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Archive for the ‘Playing Safe’ Category

23- Five things to quitOften people wonder what they need to do to set things right in their life. Perhaps each of us is guilty of indulging in one or more of the following, as a result of which we fail to realize our full potential.

Trying to please everyone:  We find it difficult to disappoint people. So we agree to the plans set by others even at the cost of having to make major adjustments that could impact our plans. In some cases we commit, although we are aware that we may not be able to honor our commitment. As a result we get annoyed with ourselves for giving in when we really should not have. We start resenting those who forced us into agreeing with their plans. We feel overburdened and pressurized. At times we fail to meet our commitments because we were busy trying to accommodate others.. You cannot accommodate everyone! Learn to say NO if the situation warrants it

Fearing Change: Everyone loves the status quo because we have reasonable control over what is happening. Change is therefore looked upon as potential danger, a possible threat and a definite inconvenience. We therefore find out excuses to avoid change of any sort. Actually change offers us opportunities to discover our potential, holds out promise to leap frog into something more spectacular and can often also help get away from the drudgery and irritable aspects of the existing  situation. Bear in mind that Change is the only constant in life.

 Living in the past: The good old days are symptomatic of how we get entrapped in the cage of the past. Perhaps life was simpler then but we take for granted the gifts of progress that has made our life a wee bit more comfortable. Living in the past also weighs us down from soaring and embracing new opportunities and possibilities. The past cannot be undone nor can it be re lived. While we may reminiscence about it off and on, we cannot let the past make us a prisoner of it. As Longfellow elucidates eloquently in his poem the Psalm of Life ‘Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant!    Let the dead Past bury its dead!  Act,— act in the living Present!    Heart within, and God o’erhead!

Putting yourself down :  From childhood we are taught to be modest and humble. This is a good quality to imbibe. However, when we let our modesty envelope us, we begin to shy away from praise and appreciation. We feel embarrassed when others laud our achievements. At times we try to play down our contribution so much so that we try to draw attention of others to what we could have done better and how we didn’t do enough. Accept credit with humility; showcase your achievements with pride; enjoy the accolades you deserve.  

Overthinking : We do not achieve as much as we possibly can for one simple reason. We think too much about the what’s and if’s and but’s instead of working in earnest. We worry about people’s reactions to our bold initiatives. We worry about failure and that dampens our enthusiasm. We think about fool proofing our initiatives and therefore never get around to launching our ideas. We worry about the past and the mistakes we made. We think about the future and feel insecure. Thinking before acting is definitely a must but it is the over thinking and consequent ‘paralysis by analysis’ syndrome that we must be watchful of. Do not become a prisoner of your negative thoughts.

It is time you got over these personality traits that limit you from realizing your true potential!

Try these:

  1. List out 5 things that you always wanted to do but did not attempt because you lacked confidence or because you worried about failure or were too concerned about the reactions of others. Put a deadline and attempt any 2 in the next 6 months.
  2. List out 5 of your worst fears. How many of them do you think you are likely to encounter in the coming year. Do you know of anyone who has confronted the fear you are terrified of and can you learn from how they coped with it?
  3. Assuming you won a lottery ( you just might if you dare to invest in a lottery ticket) of Rs. 1,00,000 how would you utilize the proceeds?  Are you already thinking that you don’t have that kind of luck or that this is a hypothetical question and you don’t want to even think about 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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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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13-26- life is about creating yourself

Take a second look at the picture before you read further. Is that a male or a female protagonist? Do you see YOURSELF in it?

There are times in our life when we ask some difficult to answer questions of ourselves. Who am I? Why was I born? What am I supposed to do with my life? How can I make a success of my life? What are my value systems? What motivates me? What influence do I have on others? If you haven’t asked these questions of yourself perhaps this is the best time to ponder over them. The answers will become the blueprint for you to create yourself anew!

No matter what your age, gender, background or status in life you can still improve, grow, change and create the person you want to be. Here is how you go about it.

Think out of the box – Either due to peer pressure or a lack of self confidence, most of us have trodden the beaten path, often to our omnipresent regret. So now is the time to dust the cobwebs in the mind, crank up the shaft of imagination and get the engine of life started. You should now identify your passions, imagine varied possibilities, visualize the happiness you can embrace and try to touch the pot of gold at the end of that imaginative rainbow. To make it more meaningful channelize your imagination into broad categories. It could be categories like personal happiness, comfort and security, my indulgences, philanthropic initiatives etc or it could be simply personal goals, financial goals, professional goals, self growth goals etc.

Sketch your own blueprint – Now that you have imagined it and possibly embraced and touched your dreams figuratively, it is time you actually sketched it out literally and figuratively. This goes a little beyond writing down your goals and is not so difficult to sketch, just in case you are worried that you are no Picasso. All you need to do is take the effort of identifying specifics about your dream and you can either physically create a dream book or have it done as a PPT. The key is to get the specifics clearly visualized. E.g. Don’t say I have a dream car that I hope to own  but instead find the picture of your dream car and paste it.

Assemble the resources needed– If you have started on your dream book or the dream PPT, you have assembled the most crucial resource. If you haven’t done this, stop reading further and at least open a new PPT and call it MY Dream Outline. The key resource that actually limits our dreams from taking wings is financial security; either lack of resources or the fear of going bust. So think long and hard on how best you can cope with this uncertainty. Jot this down too for now you have begun to assemble the brick and mortar required to give concrete shape to your personal blueprint. Now that you have got the right start don’t get bogged down by self doubt, fear of failure, lack of motivation, criticism or any form of negativity from forces within or outside. E.g. If you have identified that being a Chef is your dream but your family consists entirely of engineers, once you have put pictures of dreams menus, dream kitchen, the chef coat and perhaps even your dream eatery you will reinforce your self belief.

Begin from anywhere but begin – Lethargy and self doubt often paralyze good intention. They bring about rigor mortis in the living. The most common excuse for not giving life to your good intentions is that you do not know where to begin. Ever tried pushing a stationary car? It is tough to get it moving but once it gets the initial thrust it is easy to push it. The same principle of physics applies to life too. So the stress must be on beginning. Then keep that momentum going somehow. Look at the picture above and you will notice that the protagonist is sketching the left leg even though the right feet is still undone despite the rest of the right leg being fleshed out.

Give it the finishing touch with love – Sometimes we fail to live upto our expectations and it can deflate our ego / self confidence at other times we get irritated and frustrated and occasionally we just get over with the challenge we set ourselves as an antidote to our feeling of being a failure. No matter where we are in the continuum of our pursuit, the outcome even if half done must measure up to our standards of excellence. This is possible only if we enjoy what we do and inject a healthy dose of love in to doing what we want to succeed in. e.g. list out those tasks that are terribly boring for you but inevitable.  Now visualize yourself doing an excellent job of the task and do it with that spirit. You will find a marked improvement in the end result. To give you a more tangible example have you ever gone through the process of covering your younger sibling or children’s school notebooks. After some time it is get boring, tedious and frustrating. If you simply see each neatly covered book as a a thing of beauty or if you can see the joy of the child when he/ she sees the neat pile of books your output will be fabulous.

Try this:

  1. Identify 3 tasks that your mom or best friend does exceedingly well but something you haven’t ever tried. Your challenge is to attempt each of these tasks over the next 2 weeks and show improvement in each attempt.
  2. Try and make a kite and try to fly it along with a group of children. (Ideally I suggest you try and make more than 1 kite so that you have one or two more spare kites just in case the first one gets cut loose or torn)
  3. Write down what you would do with the following sums of money
  • If you had 1 USD
  • If you had 100 USD
  • If you had 1000 USD
  • If you had 10,000 USD
  • If you had 1,00,000 USD

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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13-23-Life from a different perspective

Schooling has developed as a structured way of imparting knowledge in an organized, well paced and hopefully effective manner. Unfortunately traditional schooling has limited creativity, given undue importance to structure and form and made teachers, parents and students beholden to examinations, marks and competitive one upmanship.  The good part is that logical thinking has been well entrenched in students, the system attempts to give opportunities to excel for those who are academically inclined while providing ample scope for the less academically gifted to pass and progress.

However there were those who viewed traditional schooling from a different perspective. Those who found traditional schooling restrictive, too standardized and possibly too limiting for children with extra ordinary intellect, propounded the concept of home schooling.  Home schooling has emerged as an alternative but requires extraordinary vision of the parents as well as their whole hearted commitment. The concept of home schooling though has been a revolutionary departure from the traditional concept of schooling since it allows freedom to an extraordinary degree, reinforces the concept of self discipline in students and re defines the very style of teaching and learning. Above all it gives students the alternative to explore a wide range of subjects in the most practical way and to the full extent of their interest and capability.

Despite these apparent benefits of home schooling the concept is still very much in a nascent stage and that begs the question How does one explore different perspectives fruitfully? The answer lies in our ability to

Be open to change – Unless we have an open mind we would only accept what is available and if that does not suit us we would crib/ complaint/ criticize but never explore alternatives. Once we keep an open mind and seek solutions or alternatives various options would immediately come to the fore.

Appreciate the alternatives – Once we identify alternatives it is essential that we probe/ explore/ study and analyze these alternatives with the clear belief that one or more of these alternatives holds the key to what you are seeking. Of course there would be shades of grey in the alternatives, there could be doubts raised by well meaning people and some difficult to accept situations which we would have to overcome as inevitable. E.g. for most people suffering from asthma, where allopathic medicines continues to be ineffective an alternative that is often propounded is the live fish swallowing therapy that is available in Hyderabad. While the thought itself is repulsive for even non vegetarians, it could be terrifying for those who are vegetarians. Yet thousands flock to avail of the therapy simply because they are left with no alternative but to try it.

Let go the tried and tested – This is the bane of the vast majority. To prove the point let me suggest that you quickly try to draw /sketch your own portrait. Chances are that you would first attempt to draw you face, starting with a round outline followed by the eyes and mouth and nose etc. Notice how seasoned artistes approach the same drawing and you will appreciate that there are various alternatives.

Adopt and adapt the new possibilities – While we ideally try to find readymade solutions for our problems/ challenges the reality is that each solution could vary and may need to be adopted with changes or adapted to ensure the expected outcome. Almost all progress made in any field is largely an outcome of experimentation, trial and error as well as infusion of creative inputs.

See benefits however small – Anyone who tries to find a different perspective would find himself/ herself in a hopeless minority and would have a tough time fending off critics and experts who are unable to comprehend your logic/ thinking/ risk taking. The possibility of disillusionment and frustration then is best eliminated by focusing attention on any small outcome that gives a glimmer of hope. Perseverance and determination are traits that are essential for anyone who dares to walk the path less traveled by for it would be a lonely, strange, uncharted territory but holding the promise of immense possibilities.

Try this:

  1. Write down your 3 most serious worries. For each of it jot down 3 alternatives solutions that you can explore to eliminate/ solve/ minimize your worry.
  2. Out of the following alternatives try to attempt at least any two which you have never done before
  • Write a poem / limerick
  • Solve a cross word puzzle
  • Learn and perform a new card trick / magic
  • Learn to tie three different types of knots ( as the scouts do)
  • Write a movie / book review
  • Organize a theme party on your next birthday

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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13-16-They may not follow

This pearl of wisdom is first meant for parents, especially those parents who have already chalked out the course their children should traverse.  It would also boost the confidence of youngsters who are yearning to follow their dreams/ passions which are far removed from those expectations others have from them.

It is essential to acknowledge that each person is an individual who would have his/ her parents DNA but thereafter grows up to be an independent thinker and would have to walk a self chalked out path all on his/her own. Most parents believe that having their DNA gives them a right to mould and control a child to meet their pre determined standards and fulfill their ideal desires. Other well meaning friends, family members and elders would also similarly express themselves in an overbearing manner with good intent but with precious little appreciation for the individuality of those they are addressing.

Elders in general, including teachers, grandparents, uncles and aunts and parents in particular usurp the right to profusely spiel out advice believing that their age and experience give them an upper hand in dealing with the challenges of life. While their age and experience do have immense value, what they fail to appreciate in others is that the others particularly the youngsters have matured a lot faster, are exposed to a more compact world where information flows easily and they also believe they have the right to be heard loud and clear. This clash of values, expectations, hopes and ambitions is a major cause of discord within families particularly parents and children.

Here are 3 suggestions for elders and 3 for youngsters reading this, to ensure that they appreciate this post better

Elders

  1. Just guide them don’t goad them
  2. Respect the individuality of others no matter what they age or gender
  3. Acknowledge the efforts and if you find merit encourage them

Youngsters

  1. Respect everyone and then earn the respect of others – disagree without being disagreeable
  2. Share your ideas/ thoughts with elders who would be more open to your sharing
  3. Be committed to your goals. This means writing it down and working towards achieving it.

Try this:

Visit www.johngoddard.info and find the various goals that he set for himself and how he achieved most of it. What if his elders dissuaded him? What if he did not commit himself to it?

Elders think of your parents expectations from you and your siblings. How far did they fulfill it. Now examine the growth of the 3 best students ( your classmates) in school/ college and the three so called failures in school/ college. How have they fared? Did they do something extraordinary or did some of them fail your expectations?

Youngsters don’t just have plans. Write down your plans and put it down as SMART goals. If you do not know what are smart goals, you first task is to take the effort to find out what it is. Next learn to challenge yourself. To do this write down the following first

–       The animal / creature/ reptile that is found in your vicinity that you fear the most

–       The activity  or task that you fear /dislike the most

–       The situation or occasions that you dislike immensely

–       The food or cuisine that you simply don’t want to eat

–       The one addiction or habit that you cannot do away with

You have to confront either all or at least 2 of the above till you reduce your aversion / kick the habit by at least 50% Self discipline is the key and overcoming your fears is the learning that is crucial for you to chart your won course.

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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13-1-Set yourself free_life

With the start of a new year, we can begin afresh, leaving behind both the troubles and the accolades of the past year behind. While the past will always be lurking in the deep recess of our minds, the future invariably gives us hope but is largely tempered by apprehensions born out of a wild imagination. The present then is squeezed between nostalgia and apprehension, your hopes and your despairs and your dreams and your nightmares. The only way out is to set yourself free; free of your own self imposed bondage.

Here is how you go about setting yourself free

Find a purpose for yourself. Parental expectations during our formative years have a large bearing in how we visualize a future for ourselves. However, the individuality in you often feels stifled and throttled by having to toe a line drawn by others. However perilous a course we chart for ourselves, if we focus on our goal our journey would be more meaningful, more fulfilling and definitely more liberating.

Tip: Write an epitaph for yourself and you would have the purpose of your life outlined clearly.

Reward yourself. We often ourselves overburdened, stressed and running to stay ahead in pursuit of our goals. It is as if the world is examining us with a microscope and we need to do meet their expectations. The reality is you have to pace yourself not with the benchmarks set by others but in relation to our own abilities, potential and capabilities.. This invariably means that you have to reward yourself; be it by taking breaks, indulging in something off beat, taking your foot off the gas pedal or simply lounging around and clearing your mind.

Tip: The key is not how far you go but how much you have enjoyed the journey.

Explore beyond yourself. Time to change your routine. Give yourself a new makeup. If you have been following the beaten path, pause, think of the numerous possibilities that you have failed to explore. Have you wanted to try your hand at something off beat? Ever tried bungee jumping or rock climbing or scuba diving? Ever had the urge to learn a musical instrument or act in a play? Did you always have a social service streak that you never dared to try so far?

Tip: There is nothing stopping you except your inhibitions and possibly your inertia.

Excuse yourself.

Notice that at every stage you are doing what you have planned for yourself, without being weighed down by the expectations, the hopes, the plans and the aspirations others have for you. It is possible that in the process you would have stumbled, bruised yourself, suffered criticism, wondered if you made a mistake and worse of all get the sinking feeling that you should not have dared to move out of your comfort zone. Learn to excuse yourself no matter what the consequence of your personal, calculated and deliberate actions.

Tip : Since you chose to follow your heart and mind you should allow your heart and mind to be free of any guilt.

It is your life – set it free – find the YOU within YOUrself.

Try this:

  • List out 5 of your apprehensions/ fears. Now for each of them work out a way to actually confront your fear. E.g. You fear lizards. Now find a reptile zoo that you can visit to actually confront that fear. Don’t do it because it is suggested here but because you want to overcome those fears.
  • List out 5 of your greatest desires or wishes. Now for each of them work out a way to actually realize them. E.g. You want to go on a cruise. Now read up on all the cruises. Select one that seems to catch your imagination. Slowly but deliberately start working on the finances, the dates, the preparations etc. for it. Before you realize it you would be packing your bags to realize your dreams.

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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On the face of it the quote seems misplaced in this world of digital cams for the digital cameras have made it  so easy and cheap to go click click click that one can shoot anything and then keep deleting what is not needed. Take a second look at the visual and you realize that even the accompanying visual when juxtaposed with the wordings seems so blatantly incongruent. Attempting to understand and interpret the quote seems a sheer waste of time. Yet, it is precisely the irony in the quote and visual that makes the quote so relevant and apt to each of us.

By nature we tend to lap in all the experiences that we encounter. We do also cherish the good times and fond memories. However far too often we let the unpleasant, the failures and the pain to guide our thoughts, actions and decisions leaving us circumspect and preferring to err on the side of caution rather than exposing our abilities and talents to grow wings and soar. This is also what we do with our random camera shots, always hoping to delete the bad shots, the irrelevant frames and the duplicate shots but never really executing it. As a result we end up cluttering our picture files, find it hard to retrieve the most relevant ones and often forget the excellent shots we have taken.

On the other hand, even the digital cam despite its ease of use design, does tend to throw up a lot of distorted images because the camera shook or there was very poor lighting. However the pictures that we find most useless are the ones which are excellently captured but very poorly composed because we didn’t pay attention to the background and setting. Look at each moment of our life as a digital picture taken 24by 7. We do have some days which hurt us, some that defeat us, a few that seems wasted and then there are those special moments filled with joy, happiness and exuberance. Rewind those memoires and perhaps one can find bitter experiences that have played a vital part in ensuring that we experience also many an exuberant moment. The strict parent or teacher who ensured that discipline was instilled. The first failure and the empathy of a caring sibling or parent or friend. Once we are able to frame the memories in the right way the emerging picture gets sharply composed in our mind.

To take a picture we have to ensure that there is a film roll properly loaded if the camera is the analogue type or if it is a digital camera we have to ensure that the battery is having sufficient charge. The equivalent of that roll or battery in our life is our ATTITUDE. By having the right attitude we can always ensure we capture the best no matter what the setting, the mood or the background. Failure would then seem to be an experience to learn from, a personal handicap just a special challenge and achievement would be our objective and not mere glory.  Faith and self belief would be our mantra that would spur us to dare, do and triumph.

Try this:

  1. From your personal collection of photographs choose 5 favorite pictures and for each picture you chose write 3 reasons why that picture finds a special place in your estimation.
  2.  Using a digital camera try to take 5 different shots of the following.
  • Animals
  • Nature
  • Human emotions
  • Quirky scenes

Was there a challenge that acted as an impetus to take those shots? Did you manage to click each of these pictures in just 1 shot? Did you give up because the challenge was overwhelming?

 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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