Tag: Criticism

Our ego, our burden

Our ego, our burden

Sometimes you are fortunate to get some insightful pictures that convey a lot more than just the visual appeal. Today’s picture very succinctly captures the essence of many of our problems viz. our ego becomes our burden.

Our ego is planted in the mind and the individual nurtures it with gusto believing that she/he needs to have a place in the sun because she/he is special, gifted, unique and extraordinary. It is true that every individual is blessed with qualities that make the individual special in comparison to another. However, that does not necessarily mean that the individual is extraordinary and starkly stands out as a result. When the mind is too full of our own self, that is when ego starts puffing up like a balloon and at the slightest prick or extra inflation it can burst. Till that happens, every egoistic individual has to carry the burden of his ego, nurtured in the mind, as a burden.

The antidote to ego is humility. This is a quality that can be nurtured with the right upbringing, a pragmatic approach and most importantly the knowledge that ‘this too shall pass’. Success, however great, is always transitional. In a similar way, failure is never permanent.  If this concept is firmly ingrained in the mind, each individual will relish her/ his success without the success or achievement morphing into ego. Without the ego, an individual will never resent another, she/he will learn to enjoy the moments in the sun as well as in the shadow and will be less stressed, have more fun and live life with gusto.

Humility brings to the fore three definite benefits

You are able to take on criticism – Any negative feedback or criticism is largely resented except when a person is humble enough to acknowledge that s/he can change and become better by paying attention to one’s faults. Most times, the criticism is actually shared so as to make the individual aware of not so apparent faults, which if corrected can furrow the path to greater success.

You will not fear mistakes – Everyone makes mistakes. However, only a person who is humble does not fear mistakes. S/he is aware that not trying is more detrimental to progress than making mistakes. Mistakes can be rectified; not trying does not enable any form of progress. Mistakes also make us aware of our limitations, our erroneous approach and helps challenge our limits. Improvement and success are the goals that mistakes hope to inculcate once you are made aware of them.

You will learn to appreciate those better than you.- A humble person is the one who can recognize and applaud someone better than her/him. It also enables one to notice the progress one needs to make so as to reach the same zenith and improve upon it. Without being humble, chances are that we focus only on finding fault with others, instead of learning from them. Progress, demands improvement and improvement requires us to benchmark with those better than us. Only someone humble enough to acknowledge that reality will benefit from that realization.

Try these:          

  1. Click on the following link and read the blog post http://poweract.blogspot.com/2010/03/ego.html
  2. Which was the best criticism you received and how did it help you grow?
  3. Which was the one mistake that you failed to recognize for a long time because your ego would not permit it? How did you finally overcome it and what was the outcome of you correcting that mistake?
  4. Identify three persons as under
  • Classmates who you appreciate for their success
  • Competing professionals who you respect for their competence
  • Idols from any field who are role models for you

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog

www.poweract.blogspot.com

Expereince Freedom

13- 6 June 15 FreedomBy and large each individual would like to be unfettered from the expectations of others, have the courage to live their dream and be insulated from the barbs, the criticism, the finger pointing and the ‘I told you so ‘reactions of those around us. We long to be free from the clutches of the pressures of ‘conformity’ that society at large subtly exerts on us. While social norms and personal values remain the guideposts of our life, anything outside this ambit would be seen as a curtailment of our freedom. The reality is that far too often we do not have the daring to challenge these restrictions because we are not self confident, we would like to avoid disagreements and most of all because we tend to take all of forms of feedback personally.

Yes you can enjoy personal freedom when you can bring about a balance between retaining your personal norms and self imposed norms in order to get approval of others. The latter is extremely difficult because as human beings we resent any criticism or negative feedback. Unfortunately we live in a world filled with individuals who are quick to spot and comment on anything that does not confirm to their personal standards. So your hairstyle, dress sense, gestures, choice of words, career choices, friends circle etc. are all constantly under the scanner and since we cannot please everyone we tend to try and please the majority. No sooner we do this we feel losing our dignity, independence and freedom to be what we really are.

To enjoy your freedom and explore all dimensions of your life review the following

Do you always seek approval of others? This can manifest in many ways; be it constantly expecting others to notice your new wardrobe / hairstyle etc. or always seeking permission to do anything off beat or different. You would always be constrained from enjoying and doing what you love because the approval of others is vital for you to feel the joy of being yourself.

Do you succumb to the temptation of being critical? This is reflected in the frequency with which you play spoilt sport or being sarcastic or prone to giving backhanded compliments to others. With such a mindset you would often alienate people and in turn be prone to be constantly at the receiving end of similar jibes from others. Your mind is then either preoccupied with being critical or the fear of being criticized. How can you then experience freedom of mind and body?

Do you hold back, anticipating disapproval? You are fascinated by a new dress/ gadget / holiday plan etc. but stop short of indulging because you are worried about disapproval from others. You are shackled by the chains of approval syndrome.

Are you wary of trying new and different experiences? You want to attend a new play or musical but it is a genre that you have never heard about or know anything about and so you drop the idea. Maybe you want to visit a new restaurant serving oriental food / Greek cuisine / African fare but you immediately get imaginary thoughts about the contents / taste/ presentation /ingredients being so alien to your senses and hence do not go ahead with your initial plans. Your mind is not free of wild imagination running riot.

Do you tend to brood a lot over any criticism or negative feedback? So if someone in authority criticizes your work or a close friend passes a negative comment or if you overhear something negative said and assume it is about you and you are preoccupied rationalizing the comment or justifying to yourself how wrong the others are, you would have already sacrificed your freedom on the altar of perfection.

Do failures or the thought of failure overwhelm you? The real shackles that most people find themselves bound by, is the fear of failure. Once a person fears failure then inevitably they lose the capacity to be independent, experimental, adventurous and original.

Freedom is never about being right it is about being able to march to the tune in your head, the beat that only you hear and walking towards a goal that only you and you alone can see. Don’t ever take things personally be it your own fears, others criticisms or disapproval’s, your doubts or your failures.

Try these:

  1. Make an inventory of the numerous odds and ends lying in your house that you would like to get rid off. Now try to sell these ( garage sale / advertise it / sell it online etc.) and donate the proceeds to charity.
  2.  Jot down the following
  • Name of an individual ( who you interact with regularly) who you loathe.
  • Your worst nightmare / fear.
  • Your one regret in life as on date.

Now for each of the above write down 3 – 5 positive things that you can think of.

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog

www.poweract.blogspot.com

Be true to yourself

Nature has been very kind to mankind and that is why it has put an auto program within us in the form of our senses to help us protect ourselves from danger. Ever realized how is it that when we inadvertently touch something hot we instantaneously draw away from it or how quickly we sense danger when we smell a burning odor or stale food is immediately sensed by the tongue. The senses are programmed by nature to be true to the duty of self preservation.

The problem arises when we have to depend on ourselves for progress, growth and happiness. To this end, we are largely dependent on our academics, intellect, behavior, attitude, skill sets and motivation for setting our goals and attaining them. The very stumbling block for many begins with the academics where we are prone to expect more marks than our effort and intellect, succumb to the temptation to use unfair means so as to boost our marks and / or happily make peace with the results and rationalize that you have done your best. In effect we are just not being true to our abilities, our potential or our conscience. If you get marks that you really do not deserve, does it mean that you are academically superior to the rest? Do you think you can continue your bluff in your professional life? The replies to these questions should be again answered honestly and you would have made an important step in the pursuit of being true to yourself.

It is said that a clear conscience is the best pillow; implying thereby that if one is true to one’s self you can always enjoy a blissful sleep. In having a clear conscience one is not merely troubled by deceit, lies or improprieties that one may have lapsed into but the bigger pricks of conscience are brought about by a feeling of inadequacy that one has not discharged one’s duties effectively, not stood up to protest injustice or when one has merely sat on the fence when having to take a decisive stand. Not keeping ones promise is just a simple example of negligence in discharging ones obligation but there could be larger issues like not helping out an accident victim or not exercising one’s franchise during the elections. It may be pertinent to emphasize here that  while not voting could be viewed as an insignificant event that does not prick one’s conscience it is this collective lack of conscience that ultimately give us poor political leadership. Perhaps if each of us was true to ourselves our environment would have been a much better place to live in.

Look around and be aware of your critics. Perhaps some of those critics are people who have some differences or dislike towards you and many of their criticisms could be frivolous. There could be other critics who fail to appreciate your point of view or the reasons or intent behind your actions/ responses that they criticize. Then there are a few who are very very close to you and it this proximity to you that gives them the liberty to be more judgmental and honest in their critical feedback. What is important for you is to realize that there is always an element of truth in most of the criticisms and it is an excellent feedback to help one improve. The more important lesson though is that your friends, fans and supporters will always far outnumber your critics and most of them will never be true to you when it comes to telling you your faults, your limitations, your weaknesses or the area of improvementYou improve and progress only by being honest and true to yourself, for you and only you know yourself; only you know your fears, your ambitions, your apprehensions, your limitations, your abilities, your insecurities, your frustrations, your desires, your cravings, your hopes, your expectations, your values.

Try this:

  1. Write down your strengths and weakness and also your fears and aspirations. Make as elaborate a list as possible. Now try and honestly rate each point in each of the 4 grids and number it from 1 onwards, 1 being the most important priority. Now candidly visualize how each of the fort points in each grid impacts your decisions / your approach/ your progress.
  2. Identify 3 of the following characters and jot down one honest negative feedback you would give each of them. Think of how you will package that feedback to make it more acceptable to the recipient without your relationship being affected.

–          Friends

–          Colleagues

–          Relatives

–          School/ college mates

–          Subordinate/ junior / employee

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog

www.poweract.blogspot.com

Set yourself free…

As a social animal, man has to live with fellow human beings for sustenance, companionship and growth. Unfortunately man, unlike other animals that also live in groups or herds or prides has the compulsive unconscious urge to seek acceptance /approval of those around for every deed, action and indulgence. Even more unfortunately, man has also perfected the art of being a born critic and we easily find fault with people, happening and things around. When we analyze the behavior of the critic in us, we would realize that we have subconsciously become negative in our perception and thinking, our negativity has clouded our ability to be more discerning and appreciative and we are easily reconciled to failure, plead haplessness and find excuses to rationalize our personal lack of success.

Let us examine how each of these behaviors’ are self imposed and self limiting.

By being negative in our perception and thinking we let in self doubt creep in; we train ourselves to see the imperfections and we gravitate towards the bare minimum standards of acceptance so that we don’t seem to be failures. The fear of public speaking that an overwhelming majority of people suffer from is a classic case of our negative perception and thinking preoccupies us and restrains us from overcoming our fears.

Negativity clouding our ability to discern and be appreciative makes us succumb to the temptation of fault finding, self depreciation and failure prone. Even if someone else gives us a compliment we tend to play it down or deflect attention to something that takes the shine of the compliment. Similarly when opportunity presents itself we hesitate to take the initiative succumbing to our insecurities. We also naturally end up focusing on those failures that we may have encountered and completely ignore the numerous success that we have been privileged to embrace. Remember how our parents automatically scanned out report card to find the red lines that signified failure or quickly picked up on the lowest marks completing ignoring the numerous high scores we may have got.

By reconciling to failure, pleading haplessness and finding excuses, we do not give ourselves the opportunity to leverage our inherent strengths. Success is actually a culmination of effort most of it repetitive efforts despite failures. Many of us though give up at the first hurdle instead of persisting with hope and faith. We do not even make the effort of trying pleading haplessness or find excuses to wriggle out of a tough call. The overwhelming emotion that envelopes us is fear of failure and ridicule by others is actually the critic in us constantly whispering in our mind don’t embarrass yourself in front of others. How many of us who do poorly in our tasks began by saying ‘I don’t know what to do’ and later go on to say ‘ I am not capable of doing it’ and finally accepted failure by saying ‘ I just wasn’t cut out for it’. Notice that each of those statements are actually directed at others who maybe onlookers, co-participants or possibly evaluators and the statements are crude efforts to avoid any criticism.

The only way to tackle our fears is to confront it by being a participant and not a distanced critic. This is best done by visualizing success, anticipating and preparing for potential pitfalls and wholeheartedly embracing and enjoying the process. The real success would be in conquering one’s fears by setting yourself free of criticism, fear or failure.

Try this:

In the next one month ensure you attempt at least one of the following tasks that you have never attempted before

  • Learning a new form of dance
  • Easting with chopsticks
  • Learning to speak 10 sentences in a new language
  • Inviting friends to an exotic meal cooked entirely by you
  • Participating in 3 contests
  • Try your hand at origami

From the following situations, rate the situation that would embarrass you the most to the least. Reflect on why each situation gets the rating you have assigned.

  • Your boss getting hold of a love letter written to you.
  • You going for an important meeting post lunch and your shirt has a big stain because you spilt coffee on it at lunch time.
  • You excitedly greet and animatedly talk to a very charming person, who then gently tells you he/she is not the person you thought he/she was.
  • You are making an important presentation and by error click on a PPT you were studying of a competitor’s product.
  • You are with guests in a restaurant and despite the guests offer to foot the bill, insist that you will pick the tab only to discover that you forgot your wallet which contains the credit cards too.

 This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog

www.poweract.blogspot.com

The value of pride

I take a lot of pride in being myself. I’m comfortable with who I am. James McAvoy

At various points in time, it is quite possible that an individual would have wished to be someone else, ideally his/ her role model or latest super actor or sports personality. Typically our daydreams of being some else begins in childhood with us taking a great liking to some hero / heroine of our favorite comics/ books. At adolescence one graduates to dreaming of being a hero/ heroine of movies and before long one is besotted by images of being the current celebrity. Typically, it is the fame, the adulation; the celebrity status and power that we imagine others to be having that makes us pine to don their avatar.

Yet when we cut back to reality, we find that we do appreciate our personal self, albeit with hope that we can make some key changes that will make us special. It is this pride that we take in our being what we are that spurs us on live life with hope, faith and determination. No one is perfect but that may not be a consolation for someone keen to overcome a perceived personal limitation. Someone short may pine to be taller; people who are lean would love to have a better physique; those who are intelligent may crave to be more outgoing and those who are extroverts may be hoping that their deeper insecurities are never revealed. While our perceived limitations could be a reality using it as an excuse not to fulfill our potential would be hari-kari.

To accept one’s self in totality one must learn to appreciate the blessings we are fortunate to have, make sincere efforts to overcome our inadequacies and limitations while simultaneously taking pride in the individual that we are. Here are 4 tips to help you take pride in the individual that you are:

Be positive – Try and see the silver lining. No matter what the situation change is a constant and it is in change that fresh hopes, new beginnings and greater opportunities abound. Your individuality will always have a chance to be showcased, appreciated and recognized. Making affirmative suggestions is another way to be positive. This can be done by positive self talk, positive visualization and keeping in the company of those who encourage, motivate and inspire you. E.g. You are to make your first major presentation and you are nervous. You can tell yourself that you have prepared well and visualize the confident manner you will make the presentation and even imagine the applause you will get. You can be sure that you will soon be oozing with confidence.

Leverage strengths – Give up the tendency to brood over what you hate, dislike or cannot change. Instead focus on your strengths and utilize it to the best of your abilities. One way to identify your strengths is to listen to the positive feedback and appreciation that you receive.  E.g. If diligence is your strength be diligent in whatever you do and don’t bother if you are not too creative or flamboyant.

Work on personal change –Many a time there could be limitations that can be rectified with a little help from others or by making some concentrated effort. Identify these areas of concern that needs a makeover and proactively go about making those personal improvements. E.g. you are shy and afraid of public speaking. If you are in a job that requires you to be more bold and visible it is obvious that you have to attend some public speaking classes at the earliest.

Don’t get bogged down by criticism – Criticism often deflates us, irritates us and demotivates us. Succumbing to criticism erodes our confidence, triggers negative emotions and punctures our ego. Our pride takes a tremendous beating then. If on the other hand, one can see criticism as helpful hints to guide us to the path of success, we would learn from it, ignore it if untrue and climb up the ladder of success by overcoming each criticism directed us it. E.g. You are a passionate sports person but are told that you have the tactical acumen but not the physical ability to become an extraordinary sports person. Use the criticism to change tracks from being a sports man to becoming a coach or sports administrator and still be actively involved in your passion.

Remember: Show class, have pride, and display character. If you do, winning takes care of itself. Paul Bryant

Try this:

  1. Write down your average monthly budget for expenses. Ensure your write down that figure now. Read further only if you have written down that figure. Are sure it is a realistic estimate? Recalculate that figure if you have to but write down that figure now. Now divide the figure by 2. The resultant figure should now be your monthly budget for the next 3 months. Try living on that budget for the next 3 months and then answer the following questions
  • Did you think it was acceptable challenge when you began the task?
  • Was it easy to live on that budget?
  • What was most difficult to manage on that budget?
  • What was easiest to give up in order to live on that budget?
  • Did you get frustrated attempting the challenge?
  • How did you motivate yourself to meet the challenge? 
  1. Choose one activity that you have never tried before and try to do it within a week
  • Make a couple of origami items
  • Learn 5 different types of knots that can be tied
  • Rustle up a dessert that involves baking and decorating
  • Physically handle an animal other than a cat or dog

 This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog

www.poweract.blogspot.com

How to make best use of criticism

“Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.”  Winston Churchill

Most of us are natural critics but very few of us accept criticism with an open mind and the right attitude to learn from it. Criticism comes naturally, because each of us has an idea of a perfect world and invariably there is always something wrong with it. Thereafter it is a simple matter of pouting opinions on how things are not right and perhaps we pontificate on how we could set things right if only we were empowered. If the same conversation is initiated by others we can heartily concur and add a few more views without contributing very constructively. Of course the good part of the critical way we see things is that when the clamor gets louder some action takes place and there is improvement.

The problem that we face as individuals is that we ‘fear criticism’. No sooner we are subject to criticism, we see criticisms as a direct attack on our ability, we view it as the incorrect and inappropriate assessment of us and resent the reality when pointed out to us. We react to criticism with skepticism, attempt to justify and rationalize our short comings and in extreme cases attempt to discredit our critics or dwell upon what we perceive as their incompetence and inability to judge us correctly.  What we fail to appreciate is the reality that very few people will criticize us because human nature prefers to be good and sweet to one and all and being critical is an invitation to strain relationships. Equally important is the fact that any valid criticism is a good feedback mechanism that enables us to correct ourselves, bring about improvement and progress towards excellence.

Criticism is unavoidable and so we need to accept this reality and then leverage it to improve our life, our effectiveness and our relationships. The key to that lies in adopting the following approach:

Accepting criticism.  This is the toughest part to overcome. Our natural temperament is to refute, reject and rebut. However once we realize that most people criticize us with our welfare at heart, be it parents, teacher, siblings, family, friends, bosses and colleagues, we would pay heed to what they have to say. When there are disagreements and in a fit of rage an opponent or adversary makes a comment or observation that hurts us deeply, it could be a sure sign that there is an element of truth in it. This realization would be the ultimate test to walking the way of accepting criticism.

Harnessing the feedback got. The simple rule here is to ask yourself if there is there some truth in it. If yes, learn from the feedback and make the adjustments, learning, behavioral change, required. If some skills have to be learnt, if some relationships have to be mended or if some ties have to be cut off, however painful it may be, the same has to be done. Making all out efforts to implement  the change based on the learning from the feedback holds the key.

Being honest with our criticism of others so that we understand the shortcomings. As tough as it may seem, by being constructively critical, we are honing our skills of observation, improving our standards of excellence and fine tuning the art of disagreeing without being disagreeable. All these qualities will go a long way in improving our personality, our confidence and our outlook of life.

Learning to appreciate others so that we can adopt the good practices that we observe.  Compared to the previous point, this may sound extremely ironic for it involves making a complete U turn in our way of seeing things. Balancing this contradiction actually makes us develop an all round personality where we can learn to live with the good and the bad. When we appreciate, we are also unconsciously raising our own standards of performance for we will strive to attain what we see as the bar of excellence. Appreciation when balanced with criticism also enables us to remain rooted to reality; for while there may be many who would praise us and overlook our shortcomings, the ones who dare to be critical will be holding a mirror to our face. We can then see ourselves warts and all and then begin the process of sprucing up and making a fresh appearance worthy of our talent, our abilities and our aspirations.

Remember: Criticism, like rain, should be gentle enough to nourish a man’s growth without destroying his roots.  Frank Howard Clark

Try this:

  1. Go and see new released movie without reading the critics reviews. On returning home from the movie, attempt to review the movie or at least jot down 3- 5 appreciative points and 3- 5 critical observations about the movie. Thereafter read the professional reviews and compare your own effort.
  2. Mark Anthony’s speech criticizing Brutus in Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar is a master piece of using the rhetoric to criticize subtly. To read the same, click on the following link.  http://tinyurl.com/yae2nno
  3. Can you recollect the criticism given by the following people, which was hurtful but helped you improve
  • Your dad
  • Your mother
  • Your favorite teacher
  • The teacher you disliked immensely
  • Your best friend
  • A third party, perhaps a passenger traveling with you or a motorist who rammed your vehicle or a player from an opposing team or a taxi driver

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog

www.poweract.blogspot.com

Using head and heart

To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart.  – Donald Laird

As social animals, we human beings have no choice but to live in society which implies that we need to interact with others, adjust to the demands of societal norms and yet maintain our own identity and independence.  This poses a problem simply because the individuality that we pride on wants to break free of any shackles imposed on us while the social instinct in us forces us to toe the line that is determined by society and culture. It is reconciling this dichotomy that unconsciously poses a big dilemma for most of us.  Our quote today, provides a glimpse of the option available to us to effectively maintain our personal identity while also ensuring we do justice to our social and neighborly role.

To begin with, we need to asses our own approach to our personal values, beliefs and actions. Being pragmatic would perhaps gives us the smoothest passage forward and that is possible when we don’t get overtly emotional and become a tinge more practical thinking out solutions, selecting logical options and making choices that suit our individuality. Eg. When we lose a loved one, grief would be obviously what overcomes us. Yet in that moment of grief too we need to get control of our emotions and if we always believed in organ donation should initiate steps for that. On the other hand if we are more traditional then there is no need to take on the guilt of pandering to the demands of those urging you to donate the organs for it is a very personal and private decision.

On the other hand when we play our role as social animals and discharge our obligations as neighbors, friends, relatives or as another human being, we need to listen to our heart and less to our wisdom which is often based on reasoning, logic and taken without any emotions attached to it. Eg. If we are firm believers in organ donation, we cannot impose our will on others who may not share our sentiments because of their personal reasons. We must respect the sentiments of the parties involved and try to empathize with their emotions rather than quarrel or wrestle with their flawed logic as we would be tempted to think.  Take another scenario which is more prevalent the constant battle between parents who want their children to study and the children who are more keen to focus on their own interests be it games or computers or TV. Most parents use a hackneyed logic of equating studies with success in life which the children view as a bitter pill the parents are trying to push down their throat. On the other hand if the parents encouraged the children to pursue their own interests while setting some discipline to ensure that studies were also regularly  done, it could be a win win situation since the children would perhaps see the parents as allies in their efforts to excel.

Criticism offers perhaps the best opportunity for us to put the above maxim to full use. When we are criticized we should suspend our emotional discomfort and attempt to see if there is any truth in the points raise by our critics. If the criticism is untrue simply ignore it. However if it is true then we need to be grateful that out attention has been drawn to something that impedes our effectiveness and we should work on overcoming those flaws.  On the other hand when we have to be critical of others, then we must consider the emotional ramifications of our feedback on the other party and hence we must not be unduly harsh or hurtful. Instead we must handle their fragile emotions carefully and encourage them to overcome their flaws whilst also drawing attention to their strengths.  This will help them maintain their dignity, reinforce confidence in themselves and at the same time give them the self belief that they can improve with effort and persistence.

Remember: The heart has its reasons of which reason knows nothing. Blaise Pascal

Try this:

  1. Can you recollect the last 5 criticisms that came your way. Do you recollect who told them? Were the criticisms justified? What efforts did you do to learn and improve from those criticisms?
  2. Write down 3 strengths and 1 criticism you have concerning the following people.
  • Your favorite high school teacher
  • Your best friend
  • Your neighbor
  • Your own family members (list them out and write for each person)

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

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

The moment of truth

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

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

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

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

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

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

Try this:

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

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

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

The situations are as under:

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

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

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

True friends…

The best mirror is an old friend. Anon

Before you read any further, get up go to the mirror and have a good look at yourself. Did you notice the creases on your forehead, the tiny pimple on your face, the beginning of baggy eyes or perhaps you noticed at least one grey hair. If you didn’t see any of these, then you need to look again or improve the lighting or change your mirror. The beauty of a mirror is not in what it reveals but in honestly displaying back warts, moles, pimples and all without fear or favor. Unfortunately a mirror cannot reflect the person in you; your attitudes, your inner feelings, the fears, hopes, desires that permeate your thoughts. An old friend is thus your best mirror who helps you see yourself from the inside.

An old friend is one who knows us intimately and more importantly someone who knows us for a long time. When we appreciate that friendship is all about a good understanding, a close intimacy and utmost trust we realize that over the many years we have shared most of our innermost feelings with our friends. They know how we behave, react, respond and express ourselves in varied situations and circumstances. It is also possible that they have in subtle and not so subtle ways pointed out what they felt were undesirable qualities, traits, behavioral tendencies in us. Depending on our moods, our interpretations of those criticisms and our closeness to our friends, we could have partially acknowledged some criticism, defended most and ignored what didn’t suit us. In extreme cases we could have attributed motives to our friends and perhaps made our friendship more circumspect and even unfortunately in rare cases broken a friendship.

As a friend to others, we too have a similar obligation to our friends. There is risk in being too upfront and forthright and so we need to be more tactful, time our feedback appropriately and be unbiased and fair. However many a time we believe that criticism will not be taken in the right spirit and so most times our observations and criticism of others are shared with other close friends while the protagonist remains blissfully unaware and incapable of taking any proactive steps. It is just as important for us to encourage our friends and point out their strengths and abilities. There are many times when a wavering friend on the verge of taking a major personal or professional decision requires a friend’s nudge by way of support to take the plunge. Many a time as a friend our responsibility is to stand by a friend when he/ she is going through a personal crisis even if it was self inflicted or a result of foolhardiness on their part despite your warnings. Unlike a mirror which stoically reflects, a good friend must proactively empathize and sympathize making us one better than the heartless mirror.

Remember: “Self-revelation is a cruel process. The real picture, the real you never emerges. Looking for it is as bewildering as trying to know how you really look. Ten different mirrors show you ten different faces.” Shashi Deshpande

Try this:

  1. Name three faults in your best friend. Have you been able to tell your friend about these faults? If not what has held you back?  If you have told how has the friend reacted to it?
  2. What are the 3 criticism you have received from anyone, which hurt you the most? Were those criticisms justified? Did any feedback from a good friend hurt you? Have you severed ties with a good friend because of what he/ she said and you didn’t like it because it hurt you? Have you ever apologized and made up with your friend?

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

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