Tag: Being positive

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

Oh to be happy

Real happiness is cheap enough, yet how dearly we pay for its counterfeit. Hosea Ballou

Look around and you will find lots of laughter, plenty of smiles and chuckles and ample hilarity and mirth around. You make the pleasant discovery that there is an abundance of Happiness around and it is there everywhere. You might also make the painful realization though that you just don’t seem to get enough of it and this is also both hurtful and worrisome realization.  Perhaps we might also make an insightful observation that it is just a matter of finding it if we seek it earnestly . The problem though is in where we seek happiness.

The first problem is that we pine for happiness that seems to be unfairly nestling in other people’s lives in plenty while eluding us unfairly.  We selectively choose what seems to be the elixir of happiness for others be it material possessions, wealth, power and fame.  The fact is that wealth, fame, popularity, power and possessions are mere indicators of a certain measure of success but do not necessarily bring happiness.  Happiness in fact is the feeling one enjoys when one knows how to deal with whatever success one has got. E.g. For a below average student passing the exams is a major achievement and he/she should be taught to enjoy that moment rather than be unfairly pressurized to improve performance to meet the grades of the person who stood first.

The second problem is that we are blinded to the happiness that is available to us for we do not seek it within us but probe and prod all around us. The secret to happiness lies in relishing and savoring every moment of our life for all the riches in the world cannot recreate it, bestow it or extend it. Good health, strong family ties and bonds, a well groomed upbringing and the capacity for hard work and enterprise are the riches that we really need to value and appreciate if one has to be truly happy. E.g. If one can cycle to work it is perfect proof of excellent health and more importantly provides one the opportunity to remain fit, helps us contribute to a clean environment and saves us the stress of daily driving and rush hour traffic, parking woes etc.

The third problem in identifying happiness is our inability to be positive. If one is positive one becomes optimistic and happiness often masquerades as opportunities which someone with a negative mindset views as problems.  To accept the reality as it exists and to then seek the positives in it leads us to the path of happiness. E.g. If a personal financial resource crunch did not give you the opportunity to pursue the studies you passionately wanted to pursue rather than brood on it focus on making your mark in the current course or work.  The success you attain will soon make you even more happy and sooner than later, excellence will be noticed and will never go unrewarded too.

The other effective ways to remain happy is to be in the company of those who radiate happiness, to channelize your energies on those ethical activities that give you maximum pleasure,  to enjoy the pleasures of jokes, comedy movies and humorous stories and books.  Of course spending time with children, the aged, the challenged and the sick would be the real icing on the cake of happiness.

Remember: “It isn’t what you have, or who you are, or where you are, or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about.” Dale Carnegie

Try this:

  1. Consciously make an effort to praise all those whom you come across in your daily life. If possible also share a joke, spread some good news and / or share some chocolates/ toffees/ biscuits etc. with those around.
  2. Jot down the name of  one person known to you and qualifying as under
  • A close family member
  • An office colleague
  • An old school mate
  • A person whom you envy
  • A well know personality you know a lot about

Now against each person write down 3 qualities they posses/ display that you really envy. Also jot down 3 points that you perceive to be their limitation/ weakness/ problem areas. Now jot down 3 of your good qualities/ strengths that they do not posses. Finally jot down3 points that give you real happiness.

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

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

How to attain peace of mind

Peace of mind is that mental condition in which you have accepted the worst. Lin Yutang

I have been beseeched by inquiries from well meaning friends as to why I have not been consistently updating my posts as I was doing  through 2010. I do plead guilty of being a tad lethargic but more importantly there have been other personal, professional and social commitments that are now competing very hard to be treated on par with my other priorities. I must confess that in the process, the daily blog has got pushed out to the periphery but I can assure my readers that it will still remain a priority for me. It has taken me a while to attain peace of mind with respect to taking the decision to reduce my daily blog to writing 4-5 times a week. Yes, today’s quote aptly sums up my dilemma and my response to it.

One dreaded word that is the bane of those seeking peace of mind is CHANGE. This is because for almost all of us change signifies a shift in the status quo and this means one has to constantly readjust to adapt to the change. Most of us are tempered to follow a planned, preordained path and anything that disturbs this causes anxiety which translates to mean that it disturbs our peace of mind. To cope with change, the focus should be on looking at change as an allay rather than an adversary.  A simple example could be the stimulus that makes us follow a good diet and exercise regime. While one has to possibly sacrifice some of the most tasty and appetizing food, the pain of strain and effort in exercising  begins to both unnerve us and makes us anxious about coping up. If what drives us to diet and exercise is fear of illness then both the effort and the results would be labored. On the other hand if it is our inner desire to feel good, look healthy and be fit that is the stimulant the results would be far more spectacular.

Worry is the real culprit in disturbing the peace of mind. This is because we are constantly anticipating problems, imagining worst case scenarios and oozing negative emotions and feelings. One reason for this is that we believe that it makes the reality easier to bear if the worst happens. What we fail to see is that most of worries never happen and so we have expended our energies fruitlessly. Equally tragic is the fact that by worrying we have often missed out on opportunities and possibilities of learning, earning and growing.  The trick to tackle worry is change our mindset and attitude. This means one has to work on one’s self belief and positive attitude. This does not mean that we ignore our concerns but we build up the will power to address our concerns by having alternatives lined up but after that we proceed to leverage the opportunities that are available to us. An example of this could be those who worry about a job loss if the company is shut down during a recession. If the probability is high they would plan out the alternatives but having done so they would go about doing their job so well that they would be retained till the end because of their sheer performance.

Accepting the reality is where people really flounder. Very often when faced with an unpleasant reality, the common response of most people is denial. Denial simply implies that people do not accept the reality. They tend to fight it, ignore it, manipulate it and camouflage it. They expend their energies in a futile way hoping that some miracle would restore their original status quo. Subconsciously too they are aware that they are fighting a losing cause and hence do not enjoy the peace of mind that could help them cope with the reality. People who are detected with life changing or life threatening illness or disabilities would for example try all types of cures including alternative therapy, faith healing and could even fall prey to the guile’s of god men. Finally it is only when they reconcile to the reality that they actually give up fighting the illness and learn to enjoy the rest of their life. Enjoying life particular all that is left when we run short of time is perhaps when peace of  mind is experienced in its regal splendor and majesty.

Remember: “You’ll never find peace of mind until you listen to your heart.”  George Michael

Try this:

  1. We find it hard to forgive ourselves for our indiscretions. If we carry this burden then we lose our peace of mind. Saying sorry is a very simple means to retain our peace of mind. Read the following to know more about forgiving ourselves. https://actspot.wordpress.com/2010/12/10/forgiving-ones-own-self/
  2. Check if incidents in the following situations are even today making you lose your peace of mind
  • Your inability to forgive someone who wronged you
  • Your personal negative qualities e.g. Quick temper/ extreme jealously/ possessiveness/ avariciousness etc
  • Some incident from the past that has traumatized you e.g. dog bite in child hood/ scenes from some horror movies / being ditched by a loved one

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

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

Change your thinking and…

You can promote your healing by your thinking. James E. Sweeney

The one problem that plagues us often is our own lack of self belief. Our reaction to most new tasks for example is one of self doubt, suspicion and caution. While it may be a prudent way of approaching a new task, our imaginary fears might dissuade us from taking any chances and consequentially we may end up missing a wonderful opportunity. Most times we lack self belief simply because we are afraid to fail. Other times we undervalue ourselves and therefore do not scale up our ambitions and aspire for something much bigger. Ask yourself if you take the initiative to organize a picnic or a party? Do you offer to host the games or take charge of the catering or any allied activity? When requested to take charge of something how often have you declined it saying you do not how to go about it?

Creative thinking holds the key to all progress made by human beings.  It is imperative that we appreciate the wonders brought about by out of the box thinkers and not be boxed in by our own paranoia. Our ability to think differently will definitely give us a plethora of radical and new ideas what limits us is our constant logical thinking that immediately rules out the idea as impractical and useless. To be creative all one needs to do is let our imagination run riot. Feel free to explore the wildest possibilities, make improbable associations , stretch the limits of your imagination and never let any form of self limiting statement enter your thought process. Are you game enough to take a pen and list out 10 or more uses of a pen other than using it to write?

Logical thinking has a vital role to play in ensuring understanding and problem solving. While on one hand it structures our thought process, it also reinforces and confirms our hypothesis at every stage thereby ensuring that we proceed ahead by validating the results at every stage. The entire gamut of the three R’s of reading, writing and arithmetic are founded on logical thinking. Yet many of us tend to see deeper meaning into things and tend to distort facts based on our personal prejudices, inferences and limitations. As a simple exercise read the reviews of different film critics about a movie and then go see the movie and write a review yourself. Reverse the process by seeing the movie first and then reading the critics review.

It is also important to recognize the fact that our attitude has a major bearing on our style of thinking. If we are positive and see the bright side of every event, it brings out hope and contentment within us. On the other hand people with a negative view will always search for the dark, sinister and malicious interpretation for any event. While our past experiences and gut feeling have a major influence in shaping our attitude, many a clue is hidden in the scripting done to us in childhood by parents, teachers and other authorities who have had a major influence on us. To be positive one needs to have tremendous self belief. To see problems as opportunities requires us to be strong mentally and emotionally and astute enough to channelize our energies into finding positive and acceptable meaning even in unfortunate and unpleasant events. How many of us can be like Thomas Alva Edison who on seeing his house go up in smoke when a fire burnt it down along with years of his experimental works, cheerful remarked that he could now restart with a clean slate all over again?

Remember: “You can have anything you want if you will give up the belief that you can’t have it.” Dr. Robert Anthony

Try this:

  1. Work out an action plan to increase your savings by 25% this year without seriously impacting your current life style.
  2. Attempt to write a poem or a limerick or write a film review or a letter to the editor of the local newspaper on a topic of local importance.  The challenge is to get it published .

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

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