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Archive for the ‘Weakness’ 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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It is jokingly said that after God man Adam, he had a good look and then murmured I can do a better job and then he took a rib of Adam and created Eve… and possibly ever since love was supposed to be the dominant theme.  Alas, the serpent had other ideas and once he lured Eve with the Apple, she enticed Adam too with it. Possibly that was the beginning of people continuing  to be lured into loving things and using people for their own self centered interests.

When we dispassionately look at our behavior we would know how true it is that we tend to love things a lot more than we will admit. Why is it that we want the lasts gizmos in the marketplace, the trendiest watches, the latest styles in attire no matter what the costs or irrespective of its utility for us. Look at the way we hoard things, the umpteen pictures we take without digital cameras in the fond hope of holding on to memories, the huge cache of books right from our KG days not to mention the wardrobe of long discarded but safely kept clothes.

At the same time though we may deny it our conscience won’t let us forget that there are many a time when we use even those who are close to us for our own selfish ends. How much time do we spend with our parents once they grow old and we get busy with our lives? Do we ignore our siblings or family members who have grievances to share, fears to express or seek attention from us? Most times it is because they disturb our tranquility and we cannot empathize with them. Yet when we need them we will shamelessly mend fences or build bridges to get our way with them.

If we are wee bit pragmatic we would realize the futility of loving things; for while we can accumulate and possibly enjoy the luxury and comfort and the adulation it brings, they are by no means a guarantee of long term happiness and more importantly they are all replaceable. On the other hand, if we open our hearts and give our all to those around, we would double the joy around by being participants in the others happiness too. Those whom we love are all irreplaceable and LOVE is the only emotion that ensures an unconditional and undying connect forever. Just look at a picture of someone whom you loved passionately but is not around anymore; in a jiffy you can feel the persons presence, fast forward our minds to the blissful moments we spent with them and fell their warmth and affection in the deepest recess of our heart.

Try this:

What adjectives/ words of appreciation would describe the following persons? 

  • Your dad / mom (choose any one)
  • Your favorite sibling/ cousin
  • Your favorite grandparent
  • Your favorite teacher

Make a list consisting of at least 2 persons/ things but not exceeding 5 who meet the following criteria

  • The things you have lost and miss very much
  • The people in your childhood whom you resented very much
  • The relatives (except from your own family) you love the most
  • The things you own that you won’t gift even to your best friend
  • The things that you wished you owned if you had all the money in the world
  • The causes of charity for which you would donate the most

 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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Like many of you reading this post, I have had a number of dreams, aspirations and expectations, a few of which I did achieve. Unfortunately, I must also confess that I just haven’t managed to realize the vast majority of my plans and worse still, have made all sorts of convenient excuses to rationalize my inability to perform to my potential. At the end of the day no one is interested in excuses; the world recognizes only performances not promises. So then I asked myself ‘Hey dude what is stopping you?’ Here is what I found out …(Notice the point in red refers to the problem and the one in blue is the antidote for it.)

Lack of focus – Perhaps this is the one single most important reason that many of us don’t utilize our talents, stumble along life’s way and remain incognito most of our life. We have no idea of what we want to do with our life, we do not have a clear agenda for ourself and merely lurch from day to day hoping that each day will be better than the previous.

Goal setting – We have some haze idea as to what we want from life. However to be focused in life we have to make that effort to actually ask and answer the 5W’s and 1H that pertain to our own life. One has to write down one’s goals be it personal goals, academic goals, professional goals or social goals. Ask any Olympic participant and you will find one thing in common- each of them had a goal to represent their country in the Olympics

Over commitment – In our anxiety to make up for our lack of focus and experience a sense of achievement, we make the next cardinal mistake of attempting more than what we realistically can attempt successfully. We also end up being over-committed because we want to please as many people as we can and also because subconsciously we hope that we will strike it rich by having more options. What we don’t seem to realize is that all we end up doing is biting of more than what we can chew.

Learning to say NO – If one has a goal, life is a lot simpler for there is clarity of purpose. Yet we are often thrust with tasks that we do not want to do, are not capable of doing or which is just not your business. Refusing to do something is not looked upon kindly but if our goal is clear and the tasks not aligned to our personal goals it is best that one take courage to say a polite NO and get on with the tasks that take you closer to your end goal..

Surrendering to problems – Every excuse one makes is nothing but the articulation of a problem. Problems come in all shapes and sizes and we often end up seeing a problem as insurmountable either because we do not want to make the effort to find a solution or because we have psyched ourselves into making a mountain out of a mole hill.

Finding creative Solutions – Problems exist because someone has yet to find a solution. Why not have an attitude that the solution can be provided by ME? Get through the problem, under the problem, around the problem or over the problem but ensure the problem is suitably addressed. Also make it a habit never to give excuses and suddenly the problem is no longer a burden to be carried but a present to be unwrapped.

Sheer laziness – Ah I bet each one of us is seriously guilty of this. No amount of explanation can substitute for condoning this.

Penalize yourself – The system will penalize us for our laziness. The marks one got in academics in large measure reflected the effort one put in. Similarly the lack of success experienced can be seen as a penalty imposed by life especially when one has been tardy, casual and indifferent to the opportunities made available. Imposing an additional penalty on ourselves would be the best way to beat laziness.

Now when I reflect on the question ‘what is stopping you?’ the answer is loud and clear…NOTHINGit is simply ME not measuring up to myself.

Action Points:

  1. Play an indoor game like caroms or throw darts on a dart board to appreciate the importance of focus. Every time you miss your target, examine your response to it; are you blaming something or someone or do you refocus quickly with a better strategy?
  2. You are at a party and though playing a game of tambola or housie was planned as the last game, the housie board and tickets have been misplaced. The 50 odd revelers are badgering you to play the game. How will you come up with an innovative housie game that does not use the housie board nor the use of housie tickets. You can assume you have any other resource being at your disposal. Clue: You have sufficient stock of pen and paper

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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Among the most difficult choices one has to occasionally make, apologizing perhaps ranks pretty high on most people’s list. As honest, good and objective individuals we would unhesitatingly state that if we are on the wrong we will always offer an apology. The reality though is quite different.

Here are 4 reasons why we find it hard to offer a simple unconditional apology when required.

We find it hard to accept our mistake. E.g.  Despite a frantic search you are unable to locate your set of keys at home. You are in a rush as you are getting late for office. You have in your anger and frustration also accused all and sundry at home that they could have possibly had a hand in the disappearance of the keys. On reaching office you see the set of keys lying in the office drawer. You sheepishly think of apologizing to those at home but then let it pass for it would then mean accepting your mistakes; first of being responsible for the problem; for blaming those at home; for creating a scene etc.

We tend to play down the happenings and attempt to justify/ rationalize it. E.g. in an examination you have strategically placed you answer paper to let the candidate seated behind you copy from it. The invigilator who notices this tactical but unethical arrangement warns both the candidate behind you and you of stern action. You remonstrate that it is the person behind who is copying and that you are blameless.

We mistakenly believe that an apology is equivalent to admitting a fault. E.g. As children we have often squabbled with our siblings or playmates. When the situations got unruly the elders intervened and then there was a blame game that was never ending with no one wanting to apologize. The genesis is the mistaken notion that an apology immediately implies our guilt.

We pamper our ego and forget the importance of relationships. E.g.  We have under a mistaken notion launched a tirade against a subordinate who for fear of more drastic retribution meekly submits to the barraging. Later when we get the facts fully and realize our mistake find it ‘humiliating ‘ to admit our fault and worse still ‘apologize’ to a subordinate.

Here are 3 ways to smoothly embrace an apology as a mature decision.

Remember that saying sorry is the simplest form of apology. Sorry forms part of the trio of Please and Thank you which are the 3 magical words in English that smoothen life.

An apology often helps us start gain with a clean slate. While some scars may remain, the wound is by and large healed and ‘all is well that ends well’ since an apology puts an end to the hurt, resentment and anger that may have been in the air.

An apology at the appropriate time, to the right person in the right manner for the right reason, is a test of your character, a critical component of leadership and a reflection of your personality.

Here let me offer my apologies to…

You my reader for the long delayed post which was actually written 10 days ago. Unfortunately due an oversight I didn’t save the same and I lost the entire file when the computer crashed. What you are reading now is a completely new post than what was originally written.

I need to apologize to my immediate family members who had to bear the brunt of my wrath for the post that was lost to the computer crash. The fault was entirely mine, but in my human weakness I raved and ranted and unburdened myself on all those who unwittingly crossed my path in the immediate aftermath of my disaster.

My apologizes to a couple of well meaning friends who politely inquired about my posts but had to bear  the brunt of my ire for I  had been rather curt and brusque to them when narrating what happened. I think I was also selfish enough to expect more sympathy from them and perhaps that aggravated my irrational behavior at their well intentioned and polite inquires.

Try this:

  1. Name 3 people who deserve an apology from you. Pick up courage to apologize to them even if a lot of time has elapsed since the original event happened.
  2. Can you identify with some of these situations when you felt apologetic about your own response to the situation
  • You did not make enough efforts to cast your vote
  • You told a deliberate lie for fear of the consequences
  • You harbored ill will against someone who wronged you
  • You shielded someone from being justly punished/ reprimanded simply because you shared a close relationship or friendship with him/ her

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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Telling the truth may have often resulted in embarrassing situations, perhaps have left painful memories too and may have even triggered anger and fury completely disproportionate to the facts as revealed. Perhaps we may also sly grin at the escapades that we managed by suppressing the truth or outrightly lying. Look back dispassionately and perhaps you may also recall a number of times when the truth was guessed by others who because of their maturity, goodwill and / or need to protect you played along and kept things under wraps. On hindsight more often than not, every time you hid the truth you were left restless, burdened by guilt and with the Damocles sword of being found out looming over your head.

Even today if one were to tell the truth and it is an inconvenient truth, our body language would betray our fear, our quivering voice expose our vulnerability and our feeble attempts at justification would add to our misery. The good part though is that when we speak the truth, our heart is unburdened, the mind is at peace and the consequences seem bearable. Telling the truth is not simply a matter of articulating the reality but it also involves standing up for rights, standing by those wronged, refusing to toe the wrong line and standing up to a brute majority who may intimidate or attempt to cow you down.

The truth is that ‘fear’ is an overwhelming emotion that threatens to derail us telling the truth.  The best antidote for this malaise is the realization that the truth needs no ‘alibi’, it is all pervasive and when shared it shields the reality from being pricked and punctured in any form.  Yes, it is true that it takes a lot of courage to tell the truth and often our quivering voice will expose our human frailty; but the truth when spoken ‘shouts out aloud’ unshackled, unburdened and ubiquitously.

Action Points:

  1. Try playing the card game ‘ Bluff’. Notice how you can catch frequently catch another’s bluff and also how tough it is for you to bluff.
  2. Ask a close family member and an intimate friend to separately list out 5 aspects of your personality that they believe you need to improve upon. When reading the list be aware of the emotions that run through your mind on reading each criticism jotted down by them. How many of the points they mentioned are absolutely true? What and how do you propose to make use of this truth to improve yourself?

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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Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.  Howard Thurman

Many of us meander through life with a sense of regret that we have neither achieved anything nor made our mark in this world. One reason for this regret is the subconscious desire to make our presence felt and be recognized, applauded and rewarded for our contributions. In this quest to make our presence felt we strive to find a niche that we can quickly usurp and hopefully make it the showcase of our achievements. As many a dope tainted athlete would have realized, there are no short cuts to success and the illusion that our achievements are the focal point of attention is a myth that lasts only as long as we continue to hog the lime light.

On the other hand if we scan our immediate environment, we would find a large number of individuals who may not be changing the world at large but are definitely influencing the world around them. With a little introspection, we could also make the profound discovery that each one of us too has a deep and lasting impact on the many people who we come in contact with. The trouble is that we tend to undermine our own role, abilities and influence and fall victim to the irrational belief that we need to be a mover and shaker if we are to qualify as achievers. The truth is that every small, purposeful and positive action by an individual stirs up the environment around and its ripples reach out far and wide.

The skeptic in us would immediately question our contribution and influence rationalizing that we are too insignificant in the scheme of things. So then how can we really appreciate our importance and role in the mundane and humdrum existence that we seem to be destined for? The clue to this lies in seeking answers to three vital questions.

What are my values? While it may not be humanely possible to be a paradigm of every virtue, it is essential that we identify at least one virtue that we steadfastly hold on to. Most people would have a large list of virtues but it is the one critical virtue that would help one understand ones values in life.  It could be honesty/ sense of fair play/ compassion/ doggedness/ never say die spirit/ accepting challenges/ patience/ orderliness/ etc. The one central virtue is what will anchor the individual to the reality of life and inject in them the urge to proactively contribute and influence e.g. Those with a strong sense of compassion would seek out ways and means to be useful to the poor/ the destitute/ the suffering. Those who are dogged will resolutely pursue the goal they set themselves; be it bringing the guilty to justice or helping the underdog get his/her due.

How do I cope with my own personal weakness and failures? As human beings we are susceptible to a multitude of weakness and have to carry the cross of many a failure. The manner in which we cope with these limitations in us would have a profound bearing on our personality and life. .  E.g. those who are unable to cope with failure could be academically brilliant but completely risk averse. Yet the weakness by itself should be seen as an indictment of the individual for almost everyone has ample alternative strengths just waiting to be tapped. E.g. some of those who are prey to addictions would when sober be the most effective and efficient people to have around. The secret is to discover the potential and to harness that power.

What should I be doing? Nothing is more confusing than the answer to this question. How does a professional sportsman know when to retire? How much money would make a person happy? Should I give up a steady job to purse my passion and dreams? Should I be single or get married because that is the way of the world? When my conscience rebels do I succumb to the pressures of protecting my friends and companions or would I at the risk of losing everything stand up for the truth no matter how damaging it may be?  Once we are able to honestly and consistently answer this question of what should I be doing; then we would be doing what needs to be done voluntarily, proactively and confidently.

Answer the questions above in the silence of your hearts and they will open the doors to self awareness.  Life would then be more meaningful and fulfilling.

Remember: “I think self-awareness is probably the most important thing towards being a champion.” Billie Jean King

Try these:

How will you cope with this hypothetical situation?

You have attended a week long leadership training program. On the last day each participant in the program was asked to give one negative feedback for every participant. You come home with the sealed cover containing the negative feedback you have received. You open the cover and find 7 slips each outlining a different negative feedback as under. How many of these allegations are true about yourself. Can you think of one person whom you know for whom the allegation fits? Can you think of a specific incident that leads you to this conclusion about that person?

Slip 1 – In my view you are very lazy

Slip 2 – Why are you such a loud mouth

Slip 3 – I wouldn’t trust you with my purse.

Slip 4 – Your arrogant way of interaction annoyed me a lot.

Slip 5 – You are an unreliable person

Slip 6 – Wish you weren’t so negative and critical

Slip 7 – My impression is that you are too cunning

Write down the following goals for yourself.

1 personal goal

1 financial goal

1 relationship related goal

1 social commitment goal

1 goal related to a passion you have.

Now  jot down at least 3 steps (for each goal) that you will take to attain the goal.

(e.g. My Passion related goal to read at least one book a month.

 Step 1 – Identify at least 50 books by February 2012 end .

Step 2 – Buy at least 3 books before December 2011 end.

Step 3 –  I will read every Sunday between 4 and 6 pm)

Take a look at this poster that perhaps captures the gist of this post succinctly.

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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“Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.”  Winston Churchill

Most of us are natural critics but very few of us accept criticism with an open mind and the right attitude to learn from it. Criticism comes naturally, because each of us has an idea of a perfect world and invariably there is always something wrong with it. Thereafter it is a simple matter of pouting opinions on how things are not right and perhaps we pontificate on how we could set things right if only we were empowered. If the same conversation is initiated by others we can heartily concur and add a few more views without contributing very constructively. Of course the good part of the critical way we see things is that when the clamor gets louder some action takes place and there is improvement.

The problem that we face as individuals is that we ‘fear criticism’. No sooner we are subject to criticism, we see criticisms as a direct attack on our ability, we view it as the incorrect and inappropriate assessment of us and resent the reality when pointed out to us. We react to criticism with skepticism, attempt to justify and rationalize our short comings and in extreme cases attempt to discredit our critics or dwell upon what we perceive as their incompetence and inability to judge us correctly.  What we fail to appreciate is the reality that very few people will criticize us because human nature prefers to be good and sweet to one and all and being critical is an invitation to strain relationships. Equally important is the fact that any valid criticism is a good feedback mechanism that enables us to correct ourselves, bring about improvement and progress towards excellence.

Criticism is unavoidable and so we need to accept this reality and then leverage it to improve our life, our effectiveness and our relationships. The key to that lies in adopting the following approach:

Accepting criticism.  This is the toughest part to overcome. Our natural temperament is to refute, reject and rebut. However once we realize that most people criticize us with our welfare at heart, be it parents, teacher, siblings, family, friends, bosses and colleagues, we would pay heed to what they have to say. When there are disagreements and in a fit of rage an opponent or adversary makes a comment or observation that hurts us deeply, it could be a sure sign that there is an element of truth in it. This realization would be the ultimate test to walking the way of accepting criticism.

Harnessing the feedback got. The simple rule here is to ask yourself if there is there some truth in it. If yes, learn from the feedback and make the adjustments, learning, behavioral change, required. If some skills have to be learnt, if some relationships have to be mended or if some ties have to be cut off, however painful it may be, the same has to be done. Making all out efforts to implement  the change based on the learning from the feedback holds the key.

Being honest with our criticism of others so that we understand the shortcomings. As tough as it may seem, by being constructively critical, we are honing our skills of observation, improving our standards of excellence and fine tuning the art of disagreeing without being disagreeable. All these qualities will go a long way in improving our personality, our confidence and our outlook of life.

Learning to appreciate others so that we can adopt the good practices that we observe.  Compared to the previous point, this may sound extremely ironic for it involves making a complete U turn in our way of seeing things. Balancing this contradiction actually makes us develop an all round personality where we can learn to live with the good and the bad. When we appreciate, we are also unconsciously raising our own standards of performance for we will strive to attain what we see as the bar of excellence. Appreciation when balanced with criticism also enables us to remain rooted to reality; for while there may be many who would praise us and overlook our shortcomings, the ones who dare to be critical will be holding a mirror to our face. We can then see ourselves warts and all and then begin the process of sprucing up and making a fresh appearance worthy of our talent, our abilities and our aspirations.

Remember: Criticism, like rain, should be gentle enough to nourish a man’s growth without destroying his roots.  Frank Howard Clark

Try this:

  1. Go and see new released movie without reading the critics reviews. On returning home from the movie, attempt to review the movie or at least jot down 3- 5 appreciative points and 3- 5 critical observations about the movie. Thereafter read the professional reviews and compare your own effort.
  2. Mark Anthony’s speech criticizing Brutus in Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar is a master piece of using the rhetoric to criticize subtly. To read the same, click on the following link.  http://tinyurl.com/yae2nno
  3. Can you recollect the criticism given by the following people, which was hurtful but helped you improve
  • Your dad
  • Your mother
  • Your favorite teacher
  • The teacher you disliked immensely
  • Your best friend
  • A third party, perhaps a passenger traveling with you or a motorist who rammed your vehicle or a player from an opposing team or a taxi driver

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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