Tag: Fear

Life is all about creating yourself

13-26- life is about creating yourself

Take a second look at the picture before you read further. Is that a male or a female protagonist? Do you see YOURSELF in it?

There are times in our life when we ask some difficult to answer questions of ourselves. Who am I? Why was I born? What am I supposed to do with my life? How can I make a success of my life? What are my value systems? What motivates me? What influence do I have on others? If you haven’t asked these questions of yourself perhaps this is the best time to ponder over them. The answers will become the blueprint for you to create yourself anew!

No matter what your age, gender, background or status in life you can still improve, grow, change and create the person you want to be. Here is how you go about it.

Think out of the box – Either due to peer pressure or a lack of self confidence, most of us have trodden the beaten path, often to our omnipresent regret. So now is the time to dust the cobwebs in the mind, crank up the shaft of imagination and get the engine of life started. You should now identify your passions, imagine varied possibilities, visualize the happiness you can embrace and try to touch the pot of gold at the end of that imaginative rainbow. To make it more meaningful channelize your imagination into broad categories. It could be categories like personal happiness, comfort and security, my indulgences, philanthropic initiatives etc or it could be simply personal goals, financial goals, professional goals, self growth goals etc.

Sketch your own blueprint – Now that you have imagined it and possibly embraced and touched your dreams figuratively, it is time you actually sketched it out literally and figuratively. This goes a little beyond writing down your goals and is not so difficult to sketch, just in case you are worried that you are no Picasso. All you need to do is take the effort of identifying specifics about your dream and you can either physically create a dream book or have it done as a PPT. The key is to get the specifics clearly visualized. E.g. Don’t say I have a dream car that I hope to own  but instead find the picture of your dream car and paste it.

Assemble the resources needed– If you have started on your dream book or the dream PPT, you have assembled the most crucial resource. If you haven’t done this, stop reading further and at least open a new PPT and call it MY Dream Outline. The key resource that actually limits our dreams from taking wings is financial security; either lack of resources or the fear of going bust. So think long and hard on how best you can cope with this uncertainty. Jot this down too for now you have begun to assemble the brick and mortar required to give concrete shape to your personal blueprint. Now that you have got the right start don’t get bogged down by self doubt, fear of failure, lack of motivation, criticism or any form of negativity from forces within or outside. E.g. If you have identified that being a Chef is your dream but your family consists entirely of engineers, once you have put pictures of dreams menus, dream kitchen, the chef coat and perhaps even your dream eatery you will reinforce your self belief.

Begin from anywhere but begin – Lethargy and self doubt often paralyze good intention. They bring about rigor mortis in the living. The most common excuse for not giving life to your good intentions is that you do not know where to begin. Ever tried pushing a stationary car? It is tough to get it moving but once it gets the initial thrust it is easy to push it. The same principle of physics applies to life too. So the stress must be on beginning. Then keep that momentum going somehow. Look at the picture above and you will notice that the protagonist is sketching the left leg even though the right feet is still undone despite the rest of the right leg being fleshed out.

Give it the finishing touch with love – Sometimes we fail to live upto our expectations and it can deflate our ego / self confidence at other times we get irritated and frustrated and occasionally we just get over with the challenge we set ourselves as an antidote to our feeling of being a failure. No matter where we are in the continuum of our pursuit, the outcome even if half done must measure up to our standards of excellence. This is possible only if we enjoy what we do and inject a healthy dose of love in to doing what we want to succeed in. e.g. list out those tasks that are terribly boring for you but inevitable.  Now visualize yourself doing an excellent job of the task and do it with that spirit. You will find a marked improvement in the end result. To give you a more tangible example have you ever gone through the process of covering your younger sibling or children’s school notebooks. After some time it is get boring, tedious and frustrating. If you simply see each neatly covered book as a a thing of beauty or if you can see the joy of the child when he/ she sees the neat pile of books your output will be fabulous.

Try this:

  1. Identify 3 tasks that your mom or best friend does exceedingly well but something you haven’t ever tried. Your challenge is to attempt each of these tasks over the next 2 weeks and show improvement in each attempt.
  2. Try and make a kite and try to fly it along with a group of children. (Ideally I suggest you try and make more than 1 kite so that you have one or two more spare kites just in case the first one gets cut loose or torn)
  3. Write down what you would do with the following sums of money
  • If you had 1 USD
  • If you had 100 USD
  • If you had 1000 USD
  • If you had 10,000 USD
  • If you had 1,00,000 USD

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog

www.poweract.blogspot.com

Don’t forget this reality…

Dont forget this reality
Dont forget this reality

This is a good reality check and could perhaps also offer some comfort for YOU reading this at this moment. I bet you can’t deny that you are afraid/ fearful/ scared of something, yearn/ love/ crave for something  and for sure have lost /misplaced/ got fleeced of something. The good news is that this reality holds true for every single person around you. The better news is that despite this all of us can lead a very happy, peaceful and productive life.

Are these some of your fears? Death/ sickness/ failure/ rejection/ pain/ darkness/ loneliness

Did you feel the ecstasy of love? People/ Nature/ animals / gadgets/ places/ works of art

Could losing something precious derail your life? Your loved ones/ your favorite object / your job/ an opportunity/

The above is just an illustrative list. Perhaps you can add your own personal list of fears that have held you back from realizing your full potential or perhaps limited your risk taking abilities. There could be a vacuum created or a searing pain at having to sacrifice something you loved or do feel that you lost your way in life either through ignorance or foolishness or recklessness?

Now look at the cross roads of life that you are now standing at. Notwithstanding your age, background, financial strength and the like, the reality is that not just you but every single person has the same set of apprehensions as you but you now have a choice of making a life changing choice. So how would you now proceed ahead; would you let bygones be bygones and forge ahead taking on new challenges? Will you seek out opportunities to dare, do and win? Will the real you shed all inhibitions and dance with gay abandon?

Life is lived when you dare to confront your fears and overcome it, give abundantly of your love to one and all and freely share with others all that you love…. For that is when you and I when departing, leave behind us, Footprints on the sands of time*

Action Points

  1. Make a list of 3 negative emotions that have troubled you.
  2. Make a list of 3 positive emotions that you count amongst your strengths.
  3. Identify 3 qualities that you wish you could cultivate.
  4. Describe yourself in one sentence not exceeding 15 words.

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

Apologizing is an amazing gesture

Among the most difficult choices one has to occasionally make, apologizing perhaps ranks pretty high on most people’s list. As honest, good and objective individuals we would unhesitatingly state that if we are on the wrong we will always offer an apology. The reality though is quite different.

Here are 4 reasons why we find it hard to offer a simple unconditional apology when required.

We find it hard to accept our mistake. E.g.  Despite a frantic search you are unable to locate your set of keys at home. You are in a rush as you are getting late for office. You have in your anger and frustration also accused all and sundry at home that they could have possibly had a hand in the disappearance of the keys. On reaching office you see the set of keys lying in the office drawer. You sheepishly think of apologizing to those at home but then let it pass for it would then mean accepting your mistakes; first of being responsible for the problem; for blaming those at home; for creating a scene etc.

We tend to play down the happenings and attempt to justify/ rationalize it. E.g. in an examination you have strategically placed you answer paper to let the candidate seated behind you copy from it. The invigilator who notices this tactical but unethical arrangement warns both the candidate behind you and you of stern action. You remonstrate that it is the person behind who is copying and that you are blameless.

We mistakenly believe that an apology is equivalent to admitting a fault. E.g. As children we have often squabbled with our siblings or playmates. When the situations got unruly the elders intervened and then there was a blame game that was never ending with no one wanting to apologize. The genesis is the mistaken notion that an apology immediately implies our guilt.

We pamper our ego and forget the importance of relationships. E.g.  We have under a mistaken notion launched a tirade against a subordinate who for fear of more drastic retribution meekly submits to the barraging. Later when we get the facts fully and realize our mistake find it ‘humiliating ‘ to admit our fault and worse still ‘apologize’ to a subordinate.

Here are 3 ways to smoothly embrace an apology as a mature decision.

Remember that saying sorry is the simplest form of apology. Sorry forms part of the trio of Please and Thank you which are the 3 magical words in English that smoothen life.

An apology often helps us start gain with a clean slate. While some scars may remain, the wound is by and large healed and ‘all is well that ends well’ since an apology puts an end to the hurt, resentment and anger that may have been in the air.

An apology at the appropriate time, to the right person in the right manner for the right reason, is a test of your character, a critical component of leadership and a reflection of your personality.

Here let me offer my apologies to…

You my reader for the long delayed post which was actually written 10 days ago. Unfortunately due an oversight I didn’t save the same and I lost the entire file when the computer crashed. What you are reading now is a completely new post than what was originally written.

I need to apologize to my immediate family members who had to bear the brunt of my wrath for the post that was lost to the computer crash. The fault was entirely mine, but in my human weakness I raved and ranted and unburdened myself on all those who unwittingly crossed my path in the immediate aftermath of my disaster.

My apologizes to a couple of well meaning friends who politely inquired about my posts but had to bear  the brunt of my ire for I  had been rather curt and brusque to them when narrating what happened. I think I was also selfish enough to expect more sympathy from them and perhaps that aggravated my irrational behavior at their well intentioned and polite inquires.

Try this:

  1. Name 3 people who deserve an apology from you. Pick up courage to apologize to them even if a lot of time has elapsed since the original event happened.
  2. Can you identify with some of these situations when you felt apologetic about your own response to the situation
  • You did not make enough efforts to cast your vote
  • You told a deliberate lie for fear of the consequences
  • You harbored ill will against someone who wronged you
  • You shielded someone from being justly punished/ reprimanded simply because you shared a close relationship or friendship with him/ her

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog

www.poweract.blogspot.com

Let the truth prevail

Telling the truth may have often resulted in embarrassing situations, perhaps have left painful memories too and may have even triggered anger and fury completely disproportionate to the facts as revealed. Perhaps we may also sly grin at the escapades that we managed by suppressing the truth or outrightly lying. Look back dispassionately and perhaps you may also recall a number of times when the truth was guessed by others who because of their maturity, goodwill and / or need to protect you played along and kept things under wraps. On hindsight more often than not, every time you hid the truth you were left restless, burdened by guilt and with the Damocles sword of being found out looming over your head.

Even today if one were to tell the truth and it is an inconvenient truth, our body language would betray our fear, our quivering voice expose our vulnerability and our feeble attempts at justification would add to our misery. The good part though is that when we speak the truth, our heart is unburdened, the mind is at peace and the consequences seem bearable. Telling the truth is not simply a matter of articulating the reality but it also involves standing up for rights, standing by those wronged, refusing to toe the wrong line and standing up to a brute majority who may intimidate or attempt to cow you down.

The truth is that ‘fear’ is an overwhelming emotion that threatens to derail us telling the truth.  The best antidote for this malaise is the realization that the truth needs no ‘alibi’, it is all pervasive and when shared it shields the reality from being pricked and punctured in any form.  Yes, it is true that it takes a lot of courage to tell the truth and often our quivering voice will expose our human frailty; but the truth when spoken ‘shouts out aloud’ unshackled, unburdened and ubiquitously.

Action Points:

  1. Try playing the card game ‘ Bluff’. Notice how you can catch frequently catch another’s bluff and also how tough it is for you to bluff.
  2. Ask a close family member and an intimate friend to separately list out 5 aspects of your personality that they believe you need to improve upon. When reading the list be aware of the emotions that run through your mind on reading each criticism jotted down by them. How many of the points they mentioned are absolutely true? What and how do you propose to make use of this truth to improve yourself?

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog

www.poweract.blogspot.com

It is OK to make mistakes.

Assert your right to make a few mistakes. If people can’t accept your imperfections, that’s their fault.  Dr. David M. Burns

Perfection is what is ideally expected from each one of us; our parents want us to excel in academics and sports and the extracurricular activities. The expectations from teachers, friends and extended family are almost equally demanding. Subconsciously then, we have imbibed the need to be fiercely competitive, strive to be perfectionist and despise mistakes of any sort. There are broadly 3 long term negative consequences of these subconsciously imbibed thoughts .

Our fierce determination to succeed no matter what the means used. With high expectations prodding one along, the pressure to succeed and the terrible fear of failure invariably leads one to find ways and means to succeed. We may find some ingenuous loop holes, interpret the rules to suit our needs and in rare cases even resort to dubious means to succeed. The most common example is the invariably temptation to copy, be it in exams or in assignments. Bribing, cheating, swindling are the invariable scale up of this mentality that pressurizes us to seek success at any cost.

Our reluctance to accept or understand our imperfections When criticized our immediate reaction is to rationalize and often we accept the criticism with poor grace. With rare exceptions almost every time a criticism is leveled against us there is fair bit of truth in it, but alas our mind has been conditioned to accept only praise and acceptance and criticism is taboo. Our imperfections become more accentuated when we face more competition, are exposed to people having superior skills and we face challenges that daunt us. Excuses are the most favored means of deflecting criticism. Fault finding, rebuttal, counter criticism, backbiting are other common means of expressing our reluctance to accept the reality of our imperfections.

Our reduced risk taking ability. The fear of not succeeding, the lack of confidence that comes from the intense pressure of expectations and the inability to accept failure as an acceptable option, forces a person to avoid taking any risks. In life taking a calculated risk is the norm but when our calculations are mentally skewed to ensuring only success then more often than not we prefer not to participate if given the option. Other times we put on a facade of participation giving up too quickly under some pretext, make excuses to prepare others not to expect too much and line up a litany of reasons to rationalize or justify failure or non participation.

All this adds to up to one leading a life filled with numerous negative emotions including remorse, regret, fear, jealousy, doubt and a feeling of inadequacy.  To overcome this one has to do the following 3 things.

Learn to accept the reality. Be pragmatic about ones strengths and weakness. In every race on the tracks there can be only one winner, yet there will be numerous participants who despite their reservations about being the best believe they have a chance for they are one of the best. There are many who participate to gain experience and learn from it.

Be less critical both of self and others. We are often harsh on ourselves especially when we make silly mistakes. In the same vein we can be extremely harsh with others who we perceive to have made silly mistakes. This attitude minimizes our ability to trust ourselves, makes us habitually see the pitfalls and does not infuse enthusiasm to attempt. By being less critical, more tolerant and heartily embracing the outcome of our efforts and that of other irrespective of the results, we can emerge from our self imposed hiatus.

Prepare and participate enthusiastically, embrace failure with grace and try again with fortitude and self belief. Unless one has taken efforts to succeed mere participation won’t result in success. Just as studying is a prerequisite even for the most brilliant to succeed it is essential that one prepares before enthusiastically participating. Thereafter the outcome should not be seen as indication of either a comprehensive success or a decisive failure but merely as a fair outcome. Let not failure impede your will to try again nor let a fluke victory be seen as the pinnacle of success. What is important is to try to exceed the benchmarks attained.

Remember: The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one. Elbert Hubbard

Action Points:

  1. Choose the one or two aspects of your life that you are most criticized for and try to resolve the issue by trying consistently for a month. Eg. Reducing your weight/  girth or a bad habit of being critical of everything / your tendency to overuse certain words like you know, ummm., hmm, you see  etc.
  2. Try the following simple activities and see if you can overcome your own inhibitions.
  • Thread a needle
  • Learn 3 new words every week and use it in your communication
  • Find something positive everyday in someone you dislike
  • Experiment with something goofy eg. Wearing mismatched clothes/ wearing a hat to work (if that is not part of the attire)/ surprising your friends/ colleagues with some goodies for no particular reason.

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

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

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

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

The way to change MYSELF

Many people have ideas on how others should change; few people have ideas on how they should change. Leo Tolstoy

There is plenty of free advice floating around, most of it liberally dished out by ordinary folks who believe they have a solution to everyone else’s problem. Sadly in most cases if the problem is closer home, perhaps at the doorsteps of those who dish out these pearls of wisdom, they would grapple to come to grips with it. This sound ironic considering how appropriate the advice sounded for someone else but alas its potency seemed to vanish when a inch of it is applied at home. The conclusion that one can draw is that any advice given must first be tried and tested by those giving it before it is freely distributed around.

Here are four situations in the average person’s life where advice is often sought and given but rarely digested in the same form if the giver of the advice has to digest it himself// herself

Parenting and the generation gap. Each successive generation grapples with the problem of handling the younger generation. Each generation also gets ample advice from the previous generation most of which is very sound and based on good experience. The problem is that there is still a huge gap between us and the next generation which we normally try to rationalize and explain failing which we emotionalize the issue and pressurize. What we fail to understand is that we need to change with the times and adapt to the ways of a changing younger generation.

Facing the humdrum of everyday life. The daily grind of work that is the destiny of every individual rich or poor, young or old, healthy or sick often gets monotonous and boring. For others we would suggest a variety of solutions to cope with this situation. We could suggest job rotation, brining about variety in the job, finding creative ways to do the repetitive job, looking out for intrinsic motivations and where possible change jobs. The very same advice somehow seems to lose its charm, its appeal and its magic properties when we attempt to charge up our own monotonous everyday life. A major reason for this is our coziness and comfort of aligning with the known devil rather than risking it with a new devil as a result of which the very advice we give others ends up being impotent and ineffective to rescue us from the hellish rigors of daily life.

Managing life changing challenges. Change comes in many forms. While the furious pace of technological and scientific changes eases life in many ways mastering their functionality can be quite a change to manage. Remember the first time one tried to master the mouse on the computer. Imagine the challenge for those in the older age bracket.  More difficult are the emotional changes that challenge us be it death of a loved one, breakdown of relationships, pain of separation, job loss and the challenges caused by ill health and related trauma. Our problem is our inability to adopt and embrace the advent of technology and make peace with the upheavals brought about by the emotional changes.

Bidding good bye to life. Each of us comes with our expiry date stamped and hardcoded in our destiny. Yet being prepared to accept that reality is an extremely painful and heart wrenching prospect. While we would in all earnestness and honesty give courage to a dying person by drawing their attention to the goodness of afterlife and the prospect of never ending peace and happiness, when we are merely asked to even think of an epitaph for our self the task seems frightening, ludicrous and insane. We do not fear death itself but the prospect of leaving behind all those we love for we believe that they are the real possessions that matter.

Remember: The greatest discovery of all time is that a person can change his future by merely changing his attitude.  Oprah Winfrey

Try this:

  1. Write down the 3 most annoying things about the younger generation. (If you are a youngster write down 3 most annoying things about the older generation.) Now jot down 2 reasons that you think are why these seem to annoy. Perhaps you now get a better perspective of the other side.
  2. Who are the 3 people who you would like to speak to in the last moments of your life? What would you like to tell them?
  3.  Here are two links to help you connect with 2 heroes who coped with drastic CHANGE in their lives.

 This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog

www.poweract.blogspot.com

When silence is NOT golden

“Spiteful words can hurt your feelings but silence breaks your heart.”

We seem to recollect those harsh and spiteful words spoken by others, that may have been spoken in anger, frustration, irritation, disappointment or pain, which have hurt us. However it would possibly take us a while to recollect the events that evoked a searing pain caused by those who hurt us by their silence.  Perhaps the latter hurt is so painful that we unconsciously erase the memory and keep it hidden in the deepest recess of the heart but secretly the bitterness and the painful experience engulf us. We would rather dwell on the hurt that is verbalized for it can be recounted and our senses can conjure up a rage and revenge possibility.

When is it that the silence resounds so loudly and painfully? Perhaps we too are guilty of creating this silent cacophony that deafens the senses and perhaps even our sense of self worth.

Remaining silent when we need to speak up. Often when our views seem to be opposed by a strong majority we have self doubts about our point of view and prefer to keep silent rather than risk ridicule. Remember the terrible feeling that overcomes us when latter on someone proffers our view and gets complimented and applauded for the radical idea? Similarly if you are standing in a line and an aggressive person attempts to break in do we meekly allow it or do we tick the person off for his/her uncouth behavior? If we keep mum do we hate ourselves for our spineless behavior?

When we keep mum to avoid telling the truth. Look back at school days when you ended up having a scuffle with a classmate or neighbor. If you came back with a black eye and are closely questioned by your parents after attempting some half hearted lies you would possibly have simply kept quite refusing to respond to any questioning. Despite pleas by elders and parents  to tell the truth on the promise of not being inflicted with any  serious ramifications  if you still kept mum and thereafter somehow the truth emerged and you were severely reprimanded and punished the embarrassment and shame never gets erased.  Imagine a situation where you have done something wrong and a classmate is reprimanded and punished and all the while you keep mum for fear of the consequences. Does the image of the innocent classmate pleading his innocence still hurt you?

When we clam up when we need to assert. Remember the school bully who constantly harassed either us or someone else who was weaker.  Visualize the shame and pain we felt for remaining powerless and quietly bearing up. The hurt is more when at some point we see a much smaller, more scrawny but stout hearted student assert and defuse the bully’s arrogance and bullying. We cringe at the thought for it shames us to recollect our own cowardice. Recollect the time you could not refuse your friends in joining them in their misadventure and flouted the rules and got severely punished for it. Thereafter did you feel lousy for not having the moral courage to boldly refuse being a participant in the misadventure?

When refuse to voice our concerns or vocalize our support due to sheer apathy or fear of the repercussions You may have experienced the pain of studying hard and appearing for an exam only to see mass scale copying all around. Yet you do not lode your protest with the authorities for fear of the consequences both by the students as well as the authorities who could extract vengeance.

The words of ” Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984) about the inactivity of German intellectuals following the Nazi rise to power and the purging of their chosen targets, group after group epitomizes the truth above

First they came for the communists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.

Remember:  “Lying is done with words and also with silence.” Adrienne Rich

 

Try these:

  1. Make a list of 3 – 5 social issues about which you as a responsible citizen have serious concerns. Choose one of those topics and write a letter to the editor of a local newspaper. Keep writing till you get atleast one letter published and then you can take pride that ‘your voice is heard’.
  2. Make a list of issues on which you believe you as a responsible citizen should file an RTI query. Ideally try and file an RTI query in all seriousness but for a matter on an issue in which you really seek information.
  3. Try and watch the movie Ek Ruka Hua Faisla (Hindi)  or 12 Angry Men (English). To know the gist of the movie click on the following link http://dearcinema.com/review/ek-ruka-hua-faisla-a-brilliant-adaptation-of-12-angry-men/0720  ( Notice how ONE man changes the views of 12 others and also the final verdict all because he refused to keep silent)

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog

www.poweract.blogspot.com