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Archive for June, 2011

Action is the real measure of intelligence. Napoleon Hill

Without exception, each and every normal individual is blessed with some skill sets and intelligence. Yet when we look around we find that there is a very small minority that has actually utilized their knowledge, their intelligence and their abilities to grow and make a mark in the world. A quick reality check would reveal that many of our own classmates who were toppers, extroverts, go getters and deemed sure shot successes when they grew up, fell far short of our expectations and languished in mediocrity.  Unbelievably, there could also be a remarkable few who beat all odds, surprised most of us and provoked the envy of many by their remarkable achievements and success stories. The success of the latter and disappointments of the former can be attributed to be the outcome of actively using the intelligence in a practical way rather than merely demonstrating it in a class room setting.

As they say ‘ A ship is safe in harbor but that is not what it is made for’. Similarly all the education and intelligence must be utilized in the cauldron of daily living be it at home, the work place, the social setup or the occasional mundane chores that engulf us. This would imply that one uses not only the academic skills but also become worldly wise, street smart, creative, bold and experimental. The learning is actually put to the test when an individual goes well beyond the text book, the laboratory experiments, the perceptions of doomsday predictors and emboldens himself/ herself to challenge the conventions, the stero types and take the ‘ road less travelled by’.

Here are 3 ways to put one’s intelligence into action.

Be creative: The problem that people face when they come out from a rigid and structured education system is their tendency to be logical, to seek solutions in the confines of available knowledge and their fear of being seen as inadequate if they cannot find solutions where they search for. It is not that they cannot imagine or visualize but fear of failure, ridicule and pressures of deadline corrode they self belief and dampen their spirits.

Take calculated risks. The ability to take risks separates the winners from the losers. Yet we would see a number of risk takers who also fail along the way. There are two conditions to be fulfilled in order to mitigate risks. The first is to be aware of the consequences of failure and the second is to discern when to quit and when to relentlessly pursue. Calculated risk takers invariably have loads of self belief, a variety of hedging strategies and fall back options and the guts to take a hit on the chin without flinching.

Experiment.  They say other than death and taxes, change is the only other constant. It is therefore inevitable that we gear up to meet the change as it unfolds. Anticipating change is challenging but introspection, visualization and experimentation will enable one to proactively innovate to keep ahead of the competition. Failures which are inevitable when experimenting should be seen as learning experiences and radical ideas must be allowed to blossom if experimentation has to become a mantra for activating success.

Remember: It is better to have a fair intellect that is well used than a powerful one that is idle. Bryant H. McGill

Try this:

Attempt to make a list of additional features you believe the following gadgets must incorporate

  • A fridge
  • A mobile phone
  • An ATM machine
  • A lap top
  • A bicycle

Find 5 unique uses for the following

  • A tooth brush
  • A pair of shoes
  • A cricket bat
  • The first object that you pull out of your pocket right now

 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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“Self-confidence gives you the freedom to make mistakes and cope with failure without feeling that your world has come to an end or that you are a worthless person.”

For many people finding their passion is relatively easier than having the confidence to trust their judgment about their passion. Similarly, barring a miniscule population, the vast majority of people are always very frustrated with their life, be it their personal life, their professional life or their social life. The common thread that binds both sets of people is the root cause of their disenchantment and disillusionment, which in a nutshell can be said to be lack of self confidence.  Lack of self belief is often  a byproduct of numerous unpleasant influences which could include negative childhood scripting, a not so outstanding academic performance, social pressures coupled with unreasonable parental expectations, unfair and odious comparisons with more talented siblings or peers, a poor self image etc. That apart, the pressures of the competitive world, the stress of coping with comparisons compelled by a consumerist society and personal weakness in attitude, behavior and actions add to the woes of an individual. Yet, it is never too late to regain your self confidence and enjoy the riches it brings in one’s life.

Here are four ways to cope with the problem of lack of self confidence.

Know that you are UNIQUE: It is essential to realize that even if you have an identical twin, YOU will always remain unique and special for no one can ever duplicate you in any way. This realization that you are an unique individual, should strengthen your belief that as an unique individual you have every opportunity and responsibility to leave your mark in this world. The simple proof is the uniqueness of your signature. Sign on a piece of paper and enjoy the power of your uniqueness reflected in that signature.

Identify your strengths and build up on them: Our biggest problem stems from the fact that we are constantly trying to outdo others rather than focusing on leveraging our abilities and our strengths which are unique to us. Some of us are physically strong while others are gifted with intellectual brilliance, while some others have strength of character and others endowed with moral and physical courage. Perhaps some have the ability to be self disciplined, while others are dogmatic and persistent while there could be others who are calm collected and unfazed even during the most trying times. Ask yourself what are those unique strengths that you posses and find ways and means to leverage that in your work and life. Self confidence will automatically embrace those who focus on their potential.

Make a fresh start everyday Everyone has good days and bad days. No one can perennially live of the good days and it is equally true that the bad days never have an extended run. Obviously then the best way to treat life with confidence is to relish those good days when they come and to quickly get over the bad days. In effect, be aware that each day is an opportunity to have a fresh start and a positive approach nurtures positive results which in turn reinforces self confidence.

Nurture self confidence. There are no self confidence pills that can boost ones confidence in a jiffy.  Instead look at nurturing self confidence as a process of going a few steps forward each day and on a bad day perhaps we may slip a step or two behind. The focus must be on the progress made. Viola, before we know it we are confidently marching towards our goals, realizing our ambitions and adding to our self esteem with each milestone we cross.

Remember:“Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit.”  E. E. Cummings

 Try this:

  1. Identify 3 of your greatest apprehensions / fears. Work out a plan to overcome this apprehension and actually confront it in the next 3 months. ( Here are some examples of fears/ apprehensions for you to get an idea of what you may have to confront.  Fear of public speaking;  fear of lizards/ snakes; attempting to bowl in a bowling alley; wearing flashy clothes; confronting an insolent subordinate/ desperately wanting a pet but fearful of your ability to manage it )
  2. Attempt to do the following
  • Engage in arm wrestling with a friend/ colleague/ your sibling/ spouse/ children
  • Take two pieces of  A4 size paper and with one of them make a paper boat and with the other an aeroplane. (Did you feel foolish when you did not know how to proceed because you had forgotten those kiddish activities?)
  • Borrow a bicycle and ride it for a kilometer or so at least. (Did the legs creak, were you able to balance easily, were you embarrassed that you tired very quickly and had to dismount, did you feel silly because others were watching?)

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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“If there is no passion in your life, then have you really lived? Find your passion, whatever it may be. Become it, and let it become you and you will find great things happen FOR you, TO you and BECAUSE of you.”   T. Alan Armstrong

With rare exceptions for the vast majority of people finding ones passion is a challenge. Part of the problem stems from the fact that during our formative years we seem to flirt with various interests and likings and over time we grow out of our obsession with many of these. The other problem is that ironically,  almost always what we are truly interested in, invariably does not guarantee financial security nor opens up possibilities of good career prospects and if they are unconventional interest they would never meet parental approval or find favor with our well wishers. Confusion, dilemma and indecision are three emotions that overwhelm us and douse the lingering spark of passion if any. Thereafter we become robotic, controlled by what we loosely term as fate, destiny and convention. The fact though is that our passion tugs at our heart strings but we plead haplessness and go on with the business of life less enthused, more frustrated and definitely dissatisfied.

Is it possible to somehow identify ones passion by cutting through the clutter in our mind, by pinpointing what can truly become our real interest and which can motivate, enthuse and propel our life? For those still searching for his/ her passion here are a few pointers to locate that elusive North Star in one’s own heart and mind.

What gets you all excited?  Yes movies, parties, gossip, lazing around, sports, holidays etc would top the list. It would help though if this list also contains a list of at least one or two subjects that you studied in school days or maybe in college to ensure that all those years of education are not considered wasted. Now add a list of alternative career choices that you always fancied. So now you have a wide variety of stuff that gets you excited.

What is that you never get bored of? What is it that will get you of the couch and sweat it out because you can’t resist it? Topping the list will be talking on phone, gossiping, texting, surfing the net, eating, sleeping etc. Now widen the list by adding those activities that got a lot of approval from family, friends, peers and even perhaps some of those who are jealous of you. Lengthen the list by adding a wish list of career choices that you fancied.

Do you have the aptitude and attitude to make your interest your life goal? Perhaps a close hard look at the choices you have listed earlier by holding it up against the mirror of your personality that reflects your aptitude and attitude will enable you to clear see some choices emerging as truly something that you really love and are passionate about.

Would you be thrilled doing what you are doing even if you were to die a pauper, unrecognized and perhaps ostracized by society too? The final test is in making choices and seeing it against the light of the reality check.  The reality check is simple; see if your passion surfaces even if you have no one to support you, even if there are lots of doubting Thomas’s who attempt to dissuade you. Are you so excited about what you want to do that you are willing to risk failure, prepared to battle single handed and are sure that your enthusiasm will neither wane nor your spirit weakened because you are doing what you really want to do.

The real test though is to tweak your passion to ensure you come closest to enjoying what you do. This is essential because only the exceptionally lucky person gets to pursue his/ her own passion in it is original form.  Eg. You might want to be a filmy hero but if you are not really talented perhaps you can still find a niche space in the industry that enables you pursue your interest in films.

Remember: “Nothing great in the world has ever been accomplished without passion.”  Hebbel

 Try this:

  1. Name 3 of your passionate career choices in the following fields:
  • Sports
  • Movies
  • Marine related
  • Law enforcement
  1. What are the offbeat careers you can think of in the following fields  (one example each is given for your ready reference)
  • Entertainment business e.g. Film critic
  • Financial services sector e.g. being a technical analyst
  • Education sector e.g. special needs educator
  • In the business of LIFE e.g. being a funeral director

 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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“We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference is discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons.”  Jim Rohn

Discipline holds the key to both our progress and our self esteem. This is because unless we are disciplined we can rarely harness our full potential. Subsequently when we look back if we experience more regret than the pleasure of achievement we find it hard to forgive ourselves for it. In effect we botch up the possibility of pulling up our socks and salvaging the rest of our potential because we are brooding over what is lost and cannot be retrieved. Similarly self esteem flowers when the mind and body can savor the fruits of discipline in terms of success and achievements .

The challenge of being disciplined is managing to be clear, committed and conscientious. A simple illustration about the comparison between disciplined people (like those in the armed forces who are in excellent physical shape) and the average citizen (who is often overweight and sloppy) would bring home the point about the criticality of discipline in a person’s life. With this example in mind lets us analyze why each of those 3 C’s have such a major bearing on our life and our happiness. Clarity of purpose is often the first stumbling block. Part of the problem stems from the fact that we have ample choices and our natural inclination is to take the most convenient option. As a result we spend time in rationalizing our wrong choices rather than in discerning the right option. Even more dangerous is the tendency to be uncommitted to our choice because we are still not really convinced that we got that right. Most students if quizzed on their career choice are unclear about it for their heart might be in something that the head says will not meet societal and parental approval. E.g. A brilliant student opting  to choose fine arts or dramatics or music as a chosen field of study is certain to find a lot of well meaning friends, relatives and teachers gently but firmly persuading him/her to reconsider the decision. The net result is a very confused person ultimately pursuing what is essentially forced upon. Without clarity, self doubt keeps the person confused and leads to indisciplined effort / work ethics.

Irrespective of the fact that a choice exercised was done whole heartedly or thrust upon a person, once he/she begins to traverse that path, there is no option but to be commitment whole heartedly. The difficulty here is that many a time the heart will rebel, the mind will waver and the spirit will droop, particularly when way seems long, winding and dark. The challenge in commitment comes from inside ourselves when we are tempted far too often to throw in the towel. Team sports offers us the vivid example of how, many an aspiring player toiled in hope, faith and pluck before they made the cut. Of course there would be many more who would have been left along the wayside but succeeded in using the learning to carve a niche elsewhere.  Commitment is the glue that marries the clarity of purpose with the conscientious approach that would ensure that success is a real possibility.  To be conscientious involves toil, sacrifice and pain. It forces one to repeatedly hone ones skills, if possible keep improving and at the very best achieve perfection by regular repetitive rigor. This can be summed up by the phrase’ Trifles make perfection, but perfection is no trifle’.

 Remember:“Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever.”    Lance Armstrong

 Try this:

  1. Outline the 3 most important New Year resolutions that you really want to achieve. Alternatively make a list of 3 important things that you want to achieve.  Work out a plan of action and put it down on paper. Starting now go on implement it. (eg. If I plan to lose weight and want to start walking at 6 am from tomorrow, right now I will set the alarm for 5.30 am)
  2. Attempt the following
  • Threading a needle (try to improve your timing also)
  • Put 5 consecutive 3 pointer basket ball shots. (later  try this from different angles)
  • Attempt to burn a piece of paper using a magnifying glass and natural sunlight.

(If you only read the TRY THIS and do not attempt it, ask yourself why you lack the discipline to effectively use the learning from the blogs; is it lack of clarity about the purpose of the exercises/  you don’t want to take on the commitment / you find it hard to be repeatedly attempt and fail)

 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 is impossible to go through life without trust: that is to be imprisoned in the worst cell of all, oneself.  Graham Greene

The dilemma that the average person faces at home, work and in society at large is how to trust people around us. Even if the exact definition of trust is open to interpretation we cannot escape from the reality that there is what is jargonized as an ‘acute trust deficit’. If we look at our own behavior ( we surely must have told some lies)  and interactions ( we must have blamed others when things went wrong) we would realize that  as individuals we are also not completely trust worthy and so we cannot absolve ourselves of blame. There are a variety of reasons why people belie the trust we place in them and it would perhaps help us appreciate the concept of ‘trust deficit’ better if we can dwell a few moments on these reasons. This is imperative because trust is at the heart of the evolution of human civilization for we are social animals and have to live in the company of one another and TRUST is central to a relatively harmonious and progressive society This makes it even more important for us to understand why we are also responsible for the ‘trust deficit’.

The first and foremost reason for us failing the trust test is that we make casual commitments. When we are nagged by our spouse or close family member to adhere to some set of rules, we often take them for granted and casually agree to it. More often than not, without intent to dishonor our promise we may end up not fulfilling our commitment. Such an attitude / habit if it persists will rear its ugly head in other personal and professional settings and we would ultimately end up antagonizing people and losing their trust. Nothing amplifies this more than our oft stated reply to others ‘ I will revert to you shortly’ and never revert.

Our selfishness accounts for many a deceit that we perpetrate and rationalize as trivial and insignificant. The human race is perhaps most guilty of wanting to hoard, store, amass far in excess of our requirements. We end up becoming miserly, selfish and perhaps prone to sloth, flinching goods we crave for, misappropriating what is not legitimately ours etc. Worse still is our tendency to rationalize our deeds and pull wool over our eyes to justify our illegitimate acts. Fudging our expense vouchers when claiming reimbursements, could be a minor example of such ‘trust deficit’. Obviously, over time those around us would have marked us out as untrustworthy.

Our inability to face our fears nudges us to find escape routes in lies, deceit and blame games all adding up to dishonorable acts culminating in a tangle of ‘trust deficit’. Look back at your school days and recollect how often have we come up with the most ingenious excuses to escape punishment for not doing our homework. Wind your recollections to your professional life and ask if something similar happened when we botched up a job and have to own up to the boss. Do we tend to instinctively search for a scapegoat to pass blame on to, no sooner we see a problem cropping up that could be attributed to our inefficiency, tardiness or mistake. How do our superiors, co workers and team members judge us when the blame game is perpetrated by us?

Greed- be it for riches, power or prestige weaves a web of lies, blatant cheating, despicable betrayals to hammer in the final nail in the coffin of ‘trust deficit’. Biblically when Cain after killing Able uttered those infamous words ‘ Am I brother’s keeper’ to God when questioned about his brothers whereabouts, he had established the concept of ‘trust deficit’ that his descendents would have to burden with. History is witness to the ‘trust deficit’ that each age and generation was subjected too. When sons imprisoned fathers or siblings to usurp the crown; when the Watergates and the ‘read my lips’ became black marks in modern day history and when almost every country is battling corruption at all levels, it is the culmination of centuries of ‘trust deficit’ that has pervaded the very essence of life.

The reality though is that ‘trust deficit’ exists because those who are not guilty look the other way and condone the ‘cheating’ the ‘looting’ and the ‘abuse of power’. We will have to continue to trust our family, our friends, members of our society and the law makers too or else living in society would become a horrendous burden if we viewed everyone with suspicion. However as responsible citizens we have to proactively participate in the process of cleansing the system and restoring the ‘trust’ in every sphere of life.

Remember: “You may be deceived if you trust too much, but you will live in torment if you do not trust enough”  Frank Crane

Try this:

  1. How would you realistically (not idealistically) behave in the following situations?
  • You are not well prepared for an exam. During the exam the supervisor has left the room and for the next one hour the class remains unsupervised?  You are desperate because you can just about solve 3 out 5 questions and you are not sure of passing.
  • You find a wallet in a mall with a large wad of currency but no identification of the owner of the wallet. You are unsure as to how the authorities at the mall would trace the owner of the money and you believe they may pinch the money. You are also cash strapped and the college tuition fees are due to be paid in a weeks time.
  • You are traveling with an intimate friend in the car. Due to an error in judgment by your friend who is driving the car, the car knocks down a passing two wheeler. The rider of the two wheeler is very seriously hurt and is rushed to hospital. As the sole independent witness to the incident the police are questioning you. What kind of an approach will you take in answering the questions. (Remember your friendship is also at stake and if the two wheeler driver dies the whole matter becomes extremely serious)
  1. Make it a point to try your best to do the following henceforth
  • Own up your mistakes
  • Stand up for the truth
  • Have an independent point of view on all matters
  • Never condone dishonesty

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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