Tag: Improvement

A makeover for myself

31- 31 Aug 17-A makeover for Myself

It is an excellent practice for every individual to take time out to re-energize, recharge and reinvent herself/himself. The problem is that one has to often do it all alone because no one knows the self better than the individual concerned. The simple mantra to achieve it is to believe and practice the phrase ‘ I am working on myself for myself by myself.’ The mantra sounds simple enough but the practice of the same is tricky because it involves the following steps:

Analyzing the self – This has to be done objectively. Spend time reflecting about your strengths and of course your weaknesses.  Apart from thinking, reflecting and analyzing on your own, take time to also seek clues in appreciation, criticism, feedback you get from time to time from family, friends, colleagues and experts. Their feedback would have some correlation to the reality and hence could provide you a better insight into your own self. Focus also on your interests, your latent passion and skills and your dreams for the future.

Identifying the areas of improvement – It is possible that there could be a wide variety of feedback that indicates areas for improvement. Some of these could be frivolous, a few very pertinent but the key is in identifying those areas of weakness that you need to strengthen because they are critical to your success. It could key competencies related to your profession or behavioral aspects or new skills to be learnt or bad habits to be eliminated. E.g. you maybe a poor listener or you could be an introvert both cardinal sins if you are a sales professional.

Finding a method to strengthen the weak areas of the self – It could be by sheer will power or by constant practice or it may require an external intervention. An external intervention could be in the nature of attending a specialized course or attending a relevant workshop or by sourcing the relevant material to read up on etc. At times despite your best efforts, you do not seem to be progressing and that is when one gets demoralized. At these times, you require a good mentor; perhaps a good friend or a strong tutor or the support of an understanding boss. Take strength also from the encouragement of others, the positive feedback you get and from seeking the progress you make even if it is a wee bit slow and sporadic.

Leveraging personal strengths – While focusing on overcoming personal weakness it must also be borne in mind that we can leverage our strengths to progress rapidly and become effective in our personal, professional and social life. If we do not utilize our talents, abilities and strengths we would be losing out on opportunities to grow and excel. Sometimes our abilities need to be sharpened and strengthened with external inputs and one must invest in the same. Paying attention to feedback also helps in identifying our strengths about which we may not be confident or lack awareness of. It may also give us clues on the areas requiring our attention to ensure we give out our peak performance.

Setting new standards of personal excellence – Growth in any form indicates that we are striving to move beyond our current standards, challenge ourselves to exceed our own boundaries and take risks to explore beyond our immediate horizons. All progress has been the outcome of people who focused on excellence. They looked out for solutions to problems and improvised on the same. At times people have gone back to the drawing board and turned the solutions on its head to come out with something more revolutionary and effective. Medical science provides ample evidence of this. With the help of technology, almost every aspect of our life is being revolutionized.  As individuals we too must strive to ride the technological wave, adopt/ adapt it and innovatively leverage it to set for ourselves new performance standards and raise the bar for our personal excellence.

Repeating the process – Constant review, making notes of learning outcomes and repeating the process of personal improvement would help make us change for the better and enhance our or effectiveness and output. Sitting on our laurels would only set us back because others would overtake us. We need to constantly reinvent ourselves to remain motivated, goal oriented and success focused.

Try these

Identify the following:

  1. Two inventions that you have the highest regard for.
  2. Two individuals who have had a significant impact on your life and the reasons for their extraordinary influence on you.
  3. Two gadgets without which you would be hopelessly ineffective. ( Do NOT include computers, internet, telephones or  mobile phones in it.)
  4. Two inventions that in your opinion are useless
  5. Two fictional characters who have had a great impact in your life.

List out

  • One weakness in you and the steps you will take to overcome it.
  • Outline you greatest strength and how are you using it in your day to day life
  • One quality you wished you possessed
  • One hobby you would be keen to develop
  • One practice / habit  that you would want to adopt shortly.

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog

www.poweract.blogspot.com

One change at a time

8-one-change-at-a-time

With exams around the corner, it is inevitable that students and often their parents feel the pressure of managing the study time tables so as to perform well. That is also the time when time pressure, the accumulated backlog of studies and the need to overhaul one’s life suddenly begins to overwhelm all the stake holders in this game. A similar situations crop up in our life off and on and the need to overhaul our life is the one common constant irrespective of which phase of life we are in. In trying to overhaul one’s life, the cardinal mistake we make is, thinking that we can overturn all the bad habits we have imbibed over the years, overnight. Just as you and I took nine months to be born, just like a year takes twelve months to change and a day requires 24 hours to be completed before a new day begins, we have to patiently work on small changes in our attitude, style and behavior before the effects of transformation are visible.

The four essentials for transformation are:

Deciding to change – This is the first step in bring about any meaningful change in one’s life. Until one decides to change, the status quo would always seem impossible to change. Excuses, rationalization and reconciliation with the existing situation would constantly nag you into succumbing to the status quo. Decide that you need to change your habits, your style, adopt a different strategy E.g. You know you have to spend more hours studying. You will find enough reasons why you are unable to do so and rationalize your decision for not being able to change and finally reconcile that you are a mediocre student. The same holds true for those wanting to lose weight but not being able to get themselves to eat healthy or exercise.

Planning the change – Once you decide to change, the key is to spend some time planning how you are going to bring about the change and be the change you want. Many of us fail in this step simply because we visualize that implementation of the plan is impossible. If you can outline the map to achieving what your goal is, you would at least have a clear agenda to follow. E.g. Having a clear time table to study is the first step in ensuring you are able to do justice to each subject that you have to study. Those subjects requiring practice or additional study, however much you dislike the subject, must be allotted more time.

Implementing the change – This is the toughest part of the process of transformation. At this stage you are attempting to move away from all that you felt comfortable doing despite knowing the consequences, to disciplining yourself doing unpleasant things, in the hope that it will give you good results. The tough part is beginning, the tougher part is motivating yourself to continue but the toughest part is keeping the momentum going. The trick is to visualize the small changes, mentally see yourself inching yourself forward towards your goals and occasionally noting how much you have progressed and how closer you are to your final goal.

Being patient – This is the most important virtue because without it, one would be tempted to give up. Patience comes from self belief, from charting out progress and being reasonable about your expectations at every given time line. Occasionally you could be slipping as per your plans, at other times you feel your pace is slow and many times there seems to be no motivation to pursue your plans. Remember the number of times you fell of your bicycle before you managed to master it or the number of times you felt you were drowning before you learned to swim. The lure of the eventual goal must be so encompassing that you become patient enough to trudge along despite all the obstacles that come your way.

Try these:

  • Try to play a new sport or pick up a new hobby. Notice how you take time to gain expertise, despite your possible talent in that field.
  • List out 3 changes that you want to bring about in your life. Outline what is stopping you from doing it. Plan and implement the plan to bring about the change.
  • Challenge yourself to overcome a constant criticism that you often encounter either from your spouse / child/ friend / colleague / well wisher.

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 everyone your Guru…

7-12-feb-17-listen-to-the-guruTime and time again, we are admonished that we do not listen. In any communication lecture, you would invariably be told that of all the skills of communication the most vital one is the art of listening. The trouble is, almost all our life we have ended up as listeners and there is a certain amount of boredom, lack of motivation and prejudice against the speakers and or topics, that we have developed over the years. Part of the reason can be attributed to ineffective teachers who bored us to tears, part of the reason could be that we were forced into listening to boring lectures on boring subjects and the rest of the problem could be attributed to sheer indifference we have developed over the years. Criticism whether from parents, teachers, friends, well wishers, colleagues or bosses (especially at appraisal time) and worse of all from the spouse, have just hardened us to pay a deaf year to the feedback received. All in all, over the years, we have become indifferent, immune and largely deaf to any most forms of communication especially those that we dislike, disapprove or dread.

However, it is never too late to change and begin afresh.  Bear these facts in mind when focusing on listening. The first thing to remember is that listening is not a passive activity but an activity one must actively engage in. This means we need to take the effort of listening. The next thing to keep in mind is that when listening all our senses are engaged. While the ears absorb the spoken word, every other sense also absorbs the signals relevant to them. Hence any form of distraction be it noise, smell, weather changes, movement etc. influence the quality of our listening.  The third and most important element of listening is to understand the essence of listening; which is wanting to hear. Unless we want to hear, find a motivation to hear, pay attention to the entire communication and not be selective in our listening, we could misunderstand, partially understand, miss out on key information or interpret the communication conveniently.

Once we begin to appreciate and adopt good listening skills the process of our personal improvement and growth would be enhanced dramatically. This is because we learn to value the lessons, however unpleasant or critical that we interpret from the communication signals received from around us. We also begin to value and respect our strengths by listening to the positive and encouraging responses we get. The value we derive from listening is maximized when we explore opportunities, dare to take risks, begin to change, learn to appreciate and never get discouraged.

Remember that the word LISTEN comprises of the same alphabets that form the word SILENT. So the more silently you absorb the communication that is around the better your listening skills. Make the world your GURU by simply listening to everyone and everything around. Absorb, learn, implement, change !

Try these:

  • What is your favorite joke that you enjoy sharing with friend’s. Did you notice that it is how keenly the other person listens to you, that makes the joke effective. More importantly the joke may have something absurd and illogical that actually triggers the punch of the joke. Conventional listening, where logic and order are essential do not trigger the response as much as the non auditory visualization does.
  • Here are some non auditory listening challenges
  1. Take a standard deck of cards and find out the only one eyed king in it. Also note the subtle differences between the Jacks as also the four different queens in the deck.
  2. Ask a friend to prepare a bag full of assorted articles. Without seeing the articles but by merely putting your hand in the bag and feeling the articles try and identify each of them.
  3. Blindfold yourself and ask a friend to hand over various currency notes into your hand. Identify the denomination of those notes.
  4. How often have you entered your house, smelled the food being cooked and decided what kind of a meal to expect?

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog

www.poweract.blogspot.com

The hues of life

41-the-hues-of-lifeAs we enter the last couple of weeks of the year, it is an ideal time to look back on the year gone by. Perhaps many a day was mundane, quite a few days could reflect pain especially when we reminisce about a loved one who has departed but look again and most days would have been actually joyous for never a day must have gone by without some laughter. That we are alive to read this is a blessing, that we have the eyesight to read is a blessing , that we are blessed with riches and resources is a precious gift denied to many; oh just look around and you will realize you are blessed beyond imagination.

The tapestry of our life mimics the changing seasons; there are the monsoons, the winters, the spring and the summers. Individually we all have our preferences for the season we like best and the season we dislike; yet we value each season for it is essential for our survival. The seasons also influence the environment around and bring us the varied joys that nature has blessed us with. True when the season is at the extreme it brings with it pain, suffering, destruction and disruption but from that chaos we have only grown bigger, better and stronger. Look back on the year as well the years gone by and you will recollect with fondness how every event has helped shape you to be the individual you are.

This is a time for thanks and this is a time for hope.

We must be thankful for not just the blessings but many a time, it is the pain that helped us become stronger. We need to be thankful for the people who hurt us;  because of them when we realize the value of the people who stand by us and those we love. We need to be grateful for the times when we fell and bruised our self, for that is when we understood how strong we are. If we had not failed, we would not appreciate the value of getting things right and if we had not occasionally lost our temper, we would never know our limitations. We may not be proud of the vain things we did but for sure it taught us that we have a mean streak in us. We hate those who criticized us and gossiped about us but certainly if we pause and reflect we must thank them for opening our eyes to our own faults. Most of all we must be thankful for the love we are blessed with; family, friends, colleagues and strangers who in varied ways stepped up when we needed them the most.

As we round of the year, it is wonderful time to look forward in hope. It is that time of the year when we jot down our New Year Resolutions. Yes a large part of the list must be carry forwards from the year just ending, but now we can hope to begin anew and succeed. Oh yes, we have new dreams that we need to realize during the coming year and we have the faith and hope that we can attain it in the coming year/s. We have hope for our loved ones to discover their own individuality, chalk out their own paths and make a smooth transition towards their destiny. We hope that the world would change for the better and that we would be part of that transformation. Most of all we must hope to play an important part in contributing to that hope through our thoughts, words and deeds. Unless we have hope, we will never have the courage to ‘stand up and be counted’.

Try these:

  1. Begin with making your New Year Resolution list. You have still have 3 weeks to reflect and update it but you need to start now.
  2. List out 2 things that you will do in the coming year that will enable you to :
  • Improve you as an individual
  • Make you involved in your favorite social cause
  • To expand your social / friends circle
  • Surprise your family
  • Change a bad habit that you are often criticized for
  • Improve your financial health
  • Ignite a latent talent or indulge in a latent passion
  • Connect with a long lost friend/ relative

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog

www.poweract.blogspot.com

Growth begins when…

Growth begins when we start to accept our own weakness.  Jean Vanier

It is when we appreciate our weakness that we begin to focus on strengthening it. It is easy to build up on our strengths for it comes naturally to a person but it is the person who has the vision and the commitment who can accept his/ her limitations and strategize to succeed despite those limitations. Take the case of a tennis player who has a relatively weaker service as compared to the peers. When the person acknowledges that weakness, only then can that person adopt a tactic that will ensure that the serve is efficient first time around and learn to anticipate the returns correctly. Thereafter they can leverage their strengths of regular play to outplay the opponent.

Success camouflages a lot of weakness and that is why when we study the corporate space we make a startling discovery that many a successful company 50 years ago has vanished half a century later.  It is extremely tough to introspect objectively when the going is good, for we are delirious with excitement over our successes and we almost seem invincible.  However every passing day brings changes and one weakness that many fail to see is the repercussions of CHANGE. How many anticipated the technology driven changes that have almost made the globe a level playing field? Even if one anticipated it how many could foresee how things would pan out and how one could ensure that the technology is leveraged in order to keep abreast of the competition?

There are times when lack of self belief is the weakness. This is even more catastrophic for one can give up just when on the cusp of success. The antidote is self belief and persistence. Each one of us is capable of generating new ideas but to believe in the success of the idea and having the tenacity to execute it are issues that one needs to examine carefully. There would be many critics and perhaps a motley set of ardent supporters. The challenge is to objectively understand the pros and cons propounded and examine it in the light of one’s personal abilities and then proceed ahead.  Fear of failure is closely associated with the lack of self belief. In real life the successful people are the ones who have weathered failure of many hues before they could actually rectify their weakness and leverage their strengths to succeed. Failure by itself is not a weakness but not learning from failure is the weakness.

Can we identify weakness easily? It is possible simply because it triggers many tell tale signs. To begin with most things we are uncomfortable with or don’t enjoy doing indicate a possible area of weakness. E.g. We may love to teach but end up working in an office and you just don’t enjoy that work. Here the weakness is you inability to change tracks and / or  your inability to enjoy the current job or it could be your lack of self belief that you can be a successful teacher. Many a time we confuse our passion with ability and it is here that objective analysis of performance and feedback will give us clarity on how strong or weak we are in that area. Lack of encouragement or appreciation often leads to a situation where your strengths remain underdeveloped whilst we try to cope with activities that cater to parental/ societal expectations. E.g.  There might be an artist in you yearning to showcase your talent but ultimately you sideline it and pursue other academic pursuits as dictated by convention. The key here is in listening to you inner voice and developing your self- belief.

If you don’t realize you weakness, it is well neigh impossible to even appreciate your strengths and the net effect is disenchantment, disheartened and disappointment. Once you realize your weakness you will make attempts to either cope with it or overcome it. That is when growth begins and you begin to experience happiness, confidence and sense of achievement.

Remember: “There’s a basic human weakness inherent in all people which tempts them to want what they can’t have and not want what is readily available to them.”M. Kathleen Casey

Try this:

  1. Make an elaborate list of your strengths. It should have not less then 10 strengths listed. Now consult close family members and friends and ask them to rank your strengths from strongest to weakest. Tabulate the results and identify those strengths that others have ranked as weak. Work on those strengths and soon you would have improved on your effectiveness.
  2. Honestly ask yourself if you are guilty of any of the following weakness:
  • Being too talkative thereby making you a poor listener
  • Being too critical and sarcastic thereby find it hard to appreciate others
  • Being quick tempered and rude thereby alienating too many people
  • Being fastidious and finicky thereby irritating others unnecessarily
  • Being timid and quite thereby tactically giving your consent on matters that you really oppose

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

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

Improvement

People never improve unless they look to some standard or example higher and better than themselves.  Tyron Edwards

Improvement is nothing but a positive progress from the current status. Repetition is the most commonly practiced method for improvement. With constant practice, we soon excel in the activity and that is the improvement that we see. A better method is to follow a good example and to learn the correct technique. Take the case of a badminton player who has learnt to play the game as a child. Invariably they play the backhand with the wrist facing the net, which is the natural inclination but the wrong technique. Initially mastering the right technique would be a bit tough but once mastered we know that it is the best way ahead.

Another technique is to have standards to measure our performance. We are used to this technique in school, where we invariably compared our results with our friends or those weaker than us, so as to get a sense of achievement. However when we get older and wiser we realize that we need to seek those better than us in order to know the limits that we need to achieve. Higher benchmarks or performance standards mean that there is a scope to reach that level and creates an urge in us to reach there. For years it was assumed that no human could run the mile under 4 minute until, Roger Bannister ran a mile in 3 min 59.4 sec on 6 May, 1954. Soon thereafter the record was broken by a number of runners.

When we have no yardsticks to measure performance, we find it hard to be motivated, tough to visualize success and lack the self belief to attain the peak. Standards and role models act as beacons of light that light up the path and provide us the intensity and illumination to chase the performance landmarks. However talented we may be, it is only our inner motivation that can drive us to succeed and exceed the benchmarks.

Remember: When we climb a mountain we don’t conquer the mountain but we conquer ourselves.

Try These:

  1. Take a rubber ball or a basket ball and tell yourself how many times you can bounce it without losing the control over it. Attempt it and try to improve on your performance.
  2. Can you set performance standards for your daily/ weekly/ monthly/ yearly tasks? Look at this post and you will notice that it is the 90th post in a row. What was the performance standard I set for myself and am I on target? Do you think I could achieve my goal only because of the target set or because of some other factors?

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

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