Tag: courage

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 ignite the spirit of courage

“When you have no choice, mobilize the spirit of courage” Jewish Proverb

When we look around us there are times when we feel dispirited, disheartened and deflated and it just gets worse when there are many others like that around us. We are then left wondering if there is any hope for us and if life has anything meaningful t to offer us. These are times when we wished we didn’t have to go through this painful and apparently hopeless process. No matter who one is, no matter how rich and powerful, no matter how intelligent or smart one is, low points in life will always be a part of living. Death is one low point that is a great leveler and is the one common denominator of sadness, pain and hopelessness that binds all living beings.

The average human being is often commonly plagued by the lows that follow death of a loved one,  fear of failure and worry about the future. Death is a reality that we must make peace with and accept with equanimity. It spares none and can come most unexpectedly. While affection and love will always tug at the heart and trigger emotions of various hues we need to pick up the pieces and get back on track at the earliest. Since human beings cannot remain isolated, unemotional or unaffected one would need to delve into the personal resources of rationale, courage and acceptance which would form the foundation of the spirit of courage that will pull us out of the quagmire of grief.

Fear of failure is omnipresent too. No one can ride on past success for each one of us has to script a new success story everyday. Ironically, the fear of failure is just as prevalent amongst the rich as much as it is prevalent amongst the poor, it is found in equal measure amongst both the brilliant and those who are below average and spares neither the urban population nor the rural folks. Since we cannot insulate ourselves from this fear the next best thing we can do is to ensure that fear of failure does not overwhelm us. Self belief is the key to open the doors of courage. Resilience and hard work provide the steps to the ladder of success.  It also helps to be planned, prepared and persistent for then we would be better equipped to face failure without hurting ourselves too much in the process.

Since the future is the unknown that is both a mystery and an opportunity rather than view it with trepidation, we must look at it in anticipation. View the future like a hand of cards dealt by the dealer when playing a game of bridge or poker. It is only once we have the cards that we can play the game.  Just as we look forward with anticipation eager to know the hidden cards, which if it is a poor hand we fold and wait for the next game, so too must we see each day. Patience, hope and the daring to take calculated risks be it in playing or packing up are the mantras to muster courage and fire up the spirit. Fearing the future is perhaps the most passive and sure fire way to lose ones way in the maze called life. Instead anticipate the changes, prepare for it and plod into it with gusto and presto we discover the truth ‘that life is an adventure to be lived not a mystery to solved.’

Remember:  “Pure logic is the ruin of the spirit.”  Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Try this:

  1. Here is a wonderful link to the Video titled the Last Lecture by Randy Pausch http://tinyurl.com/2z3wsx  ( Do you think you can manage something like what he did under similar circumstances? If your answer is yes…go on attempt to write your own epitaph)
  2. Here are a few realities of life. How do you visualize each of them
  • Monthly bills to be paid
  • Some illness in the family
  • Some celebrations that occur
  • An unexpected surprise or shock
  • Retirement
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Winning a lottery/ inheritance/ gift/ an award

 This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

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

The secret to your future

Your future depends on many things, but mostly on you. Frank Tyger

All of us, me included have a hundred different reasons and excuses to justify why we haven’t realized our full potential. The reality though is that nothing absolutely nothing is going to chance the past. Yet irrespective of one’s age, social status, financial status, academic background, past history and the like, there is a wonderful future that each of us can embrace whole heartedly if we are prepared to boldly accept the challenge and work purposefully towards it. There are 4 conditions that one has to fulfill in order to make the future you want for yourself.

The first is to remember the lessons of the past without holding on to the past. We fail to progress beyond our past performance simply because we live with ghost of past failures, keep brooding over the wasted opportunities that we never took advantage of and often meander into some of those rare moments of triumphs and successes we did relish occasionally. While we certainly cannot erase the past completely, we must learn to identify the key learning and keep that uppermost in mind as we proceed further so as to avoid the same pitfalls of the past. We must never let the bad past ruin a perfect present or take away from us the immense possibilities that lay ahead of us.

The second is to believe in yourself and yet be pragmatic about your strengths and weakness. Each one of us has it within us the ability to stretch ourselves to excel. Excellence is ensuring that we use our abilities to the fullest extend and must not be mistaken to mean always out performing others. It is obvious then that we need to asses ourselves dispassionately and leverage our strengths without letting our weaknesses become a stumbling block. It would also entail us having the courage of conviction to take calculated risks, the daring to fail and yet not give up and to pursue our dreams with steely resolve and self confidence.  As rightly said it is our attitude that determines our altitude.

The third is to always have a goal to focus on. What really lets us down is an indisciplined approach to the future. The prime reason for this is lack of clarity as to where we want to go and what we want to achieve. Perhaps we would be a lot happier if we could simply identify our personal, professional, financial and spiritual goals. Perhaps we have a hazy idea of our goals, but then we are tempted to change the goal posts in the hope of scoring at will. Goals helps us concentrate, enable us to channelize the resources required and helps us chart our progress and if need be take the corrective measures to ensure that we make the best of our future. It is sarcastically observed that if we do not know our destination any road will lead us there.

The fourth is to adapt, change, improve, transform yourself to ensure that you are progressing towards your goal. Simply put this means that one has to make umpteen sacrifices if one were to make the best of the future ahead. Look what happened to the dinosaurs of old who became extinct simply because they could not adapt, change, improve or transform themselves to meet the onslaught of change. While we make not suffer such an ignominy, it is very possible that the future we face by being rigid and uncompromising can be painful, frustrating and very regrettable. Only the wisest and stupidest of men never change. It is imperative that  we change else the chances are that we will fall in the second category.

Remember: “Losers live in the past. Winners learn from the past and enjoy working in the present toward the future.”  Denis Waitley

Try this:

  1. Jot down 3 lessons you learnt from any failures/ regrets that you have from your past.
  2. Ask a few close friends to name 3 of your strengths and one weakness they perceive in you. Reflect on these particularly on the weakness and work out how you can use the new knowledge about yourself to shape your future.
  3. Take a pencil and paper and do the following
  • Make a sketch of your dream house. Now put a realistic price tag to it.
  • Make a realistic assessment of what your monthly savings should be and what you think should be your monthly income after you attain the age of 60.
  • Make a plan for an overseas holiday with your spouse and the roadmap to make it happen in the next 2 years.
  • Outline your definition of a successful person. Now write down your own success statement.

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

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

Acknowledge limitations to learn and grow

The person with insight enough to admit his limitations comes nearest to perfection. Johann von Goethe

As human beings we are all prone to make mistakes, tend to stray from the acceptable norms and succumb to our personal limitations and weaknesses.  Some mistakes could be trifles like overlooking the niceties in a social situation, others could be more severe like not discharging our critical duties and some could be out right dangerous and fateful like drinking and driving. The reality is that at some point or the other we are prone to fall prey to any or all of these traps and usually we try and rationalize our faults instead of acknowledging our mistake. It our reluctance to stand up and accept our faults that is often the worst of our faults for then we compound our error and worse still miss out on an opportunity to correct our faults and redeem our self.

By admitting our limitations, we are doing ourselves 3 favors.

  • We consciously realize our fault.
  • We are able to then take steps to correct our faults and learn from our mistakes.
  • We grow through our strength of character, reinforced self belief and improved abilities.

By admitting our faults, we are acknowledging the fact that we are conscious of what we do, we are aware of what the norms are and that we have realized that we have violated those norms. Many a time, making this admission is difficult because we may have to end up paying a heavy price for our faults. We also are open to being branded as inefficient, irresponsible and incompetent. What we fail to appreciate though is that a fault can be corrected only if we realize that it is a fault. Then we can get guidance, seek out ways to rectify and in the long run ensure that we have learnt and reduce our chances of repeating the fault. By refusing to acknowledge our faults we are merely falling into following the wrong practices, run the risk of making more gross mistakes and definitely increasing our chances of failure.

By admitting our fault we display our strength of character that we would rather be honest and be branded ineffective than lie and run the risk of being caught in an even more embarrassing position. Our character is further strengthened by our willing acceptance of the consequences of our admission of fault.  The moment we admit our fault, we are telling ourselves that we have it in us to overcome the set back and bounce back. This is the reinforcement of our self belief. Self belief comes from a pragmatic evaluation, oodles of confidence and a steely resolve. Finally when we learn from our faults, we are actually participating in a process of self development which ultimately leads to improvement in our abilities and talents. The star athletes and sports men would readily testify to the vital role their coaches’ play in correcting their technique by first critically evaluating the performance and then making the much needed corrections. Strange as it may seem, at the peak of their careers many an athlete has relied on the insightful observation and good counsel of their coaches to turn out superlative performances.

Remember: “Genius has limitations; stupidity is boundless

Try this:

  1. The annual appraisals for employees / the customer feedback forms/ the complaints made by clients are good indicators of third party perceptions about faults. Ask if we tend to constantly refute it, rationalize it, dismiss it casually or simply refuse to acknowledge it.  On the other hand those who take this feedback seriously will invariably use the feedback to alter their style, improve their work ethics, investigate the core issue etc. and in the long run change for the better.
  2. Can we list out and acknowledge 3 of our faults for the following spheres of our life
  • Our family life
  • Our personal life
  • Our professional life
  • Our social life
  • Our lifestyle

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

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

The courage to dare

To accept whatever comes, regardless of the consequences, is to be unafraid. John Cage

Nowhere is this quote more applicable on than on the battle field. Fortunately most of us do not have to go through this life and death situation and hence we assume that this may not be very significant in our lives. The truth is unfortunately very different. We may not realize it but most of our waking hours is spend in reconciling to our fears both imaginary and real and mustering up courage to face the consequences boldly. Look at the variety of challenges that continuously and relentlessly pursue us; parental wrath, teachers wrath, academic pressures, pressures on relationships, lure of monetary gains, balancing our conscience, standing up for our rights, pain in various forms, depression and suicidal thoughts etc. The list is endless and our capacity to bear up theoretically unlimited but practically nonexistent.

To understand why we find it hard to be unafraid, it is essential to understand that each one of us attempts to have an utopian concept of life. This life we visualize as  idyllic, stress free, well chartered and planned, remains well within our control and does not contain even a wee bit of pain or danger. When this notion is rudely disturbed then we are not really prepared for the unpleasant and often stressful happenings that spring up on us. It could be a rather stern teacher or a strict parent who jolts us first. It could be the betrayal by a friend or some close to us that can hurt us deeply. Illness, death of a loved one, inability to cope with the pressures of daily living etc. can stress us out and pressurize our peace of mind. It is at this point that we actually learn to cope with the stress and built up our own defense mechanisms to manage life. Yet we do not confront our problems but most time side step it.

When we side step problems, we are simply acting as cowards and not really being brave. Being brave means to be unafraid and that means we need to be more proactive and confront our fears. We do not really confront our fears because we are more focused on the consequences than on solving our immediate problem. This is like having a brain tumor and the surgeon refuses to operate because the patient can be incapacitated in the process but by leaving the tumor unattended death is more certain. On a personal level look back at school days and recollect the time when you skipped homework because of a wedding in the family where you had a swell time but knew you may be punished for your indiscretion of not doing the homework. Yet you braved the punishment because the fun was more alluring and a once in a life time opportunity. While I certainly don’t recommend not doing homework for trivial reasons, I would be even more strongly condemn not enjoying a once in a life time opportunity for fear of not so serious consequences.

Daring is all about taking calculated risks and occasionally going for broke because the stakes are worth it.  One must be motivated, bold and focused when developing courage and being unafraid. One also needs to be able to distinguish between being foolhardy and being daring, being a hero and being a fool and being a coward and displaying courage. If the goal is clear, if we are passionate enough to reach it, then we get bold and brave enough to dare to reach out for the stars.

Remember: “He who is brave is free.”

Try this:

  1. Read the poem the The Charge of the Light Brigade by Alfred Lord Tennyson  http://www.nationalcenter.org/ChargeoftheLightBrigade.html
  2. Thing of 3 daring things you have done in your life and the consequences of it. Also think of those daring things that you didn’t dare do be it making a job change, standing up for your rights or ticking off a nasty colleague and ask your self why you didn’t 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

Courage of conviction

God grant me the courage not to give up what I think is right, even though I think it is hopeless. Admiral Chester W. Nimitz

All of us have the ability to passionately argue for what we believe is the right point of view and we can be both very adamant and equally vehement in sticking to our point of view even if those opposing us pick a few holes in our arguments. However, when it comes to actually standing up for our point of view when it matters, very very few of us have the courage and tenacity to take up the cause and pursue the matter till its logical end. In our previous post yesterday, we talked about ‘translating good intentions into actual deeds and this is precisely what we are focusing on today. We often give up not because we do not believe in our cause but we think it is a hopeless case since there may be a lot of vested interests in the opposing point of view, the opponents are far too strong, we lack the guts or we simply rationalize that the end result is just not worth the fight.

One reason most of us do not commit to what we believe in is because, far too many of us are armchair critics. It is easy to be one. All we need to do is spout our criticisms loudly, vehemently and dogmatically. If we out smarted all we need to do is sulk and slink away. Other times we can wave the flag of our beliefs and loudly proclaim that we were part of the original rooters for the belief even though we may have done nothing note worthy other than lending our lung power. You will find many such people in social service organizations, voluntary organizations and in social gatherings. In fact we see our own conversations in get together and parties, it invariably revolves around criticizing the government, the organizers, the local administration, our surroundings and society. In almost all cases, we would never ever offer our services in addressing the issue nor would we volunteer to be part of a set up which is keen to solve the problem.

For us to bite the bullet when it comes to standing up for our point of view, the first essential is a passionate belief in our point of view. Unless one is passionate about the cause, it is very difficult to convince ourselves that the fight is worth it. One reason many of us are not too passionate about things is because we are comfortable with the idea that the world maybe be in turmoil and it is best we adjust to it. Nothing then can shake us from our ‘ignorance is bliss’ attitude unless of course we get directly sucked into a problem. Often by then, we do not have too many backers for us for most of friends have subtlety hinted that our problems is ours and they can only sympathize. The second requirement is developing a tenacious attitude. This is partly inborn but largely the result of having developed not mere sympathy but a nature that is empathically inclined. This means that we don’t just stand by and acknowledge a problem but actively get involved in solving it. This requires patience to understand, a willingness to be involved and courage to commit to the cause.

Remember: You will see it when you believe it

Try this:

  1. Pick up at least 2 social causes one related to the general concerns of society and one related to a passion of yours and outline 5 ways you can actively contribute to it. Eg. You could be interested in the improving the general hygiene of your locality and also be passionate about cause regarding pets.
  2. Identify one old age home, one orphanage, one school for the physically challenged and another for the mentally challenged. Now make a beginning by visiting each one in turns once in two months at least. Examine your feelings, your learning, your changing style of empathy etc.

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

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

Be true to yourself or…

We are betrayed by what is false within. George Meredith

One of the easiest signs to spot is someone lying because there is an involuntary tendency to look away from the others person eyes while lying. Body language experts will be able to spot numerous meanings in our actions and mannerism which would reveal a lot more than what our words convey. The rule of the game is simple; we cannot hide our emotions even if we can mask our thoughts when expressing ourselves in words or deeds. It obviously stands to reason that it is best that we be true to our innermost feelings rather than put on a façade. Unfortunately the ways of the world are so crooked that we are forced to either adopt or adapt to that or risk being in a minority or being ostracized.

So the question one needs to ask is if the old adage of ‘honesty is the best policy’ still holds true in today’s world. The reality is that the adage still holds very true but its implementation poses a huge problem for the overwhelming majority. There are numerous reasons why the average person finds it difficult to traverse the straight and narrow path of transparency and honesty. To begin with, the general value systems of the world have undergone a major metamorphosis. We too naturally are pressurized to adapt to this change and therefore we rationalize our attitudes and behavior thereby deviating from our core values and morals. E.g. taking a gift from a supplier is not longer taboo for a purchase executive and giving it is the norm for the suppliers.  The purchase executive is certain that the gift won’t influence his decisions and the supplier is certain that the gift is just a token of festivity and won’t have any bearing on the business decisions.

The numerous temptations that abound are the second major reason for us being false within. We are constantly being lured by false advertisements, tantalizing models, quick rich schemes, false promises etc. Once we fall prey, then we are no longer ashamed of the consequences. Thereafter, we convince ourselves that we are indulging in harmless activity and that we are simply stretching the rule book to keep up with the times. Most of us lack the moral courage to be different from the crowd and to stand firm and true to our personal values systems. E.g a studious student who is pressurized to allow a dullard to copy from his answer sheet, will find it difficult to handle the group pressure exerted. Thereafter, the studious student in pursuit of getting full marks would not be too repulsed by the idea of copying if it means he can get that one mark that will make the big difference.

There are many times when our own falseness pricks our own conscience hard and some of us do try hard to traverse the road less travelled by. Many a time this happens when our bluff is called or when we find it too hard to suppress our person repulsion of our own double standards. This actually reflects the reality that sooner or later our falseness betrays us and we make a valiant attempt to right the wrong. It is rightly said that if one sticks to the truth then one will not have to remember the numerous lies that one would otherwise have to resort to order to keep our lie going. It is also good to be aware of our own tone, choice of words, rate of speech, mannerisms and body language for  they are the ones that betray us first when we are false inside. Eg. Sarcasm is all about interpreting the words spoken through the timing, the choice of words, the background of communication and the tone and style in which the comment is delivered.

Remember: “False happiness renders men stern and proud, and that happiness is never communicated. True happiness renders them kind and sensible, and that happiness is always shared.” Charles de Montesquieu

Try this:

  1. Play the card game called bluff. It succinctly brings out the difficulty of being poker faced when lying and the manner in which other interpret body language.
  2. Jot down the three most embarrassing moments when you lied and were caught red handed. Also jot down the three acts of falseness that you committed and were never caught but its memory makes you ashamed.

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our WEEKLY 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 

Courage to attempt

What would life be if you had no courage to attempt anything? Vincent van Gogh

Remember the first time you tried to ride a bicycle? It wobbled dangerously, you lurched all over and let out a yell and then you came crashing down. A few bruises and scrapes, some tears and lots of encouragement latter, you picked up courage to attempt to learn cycling again. The scene maybe repeated but in the end the thrill of getting that balance wipes away all the pain and tears which is now replaced with a big smile and tremendous confidence. But for the courage that you displayed in not letting your scrapes and bruises dissuade you, you would not have gained the skill which made you feel more carefree and independent.

In  the prime of our youth we were more bold, daring and courageous taking on foolish risks too and occasionally getting scalded in the process but never giving up our spirit of adventure and nor sacrificing the thrill of taking risks. Perhaps one reason was we were never saddled with the burden of responsibility and we had the backing of our parents. However as time flew and we grew up, the burden of expectations and responsibilities grew.  Thereafter we became more circumspect, when attempting anything out of the way. Yet if we objectively looked back at our achievements most times we attained things when we dared to go for it. Be it improving our academic record or winning a sport or simply giving an extempore speech, the fruits of success were planted when we courageously took on the challenge.

At various points of time in our life we would have had grandiose plans and we would even have seen visions of unparalleled success.  Yet if our plans never took off, we have only ourselves to blame, for we may have lacked the courage to give it our all. Any type of decision making is an act of courage for every problem carries with it an implied risk of failure. Some of the most courageous men were scientists and explorers who backed up their instincts with tangible well planned efforts. Real courage is not only in the attempting but in turning failure into success. This requires faith in oneself, fortitude to press on and the strong will to get up when we fall. The progress of man through the ages, as recorded in history and study of civilization highlight the courage of our ancestors to explore experiment and evolve and we are therefore reaping the fruits of their courage of conviction.

Courage stems from self belief, knowledge and daring. If one is merely daring, it might be foolhardiness not courage. E.g. Daring to go in for an unarmed combat with a lion is foolhardiness masquerading as courage. Without knowledge, courage may not yield results since one would have a tough time figuring the way forward. The frontiers of science for example can be breached and new discoveries made only by professionals who are experts and have the courage to back their beliefs. The critical component inc courage is self belief. When we have the ability to discern that our thinking is on the right track, our gut feeling is strong and that our homework is well done, we gain the confidence to dare and the this confidence to dare is courage.

Remember: Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, “I will try again tomorrow  Mary Anne Radmacher

Try this:

  1. To overcome our inhibitions that later become fears, visit a fair/ exhibition/ fete where are there some whacky games stalls. Pick up courage to attempt to play each and every game with full gusto and without a care in the world.
  2. Make a firm resolve not to hide / delay conveying any bad news from the concerned people. This takes courage because someone has to pay for mistakes and often the messenger of bad news bears the brunt of the ire of superiors.  Similarly it takes courage to hear bad news and to act dispassionately to mitigate the problems. Be aware of the type of courage that is needed in these two different scenarios.

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

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Confidence … is directness and courage in meeting the facts of life. John Dewey

Reality is often a very uncomfortable fact for us to confront. Partly because the reality often relates to things that we do not like, want or appreciate but mainly because it saps us of our confidence. E.g the sudden passing away of a parent/ spouse or sibling makes us suddenly feel very vulnerable. Reality even if is positive and favorable occasionally does make us uncomfortable simply because we lack the confidence to believe that we deserve the same and it also pressurizes us since the benchmark to judge us have been set a lot higher suddenly. E.g. Topping an exam when all along you never were in the top five. This situation forces us into believing in ourselves and mentally orient ourselves to be more self confident and pragmatic thereby instilling in us a healthy dose of confidence.

The trick to being confident is in enhancing one’s self esteem. This would involve being mentally tough to withstand criticism and failures, being positive about everything that happens good or bad, visualizing success in all endeavors and appreciating ones strength and potential. Unless one can believe in one’s own abilities it is difficult for anyone to appear confident. A healthy self esteem automatically triggers self belief and positive thinking. Even the most trying circumstances and challenging tasks will not faze or perturb you, instead it will provoke you into conquering it with panache and élan. Many a candidate has sailed through an interview because of the confidence that he/ she could display in an interview despite their own lack of experience or expertise. On the other hand there are many competent people who seem unable to get the interviewers nod simply because they could not project themselves confidently.

Being forthright without being brazen is a skill that one needs to hone in order to project a confident personality. There are many people who try to cover up their shallowness under the garb of a brazen and boorish behavior which they believe is projecting their confidence. Names dropping, arrogance, a tacky sense of dressing and a loud demeanor are clear indications of an outlandish personality masquerading as a confident person. There are other signs of such behavior that one can observe in people attempting to project confidence. Being overly critical, extremely sarcastic and use of intemperate language are pointers to a mouse pretending to be a cat. True confidence never needs to be displayed aloud but should silent capture the moment, the environment and the onlooker.

Confidence must be supported by competence and results. There are times when a confident effort ends up disastrously with boos and catcalls. Other times people will be indifferent. At these times reassess your effort and remember that confidence alone does not take you too far. One needs to work on ensuring that the confidence is genuine, the situation right and the performance outstanding.

Remember: “Confidence comes not from always being right but from not fearing to be wrong.” Peter T. Mcintyre

Try this:

  1. Click on the following link and LISTEN to Randy Pausch Last Lecture: Achieving Your Childhood Dreams. Remember that the Prof.Randy Pausch is already diagnosed with a grave life threatening illness and is actually dying but see his CONFIDENCE when he confronts death in this last lecture http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ji5_MqicxSo
  2. List out 10 of your worst fears. Now prepare a plan to confront at least 3 of them. Eg. You are afraid of snakes. How about going to local zoo and just looking at the cobras and pythons in the zoo. Slowly gain confidence and approach the zoo in charge to let you get closer to a non poison snake. Meanwhile you must make an attempt to see National Geographic or Animal Planet series on snakes. The ultimate test is if you can actually hold a snake and let it glide round from your neck into your arms.

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

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