Tag: Be creative

Be happy first and transmit it automatically

Happiness is that state of mind where negativity is banished, optimism exudes and one easily finds a reason no matter what, to remain cheerful. A simple test to the relative happiness quotient is truthfully answering the question ‘Do I suffer from Monday morning blues?’  If you can be as cheerful on a Monday morning as you are on a weekend, be sure you are blessed with abundant happiness.

However the vast majority reading this would say ‘I ain’t so lucky; so what is the secret to being happy?’  So here goes…

See the positives   No matter what the situation, there is a positive and a negative side to it. Focus on the positives. Unfortunately most of us are inclined to see the negatives partly due to force of habit, sometimes due to our jealous nature and occasionally because we limit our imagination. E.g. A student getting 99/100 can either enjoy his/ her success or can keep brooding over how/where/why that 1 mark was lost. There are positives even in extreme situations like failure/ death/ illness etc. but we have to imaginatively identify those positives and then happiness won’t be far behind.

Manage your thoughts Some of us are extremely imaginative in seeing the worst case scenario.  These people can spot a problem in every opportunity; they can rattle of a dozen reasons why something positive can’t happen and they can use their vivid imagination to make a mountain out of a molehill. E.g. You suddenly discover that your mobile phone is missing. Even as you frantically search, your mind has conjured up visions of never finding it, the possibility that someone has robbed it, the probability that anyone who finds it will not return it and quite often extreme frustration at ones on carelessness. Assuming that you find that mobile, instead of being really happy, a new set of questions would pop up. How did it fall of? Did it fall off or did someone try to pinch it unsuccessfully? If I didn’t find it all my contacts would have been lost; I would have to buy a new phone if I didn’t find it etc would be added thoughts that would puncture the happiness of having located the missing mobile phone.

Invest in relationships A good incubator of happiness is the society around you, the people you interact with and you being accessible, social and helpful. Relationships offer support, comfort and motivation essential ingredients to foster a happy environment. E.g. when there is a tragedy in the form of illness or death or failure happiness is hard to come by. Yet with the outpouring of concern, care and consolation, happiness is ignited much faster even if the grief takes a while to be overcome.

Live don’t merely exist Don’t just be creatures of habits. The vast majority of salaried employees follow the dictum 2 punches (attendance) and one lunch. Quiz these people on how life is and invariably the reply will be tinged with boredom, frustration, exasperation, irritation and indifference. Those who do not value their lives and make it count would always find life too tough, very hard to bear and extremely boring. The trick is making life interesting by being more open to ideas, attempting the challenging, taking calculated risks and doing things differently. E.g. Give in to your inner craving and just do it. My blog is an outcome of such a whim and if you have read so far it is proof that I haven’t wasted my time. My happiness is in having so many of you engrossed and engaged in my writing.  So when are you going to find the happiness in your passion?

Enjoy the moment The London Olympics 2012 are just a few months away. Some athletes and sportsmen have made the cut. Others have fallen by the way. The more unlucky ones have been waylaid by injury. Yet even the ones who do not make it to the Olympics will still actively engage in their sport for they have learnt to enjoy every moment of their lives. E.g. Even as I am writing this I am acutely aware that I haven’t written for over 2 weeks. This long hiatus has also dulled my enthusiasm, dried up my creative juices and has made writing this post a tad more tough. Yet, I am reveling in the reality that I have not lost my touch and I have put behind all the difficulties that impeded my regular output. Hopefully the happiness at being able to indulge in my passion is evident in this post.

Action Points:

  1. Can you find something unique in the way the title/ heading  of each paragraph was developed? The big secret to happiness is hidden in the way the paragraph headings were developed.
  2. List out 3 situations where you would be most happy. Have you experienced any of these situations?
  3. Name an object, thing, place, animal and person that immediately conjures up a happy image for you. Why do you think the said name evokes such happiness for you?
  4. Write in to actspot@gmail.com and share with us the joke / anecdote that thrills you to bits. If there are sufficient responses I could compile the best ones and share it with the readers through this blog and you can take pride in the fact that you did your bit to spread happiness too.

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog

www.poweract.blogspot.com

Making the best of holidays

Just as a puppy can be more of a challenge than a gift, so too can the holidays. John Clayton

With the Divali season around the corner, a sizeable section of the people in India are already in a holiday frenzy. Soon thereafter Christmas would be around the corner and practically three fourths of the rest of the world would be experiencing the same holiday frenzy.  While everyone eagerly looks forward to the holidays, the overwhelming majority of people are confused, apprehensive and hesitant about how to make best use of the holidays. Worse still is the fact that most people are completely unprepared to welcome the holidays. As a result the holiday season can often be a stressful period unless one makes adequate preparations to make the best use of the gift of holidays.

For those wedded to customs, traditions and rituals, the initial part of the holidays are well laid out in as much as they follow the accepted customs and norms. The real challenge is thereafter. Travel is the most preferred option for many but the destination poses problems as much as the means of travel and the duration. Of course the biggest headache still remains the finances. What is not really noticed is that the real problem is ‘not paying attention to planning and preparing’ for the holidays. Any form of travel involves reasonable planning right from destination to dates and mode of travel and stay and how best to utilize the time at the chosen destination. If for whatever reason travel is ruled out then making the best use of holidays requires even more thought and deliberation for the options are rarely crystal clear mainly because we don’t pay much attention to it and prefer to work out on the spur of the moment. Net result is that we end the holidays with a sense of regret of having wasted it.

So the question that begs attention is ‘what else can one do with the holidays’?  Here are some alternatives for reflection and perusal especially for those not traveling during the holidays.

  • Catch up on reading / movies / hobbies/ some quirks that were left on the back burner (eg. Experimenting with or understanding alternate therapy’s, learning magic / card tricks, go bird watching with a professional)
  • Reorganizing the house and bring about some much needed change including rummaging through piled up / hoarded knick knacks and disposing of the unwanted stuff.
  • Entertaining people who you could not otherwise invite due to, either their preoccupation or your own hectic life style.
  • Detailed planning, (especially if a surprise party is planned) for some important events coming up like the golden jubilee of your parents wedding anniversary or a milestone birthday of a close relative.
  • You can indulge the spouse / children/ family members with some surprises like a swim and dinner or day long picnic to a completely new locale.
  • Use the holidays to sensitize the family to the needs of others and the reality of life by visiting an orphanage/ old age home/ shelter for challenged children or invite a couple of challenged children home to spend a day.

Many of you reading this post would suddenly get wary and wonder if the alternatives listed are practical and more importantly would the end result be a real holiday. It is all a matter of attitude. If you can plan and prepare, the efforts will never be wasted even if the end result is not what is hoped for.  Unless you try you never know. In any case by experimenting it will just be one holiday season that could be wasted but by never planning most holidays would end up being a challenge rather than a pleasure.

Remember: Holidays in general breed unrealistic expectations. The minute you start wondering, ‘is it going to be wonderful enough?, it never will be.  Pepper Schwartz

Try this:

  1. Assuming that finance is not a constraint make a list of alternates that you will have lined up if you get a 4 day holiday suddenly.
  2. Recollect the best holiday you ever had. Now also recount the  worst holiday season that you went through when you felt your holidays were wasted ( if you fell sick or a tragedy occurred then do not count them as worst holidays). Can you identify the reasons that made the first holiday so much fun and the other one a rather indifferent or miserable one?

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog

www.poweract.blogspot.com

Activating intelligence

Action is the real measure of intelligence. Napoleon Hill

Without exception, each and every normal individual is blessed with some skill sets and intelligence. Yet when we look around we find that there is a very small minority that has actually utilized their knowledge, their intelligence and their abilities to grow and make a mark in the world. A quick reality check would reveal that many of our own classmates who were toppers, extroverts, go getters and deemed sure shot successes when they grew up, fell far short of our expectations and languished in mediocrity.  Unbelievably, there could also be a remarkable few who beat all odds, surprised most of us and provoked the envy of many by their remarkable achievements and success stories. The success of the latter and disappointments of the former can be attributed to be the outcome of actively using the intelligence in a practical way rather than merely demonstrating it in a class room setting.

As they say ‘ A ship is safe in harbor but that is not what it is made for’. Similarly all the education and intelligence must be utilized in the cauldron of daily living be it at home, the work place, the social setup or the occasional mundane chores that engulf us. This would imply that one uses not only the academic skills but also become worldly wise, street smart, creative, bold and experimental. The learning is actually put to the test when an individual goes well beyond the text book, the laboratory experiments, the perceptions of doomsday predictors and emboldens himself/ herself to challenge the conventions, the stero types and take the ‘ road less travelled by’.

Here are 3 ways to put one’s intelligence into action.

Be creative: The problem that people face when they come out from a rigid and structured education system is their tendency to be logical, to seek solutions in the confines of available knowledge and their fear of being seen as inadequate if they cannot find solutions where they search for. It is not that they cannot imagine or visualize but fear of failure, ridicule and pressures of deadline corrode they self belief and dampen their spirits.

Take calculated risks. The ability to take risks separates the winners from the losers. Yet we would see a number of risk takers who also fail along the way. There are two conditions to be fulfilled in order to mitigate risks. The first is to be aware of the consequences of failure and the second is to discern when to quit and when to relentlessly pursue. Calculated risk takers invariably have loads of self belief, a variety of hedging strategies and fall back options and the guts to take a hit on the chin without flinching.

Experiment.  They say other than death and taxes, change is the only other constant. It is therefore inevitable that we gear up to meet the change as it unfolds. Anticipating change is challenging but introspection, visualization and experimentation will enable one to proactively innovate to keep ahead of the competition. Failures which are inevitable when experimenting should be seen as learning experiences and radical ideas must be allowed to blossom if experimentation has to become a mantra for activating success.

Remember: It is better to have a fair intellect that is well used than a powerful one that is idle. Bryant H. McGill

Try this:

Attempt to make a list of additional features you believe the following gadgets must incorporate

  • A fridge
  • A mobile phone
  • An ATM machine
  • A lap top
  • A bicycle

Find 5 unique uses for the following

  • A tooth brush
  • A pair of shoes
  • A cricket bat
  • The first object that you pull out of your pocket right now

 This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our WEEKLY Inspirational and Motivational Blog www.poweract.blogspot.com

Dream big

A person can grow only as much as his horizon allows.  John Powell

If we see some of our major achievements in our lives, we would feel elated at some and a trifle disappointed at others. The ones which we are thrilled about are invariably those in which we have achieved some tremendous success and possibly scaled some dizzy heights. What disappoints us often are achieving relatively lesser success where in our view we set our standards a lot lower and could have excelled far beyond our own accomplishments.

The realization that we did not think beyond our comfort zone and our fear of failure are two critical reasons why we are unable to stretch our imagination and widen our horizons. Moving beyond our comfort zone poses problems because we are not used to thinking big nor are we having the conviction to attempt something different. At best we move the bar a wee bit more and then since we are not convinced ourselves our efforts to attempt it are also feeble and half hearted. Obviously when the crunch time comes we may not achieve the goals set and we reinforce our belief that we should not try too much.  Most times it is fear of failure that is the mill stone that bogs us down. When our focus is to avoid failure rather than achieve a spectacular win, we are completely risk averse. The fear paralyzes us and the word failure conjures images of shame and loss of face. In reality failures should spur us on to prove that we are up to the challenge. Very few of us take this as the trigger to set our eyes on bigger goals and worthwhile challenges.

Lack of a worthwhile motivation can also prove to be a dampener when it comes to seeing beyond the visible horizons. Unless we can see a reason, a reward, honor, glory or the sense of ecstasy at the end of the journey, we would not even attempt anything that we perceive as risky, daunting and cumbersome. Motivation is what acts as the carrot that teasingly dangles ahead and we are keen to grab it even if the challenge is way beyond our capabilities. The vast majority cannot think beyond simply because of sheer laziness and / or they have always operated within a regimented paradigm.  When people prefer to do bare minimum work and operate within their own set routine and parameter, there is very little scope to be adventurous and imaginative. They would dream of spectacular triumphs and ground breaking achievements but would shy away from even visualizing it when awake. They are just satisfied with the routine, the time tested and the limited role they have chosen for themselves.

Remember: Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will.  George Bernard Shaw

Try this:

  1. Examine your wardrobe and observe the commonality in the majority of the attire you have; patterns, colors, styles, designs etc. Now consciously attempt to procure 3 items of clothing that are visible to everyone which is completely incongruent with your current style. Wear these clothes and notice the feelings you get, and also pay attention to the comments and observations of others.
  2. In this festive season, think of 1 imaginative gift each for the following people (price not to exceed Rs.500 or USD 10 approx)
  • A retired teacher you loved very much
  • Your favorite aunt/ uncle
  • Your nephew / niece
  • A gift for an inmate of an old age home
  • A gift for your pet (dog/ cat)
  • A surprise gift that can be won by any one from your friends circle based on a lucky draw

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our WEEKLY Inspirational and Motivational Blog www.poweract.blogspot.com



Actions speak louder than mere feelings

To feel sorry for the needy is not the mark of a Christian – to help them is. Frank A. Clark

Look around and you will find poverty and pain in plentiful and the sight gnaws your conscience, disturbs your sense of fairness and provokes a rage within your heart. Alas, the feeling lasts for a definite time frame in which you deeply sympathize, loudly criticize the system and conveniently rationalize the whole episode as a reality that cannot be singlehandedly resolved. The problem is that the whole gamut of emotions, the train of the thought process and the ultimate indifference are logical and not restricted to a few but is the norm that has defined the ruthlessness of society at large and we as individuals in particular. The real question is can we make a difference in any other way?

To be fair to the vast majority, it is difficult for us as individuals to visualize us making a substantial contribution to what is largely perceived as a humongous problem. With this mind set, the best we can possibly do is sympathize and as a mark of empathy articulate our feeling aloud or casually donate some alms for the rehabilitation of the unfortunate. In this process we achieve the twin objectives of easing our conscience of a burden and simultaneously feeling nice that we have proactively done our wee bit for a cause.  The problem for vast majority is that none of us want to make a definite commitment to any cause for that involves us investing our time and money without any commensurate return. The reality though is that unless we commit ourselves we can never appreciate the rewards of our self belief for they are incalculable, difficult to express and can only be experienced personally.

The right way to approach our concerns is to focus on how as an individual we can lend our shoulder to the task on hand. If there are sufficient people committed, it is but obvious that the momentum will automatically pick up and together the goal will be realized.  No sooner we isolate our efforts and try to perceive it on a standalone basis we get demoralized and disheartened that the task is huge and our contribution will be insignificant. Once we can see the big picture then it is critical that we restrict our commitment to our abilities and then being once committed give our all to the task. E.g if we are concerned about the lonely elderly who live a forlorn existence because  the children have migrated or they have no family to speak about, then decide if this is really what we feel most strongly about. We should not be distracted by the plight of orphanages or AIDS victims etc for we cannot spread ourselves thin.

Most times we are constrained by the tunnel vision of what our role is and we cannot think beyond spending our time and our money. The reality is that in addition to these, one can contribute his / her talents to the cause in many varied ways. Perhaps being a zealous evangelist for the cause is one of the biggest contribution that one can make.  This is as simple as talking about your pet cause, spreading awareness about it, cajoling others to join the cause etc. One can also function as a facilitator for our pet cause by suggesting the names of potential sponsors, direct enthusiastic people towards our cause e.g college students doing a social service project or corporate looking to sponsor something as part of their CSR. One can use our talent of writing skills or speaking skills to propagate the movement. Suddenly sympathy seems to be a very primitive way to express our deep concerns and participation in the process is obviously the way forward.

Remember: Some people want it to happen, some people wish it could happen, others make it happen.

Try this:

  1. Specify your pet social service cause. Now list out 3 different ways that you can contribute to the cause without spending any of your money or committing more than 1 hour of your time per week to that cause.
  2. Specify what is the amount of financial resources that you can raise for the cause (without committing any of your own money) Now work out at least 3 different fund raising programs/ activities/ sponsors and try to exceed your own target.

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our WEEKLY Inspirational and Motivational Blog www.poweract.blogspot.com