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Archive for the ‘Instinct’ Category

15- Leave a little sparkle

Most of us go through life feeling that we are just one in a crowd and that no one ever notices us nor values us. Yes it is true that parents would always have a special place for their kids but even that is often liberally sprinkled with do’s and don’ts and an incompleteness that suggests we need to still exceed their expectations.  As a result, we are often trying to match up to expectations, trying to prove a point to others and do not really offer to the world around liberally of our talents, our abilities and our real self. The reality is that our individuality has much to offer that is unique and that is valued by others. It is the little things that we do, that is more significant than the convoluted efforts we make to impress others and gain approval. By being ourselves we are more natural, caring, feeling and expressive.  There is always a lot of sparkle that we leave behind when we are natural not artificial, genuine not put on and when we can freely offer of our self without expectations from others.

Our natural self is often influenced by our upbringing, our family values and the inputs in our formative years in school and social settings. Our own attitudes, beliefs and thinking too have a major bearing on how our personality shapes up. There is a lot of positivity, goodness, care and concern that we are born with but these can be reinforced or negated by influences as we grow up. There is so much that we offer the world around that is valued, appreciated and eagerly sought for without us being conscious about it. So what is it that we can offer spontaneously, amply and freely that will always sparkle up our environment and the people around us?

A smile is obviously the most obvious and easiest sparkle that we can share with others. With a smile we acknowledge another person in a warm way. It is a sure way to state we notice the other person and a way to silently inform that we appreciate their presence. Very often it is also the beginning of a communication and possibly a friendship and a connect. A warm genuine smile brightens up the environment, lightens the mood and livens up the spirit.

Appreciation is something that every individual seeks. It is also something that can be easily given for there is a lot to appreciate in others. We tend to be stingy with our appreciation mainly because we are not aware how effective it is in creating a bond and building up relationships. Appreciation must not be confused with flattery. Appreciation is a genuine expression of a good sentiment towards an other. It can be simply an appreciation of the good work done by someone or your acknowledgment of something good in the other person. The best appreciation is when we respond positively to the individual concerned but we can also be appreciative of the person in a forum or setting where the person is not present.

Empathy is our ability to understand and feel a person’s pain and if possible to act decisively to mitigate it by our actions. Empathy goes a step beyond sympathy in that we don’t merely understand the others pain but we also attempt to walk with the person in discomfort and try to alleviate the pain to the extent possible. We are active participants in the process of healing for the others. This is difficult to spontaneously do because we often tend to hold back our feelings and expect others to ask us for our support.

Encouragement is a simple yet powerful technique that enables one to motivate and support others thereby leaving our little sparkle in their lives. Lots of people constantly need support in their emotional life as well as in coping with the stress of failures. Often they blame themselves for their inability to cope with the challenges they face. As a friend or well wisher or even as a bystander we can perhaps try and take a detached view and offer encouragement to the individual concerned and motivate him/ her to have fresh perspective and try again. With our encouragement we rekindle hope in them and they begin to pursue with greater vigour.

Support comes in many forms. Encouragement is also a form of support. However it is the support that we lend in practical terms like financial support at crucial times, being with them physically when they are in trouble, like when are involved in a calamity, that is really cherished.  One could also support by putting in a word to influencers who can help their cause or just being with them when they are at their lowest depth psychologically and emotionally. Even if we cannot support them directly we must be able to at least guide them to find support or suggest to them alternatives to explore. Even the tiniest of support offered is the little sparkle that you offer them.

Keeping in touch has become easy nowadays because of technology. Yet, it is the personal touch that one craves for. Wishing people or expressing sympathy or forwarding messages through the electronic means has become so easy that it is done with little or no personalization or feeling. The real touch is in our ability to talk, meet, getting together and in giving surprises to those around. This does take both time and effort, but it is the time and effort we invest in keeping in touch that sets us apart from the others. The sparkle that we leave behind is the memories of those wonderful moments when personal touch actually touched the heart. The sparkle of those memories would always be cherished and would always remain priceless.

Try these:

In addition to the above explore how you can leave a sparkle through the following

  • Your manners
  • Your etiquettes
  • Your initiative
  • Your impartiality and fairness
  • Your tone/ language/ conduct
  • Your talents / abilities
  • Your wit/ humor/ presence of mind

 List out the following

  • Names of 2 individuals (other than immediate family) who have deeply influenced you.
  • Recollect 2 wonderful moments from your life where someone played an important part in making it memorable.
  • Can you remember at least 2 incidences where your involvement in some way made a person thrilled and ever grateful for your presence.
  • Are there memories of times when you did not get the appreciation /support or encouragement that you sought from someone? Do you still feel bad about it?
  • Do you remember an embarrassing moment/s when you backed out from offering support / encouragement to someone who placed his/ her faith in you?

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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WP14=4-Are you a Pessimist, Optimist or RealistEach of us responds to stimulus in different ways. Our response is often influenced by our beliefs and attitudes which in turn are shaped by our experiences, our thoughts and our individuality. One common denominator that offers insights into our responses and reactions is the mindset that we frequently display based on which most of us are often labeled as either pessimists or optimists. There are of course exceptions who get a more privileged tag of realist. While pessimism is largely considered a negative trait and optimist hailed as exemplary the realist is often ignored as inconsequential. In life, each of these traits has it’s own utility and are qualities essential for both survival and success.

Pessimists are prone to see the negatives. They will be cautious, circumspect and hesitant. Their first instinct is self preservation and as a result their lexicon is filled with words like avoid, delay, evade, be circumspect, use caution, find problems, make excuses etc. Pessimists prepare for the worst so that if their fears come true they are not taken in by surprise and instead can feel vindicated. Pessimism is considered a very undesirable trait and pessimists are largely given a wide berth by most people. However pessimism is an important trait in as much as it considers eventualities taken for granted or blissfully ignored and puts brakes on otherwise unfettered exuberance. A good pessimist is the gate keeper who is pragmatic, cautious and prepared to cushion the fall if and when it takes place.

Optimists are those who are exuberant and gung ho about everything. They are driven by the need to see the silver lining in every cloud even if there is thunder and lightning all around. Their lexicon includes words like must try, it will work, right now, make it happen; success is round the corner etc. Optimists go about their business with a daring and a sense of Déjà vu. Their dictionary centers around words like I can, must do, not hard, must try, can be done, give it a shot etc. Optimists have the added advantage of being widely accepted for their never say die attitude, spirit of enthusiasm and eagerness to get going. An optimist must however be aware of the reality, be pragmatic and be able to distinguish between ego masquerading as self confidence and misplaced bravado replacing one’s inability to retreat.

The realist is one who dispassionately assesses and goes after the results through a mix of daring and caution. Realists are grounded in their thinking, attitude and responses. They are neither carried away by the moment nor are they deterred by circumstances. Their success lies in their balanced approach to challenges and opportunities. In their thinking what works is being practical, being flexible, being creative and being result oriented. They adjust to circumstance, create opportunities, do not take foolish risks, they don’t hesitate to retreat if discretion is the better part of valor and they won’t give up unless they attain what they set out to achieve. A realist is able to live in the present, while assessing the future and learning from the past.

Try this:

If you were given 5 wishes to be fulfilled, what would those wishes be? Would that wish list change if you were told that you have just one day left to enjoy the fulfilled wishes?

If you were forced to choose one of the following options which one would you choose and why?

–          Losing all your material possessions in a fire

–          Losing your speech and hearing

–          Remaining illiterate

–          Letting your worst enemy win a lottery of a million dollars

–          Having to spend the rest of your life eating raw vegetables only

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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13-13-Give it a try..

Today’s words of wisdom hold a special significance for me personally and hopefully it would also be an apt quote for all those reading this blog. Around three and half years ago in Jan 2010, when I conceived this blog, it was actually my second attempt at experimenting with the medium called blogs. I had first started off on 1st Dec. 2009 (http://www.poweract.blogspot.in/2009/12/poweract-fission-of-ideas-to-fusion.html ) and was fortunate to get a quick comment from a friend which was motivation enough to write regularly. However, when I began this blog and kept a target of writing daily, all three of the doubts expressed in the quote above overwhelmed me. Fortunately for me my heart was in the right place and nudged me hard enough and I am delighted that I have kept my pride intact, gained invaluable experience and have reason enough to make the point that unless you try you will never know what you can achieve.

When one is setting off to explore unknown territory, it is good to have some apprehensions but it is terrible to start with doubts. Apprehensions are nature’s way of injecting a sense of responsibility, caution and pragmatism all of which are essential to complete a challenge. Doubts on the other hand, fuel fear, deflate self belief and allow irrationally thoughts to creep into our mindset thus heightening the chances of derailing the journey almost as soon as we attempt it. Apprehension stems out of our inexperience coupled with the realization that there are lot of unknown variables along the way. Doubts on the other hand seep in when we let our pride assume humongous proportions morphing into false pride. There is no shame in failure if despite our best efforts we fail but there is no pride in chickening out for fear of failure.

Experience is either first hand or it is second hand (that what we see/ hear about others). Either way each adventure poses new challenges that even past experience may not necessarily equip us to handle. In fact experience should guide us to make the necessary adjustments to ensure success. At times though, experience can give valuable insights that could temper our pride especially so as to ensure that we do not do anything foolhardy. The key to leveraging experience is in making a realistic assessment of the risks, finding innovative means to minimize the risks and then translating the risks into worthwhile targets for us to pursue.

The toughest obstacle is posed by our logical mind which reasons out every action but is not fully equipped to accommodate variables like creativity, individual resilience and risk taking ability. Reasoning is an excellent mechanism for analysis, provides reference points that flag off caution and alerts and is a dispassionate tool for exercising our options. However, far too often reasoning tends to err on the side of caution thereby reducing the potency of our decisions. We cannot dismiss reason completely but have to temper it with our personal insights, gut feeling and a healthy dose of self belief. Don’t always let the head rule the heart.

The heart has its reasons; not necessarily logical nor would it be completely irrational. What it does is prod, push and nudge one to become aware of some hidden and untapped abilities, potential and daring that is ready to be harnessed. When we can add this mix to our rational and logical self we get a holistic mix far more potent than we can ever imagine. Success is all about finding this right holistic mix and using it appropriately by balancing our mind and our heart.

The voice from the heart may sound fainter than that from the mind; but it is for you to seek it, listen to it and then believe in it.

Try this:

  1. During the coming month participate in at least 3 contests. It could be giving answers to contests run by radio / TV channels or sending in your entries to contests run by newspapers/ magazines.
  2. Find & execute innovative ways (in which you are an active participant) to raise funds for your favorite charity. (Do not involve family or friends in raising the monetary resources) e.g. putting up some unused things owned by you  for sale on a website with the sale proceeds earmarked for charity.
  3. Prepare your own crossword/ quiz (the answers to which must have some relevance to your family and friends or your neighborhood or city) and use that in the next get together or party. E.g. which person in this group stays on the top most floor of his/ her building? Or  The person in this group who is born in Lucknow. Or find out some well know spots in the city which have a colloquial name but which can be translated into English. In the quiz give the English translation and ask people to identify it. For example in my city of Pune we have a Phoolwalla Chowk (Flowersellers roundabout) / Lakadipul ( Wooden bridge). These can be innovatively used to prepare your quiz.

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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Decision making, perhaps ranks first in the list of toughest skills to master and when the issue on hand is subjective one needs nerves of steel to be decisive. The process of decision making can be broadly categorized into two – objective decision making or impulsive decision making. Objective decision making can again follow two different approaches – deciding by eliminating the untenable or choosing the most favored option. Even impulsive decision making can be an outcome of gut feeling, irrational exuberance, illogical elimination or a random pick which is an outcome of a systematic process of elimination using an external aid be it tossing the coin, drawing straws or picking up a chit or lottery. Despite having such a wide variety of methods to make a decision, there are times when the logical thinking clashes with one’s sixth sense or the situation demands that a fair method be adopted to give a fair chance to two opposing sides to make a choice (e.g. choosing which team would bat first in a cricket match) . A way out of such predicaments then would be to flip a coin and…

… as the coin is suspended in the air on its trajectory upward and on its spiral downward one has to quickly choose between heads or tails and assign a decision to the choice. The outcome then is completely random. However in exercising your choice, you have given in to the choice that has an edge in the deepest recess of your heart. The outcome of the flip of the coin then is purely a matter of chance and yet there is a sense of contentment in that decision. E.g.  The captain of a team has to decide what course of action he/ she will take on winning a toss. If the toss is lost, the decision on what to do is forced by the coin.

Action Points:

  1. On what basis would you choose 4 cards at random from a deck of shuffled cards?
  2. What other alternatives can you think of to replace flipping a coin?
  3. Your mother wants to watch the final episode of a TV serial. Unfortunately at the same time there is the finals of your favorite sport. To compound matters, a close elderly relative is unexpectedly coming over and he/ she does not have any interest in TV and is more likely to spend time in meditation which requires peace and quite. How will you attempt to tackle this situation?

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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How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve theworld. Anne Frank 

Every individual has the power to influence the environment and the people around him/ her. What limits our ability to harness this potential is our inherent inability to believe in ourselves and to accept the reality that our every act if done with good intent and purpose will have a positive effect. Notice how involved we get and how much we enjoy a performance when we can without inhibition clap and cheer. On the other hand we would fail to appreciate the finer aspects of the happenings if we remain constantly critical and negative. Similarly, if we are subject to what we genuinely believe is a poor performance and we do not express our disappointment we would not be helping ourselves or the performers by our silent acceptance.

Here are 5 simple ways to contribute our mite to improving the world.

Participate: The principle applied here is to willingly and genuinely attempt rather than make excuses, play spoilt sport or become adamant. Let us say you go for a Christian Wedding Reception and you are invited to participate in the Wedding March. If the whole concept is alien to you rather than becoming very apprehensive and dogmatic, make an attempt to join in and if you feel genuinely uncomfortable regain your seat. In the process you would have learnt something new, made the environment more lively by your gracious acceptance to play along and chances are you would have enjoyed the experience.

Volunteer: Look around and you will find so many opportunities for you to volunteer and contribute. Do you see someone looking lost and unsure; you can help them feel reassured. Even if you are a guest at a function and there seems to be some confusion or crisis, find out and help out. Do you see some tensions and frayed tempers; step in to diffuse the tension. When there is a major activity being planned, volunteer to take on some activities, preferably one where you have some expertise.

Be proactive: Do we go prepared? Whether it is a meeting / lecture that we are attending or paying a condolence visit or a participant at a picnic we can anticipate some requirements and go prepared. Maybe we have some questions prepared to ask at the end of the lecture or prepared ourselves on the topic by reading up on it. Apart from offering our condolences can we also anticipate some need that we can fulfill for the bereaved family?  As a picnicker we simply go as a guest but the real leaders are those who come prepared with some games or activities to make the outing even livelier.

Encourage: Criticism comes naturally to most of us but offering encouragement is a skill that one must cultivate. Learn to find something appreciate, praise, motivate. Express that loudly and genuinely. If nothing else salute the spirit of the one who is coming last for his/ her spirit of daring and adventure. Learn from the behaviour of legendary coaches who appreciate the efforts of his/ her players even if they have lost a game. The post match critical analysis is always closed door but the pat on the back for every team member is immediate and warmly given.

Smile: The least that one can do to improve the world is to smile. It costs nothing, means much to others and lifts spirits instantaneously. Spreading cheer is within everyone’s power and ability. What is needed is a large heart, a spirit of enterprise, a positive attitude and a zest for life. A smile will never fail you then.

Remember: If you wait to do everything until you’re sure it’s right, you’ll probably never do much of anything.  Win Borden

Try this:

  1. With a group of likeminded people plan a visit to the mental asylum / the local prison / a hospice for the terminally ill. How will you make use of the learning above to make the visit a very memorable one both for you and those you are visiting?
  2. How will you handle the following scenarios?
  • You are walking along a lonely path and you see a small baby bird that has fallen of the next. You are worried that a cat or dog could attack it. You have never handled birds and feel very uncomfortable.
  • You find a bag left behind in a bus just as you are about to get off the bus.
  • You are in a fair and you notice a small child of 4 years bitterly crying.
  • You are at the railway station to see off a friend. The train is about to leave and you notice a rather stout lady lugging a very heavy bag desperately trying to rush and board the train. In a split second you realize that if you help her with the luggage she can board the train but you will have to board it too if the luggage has to be taken in.

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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He is happy whose circumstances suit his temper; but he is more excellent who can suit his temper to any circumstances.  David Hume

Everyone would like things to go the way they want it, visualize it and plan it. When most times things do fall in place as per our desires, we are elated and more often than not swagger around with a triumphant air. Good planning, reasonable expectations and a pragmatic approach invariably ensures that our plans are executed to perfection and definitely one can take pride in the effort. The trouble is when our efforts are not duly rewarded and things unexpectedly go wrong. It is here that the true temperament of a person is revealed, his/ her character tested and the ability to handle pressures and stress displayed. In short the mettle of a person is tried, tested and trusted when he/ she can gracefully tackle the crisis and relieve the pressures that would have built up.

Road rage is a perhaps one of the most explicit examples of people not being able to adjust their temper to suit the circumstances. In daily living there are umpteen numbers of times when we find our temper rising, our blood pressure shooting up and our normal personality acquiring a demonic transfiguration. Most parent’s complaint about their unruly children, complete forgetting that the children have the parents genes and a little probe into history would probably reveal that the parents were much more terrible brats. Most citizens revel in the armchair luxury of criticizing the government in general and the living conditions in particular while spouting umpteen reasons for not exercising their franchise. Our health, the weather, inflation and politics are but a few of the millions of topics on which we fail to reach any positive conclusion and prefer to wallow in the woes both real and imagined.

Reactions of people when circumstances let them down provides a very dramatic study in human psychology. The most commonly seen behavior when stressed is to use expletives to relive themselves of this uncontrollable rage that wells up within us. It might sound strange that people react so dramatically differently to the same situation. Some people go into panic and rage when they are unable to find their valuables, while others would calmly conjure up improbable theories to rationalize the location of the missing valuables.  There are people who sulk, while others would rave and rant. There are still others who would wail and scream hoping to get both attention and sympathy while others would soak it all in and possibly be heart broken in the end. Of course there are some who are so petrified that they simply remain rooted to the spot unable to think, act or react. Sudden death of a loved one often brings forth such a reaction for the pain of loss is searing and benumbing .

Ideally though, the most composed people are those who may panic briefly but quickly regain their bearings and take proactive action. Those who display a sense of equanimity and are able to keep their cool despite suffering extreme pain, anxiety or frustration are the people who can be relied upon when the chips are down. If these people can have a calming influence on others as would be required in case of emergencies or disasters then they would rated as the people who have not just the best leadership qualities but perhaps the most balanced persona too.

Remember: The art of life is a constant readjustment to our surroundings.   Kakuzo Okakaura

Try this:

  1. Think of 3 instances when you lost your temper. Do you think that on hindsight you could have controlled your temper and thereby become more effective? Also think of 3 people you know / knew who just cannot /could not take pressure of any kind. Recollect their reactions when stressed. What was your reaction their inability to cope with stress?
  2. Read up on the Suffering and rescue of the Chilean miners who were trapped for over 33 days in a collapsed mine. Here is one link for you. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/14/world/americas/14chile.html You are encouraged to search for other links including video links to get a better insight into how circumstances did not overwhelm the brave.

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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The only way to make a man trustworthy is to trust him. Henry L. Stimson

Human nature being what it is, we tend to have strong likes and dislikes largely based on our perceptions which in turn are deeply influenced by our biases and prejudices. One of the most  common bias pertains to assuming that someone who is shabbily dressed is poor and perhaps not to be completely trusted whereas  someone nattily dressed is rich an therefore trustworthy.  World over the quantum of white collared crimes is rapidly growing and yet using our quixotic logic, we tend to mistrust people who we are biased against. What we forget this old adage that ‘trust begets trust’.

As individuals we may have often resented our own parent’s inquisitiveness into our affairs which may have bordered on the cusp of insensitive distrust of our activities.  Our rational and oft repeated argument would be that we are mature and responsible and so we must be trusted to do the right thing at the right time. In fact if we are pressurized by the constant peering over our shoulder behavior, in frustration we would resort to some unruly behavior, bend some rules, express our annoyance more aggressively or simply revolted.  The human mind is conditioned to value its independence and responsibility which unfortunately is often overlooked by those in authority or power, be it parents, teachers, superiors or colleagues.

On the other hand, observe the behavior of people to whom we entrust responsibility and also express our confidence in. More often than not they exceed our expectations, simply because they do not want to let down our confidence in them. There would always be exceptions, but they are few and far and in between. Many of those who fail our trust have either foolish self centered interests or are simply incompetent. While the later can be excused and if possible given a second chance, those who deliberately fail us also need a second chance and perhaps closer supervision.  Trusting a person also offers the other person a chance to act independently and discover his/ her own abilities and potential. Even more important is the fact that by trusting a person you are giving the persona seal of our approval not just for his / her integrity but also for their skill, their competence and their resourcefulness.

How does one trust? It is never easy to overcome our personal bias and prejudices. So the first step is to be aware of our skewed thought process and possible irrational approach when we have to deal with people. Once we identify the people to who we need to entrust work, it is essential that w make sure that they have the ability and knowledge to be entrusted with the task. This is to be followed up with a conscious, well thought out plan of gaining the confidence of the others which often entails explaining our expectations of the other, reasons for our confidence in them and outlining the parameters which govern the relationship. Eg. If we employee a driver, it is prudent to check his credentials, then test his driving skills. Give them the brief and expectations and if possible make reference to any favorable recommendations received.  Avoid all temptations to do back seat driving but do pass on specific instructions that you would like him to follow. It is Bon Voyage then.

Remember: “The key is to get to know people and trust them to be who they are. Instead, we trust people to be who we want them to be- and when they’re not, we cry.”

Action Points:

  1. Read the well known parable of the tree talent from the Bible by clicking the following link. http://bible.org/seriespage/parable-talents-matthew-2514-30-luke-1912-28Notice that the master TRUSTS his servants and the first two servants in turn trust the master.; alas the third servant does not TRUST his master and so faces the consequences of his lack of trust.
  2. Ask yourself if you mistrust people because of your biases and if that is true identify those biases.  Do you attach too much importance to hearsay and as a result do not trust easily? Recollect at least 3 instances where you made an error in judgment about people you had to deal with.

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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