Tag: Being decisive

You are a born chooser

You are a born chooser

At this point that you are reading, you have chosen to read. The moment you stop reading, you have chosen not to read. The great thing about life is that life allows you to choose no matter who you are, whatever your background and however insignificant you may think you are. It is our choices that determines our progress not fate or luck or destiny. We choose our happiness, we choose our friends, we choose how to relate to others, we choose our attitude. Being a winner or a loser; a success or a failure; a leader or a follower; are all the outcome of our choices.

The question that we ask then is ‘How do we ensure we make the right choices?

Be independent – don’t be forced or coerced into selecting what others want. Having an independent mind, self belief and confidence are prime requisites to make decent choices. Never let others decide for you no matter who they are; they could be parents, siblings, elders, bosses, friends, well wishers for none of them can take responsibility for your choices. They can share their views, raise their concerns, introduce you to a different way of thinking and it would be wise to consider their suggestions but the final choice must be made by you without them forcing or pressurizing you in any way.

Analyze before you choose – weigh the pros and cons. Ideally your choices must never be based on snap decision except when it is an emergency. In all other cases, study, analyze, think, mull over, compare, contrast, weigh the options before you finally make the choice. Be careful not to fall into the trap of paralysis by analysis; which is nothing but indecisiveness.

Be decisive – don’t oscillate once you have chosen – A common problem faced by many is that after making a choice they have second thoughts. They then oscillate between the choice made and the alternatives thereby disturbing their peace of mind as also confusing those around. A few choices will go wrong for a variety of reasons but the fear of going wrong should not limit you from not choosing. Remember that not choosing and sitting on the fence can also have consequences and more importantly it is also a choice you have made albeit passively.

Review your choice – change it if you come up with strong reasons to change – There are times when new information or unexpected changes require you to review your choices. Do not be adamant and hold tight to your wrong choice. Reviewing and changing your choice for valid reasons is an important choice to be made. When required do not shy away from changing your choice.

Be prepared to pay a price for your choice – your choice always comes at a cost – For every choice you make you have to pay a price. Just as there are no free lunches in this world there are no choices that have no repercussions. Keep in mind that the price you pay is worth it for the benefits of your choice far outweigh the price you pay, which is the reason you made the choice.

Never regret – nor apologize – stand by your conviction – If you take responsibility for your choices, you will never regret nor apologize nor have self doubts. A choice that goes wrong simply means that you were inadequate in determining the right choice. It could also indicate poor preparation, lack of understanding, an obstinate refusal to pay the price for the choice or it could be simply that the goal posts changed unexpectedly. Believe in yourself and your choices.

Try these:           

  1. List out the last three choices that went wrong for you. Analyze the reasons for the choices going wrong.
  2. What would influence your choices in the following cases:
  • Taking up or refusing an opportunity to be posted abroad
  • Betting on the winner in a sports tournament
  • Participating in a dare
  • Moving out of your comfort zone
  • Standing guarantee or refusing to offer a guarantee for a loan taken by a friend

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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The power within you

The power within you

From childhood, we are taught to respect authority and to seek approval from parents, elders, and authorities before we take any major action. We also look upto them for approval to confirm that we have done a good job. There is logic and wisdom in this method for those older and wiser have greater experience and expertise which comes in handy to guide a novice.  Yet, as the years go by the novice begins to gain experience, wisdom and independent thinking. At times her/his knowledge may far exceed that of his elders. However just as old habits die hard, the need to seek approval remains partly as a mark of respect but chiefly because one hesitates to break the ties and be our own person. Maturity and independence is  translated into power when the  individual takes that giant leap of making her/ his own decisions without any approval of others. It also marks the coming of age of the individual and is a sign of the power each individual holds within.

Here are the steps to realizing and utilizing your real power:

Take responsibility – This is the key to becoming powerful. Unless one takes responsibility for the consequences of a decision / action, it is impossible for a person to be powerful. It is easy to take credit for success but almost impossible to take complete responsibility for failure. The tendency to apportion blame on circumstances, people and bad luck is common place but to own up to the problem is a tad difficult.

Be decisive – A major reason for people not using their full potential and power is their indecision. Sometimes tough decisions have to be taken for the larger good. The tough decisions can have serious consequences for some and great leaders are aware of this yet firmly give their orders. A general in war may have to sacrifice his people for the greater good of winning the war. At other times the same General may have to surrender because he knows his army cannot win and large number of lives from both sides would be lost.  In life we have our own personal wars with simple things like changing a job or giving up on a dream or pursuing a passion that is disapproved by all well wishers.

Look beyond – Your real power is not in what you achieve in the short term but how you go about realizing your big dream. Think big, think beyond the immediate horizon, and visualize the impact you will have on the world around you when you peak. What you do today must help you leap ahead of the completion. That is the way a leader goes up and leaves the rest of the pack behind. Take the pack along as you go but lead the pack with a promise of glory and join them in toasting the success you envisioned and achieved.

Shape it your way – Furrow your own path. Do not imitate. You must carve out your own destiny and shape it the way you have visualized it. It must be different, unique and special for you. This does not mean that you do something no one has done before. It means that you do it the way a music director comes up with a new tune or music arrangement. It must be music to your ears, colorful in your eyes and pleasing to the heart. The world around must also get to feel the same in their lives and heart.

Try these:

  • Think of the three most important decisions in your life that you have taken. What was the outcome? Were you influenced by anyone to take any or all of these decisions? Which was the toughest decision you took and why was it so hard? Which decision do you ever regret and why?
  • What was the most humiliating or painful experience in your life? How did you feel then and how do you feel now? Do you still carry the hurt with you even now? Have you made peace with that episode yet?
  • Take crayons or paint and explore abstract art. E.g. take a piece of paper and fold it in two. Open the paper and on one side at various places put various colors of wet paint. Then fold the paper and randomly rub it in any direction. Open the paper and see the handiwork. Similarly you can experiment using a couple of strings in the paper then folding the paper and drawing out the strings. The quality of the outcome is less important than the experience and variety of art work you manage thereafter.

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog

www.poweract.blogspot.com

Be the CEO of your life

3-27Apr14-Be  the CEO of your lifeThe major problems we face in our life, has its roots in our attitude towards it. Unfortunately, our attitude is also largely influenced by people around us. So it is essential that we periodically evaluate the numerous people who come into our life and influence us. By and large, those whom we interact with are people who fall in one of the following categories; those who are part of our lives like our parents, siblings and relatives; those who are influencers like elders, teachers, bosses at work; people who come into our life like friends, colleagues, neighbors’, household staff etc. Each one of them will broadly have your welfare in mind when interacting with you but the problem arises when you cannot accept their point of view or they refuse to appreciate your viewpoint.

Parents and teachers would ideally like obedient, studious and well mannered children /youngsters. Friends and colleagues would seek a pleasant, friendly and fun to be with person. Similar characteristics are sought by others too be it neighbors’, co passengers on a journey or the household staff. As individuals we too would look out for many of these qualities in the people we interact with. The problem begins when we fail to meet the other people’s expectations and they react in a manner designed to influence your thoughts and attitudes to their expectations from you. When the differences become acute our attitude and consequent behavior also alters often sharply and negatively. We can turn into rebels or become docile or indifferent or become angry and uncooperative or turn into defeatists. A few though are also able to adapt themselves and adopt a positive, vibrant and go getter attitude designed to succeed and prove others wrong.

If you are not one of who is blessed with a positive, vibrant and go getter attitude, it is essential that you take charge of your life immediately; after all you are the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of your life. One of the toughest tasks a CEO has is people management for it involves promoting people, demoting people and in extreme cases terminating people. As CEO of your life, this is the time to also ask yourself who are the people in your life who are invaluable to you. These, are the people who you must promote by interacting more frequently, seek counsel of when required. You would also need to listen to them more attentively, answer their questions more truthfully and trust their advice more implicitly. They could be parents, teachers, friends, well wishers or mentors; trusting them is the key.

There are other people in your life who you cannot avoid despite them being people you dislike. This could be because they give you a bad vibe or because they are constantly interfering or because they spew advice without a pause or because they display a ‘I know it all’ attitude or because they want to control your life. Unfortunately since you cannot avoid them because they are an integral part of your life either as family or office colleague or boss or a neighbor what you need to do is demote them. This can be by limiting interaction with them, acknowledging their suggestions without commitment, taking your own decisions and merely informing them about your actions etc. When it comes to the people who you despise the simplest action to be taken is to terminate them from your life. Not responding to them, avoiding them as often as possible and frankly telling them that you do not like their interference in your life are sure shot ways to ensure you eliminate the people who you have no interest in.

Now you have taken the first steps to being the perfect CEO of your life.

Try this:

  1. List out 3 names each of people in your life who you would like to promote, demote and eliminate. Also work out an action plan to execute the same.
  2. Name 3 people who have supported and encouraged you. Write down the most inspirational message they gave you.
  3. Can you recollect the most misplaced negative comment or feedback you ever got?
  4. Can you remember the 3 most encouraging statements you have made to others and the most critical statements you have told others?

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog

www.poweract.blogspot.com

Using your personal power

13-19-Use your power

Even before you read further, ask yourself what are the 3 things that you have done/ achieved in your life that you are most proud of. Do any of those proud moments also include a display of physical or moral courage? For the vast majority of those reading this post, finding 3 achievements to be proud of could possibly be a challenge and certainly finding an achievement displaying courage of any sort could be even more challenging. The simple truth is that for the better part of our life, we are comfortable just meeting the bare requirements that life demands of us. Today’s post exhorts each reader to explore, discover and create a new life in which you experience life in new hues.

 

Here are 4 ways to emit your own frequency and thereby leverage your potential, discover yourself and impact the world around you.

 

Be aware – Awareness comes from being alert and responsive to happenings around. You are often alert when you are fearful/ anxious and every creaking sound and unusual movement would be noticed by you. Being aware constantly takes much more effort and even more discipline. The key is to align all your 5 senses and discipline them to be responsive to all that goes on around. Awareness enables one to make intelligent choices, take rational decisions and maintain equilibrium in life no matter where there is ecstasy or panic. E.g. you are passing by a school long after the school children have gone home after school and you notice a primary student loitering around. Your awareness will force you to pause and observe the child and your senses will alert you to  find out more about why the child has not gone home.

 

Be sensitive – This will enable one to better appreciate a person and / or a situation. Being sensitive is all about putting yourself in the situation and understanding the individual caught in it. When you are sensitive your response would be more empathetic, possibly logical but laced with ample heart and it would definitely be a response that will linger long after the moment has passed. E.g. You are waiting for a rick/ taxi while it is pouring heavily and soon a heavily pregnant lady and her husband join you also anxiously waiting for a conveyance. Chances are that you would if sensitive enough allow them to avail of the first conveyance that comes along.

 

Be proactive – Many of us are relatively more aware and sensitive but when it comes to being proactive and taking the initiative we are held back by a number of doubts, visualize numerous obstacles that seem to block our path and fear the possible negative consequences of our proactive responses. For the better part of our lives we have been reactive and hence conditioned that way. How many of us have willingly participated in extracurricular activities at school or college or willingly given answers to questions asked in class when you knew the answer? Being proactive is relatively simple for people who are aware and sensitive because their heart and mind simply prompt the body to act but we still need to overcome our hesitation. E.g. you notice an advertisement about an interesting lecture by an eminent personality on a topic of your deep interest. Only if you are proactive will you make the extra effort to attend the lecture. Your effort would be well worth it but it is up to you to make it happen.

 

Be responsible – Taking responsibility sounds easy but in reality we hanker to take credit but find excuses or accuse others for failures. Taking responsibility means you take ownership and therefore you have to do everything in your power to ensure the success of the undertaking. This could involve commitment of resources, delegation of tasks, managing crisis, finding innovative solutions, taking tough decisions etc. The challenge in taking responsibility is having the daring to empower yourself and if successful sharing credit with the team and if success eludes then taking on the brickbats solely. Since the pay offs of responsibility seem skewed, many of us prefer to shirk responsibility and prefer to be just another team member. Leaders are those who have trained themselves to take on responsibility. E.g.  If you are organizing a picnic or a party there are too many nitty-gritty’s to be taken care off. Often finding someone to take on the responsibility is a challenge for at end of day no matter who organizes there will be some criticism and so the initial response is to side step the opportunity to showcase one’s leadership skills.

 

Try this:

 

This coming festival season instead of sending e-greetings identify 10 very dear people for whom you would buy greeting cards that suit the specific individual. Now write a personal message in each card and send it by snail mail to the respective individuals.

 

Choose a unique way to celebrate this festive season by focusing on impacting the lives of those in hospitals / prisons/ war veterans homes (like the paraplegic home in Kirkee Pune)/ leprosy rehabilitation center.

 

Reflect on the one quality or talent that you posses. Now think of 3 unique ways / situations in which you can proactively and responsibly use your talent/ quality/ ability for the benefit of others.

 

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog

www.poweract.blogspot.com

I choose…

For the past couple of months, well meaning friends and acquaintances have been politely inquiring as to why I have not been writing my blogs as frequently as before. I suspect a number of my blog followers and readers also have a similar query. The plain and simple fact is that I chose to cut down on writing these blogs partly because my priorities changed, partly due to perceptible lack of motivation but mainly due to an unfortunate combination of travel, fatigue and spells of laziness. However, choosing a topic to write on perhaps was the biggest challenge and the real issue that has proved to be the biggest stumbling block in my quest to positively influence my readers through his blog. I have chosen to put these facts before you, for you have been loyal readers and you are entitled, in my view, to be updated of the facts.

The theme for today is something that is both a challenge to embrace and an inducement hard to refuse. I chose it precisely for this intriguing dichotomy.

I choose

to live by choice, not by chance by being aware of the options, appreciating the consequences of my decisions and by consciously improving my chances of success by wisely exercising my choices. Remember: Chance favors the prepared man

to make changes, not excuses by using my intelligence, my creativity, my powers of visualization and all my abilities to influence and impact my life and environment around me. Remember: Instead of cursing the darkness light a lamp

to be motivated and not be manipulated by finding big and small reasons to enjoy what I have to do, by experiencing the joy of a job well done and by doing things right on time without having to be pushed, coerced or threatened. Remember: We cannot be pushed from behind or pulled from the front; we have to be driven from within.

 to be useful and not used by volunteering to lighten another’s burden, by standing up for what is right by not being cowed down by another’s authority or power and by utilizing ones talents and abilities for the larger good of society at large. Remember: It is better to wear out than rust out.

to excel not compete by preparation and decisive action, by treading the path of integrity and honesty and shunning the urge to display one-upmanship. Remember: Excellence is achieved by competing with yourself.

to choose self esteem and not self pity by learning to live within my means, by appreciating the blessings I am showered with by not envying another or feeling sorry for what I lack. Remember: “To wish you were someone else is to waste the person you are.”

to listen to my inner voice and not the random opinion of others by imbibing the qualities of fair play, truth, justice and independence of thought and action. To respect the opinion of others without being unduly influenced by them and having the courage of conviction to stand by what I am sure is the path of righteousness. Remember: To sing like the birds sing, not worrying about who hears or what they think.

Try this:

  1. Out of the above list out the toughest point that you find hard to choose and implement. Outline reasons for it. Think of ways and means that would enable you to cope with that challenge if and when you have to face it.
  2. List out the most common criticisms about yourself which are expressed by those close to you. Which of those criticisms are valid? How do you propose to tackle those criticisms?
  3. If you are to hold one of the following 3 pairs of insects /animals in your hands for 5 minutes which pair would you choose and why? (none of them belong to a poisonous or dangerous species)
  • A frog and a lizard
  • A cockroach and a spider
  • A snake and a mouse

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog

www.poweract.blogspot.com

Making that decision…

Decision making, perhaps ranks first in the list of toughest skills to master and when the issue on hand is subjective one needs nerves of steel to be decisive. The process of decision making can be broadly categorized into two – objective decision making or impulsive decision making. Objective decision making can again follow two different approaches – deciding by eliminating the untenable or choosing the most favored option. Even impulsive decision making can be an outcome of gut feeling, irrational exuberance, illogical elimination or a random pick which is an outcome of a systematic process of elimination using an external aid be it tossing the coin, drawing straws or picking up a chit or lottery. Despite having such a wide variety of methods to make a decision, there are times when the logical thinking clashes with one’s sixth sense or the situation demands that a fair method be adopted to give a fair chance to two opposing sides to make a choice (e.g. choosing which team would bat first in a cricket match) . A way out of such predicaments then would be to flip a coin and…

… as the coin is suspended in the air on its trajectory upward and on its spiral downward one has to quickly choose between heads or tails and assign a decision to the choice. The outcome then is completely random. However in exercising your choice, you have given in to the choice that has an edge in the deepest recess of your heart. The outcome of the flip of the coin then is purely a matter of chance and yet there is a sense of contentment in that decision. E.g.  The captain of a team has to decide what course of action he/ she will take on winning a toss. If the toss is lost, the decision on what to do is forced by the coin.

Action Points:

  1. On what basis would you choose 4 cards at random from a deck of shuffled cards?
  2. What other alternatives can you think of to replace flipping a coin?
  3. Your mother wants to watch the final episode of a TV serial. Unfortunately at the same time there is the finals of your favorite sport. To compound matters, a close elderly relative is unexpectedly coming over and he/ she does not have any interest in TV and is more likely to spend time in meditation which requires peace and quite. How will you attempt to tackle this situation?

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog

www.poweract.blogspot.com

Decisions shape destiny…go on make up your mind

It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped.  Tony Robbins

Of all the numerous faults that one can be accused of, being indecisive is one of the most serious faults for it makes a person fearful, confused, inept and paralyzed, thereby losing out on opportunities to progress, be productive and attain success. The sports arena illustrates this best when an indecisive player becomes a bane for the team and the game by poor coordination and shoddy performance. Ever noticed the mispasses on the field, wayward shooting at the goal and the back chatting between team members; many of these are symptomatic of the malaise of poor decision making. In real life, anyone who often echoes his/ her concern of being confused can be quickly identified as someone prone to avoid taking a decision. Sadly, very often many of these people become indecisive not because they lack inputs but because there are too many equally attractive options or equally scary consequences and deciding on any one is challenging.

Here are four pointers to help one become an effective decision maker.

Analyze extensively but don’t get paralyzed by it. Paralysis by analysis is the bane of those who believe in extensive study in order to minimize the chances of failure. Most people would profess to study threadbare the situation that needs a decision so as to be able to make the best decision, but subconsciously many of them are trying to find the best way to hedge their decision should it fail. As a result making it fail safe becomes the focus rather than maximizing success. When risk appears we tend to demonize it and consequently vacillate between alternatives until forced into a decision either by time constraints or other external pressures.

Accept the reality that not all decisions will be right. Human nature comprehends failure to indicate ineffectiveness, incompetence and ineptness, faults which in our myopic opinion grievously devalue us in the eyes of others. The reality is that failure is proof that someone dared, someone miscalculated and that there could be alternatives to the path taken. How many were actually ruined by the mistakes made? Barring some who were foolhardy or blinded by a false sense of invincibility, every other person who failed learnt from those failures and bounced back with better decisive strategies.

Be aware of the consequences of taking the decision and also of not taking the decision. By being indecisive and avoiding making a commitment, the chances are that we are risking not grasping opportunities, perhaps even missing out on minimizing / avoiding failure and certainly ensuring that the original issue remains unresolved. .  Ask anyone who has invested in shares and stocks and chances are you will get more stories of failures in stock picking but probe further and then they will accept that they rue being indecisive. Many others will blame their impulsiveness in taking decisions that led to poor stock selection.

Never forget that it is only when you can bite the bullet that you can lead the charge. Every leader has invariably reached the top by getting bruised and battered in the battle field of life. What has set them apart is not just their doggedness and ability but their ability to take crucial decisions at critical junctures. At times their decisions could have backfired and send them hurtling down the steep slope of success but with renewed vigor and enthusiasm they took the decision to battle their way up.

Remember : Some people, however long their experience or strong their intellect, are temperamentally incapable of reaching firm decisions. James Callaghan

Try this:

  1. Play a game of snakes and ladders but here is the twist to make you be aware of decision making. Every time you roll the dice you have a choice to accept the number that comes up or to pass the move except if the number that is thrown up moves your counter to a slot with a snake, in which case you go down to the tail of the snake. Check how and when you make the ‘decision’ to pass your turn .Are there times you felt you made a mistake because you made the decision ‘to pass your turn or not to pass your turn’?
  2. Take a look at the video by one of the more popular lecturers at Harvard, Prof. Michael Sandel who is taking a module on the Moral Side of Murder. Remember to pause the video after he asks the first set of questions and make it a point to make ‘your DECISION’ to the question he asks. Also ensure you are clear why you made that decision.  Then continue the video till he asks the second set of questions based on a scenario he describes. Again pause the video and make a decision based on the question.  Perhaps a different facet of ‘decision making’ will emerge and challenge you. Click here to view the video http://tinyurl.com/yey37oe

 This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog

www.poweract.blogspot.com

The challenge of decision making

If we wait until we’ve satisfied all the uncertainties, it may be too late. Lee Iacocca

One of the toughest parts of decision making is trying to minimize the uncertainties associated with the decision so as to ensure that we improve the chances of having taken the right decision.  There are numerous reasons why getting answers to all uncertainties is extremely difficult. To begin with there is a tradeoff between the time available to get all the inputs required to answer all uncertainties and the time frame within which to take the decision. There are numerous uncertainties where a judgment is the only way one can use to determine the probability of nailing the uncertainity.eg  if we visit a couple of doctors for each ones expert opinion on a serious illness and all of them suggest a different line of treatment, we have no choice but to go with one of those recommendations.  As a result, most times apart from using the available data we end up having to use our judgment and rely on our prior experience to arrive at a decision.

One of the most common ailments of decision making prevalent largely in the corporate world is described as Paralysis by analysis. Here the problem arises not because the decision to be made is really tough but more because the decision makers don’t want to be held responsible in case their decision goes wrong.  As a result they would attempt to use all techniques and tools to study and analyze the data available and they would even tweak it till it confirms what they want to believe or prove so that there is ample paperwork to justify their decision. Unfortunately since most decisions are time bound, decision makers can be mentally paralyzed by the reams of analytical data that is generated which may be quite at variance with our expectations and the decision making process goes for a toss.

Decisions concerning relationships are even more tough because it calls for a value judgment. A simple test is to write down the qualities of an ideal spouse. Most times this process for married people poses a serious problem of having to forcefully appreciate the qualities of a spouse. For those yet unmarried the problem is one of how to prune the list. The tough part is yet to come;  for those who are yet to be married the question is how does one really recognize this quality or attribute in their to be spouse for the married person it is accepting the reality that many of those attributes longed for are utopian and unrealistic now. Breaking off a friendship or relationship is perhaps one of the toughest decisions because it is hurtful, painful, emotional and distressing for all concerned. Many a time this happens when there is mistrust and doubt and an amicable parting is often difficult but inevitable. Here the sheer pressure of the uncertainly in the relationship could prove to be a mill stone in the relationship which ultimately drowns it perhaps a wee bit too late.   Even more tough is to take a decision to part because pure rational itself does not provide the answers to all the uncertainties associated with the relationship. E.g. An office romance between a married boss and a subordinate or social pressures associated with a gay relationship or the breaking up of a partnership or a joint venture because the parties have divergent view points.

Remember: “My basic principle is that you don’t make decisions because they are easy; you don’t make them because they are cheap; you don’t make them because they’re popular; you make them because they’re right.”  Theodore Hesburgh

Try this:

  1. Your most intimate friend has picked up a new job and ever since his visits and interactions have come down.  You are disappointed and not sure if it is only the new job that is the reason for this sudden drop in communications and interactions. You are confused and hurt but you still cherish his friendship. How will you ensure that you don’t take a drastic or wrong decision by cutting off all your ties while at the same time ensuring that he still values your friendship?
  2. You are at a famous art museum that has a Picasso, a Rembrandt and a Van Gogh painting among some other prized paintings being exhibited. Suddenly there is a fire in the museum and you are able to save just one painting. Which painting will you save?  (The answer to this will be published in our weekly blog www.poweract.blogspot.com before this weekend)

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

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

Our rights vs our interests

A man will fight harder for his interests than for his rights. Napoleon Bonaparte

As a citizen of a democratic nation each one of us has the right to exercise his/ her franchise and vote in the elections. How many of us have diligently used this right without giving any excuses and voted responsibly? Similarly those eligible for pension are expected to personally go and collect their pension each month. Most of those eligible for pension are old and suffer from various ailments but their family members ensure that they are dutiful taken on the respective dates to collect the pension but the same people may not honor the wishes of these elder people to cast their vote during the elections. This might seem like a bizarre example but it clearly illustrates the stark reality and the naked truth about the approach of people with respect to their rights and their interests.

There is the inherent selfishness that governs the approach of most people to focus on their interests because they are directly affected by it. Rights on the other hand are conferred on us and we have the option to use it as and when we want though the underlying principle of the right is to empower the person to exercise his/ her right for both personal good but largely for the public good. Take the case of people at a railway platform. They have the right to take a platform ticket and avail of the facilities on the platform including using the benches put there to sit on it. While the honest citizen will diligently follow it, the unscrupulous ones will try to hoodwink the authorities and yet claim their right to the seats on the benches. Even more uncouth is the tendency of people to occupy one seat and use the other seat to keep their luggage on lest the luggage get soiled when kept on the floor or it is used to ensure personal privacy by not allowing another to sit on the adjacent seat.

Many of us may have observed the above happenings from afar but may never be directly concerned with such episodes and so we may have a smug feeling of relief that we are not guilty of such tendencies and that we will sacrifice our interests when we have to chose between our rights and our interests. The unfortunate reality is that each one of us is guilty of the crime of being self centered and selfish enough to put our personal interest far ahead of our rights. The most classic case is the fine line that distinguishes between avoiding paying taxes and evading taxes. We have the legitimate right to avoid paying taxes by utilizing the provisions of the law legitimately. Yet when we it comes to our own taxes if we perceive it to be still exorbitant, we would resort to conveniently interpreting the law, perhaps indulge in some dubious means to asses our taxes or simply fudge the returns with the ultimate aim of minimizing the tax burden.

On a more macro level, we as citizens are also guilty of being mute witnesses and turning a blind eye to despicable practices like the use of child labor ( denying them the right to freedom and education), cruelty to animals ( illegal use for animal testing of drugs being the biggest culprit), disparity in wage structure between women and men, denying fair wages to the marginalized and downtrodden  etc.  It is not that we practice it, but our refusal to stand up for their rights that makes us party to the crime of being focused on our interests without exercising our rights.

Remember: “Interest makes some people blind, and others quick-sighted”  Francis Beaumon

Try this:

  1. List out 3 of your pet social causes.  Now that you are interested in them outline how you will exercise your rights to ensure that you play an active role in making the social causes fructify and deliver results.
  2. Assuming you have the time and the inclination to use the Right To Information act (RTI), make a list of causes, public interest matters, areas of concern in which you would possibly use the act. What prevents you from invoking the provisions of the act for public good?

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

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