Author: Academy for Creative Training

Life lessons during Lockdown

Life lessons during Lockdown

The past couple of months and the past few weeks in particular, have dramatically changed the world as we knew it. From free spirits who chased their dreams, demanded their rights, globe trotted without a care, suddenly life has come to a standstill or more correctly a lockdown. The irony of the lockdown was that it has spared no one, yet threatened everyone and forced the world to stop, pause, look inward and sacrifice freedom.

Perhaps now is the time to reflect on the following facts:

Life is short – For the very many, especially those who took ill suddenly and passed away due to the virus life ended rather unexpectedly. For the rest of us, the fear that life can be very short is the reason we are taking the self quarantine and lockdown seriously. For the migrants though it is not the same fear that is driving them back to their home towns. They fear shortages, lack of income and the need to be around loved ones during difficult times. Yes they too fear for their future and want to ensure their life is neither miserable nor short and hence the desperation to return back to their native land.

Time is fast – Ironic that in a lockdown, time moves slowly. Yet it is just the perfect reminder as to how busy a life we lead, with no time to stand and stare, as the poet would say. Perhaps now we realize how important it is to stop, pause, look around, appreciate what we have and respect what nature provided us.  Perhaps we also have a better appreciation of people at home, the need to act more responsibly and the truly value our time on this planet.

No replay – Hopefully we will overcome the current pandemic and lockdown and social distancing and never have a replay. For that matter, we rarely have a repeat day in our life; ever day is a new day with new hopes, challenges, successes, failures, pain and joy. How we would like to have a replay of our best moments in life; that is not going to happen. Fortunately that holds true for our worst moments too.

No rewind– We may rewind and watch a tape or a serial or a movie. Life is not going to give us that chance. So we must always put our best foot forward, grasp every opportunity, make amends for failures quickly and live life each moment. Life is boring when we do things as if rewinding and repeating our efforts with no commitment or love for what we do. Each day find a new motivation to do your job well. Enjoy the process, the company, the results. You will never want to rewind your life because you now know how to make tomorrow exciting.

So enjoy every moment as it comes – Lockdown is terrible; it is worse when you think of it that way. How about seeing lockdown time, as a very rare opportunity gifted to you, to spend more time at home, with people who matter most to you and for a cause that is in your best interest as well as that of the nation? You don’t have to sacrifice your life on the battle front or a medical frontline warrior or as a provider of essential services. You are simply called to remain home. Have you ever seen it as a privilege given to the very few during a very rare time? See it that way and now make the most of every moment that you are at home. Do things that you always wanted to do from home? Explore your talents. Make a list of things you appreciate about those around you. Make a list of things you would want to do once you are free from the lockdown. Utilize the time well and enjoy the process.

Try these:           

  • Call up a few people with whom you have not connected in a very long time but whose friendship/ relationship you value very much. E.g. a former colleague / classmate / a teacher / a distant relative
  • Make 5 goodie bags with whatever resources you currently have to give out free to an old age home / migrant workers / orphanage etc.
  • Pick out three of your most favorite things and decide whom you will gift it to. As soon as you can do take the effort to gift it away with a small note on why they deserve that gift.

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog

www.poweract.blogspot.com

People are not difficult… they are different

People are not difficult… they are different

One big challenge in life is cultivating and maintaining relationships. On the face of it looks like an easy task but in reality it is challenging, largely because of our approach to others. There is not dispute about the fact that as social animals we cannot live in isolation. It therefore stands to reason that we will have to deal with people of all shapes, sizes and shades. The problem is that there could be any number of people who we dislike, find it hard to get along with, abhor some and embrace some with no qualms what so ever. A simple test is to see how your relationships with your school mates, office buddies and family members are.

We tend to see people as either friend or foe; difficult or amiable; ally or competitor; powerful or submissive; daring or cowardly etc. The result is that we tend to slot people into categories and pick and choose those who fall within those categories that best match our expectations. All those who do not meet our expectations are largely tuned out, separated from our relationship matrix and labeled mentally by us as difficult people best left alone. Unfortunately, in life we often do not have the luxury of alienating those who we find difficult to deal with because often they are influential, useful, unavoidable, powerful and important for us. Take the case of a neighbor who you do not like. The reality is you cannot change the neighbor nor can you easily change your neighborhood. So what is ones best option to deal with a person who you find difficult to relate to; connect with or maintain ties with?

Accept the fact that each individual, even a sibling or a twin is an independent person with her/ his unique thoughts, mannerisms, behavior, likes, dislikes, dress sense, style and values. Once one realizes this, the urge to see people as needing to confirm to your individualistic style will be greatly reduced. More importantly, you will see the other person as a unique person who has the same rights and freedom as you have. Now, you will be in a better position to appreciate their oddities, peculiarities, their behavior and traits that otherwise you will see as an aberration and despise. You can now begin to value the individuality of the other and even if you do not approve of it or in the very extreme loath it, you will still allow them the liberty to be themselves. Except in very extreme cases where an individual crosses all boundaries of societal norms, conventions and prudence, one can still keep up a passing relationship more to remind you of your own individuality and upbringing.

APT is an excellent acronym that will help retain relations.

Attention for another person

Patience to appreciate the other person

Thoughtfulness in responding to another person

Try these:           

What types of people irritate/ annoy you? Can you mentally recall the names of such people? Can you honestly jot down at least two good qualities in them?

Can you make an effort to reach out to someone you do not normally like to get in touch with but as a measure of testing your own learning from this post reach out and spend time with that person.

What is the one quality or behavior or action in you, that will indicate to another that you would like to avoid the other person or minimize your interactions with that person? Can you make an attempt to modify that behavior/ style /quality so that you can have a better engagement with others.

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog

www.poweract.blogspot.com

A candle called YOU

A candle called YOU

It is easy to think of candles as a relic of the past. Yet, visit a shrine and invariably you will find people lighting up candles despite the fact that the place is well lit. It is symbolic of the faith that one reposes albeit in the fond hope of getting a favor done. A candle is merely a carrier of light, much like a torch. Yet, it is the light that one yearns for when in the dark. The carrier of light be it a torch or a candle is much sought after then, for that is the only way to ensure the light stays on for a longer period of time. Ironically in today’s day and age, a candle is hard to locate at home not because we do not value it but because we treat it as just to be used rarely, sparingly and hopefully never ever. So the candle is casually kept in some corner or drawer much out of sight.

As individuals we often feel that we are treated like candles. Look back at the sudden phone calls from long lost friends or casual acquaintances. We immediately scan the background of the personal mentally wondering what possible reason could have motivated her/ him to call. We also jump to a conclusion that they remember us because they have a favor to ask of us. Fact is, we too remember some people only when we require their help and we know that they care in a position to help us.

In reality we cannot achieve anything on our own only. At the same time we cannot be in touch with others all the time. So when people get in touch out of the blue, feel like a candle that has much to offer when the room is dark. Bear in mind that every individual has something tangible to contribute no matter how big or small. At times someone may call you up merely to get a phone number of a person known to you. The only thing you do is pass the number on but at the point it is a critical help for the other person. There are times when people call just because they either remembered you or because they chanced upon your telephone number. Be glad that they feel comfortable connecting with you. Ask yourself who are those people who you know well but do not want to connect with at all?

If you connect the dots, you will realize that you are much sought after when, others perceive you as helpful, understanding, respectful and empathetic. Have you ever visualized yourself as an individual who is blessed with so many virtues?

Try these:           

  • What are those endearing qualities in another person that enable you to connect with that person even after long periods of non communication? How many of such qualities do you possess?
  • Why do you think a candlelight dinner is considered romantic?
  • Who would you like to gift a scented candle to next?

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog

www.poweract.blogspot.com

Why and how do we judge others?

Why and how do we judge others?

Thinking becomes difficult for a number of reasons; the most important one being sheer laziness to exercise the brain muscles. Jumping to conclusions by judging others is relatively simple; interpret the available data to suit ones bias and proffer a theory that often has a negative connotation because it is human to easily believe bad news about others than accept good news about others enthusiastically.

So how do we judge people? There are various styles we adopt which include the following:

Using facts selectively – Since we get information from various sources, it becomes difficult to filter the same. However, it is relatively easy to cull out information, often out of context and pass it on as facts. While many times the intent maybe to showcase our own knowledge, our personal bias can often be the key to what information we cull out and with who we share it.

Never cross checking data – While information that we get can always be cross checked, the effort is too cumbersome and hence we use our judgment to decide if the source is authentic. This judgment of the authenticity of the source is again a personal choice that is influenced by our bias. Over time the source becomes the fount of truth for us and the result is the erroneous conclusions we draw.

Allowing our bias to overcome our rationale – The human race has all sorts of bias. These partly stem from our upbringing, partly from our values and beliefs but large they are shaped by our lopsided thinking. Lopsided thinking is the outcome of lazy thinking, convenient thinking and misplaced confidence in one’s ability to think intelligently. Our bias often clouds our judgment but then we are too blind to our own faults and therefore jump to conclusions that vindicate our bias.

Leaking / sharing unsubstantiated information – Subconsciously we need to fulfill an urge to be first. This is best done by trying to share information that we believe is privileged, important and definitive and something that will fulfill our urge to be first. Rumors are a classic case of unsubstantiated information doing the rounds at supersonic speed.

Being inattentive and or indifferent to logic and reason – It is possible that at various times one gets inputs that are contrarian/ unique / rationale but since we are fixated with our own rationale one refuses to consider these. We miss out on the opportunity to think again and instead end up labeling those differing with us stero types indicating they are biased and / or irresponsible.

Each of us is guilty of these. A good example is our own response to any form of criticism be it by parents, teachers, colleagues, friends, peers, spouse, children or even bosses at the work place. Our initial response is a good indicator of our bias which emits from our judgment of those giving us a feedback.

Try these:           

  • List out the top 5 criticism that you have received from your close family, friends, colleagues and bosses.  Also list out 2 qualities of yours that you are appreciated for. What is your opinion about the feedback you have received? How fair is it? How many are judging you unfairly?
  • Choose one relative, one friend, one colleague and one individual you do not like very much. Write down their names and against each name jot down 2 criticisms you have for them and 2 appreciative qualities in them.
  • If you were your own boss at work what kind of feedback would you give to yourself? List out at least 7 points that you would share.

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog

www.poweract.blogspot.com

Life is a balancing act

Life is a balancing act

Every morning we battle with the challenge of waking up with a smile or turning over and enjoying our sleep, a little more. That is not just the only challenge that we battle each day. We have to decide on so many minor, major, critical and mundane matters that life becomes stressful. Dispassionately examined, we realize that life is balance between what we can control and what we cannot. Trouble is, far too often we surrender to temptations, thereby robbing ourselves of fulfilling our potential, realizing our dreams and being enslaved in the lair of mediocrity.

To avoid surrendering easily and instead making the extra effort, you need to do the following:

  • Re-examine your excuses for not doing something.
  • Visualize the potential benefit/ reward of doing what needs to be done.
  • Ask what is your long term goal you seek to attain in life?
  • Write down a road map to attain that goal.
  • Identify a motivator/s to help you focus on your goal when you tend to slack.
  • Challenge yourself to be better each day.
  • Find a mentor to guide and oversee your efforts; encouraging you and firmly nudging you forward.

Try these:           

  1. Do two or three activities that you have never attempted before. Move out of your comfort zone and attempt them.
  2. Identify the three most common criticism that you receive from family/ peers/ bosses/ friends. Work on overcoming it.
  3. What is the one big sacrifice you are willing to make so as to ensure you have time to complete more important and urgent works that you have kept pending.

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog

www.poweract.blogspot.com

Believe and achieve

Believe and achieve

Hopefully those who read the previous post have, in addition to their personal New Year Resolutions, taken the effort of jotting down some additional challenges, including listing out what ineffective habits/ beliefs they plan to quit, this year. With each passing day, the fervor of the resolution loses its intensity; partly due to our habit of procrastination but largely due to our lack of self belief that we can achieve what we plan to.

Since we have already decided and listed out what we hope to achieve this year, our focus must now be on believing we can do and then yearning for it and earning it. Nothing stops you from modifying and updating your wish list to achieve this year. However, your belief must be three fold:

Believe that you can have it – Think big; dream outlandishly; think wild. If you set yourself goals that are lofty you will never regret achieving it. Small goals when achieved may result in temporary happiness but may leave you feeling that you should have aimed further. Aiming big and far is possible only when you start believing that you can have what you set your mind to. E.g. you take a lottery ticket not to oblige the lottery seller but because you believe that you have as much of a chance as anyone else to win it.

Believe that you deserve it. – Look around you and notice the success stories of those who started off with huge strikes against them as compared to your own background. If you can read their minds or hear their success stories, it will be clear that they worked towards their success fully believing that they deserved it. So what is the next salary rise or next business deal you think you deserve? Aim big and then work towards your goal. Believe that you deserve it and see how you attain it.

Believe that it is possible for you. – Success is rarely a windfall. For almost everyone, success is the culmination of cumulative, sustained and determined effort. One persists only when one believes that it is possible to achieve what you can have and what you deserve. Students can raise the bar of their scores expectations and then do what is required to achieve it. Those having a rough life can change the focus of their life goals, believe in it and with sheer dint of focused effort achieve the goals set.

Try these:           

  • Write down a financial goal for yourself. It could be increasing savings, improving income, enhancing returns on investments, revamping your portfolio etc
  • Identify a personal self improvement goal or a personal passion goal. It could be audacious but start believing in it as soon as your write it down. Work on achieving it even if the time line is way ahead.
  • Make a list of people who you would like to meet up with and who stay in different city. Now work on achieving this goal during this year.

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog

www.poweract.blogspot.com

Making the most of the 2020’s

Making the most of the 2020’s

20-1A-05-01-20Things to do in 2020

20-1B-05-01-207 things to Quit in 2020

We are entering a wow decade of 2020 and what a wonderful opportunity lies ahead of us to make this a super productive decade, beginning with this year.

Among the numerous New Year wishes that came, the above two resonated in a special way because it gives direction and specific targets to aim for . Traditionally making New Year Resolutions was the norm; it still continues, perhaps not as overtly as in the past years. Perhaps borrowing a couple of ideas from the above and adding it to your New Year Resolution list would help make the coming year and the decade of the 2020’s more meaningful, fulfilling and rewarding.

The trick is to choose from both lists; make things happen and eliminate what has been bogging one down. To begin with check out your list of resolutions; put an end date to the one you have yet to act on; begin NOW. If you are already thinking that you cannot, look at the first item on the second list. Stop believing you are not capable of executing, completing and ticking of your resolutions. Begin NOW.

Make a note of how much you this week, this month and the months ahead by picking and choosing from the above lists as well as ticking of things from your list of resolutions for the New Year. Make the 20’s count; only you can do it- YOURSELF.

Try these:           

  • Make 52 chits, each one containing one proverb or saying or quote that you like ( each chit should have a different proverb/ saying or quote). Each week pick a chit at random and make that your theme for the week.  Use it in your interactions, your attitude, your beliefs and above all make it part of your actions.
  • Keep a penance jar. Put in it a predetermined fixed sum of money every time you falter on your plans/ resolutions / have negative thoughts/ self limiting thoughts / get angry/ use foul language or do anything that makes you lose your self esteem. You will realize that you are more conscious of your choices; hopefully your penance jar will be empty but your personal self belief will be at its peak. Begin the 2020’s on the right note.

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog

www.poweract.blogspot.com

Good behavior triumphs great knowledge

Good behavior triumphs great knowledge

As we come to the last month of the current year, one important lesson that we can carry forward to the New Year is that behavior always triumphs over knowledge. Good manners, exemplary etiquette’s and superlative behavior will always be valued much more than a banal display of knowledge, power and wealth. Incidentally, power and wealth are often the result of crooked knowledge or misuse of knowledge and only occasionally the result of knowledge judiciously used. The power of good behavior over pure knowledge emits from the effect each has, on those who are receiving it. A brilliant but arrogant teacher/ professor / boss will always be poorly looked at but a non descript, simple individual who displays empathy and consideration will never be short of respect and support.

Behavior is imbibed and the family and social environment have a large say in it. It is also imperative that the individual also has an attitude of absorbing and utilizing the good social skills and graces in every situation. A common lapse on the part of many, that often brings to the fore poor behavior,  is the frequent resort to foul language at the drop of a hat. Simply controlling that will be a great step in being conscious of one’s style and culture, apart from instilling self discipline within us.

Knowledge is largely the outcome of formal education, personal intelligence and hard work. Experience and absorption of information helps one, widen ones knowledge. Real knowledge is not just what one demonstrates at work but what one displays when dealing with unequals, especially those, lower in economic or social strata. If knowledge and behavior can be aligned there is no reason why an individual cannot reach for the stars and attain it.

A classic example of how knowledge and behavior go hand in hand, is diplomacy and tact being used to arrive at consensus decisions. Spirit of the game or spirit of the law is nothing but another extension of how behavior and knowledge go hand in hand. Just try and recollect the great sporting gestures where the spirit of the game leap frogged over a possible unsportman like victory. The term pyrrhic victory perhaps explains the exact opposite; knowledge misused by means foul have resulted in victories that remain as a blot and remain etched for reasons best forgotten.

Many a time it takes tremendous courage and self belief to let good behavior triumph at the cost of personal failure. However, the victory is in living with your head held high, even if you have missed out on a possible prize. Your personal standards are what you define and not dictated by the need to achieve anything, by questionable means. Small gestures like appreciation, thanking those who have helped, apologizing for a mistake made, highlighting the significant contribution of others, taking responsibility for a team failure etc. are small but significant markers in your quest to ensure your behavior is exemplary at all times.

 Try these:          

List out three great sportsmanship gestures displayed in any sports.

Think of three individuals who had an impact on you? Can you identify one behavioral trait that endeared them to you?

Think of a couple of individuals ( former classmates / former  or current colleagues / professional associates etc. ) who are brilliant in their profession but give you a poor vibe. Can you identify a personal trait that they display that puts you off?

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog

www.poweract.blogspot.com

Take action and benefit

Take action and benefit

Here is a practical activity that we can attempt and be sure that each of us will gain from the experience and more importantly enjoy the direct fruits of our action. This post will focus on the action, your job is to take the action and the fruits of the action will be what you will get to relish.

Be generous – Being generous with your wealth is just a minuscule part of what you can be generous with. Your true generosity is in the time you give generously to people around especially those who crave your attention. You can be generous with your patience, your ability to listen, your ability to delay judgment etc. Be lavish with your praise, your appreciation and your ability to find something good in others.

Be cooperative – As social beings we need to learn to take the good with the bad, learn to live with the ironies that life puts before us occasionally and act with maturity when we have to make tough choices. Cooperation is not just about being agreeable but it also includes being able to disagree without be disagreeable. Cooperation is being in a minority but whole heartedly going with the majority decision.

Be enthusiastic –The major trigger for being enthusiastic is by having a good enough motivation to do what we have to do. In the absence of a good motivation, seek out something good about what you have to go through. It is cultivating the right spirit, displaying the right attitude and having the winners spirit spurring you on every moment. Let no failure dampen your enthusiasm, let no criticism demotivate you;  do what needs to be done with élan and panache.

Be serving – Services is not merely being useful to others or offering your help to others. Service should be a natural part of your upbringing. It encompasses varied aspects of your life right from displaying good manners, being considerate to others and being ready to shoulder responsibility whenever the need arises. Helping those who can never repay you back, voluntarily assisting those who you can, just doing what needs to be done no matter how insignificant a job it is are shades of service that we must be conscious of.

Try these:           

  • What were the most joyous memories that you carry? Do you think someone was generous and so you still have that sweet memory? Do you think the other person would also carry similar fond memories of those times?
  • Think of the time you disagreed but were overruled and then you had to participate in what was finally agreed upon? Did you give your hundred percent to the task? How did you feel at the end of the task? Remember the poem ‘ The charge of the light brigade’ ? https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/45319/the-charge-of-the-light-brigade
  • Choose three boring tasks that are part of your job. How do you keep motivated to do it well? What are the boring jobs that you have to do in your regular personal life?
  • When was the last time your volunteered? Can you think of volunteering in a place you have never ever visited before?

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog

www.poweract.blogspot.com

Be your own Sergeant Major

19-21- 17 Nov19-Be your own Sergeant Major

If you have never been part of the armed forces, which unfortunately most of us have never been part of, self discipline is always a challenge. This is because, we give in to temptations, make excuses, make light of authority, have no clear commitment and ignore all varieties of signals that suggest we be self disciplined, if we need to succeed. Perhaps the realization, that each of us is solely responsible for our own self discipline, is a key trigger to begin our journey of success. This means that each of us as to see ourselves as both the soldier and the sergeant major in charge of our life.

Every sergeant major uses both positive and negative energies to drive his soldiers to excellence. The negatives are the last option but unavoidable considering that the objective is excellence is the at the heart of winning any battle. To be your own personal sergeant major, the positives and negative energies that you must leverage are as under:

Visualize the positive outcomes – Visualize the end  result. As Steven covey says’ Begin with the end in mind’. Most people use the same technique when they start a diet plan or begin their gym routine. The challenge is to believe in the outcome even if there are no immediate visible changes. At the heart of it all is the need to be consistent and patient.

Be aware of the negative effects – While the positive end result can help one remain positive, the fear of the consequences of not being self disciplined can be a strong stick that drives one to be disciplined. This is largely seen in the case of academics, where even the most lethargic student makes at least a last minute effort to study for fear of failing. Being dropped from a team is not exactly what a competitive individual would want. Perhaps a fear of that could push her/ him to take practice , coaching and fitness very seriously even if they are not particularly enthused.

Find motivators – Motivators will attract your enthusiasm like a magnet. Seek out the small advantages, benefits, rewards that your actions will bring in. Let these motivators pull you towards making the efforts required even if they are boring, tiresome and painful.

Avoid excuses – While motivators can pull, the danger is the excuses that have an overbearing negative influence in propping up our lethargy, casualness and indifference. The net result is we end up succumbing to the various excuses that we imagine or those that sinfully entice us. One has to be mentally stronger than the excuses that keep popping up and prevent us from doing what needs to be done.

Embrace the process – Notice the small changes. Appreciate the positive difference that you feel when you overcome all excuses and stick to your plans. Relish the self discipline that you have consciously adopted. Be glad you chose the right way to forge ahead.

Fear is the key – When lethargy, temptation, excuses keep tugging away and entice you away from your discipline, be aware of the consequences. Let the fear of the ill effects kill your temptations. You be your own sergeant major and kick your own butt to ensure you that you do not stray.

Remember that ‘Man is both the sculptor and the sculpture of his destiny. Chipping away the bad in us, is a very painful and never ending process. The end result though, would be an individual self that one would be very proud of.’

Try these:           

  • What are your 5 bad habits that you are seeking to overcome? What plan of action do you have for overcoming it?
  • What are the 3 good habits you would like to cultivate? Any plan of action for the same?
  • What are the 2 good routines you follow? Have you influenced anyone to learn from your routines?
  • Prepare your new year resolution and ensure you have a plan of action for 5 of them. By Dec 2020 notice how you managed to achieve the plan you listed, by being your own Sergeant Major.

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog

www.poweract.blogspot.com