Tag: Change

How do you see yourself ?

13-10-How do you see yourself

Take a pen and paper and write down five positive adjectives that best describe you. Did you have difficulty in writing it? Now can you list out at least 2 negative adjectives that reflect an aberration in your personality? If you can immediately list our more than 2 negative traits it could possibly indicate a that you have an anxiety about yourself. The good news though is that almost everyone would have experienced this in varying degrees. Successful people have developed the art of focusing on the positives and thereby taking proactive steps to attaining those. The challenge for us then is to reorient our way of thinking and then achieve the success we seek.

It may not be apparent, but for sure every individual has it in him or her, the ability to exceed their own expectations. Let us begin by checking out a couple of well know achievers whose initial failures in academics should have been reason enough to make them give up their dreams.  Winston Churchill wasn’t exactly known for his academic prowess, yet his is amongst the first name that comes up when talking about the world war years. David Attenborough, the celebrated naturalist once addressed a graduating class with a specific speech directed at the failures of the class for he said he could identify with them as he was amongst the academic failures in his school days. On the other end of the spectrum, toppers in academics are by and large expected to be a success in their chosen field of endeavor. So it is not too surprising that Dr.Abdul Kalam became a leading scientist. Yet it was not his professional achievements that were as instrumental in his elevation as President of India as much as it was his own personal integrity and standards coupled with his visionary ways. In recent years, he remains one of India’s best loved public figures.

Many of us would shrug our shoulders at the thought of emulating these respected personalities. What is important though to note, is that each of them was just as human as each of us and for sure they did not ever visualize the sort of success they achieved. What we need to emulate, is the kind of self belief they demonstrated in their daily life, the focus and dedication with which they set about their tasks and the subsequent accolades and achievements were a logical by product of a wholesome personality. To make the best of our strength, abilities, talents and intelligence would be the most succinct way of giving expression to the enormous potential within us.

Pause for a moment and ask yourself if you are doing what you want to do or are pursuing goals largely set by others be it parents, friends, the society around us etc. Social and economic pressures would have a bearing on the choices you make but the biggest mistake one makes is to give up on a passion or goal merely because you let yourself believe that you lacked the ability. It is equally possible that you have not given up on your dreams but merely kept it on the back burner for the opportune moment. What is important to bear in mind here is that you would have to create that opportune moment and not merely have a wistful longing that may never materialize. Finally failure is a very realistic and possible outcome when one embarks on a mission. Use the lessons from the failures to rethink your strategies, rework the plans and remodel the execution without ever changing the goal.

Go look in the mirror now and appreciate the person looking back!

Try this

From the following list choose one or more and try to gain some expertise in the chosen field/s and demonstrate that to an audience within the next 6 months.

  • Origami
  • Card tricks
  • Magic tricks
  • Haiku
  • Pottery
  • Shadowgraphy

Outline a budget for a gift each for the following persons. Find something unique within that budget and gift that to the person at an appropriate time within this calendar year.

  • One close family member
  • Your best friend
  • A child in an orphanage
  • Your family doctor
  • A surprise gift for a stranger who may do you a good deed.

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog


The way to change MYSELF

Many people have ideas on how others should change; few people have ideas on how they should change. Leo Tolstoy

There is plenty of free advice floating around, most of it liberally dished out by ordinary folks who believe they have a solution to everyone else’s problem. Sadly in most cases if the problem is closer home, perhaps at the doorsteps of those who dish out these pearls of wisdom, they would grapple to come to grips with it. This sound ironic considering how appropriate the advice sounded for someone else but alas its potency seemed to vanish when a inch of it is applied at home. The conclusion that one can draw is that any advice given must first be tried and tested by those giving it before it is freely distributed around.

Here are four situations in the average person’s life where advice is often sought and given but rarely digested in the same form if the giver of the advice has to digest it himself// herself

Parenting and the generation gap. Each successive generation grapples with the problem of handling the younger generation. Each generation also gets ample advice from the previous generation most of which is very sound and based on good experience. The problem is that there is still a huge gap between us and the next generation which we normally try to rationalize and explain failing which we emotionalize the issue and pressurize. What we fail to understand is that we need to change with the times and adapt to the ways of a changing younger generation.

Facing the humdrum of everyday life. The daily grind of work that is the destiny of every individual rich or poor, young or old, healthy or sick often gets monotonous and boring. For others we would suggest a variety of solutions to cope with this situation. We could suggest job rotation, brining about variety in the job, finding creative ways to do the repetitive job, looking out for intrinsic motivations and where possible change jobs. The very same advice somehow seems to lose its charm, its appeal and its magic properties when we attempt to charge up our own monotonous everyday life. A major reason for this is our coziness and comfort of aligning with the known devil rather than risking it with a new devil as a result of which the very advice we give others ends up being impotent and ineffective to rescue us from the hellish rigors of daily life.

Managing life changing challenges. Change comes in many forms. While the furious pace of technological and scientific changes eases life in many ways mastering their functionality can be quite a change to manage. Remember the first time one tried to master the mouse on the computer. Imagine the challenge for those in the older age bracket.  More difficult are the emotional changes that challenge us be it death of a loved one, breakdown of relationships, pain of separation, job loss and the challenges caused by ill health and related trauma. Our problem is our inability to adopt and embrace the advent of technology and make peace with the upheavals brought about by the emotional changes.

Bidding good bye to life. Each of us comes with our expiry date stamped and hardcoded in our destiny. Yet being prepared to accept that reality is an extremely painful and heart wrenching prospect. While we would in all earnestness and honesty give courage to a dying person by drawing their attention to the goodness of afterlife and the prospect of never ending peace and happiness, when we are merely asked to even think of an epitaph for our self the task seems frightening, ludicrous and insane. We do not fear death itself but the prospect of leaving behind all those we love for we believe that they are the real possessions that matter.

Remember: The greatest discovery of all time is that a person can change his future by merely changing his attitude.  Oprah Winfrey

Try this:

  1. Write down the 3 most annoying things about the younger generation. (If you are a youngster write down 3 most annoying things about the older generation.) Now jot down 2 reasons that you think are why these seem to annoy. Perhaps you now get a better perspective of the other side.
  2. Who are the 3 people who you would like to speak to in the last moments of your life? What would you like to tell them?
  3.  Here are two links to help you connect with 2 heroes who coped with drastic CHANGE in their lives.

 This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog


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

Nothing permanent

Nothing in this world is permanent. German proverb

This is both a sobering thought and an alluring one for it encapsulates life itself.  History is witness to the rise and fall of not just the Roman empire but many a kingdom and dynasty and therein lies a tale of both grandiose successes and devastating defeats and catastrophy.  The evolution of man itself, going by Darwin’s theory is another splendid testimony that nothing is permanent. The rapid changes that take the world of science and technology by storm reinforce the reality that the past will be obliterated by the present only to be dazzle like a shooting star for a brief period before the future overtakes it rapidly. So what are the lessons in it for us?

There are 4 important lessons that we can effectively learn from the reality that there is nothing permanent.  The first is that we can have hope; the second that we should be prepared; the third that we must be ready to adapt and the fourth is that we must proactively ensure that we drive change and ensure a fresh breath of air and sustain progress. We can look out in hope when things are at its worst simply because we know that sooner or later the reality will change because nothing in this world is permanent. When we have hope life becomes easier to put up with, troubles seem more bearable and the future seems inviting. Words like retirement, death, transfer, promotion, resignation indicate that there is a forthcoming change that will happen and for sure things will never be the same thereafter. While some changes could be detrimental, most changes signify a possibility of betterment, a move towards positivity and chances of improvement.

Being prepared would help us set our sails to catch the winds of change that signify that the old order will give way to the new.  We need to anticipate the future trends, look out for signs of the old order getting dismantled and broken down and jump on to the right bandwagon at the right time. Technology is ruthless in demanding that we be prepared to change. The concept of communication has been completely revolutionized by the technological advances and it is those who are prepared who are laughing all the way to the bank for they set their sails right.

If nothing is permanent then it implies that there would be drastic changes and this means we must despite our worst fears and inhibitions be prepared to change. Those who cannot accept or adapt to change will soon find themselves overrun by the crumbling old order that is systematically being dismantled and the speedy new order that is being erected simultaneously. The systematic disappearance of dinosaurs is attributed to their inability to adapt but the disappearance of the ink pen and the typewriters are but small footnotes in the modern history of evolution.

Since nothing will be permanent, the real winners are those who can proactively go and replace those structures by newer and more efficient ones. The key lies in seeking changes, making discoveries, thinking differently, being visionary and daring to take risks. When the past is replaced there could be resentment, opposition, anger and resistance and it those who can weather these storms and remain resilient  and rock steady who can overcome and force the old order to give way to the new. Technology proves the point that no one can take his place under the sun for granted. Microsoft seemed invincible, then cam Google who seemed monolithic yet now it is time for Facebook to take its place under the sun. Notice the pace of how what seemed permanent changed and life will just get more fast paced, action oriented and dynamic.

Remember: “Any change, even a change for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts.”  Arnold Bennett

Try this:

  1. Those of you knowing Hindi / Urdu will be strongly advised to enjoy Aziz Naza’s  well known Qawwali ‘ Chadta Suraj dheere dheere http://tinyurl.com/38v4fv3 or go though the lyrics of it http://tinyurl.com/373wfy2 . Notice how powerful the message of permanency being overrun at every turn is emphasized.
  2. Attempt to imagine changes in the following spheres of life
  • Efficient transportation
  • Population control
  • Environment protection
  • Health care
  • Human Relations

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

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

The process of change

When you’re through changing, you’re through.  Bruce Barton

While it is well know that change is the only constant in this world, the process of change and its influence are never really understood much less appreciated.  The trouble with change is that sometimes it creeps up with little warning and before we know it, he change has forced us to accept it. Technology is a key driver of such drastic changes that creep up and engulf us. Other times change is sudden and drastic making us fearful, panicky and reactive in most cases. A sudden death of a family member, an unexpected job loss, the diagnosis of an incurable disease etc.  are changes that jolt us and send us in a tizzy. What is important o note is that the change forces us to adapt but the process of adaptation is not complete till we reconcile to the changes forced upon us.

Most of us at first, attempt to fight change. This is a natural self defensive mechanism that attempts to protect the status quo. We do not want to disturb the current setting even if there are some problems or inconveniences primarily because of the fear that change will make us uncomfortable, would stress us out and there is our morbid fear that we will never learn to adapt to the change.  Notice how uncomfortable we are if our hand or leg is in a cast. While the pain of a fracture is disturbing, the fact that our natural responses and movements are terribly constricted add to our discomfort, annoyance and exasperation. It is interesting to note that, because we have no choice, we slowly adapt to the discomfort and given sufficient time, we easily adapt to the change.

Being comfortable with change involves accepting the reality, embracing the new environment and making our best efforts to adapt to the new reality. In traditional societies, the newly married bride has to make a major effort to accept, adapt and adopt the new family. This can be very challenging if the new set up has drastically different value systems, styles and attitudes.  Something similar happens when we change jobs or professions. In both scenarios often the acceptance of change is relatively easier because we walk into the change voluntarily, we go ahead with a positive frame of mind and we are keen to succeed in adapting to the change. If we tried to bring in a similar mindset to those changes that are involuntary, unexpected and inescapable the probability of us easily making the transition brought about by the change is very high.

The fact that people comply with change when forced to does not in any manner indicate that the change process is complete. Take the case of prisoners who are imprisoned in the hope of paying a price and hopefully reforming in the process. Unfortunately many of the released prisoners would have returned to their way ward ways. The same holds true for beggars who are sheltered in homes. At the first opportunity most of them escape and try to resume their old profession. Change is complete only when the participants in the change process have completely embraced the change and accept the new altered state as a lifelong reality.

Remember: “Change is the essence of life. Be willing to surrender what you are for what you could become.”

Try this:

  1. Make a list of at least 3 major changes that you have undergone/ adapted to/ accepted in the last 5 years. Eg. Took up a new job / got married/ cut off ties with family / getting a pet etc. Examine the mental and physical stress brought about by this change.
  2. What are the 3 things that you would never want to change if it is possible  and/ or 3 changes that you wish you could reverse? Identify reasons for such feelings. Examine the 3 advantages of each of these changes that is now irreversible.

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

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

Coping with adjustments

There are things I can’t force.  I must adjust. C.M. Ward

Life rarely goes the way we plan it out and never goes the way we would like it to go.  This unpredictability of life is what enriches our living because each day comes with its fresh bouquet of roses and of course each rose comes with a stem of thorns too. While we would all love to have just the rose without getting a prick, and preferably ensure that it remains fresh forever we are reconciled to fact that this can never happen. It becomes easy for us to focus on the beauty of the rose and try to be careful handling it. Despite this if we get pricked, we blame our carelessness and possibly use a vase to put the rose in but rarely do we reject the rose because we get a prick or two. This is an adjustment we do because we would love to enjoy the fragrance, freshness and beauty of the flower. Substitute life for flower and we see that the daily hassles, the sudden upheavals, the occasional calamities that rear its ugly head are but mere small pricks or large pricks but Life itself is wonderful.

In reality, there are many times when the stress and pain are too much to bear. If we pause to study this torturous phenomena carefully, we will realize that the pain and hurt are primarily because we are fighting the irreversible mentally and not accepting the harsh reality. Denial is often the first stage of facing the bitter truth. If we are diagnosed with a major or irreversible illness, we first try to rationalize why the diagnose is possibly incorrect simply because we refuse to accept the reality. Denial can take many forms. Some of us underplay the reality, others mask their emotions, in extreme cases people would pretend to be more cheerful and exuberant outwardly while becoming nervous wrecks internally for the mind and body are in conflict. Once we can accept the reality, we can attempt to tackle the problem and immediately even the problem seems to shrink in size mentally. This is major adjustment that all of us have to constantly keep making.

Self belief is the key to making the right adjustment. Many a time we refuse to adjust because our ego won’t permit us to accept the reality or because we cannot imagine the future in an altered state than what we originally foresaw. When we have self belief we let our personal confidence become the vital ingredient that substitutes for all that we have lost in the altered state. Eg. If a person has lost a limb in an accident accepting that becomes very difficult if one sees themselves as being invalid or dependent. No sooner the person realizes that it is only an inconvenience that one can cope up with, the person has immediately have taken the road to adjustment. Creativity and persistence are the two legs on which most adjustments are successfully made. Any adjustment means a change and alteration and for it to be effective one has to be both creative and persistent. E.g. the first person who made a bicycle and rode it must have fallen quite a few times before managing to balance it. Today the kids do it easily despite falling because they have seen others ride a cycle and so know it can be done. The first person never had that benefit. In life the adjustments we make are like that of the first bicycle rider for we have to find out own way forward for no two individuals would have identical adjustments to be made.

Remember: “Happiness comes from… some curious adjustment to life.”  Hugh Walpole

Try these:

  1. Read the brief overview on denial by clicking this link  http://www.livestrong.com/article/14731-dealing-with-denial/
  2. Make a plan for the week and very detailed plan for tomorrow. Tomorrow evening review the day and see how many things went as per you plan and how many adjustments you had to make. Also examine which was the most painful or difficult adjustment to make. At the end of the week do a similar review. Also ask yourself if there were roadblocks in your plan that could have been easily avoided if you didn’t let your ego come in the way.

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

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

Be unreasonable and…

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”George Bernard Shaw

Look around you and you will easily identify a number of people who have a mind of their own, have their own pet beliefs and who march to a different drummer.  A few of them may even seem to us to be on the fringes of being lunatic while others we treat as harmless nuts while a number of them seem to be rigid dogmatic individuals. A common thread that binds all these people and a few more brazen individuals is their inflexibility and obsessive urge to get the world to adopt and adapt to their dogma, point of view and skewed logic.

There are as many divergent views as there are people, and the beauty is the majority of the people agree to disagree without being disagreeable. However there is a miniscule population who are convinced that however tangential their ideas or beliefs they seek to get the world to follow them.  While many of them may not be obnoxious or fanatical, they are unshakeable in their conviction and zeal. Some cult followers and religious bigots are the most visible form of those who attempt to make the world follow their dictum. However not all who are unshakeable in their pursuit of their own agenda are zealots’. There are many who are on an ego trip when they rebel against authority or perceived injustice and not really exhibiting a deep rooted belief. The number of small splinter groups who are constantly on strike for frivolous matters or the large number of so called social activists who file PILs are proof of the existence of people on an ego trip or people with a hidden agenda.

There of course still exists the true pioneers who forced the world to adapt to their thinking and have freed us from some of our age old mistaken beliefs and dogmas. Top of the list are scientists. Galileo for example, despite papal sanctions and pressure, propounded that the sun was at the centre of the universe disproving the centuries old belief that had the earth as the centre of the universe.  The pioneering doctors who studied leprosy when little was known about it and removed the social stigma that leprosy was contagious. There are pioneers who discovered the technique of vaccination to protect the population from epidemics. Perhaps the inventors be it that of the computer, the internet, ATM machines or Credit cards deserve special mention too along with the scientist. All progress can easily be attributed to these people who persisted despite hiccups, discouragement and criticism.

At times we too display such dogmatism and obsession but none rooted in scholarly study or rational thought.  For example while all of us are convinced that democracy is the best political system, we bitter complain about its pitfalls and weakness and many of us don’t cast our vote under the garb that any which way a scoundrel will be elected so how does my one vote count?  Other times we are confused and unsure if we are being true to our beliefs or compromising on it. Are we adapting to the worlds ways when we find fault with corruption but prefer to pay a bribe when it comes to us getting our work done? One thing is clear the street smart man is the one who adapts to the ways of the world and he changes the rules of the world too.

Remember: “If you want a wise answer, ask a reasonable question.”  Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Try this:

  1. Write down the one serious social concern that you have? It could be anything from child marriages, to garbage being strewn around or the problem of stray dogs or corruption. Make an attempt to find out an NGO that is involved in that activity of your concern.  Get involved in their activity and then you can learn and educate people around and make a difference.
  2. List out a couple of problems that you face at home that really irritate you. It could be simple things like family members not switching off the lights when going out of a room or it could be indifference by kids to your efforts to keep the house spic and spank. Now work out a method to be unreasonable and get them to fall in line.

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

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

The friends paradox

It is easier to visit friends than to live with them. Chinese proverb

To really understand the significance of the above quote, ask a married couple one year after their marriage about their highs and lows and new discoveries about one another. Both will have very nice things to say about the other, but slowly a litany of complaints will also rear its ugly head and both parties will be rudely shocked to discover that they have their strong limitations. Something similar is in store when we really get too close to our friends. While they must be the best of people and may even lay down their life for you, on a more human level they could have their own quirks and eccentricities that will drive you nuts. So getting to know them from close quarters will be both a revelation and a shock.

When visiting friends the reality is that irrespective of how long we are with them we have the option of leaving. This itself is a big psychological boost and so we are prepared to put up with some strange behavior, some wild suggestions, some intemperate language and the like. No doubt one will be in a fix when confronted with this rather odd scenario but the fact that we can always quietly disengage and head home is a very comforting thought which allows us the luxury of putting up with more than what we can normally tolerate. E.g. There could be someone who is crazy about his pet dog but you are terrified of dogs. When you visit the friend, if he is inconsiderate and lets his dog roam around sniffing you would be definitely upset and scared. If the friend makes light of the situation and goes overboard and chides you for being scared you will definitely consider the option of make a quick gateway.

If we have to live with friends then we are exposed to a whole different world. The friends may have different value systems, varied styles of living, strange tastes in colors food habits and personal hygiene. The challenge then is to adjust be it in being accommodating to others or in gently getting the others to adjust or in both parties making compromises. This is rather difficult to do partly because under normal circumstances we have a wonderful equation with our friends but when one has to live with a friend the stakes are much higher. Imagine living with a friend who loves to listen to heavy metal the moment he gets up and strews his clothes all over the place. How much more difficult it will be for a vegetarian to live with someone who is a compulsive non vegetarian who has no consideration for your sentiments.

In the clash of differences it is the friendship that is affected. This is both a tough price to pay and perhaps a major challenge to relationships. Perhaps this also explains why sometimes roommates become life long buddies because they have managed to resolve their differences and respect each other whereas others have to simply bear up. In the buffet of life we partake in, we are better off in a relationship symbolic as that of a plate and food served in it rather than as incompatible ingredients that spoil the food.

Remember: “Life is partly what we make it, and partly what it is made by the friends we choose.” Tennessee Williams

Try this:

  1. Make a list of your close friends .  For each list out at least 3 irritating things / behavior/ mannerisms/ problems that you simply detest.  Choose which of the friend’s house you will willingly spend a fortnight with along with the friend’s family.
  2. Would you be comfortable staying with the following friends:
  • A friend who suffers from cancer is under chemo treatment
  • A friend who admits he is gay
  • A friend who has just one room and he snores exceptionally loudly
  • A friend who is a compulsive smoker and a hard drinker and you neither drink nor smoke.

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

Growing by overcoming our weakness

Growth begins when we start to accept our own weakness.  Jean Vanier

As long as we are blind to the reality of where we can improve, our growth will remain stunted. It is only when we know where we are weak that we can begin to make a focused effort to overcome that weakness. It is tough to easily identify our real weakness because often we focus only on the symptoms rather than attempting to diagnose the real problem. It is even more difficult to accept criticism and so we often ignore negative comments, take a casual approach to feedback we get and prefer to rationalize all criticism with frivolous arguments. The net result is that we continue to struggle with our weakness.

A sportsman for example would find it extremely tough to realize why despite his hard work and practice sessions he is unable to reach the first place in various tournaments. A good coach will constantly monitor his performance and correctly identify if the problem is psychological, or if it is in the technique or it is result of poor strategy. Once the player accepts the coaches diagnoses and is prepared to make the changes recommended it is possible that he would be able to see better results. One reason we do not easily accept our weakness is because our ego comes in the way. The ego is vital to make us more competitive, aggressive and helps us focus on victory. The trouble starts when the ego assumes itself to be more powerful than the sum total of a persons abilities. Such ego refuses to accept that there are any flaws in us and we tend to ignore, underplay and / or brazenly refute any criticism that confronts us.

The second reason we are unable to confront our weakness is our inability to visualize. There are many intangibles in our life that prove to be the millstone that drags us down. Poor attitude, fear of failure, inability to think tactically, being lazy etc. are realities that are difficult to pointedly demonstrate. Any such comment is hard for many people to accept simply because they cannot visualize how it applies to them. Finally our reluctance to change will always be a stumbling block to accepting a weakness. If we accept a weakness, we will have to work hard to change it but many of us are so set in our ways that we dread the thought of making a change. Under such circumstances we prefer to stoutly deny any suggestion of weakness that would perpetrate the need to change and make adjustments. If we are told we are overweight we will make statements that it is temporary because we partied during a wedding in the family or that it is just the clothes that make us look fat or that we can still walk 5 kms without getting tired and so we are perfectly fit.

If we finally let better sense prevail and acknowledge our weakness we can at least make a beginning by trying to improve. However the process of improvement is challenging and painful. Challenging because we might have to unlearn and or double our efforts; painful because the results of our efforts would be time consuming, unpredictable and may not produce the results expected.  However the growth that remains unseen and unappreciated is in the fact that by accepting our weakness we have reduced our ego, improved our visualization and we are prepared to change our thoughts , actions and beliefs.

Remember: “If we’re growing, we’re always going to be out of our comfort zone.” John Maxwell

Try this:

  1. Take a pen and paper and attempt to write with the hand that you normally don’t use to write with. Keep up the effort for at least 3 spells of 10 mins. each for one week. Notice the progress from day 1 to day 7. How did it feel? Do you think you would have progressed faster if you had some motivation?
  2. List out 3 bad habits that you are constantly being reminded of. Chalk out a plan to reduce the bad habits that you have?  Have a time frame and clear milestones to ensure that you progress. Eg. If you bite your nails then you can buy a pair of gloves and wear it as often as possible or tell your partner to tell you when you indulge in the habit and collect a rupee from you each time.

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

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