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30-the-meaning-of-lifeAt some point in time, if not most of the time, each of us grapples with the question ‘What is the meaning of my life?’ Our problem is often the result of our inability to cope with either abundance of riches, ideas, options or because all these are in terrible short supply in our life.  Some of us struggle with the chaos in our life brought about by our fear of the future, the ghost of the past and the challenges of the present. Each of us also suffer, in varying degrees, from the seven deadly vices of sloth, gluttony, pride, envy, wrath, lust and greed which makes our life miserable and reignites the question ‘What is the meaning of our life?

The answer to this philosophical question actually lies in answering another more meaningful question ‘How do I give meaning to my life?’  The key word is the emphasis on the word MY LIFE! Yes I am sure my of existing life; the previous life is immaterial now and the afterlife, if such a thing exists, is a long way away. Once you decide that you and only you can lead your life, giving meaning to it becomes relatively simple. You choose, you live, you make life happen!

To give meaning to your life focus on the following:

Your thoughts – Everything you do starts in your mind. You need to train your mind to think with purpose, think rationally, be imaginative and to think positive. Since our thoughts determine our words and actions, pay attention to those triggers that make us emotional, get us worked up, make us irrational and those that plant a seed of doubt in our mind. Once you become aware of such negative thoughts, it becomes possible albeit difficult to rein in such thoughts and counter them with more positive and energizing thoughts. Every day will bring with it, its share of joys, concerns, opportunities and challenges. We often tend to discount or ignore the joys and opportunities and instead focus on the concerns and challenges that we face. Slowly our mind begins to wither away since it is now trained only to look out for trouble. Instead, if you count your blessings each day, the wonders that you have been gifted with and the chances that you get to move ahead in life all other troubles will seem to be insignificant in comparison. Start each day with a grateful heart; end each day with thanks for another good day. Whatever happens in between will then be something you can cope with, for by overcoming it is what makes your day, something to cherish and feel happy about.

Your words – Your thoughts have a large influence in how your thoughts, feelings and emotions are articulated and expressed. If you see challenges as opportunities to prove your mettle, you will look forward to it and express yourself with confidence, eagerness and excitement. On the other hand if you view it as an unavoidable task, you will start expressing your doubts, your concerns, find excuses for failure that you anticipate. Ask yourself what type of person you would like to deal with. The tone, tenor, style and choice of words would also reflect your mindset and attitude towards a task and your belief system. Be aware that sarcasm, insinuations, blame game and negativity in your communication often indicate your insecurity, your weakness and your inability to cope with stress. Practice the art of expressing yourself in a positive way; consider the recipient of your communication as a partner in your work, an ally who wants you to succeed and someone who believes in your abilities. The same feelings will percolate into your mindset and before long you would succeed in seeing positive life changing meaning in your daily life.

Your deeds – It is said that the ‘proof of the pudding is in the eating’. Ultimately your thoughts and words must be reflected in the actions you perform. Giving platitudes and sermons is relatively easy; traversing that path is definitely much more difficult. A simple act of listening carefully could sometimes be extremely difficult because you have strong negative emotions about the other party and / or the situation. Your deeds are not merely what you do, but how you do it. Do you bang the door when you leaving your bosses cabin after a stormy meeting? Do you do an unpleasant task with grace? How do you deal with a cranky elder at home? Do you constantly nag your spouse and/ or children? Can you maintain a cheerful countenance even during a very stressful situation? Remember that Actions speak louder than words!

Try these:

  1. Volunteer to baby sit a child who is between the ages of 3-5. If the child is hyperactive or challenged, you would learn a lot more from the experience about your own temperament, patience, creativity, attitude and self belief.
  2. Spend one evening every month in an orphanage / old age home / hospice / home for the challenged. What feelings did you experience? Ask yourself what can you do on your own to make life more comfortable there.
  3. List out the names of 5 people with whom you have difficulty in getting along. Now choose one of them and make a determined effort to be genuinely nice to them for an extended period of time. Did it bring about a positive change in you and the other person? Do you think you were being unfair to judge the other person wrongly? Do you think you can try this experiment with other people on your list?
  4. Make a list of all the negative words / phrases / excuses / tone / foul language that you often resort to, especially when annoyed/ irritated / confused/ frustrated. Can you make a determined effort to eliminate these and substitute them with some positive reinforcements?  Can you feel a change in yourself after adopting a positive approach?

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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29-four-point-transformationEach of us is seeking ways and means of transforming our life into something more glorious. We try to change our personalities, we seek good counsel, we attempt to add more formal and informal education to our CV . We even attempt to convolute our entire being into an artificial person that we cannot identify with. The efforts are laudable; the outcome may often fall short of our expectations. A simpler way would be, to attempt and imbibe the following four points in our daily life and that could be the beginning, of an entirely new chapter in your life.

Attract what you expect – No matter what the situation, it pays to be optimistic, positive and motivated for they tend to attract success. It is good to visualize vividly your goals, your plans, your future for that is when you begin to identify happenings and situations that will set you on the path that you want to go. E.g. assume you want to own a car. Think of the make and color of the car. Soon you will begin to notice that, you tend to be spotting exactly the same type of car more often on the roads. It is just that you are goal focused and hence tend to overlook all other vehicles that you are not interested in.

Reflect what you desire So what is it that you passionately desire? How can you achieve those desires? Nothing comes easy, but every small step you take, will take you closer to realizing your dreams and desires. You can seek status/ wealth / academic excellence/  a successful career / a perfect spouse or a wonderful parent. No matter what you desire, your actions / your attitude / your behavior/ your ethics and your passion need to reflect your desires. E.g. You have to display leadership skills if you want to be taken seriously as a potential leader or you cannot become a wonderful parent unless you spend ample time with your children.

Become what you respect – Who are the people you respect? What is it about them that you admire and acknowledge? Their personal values, their communication style, their ability to put people at ease, their discipline, their attention to details etc. could be some of traits that make them well respected and admired by society. It is upto you, to work hard and change yourself, by imbibing some of these well respected qualities and traits. You will soon evolve to become an individual whose traits, values and style get approval of others and you start gaining their confidence and respect. E.g. Once you let it be known that you respect time and are a stickler for time by attending meetings or keeping appointments, people will begin to respect you for your commitment and  your value of time.

Mirror what you admire – It is said that imitation is the best form of flattery. Most times though we tend to imitate or mirror the style statement of celebrities, ape the playing style of our sporting heroes or tend to be part of the current trends. While some of these could be useful, what we must never ignore is to identify the traits, the values and the spirit that many of our heroes and favorite celebrities posses. Their work ethics, for example, could be the key to their success. Possibly their discipline and their ability to evolve with the times give them that extra edge to succeed. Identify these wholesome qualities that you admire and make that part of your style too.

Try these:

Be honest to yourself and answer how you would react in the following situations:

  • You have studied hard for an exam but unfortunately the paper is very tough. Unless you pass the paper you may lose a year. You notice that the student in front of you seems to be answering well and you can copy from his/ her paper. What will you do?
  • You find a lost wallet containing a large sum of money in it. There is no identification of the owner of the wallet. What would you do?
  • You have to tell your principal which of the two people has committed some terrible mischief. The person who has done the deed is your closest buddy but the other accused is the class bully and you dislike him immensely and have some scores to settle with him. What response would you give your principal?
  • You have entrusted some valuables including a family heirloom with a friend’s friend, when you and your friend had to suddenly go out of town. On coming back the person with whom you had kept the valuables says that he/she is unable to locate the same despite trying their best to locate it. You are distraught and want to file a police complaint. Your friend is adamant that you should not file that police complaint since it would tarnish the other friends’ reputation. What would you do?

List out some of the traits / values you respect in the following persons:

  • Your favorite teacher
  • Your dad or mum or sibling
  • Your favorite uncle/ aunt /neighbor
  • Your colleague / friend
  • A celebrity you admire
  • A well known character from history.

So which of these traits / values do you share or would like to imbibe?

 This post is courtesy http://www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog

www.poweract.blogspot.com

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12- Be yourselfImitation they say is the best form of flattery. Human beings have unfortunately interpreted this to be a virtue to be imbibed. Thus, the rampant cult following for the style, mannerism, behavior and imitation of cult heroes / heroines / fashion trends / branded products. This has also triggered the advertisement industry to perpetuate this myth by getting celebrities to endorse products thereby fueling the followers need to imitate or at least believe that the products are a must have. While one cannot escape from the influences around us, we do have a choice to evaluate logically, think rationally and act intelligently. It is this individuality that we need to bring back into our life and blossom into the unique personality that we are.

To blossom and give expression to your individuality one has to remember the following

Appreciate your uniqueness – Due to the sheer number of people around us and the competitive environment around, it is easy for an individual to feel insignificant and unworthy considering the superiority of those around us. It begins in childhood. The school topper is envied by the rest while the school topper is often envious of the best athlete or someone else who has a different talent or skill set that the topper lacks. The constant criticism that we as individuals are subject to, from family friends, teachers and well meaning neighbors further dents our self confidence and our uniqueness gets drowned in a sea of comparison, expectations, influences and  criticism. If you are constantly being nudged to follow the beaten path, be aware that you are different and that you are attempting to furrow your own path amidst the labyrinth of paths around. Remember when you stand out you get noticed and then you cannot escape attention.

Recognize the good around and imbibe it – In pursuit of being unique it is important that we do not keep bending the rules, transgressing the law and walking a thin line between moral and immoral activities. In fact one must consciously observe, adapt and adopt the good from others around. It could be simple things like punctuality, orderliness, thoroughness, persistence and politeness. You would also observe that some of these good qualities are in short supply around and anyone who adopts these has a good chance of being noticed. So uniqueness is not merely in doing something extra ordinary it could be in doing the ordinary in an excellent manner. Listening skills, empathy, respect, giving an honest opinion, having the courage to disagree and to disagree without being disagreeable are all virtues that can also make an individual showcase his/ her individuality.

Do not get carried away by trends and influencers – it is easy to imitate, blindly follow and succumb to the trends of the times. One does not have to think much to do it but it could come for a price. Copying may not suit your personality, it could cost much, it will make you part of a herd, it could make you fit in with the wrong crowd and you would be blissfully unaware of it. At times it could also make you stand out like a sore thumb; an embarrassment to those who love you and possibly also harm your reputation and creditability. Your uniqueness is often reflected in the strength of you character; be it in refusing to be pressurized into smoking and drinking or to be foul mouthed or refusing to copy in an exam or being truthful even at the cost of losing friends or making enemies. Sometimes your mettle is tested when you have to stand up for your friends and risk having to face the punishment they get, although you were never involved in the aberration.

Dare to be different – Many of us don’t dare for fear of failure. There is a risk in every act we do. Not trying is perhaps the one mistake that is often common to a mass of people. How can you judge your abilities unless you attempt. Failure is just an indication that you can do better. Not trying and therefore not failing is a waste of opportunity to explore your potential. Being different can be as simple as giving honest feedback, appreciation and respect. It could be in the way you approach a challenge, it could be in attempting something you have never done before or it could be in simply walking away from a foolhardy or stupid prank. Your individuality is in being yourself, resisting the temptation to prove anything to anyone and in expanding your comfort zone by willing to risk something for a worthwhile goal. It takes tremendous guts to dare to something when you have no audience, no applause and no appreciation. Being a whistleblower, an RTI activist and a conscientious citizen are opportunities for you to explore to be different and to mark your individuality.

Make it your Life – While we do need to lead a life that meets societal norms, family expectations and fully harness our potential we must not subjugate our life to mere existence in order to comply with expectations. It is MY LIFE that I need to lead should be at the core of living. Is it difficult to lead your own life? Frankly it just requires one to be believe in his/ her own uniqueness and find the right motivation to let the work know that you are standing up to be seen and counted. This could mean risking attention, performing extraordinarily well, being criticized, getting applauded but not getting carried away by it and above all letting the world know you have arrived.

Unless you lead YOUR LIFE how will the world experience your uniqueness your individuality and your being. Have you ever copied somebody’s signature and made it yours?  Just as your signature is your own unique identify, let your life too be a unique one; one that was never there before and one that will never be there again. Make the word richer by your presence.

Try these:

  • If you could go back and live your life again what are 3  things you would do differently?
  • Can you identify an individual who gave you a wonderful piece of advice that you still cherish.
  • What is your favorite saying / proverb / quote?
  • What would you like to be remembered for?

Share with us (by writing in to actspot@gmail.com) the following

  1. A unique video clip that you found engaging and invigorating
  2. A book that you found inspirational and motivating
  3. A real life story that you could empathize with
  4. An incident from your life that you wish to share with the readers.

 

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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5 - Positive evolutionEvery event, be it of the past, the current or the imagined future, influences our thinking, attitude, behavior and responses. Those events from the past that have scarred us, those that we do not like in the present and those that we fear in the future keep impacting us negatively. These tend to largely overshadow the blessings of the past, the wonders of the present and the opportunities of the future. It is therefore essential that we learn to reorient our thinking, start seeing the past present and future through a filter of positivity if we are to make our life more fun, more meaningful and more productive.

Be grateful for the past – If one were to dispassionately evaluate the past, for most of us it would become obvious that barring a few stray awkward, embarrassing, challenging and painful incidents life had been fun filled, happy and enjoyable. Yet we tend to largely focus on what has not gone right overlooking the more significant, satisfactory and fulfilling parts of our journey thus far. Of course the failures, the hurt and the pain of the past cannot be brushed aside but focus on the lessons learned from it. Focus on the transformation that took place because of it and made you a better person. If you still carry the baggage of the hurt of the past, it is a good time to offload it today. Relook the past with an eye to refresh, recollect and reflect on the blessings of the past; the wonderful childhood you have had, the loving care of the family around, the friends and relationships you have built up over the years, the success your were cheered for, the memories that you can forever cherish. If one uses that as the fulcrum of the past life, the present would also be seen in the same perspective provided one makes that effort.

Be engaged in the present – One common aberration in our daily living is the habit of lapsing into the ‘Good old days’ syndrome. The opposite extreme is to find fault with everything that does not happen the way we want it or the way we expect it to be. The present is where we are living and if we can see it as a wonderful place and time to be in, one can experience the joys that abound everywhere and all around us. Mechanization for instance has made our life a lot easier but do we value it? Communication technology has ensured we can be in touch instantaneously and with numerous people; yet do you feel lonely? Transportation revolution has made movement faster, cheaper and more pleasurable but do we keep cribbing about the costs, the lines at the airports, the railways stations and the bus stops? Disposables have become the order of the day saving time and effort yet we see the mountain of trash to which we also contribute conveniently overlooking our own part in it. The present has to be embraced with pragmatism. You may not be able to change what is happening around but one can surely appreciate the good, influence the ills by being sensitive and caring ( use less disposables / be more orderly in queues / cut down on indiscriminate usage of mobiles and internet etc.) but most importantly be involved in the moment. Don’t let the present fly past without it having improved you as an individual.

Be enchanted by the future – The future is a haze and that is precisely why we are wary of it. Strictly speaking if we can appreciate the wonders of our past, see the positive side of the present we must able to look forward to exciting times in the future. However, the future holds an undeniable reality; death. This unfortunately is a scary thought for the overwhelming majority and while we may never consciously reflect on it, subconsciously we are always hoping to prolong life be it our own or those of our loved ones. What adds confusion and apprehension when thinking of the future is the fear that the future may not be as serene as the past and the present. We worry about paying bills, hospitalization, relationships, old age, loss of income, loneliness and ofcourse death. These are all realities but a fair bit of timely planning and mental preparation to cope with these realities would ease our concerns and surely help one prepare to embrace the future. The first step to such preparation is not mentally running away from our fears. How many of those reading this post have prepared a will? How many of us have got our retirement plans chalked out? How many have saved for a rainy day? These can be done only if one is prepared to be realistic and give the future a more concrete shape rather than blindly walking into a hazy sunset. The sunset is surely the beginning of the night but when on an outing don’t we eagerly wait to see the glorious sunset and ensure we are the right place at the right time to enjoy it. See the future as a wonderful sunset and do what needs to be done to enjoy it!

Try this:

  1. Jot down 3 to 5 most wonderful memories from the past. Visualize the situation and the persons involved and revel in the blessings they were for you.
  2. What are the 3 significant contributions that you can make to ensure that the world around you is a better place? So have you started on it ?
  3. Make a list of the following
  • How much money do you think will suffice to ensure you have a comfortable retired life assuming you live till 90
  • What are the 3 things you will do to ensure that you are productively and happily engaged after retirement?
  • What are the 5 most important things you will want to incorporate in your will?
  • Make a list of surprise gifts that you will send this year to at least 3 of the above listed friends.
  • List 10 friends who you can count on to give you support and courage should you be in any trouble in the future.
  • Write down an epitaph for yourself that would best describe you / your life.

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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29-R U a weirdoYou did read the title of this post right, although any English language teacher would have chastened me for that style of writing. The fact is that the world is changing at a rapid pace, the styles are also keeping pace with that change (not always a good thing) and if you don’t follow the trend you would be branded a weirdo. I am betting that each one of you reading this post owns a mobile phone. If you don’t own a mobile phone, I am willing to double the bet that all those you interact with treat you like a weirdo. So the simple equation is that if you are to be seen as a normal person, an essential demonstrable accessory is owning a phone. Perhaps it is because one can buy a phone and there are plenty of options to choose from, everyone ensures he/ she has one and not be labeled a weirdo.

Now if you ask yourself or the next person you interact with, the question ‘What is the purpose of your life? Or What are the goals you have set for yourself? there is every possibility that they will think you are a weirdo for asking that. Having a purpose in life is much more challenging; partly because it cannot be bought off the shelf but largely because we are not even conscious about the options available to us and mainly because we do not want to commit to a purpose.

So how does one know if one has a purpose in life? Simple; ask yourself the question are you ready to die just now? If your answer is YES, you will understand the purpose that drives a solider to fight for his/ her country; an adventurer to undertake a risky adventure; an aid worker to risk life and limb to bring succor to war torn areas. If your answer is a resounding NO and you are just not ready to die, it simply means that you have a lot of unfinished agenda and they are unfinished because you haven’t yet clearly identified them and / or you are still aimlessly meandering through life.

So what do I do to identify the purpose of my life? This is a tougher question to answer. However it is not impossible to find an answer. Ask yourself what epitaph would best describe you and your life. This means that you would have to answer the question’ what would I want to be remembered for? The answer may not be readily available but it will help you focus your thoughts to a more meaningful goal/ objective / vision/ mission. Your purpose must be something that drives you from within. This means that you must be enthused ( this comes from you having a passion / deep interest in something), you must be able to execute it with some degree of competence ( this means you must have the skill set/ learn the techniques ) and have the motivation to pursue with passion ( this means there must be an intrinsic motivation / an inner urge). A fine example of appreciating people with a clear purpose is to recollect all your teachers that you fondly remember even though they may have be tough to deal with. The one common thread that all those whom you remember immediately is that they had the zeal and commitment and a demonstrated purpose that appealed to you and remained with you long after your academic years were over.

Remember that if you have a purpose in life – you will be LIVING not merely Existing!

Try these:

View the video The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch by clicking on the link http://tinyurl.com/o2993k6

Read the poem The Psalm of Life by H.W. Longfellow clicking on the following link http://tinyurl.com/nomreb5

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog

www.poweract.blogspot.com

Read Full Post »