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Archive for October, 2013

13-26- life is about creating yourself

Take a second look at the picture before you read further. Is that a male or a female protagonist? Do you see YOURSELF in it?

There are times in our life when we ask some difficult to answer questions of ourselves. Who am I? Why was I born? What am I supposed to do with my life? How can I make a success of my life? What are my value systems? What motivates me? What influence do I have on others? If you haven’t asked these questions of yourself perhaps this is the best time to ponder over them. The answers will become the blueprint for you to create yourself anew!

No matter what your age, gender, background or status in life you can still improve, grow, change and create the person you want to be. Here is how you go about it.

Think out of the box – Either due to peer pressure or a lack of self confidence, most of us have trodden the beaten path, often to our omnipresent regret. So now is the time to dust the cobwebs in the mind, crank up the shaft of imagination and get the engine of life started. You should now identify your passions, imagine varied possibilities, visualize the happiness you can embrace and try to touch the pot of gold at the end of that imaginative rainbow. To make it more meaningful channelize your imagination into broad categories. It could be categories like personal happiness, comfort and security, my indulgences, philanthropic initiatives etc or it could be simply personal goals, financial goals, professional goals, self growth goals etc.

Sketch your own blueprint – Now that you have imagined it and possibly embraced and touched your dreams figuratively, it is time you actually sketched it out literally and figuratively. This goes a little beyond writing down your goals and is not so difficult to sketch, just in case you are worried that you are no Picasso. All you need to do is take the effort of identifying specifics about your dream and you can either physically create a dream book or have it done as a PPT. The key is to get the specifics clearly visualized. E.g. Don’t say I have a dream car that I hope to own  but instead find the picture of your dream car and paste it.

Assemble the resources needed– If you have started on your dream book or the dream PPT, you have assembled the most crucial resource. If you haven’t done this, stop reading further and at least open a new PPT and call it MY Dream Outline. The key resource that actually limits our dreams from taking wings is financial security; either lack of resources or the fear of going bust. So think long and hard on how best you can cope with this uncertainty. Jot this down too for now you have begun to assemble the brick and mortar required to give concrete shape to your personal blueprint. Now that you have got the right start don’t get bogged down by self doubt, fear of failure, lack of motivation, criticism or any form of negativity from forces within or outside. E.g. If you have identified that being a Chef is your dream but your family consists entirely of engineers, once you have put pictures of dreams menus, dream kitchen, the chef coat and perhaps even your dream eatery you will reinforce your self belief.

Begin from anywhere but begin – Lethargy and self doubt often paralyze good intention. They bring about rigor mortis in the living. The most common excuse for not giving life to your good intentions is that you do not know where to begin. Ever tried pushing a stationary car? It is tough to get it moving but once it gets the initial thrust it is easy to push it. The same principle of physics applies to life too. So the stress must be on beginning. Then keep that momentum going somehow. Look at the picture above and you will notice that the protagonist is sketching the left leg even though the right feet is still undone despite the rest of the right leg being fleshed out.

Give it the finishing touch with love – Sometimes we fail to live upto our expectations and it can deflate our ego / self confidence at other times we get irritated and frustrated and occasionally we just get over with the challenge we set ourselves as an antidote to our feeling of being a failure. No matter where we are in the continuum of our pursuit, the outcome even if half done must measure up to our standards of excellence. This is possible only if we enjoy what we do and inject a healthy dose of love in to doing what we want to succeed in. e.g. list out those tasks that are terribly boring for you but inevitable.  Now visualize yourself doing an excellent job of the task and do it with that spirit. You will find a marked improvement in the end result. To give you a more tangible example have you ever gone through the process of covering your younger sibling or children’s school notebooks. After some time it is get boring, tedious and frustrating. If you simply see each neatly covered book as a a thing of beauty or if you can see the joy of the child when he/ she sees the neat pile of books your output will be fabulous.

Try this:

  1. Identify 3 tasks that your mom or best friend does exceedingly well but something you haven’t ever tried. Your challenge is to attempt each of these tasks over the next 2 weeks and show improvement in each attempt.
  2. Try and make a kite and try to fly it along with a group of children. (Ideally I suggest you try and make more than 1 kite so that you have one or two more spare kites just in case the first one gets cut loose or torn)
  3. Write down what you would do with the following sums of money
  • If you had 1 USD
  • If you had 100 USD
  • If you had 1000 USD
  • If you had 10,000 USD
  • If you had 1,00,000 USD

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog

www.poweract.blogspot.com

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13-25-Happy days are around you...

The essential condition for being happy is enjoying the moment. The problem is that our mind tends to wander around and seeks to find real and imaginary problems to dwell upon and fret and fume over. The human tendency to scan around for problems is possibly a defense mechanism to protect our future for we are the only species that uses the higher intelligence to embrace progress. In effect this means that each day we want to get ahead of the previous day and this creates in us a fear of tomorrow for it has to be better than today and yesterday. Protecting our future and planning for it is important but it must never be at the cost of failing to enjoy the better part of our life. Stress is primarily an outcome or result of our obsession with the future and is a predominantly found in the human race.

To reduce our stress it is essential that we find a way to like each moment of our life and love our life. This means we need to create/ find/ invent / be happy. The challenge is to remain happy for as long as possible and that is possible only and only when we learn to enjoy whatever we have.  Here are some ways that we can continue to be happy moment to moment.

Appreciate what you have. We tend to take for granted whatever we are blessed with and on the rare times we are deprived of some of these blessings we notice the absence and react with alarm, fear, worry and exasperation. Look back at the time you sprained your ankle or suffered from flu or the time you misplaced a valuable thing. Your attitude and behavior is symptomatic of our tendency to take the good fro granted and the unwanted as a calamity. Remember the phrase; I complained because I had not shoes until I saw a man who had no feet.

Don’t compare. Nothing disturbs our peace of mind as much as our tendency to compare whatever we have with that of others who we perceive as having something better than what we have. In many ways our inability to appreciate what we have often has its roots in our weakness to focus on what others have. Pause for a moment and think about the possibility that ‘perhaps we are blessed with just the right mix leaving us enough opportunities to aspire, perspire and inspire us to achieve and attain more’ giving us the elation of achievement and success.

Be optimistic. Problems, hindrances, failures, fears and frustrations are part of everyday life. We are given the grace to be optimistic; to be hopeful, to visualize possibilities and to find creative ways to overcome and slay the demons of our negative imagination. It is when we are optimistic that we confront our fears and stop ourselves from running away from the problems we encounter.

Seek positives. When in difficulties, pain or trouble our reaction is to alleviate the suffering. The challenge thereafter is to be calm, have a clear head and to think logically so that we not only overcome our difficulties but come out unscathed. Almost all the prisoner of war (POW) escapes can be attributed to seeking out the positives even in the most inescapable circumstances. Ask yourself if you are a POW of your making; your defeatist attitude, your weak will and/ or your inability to confront reality.

Have fun. Have you seen people in casts displaying a variety of messages written on the cast by friends and well wishers? Have you seen people with a big smile hobble on crutches to a party or come on a wheel chair to the party? Ever notice that the best jokes are the ones people tell about themselves and the embarrassing situations they found themselves in?  The ability to laugh, to have fun, to find a reason to smile is perhaps the greatest gift you can bestow yourself.

Try this:

  • Prepare a funny paragraph containing the words. Each paragraph must have 5 sentences at least and must contain 7 -10 words from the list given below. The paragraphs need not be logical but must be coherent and humorous.

Man, socks, dog, green, TV, nail, Egg, elephant, hook, water, clock, TV, bucket, Adam, Ram, Flag, blue, wheel, cycle, eat, run, scream.

  • Prepare a list (laughs that you can have) of at least 5 each of the following
  1. Jokes
  2. Limericks
  3. Comedy Movies
  4. You tube clips
  5. Cartoons
  6. Sayings / Phrases

(You are welcome to share your contribution by writing in to actspot@gmail.com. Please give your name and age along with your contribution. Select contributions ( emphasis will be on originality and quality of humor) would be featured in this blog. )

 This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog

www.poweract.blogspot.com

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13-24-Dissapointments are natural...but...

Disappointments arise when outcomes do not meet expectations. As human beings we tend to brood longer over our disappointments but relish our successes fleetingly. Ask yourself how often you complaint, whine, criticize, find fault, get upset / angry, feel hurt, pass on blame, keep regretting, try to be alone/ silent etc. On the other hand how often do you smile, praise, thank, appreciate, remain enthusiastic, compliment others, be the company of others, say/ do something positive spontaneously etc. Your honest answers would give you a clue to how you cope with disappointments which are unavoidable but never unmanageable.

Even if we are optimists and have a positive attitude we can still be disheartened and disillusioned by major disappointments. If we are pessimistic and have a tinted outlook then it becomes imperative that we find ways and means to cope with the disappointments that we would encounter off and on.

Here are a few strategies to cope with disappointments.

It can’t get worse. Imagine you failed in your exams. You lose a year now. It has happened; but now you can honestly tell yourself that it is the worst possible outcome but it can’t get worse than this. Once you make this profound discovery moving on with life becomes relatively much easier than brooding over the why it happened; if only I studied more; perhaps I should have taken a chance and cheated and the numerous such thoughts that keep swimming in your head.

Thank god it is only this much. Recently a family member came home way past midnight and gently broke the news that he met with an accident. Obviously you are rattled and then shocked to see the person swaddled in bandages. Once you get over the initial shock the next natural progression is to seek more information about what happened all the while berating the person for being careless and irresponsible. Once we have calmed down and get hold of ourselves we rationalize that thank god it wasn’t worse. From then on we are able to handle the shock and disappointment with more pragmatism and acceptance.

Ok so how do I limit the damage? You are frantically searching for an important document and to your horror and terrible disappointment you just can’t seem to locate it. Your panic is matched only by the disconcerting feeling that you are heading for disaster. You search every nook and corner, you can rummage through every drawer and cupboard, you vent your frustration and then fall on your knees seeking divine intervention; alas all in vain. The quicker you get hold of your emotions the better the chances of finding an alternative solution that will help limit the damage perhaps even find an alternative solution.

What is good about the situation? Your team has played and excellent match in which you dominated the opponents and yet you lost the game thanks to a freak goal by the opposition. It is hard to come to terms with such heartbreaking disappointments. The results can be overturned; the missed chances cannot be retrieved; a blame game won’t help. A debriefing by the coach however can turn up a surprising number of useful and invaluable insights about the game. The mistakes made, the attitude and approach of the players, the chinks in the opponents armor than can be exploited next time around, the difference in play in both periods of the game; all of these are more seriously imbibed when the bitterness of disappointment is more acute.

Nothing can overwhelm me. You reach the airport only to be told that your flight has been cancelled and your connecting flights and holiday plans have in simply gone for a toss in a jiffy. Anger, frustration, helplessness, sadness, panic seem to engulfing you. Your mind is in a whirl, you can’t focus and you are in a tizzy. Quickly take deep breaths and calm yourself. While asking the reason for the flight cancellation may be a natural instinctive reaction, wasting time delving into it would be both fruitless and frustrating. Instead, focus on outlining the alternatives to salvage the situation. Take proactive action to implement your plans and be pragmatic about your subsequent actions.

This too shall pass. Pause and think; how many disappointments have actually
ruined your life or brought it to a complete standstill. The fact that you are 
reading this is proof that you are hale and hearty despite the many 
disappointments that you would have faced in your life. The reality of life
mandates that each of us will have triumphs (success) and disasters
(disappointments)  and the trick to overcome disappointment is to remember
Rudyard Kipling’s lines in his poem IF 
If you can meet with triumph and disaster 
And treat those two imposters just the same;

For neither success not failure is permanent… for this too shall pass. 

Try this:

  1. You overhear your best friend criticizing you.
  2. You were hauled up by your superior / school management for an aberration done by someone else and no amount of pleading your innocence can cut any ice with them.
  3. You encounter a flat tyre on deserted stretch of the highway.
  4. You press the buzzer during the tie breaker of a quiz final and discover that the right answer is on the tip of your tongue but alas you are unable to articulate it on time.
  5. You go to highly rated restaurant and to you horror the food is awful and disappointing.

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog

www.poweract.blogspot.com

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13-23-Life from a different perspective

Schooling has developed as a structured way of imparting knowledge in an organized, well paced and hopefully effective manner. Unfortunately traditional schooling has limited creativity, given undue importance to structure and form and made teachers, parents and students beholden to examinations, marks and competitive one upmanship.  The good part is that logical thinking has been well entrenched in students, the system attempts to give opportunities to excel for those who are academically inclined while providing ample scope for the less academically gifted to pass and progress.

However there were those who viewed traditional schooling from a different perspective. Those who found traditional schooling restrictive, too standardized and possibly too limiting for children with extra ordinary intellect, propounded the concept of home schooling.  Home schooling has emerged as an alternative but requires extraordinary vision of the parents as well as their whole hearted commitment. The concept of home schooling though has been a revolutionary departure from the traditional concept of schooling since it allows freedom to an extraordinary degree, reinforces the concept of self discipline in students and re defines the very style of teaching and learning. Above all it gives students the alternative to explore a wide range of subjects in the most practical way and to the full extent of their interest and capability.

Despite these apparent benefits of home schooling the concept is still very much in a nascent stage and that begs the question How does one explore different perspectives fruitfully? The answer lies in our ability to

Be open to change – Unless we have an open mind we would only accept what is available and if that does not suit us we would crib/ complaint/ criticize but never explore alternatives. Once we keep an open mind and seek solutions or alternatives various options would immediately come to the fore.

Appreciate the alternatives – Once we identify alternatives it is essential that we probe/ explore/ study and analyze these alternatives with the clear belief that one or more of these alternatives holds the key to what you are seeking. Of course there would be shades of grey in the alternatives, there could be doubts raised by well meaning people and some difficult to accept situations which we would have to overcome as inevitable. E.g. for most people suffering from asthma, where allopathic medicines continues to be ineffective an alternative that is often propounded is the live fish swallowing therapy that is available in Hyderabad. While the thought itself is repulsive for even non vegetarians, it could be terrifying for those who are vegetarians. Yet thousands flock to avail of the therapy simply because they are left with no alternative but to try it.

Let go the tried and tested – This is the bane of the vast majority. To prove the point let me suggest that you quickly try to draw /sketch your own portrait. Chances are that you would first attempt to draw you face, starting with a round outline followed by the eyes and mouth and nose etc. Notice how seasoned artistes approach the same drawing and you will appreciate that there are various alternatives.

Adopt and adapt the new possibilities – While we ideally try to find readymade solutions for our problems/ challenges the reality is that each solution could vary and may need to be adopted with changes or adapted to ensure the expected outcome. Almost all progress made in any field is largely an outcome of experimentation, trial and error as well as infusion of creative inputs.

See benefits however small – Anyone who tries to find a different perspective would find himself/ herself in a hopeless minority and would have a tough time fending off critics and experts who are unable to comprehend your logic/ thinking/ risk taking. The possibility of disillusionment and frustration then is best eliminated by focusing attention on any small outcome that gives a glimmer of hope. Perseverance and determination are traits that are essential for anyone who dares to walk the path less traveled by for it would be a lonely, strange, uncharted territory but holding the promise of immense possibilities.

Try this:

  1. Write down your 3 most serious worries. For each of it jot down 3 alternatives solutions that you can explore to eliminate/ solve/ minimize your worry.
  2. Out of the following alternatives try to attempt at least any two which you have never done before
  • Write a poem / limerick
  • Solve a cross word puzzle
  • Learn and perform a new card trick / magic
  • Learn to tie three different types of knots ( as the scouts do)
  • Write a movie / book review
  • Organize a theme party on your next birthday

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog

www.poweract.blogspot.com

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