Tag: Being critical

Five things to quit

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

Set yourself free…

As a social animal, man has to live with fellow human beings for sustenance, companionship and growth. Unfortunately man, unlike other animals that also live in groups or herds or prides has the compulsive unconscious urge to seek acceptance /approval of those around for every deed, action and indulgence. Even more unfortunately, man has also perfected the art of being a born critic and we easily find fault with people, happening and things around. When we analyze the behavior of the critic in us, we would realize that we have subconsciously become negative in our perception and thinking, our negativity has clouded our ability to be more discerning and appreciative and we are easily reconciled to failure, plead haplessness and find excuses to rationalize our personal lack of success.

Let us examine how each of these behaviors’ are self imposed and self limiting.

By being negative in our perception and thinking we let in self doubt creep in; we train ourselves to see the imperfections and we gravitate towards the bare minimum standards of acceptance so that we don’t seem to be failures. The fear of public speaking that an overwhelming majority of people suffer from is a classic case of our negative perception and thinking preoccupies us and restrains us from overcoming our fears.

Negativity clouding our ability to discern and be appreciative makes us succumb to the temptation of fault finding, self depreciation and failure prone. Even if someone else gives us a compliment we tend to play it down or deflect attention to something that takes the shine of the compliment. Similarly when opportunity presents itself we hesitate to take the initiative succumbing to our insecurities. We also naturally end up focusing on those failures that we may have encountered and completely ignore the numerous success that we have been privileged to embrace. Remember how our parents automatically scanned out report card to find the red lines that signified failure or quickly picked up on the lowest marks completing ignoring the numerous high scores we may have got.

By reconciling to failure, pleading haplessness and finding excuses, we do not give ourselves the opportunity to leverage our inherent strengths. Success is actually a culmination of effort most of it repetitive efforts despite failures. Many of us though give up at the first hurdle instead of persisting with hope and faith. We do not even make the effort of trying pleading haplessness or find excuses to wriggle out of a tough call. The overwhelming emotion that envelopes us is fear of failure and ridicule by others is actually the critic in us constantly whispering in our mind don’t embarrass yourself in front of others. How many of us who do poorly in our tasks began by saying ‘I don’t know what to do’ and later go on to say ‘ I am not capable of doing it’ and finally accepted failure by saying ‘ I just wasn’t cut out for it’. Notice that each of those statements are actually directed at others who maybe onlookers, co-participants or possibly evaluators and the statements are crude efforts to avoid any criticism.

The only way to tackle our fears is to confront it by being a participant and not a distanced critic. This is best done by visualizing success, anticipating and preparing for potential pitfalls and wholeheartedly embracing and enjoying the process. The real success would be in conquering one’s fears by setting yourself free of criticism, fear or failure.

Try this:

In the next one month ensure you attempt at least one of the following tasks that you have never attempted before

  • Learning a new form of dance
  • Easting with chopsticks
  • Learning to speak 10 sentences in a new language
  • Inviting friends to an exotic meal cooked entirely by you
  • Participating in 3 contests
  • Try your hand at origami

From the following situations, rate the situation that would embarrass you the most to the least. Reflect on why each situation gets the rating you have assigned.

  • Your boss getting hold of a love letter written to you.
  • You going for an important meeting post lunch and your shirt has a big stain because you spilt coffee on it at lunch time.
  • You excitedly greet and animatedly talk to a very charming person, who then gently tells you he/she is not the person you thought he/she was.
  • You are making an important presentation and by error click on a PPT you were studying of a competitor’s product.
  • You are with guests in a restaurant and despite the guests offer to foot the bill, insist that you will pick the tab only to discover that you forgot your wallet which contains the credit cards too.

 This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog

www.poweract.blogspot.com

We let others judge us when we judge others

Ask a person for an opinion on another person and his / her response will give you an immediate idea about the person speaking. Being critical is not a vice but taking an unbiased and balanced view based on facts is difficult. This is because, most times we have incorrect, incomplete or second hand information about others and far too often our judgment is clouded by our personal bias, emotions and feelings.

On the other hand if we are naturally inclined to be positive, have developed the ability to see the not so visible strengths of others and give benefit of doubt to others, we would be favorable disposed to others and form an appreciative opinion about others. In the long run, not only our attitude but our expectations from others will become more encouraging, others would seek both friendship and counsel from us and we would automatically widen our circle of influence and friendship.

A good rule to follow would be to find 3 good virtues in another for every one vice/ complain that we may have about the other. If we can consciously practice this, we will find a substantive collateral benefit for ourselves beginning with stretching our imagination to seek the good in others and ending up with feeling nice about others as well as tranquility within us. Look around and observe your circle of friends; there won’t be even one who is your vehement critic but everyone will uniformly be someone who appreciates you for what you are; your strengths as well as your deficiencies are accepted by them.

Be like the mirror who does not judge you, nor does it lie to you but it allows you the luxury of presenting both your worst self as well as best self without fear or favor.

Judge others as you would have others judge you.

Action Points:

  1. Pick up a deck of cards and examine the kings, queens and jacks in it. Choose any one of these 12 characters as your favorite. Give 3 reasons for choosing that card.
  2. Find at least 3 points to admire in the following personalities

–          Genghis khan

–          Hitler

–          Aurangzeb

–          The teacher you disliked the most

–          The classmate you disliked the most

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog

www.poweract.blogspot.com

How to make best use of criticism

“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

Using head and heart

To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart.  – Donald Laird

As social animals, we human beings have no choice but to live in society which implies that we need to interact with others, adjust to the demands of societal norms and yet maintain our own identity and independence.  This poses a problem simply because the individuality that we pride on wants to break free of any shackles imposed on us while the social instinct in us forces us to toe the line that is determined by society and culture. It is reconciling this dichotomy that unconsciously poses a big dilemma for most of us.  Our quote today, provides a glimpse of the option available to us to effectively maintain our personal identity while also ensuring we do justice to our social and neighborly role.

To begin with, we need to asses our own approach to our personal values, beliefs and actions. Being pragmatic would perhaps gives us the smoothest passage forward and that is possible when we don’t get overtly emotional and become a tinge more practical thinking out solutions, selecting logical options and making choices that suit our individuality. Eg. When we lose a loved one, grief would be obviously what overcomes us. Yet in that moment of grief too we need to get control of our emotions and if we always believed in organ donation should initiate steps for that. On the other hand if we are more traditional then there is no need to take on the guilt of pandering to the demands of those urging you to donate the organs for it is a very personal and private decision.

On the other hand when we play our role as social animals and discharge our obligations as neighbors, friends, relatives or as another human being, we need to listen to our heart and less to our wisdom which is often based on reasoning, logic and taken without any emotions attached to it. Eg. If we are firm believers in organ donation, we cannot impose our will on others who may not share our sentiments because of their personal reasons. We must respect the sentiments of the parties involved and try to empathize with their emotions rather than quarrel or wrestle with their flawed logic as we would be tempted to think.  Take another scenario which is more prevalent the constant battle between parents who want their children to study and the children who are more keen to focus on their own interests be it games or computers or TV. Most parents use a hackneyed logic of equating studies with success in life which the children view as a bitter pill the parents are trying to push down their throat. On the other hand if the parents encouraged the children to pursue their own interests while setting some discipline to ensure that studies were also regularly  done, it could be a win win situation since the children would perhaps see the parents as allies in their efforts to excel.

Criticism offers perhaps the best opportunity for us to put the above maxim to full use. When we are criticized we should suspend our emotional discomfort and attempt to see if there is any truth in the points raise by our critics. If the criticism is untrue simply ignore it. However if it is true then we need to be grateful that out attention has been drawn to something that impedes our effectiveness and we should work on overcoming those flaws.  On the other hand when we have to be critical of others, then we must consider the emotional ramifications of our feedback on the other party and hence we must not be unduly harsh or hurtful. Instead we must handle their fragile emotions carefully and encourage them to overcome their flaws whilst also drawing attention to their strengths.  This will help them maintain their dignity, reinforce confidence in themselves and at the same time give them the self belief that they can improve with effort and persistence.

Remember: The heart has its reasons of which reason knows nothing. Blaise Pascal

Try this:

  1. Can you recollect the last 5 criticisms that came your way. Do you recollect who told them? Were the criticisms justified? What efforts did you do to learn and improve from those criticisms?
  2. Write down 3 strengths and 1 criticism you have concerning the following people.
  • Your favorite high school teacher
  • Your best friend
  • Your neighbor
  • Your own family members (list them out and write for each person)

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

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

No friend is perfect

Who seeks a faultless friend remains friendless. Turkish proverb

The greatest treasure a person can have apart from a loving family is the presence of  an intimate friend / s. Almost all of us are fortunate to have the luxury of a friend with whom we can be free, frank and forthright. Yet, there are many times when wished that our friend/s would not have certain qualities or mannerisms or vices or oddities that we dislike, despise and abhor. From time to time we could also get a feeling of being suffocated by the friends well intentioned but unwelcome attempts at demonstrating his/ her affection for us and /or inquisitiveness/ bluntness/ rigid stand etc. Despite these varied irritants, we value our friendship and passionately believe we can count on our friends when the chips are down or morale low or if we need their wise counsel.

While we are very clear in our mind that every person comes with a set of his/ her own unique mannerisms and characteristics, we gravitate towards those whom we are comfortable with, those who share some common sentiments with us and people with whom we can relate too even if they have sharply different views. In many friendships there might be very little commonality between friends and they might have very divergent backgrounds/ views ( for example friends from diverse ethnic/ religious/ cultural backgrounds) yet the bond remains because of the comfort that they share. Many good friends happily take a dig at each other’s oddities, quirks and idiosyncrasies without the slightest damage to their relationship and intimacy.

It is the odd ball who goes around with a magnifying glass, analyzing the faults of people who ends up being a very lonely soul. Obviously human nature being what it is, no one is perfect and every has  his/ her faults and it is virtually impossible to find an individual without blemish. The truly friendless person is one who seeks perfection in a friend and sadly keeps searching, hoping to meet an angel. There could be some people who have angelic qualities and will attempt to befriend the lonely soul but then a human in angel form will never be able to live down the earthling within… and the poor soul who is friendless remains so for he / she won’t accept any blemish …not even from an angel.

Remember: “A friend is someone who understands your past, believes in your future, and accepts you just the way you are.”

Try this:

  1. List out 3 friends and ask yourself if you can tell each of them 2 of their worst faults without alienating them or losing their friendship.
  2. Examine a couple of friendships that you developed in school days that have not endured today. Can you analyze what contributed to the going apart over the years? Was it the yawning physical distance or the chasm of ideological differences or the pressures of expectations from one another that could never be met or was it because of a serious misunderstanding or difference of opinion?

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

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