Tag: Encouragement

Finding your passion

34-finding-your-passion

One question that often baffles an individual is how one finds his / her passion. It is largely by a trial and error method in most cases. Some lucky individuals do get to know their passion from early childhood; others discover it in teenage and some stumble upon it much later. For the overwhelming majority though, finding one’s passion is almost as elusive as trying to find the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. We would focus on what is common to every individual’s passion and what is the ideal passion to pursue.

What you love – The primary test of what one finds passionate is how much we love it. Passion comes from having a deep, abiding interest and obsession with something. Now most times our passions, especially in our growing up years keep changing. Similarly we discover new and fascinating things that grab our attention and make us pine to for it. Varied dimensions of technology in particular fascinates us as do creative pursuits and self driven concerns like environmental pollution, garbage recycling, health etc. What compounds our choices is the combination of passions that we seem to revel in. Let us say writing or art or cinema is our primary interest and now technology offers us blogs /video platforms to express ourselves and reach worldwide audiences. Pursuing new applications to leverage our expertise combined with the power of technology available on with smart phones and computers opens up new frontiers to explore. With wider choices, we have more opportunities to explore; we must experiment and discover what we truly find fascinating.

What you are good at:  While it is difficult to zoom in on to a couple of things that fascinate us, what is more important and more challenging is finding out if we have the skills, the aptitude and the ability to pursue and make those passions an extension of ourselves. Having a fascination and obsession is relatively passive, the true test is if we can translate what we love into a profession that makes us happy, allows us to use all our abilities and makes us happy each single day. One critical test to know if our passion is real, is to test if we have the intrinsic motivation to pursue it every single day. Do we keep thinking about our work and how we can improve it, make it more fascinating, keep ourselves updated about it and get a thrill out of sharing about it. Once you know what you love and what you are good at, you can feel a sense of happiness every single day.

What pays you well : While you can be happy pursuing your passion, the reality is that we live in a world that requires us to fend for ourselves and our families. This is reality that we cannot escape from and we must be alive to this facet of living. The ideal passion would be one, where you can follow your heart, use your head and turn it into a profitable venture. This means that we make use of our talents, our obsessions to ensure a good living. There are times when we realize our strengths and leverage it to make a good living but our heart and mind are into something else. That is when you are financially well off but bored because you are not fully engaged in what you do   E.g. We are academically brilliant and hence you get a good degree and pursue a job that pays well.  Perhaps your first love is to spread your knowledge and become a teacher but that profession is relatively less acceptable socially and financially relatively less rewarding than your current profession. It is then a compromise passion not the ideal passion that your pursuing.

For many people, once they have met their financial goals, they find it simpler to follow their ideal passion. They would take risks to pursue eco farming, teach the economically weaker, be involved in social activities where their skills sets are fully used etc. Till one reaches that stage, the ideal passion is one where your love for something, your skill set /aptitude/ expertise in that area and your returns/ benefits from pursuing that combine, to provide you happiness and bliss every single moment.

Try these:

  1. So what would your dream job/ profession be? What is stopping you from realizing that dream job/ profession?
  2. Make a list of the following:
  • Appreciation received from parents / teachers / classmates/ colleagues
  • Encouragement received from all of the above
  • Advice/ suggestions on what you must pursue as a profession
  • The events/ occasions when you felt elated and valued
  • The activities that make you delighted/ thrilled / blissful
  • The above will give you pointers on where you can find your ideal passion

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog

www.poweract.blogspot.com

Six steps to realizing your dreams

25-A new definition of ACTIONWith the Rio Olympics just around the corner, this quote is an apt reminder of the struggles, the hard work, the challenges and the passion that has driven the numerous sports persons representing their respective countries at the Olympics. For sure each of them started off with a Dream. When they march in the contingent representing their country they would have realized their dreams and the reality of the achievement will sink in when they participate in their respective event. As you read this, you too would be reflecting on various dreams that you have had and possibly wondering how you too can realize those dreams. As is obvious from the quote, all you need to do is to act on it… ACTION !

Accept the opportunity – If you know what you want, see yourself making the best use of the opportunity to attain it. For many, we have dreams but decide that the dreams are too unrealistic and so we let our dreams die without even attempting to give it a chance. If you can be genuinely passionate about your dreams, then you will make every effort to chase the dream.

Cling tenaciously to your dream. – There will be many who would chide you for your audacity to chase your dreams. There will be many who will try to dishearten you and create self doubt within you. You have to believe in your dream and cling tenaciously to it no matter what the price you have to pay. Yes, everything comes for a price and you have to be prepared to pay the price but what you get in return will be priceless.

Trust yourself – There will be times when you began with gusto and suddenly you were overwhelmed by problems and possibly you surrendered to them and gave up. Let that set back deter you from attempting again. Believe in your dreams, trust your abilities to be resilient and daring enough to pursue relentlessly. No one but you can lead your life; no one but you can realize your dream!

Innovate along the way – The dream always looks distant and the road to it long and winding. You would need to innovate and utilize all available legitimate means to be ahead of the crowd. You would need to take advice from the experts, rework your strategies, learn from competitors but all times be ethical and true to your conscience. Notice that many an athlete who used unfair means to improve their performance has come to grief. There must be both dignity and pride in realizing your dreams.

Overcome negativity – fear of failure is the biggest obstacle that prevents many a talent to blossom and showcase their talent. Criticism is another major negative emotion that can drive you to despair. Both failure and criticism are demotivators but they should not chain you to the belief that things cannot be overcome. When challenged you, you must rise above the negativity that it invariably injects in you. Falling down is not failure, failing to get up and go on is!

Next challenge – Action is not just single piece of activity. It is a continuous quest for improvement, for progress and for success. So once you surmount the initial hurdle, the next challenge must be embraced with equal enthusiasm. Those who manage to turn their dreams into reality have chased the next challenge and successfully conquered it.

Try these:

  1. Make a list of excuses you have made for not attaining something that you desperately hope to. Analyze it and work out a plan to eliminate every single excuse and give yourself another shot at realizing your dream.
  2. Make study of how you spend the 24 hours each day that you are blessed with. Can you eliminate some unnecessary waste of time, can you make some of your time even more productive, can you organize yourself better to ensure you group your activities to minimize time wastage?
  3. What is the next big fun activity that you are planning? What is the next major task that you have which you have been postponing for a while. Put a deadline on both and get cracking on achieving both within the deadline set. No excuses please!

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog

www.poweract.blogspot.com

Leave a little sparkle

15- Leave a little sparkle

Most of us go through life feeling that we are just one in a crowd and that no one ever notices us nor values us. Yes it is true that parents would always have a special place for their kids but even that is often liberally sprinkled with do’s and don’ts and an incompleteness that suggests we need to still exceed their expectations.  As a result, we are often trying to match up to expectations, trying to prove a point to others and do not really offer to the world around liberally of our talents, our abilities and our real self. The reality is that our individuality has much to offer that is unique and that is valued by others. It is the little things that we do, that is more significant than the convoluted efforts we make to impress others and gain approval. By being ourselves we are more natural, caring, feeling and expressive.  There is always a lot of sparkle that we leave behind when we are natural not artificial, genuine not put on and when we can freely offer of our self without expectations from others.

Our natural self is often influenced by our upbringing, our family values and the inputs in our formative years in school and social settings. Our own attitudes, beliefs and thinking too have a major bearing on how our personality shapes up. There is a lot of positivity, goodness, care and concern that we are born with but these can be reinforced or negated by influences as we grow up. There is so much that we offer the world around that is valued, appreciated and eagerly sought for without us being conscious about it. So what is it that we can offer spontaneously, amply and freely that will always sparkle up our environment and the people around us?

A smile is obviously the most obvious and easiest sparkle that we can share with others. With a smile we acknowledge another person in a warm way. It is a sure way to state we notice the other person and a way to silently inform that we appreciate their presence. Very often it is also the beginning of a communication and possibly a friendship and a connect. A warm genuine smile brightens up the environment, lightens the mood and livens up the spirit.

Appreciation is something that every individual seeks. It is also something that can be easily given for there is a lot to appreciate in others. We tend to be stingy with our appreciation mainly because we are not aware how effective it is in creating a bond and building up relationships. Appreciation must not be confused with flattery. Appreciation is a genuine expression of a good sentiment towards an other. It can be simply an appreciation of the good work done by someone or your acknowledgment of something good in the other person. The best appreciation is when we respond positively to the individual concerned but we can also be appreciative of the person in a forum or setting where the person is not present.

Empathy is our ability to understand and feel a person’s pain and if possible to act decisively to mitigate it by our actions. Empathy goes a step beyond sympathy in that we don’t merely understand the others pain but we also attempt to walk with the person in discomfort and try to alleviate the pain to the extent possible. We are active participants in the process of healing for the others. This is difficult to spontaneously do because we often tend to hold back our feelings and expect others to ask us for our support.

Encouragement is a simple yet powerful technique that enables one to motivate and support others thereby leaving our little sparkle in their lives. Lots of people constantly need support in their emotional life as well as in coping with the stress of failures. Often they blame themselves for their inability to cope with the challenges they face. As a friend or well wisher or even as a bystander we can perhaps try and take a detached view and offer encouragement to the individual concerned and motivate him/ her to have fresh perspective and try again. With our encouragement we rekindle hope in them and they begin to pursue with greater vigour.

Support comes in many forms. Encouragement is also a form of support. However it is the support that we lend in practical terms like financial support at crucial times, being with them physically when they are in trouble, like when are involved in a calamity, that is really cherished.  One could also support by putting in a word to influencers who can help their cause or just being with them when they are at their lowest depth psychologically and emotionally. Even if we cannot support them directly we must be able to at least guide them to find support or suggest to them alternatives to explore. Even the tiniest of support offered is the little sparkle that you offer them.

Keeping in touch has become easy nowadays because of technology. Yet, it is the personal touch that one craves for. Wishing people or expressing sympathy or forwarding messages through the electronic means has become so easy that it is done with little or no personalization or feeling. The real touch is in our ability to talk, meet, getting together and in giving surprises to those around. This does take both time and effort, but it is the time and effort we invest in keeping in touch that sets us apart from the others. The sparkle that we leave behind is the memories of those wonderful moments when personal touch actually touched the heart. The sparkle of those memories would always be cherished and would always remain priceless.

Try these:

In addition to the above explore how you can leave a sparkle through the following

  • Your manners
  • Your etiquettes
  • Your initiative
  • Your impartiality and fairness
  • Your tone/ language/ conduct
  • Your talents / abilities
  • Your wit/ humor/ presence of mind

 List out the following

  • Names of 2 individuals (other than immediate family) who have deeply influenced you.
  • Recollect 2 wonderful moments from your life where someone played an important part in making it memorable.
  • Can you remember at least 2 incidences where your involvement in some way made a person thrilled and ever grateful for your presence.
  • Are there memories of times when you did not get the appreciation /support or encouragement that you sought from someone? Do you still feel bad about it?
  • Do you remember an embarrassing moment/s when you backed out from offering support / encouragement to someone who placed his/ her faith in you?

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog

www.poweract.blogspot.com

Identifying people who have a positive influence

When one looks back on the days gone by, there will be some people and some incidents that you will recall with great fondness. Focus on these people whose memories always bring a smile to the lips and warmth in the heart and you will be transported to a world of nostalgia. If you correlate some of your successes with the influence these people have had on your life, you would be amazed at the volume of positive inputs they have given you. These inputs could be as varied as having full faith in you, encouraging you,  guiding in you, comforting you, giving you tips, empathizing with you, allowing you the freedom to pursue your passion, supporting you when you falter etc.

Here are a set of people who would be ideal people to associate with and benefit from.

Those close to you.  Beginning with parents and siblings, the list includes friends, colleagues, teachers and seniors. Of course it is possible that some of those close to you would find it hard to empathize with your thoughts and views but it is in your interest to give their counter point of view a hearing. The best part of their support is their response is always keeping your best interest in mind.

Those who have a natural flair to be cheerful and positive. Some of these people could be from the above list but it is equally possible that you do meet others who radiate positive energy. It could be trainers, motivational speakers, superiors from other departments, neighbors etc.

Those who you find knowledgeable, fair, impartial and open. These could include people in positions of authority like the principal of an institution or a senior academician, senior executives in your organization, experienced professionals, a friend’s parents etc.

Those who are good listeners.  Anyone who is willing to lend you an ear, pay attention to you and express interest in your thoughts, views, hopes and aspirations. They may counter question, raise objections, have a different point of view but as long as they pay a lot of attention to you, you can be sure their patience and genuine interest will accelerate your progress.

Those who display appreciation, give proactive encouragement and offer creative solutions. You often meet people from varied backgrounds, experiences and views at seminars, conferences, meetings etc. It is possible that they have some insights that are congruent to your line of thinking. If they display interest in your views, ask relevant questions and give encouraging feedback you can be sure you can profitably tap into their vast repository of knowledge, experience and wisdom.

Action Points:

  1. Make a list of 5 people at least 2 of whom are senior citizens and one of whom is younger than you who you believe would be excellent people to associate with and who would appreciate, understand and encourage you.
  2. Can you list out 3 of the best advice that you ever received. How did advice have a major bearing in your life?
  3. Who was the one person who offered you the best solace when you were very low or depressed? How and what did the person do or say to reassure you?

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog

www.poweract.blogspot.com

You can impact the world around you NOW

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve theworld. Anne Frank 

Every individual has the power to influence the environment and the people around him/ her. What limits our ability to harness this potential is our inherent inability to believe in ourselves and to accept the reality that our every act if done with good intent and purpose will have a positive effect. Notice how involved we get and how much we enjoy a performance when we can without inhibition clap and cheer. On the other hand we would fail to appreciate the finer aspects of the happenings if we remain constantly critical and negative. Similarly, if we are subject to what we genuinely believe is a poor performance and we do not express our disappointment we would not be helping ourselves or the performers by our silent acceptance.

Here are 5 simple ways to contribute our mite to improving the world.

Participate: The principle applied here is to willingly and genuinely attempt rather than make excuses, play spoilt sport or become adamant. Let us say you go for a Christian Wedding Reception and you are invited to participate in the Wedding March. If the whole concept is alien to you rather than becoming very apprehensive and dogmatic, make an attempt to join in and if you feel genuinely uncomfortable regain your seat. In the process you would have learnt something new, made the environment more lively by your gracious acceptance to play along and chances are you would have enjoyed the experience.

Volunteer: Look around and you will find so many opportunities for you to volunteer and contribute. Do you see someone looking lost and unsure; you can help them feel reassured. Even if you are a guest at a function and there seems to be some confusion or crisis, find out and help out. Do you see some tensions and frayed tempers; step in to diffuse the tension. When there is a major activity being planned, volunteer to take on some activities, preferably one where you have some expertise.

Be proactive: Do we go prepared? Whether it is a meeting / lecture that we are attending or paying a condolence visit or a participant at a picnic we can anticipate some requirements and go prepared. Maybe we have some questions prepared to ask at the end of the lecture or prepared ourselves on the topic by reading up on it. Apart from offering our condolences can we also anticipate some need that we can fulfill for the bereaved family?  As a picnicker we simply go as a guest but the real leaders are those who come prepared with some games or activities to make the outing even livelier.

Encourage: Criticism comes naturally to most of us but offering encouragement is a skill that one must cultivate. Learn to find something appreciate, praise, motivate. Express that loudly and genuinely. If nothing else salute the spirit of the one who is coming last for his/ her spirit of daring and adventure. Learn from the behaviour of legendary coaches who appreciate the efforts of his/ her players even if they have lost a game. The post match critical analysis is always closed door but the pat on the back for every team member is immediate and warmly given.

Smile: The least that one can do to improve the world is to smile. It costs nothing, means much to others and lifts spirits instantaneously. Spreading cheer is within everyone’s power and ability. What is needed is a large heart, a spirit of enterprise, a positive attitude and a zest for life. A smile will never fail you then.

Remember: If you wait to do everything until you’re sure it’s right, you’ll probably never do much of anything.  Win Borden

Try this:

  1. With a group of likeminded people plan a visit to the mental asylum / the local prison / a hospice for the terminally ill. How will you make use of the learning above to make the visit a very memorable one both for you and those you are visiting?
  2. How will you handle the following scenarios?
  • You are walking along a lonely path and you see a small baby bird that has fallen of the next. You are worried that a cat or dog could attack it. You have never handled birds and feel very uncomfortable.
  • You find a bag left behind in a bus just as you are about to get off the bus.
  • You are in a fair and you notice a small child of 4 years bitterly crying.
  • You are at the railway station to see off a friend. The train is about to leave and you notice a rather stout lady lugging a very heavy bag desperately trying to rush and board the train. In a split second you realize that if you help her with the luggage she can board the train but you will have to board it too if the luggage has to be taken in.

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog

www.poweract.blogspot.com

Encouragement does wonders

“A word of encouragement during a failure is worth more than an hour of praise after success”

One of the casualties of intense competition are the school going children who are constantly prodded by parents to excel at examinations. While it is necessary to ensure that the children study hard and do well in the exams, matters become absurd when parents want their wards to top in all the subjects and focus attention on academics at the cost of sacrificing their games and extracurricular activities. The ultimate damage is done when parents instead of appreciating the success of the youngsters dwell on them having missed on a few marks, find fault with the method of study or berate the children for being careless and or not putting in as much effort as required. It is this irrational criticism that stresses out the children for they would have sought praise for their efforts and encouragement for their performance even if it fell marginally short of expectations.

Over an extended period of time we tend to perfect the art of finding fault, being critical and wantonly berating subordinates in  particular, under the mistaken notion that ‘fear is the key’ to discipline, performance improvement and productivity. While some of these techniques would have some positive effect, the negativity that permeates this approach makes it a very questionable tactics when the chips are down.  On the other hand lavish encouragement and tempered praise would restore self belief, enhance confidence and plant the seeds of positive thinking which can then go on to be the bedrock on which to build success. Often a good mentor or coach will strategically resort to this style especially when things seem hopeless for at the stage human frailty would tempt one to throw in the towel. A good dose of encouragement actually pumps up the recipients, rejuvenates them and they are boosted in their intent and then‘ fortune often favors the brave’

 It is well worth pondering that ‘success is never final and failure never fatal’. Unless we can appreciate the profound truth in this statement, the approach taken would be crass, crude and condemnable for the stick would be given more prominence than the carrot. A very unique and effective technique of encouragement involves leaders standing up and taking the rap when there is failure. This takes both a lot of courage and immense belief in the teams efforts. Going a step further when there is success the leader must take a back seat and let the team members believe that they accomplished it all on their own. The beauty of this approach lies in the fact that the leader has full faith in his/ her team and so ‘failure’ if any is deemed to be a collective failure with the leader standing up for his/ her team members. Dr. A.P.J Abdul Kalam former President of India gives a very vivid and detailed example of this leadership quality that he was privileged to experience firsthand from his leader Prof. Satish Dhawan. See this link to read about it http://tinyurl.com/3dl2mtg

Remember: “Correction does much, but encouragement does more.”  Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Try this:

  1. Can you recollect 3 of the most demoralizing moments of your life? Who helped you overcome those terrible setbacks? How did you find the strength to bounce back?
  2. How will you use the learning from today’s post in the following situations
  • Your best friend has misplaced your favorite pen gifted by your grandfather and you are distraught and he is just as disturbed as you are.
  • Your colleague is great photographer and one of his photographs is tipped to win a major international competition. Unfortunately due to a technical error his entry is not taken into consideration for evaluation and he is terribly disappointed.
  • Your next door neighbor is very keen to get his son admitted to a prestigious school nearby but for reasons not known the bright child could not make it to the final admission list. Your neighbor and his wife are devastated and their anguish has spelled gloom in the house and the child too is terrified.

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