Tag: Responsibilities

Be your own Sergeant Major

19-21- 17 Nov19-Be your own Sergeant Major

If you have never been part of the armed forces, which unfortunately most of us have never been part of, self discipline is always a challenge. This is because, we give in to temptations, make excuses, make light of authority, have no clear commitment and ignore all varieties of signals that suggest we be self disciplined, if we need to succeed. Perhaps the realization, that each of us is solely responsible for our own self discipline, is a key trigger to begin our journey of success. This means that each of us as to see ourselves as both the soldier and the sergeant major in charge of our life.

Every sergeant major uses both positive and negative energies to drive his soldiers to excellence. The negatives are the last option but unavoidable considering that the objective is excellence is the at the heart of winning any battle. To be your own personal sergeant major, the positives and negative energies that you must leverage are as under:

Visualize the positive outcomes – Visualize the end  result. As Steven covey says’ Begin with the end in mind’. Most people use the same technique when they start a diet plan or begin their gym routine. The challenge is to believe in the outcome even if there are no immediate visible changes. At the heart of it all is the need to be consistent and patient.

Be aware of the negative effects – While the positive end result can help one remain positive, the fear of the consequences of not being self disciplined can be a strong stick that drives one to be disciplined. This is largely seen in the case of academics, where even the most lethargic student makes at least a last minute effort to study for fear of failing. Being dropped from a team is not exactly what a competitive individual would want. Perhaps a fear of that could push her/ him to take practice , coaching and fitness very seriously even if they are not particularly enthused.

Find motivators – Motivators will attract your enthusiasm like a magnet. Seek out the small advantages, benefits, rewards that your actions will bring in. Let these motivators pull you towards making the efforts required even if they are boring, tiresome and painful.

Avoid excuses – While motivators can pull, the danger is the excuses that have an overbearing negative influence in propping up our lethargy, casualness and indifference. The net result is we end up succumbing to the various excuses that we imagine or those that sinfully entice us. One has to be mentally stronger than the excuses that keep popping up and prevent us from doing what needs to be done.

Embrace the process – Notice the small changes. Appreciate the positive difference that you feel when you overcome all excuses and stick to your plans. Relish the self discipline that you have consciously adopted. Be glad you chose the right way to forge ahead.

Fear is the key – When lethargy, temptation, excuses keep tugging away and entice you away from your discipline, be aware of the consequences. Let the fear of the ill effects kill your temptations. You be your own sergeant major and kick your own butt to ensure you that you do not stray.

Remember that ‘Man is both the sculptor and the sculpture of his destiny. Chipping away the bad in us, is a very painful and never ending process. The end result though, would be an individual self that one would be very proud of.’

Try these:           

  • What are your 5 bad habits that you are seeking to overcome? What plan of action do you have for overcoming it?
  • What are the 3 good habits you would like to cultivate? Any plan of action for the same?
  • What are the 2 good routines you follow? Have you influenced anyone to learn from your routines?
  • Prepare your new year resolution and ensure you have a plan of action for 5 of them. By Dec 2020 notice how you managed to achieve the plan you listed, by being your own Sergeant Major.

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog


On this road called life…

On this road called life…

Life is an ongoing journey, apparently on a road that has no end. For the pessimist it looks like a perennial journey filled with woes and challenges. For the optimist it offers never ending opportunities. The fact is that on the road called life, there are both challenges and opportunities but more importantly one needs to know that the ride stops sometime and it is best that we live life to the fullest. It doesn’t matter if you are an optimist or a pessimist; what matters is how you have journeyed through your life.

As long as the ride goes on, every individual has a responsibility to himself and to all those in his circle of influence to fully utilize the ride to make one’s own life as well as those of the people around better, happier and fulfilling. At the same time, the bad times that everyone is prone to have occasionally should not overwhelm and dishearten anyone. In fact, bad times are a good reminder that on the road of life there are bumps that one needs to watch out for. One cannot be perennially euphoric about the sudden spurts of good fortune or tidings of happiness that will come our way. However, one must learn to enjoy and value such moments for the same moment will never be repeated. Be gratefully for your blessings but never forget to share that with others.

At times our troubles are caused by others. Some create it unknowingly; others create it accidentally and a few heap troubles deliberately. Much as we are tempted to take revenge or at least teach the person a lesson, it is best we forget about the troubles the said person caused. However, it is prudent to remember the incident so that we do not get into a similar situation and get worked up again. Never forget to learn the lessons from troubles and failures. Perhaps you will realize your faults that led to it. That is a lesson, the learning from which should remain lifelong with us.

Finally there is a reality that people, including us change over time. Our best friends may drift away from us or we may acquire new friends and old friends fade into the background. Sometimes close friends may turn cold and occasionally hostile. That is the nature of the law of change. There is nothing constant, except what we make a determined effort to keep constant in our responses, reactions and relationships.

Ultimately the quality of our ride on the highway of life is nothing but what we make of it. If we decide to make it a life changing positive experience, that is what you will always encounter. If we groan, moan and grudgingly welcome each new day, then that is the type of life one will witness and experience.

The ride goes on; enjoy it while it lasts.

Try these:

  1. What two things do you wish you could have changed in your life? How would it have changed you for the better?
  2. Can you recollect a friend from whom you have drifted away? Can you point out three mistakes that you made that hastened this drifting away?
  3. What are the two changes you will bring about in your life to ensure you enjoy each day that unfolds?
  4. List out the following:
  • A song that uplifts your spirits
  • A movie that resonates with you and charges you up
  • The one moment of your life that you cherish immensely
  • The one act that you did which is still a heartwarming memory for you

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog


Buried or planted?

19-28 May-17- Buried or plantedWhen you come to a road block in life or when the future looks dark and gloomy, panic is inevitable, but worse still is the feeling of helplessness. Both panic and helplessness result in just one ending; giving up and surrendering without exploring alternatives/ opportunities / possibilities.

On the other hand when faced with a mountain/ road block / a spiked fence, look at it as a challenge to your ingenuity; a dare to be taken on. Find a way over it, under it or around it. The moment you think it is the end of the road; you will never see the pathways adjacent. It is almost like lying face down and burying your head in the mud. It is dark, musty, irritating and hopeless. What you need to do is not push downward to find a way out but turn over to see the sky the clouds and the infinite universe beckoning you. It is a paradigm shift but one which opens up completely new opportunities and possibilities.

Every individual must believe that he/ she is a seed that can still sprout and bear fruit. Age is no bar, you being healthy or not is not an issue, your status in life is no limitation; for you can always give of yourself to the world. Accept what comes your way, then adapt to the situation you find yourself in, search for a way to sprout and grow; it will take time it will take effort but it will be worth it.  Many of us are like discarded seeds found on the roadsides; full of potential but alas not planted. You need not be planted underground to sprout and grow. How many of us volunteer as blood donors; have a social cause that we engage in; take the effort to discharge our civic obligations like voting or become responsible citizens by avoiding use of plastic bags; segregating waste; following the rules of the road etc. Similarly, when planted underground as would be the case when one is faced with injustice or a debilitating disease, do I simply surrender or fight back? Can I file an RTI or make the effort to get the wrong corrected? Can I opt to be an organ donor? Can I participate in an awareness march or protest march to protect the environment or save more water and actively engage in similar such causes?

You are buried when you go underground without a whimper; you are planted when you can sprout and grow and display your presence especially in arid conditions.

Try these:

  1. Write a letter to the editor of the local newspaper sharing your concern and giving suggestions about a local social issue or problem that you feel very strongly about.
  2. Source the following:
  • The method of filing an RTI application
  • An eye donation / organ donation form
  • List of NGO’s working in the area of your social concern
  • The name and address of the authorities concerned to whom you can report a problem pertaining to your deepest concern e.g. garbage clearance / burst pipeline

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog


Never complain, never explain

18- 18 May 17- Never explain never complainThe moment things do not go as per our plan or wishes, the tendency is to complain about something or the other that we believe, derailed our plans. Similarly, no sooner we are criticized, before we even ingest the criticisms, we are quick off the blocks with our explanations and excuses. To maintain our individuality, to become independent in thought, word and deed it is essential that we act as per our convictions and take responsibility for the consequences of our action. No matter what the outcome, there is no need to complain or explain; for it is the outcome of a responsible action.

To ensure one takes a good independent decision follow these rules:

Act responsibly: This is tougher than it looks because sometimes temptations, the need to act macho, the ego to prove something, the urge to defy others etc. overtakes our rationality and we act emotionally thereby opening up the risk of doing things that we may regret later. Responsible behavior is being fully aware of the consequences and being more rational and less emotional. You will never have to justify your action for you took it responsibly.

Take responsibility: There are times when you as a member of a team have to stand by your team and your leader even if you have a dissenting view about the action taken. Similarly as a leader there are times that you have to take harsh and unpleasant decisions which the majority may not favor. These are the times you take responsibility without fear or favor.

Learn from the feedback: There is always scope for improvement. Hence it is important that even if you don’t have to explain or never opt to complain, listen carefully to the criticism, the suggestions, the alternatives and the explanations given by others. Look also for examples of others; those who succeed, those who fail, those who did not act and those who sat on the fence. Everyone is offering free lessons to learn from; keep learning!

Think before you act: You should seek out the best from books, people, experiences and thought. However the decision has to be taken by you after applying your mind to the action you are going to trigger. Be aware of the velocity your action will trigger, the reactions it will generate and the goal it is set to achieve. When you are sure that there is balance between these and that it is time to be decisive act with confidence and faith. There is nothing you will regret ever.

Try these:

  • Which was the best decision that you took in your life?
  • What is the one mistake you still regret?
  • What was the stupidest decision you took under pressure from others?
  • What was the one situation you had to make up an excuse to get out of trouble?

 Did you face the following situations and how did you deal with it?

  • Your parents asking you to justify your poor scores in exams
  • Your coach benching you for a poor performance
  • Your friend / partner / spouse constantly complaining about a certain behavioral trait of yours

 List out your complains against the following people

  • Your parents / siblings
  • Your colleagues/ bosses
  • Your three best friends
  • Your neighbor
  • The last three co-passengers who disappointed you

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog


Our rights vs our interests

A man will fight harder for his interests than for his rights. Napoleon Bonaparte

As a citizen of a democratic nation each one of us has the right to exercise his/ her franchise and vote in the elections. How many of us have diligently used this right without giving any excuses and voted responsibly? Similarly those eligible for pension are expected to personally go and collect their pension each month. Most of those eligible for pension are old and suffer from various ailments but their family members ensure that they are dutiful taken on the respective dates to collect the pension but the same people may not honor the wishes of these elder people to cast their vote during the elections. This might seem like a bizarre example but it clearly illustrates the stark reality and the naked truth about the approach of people with respect to their rights and their interests.

There is the inherent selfishness that governs the approach of most people to focus on their interests because they are directly affected by it. Rights on the other hand are conferred on us and we have the option to use it as and when we want though the underlying principle of the right is to empower the person to exercise his/ her right for both personal good but largely for the public good. Take the case of people at a railway platform. They have the right to take a platform ticket and avail of the facilities on the platform including using the benches put there to sit on it. While the honest citizen will diligently follow it, the unscrupulous ones will try to hoodwink the authorities and yet claim their right to the seats on the benches. Even more uncouth is the tendency of people to occupy one seat and use the other seat to keep their luggage on lest the luggage get soiled when kept on the floor or it is used to ensure personal privacy by not allowing another to sit on the adjacent seat.

Many of us may have observed the above happenings from afar but may never be directly concerned with such episodes and so we may have a smug feeling of relief that we are not guilty of such tendencies and that we will sacrifice our interests when we have to chose between our rights and our interests. The unfortunate reality is that each one of us is guilty of the crime of being self centered and selfish enough to put our personal interest far ahead of our rights. The most classic case is the fine line that distinguishes between avoiding paying taxes and evading taxes. We have the legitimate right to avoid paying taxes by utilizing the provisions of the law legitimately. Yet when we it comes to our own taxes if we perceive it to be still exorbitant, we would resort to conveniently interpreting the law, perhaps indulge in some dubious means to asses our taxes or simply fudge the returns with the ultimate aim of minimizing the tax burden.

On a more macro level, we as citizens are also guilty of being mute witnesses and turning a blind eye to despicable practices like the use of child labor ( denying them the right to freedom and education), cruelty to animals ( illegal use for animal testing of drugs being the biggest culprit), disparity in wage structure between women and men, denying fair wages to the marginalized and downtrodden  etc.  It is not that we practice it, but our refusal to stand up for their rights that makes us party to the crime of being focused on our interests without exercising our rights.

Remember: “Interest makes some people blind, and others quick-sighted”  Francis Beaumon

Try this:

  1. List out 3 of your pet social causes.  Now that you are interested in them outline how you will exercise your rights to ensure that you play an active role in making the social causes fructify and deliver results.
  2. Assuming you have the time and the inclination to use the Right To Information act (RTI), make a list of causes, public interest matters, areas of concern in which you would possibly use the act. What prevents you from invoking the provisions of the act for public good?

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

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

Light a candle…

It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness. Chinese proverb

As we go through life each of us will face our shares of troubles and challenges. How we respond to these hiccups in life has a major bearing on how our future pans out. Most of us will attempt to put on a brave front and tackle issues sometimes successfully occasionally failing and feeling despondent. A few of us will, at the first signs of our inability to cope up seek help from others.  Some of us resign to our fate and simply give up and surrender to our fate. What is common to all these approaches is that our initial reaction is to get annoyed, irritated and frustrated that the smooth flow of our life is disturbed.

Fate hands us many pleasant surprises and a few shocks too. When faced with a some of these unexpected shocks the easiest reaction and the most common is one of absolute helplessness and frustration. The next step in this line of thinking is searching for a convenient event, person or things to put blame on and deflect attention from our own inadequacies. If for example we have been careless and lose our wallet in a crowded train we will quickly abuse the poor policing system, the overcrowded trains, the growth and mushrooming of undesirable elements in society and of course the administration in general. Only the really balanced person would attempt to study our own culpability in the event.

The balanced person takes a more calm and realistic approach first pinning blame on self for not taking adequate precautions and for being negligent. They would view the tragedy as a wakeup call to be more careful and aware instead of the normal reaction of panic and over reaction. Through this approach they reorient their thinking to focus on getting results rather than apportion blame. Blame merely transfers the responsibility without any serious attempt to rectify the situation.  Instead of blaming one would achieve more by making attempts to fix the problem and taking steps to mitigate a recurrence.  In the long run this is what each of us wants ; plugging the problem firmly and avoiding recurrence.

To ensure that one has the right cure for the disease it is important that one identify the problem correctly. This is to be followed by scanning the environment for appropriate solutions. Sometimes the solutions may be cumbersome to implement, resisted by certain sections for selfish reasons and may become too bureaucratic to implement. Yet one must be prepared to swallow the bitter pill. More than anything else one must be proactive and willing to shoulder the responsibility to overcome the problem with standard solutions or if forced to search out creative options. We must be passionate about overcoming the problem and if possible implement a long term solution.

Remember: “There is not enough darkness in all the world to put out the light of even one small candle” Robert Alden

Try this:

  1. The next time you don’t get rail tickets for a long term travel what kind of approach will you take? Jot down all that you will do to light the candle ( reach the destination)  than curse the railways.
  2. As a dutiful citizen of this country you would definitely be concerned about some of the ills that plague this nation. Eg  Rampant poverty/ growing population etc. List out at least 5 such problems. Now what steps will you take to make a positive impact to solve each of these problems ?

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

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

Make things happen

Things turn out best for people who make the best of the way things turn out. Anon

Opportunity beckons at every turn, but most times we see them as obstacles that disrupt the smooth flow of our life. We tend to evaluate happenings in the light of what we would wish to happen rather than seeing it as surprises, chances or a great break that we must use to the full. For example if one fails an exam the immediate reaction is one of defeat, hurt, shame and pain which is justified under the circumstances. However if one were to see that failure as an opportunity or a chance or a break , one would immediately make the connect that perhaps we are not cut out for it or that we need to pursue something that enthuses us and this is the right time to make that move.

Many of us are conformists and this poses the big problem of adjusting to change or even visualizing even the remote possibility of some opportunity in problems. The tried and tested ways of life are safe options which have very little risk attached to it and so the vast majority of us try desperately to follow the same path. In this pursuit, we suppress our own personal preferences, give in to social, family and peer pressure and turn a blind eye to any alternatives that may fleetingly make an appearance. Ask yourself if you regularly follow a set routine every morning or are you disturbed if some events throw your plans out of gear. Eg.  You are a coffee addict and cannot function with your cuppa. Unfortunately one morning you just can’t seem to find the coffee jar. How you react to this situation is perhaps an indicator of how much of a conformist you are.

There is a large section of the population that loves to avoid responsibility and who won’t hesitate to apportion blame. They will find excuses for not playing their part well and end up portraying a ‘poor me ‘syndrome to ensure that they are not blamed. They will go all out to find lacunae in the planning and execution which cannot be linked back to them. These people actually also love to wallow in self pity and many of them even enjoy the attention and sympathy they get. They actively seek out issues to shirk all responsibility and quickly find a fall guy to pass blame to if events don’t follow the expected or planned schedule.  More often than not these people attain moderate success and are critical by nature. The bureaucracy is quite often staffed by people with such a mentality.

Success is ordained for those who are passionate about what they want for they seek it out in the complex maze called life. Thos who don’t stop to apportion blame, those who take responsibility for all that they do, the people who are prepared to struggle hard, take risks and grasp opportunities are optimists with a mission. They are the ones who somehow manage a toe hold in the door of destiny and by grasping every little opportunity that comes their way attain success. To them every set back is a chance to pit their wits against; they never stop to find excuses but seek to find the fault and correct it. Look at a marathon runner who has to practices for hours on end exerting themselves till they nearly collapse. There is no guarantee that they will even complete a marathon in a proper race much less win it.  What drives and motivates them is the real possibility that they will not only complete the race but win it too.

Remember: “We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.”  Charles R. Swindoll

Try these:

  1. Read the poem ‘ The Psalm of Life’ by H.W. Longfellow. Click on the following link to see a commentary on the various verses of the poem. http://poweract.blogspot.com/2009/12/psalm-of-life-commentry.html
  2. Jot down 3 difficulties that you faced in the past week. Now try to reframe these as possible opportunities for you to have leveraged.  To understand how there are opportunities in difficulties click on the following link and read the well known short story The Verger by Somerset Maugham http://sinden.org/verger.html

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

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