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Archive for April, 2011

“When you have no choice, mobilize the spirit of courage” Jewish Proverb

When we look around us there are times when we feel dispirited, disheartened and deflated and it just gets worse when there are many others like that around us. We are then left wondering if there is any hope for us and if life has anything meaningful t to offer us. These are times when we wished we didn’t have to go through this painful and apparently hopeless process. No matter who one is, no matter how rich and powerful, no matter how intelligent or smart one is, low points in life will always be a part of living. Death is one low point that is a great leveler and is the one common denominator of sadness, pain and hopelessness that binds all living beings.

The average human being is often commonly plagued by the lows that follow death of a loved one,  fear of failure and worry about the future. Death is a reality that we must make peace with and accept with equanimity. It spares none and can come most unexpectedly. While affection and love will always tug at the heart and trigger emotions of various hues we need to pick up the pieces and get back on track at the earliest. Since human beings cannot remain isolated, unemotional or unaffected one would need to delve into the personal resources of rationale, courage and acceptance which would form the foundation of the spirit of courage that will pull us out of the quagmire of grief.

Fear of failure is omnipresent too. No one can ride on past success for each one of us has to script a new success story everyday. Ironically, the fear of failure is just as prevalent amongst the rich as much as it is prevalent amongst the poor, it is found in equal measure amongst both the brilliant and those who are below average and spares neither the urban population nor the rural folks. Since we cannot insulate ourselves from this fear the next best thing we can do is to ensure that fear of failure does not overwhelm us. Self belief is the key to open the doors of courage. Resilience and hard work provide the steps to the ladder of success.  It also helps to be planned, prepared and persistent for then we would be better equipped to face failure without hurting ourselves too much in the process.

Since the future is the unknown that is both a mystery and an opportunity rather than view it with trepidation, we must look at it in anticipation. View the future like a hand of cards dealt by the dealer when playing a game of bridge or poker. It is only once we have the cards that we can play the game.  Just as we look forward with anticipation eager to know the hidden cards, which if it is a poor hand we fold and wait for the next game, so too must we see each day. Patience, hope and the daring to take calculated risks be it in playing or packing up are the mantras to muster courage and fire up the spirit. Fearing the future is perhaps the most passive and sure fire way to lose ones way in the maze called life. Instead anticipate the changes, prepare for it and plod into it with gusto and presto we discover the truth ‘that life is an adventure to be lived not a mystery to solved.’

Remember:  “Pure logic is the ruin of the spirit.”  Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Try this:

  1. Here is a wonderful link to the Video titled the Last Lecture by Randy Pausch http://tinyurl.com/2z3wsx  ( Do you think you can manage something like what he did under similar circumstances? If your answer is yes…go on attempt to write your own epitaph)
  2. Here are a few realities of life. How do you visualize each of them
  • Monthly bills to be paid
  • Some illness in the family
  • Some celebrations that occur
  • An unexpected surprise or shock
  • Retirement
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Winning a lottery/ inheritance/ gift/ an award

 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 word of encouragement during a failure is worth more than an hour of praise after success”

One of the casualties of intense competition are the school going children who are constantly prodded by parents to excel at examinations. While it is necessary to ensure that the children study hard and do well in the exams, matters become absurd when parents want their wards to top in all the subjects and focus attention on academics at the cost of sacrificing their games and extracurricular activities. The ultimate damage is done when parents instead of appreciating the success of the youngsters dwell on them having missed on a few marks, find fault with the method of study or berate the children for being careless and or not putting in as much effort as required. It is this irrational criticism that stresses out the children for they would have sought praise for their efforts and encouragement for their performance even if it fell marginally short of expectations.

Over an extended period of time we tend to perfect the art of finding fault, being critical and wantonly berating subordinates in  particular, under the mistaken notion that ‘fear is the key’ to discipline, performance improvement and productivity. While some of these techniques would have some positive effect, the negativity that permeates this approach makes it a very questionable tactics when the chips are down.  On the other hand lavish encouragement and tempered praise would restore self belief, enhance confidence and plant the seeds of positive thinking which can then go on to be the bedrock on which to build success. Often a good mentor or coach will strategically resort to this style especially when things seem hopeless for at the stage human frailty would tempt one to throw in the towel. A good dose of encouragement actually pumps up the recipients, rejuvenates them and they are boosted in their intent and then‘ fortune often favors the brave’

 It is well worth pondering that ‘success is never final and failure never fatal’. Unless we can appreciate the profound truth in this statement, the approach taken would be crass, crude and condemnable for the stick would be given more prominence than the carrot. A very unique and effective technique of encouragement involves leaders standing up and taking the rap when there is failure. This takes both a lot of courage and immense belief in the teams efforts. Going a step further when there is success the leader must take a back seat and let the team members believe that they accomplished it all on their own. The beauty of this approach lies in the fact that the leader has full faith in his/ her team and so ‘failure’ if any is deemed to be a collective failure with the leader standing up for his/ her team members. Dr. A.P.J Abdul Kalam former President of India gives a very vivid and detailed example of this leadership quality that he was privileged to experience firsthand from his leader Prof. Satish Dhawan. See this link to read about it http://tinyurl.com/3dl2mtg

Remember: “Correction does much, but encouragement does more.”  Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Try this:

  1. Can you recollect 3 of the most demoralizing moments of your life? Who helped you overcome those terrible setbacks? How did you find the strength to bounce back?
  2. How will you use the learning from today’s post in the following situations
  • Your best friend has misplaced your favorite pen gifted by your grandfather and you are distraught and he is just as disturbed as you are.
  • Your colleague is great photographer and one of his photographs is tipped to win a major international competition. Unfortunately due to a technical error his entry is not taken into consideration for evaluation and he is terribly disappointed.
  • Your next door neighbor is very keen to get his son admitted to a prestigious school nearby but for reasons not known the bright child could not make it to the final admission list. Your neighbor and his wife are devastated and their anguish has spelled gloom in the house and the child too is terrified.

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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It’s so hard when I have to, and so easy when I want to.  ~Annie Gottlier

The challenge we face each day is to make each day a pleasurable one, an interesting one and one devoid of irritation, boredom and  dislike. The tough part of this is facing the reality that our daily routine is by and large well set and a good part of that routine is repetitive, stressful and / or  boring. The only consolation we can take is that the pattern is true for almost all of us and so we do not feel less privileged. Yet, when we see the enthusiasm and the energy and the euphoria that some people manage to display every single day, we wonder how they do it.

A clue to this can perhaps be got by examining our student days. If we simply looked back at our student days we would realise that we always favoured some subjects over others and we would happily spend a lot of time on those subjects. As for those subjects we disliked we tackled it with disdain, defiance and disinterest. In effect, when we were forced to study what we didn’t like, the effort was too hard and painful whereas what appealed to us was welcomed whole heartedly and enthusiastically. The secret then is to get to like what we have to do.

Is it possible for us to like what we have to do? Very few of us would like to take an injection for it is painful. Yet when we are left with no option we pluck courage from our deepest recess and go through the process. Perhaps the thought of getting relief or the fear of more painful consequences of not taking the injection spurs the person to voluntarily subject himself/ herself to the pain of an injection. Similarly the urge to score excellently or the fear of failure would have egged us on to study subjects we didn’t really fancy. In both examples there is a positive end result that actually directs our actions. If we can get some of this attitude to guide us in our daily life we would find life less stressful and perhaps even discover that in fact life is very invigorating. Overcoming our fear holds the key to beginning to like what we have to do.

It is not enough just to overcome our fear or reservations about things that we do not really relish but cannot avoid. To really want to relish whatever comes ones way it is essential that we have the right spirit, add a liberal dose of creativity to make things interesting, take occasional setbacks as experiences to learn from and be energetic enough never to get bogged down. Eg. A telephone operators job is perhaps one of the most repetitive and thank less jobs that can get boring, stressful and insipid. Yet some of the best telephone operators would sound as energetic at close of day as they would at the start of the day. Their success lies in visualising themselves as key cogs in the corporate communication wheel and also believing that they are the critical touch point for their corporate. The ultimate lesson is that one finds it easy to meet daily challenges if  one can  see oneself in the right perspective, as influencers in the spheres that we have to commit to, whether we forced into or otherwise.

Remember: There is nothing so easy but that it becomes difficult when you do it reluctantly.  ~Publius Terentius Afer

 Try this:

  1. You have  met with an accident and have to be  confined to bed rest for 2 months. By nature you are an outdoor person. How will you cope with this forced home stay? What activities will you indulge in? How would ensure that you are being productive and not bored?
  2. You are basically a person who prefers the indoors. Due to a sudden crisis you are forced to accompany a group of 50 school children to 2 week outdoor activity camp. You are aware that the children are boisterous and need to be kep engaged all the time. You just dislike the whole assignment but have no choice. How will you ensure that the trip is a success?

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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To have what we want is riches; but to be able to do without is power.  George MacDonald

Almost everyone would like to have more riches and yet most of us are able to make do with whatever we are blessed with. However making do with whatever we have is perhaps out of compulsion or it could be a compromise or perhaps even a conscious decision one takes with the objective of slowly building the riches or to save for a rainy day. If we are fortunate enough to have most of what we crave for it is possible that we are truly materially rich but despite these riches if one yearns for still more then satiating that will be a near impossible task.

On the other hand if one is able to see the riches, in what by common yardstick is considered below average or poor, then what we really posses is power. The power to accept the reality, the power to appreciate the frugal, the power to remain happy and the power to believe that life is both fair and blessed. In effect we have the power over desires, our wants, our cravings and ourselves. This might seem like bliss but if we in our innate desire to be modest, frugal and satisfied overlook the needs and wants of those around us, be it family, friends, colleagues etc. we would be misusing the power we have by being selfish, inconsiderate and pigheaded.

The reality though is that most of us think of riches in terms of material wealth without really appreciating the wealth we actually posses in terms of relationships, knowledge, networking, good health and above all peace of mind and happiness. It is these riches that we must seek to have in abundance and this ironically grows when we can share more of what we have with us with others. Nothing amplifies this as much as the burden we carry when we seek revenge. We believe that in carrying the hate for another and by executing our plan at the opportune moment we would attain a coveted desire that is rich beyond imagination. What we fail to realize is that the negativity, the anger, the burden of waiting are preventing us from enjoying the real riches one has and that by a simple act of forgiveness we would possess the power to enjoy every living moment of our life.

Remember: What power can poverty have over a home where loving hearts are beating with a consciousness of untold riches of the head and heart? Orison Swett Marden

Try this:

  1. Have a look at this following PPT that brings about the irony of our times Lifes_philosophy
  2.  From the above PPT can you list out 3 riches and 3 powers that you posses? Also jot down 3 riches you would like to have and 3 powers that you would love to be blessed 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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True peace of mind is not dependent on circumstances. It comes from the inside.

The most common ailment that people complaint about is anxiety/ stress/ lack of peace of mind. Ironically, almost all of them believe that they are the part of a minority of unfortunate ones with the problem whilst the majority of people are blissful, joyous and at peace with themselves.  In fact the major cause of stress is this belief that everyone else seems to be so lucky and happy and that we are denied that pleasure. In this process we blame everyone and everything for our woes but our major complaint is against our lack of financial well being which we are convinced can be a single dose pill for all our worries and the anti depressant that will bring forth peace of mind.

Negative thinking accounts for all the stress that we undergo. We enjoy visualizing the worst case scenario in the hope that if it occurs we would not feel so bad about it and that we would be well prepared to meet it. Negative thinking can take on bizarre proportions right from blaming corruption and nepotism for our personal woes to wondering aloud about our own future be it in relation to a job or family life or wealth accumulation or relationships.  Instead of being pragmatic we lapse into reminiscing about the wonderful past that we believe will no longer come back and / or we morosely anticipate a future that we believe will be bleak, insipid and possibly terrifying.

Our temperament, temper, anxieties and negative feelings of jealousy, hate, revenge, envy, fear etc contribute in large measure to us not enjoying peace of mind. If we can examine the root cause of what ails us and makes us sleepless, fearful, worried and anxious we would realize that almost of all of it has its origins in our mind and heart. Comparisons are perhaps the single most destructive trait / habit that we posses that eventually wrecks our peace of mind. We compare our looks, our talents, our possessions, our fortunes, our academic credentials, our material possessions etc  and conclude that others are by far much more lucky and we then fall into the quagmire of self pity. Many are fearful of failure, others wary of success for then the benchmark could be hard to emulate; others are suspicious of the motives, the intent and the large heartedness of others who apparently freely give and share without any expectations.

Self belief, openness, gratefulness and trust are virtues that if we can posses or cultivate will de-stress us and nurture peace of mind.  With self belief we overcome fear, with openness we accept the reality, with gratefulness we value our own riches and with trust we remove ill feeling and misgivings and can easily forgive. Notice that all these are positive traits, are traits that fertilize the mind and help cultivate positive thoughts and traits that are within us waiting for us to discover it and bring it to the fore. No matter what the situation, whatever be the problem or however complicated the reality, we develop the mental strength to cope with it without undue stress and quickly regain our peace of mind.

Remember: When you unclutter your mind, you enjoy peace of mind.

Try these:

  1. List out 5 positive things about stress. Are you harnessing these positive things when stressed or do you end up losing your peace of mind?  What are the 3 obvious mannerism that you display when you are stressed or worked up? Do you deny being stressed if someone remarks that they think your stressed?
  2. On a scale of 1- 10 (with 1 being no stress and 10 being acute stress) rate the stress you will be subject to in the following circumstances. Give the list to your close friend/ colleague/ spouse and ask them to rate how they perceive you to be stressed under these conditions. Compare both scores and if there are large deviations between both scores ask yourself the reasons for the same.
  • Your doctor tells you that you may be having cancer.
  • You lose a substantial amount when your investments go bust.
  • Your friend and you purchase lottery tickets in sequence. The friend wins the bumper lottery and you do not.
  • You win a 2 week all expenses paid holiday to Europe but unfortunately you are down with chicken pox and cannot go on the trip.
  • A close family member announces that he is gay
  • You think your best friend has betrayed 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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People must be taken as they are, and we should never try to make them or ourselves better by quarreling with them.  Edmund Burke

One of the many reasons relationships fail is because we have a lot of expectations from the other party and consciously or unconsciously we keep finding faults over trivial matters and blow it out of proportion.  Other times we are so full of ourselves that we fail to understand that we are actually irritating the other person by our selfish and self centered ways.  There are times when we believe we have the right to harshly criticize, articulate uncouthly our feelings particularly when irritated or hurt and worse of all take liberties in ascribing motives to people’s behavior that does not appeal to us. When we let our differences become barbs, turn our expectations into demands and dogmatically spurn friendly overtures to pamper our own ego that is when the first signs of cracks in a relationship show up.

It is tackling our own ego that poses the real problem in maintaining relationships.  Many a time we make an issue of a perceived slight to our ego. It could be a comment that we do not agree with or it could be indifference that we think is deliberate or it could be completely misunderstanding a gesture,  a communication or even non communication.  Other times we want to be given importance, want others to take the lead in touching base with us and far too often we seek to control the relationship. If we step back to take a good hard look at the reasons why we do not get along with some people, why we do not enjoy the company of others and avoid like plague certain individuals we cannot deny the fact that we are in some way at least partly responsible for the situation. Perhaps we need to also look at why the same people could possibly be giving us a wide berth too.

The challenge in any relationship is to balance expectations, minimize presumptions and maintain open communications. This is easier said than done because our personal styles are so varied, we succumb to the pressures of our own emotions and attitudes. While some of us are loud, arrogant and on your face there are others who appear docile, submissive, fearful but are constantly scheming. While those inclined to adopt the aggressive style easily provoke and snap of ties the latter are prone to mask their feelings and yet cunningly severe ties by pushing relationships to the brink. While individual styles play a crucial part in cementing or severing relationships, one can make an attempt to become aware of how to change and soothen ruffled feathers and restore balance and relationships.

The fact is we can with effort on our part, an open mind and honesty of purpose always improve relationships, cement relationships and nurture new relationships. For this the first step is to meet, greet and respect people.  The next step is to acknowledge people, praise them when required, be patient if the need arises and give them their due. To scale up a relationship to a different level be more candid without being offensive,  be honest without being moralistic and be open to all feedback without being judgmental. Patience, respect and acceptance are three virtues that will help us maintain healthy relationship with all those whom we interact with.

Remember: It doesn’t matter what the other is being, doing, having, saying, wanting, demanding. It doesn’t matter what the other is thinking, expecting, planning. It only matters what you are being in relationship to that.

Try this:

  1. Recollect three pleasant memories and one unpleasant memory of your relationship with the following people. Ask why you enjoyed the relationship and how you could have helped improve the relationship that was unpleasant.
  • Your father
  • Your mother
  • Your siblings
  • Your best friend in school
  • Your favorite teacher in school
  • The teacher you disliked immensely
  • A current colleague or batch mate
  1. Name one person who comes to mind in the following situations
  • An actor or actress you dislike
  • A player/ sportsman who you feel is overrated
  • An idol/ icon who you would love to meet
  • The sweetest person you can think of immediately
  • A person known to you personally for whom you feel really sorry for.
  • Someone you need to really apologize to.

(In the first three cases are you justified in your feelings since you do not know the people concerned personally)

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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Winning takes talent, to repeat takes character.  John Wooden

The euphoria of the Indian Crickets teams World Cup victory, has ignited a debate as to whether this is one of the greatest Indian Cricket teams and if it can be considered truly exceptional. To win the world cup is no mean feat and to do it beating some pretty good sides speaks volumes about the sheer talent and ability of the team members. However to be considered exceptional it is imperative that the team display consistency, commitment and above all character.

Consistency is all about repeatedly performing to full potential. This is challenging because the conditions could constantly change be it with respect to the conditions of playing arena, or the strength of the opponent or it could be due to unexpected changes that are suddenly thrust upon the participants. For outdoor sports, a huge shower could drastically alter the playing conditions. In sports, injuries to key players are perhaps one of the most dreaded challenges that a coach has to battle to balance the side at the last moment. What is challenging is to mange a consistent performance despite these numerous hurdles that keep cropping up off and on.

Commitment is giving a 100% no matter what the circumstance. The challenge of being fully committed is that there are times when one is dispirited, disheartened and desperate and it is hard to resist the temptation to throw in the towel. Injury worries, lack of form, constantly losing close games are desperate times when being committed poses a big psychological challenge. Often commitment is driven by the need to give it all we have no matter what or who the opponent or challenge is. The difficulty in being fully committed is that we have to overcome the motions of going through the rigours simply to meet the requirements of the rules. It is equally tough to be committed when battling a losing cause or when there is no real motivation that spurs commitment. Yet there are times when the commitment of one single individual even if he/ she is on the losing side wins accolades for the grit and determination to take on a much stronger opponent.

Character is the ability to put the set backs behind, grab the opportunities that come and explore, experiment and exploit the slimiest chance that one can create. Our character is put to the test when we suddenly encounter a loss of form, an unexpected resilience from opponents, when we find the going very tough and when every nerve in us wants to give up but our spirit keeps nudging us on. The upsets caused by the so called minnows can demoralise and weaken the resolve of the higher rated team or players and they are then prone to give up. However those with the real character are the ones who thrive on challenges, can push themselves to the limit and display amazing self belief. Manchester United Football team is one of those football clubs that is considered a tough competitor particularly because of the self belief they thrive on which makes them come up with extraordinary performance during the fag end of the game especially if they are a goal or two behind. It is their character that opponents fear most.

Remember: Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength. Arnold Schwarzenegger

Try this:

  1. Ask yourself if you have some goals or New Year resolutions that demand your consistency, commitment and character to be of the highest order. E.g. if you have a target to lose weight or if you have decide to get some additional qualifications. If you your goals or targets are not so challenging then add a couple of challenging goals/ resolutions so that you can actually achieve a lot during the coming year.
  2. If you are assailed by self doubts and tied in knots with a number of ‘not’s that hold you back from giving of your best have a look at this prayer:

 

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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