the following

I will go around telling those whom I love that I love them passionately

I will go around pardoning all those who hurt me

I will go around seeking pardon from those I hurt,

I will loosen my purse strings and liberally give out to charity etc.

Some questions that will haunt you then are

Can  I do all this in 10 minutes?

Should I have not done this all the time?

Why did I waste my time on frivolous things when I should have spend more time with loved ones?

Was my life worth whatever I achieved?

Will someone really grieve for me?

Remember:

Happy the man, and happy he alone,

He, who can call to-day his own:

He who, secure within, can say:

“To-morrow, do thy worst, for I have liv’d to-day.”

Try this:

  1. Ask yourself right now if this is the right time to read the blog. If your answer is yes then go on and read a few more blog posts including the weekly post at www.poweract.blogspot.com If your answer is NO, then stop reading and slot a time to read and henceforth make it a point to read these posts only at that time.
  2. Any time is perfect to do the following. Ensue that you practice as many of these as often as you can.
  • Smile
  • Thank
  • Apologize
  • Praise
  • Reflect
  • Appreciate
  • Pardon
  • Pray

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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