Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for July, 2011

“Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out” Vaclav Havel

At the outset let me thank all those who took time out to comment and give a feedback on my previous post and for their warm appreciation of the blog in general. During this last 6 days there has been a spurt in the viewership with over 2,400 more views and 20 more followers. A year and half ago, when I first began writing this blog, I had no clue as to how the whole adventure would turn out. On hindsight I now realize that it was my passionate belief that I had something interesting, important and invaluable to share irrespective of who would appreciate, acknowledge and act on it that spurred me to plunge headlong into writing this blog . The quotes for today, in many ways unlock the secret to making that leap of faith.

The tragedy that befalls many is that they suffer from a syndrome called ‘paralysis by analysis’. At various times each one of us may also have briefly fallen victim to this ailment, where our ability to think and act seem to freeze, more so when the stakes are very high because we do not want to fail. Choosing between two equally appealing alternatives, deciding on a course of action when the end outcome is extremely uncertain and identifying the way ahead when the heart urges and the head rules, are typical situations that sap our confidence, dent our self belief and dash our hopes of seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. The net result is that we procrastinate, go forward tentatively, keep looking over our shoulder and /or take a half cocked stance leaving us stranded in no man’s land.

Logic is the bugbear of hope. With or without substantial analysis, based on past experience, our classroom or imbibed learning and our rational unemotional structured thought process we come to some conclusions. The problem with logic is that if it is not structured properly, we tend to arrive at conclusions that meet our preconceived hypothesis. However, there is always that nagging feeling that something is not right that keeps pricking us and in the stalemate between logic and feeling we choose to do nothing in the belief that there will be clarity soon or that the problem will be solved over time. Inaction often leads to missed opportunities, stress and frustration and futile attempts to justify the status quo. 

The handmaid of logic is analysis. Analysis is definitely a tool that aids and supplements the decision making process to arrive at logical conclusions. What limits its effectiveness though is complete reliance on it, for pure analysis has strong limitations in front of human emotions, sentiments and quirks. Moreover, one needs to make allowances for unexpected dynamics that can waylay the most carefully chalked out plans. This situation is common enough in daily life be it choosing a career path, making a career shift, choosing a spouse, making investment decisions etc. This does not make analysis redundant, but merely reinforces the fact that analysis cannot be stretched beyond a point and that once broad facts are known and some conclusions reached we need to pause and listen to our heart.

Those who attain success are people who identify what they can successfully and substantially contribute to and then use the tools of logic an analysis to narrow down the risks and use their imagination and hearts to widen the net of success. They are the ones who take that giant leap of faith not because they can see the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow but because they know they can create the rainbow.

Remember: “When you do nothing, you feel overwhelmed and powerless. But when you get involved, you feel the sense of hope and accomplishment that comes from knowing you are working to make things better.”

Try this:

  1. Identify the 3 strengths/ qualities/ abilities/ skill sets/expertise/passion that you posses and which you can utilize to make the world around you a better place. Eg. You are a good painter and you can teach art to economically disadvantaged children or you have great dexterity with anything to do with mechanical things or you are a good singer and you offer your time and services free to old age homes/ orphanages / some NGO’s running vocational schools etc.
  2. At various times you may have felt the urge to do something for society at large. It could be taking care of stray animals or it could be vociferously fighting to keep strays at bay in the larger interests of the common man who could be running the risk of being chased by/ bitten. No matter what your objective is, what have you done more than merely thinking about it? How can you proactively involve yourself in the cause that tugs at your heartstrings?

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog

www.poweract.blogspot.com

Read Full Post »

Dear Friends,

Today’s post is very different from the normal posts. I am taking this opportunity to share with some salient features of this blog and to update you about how it has shaped up over the last year and a half. For me, the very thought that I have managed to last so long in my quest to share with you some Inspirational and Motivational content is both  an exhilarating feeling and a humbling thought. Exhilarating because this blog has achieved a milestone of over 70,000 views and 500 followers in this realtively short span of time.  A BIG THANK YOU to EACH of you who visit the blog and especially for the 500 odd ardent followers of this blog. I am humbled by the realization that but for your encouragement, this blog would never have reached these milestones.  A special thank you to the many followers, who have given their comments, rated the blog and passed on the links to friends and contacts.

In January 2010 when this blog began, I kept an ambitious target of writing every single day. The first few days were heady for in the initial enthusiasm I was able to keep writing daily. Reality soon hit me hard, when within a few weeks, the effort became laborious, the ideas stopped flowing and the rather forlorn thought that no one was reading my blog became a big dampener. Fortunately for me a few colleagues, some friends and surprisingly a number of strangers soon signed on as followers and then overnight I felt responsible to ensure that they were given their daily fix of Inspirational and Motivational inputs. I am proud that in the first 365 days I managed to write for a good 340 days or so and some of the days I didn’t post was simply because I was overseas then.

This year 2011, I have cut down my posts drastically. The strain of writing everyday was a wee bit too much and once I had proved to myself that I could write every single day, the challenge was missing too. More importantly, there have been other commitments that have taken centre stage and so the blog has had to bear the brunt of it. I am not too disappointed though primarily because I also got some feedback that there was reader fatigue since the daily posts saturated their ability to imbibe the contents, attempt the Try This and experience the learning. I also noticed a steady drop in feedback and rating which to my mind also signaled an overdose of the blog. However there have been a few ardent fans who have kept inquiring why I have cut down on the blog posts and they have reinforced the belief that my work is not in vain. The sudden spurt in followers over the last couple of months has also been very encouraging. I shall definitely be writing the blogs, perhaps twice a week.

I would welcome FEEDBACK from each one of you about the blogs, my sharing today and would welcome both bouquets and brickbats if any. I would urge you to continue to patronize the blog, spread word about it to those who you feel will benefit from the contents and be assured that I shall continue to pontificate as before.

I take this opportunity to Thank Each One of YOU once again for your support, patronage and appreciation  of both www.actspot.wordpress.com and www.poweract.blogspot.com

Wishing each of you success in your endeavors and in having a fulfilling life filled with love, happiness and contentment.

Warm regards

B.Jacob

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog

www.poweract.blogspot.com

Read Full Post »

“Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.”  Winston Churchill

Most of us are natural critics but very few of us accept criticism with an open mind and the right attitude to learn from it. Criticism comes naturally, because each of us has an idea of a perfect world and invariably there is always something wrong with it. Thereafter it is a simple matter of pouting opinions on how things are not right and perhaps we pontificate on how we could set things right if only we were empowered. If the same conversation is initiated by others we can heartily concur and add a few more views without contributing very constructively. Of course the good part of the critical way we see things is that when the clamor gets louder some action takes place and there is improvement.

The problem that we face as individuals is that we ‘fear criticism’. No sooner we are subject to criticism, we see criticisms as a direct attack on our ability, we view it as the incorrect and inappropriate assessment of us and resent the reality when pointed out to us. We react to criticism with skepticism, attempt to justify and rationalize our short comings and in extreme cases attempt to discredit our critics or dwell upon what we perceive as their incompetence and inability to judge us correctly.  What we fail to appreciate is the reality that very few people will criticize us because human nature prefers to be good and sweet to one and all and being critical is an invitation to strain relationships. Equally important is the fact that any valid criticism is a good feedback mechanism that enables us to correct ourselves, bring about improvement and progress towards excellence.

Criticism is unavoidable and so we need to accept this reality and then leverage it to improve our life, our effectiveness and our relationships. The key to that lies in adopting the following approach:

Accepting criticism.  This is the toughest part to overcome. Our natural temperament is to refute, reject and rebut. However once we realize that most people criticize us with our welfare at heart, be it parents, teacher, siblings, family, friends, bosses and colleagues, we would pay heed to what they have to say. When there are disagreements and in a fit of rage an opponent or adversary makes a comment or observation that hurts us deeply, it could be a sure sign that there is an element of truth in it. This realization would be the ultimate test to walking the way of accepting criticism.

Harnessing the feedback got. The simple rule here is to ask yourself if there is there some truth in it. If yes, learn from the feedback and make the adjustments, learning, behavioral change, required. If some skills have to be learnt, if some relationships have to be mended or if some ties have to be cut off, however painful it may be, the same has to be done. Making all out efforts to implement  the change based on the learning from the feedback holds the key.

Being honest with our criticism of others so that we understand the shortcomings. As tough as it may seem, by being constructively critical, we are honing our skills of observation, improving our standards of excellence and fine tuning the art of disagreeing without being disagreeable. All these qualities will go a long way in improving our personality, our confidence and our outlook of life.

Learning to appreciate others so that we can adopt the good practices that we observe.  Compared to the previous point, this may sound extremely ironic for it involves making a complete U turn in our way of seeing things. Balancing this contradiction actually makes us develop an all round personality where we can learn to live with the good and the bad. When we appreciate, we are also unconsciously raising our own standards of performance for we will strive to attain what we see as the bar of excellence. Appreciation when balanced with criticism also enables us to remain rooted to reality; for while there may be many who would praise us and overlook our shortcomings, the ones who dare to be critical will be holding a mirror to our face. We can then see ourselves warts and all and then begin the process of sprucing up and making a fresh appearance worthy of our talent, our abilities and our aspirations.

Remember: Criticism, like rain, should be gentle enough to nourish a man’s growth without destroying his roots.  Frank Howard Clark

Try this:

  1. Go and see new released movie without reading the critics reviews. On returning home from the movie, attempt to review the movie or at least jot down 3- 5 appreciative points and 3- 5 critical observations about the movie. Thereafter read the professional reviews and compare your own effort.
  2. Mark Anthony’s speech criticizing Brutus in Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar is a master piece of using the rhetoric to criticize subtly. To read the same, click on the following link.  http://tinyurl.com/yae2nno
  3. Can you recollect the criticism given by the following people, which was hurtful but helped you improve
  • Your dad
  • Your mother
  • Your favorite teacher
  • The teacher you disliked immensely
  • Your best friend
  • A third party, perhaps a passenger traveling with you or a motorist who rammed your vehicle or a player from an opposing team or a taxi driver

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog

www.poweract.blogspot.com

Read Full Post »

Many people have ideas on how others should change; few people have ideas on how they should change. Leo Tolstoy

There is plenty of free advice floating around, most of it liberally dished out by ordinary folks who believe they have a solution to everyone else’s problem. Sadly in most cases if the problem is closer home, perhaps at the doorsteps of those who dish out these pearls of wisdom, they would grapple to come to grips with it. This sound ironic considering how appropriate the advice sounded for someone else but alas its potency seemed to vanish when a inch of it is applied at home. The conclusion that one can draw is that any advice given must first be tried and tested by those giving it before it is freely distributed around.

Here are four situations in the average person’s life where advice is often sought and given but rarely digested in the same form if the giver of the advice has to digest it himself// herself

Parenting and the generation gap. Each successive generation grapples with the problem of handling the younger generation. Each generation also gets ample advice from the previous generation most of which is very sound and based on good experience. The problem is that there is still a huge gap between us and the next generation which we normally try to rationalize and explain failing which we emotionalize the issue and pressurize. What we fail to understand is that we need to change with the times and adapt to the ways of a changing younger generation.

Facing the humdrum of everyday life. The daily grind of work that is the destiny of every individual rich or poor, young or old, healthy or sick often gets monotonous and boring. For others we would suggest a variety of solutions to cope with this situation. We could suggest job rotation, brining about variety in the job, finding creative ways to do the repetitive job, looking out for intrinsic motivations and where possible change jobs. The very same advice somehow seems to lose its charm, its appeal and its magic properties when we attempt to charge up our own monotonous everyday life. A major reason for this is our coziness and comfort of aligning with the known devil rather than risking it with a new devil as a result of which the very advice we give others ends up being impotent and ineffective to rescue us from the hellish rigors of daily life.

Managing life changing challenges. Change comes in many forms. While the furious pace of technological and scientific changes eases life in many ways mastering their functionality can be quite a change to manage. Remember the first time one tried to master the mouse on the computer. Imagine the challenge for those in the older age bracket.  More difficult are the emotional changes that challenge us be it death of a loved one, breakdown of relationships, pain of separation, job loss and the challenges caused by ill health and related trauma. Our problem is our inability to adopt and embrace the advent of technology and make peace with the upheavals brought about by the emotional changes.

Bidding good bye to life. Each of us comes with our expiry date stamped and hardcoded in our destiny. Yet being prepared to accept that reality is an extremely painful and heart wrenching prospect. While we would in all earnestness and honesty give courage to a dying person by drawing their attention to the goodness of afterlife and the prospect of never ending peace and happiness, when we are merely asked to even think of an epitaph for our self the task seems frightening, ludicrous and insane. We do not fear death itself but the prospect of leaving behind all those we love for we believe that they are the real possessions that matter.

Remember: The greatest discovery of all time is that a person can change his future by merely changing his attitude.  Oprah Winfrey

Try this:

  1. Write down the 3 most annoying things about the younger generation. (If you are a youngster write down 3 most annoying things about the older generation.) Now jot down 2 reasons that you think are why these seem to annoy. Perhaps you now get a better perspective of the other side.
  2. Who are the 3 people who you would like to speak to in the last moments of your life? What would you like to tell them?
  3.  Here are two links to help you connect with 2 heroes who coped with drastic CHANGE in their lives.

 This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog

www.poweract.blogspot.com

Read Full Post »

“Spiteful words can hurt your feelings but silence breaks your heart.”

We seem to recollect those harsh and spiteful words spoken by others, that may have been spoken in anger, frustration, irritation, disappointment or pain, which have hurt us. However it would possibly take us a while to recollect the events that evoked a searing pain caused by those who hurt us by their silence.  Perhaps the latter hurt is so painful that we unconsciously erase the memory and keep it hidden in the deepest recess of the heart but secretly the bitterness and the painful experience engulf us. We would rather dwell on the hurt that is verbalized for it can be recounted and our senses can conjure up a rage and revenge possibility.

When is it that the silence resounds so loudly and painfully? Perhaps we too are guilty of creating this silent cacophony that deafens the senses and perhaps even our sense of self worth.

Remaining silent when we need to speak up. Often when our views seem to be opposed by a strong majority we have self doubts about our point of view and prefer to keep silent rather than risk ridicule. Remember the terrible feeling that overcomes us when latter on someone proffers our view and gets complimented and applauded for the radical idea? Similarly if you are standing in a line and an aggressive person attempts to break in do we meekly allow it or do we tick the person off for his/her uncouth behavior? If we keep mum do we hate ourselves for our spineless behavior?

When we keep mum to avoid telling the truth. Look back at school days when you ended up having a scuffle with a classmate or neighbor. If you came back with a black eye and are closely questioned by your parents after attempting some half hearted lies you would possibly have simply kept quite refusing to respond to any questioning. Despite pleas by elders and parents  to tell the truth on the promise of not being inflicted with any  serious ramifications  if you still kept mum and thereafter somehow the truth emerged and you were severely reprimanded and punished the embarrassment and shame never gets erased.  Imagine a situation where you have done something wrong and a classmate is reprimanded and punished and all the while you keep mum for fear of the consequences. Does the image of the innocent classmate pleading his innocence still hurt you?

When we clam up when we need to assert. Remember the school bully who constantly harassed either us or someone else who was weaker.  Visualize the shame and pain we felt for remaining powerless and quietly bearing up. The hurt is more when at some point we see a much smaller, more scrawny but stout hearted student assert and defuse the bully’s arrogance and bullying. We cringe at the thought for it shames us to recollect our own cowardice. Recollect the time you could not refuse your friends in joining them in their misadventure and flouted the rules and got severely punished for it. Thereafter did you feel lousy for not having the moral courage to boldly refuse being a participant in the misadventure?

When refuse to voice our concerns or vocalize our support due to sheer apathy or fear of the repercussions You may have experienced the pain of studying hard and appearing for an exam only to see mass scale copying all around. Yet you do not lode your protest with the authorities for fear of the consequences both by the students as well as the authorities who could extract vengeance.

The words of ” Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984) about the inactivity of German intellectuals following the Nazi rise to power and the purging of their chosen targets, group after group epitomizes the truth above

First they came for the communists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.

Remember:  “Lying is done with words and also with silence.” Adrienne Rich

 

Try these:

  1. Make a list of 3 – 5 social issues about which you as a responsible citizen have serious concerns. Choose one of those topics and write a letter to the editor of a local newspaper. Keep writing till you get atleast one letter published and then you can take pride that ‘your voice is heard’.
  2. Make a list of issues on which you believe you as a responsible citizen should file an RTI query. Ideally try and file an RTI query in all seriousness but for a matter on an issue in which you really seek information.
  3. Try and watch the movie Ek Ruka Hua Faisla (Hindi)  or 12 Angry Men (English). To know the gist of the movie click on the following link http://dearcinema.com/review/ek-ruka-hua-faisla-a-brilliant-adaptation-of-12-angry-men/0720  ( Notice how ONE man changes the views of 12 others and also the final verdict all because he refused to keep silent)

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog

www.poweract.blogspot.com

Read Full Post »

To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.”  Bertrand Russell

All of us without exception would have experienced fear in some form or the other. It is equally possible that most of us would have overcome most of these fears but are plagued by some select fears still. There would also be the more unfortunate lot who perhaps have not been able to overcome some of the fears and continue to be terrorized. While extreme psychological problems could explain acute fears and phobia that would require expert treatment, for the vast majority the fears they suffer from are largely self imposed, partly justified but definitely not to be ignored. It is essential that each of us confront our fears or they will be shackles that will limit our ability to soar higher in our life.

 Here are 3 ways to conquer our fears.

 Acknowledge them. Most times we tend to ignore our fears and hope they go away. Other times we are so ashamed of it we hide it to the best of our ability. Like a good doctor who focuses on the diagnosis, one must be ready to face the reality and identify our fears no matter how trivial it may seem to others. By acknowledging our fears we are pinpointing the problem, we become more conscious and aware of the reality and we then have an opportunity to work on eliminating the problem. Eg. Many people are afraid of change. However they would mask it in the garb of  being comfortable with the existing setup or dismiss suggestions of change as ‘ not really suited for an old dog to do learn new tricks’. The danger here is that change may overtake us and then we would crib that we missed the opportunity or that we weren’t given a fair chance to keep up with new systems etc.

Assess them. It is essential to be pragmatic about our fears and asses them. Not all fears need to be confronted. Many a fear can be ignored for it might not impact us directly. A fear of going underwater or paragliding are not majorly career limiting or life impacting unless one wants to make a career in it. However it is imperative that we assess each of our fears that we acknowledge and rationalize its relative importance in our life. For a lawyer in court effective public speaking skills would be almost as important as knowing the law. Theatrics may not count for much although it may have some impact too. By assessing the fears we can pay special attention to those that are critical and take corrective steps.  Eg. Our fear of public speaking could possibly be the result of a failed public performance in childhood for which we were mercilessly chided. However if we cloak it under the garb of being shy and do nothing about it we would never overcome it and possibly our potential would be limited and stunted to that extend.

Attack them: There are no soft options to confront our fears. However if we manage to appreciate the psychological and logical reasoning for our fears we would have won half the battle. The tougher part is to attack our fears by taking the risk of confronting it. This must be done cautiously, deliberately and purposefully. In being cautious one has to take steps to ensure that the process is chosen with care and that it won’t make a bad situation worse. In being deliberate the process is executed to a plan with safe guards to minimize the risks if any. In being purposeful there are planned goals that one seeks to attain and then thereafter one resets the bar to achieve better results.

In overcoming our fears, we achieve 3 things. We eliminate our fear or at least minimize it, we increase our potential and end up being confident and successful

 Remember: “Like Pain, fear can be controlled”    Joss Whedon

 Try these:

  1.  Identify 3- 5 of your fears and outline at least 3 steps to overcome it. Eg. Fear of mathematics or fear of snakes/ cockroaches/ rats etc. or fear of meeting people in authority like a school principal/ chairman etc.
  2.  How would you react to the following situations?
  • During your annual medical checkup the doctor expresses a doubt that you have a possible cancerous lymph node.
  • A file containing confidential information which is kept with for safe keeping is suddenly not traceable after the office has been shifted to a new location.
  • You have borrowed your friends car for an urgent trip and unfortunately another rash driver smashes his vehicle into the car you are driving and badly damages it.
  • Your best friend accuses you of gossiping behind his/ her back and refuses to have any ties with you.

 This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our WEEKLY Inspirational and Motivational Blog www.poweract.blogspot.com

Read Full Post »