Tag: common sense

Leveraging your potential

Leveraging your potential

From childhood to adolescence and from then on to adulthood is a process that we can see evolving. The physical and mental changes during this process that every person undergoes are obvious to everyone. What is less obvious is how the individual grows up psychologically, emotionally, tactically and smartly, meeting the new demands put on her/ him. Even more importantly, once a person reaches adulthood, the demands on the person are much more challenging for each one has to furrow his/ her own path in life. There are different sets of obstacles, newer forms of technological challenges, difficult decisions to be made, tough times to cope up with, euphoric times that may seem never ending but sadly come to an end. The good news is that with each passing day an individual is growing through effort, experience, learning, failure and competition. The even better news is that with every challenge in front of us, we set our own personal bars of excellence a wee bit higher, largely unconsciously for that is when we truly realize out potential.

Your potential is what an individual needs to leverage to ensure she/ he has no regrets in life. Success and failure are mere milestones but it is the distance covered that matters in the end. The way to maximize your potential is by embracing some or all of the following :

Smart work – While hard work is essential to ensure you are in the rat race, the real winners are those who leverage the power of smart work. Those who work smart focus on the big picture, understand their key strengths, identify people who have complimentary expertise and then use a combination of delegation, supervision and motivation to extract maximum productivity. All professionals who reach the top of their profession are people who have learned the fine art of working smart. They know the rules and the short cuts that can fast track their progress.

Risk taking – If you have the potential, there is no point in keeping it under wraps. Perhaps you will discover new facets of your potential by daring to move out of your comfort zone and trying new things.  Sure, there could be hiccups, failures, disappointments but remember that is the way it was when you first took your baby steps in life. The difference is that then you were not conscious about falling or failing or being laughed at; you were gravitating towards your natural urge to use your limbs to be mobile. As an adolescent and adult we are more focused on negative reactions to our risk taking and hence avoid straying down that path. Yet, progress has been made only by sticking one’s neck out. As they say a turtle cannot make progress without sticking its neck out.

Cre8ivity – Each of us blessed with ample creativity. The problem is we do not believe we are creative because we associate creativity with art and fine arts. A bigger problem is we are too lazy to explore our creative genius. Take for example the silly reasons we invented for not doing our homework during our school days. The more mischievous fellows came up with the most believable lies, thanks to their risk taking ability combined with their flair for inventiveness and their desperation to avoid punishment. As adults, we just need to believe in our creative abilities, try to juggle things in the mind till a solution emerges and be daring enough to attempt.

Persistence – Persistence is not equivalent to doing repetitive work nor is it simply attempting till one succeeds. Persistence is smartly working on a solution that you keep refining till it yields results. Trying to persist without checking if your approach is right is a sure recipe for both failure and frustration. Persistence is the power to hang on to yourself belief because you know you are  on the right track to succeed. A stamp they say succeeds, because it sticks to its task.

Common sense – In pursuit of innovative solutions, technology driven options and by being a slave to automation, the one aspect most under-utilized is our common sense. Common sense is the ability to see things in the right perspective and to respond in a simple and pragmatic way. Common sense has no school of learning but is the outcome of intelligence meeting learning and experience adding even more value to the action being taken.

In India, Juggad is a term that largely incorporates all the above principles except for the fact that end product is largely to find a temporary solution to a problem in a crude but effective way. Leveraging your potential is making the juggad of your life a long term, rewarding and satisfying experience because you rise up the level of the challenge before you.

Try these:          

  • Draw a scenery without any river, mountain, birds or sunrise featured in it.
  • List 6 ways in which you can increase your income in the coming month.
  • What is the most innovative gift you have ever received? Why do you value it so much?
  • What was the biggest risk you ever took and what was the result of that risk? Was it worth it?

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog

www.poweract.blogspot.com

 

It is ok to be not ok

It is ok to be not ok

At times events that happen to us or around make us feel overwhelmed. At these times each of us is caught in a bind, wondering if it is ok to give in to your natural feelings like anger, hurt, frustration etc. that the event has triggered or to try your best to be stoic, dispassionate and pretend to be brave. Often we prefer to embrace the latter, more to prove our own ability to cope rather than let our defenses down and spill out our deepest emotions. There is also the added pressures from the do- gooders around, who whisper gently that one needs to control his/ her emotions and not succumb to fear, frustration, anger, hurt and loneliness. Unfortunately, one cannot be completely divorced of personal emotions and reality demands that expelling pent up emotions is a good way to get rid of unwanted toxic feelings from within.

Hence there is nothing wrong in getting angry, upset, confused or feeling stuck up, lonely, hurt or to give in to a good crying spell. In short, it is perfectly ok not to be ok.

However, there is a risk that by regularly giving in to our negative emotions, we may become susceptible to adopting a ‘poor me’ syndrome. One needs to be watchful against undervaluing one’s self, looking at life from a all that goes wrong and not being able to enjoy the countless bounty one is blessed with. This is the point at which some of us begin to wage war with ourselves by finding fault in happenings that are not to our liking or events that come as a set back or by craving for what we do not have or aspire too. The thinking is skewed; the feeling of not having enough, the tendency to blame self, family, circumstances and fate are all symptomatic of a person at war with himself/ herself.

The antidote to this is threefold:

Do not bottle up your feelings – give release to your emotions. It is perfectly alright to feel down, hurt, depressed, sad, unhappy, anxious, worried and weepy. There are moments when we need to align our behavior with the feelings that are overtaking us. By giving vent to those feelings we are exhaling those toxic emotions and cleansing ourselves from within. The toxicity exhaled will be replaced by positive feelings of hope, acceptance, courage, determination and self belief. It is a cleansing of the mind and body that helps rejuvenate the spirit.

Do not overreact to circumstances – At the other end of the spectrum is a tendency to overreact to unforeseen, unfortunate and unforgiving circumstances that occasionally transgress into our peaceful existence. Since change is a constant in everyone’s life it is obvious that sooner or later each of us will have to deal with pain, fear, illness, failure and death. The problem is when we overreact and see our problems as disastrous, calamitous and unending. Bringing a sense of proportion and balance is the only way to deal with circumstances that we do not want to face but have overtaken us. So while giving in to our feelings and reacting to it without bottling it up is perfectly in order, over reacting and getting emotionally irrational would be a self inflicted disaster.

Find value in your current circumstances – No matter what the circumstance you face, look around and see that there are a people courageously coping with even more calamitous problems. In comparison it would occur to us that we are much more blessed in that our problems are relatively easy to cope with. The best way to cope with any form of emotional pain is to look it is from a point of view of what do we still have despite all that is happened. Seek out value that makes tomorrow worth looking forward to. E.g. a student who has failed can still count on his parents, friends and teachers supporting him despite them possibly criticizing him / her initially. Failure then is not the end of the world but a temporary blip in life.  An even more extreme example is the purported reaction of Thomas Alva Edison, whose life’s work was charred to ashes when his house went up in flames. His reaction was, as he said the ‘opportunity to observe the biggest fire he had ever seen in his life’. Subsequently when asked about the loss of all his years of research, he is purported to have quipped ‘ now I can start again with a clean slate’.

Try these:           

  • What were the two most challenging / trying/ painful experiences you encountered? How did you cope with it?
  • Share with us links or documents of 2 inspirational articles or stories or videos of people who have coped with their most challenging problems. You can email them to us at actspot@gmail.com

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog

www.poweract.blogspot.com

Let it go

41- Dec 17-Let it goAs we near the end of the year it is perhaps an ideal time to look back and review the happenings in our personal life. Perhaps the three most important aspects of our life that we need to pay attention to are our relationships, our lifestyle and our job. Ideally no matter how each of those aspects of our life is, in an ideal world we would try to remain happy with the cards we are dealt. In fact most times we try our best to adjust to the situation even if we are not very happy it  partly because we worry about loss of face, partly because we fear change but largely because the world around us expects us to have a perfect life. It is also true that finding an alternative is challenging, making a decision to change is tougher but the toughest part is to admit to ourselves that we have to let it go if we are merely suffering in the relationship, lifestyle or job.

It is obvious that any drastic decision to be taken regarding any aspect of life has to be examined thoroughly, given sufficient time and effort so as to be sure it is not working out and then a firm decision taken if the surgery is to be done. Here are a few questions that one needs to honestly answer before you conclude that something important to you is not making you happy and that you have to let it go and cut it off from your life.

  • Is it really important to me?
  • Can I do without it?
  • How much am I responsible for not making it work for me?
  • I am being fair in my judgment?
  • What are the alternatives that I believe will work best for me?
  • How / what can I do to remedy the situation?
  • Should I seek another opinion before I give up?
  • Once I give up would I ever regret it?

The above are just suggestive questions and depending on each individual situation, one must ask the appropriate questions and more importantly objectively analyze the answers.

You must begin the change you want and you must reflect the change too.

Begin the New Year afresh with hope, dreams and passion.

Try these

  • List out 3- 5 changes you plan to bring in your life in the coming year. E.g. getting rid of a bad habit or inculcating a good habit
  • Outline three relationships you will attempt to strengthen in the coming year.
  • What is the one new thing you will dare to attempt in the coming year.
  • What is the one question that you seek an answer to?

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog

www.poweract.blogspot.com

Wisdom holds the key

No great things are done more through courage than through wisdom. German proverb

A careful analysis of history would reveal that all major victories in war were due the exemplary courage of the soldiers and the tactical acumen of the generals who led their forces. Similarly a scan of all the progresses made in science and technology would amplify the courage of conviction of scientist who passionately and diligently worked towards their intelligent hypothesis. If we introspect our own achievements and successes we would be bursting with pride at the key embolden steps we have taken in our lives like changing a job, taking on a big challenge and getting recognition for  its success  or simply being courageously patient till the opportunity came our way. While we may gloat at our own bravado and daring we would also slowly realise that at every stage we let our mind work overtime to help us decide on the appropriate course of action.

The common thread visible above is that without the wisdom of tactical acumen the sheer courage and daring shown would be useless. Remember the famous poem Charge of the Light Brigade that is testimony in verse to this reality. (Here a company of soldiers valiantly followed orders and perished simply because they were not given the right orders). The failure of battles, expeditions, business and economies can be traced to incorrect or fallacious conclusions based on which wrong decisions were taken which when executed even with passion and grit resulted in failure. There are times when retreating is the most ideal decision for then there is a hope for tomorrow although it might seem like a temporary setback. By merely pushing ones luck more in hope than with conviction or calculation, the wheels of failure are set in motion by ourselves. E.g. For a mountaineer, when faced with adverse weather conditions the peak that is in sight might be teasingly alluring but better wisdom would compel one to opt for abandoning the expedition than risking life and limb.

This is not to belittle the role of courage, for it has a vital role to play in ensuring victories. To begin with, all great plans remain plans till someone has the courage to execute it. In some cases, especially in battle, there are times when raw courage ends up in death for an individual but in the overall context of the battle it could be a decisive sacrifice that paves the way for victory. Moral courage and courage of conviction are perhaps the sternest test of courage. In both cases, often a person in a minority ahs to battle the collective wisdom and pressures of peer groups and even sometimes dodge through minefields of sabotage to prove their point and raise the victory flag. However, all these types of courage end up in victory / success only when it is firmly rooted in the wisdom born out of experience, intelligence and sound knowledge.

Remember: This wonderful Prayer — God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference

Try this:

  1. Examine your irrational fears that you still find hard to overcome. E.g. Fear of dogs, snakes, lizards etc. or overcoming superstitions that we believe in etc. Now try to rationalize the fears so that you are prepared to accept that the fear is not as serious as you first thought. Attempt to overcome the fear by using both the understanding you have gained and by being courageous enough to try.
  2. Attempt to write your own ‘Epitaph’. This is real test of both courage and wisdom. (An Epitaph refers to the wordings written on a tomb stone of a person who is buried and which eulogises or highlights the qualities of that person for which he is remembered)

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

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

Common sense and genius

Common sense is instinct.  Enough of it is genius. George Bernard Shaw

It is commonly understood that common sense is the most uncommon thing. This is because a large part of common sense is developed by observing and learning from the environment around and is therefore almost instinctive. However most of us see problems as very complicated and try to come up with very innovative solutions and in the process overlook the obvious.

The real difficulty with common sense is the extensive use of analysis and logic to arrive at solutions. On the other hand if one were to instinctively decide on a course of action, in all probability the results would be closest to the results desired. The following story illustrates this effect emphatically. There is the apocryphal story of the American scientists who spend years of research and tons of money in developing a pen that allowed the ink to flow freely when in zero gravity on the moon so that the astronauts could use it in space . The Russians on the other hand it is said used a pencil.

Adults have great difficulty in learning new skills like swimming, adapting to technology etc. mainly because of the acquired fear of failure. On the other hand children are observed to easily come up with solutions to problems that are often overlooked by adults. Rather than let our instinct guide us to act in a particular manner, we try to approach the problem like playing a game of chess. What we do not realize is that chess is a game of skill where one pits his/ her wits against and another human being. Everyday challenges on the other hand, are not a test of skill as much as a test of character.

The real wonder is when some people display extraordinary common sense most of the time. They would come up with simplest of solutions that will effectively tackle the challenges. When a corkscrew is not available to pull out a cork, finding and equivalent implement would be quite challenging. On the other hand one can easily use a screwdriver and hammer to push the cork into the bottle and then pour out the contents.  Many times, necessity pushes the human mind to instinctively come up with solutions to tackle emergencies. Most innovations and inventions were not originally thought about but were worked on to tackle a problem. The concept of the credit card for example came about when the pioneer of the same was stranded with no cash when entertaining guests at a hotel, although he was a millionaire. Notice that the final product was complicated must have taken a lot of time, money and promotion to get the concept accepted but the concept on which it is based was instinctive and immediate. It is such people who not only have the common sense but who can leverage it who ultimately become geniuses and leave their mark in history.

Remember: “Common sense is the knack of seeing things as they are, and doing things as they ought to be done.”  C. E. Stowe

Try this:

  1. If you had three watches one 10 mins slow the other 15 mins fast and a dead watch which one would you prefer and why?
  2. Come up with a list of uses of a dead mobile handset.

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

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

Reactions

What counts in making a happy marriage is not so much how compatible you are, but how you deal with incompatibility. George Levinger

Like marriages, life may be made in heaven but has to be lived on earth; this poses a dilemma for many; for we are forever oscillating between heavenly bliss and earthly reality. The wonder of living is that every moment brings about surprises, pains, hurt and hope. While one moment we maybe up in the skies the next moment we could be down in the dumps; ruing missed opportunities, cursing fate or wistfully longing for the good old days. The key to happiness therefore lies in our ability to react to our circumstances in the same manner as Rudyard Kipling says in his poem IF  ‘If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster And treat those two imposters just the same’   Click here to read the poem  If_by Rudyard Kipling.

Unfortunately for the vast majority of us we are swept away by the momentum of triumph and then when disaster rears its ugly head, it pulls us down to the depths of misery. It is our ability to squarely meet our challenges, the difficulties and the ill luck that is the reality of life that will determine our strength of character and steely resolve. Levinger has wonderfully juxtaposed the learning through the example of how one deals with married life, He cleverly underscored the point that when there is compatibility and things go right, everyone is perched on the tall branches of comfort, peace and happiness; it is when we are not compatible, when there are differences, when we have to cross the bumpy roads on the highway of marriage that the true test of understanding, trust and belief in the other is put to the test.  It is that point which charts out the course for two lives to meet in unity, two hearts to beat as one and one life to reflect the light from two souls as a lighthouse would in the midst of thunderous storms and rough seas.

Sometimes we are caught up in a battle of wits when faced with the awkwardness of differences of opinion. Often it is selfishness and our personal ego that blinds us to our folly of reacting impudently. Most times it is our inability to discern and listen to the voice of reason that brings about our downfall.  Reactions are by and large spurred on by impulsive thought and compulsive action, a potent and dangerous mix if any, for the effects are no less toxic than if one were to consume poison or be bitten by a rattle snake. Alas ill timed, ill conceived and foolhardy reactions are worse than poison, for when we consume poison there is only one fatality but here the consequences are deadly; it might involve more than two lives and affect many more and the repercussions could be felt for a lifetime nay possible for generations.

Remember: “The secret of happiness is this: let your interests be as wide as possible, and let your reactions to the things and persons that interest you be as far as possible friendly rather than hostile.” Bertrand Russell

Try these:

  1. The next time you go to a dentist or have to take an injection be aware of your reaction to the process. Do you dread it? Are you terrified? Do you look away from the needle? Do you sweat long before the syringe is even unpacked? Do you put up a brave front and smile nervously while the doctor banters with you? There are no right or wrong reactions; just be aware that your reactions are unique to you and could wildly differ from another close relative or family member.
  2. Look back at the times you have panicked; perhaps before a major examination paper or on hearing news about the sudden accident or death of a close relative or loved one.  Clinically examine your actions and reactions. Did you go blank? Were you hysterical? Were you too emotionally drained to react? Were you composed and be able to comfort others in distress?

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

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

Acceptance

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.  Reinhold Niebuhr

One of the most quoted words, this little sentence contains wisdom that is hard hitting, deeply invigorating and profoundly philosophical. Parents in particular can benefit a lot from this saying if they look beyond the words and see the depth of meaning in it. Most parents are obsessed by academic grades of their children and secretly desire that their dear ones stand first. Reality tho could be quite different and our children may excel in many different areas other than academics. sport, arts and craft, music, acting, mischief, creative pursuits of varied kinds. Yet, most parents fail to see these sparks of talent and instead focus on what they want to see in their children- frustrating the kids and the parents in equal measure. Teachers too are not far behind in having unrealistic expectations from their wards and they need to be inspired by the wisdom of Niebuhr.

We need to accept the reality with calmness and gratitude, for things could have been a lot worse – just look around and you will realize it.

Remember : You can make a difference – ALWAYS !

Try these:

  • Ask yourself am I being unrealistic in my expectations from others particularly my kids.
  • Can I honestly list out matters that concern my society and environment and can I in some way take a proactive stand on it and help change matters for the better?
  • What are the changes that I need to make in myself  in order to benefit from the wisdom of  Niebuhr?

Igniting your thoughts – Encouraging you to ACT SPOnTaneously

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