Tag: Being pragmatic

Making dreams come true

Making dreams come true

All of us at various times have a wide variety of dreams and fantasies. There are some dreams that seem to come back with regularity and at times they also become day dreams. They are largely connected with happiness, success, achievement, appreciation, recognition and similar positive images. The problem is that for most of us, these remain pipe dreams that we do not translate into concrete achievements that can embrace those positive emotions. The problem is not with the dreams but our inability to cross the chasm between dreams and reality. The steps are crystal clear, the difficulty is our inertia. Overcome that inertia and do the following:

Turn dreams to goals – Wake up and if you can visualize your dream then you are definitely getting somewhere. Grab a pen and paper and jot down the dream not in a fanciful way but in a concrete pragmatic way.  E.g. you dreamt that you stood first in class. Reality is that currently you have a backlog and are in the bottom half of the class. Now to make your dream a goal, be pragmatic. Jot down your goal as ‘clear my back log and get 20 % more marks in all subjects than my previous score.’ Notice that your goal is more tangible than merely imagining standing first.

Break down every goal into action plans – This is even more crucial then jotting down your goal. Now you are making your goal a SMART goal by being more Specific about the steps to be taken (how will you plan a study time table, what subjects would you pay more attention too etc.) , Using a Measure ( in this case score), ensuring that it is Attainable ( you should not try to achieve ridiculous things beyond your ability like saying scoring 80% in all subjects because current performance standards are way below that), be Realistic ( if you are currently studying  only on the previous day of the exam it would be foolhardy to imagine yourself studying for 8 hours every day ) and ensure your goal is clearly Time bound. Of course, the example given is for an average person but there could be people who have a much more steely resolve and the ability to cope with bigger challenges that they map out for themselves.

Take action – All the goals and action plans turn to successful results only when one takes the action required. Taking action means you need to find the right motivation ( ideally intrinsic motivation), develop the right attitude ( avoid all distractions, remain focused, do not give into temptations ) and remain enthusiastic ( reward yourself for the small success you encounter when you stick to your action plans) and then do what you have to do to achieve your goal ( in this case regular study, practice regularly, revise frequently, )

Try these:          

  1. List out three personal weaknesses you want to overcome. Now write down your smart goals to achieve it and see tangible results in the next 3 months.
  2. Write down your goals and action plan for the following:
  • To increase your savings
  • To improve your fitness
  • To minimize your social media addiction
  • To develop your social circle

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog


The moment of truth

We swallow greedily any lie that flatters us, but we sip only little by little at a truth we find bitter.  ~Denis Diderot

It is human nature to seek recognition, enjoy appreciation, be elated when praised and  be ecstatic when put on a pedestal as an achiever. It is also true that we are hurt when criticized, annoyed when admonished, depressed when berated and livid when we perceive ourselves to be insulted. The reality is that as individuals we have to accept the fact that we will be subject to all these and many more such emotions in our lives for none of us is perfect. Yet a little introspection will reveal that most times when we are recipients of positive observations even if it borders on flatter we are lustily drink of it and if subject to anything negative we attempt to reject, rationalize, ignore and if forced to, swallow it with diffidence.

Temperance is a virtue that is critical for every individual to have a balanced view of ones own self. The reality can then be better appreciated, accepted and acted upon. To begin with our achievement however big or small needs to be savored without us gloating over it as if it is the only thing in life. If we do not perceive ourselves as achievers we tend to long for any positive comment and then drum it up to believe that we have attained success of rare proportions. The truth is that with every achievement we are actually raising the bar for us to perform even better. This is actually a tough call since we may be limited by our own weakness and fear of underperformance. Despite this even if we know that the praise we get is disproportionate to our achievements we lap it up with great relish.

Criticism is something that is always a very bitter pill to swallow. Even if it is sugar coated, the bitterness and the resentment is not easy to overcome. The biggest problem is our inability to stare at our misdemeanors squarely for it is both embarrassing and often a trifle shameful to handle. Therefore our way of coping up when criticized is to rationalize and justify our act often remonstrating and protesting indignantly. We are just not ready to accept blame, acknowledge our faults nor look objectively at the feedback when it is negative. While there may be rare times we are unfairly made victims of negative criticism the truth is that there could be a fair amount of truth in most other negative feedback that is received by us. Yet we tend to stall its impact, side step the core issues and underplay its seriousness.

If we see each day as being a new opportunity to improve ourselves we would be able to have a balanced perspective of the positive and negative feedback we receive. Our virtues when recognized must be viewed as strengths that we can utilize even more effectively and the blips that our pointed out can be studied with more calmness and equanimity so that we can work on eliminating all that actually hampers our performance and our personal growth.

Remember: “You can bend it and twist it… You can misuse and abuse it… But even God cannot change the Truth.” Michael Levy

Try this:

  1. What is the one criticism about you that you felt was
  • Harshly said to you
  • Was unjustified
  • Was done with malicious intent
  • Was hurtful but true
  1. When and how did you praise
  • Your spouse
  • Your colleague
  • Your neighbor
  • Your best friend
  • Someone whom you are not too cordial with
  • A stranger

For the following situations ask yourself how you would react. Your options are

  1. Yes I will
  2. Am not sure what I would do
  3. No I won’t

The situations are as under:

  • If I had the opportunity to fudge my marks in an exam I would _____
  • If I found a wallet with no identification marks but containing a huge wad of money I would give it to charity_____
  • Your neighbor is a very irritating character.  One midnight he rings the bell and asks for painkiller for a tooth ache. Would you give it if you have it? ____
  • Your best friend at work wants you to lie for him/ her so that he/ she can claim to be sick and go out of town for a pleasure trip during the peak season which is against company policy and would put pressure on the other employees. Would you do it? ___

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

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

Taking risks

Take calculated risks.  That is quite different from being rash. General George S. Patton

None of us can ever lead a risk free life. The reality is that at every turn we encounter a measure of risk but very often the quantum of risk is too minuscule for us to be aware of it. There is a risk that our food is poisonous, there is risk of being involved in an accident while traveling, our undisciplined lifestyle makes us prone to a variety of ailments and life style diseases and simply worrying about the risks brings about the possibility of stress related problems like heart attacks, high blood pressure etc. Almost all these risks come uninvited and often unknowingly. Yet there are many risks that we take consciously, like changing jobs, making investments in the stock market, chucking a salaried job to start a business venture etc. Funnily enough many of us honed our skills of risk taking during our formative years by doing last minute studies, cutting classes, telling lies to cover up our misdeeds and copying in exams.

The concept of risk therefore is not alien to anyone. However the conscious realization of the risks that we face and continue to face may perhaps be an eye opener.  What is more important is knowing that there are levels of risk and the concept of varying probability of a risk being triggered. For a naturally brilliant student not studying for the exams may not be as risky as it would be for a duffer. Similarly for someone suffering from diabetes, not controlling the sugar intake is extremely risky but not exercising daily may not be taking too much of a risk for a person who all along has a good health record.  Since there are varying degrees of risk, one needs to be aware of the consequences of the risk and the probability of the risk being triggered when one has to take decisions.

A calculated risk is one where the person taking the risk has weighed the pros and cons of the action before pursuing a particular line of action. The idea of calculated risk is that the payoff for the risk taken is very much higher than the risk taken. Eg. The whole concept of gambling is based on this and higher  odds are given for riskier bets. In a calculated risk the probability of the risk actually taking place is perceived to be very very low and that is the reason one is willing to take the risk. This does not mean that the risk is mitigated and in very unfortunate circumstances the risk might be realized and the consequences very costly. Eg. If the world number 1 in tennis is playing the world number 100 the probability of the former winning is almost 100% yet in some freak cases there can be major upsets. On the other hand there are people who because of their brashness or foolhardiness make rash claims almost all of which are near impossible. Rashness is paying no heed to the reality and pursing a near fatal line of action. Eg. Betting a substantial amount of money on the world number 100 to win, simply because he happens to be your country man.

What is interesting is that because the payoffs for taking calculated risks are fairly high, one would notice that most successful people in the world have achieved success by taking calculated risks. Michael Dell for example took a very calculated risk when he changed the rules of selling computer hardware. The pioneers in any field have always been people who took calculated risks and had strong self belief . A calculated risk is always an educated risk because it is not off the cuff but the result of careful study, analysis and with a clear road map to proceed ahead. As yourself if you are taking calculated risks in your life be it as simple as changing your life style or something more adventurous as indulging in your passion for skydiving or river rafting. If your heart is not in what you are currently doing, ask yourself what you really want to do. Then do a risk reward analysis, do a personal profiling to ensure that you can execute what you set out to do and then work out the blue print for execution. Seek professional counseling of need be and when you have ensured that you have reasonably covered all bases take the plunge.

Remember: “He who risks and fails can be forgiven. He who never risks and never fails is a failure in his whole being.”  Paul Tillich

Try this:

  1. Look back at the riskiest things you did during your school and college days. What were the consequences of those risks? Would you have risked doing those things if you did it today? If you had to take those risks again what additional precautions would you take?
  2. If you are given the following two options which of them will you choose and why?
  • Participate in Fear Factor or its Indian equivalent Katron Ka Khiladi       or
  • Being a participant of the Big Brother show or its Indian equivalent Big Boss

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

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

Risk and daring

Unless you enter the tiger’s den, you cannot take the cubs. Japanese proverb

It takes more than just raw courage to take on risky challenges. While raw courage will trigger action, it is a passionate self belief and longing that is at the heart of any risky venture. Strangely enough most of our attempts at something new and different is similar to entering a tigers den to take the cubs. After all there must be a tangible purpose to the effort and a clear strategy to accomplish the task. If the risk is high the payoff must be much larger and the probability of success reasonably assured else taking risk is either foolhardy or outrageously stupid.

A risk averse life is bland and placid with hardly any accomplishments and even less celebration.  Many a diligent employee would perhaps fall in this category for the simple reason that they merely follow orders, meet targets and don’t yearn for change. On the contrary, even the, lowliest employee who  dares to cross the threshold of his/ her job description dares will feel a sense of elation that he / she has taken on some risks and enjoyed the experience. In fact it is when we are prepared to step out of our comfort zone that we get new experiences that would include failures too. Visualize a fresh MBA on his first sale job and making his first call. He is kept waiting despite an appointment, gets irritated because he is in danger of missing the next confirmed appointment and has got two calls from existing customers who are furious that his predecessor has not sent in the supplies promised. Not a very pleasant experience for the first day;  yet at end of day he can look back and note how he managed each situation and also gains the confidence that the next day can’t get worse.

Contrasting this is the trigger happy person who thinks he/ she is playing a game of ‘Fear Factor’ everyday. They get bored with the routine, seek out challenges and pursue it with a vengeance.  Unfortunately many of them bite of more than what they can chew and end up hungry and frustrated. It is not they lack the spirit or don’t have the right attitude.  Their problem pertains to lack of planning, short term goals and inability to sustain their motivation levels. Poor listening skills, abrasive behavior and a purely goal centric approach are often hall marks of such boorish people. While they often do produce results they end up severing relationships, foul up possibilities of repeat business and end up believing that meeting challenges and taking risks is the be all and end of life. What they fail to appreciate is that they can never sustain their momentum over an extended period and that is when the slide starts.

If life is to be a perfect one every day must bring in fresh challenges. One must evaluate the risks and reward and then be realistic about one’s ability to take it on before one plunges into it heart and soul. At the same time being too cautious, risk averse and avoiding any form of risk makes life dull, boring and  wasted.  Poetically speaking ’ it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.’

Remember: “Take calculated risks. That is quite different from being rash.” General George S. Patton

Try this:

  1. Attempt a task that you always fancied doing but never chanced. Eg. Filing your nomination papers for a local election or learning a new style of dancing or Writing a letter to the editor on a topic you feel very strongly about
  2. List out three challenges that you backed out from. Can you recollect the actually reasons for backing out.  On hindsight did you act like a coward or did you take a rational decision even If it meant losing face at that moment.

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

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