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22- 20 June 17-What matters is...The length of your life is not as important as the quality of your thoughts. Ideally the older we grow, it is assumed the wiser one becomes. This is largely true because of the variety of experiences one has gained; with each new day bringing its share of surprises, hopes, opportunities and regrets. Yet if one were to dispassionately look around, it is no surprise that there are so many mature people with dogmatic ideas, caught in a time warp because their mind has not kept pace with their age. The problem for many is that they find it difficult to embrace change, cope with new developments, adapt to evolving technology and accept the changing social customs and norms.

While we have no control over our age, we can with a little awareness, a wee bit of adaptability and by adopting the right attitude, train our mind to keep pace with the evolving world and seamlessly embrace it.

Awareness Most of us are caught in the mental trap called ‘ the good old days’. It is true that life was simpler, the pleasures that we got were largely from the outdoors, technology was not too complicated and family life was relatively stable and fun. However, with evolving technology came dramatic changes in life style, transportation, communication systems etc. While it made our life simpler it also disrupted the simplicity of living. Hard work was no longer the equivalent of physical labor but was more in the nature of longer hours at work in commuting and in meeting targets. Technological challenges were no longer mechanical challenges but keeping pace with the electronic revolution. The social fabric was myriad with changes; rate of divorces crept up, live in relationships and LGBT became the new buzz words and same sex marriages and surrogate children became passé. Be aware that one cannot turn the clock back and so one has to keep pace with the changes around.

Adaptability – Each of us has some sense of ethics, morals and values. Adaptability is holding on to those ideals without transgressing the right of others to hold on to their ideals. Making that mental adjustment is often fraught with frustration, fear and resignation. Having an open mind to embrace what does not fit into one’s frame of reference is a huge challenge for we begin to question our own value system. Similarly, the technological changes brings with it tremendous opportunity but sadly it also brings along with it the dangers of the misuse of the technology. Learning to use the technology can be challenging but when it is forced up on us we adapt to it. An open mind enables us to happily adapt to changing technology without it being forced down our throat like bitter medicine. Adaptability is all about making peace with change and embracing it with love.

Attitude Only when we have the right attitude will we become aware of the changes around us and begin to adapt to the changes. A good attitude enables one to see changes as a pathway to progress, development and evolvement. It also helps one look at the changes with wonderment, a fun activity to engage in and see it as tools of empowerment. One develops a positive, engaging and empowering attitude by training the mind to visualize opportunities, view changes from the prism of development and by focusing on what more rather than what was. The right attitude is the key to keeping an open mind; not judging, not denying and not condemning what goes on around us.

Try these

  1. Make a list of things/ technology/ social changes that first shocked you and then made you aware of how it impacts lives of people.
  2. List out three positive and three negative influences / impact that change around you has had on you.
  3. Look up a few TED talks and ask yourself what was new that you learned from the sharing in the talk.
  4. Look up a few video clips on various magic tricks. Does it fill your mind with the following thoughts?
  • How was it done?
  • I don’t believe it
  • Is it really happening?
  • Can I do it too?

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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21- 11 June 17- DisciplineIt is tough to be disciplined without supervision because falling prey to the lure of something more agreeable often overrides our deepest desires. Invariably it is a third party with authority, like a parent, a teacher, a coach, a boss who can forcefully discipline us. Unfortunately, we cannot have such authoritarian figures around us all the time, hence we have to make our inner most urge and our conscience our self appointed disciplinarians. The trick is to find ways and means to identify what we want most and super impose it on what we want now, so that we do what is needed to be done most, now!

Have goals – Each of us has to make the effort of having various goals for the varied dimensions of our life. Having a passion that will become a profession would be an ideal long term goal. However, profession is just one dimension of our life and finding our passion is in itself a challenging goal. In addition to a professional goal, each individual must also have a financial, social, personal, and academic goal. Goals enable one to have focus and a purpose. These will define the actions you take that will bring you closer to each goal that you have set. Remember that there is also a time element that has a major bearing on how much of the goal you achieve. E.g. the earlier you start to save, there is higher chance of having a larger savings.

Have milestones for each goal – While goals provide a focal point, often they seem to distant and we begin to think that we have ample time to reach those goals. On the other hand if one has short duration milestones which together enable you to reach your long term goal, it will help you focus on what needs to be done the most now. E.g. If your goal is to score an aggregate of X marks, you have to further break it down into the marks to be scored in each subject and then allocate time for studies for the respective subjects. You may even have to allot time for breaks for yourself so that you can relax, distress and recharge yourself.

Measure progress – While making goals and milestones is relatively easy, the key to progress is by measuring how much you have achieved. This will force you to do what needs to be done, make you aware of how well you are faring and give you a realistic picture of how realistically you will achieve your long term goals. Measuring progress will also help you revise your plans, revise your milestones and action plans so that you are able to progress towards your goals.

Make fear an allay – The goal gives you the focus, the milestones help you make progress and the measurement of your progress will provide you both the carrot and the stick for self discipline. The stick comes in the form of fear. If you are lagging behind, it will definitely give you a jolt for you will have put in extra efforts to attain your goal. This will automatically make you more disciplined. The stick called fear will be your ally in making you realize if you have drawn up a realistic goal or if you have majorly slipped in being disciplined.

Visualize success sweeter – The carrot that the measurement of progress provides is in the form of joy and satisfaction with the progress you are making. This in turn motivates you to continue to be disciplined because you have already tasted the sweetness of success. Self discipline becomes etched in your psyche because you know it is the most rewarding habit that you can form.

‘Fear will force you to be self disciplined; success will make you addicted to self discipline. Use both these forces to be self disciplined so that you can say NO to what is not to be done now and instead DO what has to be done now so that you attain what you want MOST.

Try these

  1. Make a list of all the pending jobs that you have as of now. It should include official work, personal work, leisure time activity, your family time activity etc. Now regroup them under some meaningful categories, perhaps on the same lines as mentioned above i.e. personal work, official work, family related etc. Are you in a better position to focus on the urgent and important work listed? Do not make this a onetime activity but use it as a tool to be updated and profited from.
  2. List out the following
  • Three instances where you had to pay a price for not being self disciplined.
  • Three activities that you dislike but cannot avoid.
  • Three instance where you felt really happy that you were self disciplined.
  • Three activities that you love but cannot indulge 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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19-28 May-17- Buried or plantedWhen you come to a road block in life or when the future looks dark and gloomy, panic is inevitable, but worse still is the feeling of helplessness. Both panic and helplessness result in just one ending; giving up and surrendering without exploring alternatives/ opportunities / possibilities.

On the other hand when faced with a mountain/ road block / a spiked fence, look at it as a challenge to your ingenuity; a dare to be taken on. Find a way over it, under it or around it. The moment you think it is the end of the road; you will never see the pathways adjacent. It is almost like lying face down and burying your head in the mud. It is dark, musty, irritating and hopeless. What you need to do is not push downward to find a way out but turn over to see the sky the clouds and the infinite universe beckoning you. It is a paradigm shift but one which opens up completely new opportunities and possibilities.

Every individual must believe that he/ she is a seed that can still sprout and bear fruit. Age is no bar, you being healthy or not is not an issue, your status in life is no limitation; for you can always give of yourself to the world. Accept what comes your way, then adapt to the situation you find yourself in, search for a way to sprout and grow; it will take time it will take effort but it will be worth it.  Many of us are like discarded seeds found on the roadsides; full of potential but alas not planted. You need not be planted underground to sprout and grow. How many of us volunteer as blood donors; have a social cause that we engage in; take the effort to discharge our civic obligations like voting or become responsible citizens by avoiding use of plastic bags; segregating waste; following the rules of the road etc. Similarly, when planted underground as would be the case when one is faced with injustice or a debilitating disease, do I simply surrender or fight back? Can I file an RTI or make the effort to get the wrong corrected? Can I opt to be an organ donor? Can I participate in an awareness march or protest march to protect the environment or save more water and actively engage in similar such causes?

You are buried when you go underground without a whimper; you are planted when you can sprout and grow and display your presence especially in arid conditions.

Try these:

  1. Write a letter to the editor of the local newspaper sharing your concern and giving suggestions about a local social issue or problem that you feel very strongly about.
  2. Source the following:
  • The method of filing an RTI application
  • An eye donation / organ donation form
  • List of NGO’s working in the area of your social concern
  • The name and address of the authorities concerned to whom you can report a problem pertaining to your deepest concern e.g. garbage clearance / burst pipeline

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 »

15-11 Apr 17-Steps to takeThe lessons of life are not learned by reading text books or self help books or by observation alone. The real learning happens when we apply the knowledge and get a firsthand experience. Imagining the outcomes won’t help. It is in doing that we appreciate the nuances of the learning, the pitfalls that we never visualized, discover our own strengths and resilience and occasionally realize our own inadequacies. The best part of applying our learning is that we know instantly how capable we are of fulfilling our potential and how much more capable we are of doing a task even better. There is of course the risk of failure, of the realization that perhaps we are not cut out for something or painfully discovering that our potential is not good enough to be the best. However, there is also the possibility of discovering some unknown strengths, talents and potential that come to the fore only when we apply our knowledge. The Try This activities listed in the end of each post are a simple method for each reader to apply the learning from each post and get to appreciate your own strengths and potential.

The best way to get yourself going is by getting started by following the steps listed:

Have a personal vision – This is the key to every activity a person undertakes. Without a vision there is no goal, no motivation and no sense of accomplishment. Never do anything to fulfill an obligation. Instead do it because it challenges you, it motivates you, it interests you and because you want to do it. See yourself playing a vital role in huge process and suddenly you realize your own worth and contribution to the larger goal. This will stimulate and motivate you not just to begin the task but also to do an excellent job of whatever you undertake.

Barricade yourself from negativity – There would be well meaning critics who often would not be able to see your vision in the same light as you do. Listen to them but let not their criticism be a dampener to your vision. Failure could be another de-motivator but the challenge for you is to overcome it. The slow pace of progress, unexpected obstacles, the pressure to deliver results, self doubts etc. are all negative forces that could distract and distress you occasionally. Keep your eyes on your vision and proceed with faith.

View every experience as learning – Once you master the art of treating every experience as a step forward towards learning, you will treat success and failure with equanimity. Your motivator is the learning that you gain. Success and failure are simply milestones along the way of progress that indicates to you how far you have come and how far more you have to go.

Embrace success – While humility is an essential requirement to remain grounded, it is equally important that one learns to embrace and enjoy success. Enjoy the accolades, the recognition, the applause, the thrill of achievement. It is in embracing success that you fulfill your vision. For sure you can set up a new vision after that and proceed ahead. Occasionally there would be times when success comes at a price. At other times success is elusive despite your best efforts. Be realistic and focus on the progress made; that is success. Discovering your own inadequacies reflected in not being successful is also a learning and in a convoluted way, a learning success.

Try these:

  • Make a list of unfulfilled potential that people have often spoken to you about. Alternatively, list out some of your childhood dreams that you never pursued. Prepare a plan of action to get going on realizing at least one of those dreams.
  • From a personal growth / learning point of view, list out the activities that you do daily. Is there something more you can do to keep you physically and mentally upbeat.
  • Take the daily newspaper and go the leisure page and attempt some of those activities listed. E.g. Sudoku, cross words, wordplay, spot the difference etc.

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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12-Unplug and rebootA key reason we get stressed is because we continue to grapple with our problems by constantly attempting the tried and tested ways, instead of stepping back and letting the dust settle. If you have noticed muddy water that has been stirred up, it will be difficult to see through till you let the mud settle. The same happens with our problems and challenges. There is no better example than the numerous devices we use constantly, the mobile phones, the laptops and the near extinct desktops. The simplest way to get it going when it seems to have stalled is to simply switch of the power. Unplug the power and everything settles; then reboot and begin anew.

The best way to unplug from troubles is to distract your mind. This simply means forcefully directing your mind to other more pleasurable alternatives that are stress relievers. Take a walk, watch TV or read a book or get engaged in some activity that you enjoy like your hobbies. While trouble itself will not go away, your mind will become calm and you will be able to think more incisively and get more focus on how to proceed ahead.

Another way to unplug is to unburden. ‘Share your troubles and halve it’  is the principle that we leverage here.  We share our problem with people whom we trust and people who we believe would have some tangible solutions or at least make invaluable suggestions. While we share our problem we also subconsciously get greater clarity about the issue, our mind feels more relaxed that someone else is sharing our burden and the chances of getting some fresh insights from others to alleviate or tackle our burden is higher. Those listening to our problem also offer empathy, support and most of all give us some of their insights into coping with the problem.

The most common way to unplug is to sleep over a problem. This is tougher than it seems simply because a troubled mind would not easily get sleep. However, if one develops a style of setting aside the problem for a fair time, when we re-look the problem new thoughts and solutions seem possible. If one can literally sleep over a problem, the subconscious mind would often work in the background and conjure up possibilities that our conscious mind would not have generated. However one should not be like an ostrich burying its head in the sand hoping the troubles not seen would vanish.

Try these:

  1. Try some simple cross words or Sudoku. At first for those not used to solving such puzzles the challenge seems overwhelming. However, once you make an attempt and try it a few times, you get the hang of it and the challenge would not seem so daunting.
  2. Think of a time you managed to find a solution to a pressing problem by unplugging in the following ways
  • Indulging in your favorite hobby  or passion interest
  • Sharing your troubles and getting answers from another person
  • Sleeping over the problem and waking up to a very innovative solution

 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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11- 12 Mar17 Happiness holds the key to successThere is a popular misconception that all successful people are relatively much more happier than those who are not so successful. As a result, we also tend to equate success as the measure of happiness; the more successful the happier the individual is. The second misconception closely linked with this line of thinking is our definition of success. We equate wealth as the primary indicator of success, closely followed by fame and following. The third misconception is that we equate happiness to be primarily reflected in what can be displayed especially material wealth, power and influence.

Now if we simply reorient our thinking and focus on what is happiness, we would make a startling discovery that the very concept of happiness in our mind is flawed. Happiness is being at peace with ones self in good times and in bad ; it is a choice we make every moment and that happiness just requires the right attitude. Now if we work backwards to arrive at the factors that nurture happiness you would make another startling discovery that happiness is defined by each of us differently and that being happy is a choice we make consciously.

No matter what work a person is engaged in, if he/she has a song on his/her lip, a smile on the face and no semblance of anxiety or tension writ on the forehead you are in the company of a happy individual who is also successful in meeting his/ her goals in life. On the other hand anxiety, tension and unrealistic expectations are the bane of individuals who chase success in the hope of finding happiness. They are like a dog chasing its tail. Happiness is visible but elusive; within grasp and yet just out of reach; a mirage so near and yet so far.

If you can do anything legitimate that brings you happiness, success is sure to follow. If you can follow your heart, dare to work on realizing your passion and be prepared to brazen out the challenges, happiness accompanies you and success is surely awaiting you at the summit. Why would a passionate mountaineer not attempt the toughest peak despite knowing the risks; to embrace happiness every step of the way. Not every athlete is a winner in a major meet; yet they derive pleasure and experience happiness in the small improvements they notice in their practice and training. Focus on happiness and the journey is fun, the destination never too far and the view always exhilarating.

Happiness likes in our ability to enjoy the process and not wait till we reach our goal; any progress towards our goal, is happiness on the move.

Try these:

  1. Pick up your old photo albums and go through the pictures in it. Notice how each photograph revives a pleasant memory, triggers a happy thought and recaps a moment long past but never forgotten. Happiness is all about re-living and reveling in those moments. Success is not even a factor in those moments.
  2. For no particular reason surprise the following :
  • Your family members
  • Your pet
  • A stranger
  • A long lost friend
  • A former teacher / mentor / colleague
  • Visit the sick in the hospital or the old age home
  • Make a visit to the local prison

Does success play a part in your happiness or does your happiness in the process make you realize that you made a success of 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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8-one-change-at-a-time

With exams around the corner, it is inevitable that students and often their parents feel the pressure of managing the study time tables so as to perform well. That is also the time when time pressure, the accumulated backlog of studies and the need to overhaul one’s life suddenly begins to overwhelm all the stake holders in this game. A similar situations crop up in our life off and on and the need to overhaul our life is the one common constant irrespective of which phase of life we are in. In trying to overhaul one’s life, the cardinal mistake we make is, thinking that we can overturn all the bad habits we have imbibed over the years, overnight. Just as you and I took nine months to be born, just like a year takes twelve months to change and a day requires 24 hours to be completed before a new day begins, we have to patiently work on small changes in our attitude, style and behavior before the effects of transformation are visible.

The four essentials for transformation are:

Deciding to change – This is the first step in bring about any meaningful change in one’s life. Until one decides to change, the status quo would always seem impossible to change. Excuses, rationalization and reconciliation with the existing situation would constantly nag you into succumbing to the status quo. Decide that you need to change your habits, your style, adopt a different strategy E.g. You know you have to spend more hours studying. You will find enough reasons why you are unable to do so and rationalize your decision for not being able to change and finally reconcile that you are a mediocre student. The same holds true for those wanting to lose weight but not being able to get themselves to eat healthy or exercise.

Planning the change – Once you decide to change, the key is to spend some time planning how you are going to bring about the change and be the change you want. Many of us fail in this step simply because we visualize that implementation of the plan is impossible. If you can outline the map to achieving what your goal is, you would at least have a clear agenda to follow. E.g. Having a clear time table to study is the first step in ensuring you are able to do justice to each subject that you have to study. Those subjects requiring practice or additional study, however much you dislike the subject, must be allotted more time.

Implementing the change – This is the toughest part of the process of transformation. At this stage you are attempting to move away from all that you felt comfortable doing despite knowing the consequences, to disciplining yourself doing unpleasant things, in the hope that it will give you good results. The tough part is beginning, the tougher part is motivating yourself to continue but the toughest part is keeping the momentum going. The trick is to visualize the small changes, mentally see yourself inching yourself forward towards your goals and occasionally noting how much you have progressed and how closer you are to your final goal.

Being patient – This is the most important virtue because without it, one would be tempted to give up. Patience comes from self belief, from charting out progress and being reasonable about your expectations at every given time line. Occasionally you could be slipping as per your plans, at other times you feel your pace is slow and many times there seems to be no motivation to pursue your plans. Remember the number of times you fell of your bicycle before you managed to master it or the number of times you felt you were drowning before you learned to swim. The lure of the eventual goal must be so encompassing that you become patient enough to trudge along despite all the obstacles that come your way.

Try these:

  • Try to play a new sport or pick up a new hobby. Notice how you take time to gain expertise, despite your possible talent in that field.
  • List out 3 changes that you want to bring about in your life. Outline what is stopping you from doing it. Plan and implement the plan to bring about the change.
  • Challenge yourself to overcome a constant criticism that you often encounter either from your spouse / child/ friend / colleague / well wisher.

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 »

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