Tag: Decisions

Decisions shape destiny…go on make up your mind

It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped.  Tony Robbins

Of all the numerous faults that one can be accused of, being indecisive is one of the most serious faults for it makes a person fearful, confused, inept and paralyzed, thereby losing out on opportunities to progress, be productive and attain success. The sports arena illustrates this best when an indecisive player becomes a bane for the team and the game by poor coordination and shoddy performance. Ever noticed the mispasses on the field, wayward shooting at the goal and the back chatting between team members; many of these are symptomatic of the malaise of poor decision making. In real life, anyone who often echoes his/ her concern of being confused can be quickly identified as someone prone to avoid taking a decision. Sadly, very often many of these people become indecisive not because they lack inputs but because there are too many equally attractive options or equally scary consequences and deciding on any one is challenging.

Here are four pointers to help one become an effective decision maker.

Analyze extensively but don’t get paralyzed by it. Paralysis by analysis is the bane of those who believe in extensive study in order to minimize the chances of failure. Most people would profess to study threadbare the situation that needs a decision so as to be able to make the best decision, but subconsciously many of them are trying to find the best way to hedge their decision should it fail. As a result making it fail safe becomes the focus rather than maximizing success. When risk appears we tend to demonize it and consequently vacillate between alternatives until forced into a decision either by time constraints or other external pressures.

Accept the reality that not all decisions will be right. Human nature comprehends failure to indicate ineffectiveness, incompetence and ineptness, faults which in our myopic opinion grievously devalue us in the eyes of others. The reality is that failure is proof that someone dared, someone miscalculated and that there could be alternatives to the path taken. How many were actually ruined by the mistakes made? Barring some who were foolhardy or blinded by a false sense of invincibility, every other person who failed learnt from those failures and bounced back with better decisive strategies.

Be aware of the consequences of taking the decision and also of not taking the decision. By being indecisive and avoiding making a commitment, the chances are that we are risking not grasping opportunities, perhaps even missing out on minimizing / avoiding failure and certainly ensuring that the original issue remains unresolved. .  Ask anyone who has invested in shares and stocks and chances are you will get more stories of failures in stock picking but probe further and then they will accept that they rue being indecisive. Many others will blame their impulsiveness in taking decisions that led to poor stock selection.

Never forget that it is only when you can bite the bullet that you can lead the charge. Every leader has invariably reached the top by getting bruised and battered in the battle field of life. What has set them apart is not just their doggedness and ability but their ability to take crucial decisions at critical junctures. At times their decisions could have backfired and send them hurtling down the steep slope of success but with renewed vigor and enthusiasm they took the decision to battle their way up.

Remember : Some people, however long their experience or strong their intellect, are temperamentally incapable of reaching firm decisions. James Callaghan

Try this:

  1. Play a game of snakes and ladders but here is the twist to make you be aware of decision making. Every time you roll the dice you have a choice to accept the number that comes up or to pass the move except if the number that is thrown up moves your counter to a slot with a snake, in which case you go down to the tail of the snake. Check how and when you make the ‘decision’ to pass your turn .Are there times you felt you made a mistake because you made the decision ‘to pass your turn or not to pass your turn’?
  2. Take a look at the video by one of the more popular lecturers at Harvard, Prof. Michael Sandel who is taking a module on the Moral Side of Murder. Remember to pause the video after he asks the first set of questions and make it a point to make ‘your DECISION’ to the question he asks. Also ensure you are clear why you made that decision.  Then continue the video till he asks the second set of questions based on a scenario he describes. Again pause the video and make a decision based on the question.  Perhaps a different facet of ‘decision making’ will emerge and challenge you. Click here to view the video http://tinyurl.com/yey37oe

 This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog

www.poweract.blogspot.com

The challenge of decision making

If we wait until we’ve satisfied all the uncertainties, it may be too late. Lee Iacocca

One of the toughest parts of decision making is trying to minimize the uncertainties associated with the decision so as to ensure that we improve the chances of having taken the right decision.  There are numerous reasons why getting answers to all uncertainties is extremely difficult. To begin with there is a tradeoff between the time available to get all the inputs required to answer all uncertainties and the time frame within which to take the decision. There are numerous uncertainties where a judgment is the only way one can use to determine the probability of nailing the uncertainity.eg  if we visit a couple of doctors for each ones expert opinion on a serious illness and all of them suggest a different line of treatment, we have no choice but to go with one of those recommendations.  As a result, most times apart from using the available data we end up having to use our judgment and rely on our prior experience to arrive at a decision.

One of the most common ailments of decision making prevalent largely in the corporate world is described as Paralysis by analysis. Here the problem arises not because the decision to be made is really tough but more because the decision makers don’t want to be held responsible in case their decision goes wrong.  As a result they would attempt to use all techniques and tools to study and analyze the data available and they would even tweak it till it confirms what they want to believe or prove so that there is ample paperwork to justify their decision. Unfortunately since most decisions are time bound, decision makers can be mentally paralyzed by the reams of analytical data that is generated which may be quite at variance with our expectations and the decision making process goes for a toss.

Decisions concerning relationships are even more tough because it calls for a value judgment. A simple test is to write down the qualities of an ideal spouse. Most times this process for married people poses a serious problem of having to forcefully appreciate the qualities of a spouse. For those yet unmarried the problem is one of how to prune the list. The tough part is yet to come;  for those who are yet to be married the question is how does one really recognize this quality or attribute in their to be spouse for the married person it is accepting the reality that many of those attributes longed for are utopian and unrealistic now. Breaking off a friendship or relationship is perhaps one of the toughest decisions because it is hurtful, painful, emotional and distressing for all concerned. Many a time this happens when there is mistrust and doubt and an amicable parting is often difficult but inevitable. Here the sheer pressure of the uncertainly in the relationship could prove to be a mill stone in the relationship which ultimately drowns it perhaps a wee bit too late.   Even more tough is to take a decision to part because pure rational itself does not provide the answers to all the uncertainties associated with the relationship. E.g. An office romance between a married boss and a subordinate or social pressures associated with a gay relationship or the breaking up of a partnership or a joint venture because the parties have divergent view points.

Remember: “My basic principle is that you don’t make decisions because they are easy; you don’t make them because they are cheap; you don’t make them because they’re popular; you make them because they’re right.”  Theodore Hesburgh

Try this:

  1. Your most intimate friend has picked up a new job and ever since his visits and interactions have come down.  You are disappointed and not sure if it is only the new job that is the reason for this sudden drop in communications and interactions. You are confused and hurt but you still cherish his friendship. How will you ensure that you don’t take a drastic or wrong decision by cutting off all your ties while at the same time ensuring that he still values your friendship?
  2. You are at a famous art museum that has a Picasso, a Rembrandt and a Van Gogh painting among some other prized paintings being exhibited. Suddenly there is a fire in the museum and you are able to save just one painting. Which painting will you save?  (The answer to this will be published in our weekly blog www.poweract.blogspot.com before this weekend)

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

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

Playing second fiddle

We cannot all be masters. William Shakespeare

The reality that we can aspire to be someone we crave to be does not lessen the pain of realizing that we may not realistically achieve it. The human ego, human temperament and human thinking often conspire to fool us into believing that we have it in us to be natural leaders and masters of our chosen field, vocation or team. To be a master, it is not just intelligence, pure expertise nor mere leadership skills that count; rather it is often a bit of everything and something sizeable in some key areas that counts. Just look at the ensemble of musicians who are giving a live performance and you will realize that the conductor is the master and though he does not play a single musical instrument during the performance, yet with his baton he has the entire entourage literally playing to his tunes.

In corporate world, seniority often is linked with leadership roles and yet, more often than not, we see young yuppies usurping leadership roles from the more experienced hands. The reason is simple, leadership requires not just experience and expertise but also vision and updated technological grasp. How do the more experienced hands cope with this reality that they may have missed the bus? Very often they are pragmatic and see the writing on the wall and take a cue and move out of the way either accepting the reality with dignity and playing along as a senior team member or they find another niche in the market place. The also ran’s in the political race to presidencies who may have lost their leadership aspirations typify those who nearly became masters but didn’t.  It may very little to do with their abilities or competencies but more to do with the political climate of the time, the perception of the electorate and occasionally blind luck.

Being a master is fraught with risks; risk of acceptance, risk of performance pressure and risk of failure. They also need to take critical decisions, often make unpopular choices, be ready to defend their actions especially when the going is tough and be prepared to take the flak of collective failure. Often becoming a master is not something that one aspires for but is delivered providentially. As would happened when a predecessor dies or moves out suddenly and the crown is passed on by virtue of being second in command. Here the pressure to perform and deliver becomes even more tricky for expectations are high, the circumstances perhaps not too favorable and personal confidence might not be at its peak.

Ironically each one of us is a master of our own life and we have to guide our own future, destiny and our successes. Thus even if we play just the second fiddle in an orchestra, we need to play it like a master second fiddle and then alone will we synchronize and harmonize the performance and win the applause. It is when we can master our own self that we can perhaps lay claim to greater leadership roles and when the honor is bestowed, one can lead with aplomb and leave a mark on the world.

Remember: “Performance is your reality. Forget everything else.” Harold S. Geneen

Try this:

  1. Honestly ask yourself as to what aspect in your life you have a good mastery. Eg. Some might be excellent cooks, others good at teaching or others are meticulous and orderly. If you find that you really are not a maser in anything attempt to choose and aspect of life that you would like to master. Work on it immediately and stick to it till you master it.
  2. Ask yourself if you shy away from leadership roles. If yes ask yourself why you do it? Is it lack of knowledge, inability to commit, poor leadership skills, fear of failure etc. that makes you refuse leadership positions? Now work on a method to work on those chinks that have let you down from taking on a master’s position.

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

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

Foolish risks

Living at risk is jumping off the cliff and building your wings on the way down. Ray Bradbury

The concept of risks and reward go hand in hand; the higher the risk the greater the reward. The trouble is that each one of us has a different perception of risk and obviously if we get it wrong then we are in real danger of paying a very heavy price. Many of us have flirted with this type of risk right from childhood; by banking on last minute studies to somehow cleat h exams and if lucky even do reasonably well too. Many of us despite getting into trouble by taking undue risks still thrive on skating on thin ice at great peril to ourselves. Speculators in general and gamblers in particular get a high by constantly wagering and taking chances.

Risk taking assumes that one has some safe guards put in place before we plunge into it. The more macho amongst us would have their ego tickled if told to ensure the mandatory safe guards and would probably rebel and perhaps heighten the risk factor to become a hero. They not only endanger themselves but put at risk others too by their irresponsible and often foolhardy behavior. What they fail to understand is that risk is quite different from a gamble or a lottery. A gamble or a bet is often impulsive, has a predominant financial angle to it and have far too many variables that have a major influence on the outcome. In the case of a lottery, the stakes are much lower, the rewards reasonable and luck plays the most important role in it.

Never put all your eggs in once basket is an old adage that succinctly captures a key element of risk viz. do not risk everything. Yet greed and power are two emotions that have a major bearing on how one perceives risks. When one is greedy our sense of reasoning is completely obscured by the lure of big returns and we ignore the risks involved or rationalize it conveniently. When drunk with power a person’s sense of control and influence takes on a falsely inflated proportion which when pricked can send things into a tail spin and a crash landing is the obvious ending. Often the arrogance of a person goads him/ her to take undue risks far beyond one’s own abilities and when things go wrong there is no safety net to cushion the free fall.

To take reasonable risks, one has to be pragmatic and at the same time have the courage to widen the scope of our comfort zone.  When one is pragmatic the chances of ensuring that we have studied the risks carefully is very high. More importantly the true natures of the risks are clearly understood and a fall back/ safety mechanism is put in place. A pragmatic person will only have reasonable expectations and therefore take on only a reasonable amount of risk. To ensure that we get a decent reward one also has to be a risk taker. That is where courage counts. There is always some danger lurking around but once we know the extent of that danger, and we have made arrangements to minimize that, then one needs to have the courage to take the risk. Without courage there will not be any risks taken and then we would be risking not latching on to some fine opportunities.

Remember: “Thoughtless risks are destructive, of course, but perhaps even more wasteful is thoughtless caution which prompts inaction and promotes failure to seize opportunity.”Gary Ryan Blair

Try this:

  1. Evaluate your investments and outline your risk profile. Consult a good investment consultant to guide you about your risk profile and align it with your age profile. The younger you are the more risks one can take and as one gets older the mix changes.
  2. If you were forced to go with friends to a casino how much would you spend gambling? Will you get influenced by the high spending by some of your friends? Would you be under pressure to spend more by friends who chide you and suggest that you are stingy?

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

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

The risks of not taking a risk

And the trouble is, if you don’t risk anything, you risk even more. Erica Jong

We are all familiar with fence sitters who believe that they are very safe by not committing to anyone and thereby taking minimum risks of annoying anyone or being held responsible for any decisions.  On the face of it the strategy looks good, but in reality when the mud settles, the fence sitter has a status almost akin to that of a traitor and for no one trusts him/ her. This is just one of the many downsides of being risk averse. Each day brings about a fresh set of challenges and there are risks of varying degrees every moment. Obviously it is human nature to avoid all risks possible and to venture only if there is reasonable chance of mitigating the risks. However in a fast paced world the changes taking place are stupendous and we cannot simply wait and watch; this means we have to commit and that is a risk by itself.

Making a commitment is the ultimate test of risk taking. This is because once the commitment is made there is no turning back and even if things are going downhill, we cannot make a U turn and reverse the pledges made. Commitments are made based on certain understanding, certain assumptions and a whole lot of trust. A misunderstanding can prove costly, as will a wrong assumption and a breach of trust will fully negate the original commitment but those committed cannot turn tail for there might not be any escape route or exit provided for. In today’s day and age, one of the biggest commitment is the marriage wows. The world wide statistics show that the divorce rate is fast catching up with the marriage rate; thereby showcasing the big blot on the institution of marriage. The risks in marrying as so real that today pre nuptial agreements have become a hedge against the risk of marriage.

If we observe those actively trading in the stock markets we would notice that they are driven by the urge to take risks. No doubt the lure of filthy profits is the key motivator for the stock traders but it is their craving to take the risks and beat the odds that really stimulates them. Someone on a losing spree, is often tempted to risk double his money in order to recoup the losses. This is an extremely risky strategy but by not taking that risk, the chances of recouping are almost negligible. A venture capitalists on the other hand has perfected the art of risk taking. They see opportunity in radical ideas, new technology, innovative strategies etc. and they study it in depth before taking the risk of funding some of these concepts. Venture capitalists are very clear that unless they take calculated risks they cannot function. However they are also clear that they need to spread their risks and so they fund a slew of identified ideas knowing fully well that a couple of them will fail, but they are confident that the vast majority will be hugely profitable and their risks are well managed.

In our own lives some of the most risky decisions pertain to our educational choices, career choices, marriage, family, retirement plans etc. It is imperative to note that whatever the reasoning or ultimate decision we are taking a risk. In most cases we have the freedom and choice to take the decisions but if we don’t, then the risks are almost certainly thrust on us by circumstances or fate. Why leave that risk to chance when we have the opportunity to take calculated risks?

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

Try this:

  1. Make a list of things you are passionate about but never attempted. Choose one of the items and work out a plan of action to indulge in it and if possible take it up passionately. E.g. Learning to waltz or playing the trumpet or running a marathon
  2. To get a first hand feel of risks go once to a casino or a derby or an auction and participate in it to the best of your ability. Be aware that you risk money but perhaps you will also experience the adrenaline flowing when your stakes are high.

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

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

Missed Opportunites ?

I was seldom able to see an opportunity until it had ceased to be one. Mark Twain

This problem of not seeing opportunity till it has passed by is a common refrain made by almost all of us. To understand this phenomena listen to the comments of those actively trading in the stock markets. Most of them are forever talking about missing out on buying or selling opportunities and ruing their poor judgment. The fact is that on hindsight many a decision made by us looks terrible. Grabbing opportunities is all about making the correct decisions that are appropriate for the situation. A simple example is the concept of bargaining while purchasing. While the seller has a better grasp of the prices, the buyer especially a casual buyer estimates the price partly emotionally, partly using logic and mainly by gut feeling. Later, if he is applauded for his bargain he will rue not buying more or if he is chastened for his misadventure or exorbitant price will curse the poor judgment exercised in chasing a perceived opportunity.

If we analyze the reasons why we rarely grab the right opportunities we make some interesting discoveries. Top of the list are two emotions greed and fear that have a disproportionate influence in us missing out on opportunities. When greed overcomes our sensibilities we wait in hope that something better will come our way. Unfortunately we are rarely clear about what is something better and worse how do we identify it. In the end we are left with a sinking feeling of having missed an opportunity. Fear paralyzes us; which translates into no action or reaction. If opportunities are to be grabbed we need to either act or react to the opportunities that come our way.  As someone put it in verse’ Sitting still and waiting; makes no person great. The good Lord sends the fishing; but we must dig the bait.

Our inability or unwillingness to change or cope with change has a major bearing on our ability to grasp the opportunities that we can see coming our way. Change disturbs the equilibrium and smooth flow that our life is used to. We are reluctant to adopt or adapt to change since we are wary of the consequences of change. Grasping opportunities invariably means coping with a changed scenario and hence we let slip many an opportunity because we cannot bear the thought of coping with the changes. We miss out on new job opportunities that involve a change of city or change of job profile; as we grow older we are reluctant to adapt to the changes brought about by technology unless forced to.  Finally indecision is what really stops us from seeking out and pursuing opportunities. We are indecisive either because we lack confidence in ourselves or because we are incapable of taking decisions due to lack of empowerment or fear of consequences. We vacillate between alternatives; suffer from paralysis by analysis syndrome or seek to get ratification of our decisions so that we escape all responsibility.

Opportunities abound and if we have to grab it the first thing is to seek it out. Every hurdle and difficulty is both a challenge and an opportunity. Ask the inventors and patent holders and they will confess that the opportunity presented itself in the problem and tackling it provided the opportunity to prove themselves. Opportunities exist in other simpler forms like making improvements; thinking radically differently, cost savings, increasing efficiencies, finding niche segments etc.  Pause, scan the environment and take chances for nothing dared – nothing gained is the mantra that opens the doors to opportunities; grab it before the door shuts on it.

Remember: “Most successful men have not achieved their distinction by having some new talent or opportunity presented to them. They have developed the opportunity that was at hand.” Bruce Marton

Try this:

  1. If you get an opportunity to be part of a Television Show would you take up the offer?  If the opportunity is to be part of a reality show which one of the three would you choose Fear Factor, Big Brother or Who wants to be a Millionaire ( or the equivalent of the three on Indian TV channels)
  2. Which of the opportunities will you select from the following two options?
  • You are given a new job offer with thrice the present benefits but it involves relocating to an interior Naxalite / Maoist dominated village or
  • You get an offer that gives you 1.5 times your present benefits but involves travelling 2 hours one way and you are to replace a person who was a former classmate and close friend who is not aware that he is losing his job if you take up the offer.

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

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

Timely decisions

Often greater risk is involved in postponement than in making a wrong decision. Harry A. Hopf

When caught between the horns of a dilemma, our preferred option is to wait and hope that the crisis or event blows over or fate intervenes and spares the ordeal of taking a decision. Unfortunately, many a time we are forced by circumstances to finally take a decision and to our horror we realize that if we had only taken the decision earlier it would have been far more effective.

Take the case of a patient suffering from a heart disease and the doctors opine that a surgery is imminent. If family and friends who the patient consults suggest alternatives including second opinion and alternative treatments but postpone the surgery, there is every possibility that in the intervening period he can suffer a fatal heart attack. If the example sounds farfetched, then visualize a situation where you have to choose between picking up the last available air ticket at a premium price or take a chance that you will may or may not get a cheaper ticket in the next flight.

The risk of postponement is that there are no assurances of success whereas by taking a decision one has improved the chances of success by half. Take the case of a mountaineering team who have nearly reached the top of the peak but suddenly encounter a blizzard and have to decide if they must tactically retreat and forgo the opportunity to attain success or take a chance and risk their lives. The decision has to be taken instantaneously and no one has the luxury of debating and analyzing. By simply sitting the probability of not reaching the peak and yet perishing is multiplied manifold. By moving on they at least improve the chances of attaining glory while increasing the chance of dying if caught in the blizzard. However being decisive is not everyone’s cup of tea simply because not all of us can visualize, strategize and exercise their judgment impersonally.

To understand the gravity of the risk of delaying decisions visualize the decision of a fighter pilot to eject from his plane that has lost power and is surely going to crash. If he loses altitude he will not be able to get the required height for a safe ejection and yet ejection itself is fraught with danger. Considering the speed of the plane, his duty to ensure that he must attempt to save the plane and ensure minimum civilian casualty in case of accidents, the pilot has to make a split second decision or perish with the plane. Many of us do not face such critical time bound decision making but ironically that is also the reason why we postpone taking decisions. There is nothing like a fool proof decision for every decision is subject to hundreds of variables any one of which can play truant and turn our decision on its head. Keeping this reality in mind we must  resolve to take time bound decisions simply because the alternatives are possibly more damaging than the decision we make. More importantly when we take a decision we take on a responsibility and so we will be committed to make the decision work in our favor.

Remember: Be willing to make decisions. That’s the most important quality in a good leader.” General George S. Patton

Try this:

  1. The popular program Kaun Banega Crorepati the equivalent of Who wants to be a Millionaire is a wonderful program that brings out the importance of making a decision. If the same is being aired on TV attempt to be a participant and play along. Notice how you have to make a decision!
  2. List out 5 factors in order of importance that you will consider when you have to make a decision to retire. If you wish to keep active after retirement what will be the 5 alternatives from which you will choose one or more  to keep busy.

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

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

Maturity

Full maturity … is achieved by realizing that you have choices to make. Angela Barron McBride

As long as we are children we allow most of our decisions to be taken by our parents but as we grow up we have our preferences be style, color, size, shape etc. Assume we want a chocolate; we would go pick up what we want or if it is a Barbie doll we would chose the one not there in our collection. This is the first step to maturity because we now display our individual preferences, our personal choices and our preferred options. At this stage more often than not, we are guided by our instincts, our likes and dislikes rather than by the process of an evaluation, where we may have to make rational choices rather than impulsive decisions.

It is only when economic compulsions, utilitarian considerations and value for money, the three spoilt sports that influence choices, enter the decision making process that we get alerted to the finer nuances of decision making when exercising our choices. Initially such skills are taught by our parents and elders who would at first gently admonish you for your extravagant choices and possibly even be adamant and curt if we don’t learn to appreciate their veto. While most of their arguments would be mentally refuted by us, the lessons learnt would surface when we have to part with our hard earned money or when we have to make life changing choices like choosing a spouse. This is the inflection point when we grow up and attain the maturity to be the adult that we longing to be.

Real choices are situations when all options look equally appealing and we have to give up all the alternatives because we have to select one. This is like the childhood dilemma where your grandma offered you a delicious piece of cake with the rider that you had to cut it in two and let your sibling take the first piece. In real life though the stakes are much higher, the consequences of your choices more sever and the resultant happiness or unhappiness directly propionate to the difficulty of the choice. The real tricky choices are the very subjective ones like the apocryphal story of the person assigned to sort potatoes into 3 piles big, medium and small. After many hours he had barely sorted out a handful and when questioned replied he didn’t know how to decide the size of each potato to classify it. Even simple tasks like buying fruits and vegetable leaves us with the unenviable task  of having to choose which fruit or vegetable one has to buy, in what quantity and at what price. How much more complicated is it to zoom in on a house or a vehicle for yourself; and selecting the right spouse would be the ultimate choice?

Remember: “A mature person is one who is does not think only in absolutes, who is able to be objective even when deeply stirred emotionally, who has learned that there is both good and bad in all people and all things, and who walks humbly and deals charitably” Eleanor Roosevelt

Try these:

  1. Make a list of gifts that you can buy for your dad/ mom/ sibling on their birthday and ensure the gift is of an identical price range. Note the type of comment you get when you take the effort of choosing a gift that you know will be perfect for the person.
  2. Ask yourself what are the 3 questions uppermost in when you have to make a choice. Now see how important those questions are when deciding the following: going to watch a professional football match when your favorite team is playing in your city; attending your close friends wedding or attending your bosses sons wedding both on the same day and time but in different cities; making a decision to eat out and your wife wants to have Chinese food, your son wants burgers and your daughter wants Indian food and you hate all the three options.

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

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

Kinship

Acceptance is the truest kinship with humanity. G.K. Chesterton

Kinship is relationship and while we would like to believe that we have no personal biases when it comes to interacting with people, and that all of humanity is one, ask your conscience if it is really so. We may not make out preferences apparent, but check if the name of a person / the person’s religion / region/ language/ education/ color/ physical looks, conjure a stereo type in our minds? What happens when the person either confirms or does not confirm to that image? Strangely enough, either which way, we reserve judgment about accepting the person as he / she is!

If the person confirms to our image, we are smug in the knowledge that our hypothesis was right but we might hesitate to accept that person for either of the following two reasons. One is that we don’t like the image of the person and / or we want more proof that the image portrayed is really the right personality. If the person does not confirm to our original hypothesis a similar dilemma confronts us, for we wonder if it is a put on act by the other person or we doubt our own ability to judge. The key learning is that we take time to accept people and form a kinship with them.

There is nothing wrong in taking time to form kinship, because it is a self protective mechanism to ensure that we don’t fall prey to charmers, smooth talkers, wily and cunning people. At the same time our propensity to be suspicious, wary and treating everyone as a scoundrel unless proved otherwise is a major barrier to healthy communication, forging close bonds and embracing the other warts and all. At stake is the way we treat people; is it dignified, unbiased, proactive and warm. Do we respect their individuality; make allowances for the varied differences of culture, creed, caste, religion, education, economic disparity etc. Can we accept the differences, appreciate their uniqueness, and reconcile to the fact that despite all that we are part of one big family called the human race? If you can say a resounding YES, then we are accepting others whole heartedly and forming a kinship with them and that is what Humanity is all about.

Remember: Serve others for they are reflections of the same Entity of which you are yourself another reflection. No one of you has any authenticity, except in reference to the Original. Feel always kinship with all creation.” Sri Sathya Sai Baba

Try these:

  1. Make an effort to visit a prison or a mental asylum and spent a few hours with the inmates there. What are your feelings when you go there? Is there fear within you? Do you look at them with trepidation and anxiety? Do you feel sorry for them? What can you do to make them feel less like outcasts and more wanted?
  2. If you have a servant or help coming home have you tried to find out more about them and their families? Can you do a bit to ensure that their children get some education and dignity in society? Can you suggest them ways and means to improve their economic status? Can you help them get better jobs?

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

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

Step by step

I recommend you to take care of the minutes, for the hours will take care of themselves. Lord Chesterfield

Look around and you will find that people are scurrying around, frantically trying to meet some deadline; be it catching the pubic transport or finishing an assignment or speeding up their physical exercise routine because they have another social/ personal commitment to meet. Observe carefully your own life and calculate the amount of free time you have in it. Simultaneously also look at the amount of productive work you do and the amount of time you are guilty of wasting. Many times we are actually duplicating tasks because we didn’t do it right the first time or we are duplicating the effort because we didn’t plan properly. What does it all lead to? You labor in vain; every minute of the hours spent has gone wasted; if only you paid attention to every minute you spent working.

If you make your time count, only then can you make your life count. Don’t do things in a hurry because there is so much more to do; rather do things because you want to get the work done well and over with once and for all. No doubt you may have to do the same job again next day but then it is a new day , a new effort and a new result; not a repeat of a failed attempt or a patch up of a tardy attempt. The key is to focus on the small tasks that collectively help us achieve a big goal. In our anxiety to attain the big goals, we are tempted to rush in headlong into the job without much planning, preparation and performance standards. The net result would be  sloppy work, disappointing feedback and quite often re-work.

We have the onus not just to live but make our lives better each day. This means that we need to realize that meeting a deadline or completing a task is not an isolated activity but an integral part of our happiness, which can happen only if we have put mind, heart and soul into it. Every moment of your life is therefore an opportunity to progress further, spread cheer and win applause. Don’t waste the moment, the minutes in the hour hand and the seconds ticking away in your life in a frivolous, casual and indifferent manner. Be aware that the seconds and minutes add up to hours which when we look back and connect the dots, throw up a brilliant pattern of lovely hues and shades radiating your life or else it will just be a black and white picture of a gloomy, despondent and wasted life.

Remember: This time, like all times, is a very good one, if we but know what to do with it. Ralph Waldo Emerson

Try this:

  1. Can you jot down how much time you spent reading this post? Was it worth the time spent? How did you benefit from reading this post? Can you implement anything you learn from this post?
  2. If you were not reading this post what would you have been doing? Is that job you postponed in order to read this post having a deadline or a priority in your life? Would it have been better for you to do that job and then focused on reading this post? Do you have clear priorities for the day? Is there clarity in your step by step plan of action for major tasks on hand?
  3. If you have time for prayer, do you end up speeding up your prayers because there is something more interesting on TV or you have a more entertaining activity line up? Do you have a time slot for reflection? Do you spend sufficient time communicating with your family, your parents and siblings?

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com
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