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Archive for the ‘Concentrate’ Category

8 - Refocus and get clarity

Clarity of thought is a quality that is essential for every individual so that he /she can progress forward in the right direction. Unfortunately for a variety of reasons, individuals have always grappled with the problem of confusion, an inability to be decisive and worse of constantly looking back and wondering if they chose their path wisely. Most of our lives we have been told to avoid problems. In school one is taught to solve problems. Most of our adult life we are anticipating problems and seeking ways to avoid it. As a result the problem overwhelms us, we are hell bent on avoiding or solving problems and we are apprehensive of moving away from the beaten path lest we encounter problems that we have never experienced. So instead of exploring and discovering we prefer to gingerly and tentatively traverse on known paths occasionally daring to venture into some shallow waters. Our horizons are limited our growth is stunted and our sense of achievement is scaled down.

Today the startups, the youngsters having dreams of alternative professions and those leapfrogging from staid professions to dynamic alternatives are tribute to mind set change from problem avoidance to solution finding. Our training of being defensive and risk averse has actually prepared us to easily reorient our thinking into seeking problems and finding solutions. Instead of letting your mind constantly worry about the problem, let it now dwell in anticipation of finding alternative solutions. With this changed orientation in our thinking we allow our creative self to take over. Problems are merely irritants, solutions are there to be found and in finding the solutions you discover your potential, create something unique and possibly even build a new paradigm of success for yourself. Man’s inability to fly was a problem since evolution. Those who saw it as a problem and did nothing about it rationalized that we really didn’t need to fly and so came up with alternative means of transportation. The Wright brothers on the other hand viewed the inability to fly as a problem deserving an appropriate solution. Their aircraft crude as it may have been pioneered the aircraft industry later. The hot air balloon and the drones are also examples of how solution centric answers can become very effective.

We need to watch out for three impediments that could take away our focus from being solution centric

Fear of the problem – It is true that every problem comes with its share of anxiety. When we let this anxiety overtake our rationality we remain problem centric. Our anxiety increases with the passing of time and no acceptable solution visible on the horizon. On the other hand if we analyze the problem dispassionately, we would be able to appreciate the varied dimensions of the problem and perhaps even see various alternative solutions peeping from some corners. Pick up a newspaper and try to solve the crosswords or Sudoku problem in it.

Distraction due to anxietyBefore you attempt the above keep a personal time limit to solve the problem. Notice how you get more tense, distracted and frustrated that the time is running out. Your attention is now drawn towards the deadline rather than the problem itself. This distraction will take away your concentration. On the other hand if you focus on finding solutions you will get at least some answers by the time the deadline approaches.

Urge to disown the problem – Very often we just want to somehow get rid of the problem. If possible we try to pass it on to others. If not we try to find excuses for the problem still being there. Very often we try to find someone to blame for the problem. This urge to get rid of the problem, to disown the problem, to pass the buck is our way of escapism. It neither helps in getting a solution nor does it ease our anxiety for the problem persists.

Watch out for the above and immediately change your thinking to finding a solution and keep seeking alternate solutions till you have ample alternatives to choose the best one. Yes problems often come with many many solutions. Keep searching for the best one.

Try this:

Click on this link to get an idea of how to FOCUS

You are given a barometer and asked to measure the height of a building. Think of 3 possible solutions to the problem. (Having a science inclination would help but oh yes every one can attempt it)

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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We have to pray with our eyes on God, not on the difficulties. Oswald Chambers

It is typical for most people to pray either as a ritual or when I desperation and in both cases the focus is our own paranoia. As a ritual we pray because we are afraid of divine wrath that may befall us and when we are desperate we automatically gravitate to seek divine assistance. It is significant to note that in both cases it is our self centered interest that is the bait that lures us into prayer whereas real prayer is a mix of spontaneous thanks, praise and a reaching out to god. This means our focus should be on GOD and not our personal motives or hidden agenda.

Our difficulty is that we believe in a god more because of our upbringing that focused attention on GOD, but there are many times we seem to take God for granted and/ or  wonder about the truth of GOD’s existence. Most times we have that niggling doubt that stops us from freely acknowledging God’s presence in our life. We pray without faith, we pray mechanically and we pray superfluously and more often than not we simply chant in unison with no understanding of what we are saying. When we pray without feeling, we cannot hope for our prayers to be answered, we lack the faith to believe our prayers will be answered and we are often blinded to the reality that our prayers are answered in different ways.

Since prayer is a communication with GOD, it is essential that we are able to visualize the recipient of the communication. The message has to be tailored to suit the understanding of the receiver of the communication. By focusing only on our self centered message we miss out on the opportunity to interact with GOD spontaneously and share from the bottom of our hearts. More critical is the reality that with focus on our message, which mostly is all about our wants and needs, we do not LISTEN to GOD’s communication to us. Far too many times, we never get what we seek, but in the long run we realize that we got something much more valuable than what we sought. Eg. We don’t get the marks we want but as a result we take up an education which is not out first choice. Later we realize that we got the perfect career choice.

More than anything else is the reality that when we focus on God, we seem to be able to get inspired in finding solutions to our dilemma. We also realize that our problems are really minuscule as compared to those problems of others and that many solutions are within our own grasp. Instead when we focus on our difficulties, we believe that we have passed the buck to someone more powerful who is expected to solve the problem. Thereafter, our urge to resolve the problem by using our own means is not considered a very favored option. Finally focusing on GOD gives us a peace of mind that whatever the outcome it is GOD’s will.

Remember: By my definition, prayer is consciously hanging out with God. Being with God in a deliberate way.  Malcolm Boyd

Try this:

  1. Make it a point to have 3 special intentions focused on our nation, the world at large and some individual known to you in your prayers. Have new  intentions  periodically if needed.
  2. Think of 3 specific instances in the past when your prayers remained unanswered. Reflect if you focused on God or the problem while praying. How much impact did the unanswered prayers have in your life? Was the impact positive or negative in your view?

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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Every day is a messenger of God. Russian proverb

One of the most wonderful works of God is the subtle oncoming of each day, which heralds both the message that God exists and the transfiguration of the abstract day into a tangible evidence of Gods powerful messenger. What is most intriguing is the loud proclamation of GOD through the beautiful sunrise and the HIS vibrant presence during the whole day, be it in the chirping of the birds, the whistling of the winds or the bustling activity of human beings. Ironically, it is also felt in the fragilities of life be it in the form of death of person or persons, the fury of the vagaries of nature or in the poverty, pollution and pain that starkly contrasts with the peace, tranquility and love that is normally associated with God.

The chirping of the birds and the first rays of the sun brighten our morning and with each passing hour we are given the power to choose how to spend our time and enrich our life. The good news is the day is all ours. The bad news is that we have to exercise our choice in order to ensure that we have not wasted the day. What we need to focus on is what is our real task and then go about fulfilling that even if the task is not appealing, if it is challenging or it is extremely boring. If we don’t go about our task, end of day the same messenger will seek an account of how we utilized the day and our conscience will constantly prick us if we have squandered the opportunity presented to us. Even worse is that sinking feeling in our hearts that we have accomplished very little, piled on more work for ourselves and tensions and fear overwhelm us.

We also need to bear up with some rare days which herald only sad news, painful moments and hurtful memories. These days challenge our inner strength, draw our attention to the vagaries of life and very often divert our attention to the existence of GOD to whom we turn to in prayerful, weary and a pleaful manner. Everyone has to go through this cycle of pain and joy and the good news is that most times we are blessed with joy and we appreciate those times much more when we are undergoing pain. sadness and loneliness. The miracle of the day lies in its equality of distribution amongst all and its complete indifference to how one uses or abuses it. In its unhurried, impartiality it proclaims the message of GOD’s gift of each day to each one of us. The challenge for us is to appreciate it, accept it and use it profitably and purposefully for our own good and as a tribute to God’s gift of life to us. It is only if we are alive that the new day has meaning, and that the greatest gift that god SENDS US EACH DAY for each day becomes gods own messenger to awakens us and remind us of his LOVE for us.

Remember: “Don’t count the days- make the days count.”

Try this:

  1. Make an elaborate New Year resolution list. Add some personal improvement goals in it, some social work that you plan to do, some goals concerned with improving the environment and one goal dedicated to doing something that is connected with your personal passion.
  2. Outline 3 changes you will make in your life style to enhance your personal productivity. Also outline the method you will adopt to put your plan into action and to evaluate the results.

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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He who begins many things finishes but few. Italian proverb

Multitasking is the buzz word that sets the cat among the pigeons in this fast paced world. The ability to do manifold work of varied nature is considered a key differentiator when selecting a recruit and yet this can also be the bane of the work place. While people may be adept at a variety of tasks it is obvious that he/ she will be excellent in some tasks and reasonably good in others and perhaps passable in a few. The trouble though is that human beings are prone to mistakes of omission and commission and so the effectiveness of the multitasking can be just about average. More importantly, there is a tendency to start working on many tasks and leave almost all of it partially done by the time deadline has arrived.

Many a time we are under the mistaken delusion that without us nothing can happen and as a result we end up poking our finger in every pie. We enthusiastically jump into every new challenge with gusto and bravado, little realizing the commitment and complexities involved. No sooner we hit a road block our enthusiasm is dampened, our gusto is diminished and our self belief takes a beating. Thereafter we give only cursory attention to the task just enough to show involvement but not enough to take it to its logical end. There are some of us who just cannot say no and so go on taking new assignments. Many of what we take on is half hearted. The other tasks are not our forte and what is really our core strength can get marginalized in the process. At the end when we take stock of our achievements we are left frustrated that our potential has been wasted and there is very little left to show as achievement.

It is the procrastinators who have the biggest problem for they always have a perennially unending list of tasks all in various stages of urgencies that create a chaos in their lives. It is a catch 22 situation where their tardiness expands their list of tasks and the huge list of tasks in turn terrifies them and so the quality of output is dismal, leaving behind a trail of unfinished jobs. Finally there are those people who are terrified of delegating any tasks for fear of someone usurping them or taking credit for the tasks. The end result is that they end up getting involved in menial work, unproductive work, focus on jobs they are comfortable with and their critical jobs are then handled in a rush thereby leaving gaping holes in it and completing it in a shabby and unbefitting manner.

The way forward to ensure that we are not overburdened with useless, futile and unimportant jobs is in classifying all the jobs into jobs to be done by me, jobs to be delegated and sundry jobs that can be taken care of by others. This classification is tricky for there is a matter of judgment to be exercised and that comes out of experience and practice. It is also a good practice to focus on the toughest tasks and get it out of the way so that the anxiety and pressure associated with it is mitigated at the earliest. Our mind is then free to focus on other relatively easier tasks. Putting deadlines and breaking major tasks into smaller sub tasks can also help dramatically. Without deadlines tasks have no seriousness attached to it. The deadline also helps us focus more vigorously and push ourselves to completing whatever is on hand.

Remember: “Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus.”  Alexander Graham Bell

Try this:

  1. Recreate the school science experiment by taking a piece of paper and using a magnifying glass to let the suns rays pass through in a concentrated form to ignite the paper. This will help us realize the power of focusing and also transport us to the good old days.
  2. Make it a practice to write down your thoughts and list out the tasks to be done. This means that you always carry a paper and pen and /or ensure they are always handy.  It would also help if you use a daily or the appointment function in your mobile phone more efficiently. To begin with make it a practice to make a birthday list of as many people as you can and wish them without fail. This is a routine but effective task that cannot be delegated.

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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Real unselfishness consists in sharing the interests of others.  George Santayana

In our daily interactions we are bound to meet a large cross section of people some of whom we forge friendships and with others we maintain a purely professional relationship. What is common to both types of interactions is that there is some common ground for dialogue, discussion and decision making. When the area of common ground expands professional associations migrate into friendships and we forge stronger bonds and ties. The undercurrent that is flowing all the while is in the interchange of ideas, thoughts and interests that the interested parties have in common. If there is no commonality of interest the possibility of that relationship sustaining is very minimal.

The big trouble of communication in any relationship is that we cannot always find common ground that interests all parties.  There is always at least one topic which one party loves and the other party finds it hard to appreciate. If a person is passionate about something he/ she will always be gung-ho about it and would love to find an ardent listener, alas if we do not like the topic we would make all attempts to indicate so. The reason for this is that we are selfish by nature and find it painful to put up with what does not interest us. If we are prepared to see things from the other person’s point of view and be patient we would make the profound discovery that we can forge wonderful relationships.

Do we fake interest in others interests? Good salesmen are quite adept at doing this, for they have with experience learned to initially fake attention, pretend to show interest and try to pry into the passions of the buyer. They are well aware that if one can pander to the interest of the buyer, it won’t be long before they can get the potential buyer to be interested in what they have to sell. Notice that the salesman has a long term motive that drives him/her to start off by faking interest but then quickly reorient their mindset to actually participate in the potential buyer’s interest.  Each one of us must make this effort when we are clear that we have to be interested in the other party. Mark McCormack in his bestselling  book What they don’t teach you at Harvard Business School gives an example of how he paid attention to the secretary in the office of a potential sponsor, who was cutting stamps from the inward mail envelopes, for the bosses  son who was an avid stamp collector. The next time Mark visited the sponsoror, he carried with him a huge collection of stamps for the potential sponsor’s son. This little gesture of paying attention to an innocuous activity paid rich dividends for Mark who bagged the huge sponsorship deal.

One can really benefit by paying attention and taking interest in others because, we establish common ground, draw people to ourselves and forge new alliances. In the long run, it is to these relationships that we can safely turn to and leverage whenever we need to. This is because we have unselfishly made the effort to draw people to ourselves and by taking in interest in them we have reinforced the bonds of friendship. In being unselfish we have not laid any conditions nor kept any expectations and so the relationship is spontaneous, genuine and endearing.

Remember: “A person with a hundred interests is twice as alive as one with only fifty and four times as alive as the man who has only twenty-five”  Norman Vincent Peale

Try this:

  1. Try to learn a new sport/ card game./ card trick/ skill. How easy was it to pick up the new activity? What contributed to the speed of picking up?  Did you get frustrated initially and how did you motivate yourself when frustrated?
  2. Identify 3 boring people who you prefer to avoid. Analyze why you find them a bore? Make an attempt to meet one of these persons and spend at least an hour with this person. Have you made any new observations about the person? Identify 3 strengths of the person that you never knew.

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 you aren’t going all the way, why go at all? Joe Namath

One problem that plagues the vast majority of us, is our inability to keep pace with the requirements of a task and as a result we often give up midway. For many of us who are out of shape there comes a point in time when we are acutely aware of the need to get back in shape. In desperation we then plan to indulge in some sort of physical exercise regime which we begin with great gusto. A few days into the routine, we have all sorts of problems most of it imaginary that gives us a convenient excuse to miss the planned routine. Soon we give it up as a lost cause. Perhaps something similar happens when we try to learn something new be it a game, a dance style, a new academic learning etc.

The problem of not going all the way is not limited to our efforts at something new. On a day to day basis too we display this tendency to be partially interested in what we do. To begin with we never try to make a list of tasks to be attended to and more often than not simply forget the most crucial tasks. We then make solemn promises to make lists but the lists never see the light of day. Some days we are just fed up with a our life style and propose to make drastic changes in it. Yet a year down the line but for some cosmetic changes, we lead the same lifestyle and remain just as frustrated. We plan to save a certain sum each month and before the month is over we are broke and there is no surplus for saving.

There are various reasons why we do not manage to complete the voyage that we have flagged off with much fanfare. The very first problem is lack of adequate planning. With half baked ideas, sketchy details, an unclear goal/objective and inadequate resources all contribute to the abortion of the plans.  The next problem is lack of self belief. There are times we begin a task because of pressure from others be it peers, family or friends.  Other times we simply do not believe that we can succeed and so give up at the first major hurdle. Some are sensitive to criticism while others are too rigid and dogmatic making the going tough for themselves. These people throw in the towel more in disgust at the system they have to battle but never realizing that it is their own personal weakness that is the cause. Finally many people just don’t have the motivation to continue till the end. People who begin a task just to keep up with the joneses or those who take a path that has just be pointed out to them or the vast majority who get distracted along the way by the lure of other options all end up losing the plot and never scaling the peak of success.

Remember: “Success is largely a matter of holding on after others have let go”

Try these:

  1. Choose between learning 3 new card games or 2 new magic tricks. Try to learn the card tricks or magic tricks within a span of 2 months at the most. You must be able to do it with panache in front of an audience and draw loud applause for it.
  2. What do you think is the motivation for me to write this blog every single day? Do you have a similar challenge in mind that you still haven’t dared to attempt? Can you attempt that task successfully before the year is out?

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 you judge people, you have no time to love them.  Mother Teresa

Our perceptions about people have an unusually disproportionate influence on how we deal with them, how closely we interact with them and how much of confidence we have in them. Be it our own countrymen or be it dealing with foreigners, we have our biases that keep triggering our senses at regular intervals and which acts as a filter to ensure that we are communicating to suit the circumstances and the personnel involved. The net result is that we convey a feeling of suspicion, make the counter party wary and lengthen the process of establishing relationships. Ironically most of our biases prove to be negative in nature and woefully wrong which makes us feel sheepish and embarrassed.

The problem with most of us is that we have our own skewed logic that is based upon hearsay, opinions and personal prejudice which results in us judging people all the time. When we judge people the natural tendency is to look at people as prone to being deviant, problematic and difficult to deal with. This negative mindset offers us the luxury of being excessively vigilant, deeply suspicious and probably resentful of the other without feeling guilty, since we see it as a protective mechanism to shield our life and liberty. By the time we realize our folly some connections have been disturbed, many opportunities lost and most interactions have become stilted. Relationships take a lot longer to flower than what would have if we didn’t let our judgment cloud our senses.

Look at the beggars, the marginalized, the poor and the sick and ask yourself what thoughts come to mind. While we begin to feel sorry for them, we quickly summarize that most of them can easily earn a good living by hard work but prefer to be lazy and eek out a living by being parasites feeding of the rich and the hardworking people like us. None of us would have ever cared to talk to them, understand their plight or even bothered to smile at them. In fact we go out of way to shun them lest they take our goodness for our weakness.  The problems of the mentally challenged and those in prison are even more acute because we fear them, conclude that they do not deserve to be set free in civilized society and wish that they be shown mercy by a quick and painless death.  While all of us proclaim to be epitomes of LOVE, we are selective in choosing whom to love and we are very clear about maintaining our distance from those we natural prefer to shun.

While it may be difficult for us to remain unbiased and completely rational, we need to accept the fact that we can with some willpower and by suspending judgment be more pragmatic about those unfortunate people around who crave for love and affection. The challenge for us is be honest about our true feelings and biases and become aware of that influencing our rationality. Do you pass judgment on your parents when you get upset or angry with them? True you may hate them for a brief period, you may wish them to change to your way of thinking but you never stop loving them. What the world needs is for each of us to judge less and love more and automatically the world will be an oasis that for all mankind.

Remember: “We judge others by their behavior. We judge ourselves by our intentions.”  Ian Percy

Try this:

  1. Can you recollect at least 3 instances in your life when you felt wrongly judged and possibly punished for no fault of yours? How did you feel about those times? Was it the unfairness or the humiliation or the fact the culprits went scot free that hurt more?
  2. When you watch some of the reality shows like a Musical reality show or a Dance show or a Talent show are there times when you feel the judgment was biased or wrong? Do you think you are competent to make that observation? Ask yourself if you are being biased because of some remote connect with the participant eg. She is pretty or he shares the same name as you or he /she hails from your neighborhood.

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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