November 29, 2007

Respect Your Decisions

Respect for your own decisions is the foundation of your confidence.

Your decision is the choice you make when faced with alternatives that have logically similar risks and benefits. Decisions are always based on gut feel. When you make a decision you choose an alternative together with its benefits as well as risks.

However, once the decision is made, many of you start getting uncomfortable with the risks associated with your own choice. You also start regretting the benefits (of other alternatives) that you gave up as a result of your decision. This is normal and expected since the alternatives were logically similar in risks and benefits. This leads to post decision dissonance and the associated discomfort and lack of confidence.

You need to respect your decision once you have chosen the alternative and avoid thinking about the other alternatives. Don't forget that the other alternatives had their own risks, as evaluted by you before taking the decision.

Have faith in your gut feel and respect your own decisions. Don't look back once the decision is made. This simple practice will dramatically improve your confidence and effectiveness.

November 28, 2007

Decisions Are Always Based On Gut-Feel

Decisions can never be made logically. Logic can, at best, help you identify the obvious choice.

When any alternative in decision making seems logically better than the others, the choice is obvious. E.g. the alternative ways of going up to the 15th floor of a building is to take the elevator or the stairs. Taking the elevator definitely seems to have more logic, hence the choice is obvious and no decision is required.

Real decision making is required when the alternatives are logically similar. Consider that you are getting late for your flight, and there are two routes that you can take to the airport. Route A is much longer but is likely to have less traffic, whereas Route B is shorter but is likely to have much more traffic. Both routes have their positives and negatives. Whichever route you choose, there is a risk of missing the flight, either due to distance, or due to traffic. It is not possible to make a logical decision on the routes as both routes seem equally risky.

Clearly, decision making is required only when all alternatives have logically equal risk and/or benefit. Hence you always have to rely on your Gut Feel to make the decisions.

November 27, 2007

Notice Your Own Progress

Progress is normally invisible to self but visible to others.

Did you ever realise that you have grown up from an infant who could not even control his/her hand movements to what you are today? The daily incremental progress of most things in life is negligible. We as humans are highly adaptable, and our ability to adjust to the daily progress is much more than the change itself.

The change is your life is very visible to those who observe you at significant intervals. E.g. someone who saw you as an infant and then saw you as a toddler a year later would really notice your progress.

To really evaluate the progress you are making. Take a pause and look back at how things were a year back (or more, or less, depending on which area of life you are evaluating). You will be surprised at the amount of progress you have made in most areas of your life. And if you ask around, you will be even more surprised at how many people are already aware of your progress, which so far, was invisible to you.

November 25, 2007

Obvious way to make your dreams come true

Journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.

What is the most important step in making any of your dream come true? The first step.
What is the second most important step in making any of your dream come true? The second step.

and so on...

Taking the first step is very difficult since it forces you to come out of your comfort zone, shake out your inertia, open yourself to risk of failure, expose yourself, deal with the uncertainty around future steps, etc. Many of your dreams have not come true simply because you have not yet taken the first step towards it. If you take the first step, it would become possible to take the next step, and the next...

Make your dreams come true. Take the first step.

November 24, 2007

Make space for Conflicts

Conflicts are not only inevitable, they are necessary.

As long as there are people, there would be different point of views. It is important to realize that each point of view is correct from its own perspective. I am sure you would have noticed that the other person, in the conflict, is as convinced about his point of view as you are about yours.

Make space for conflicts. Accept them as an inevitable part of life. In a conflict, try to see the other person's point of view, and also welcome the person to see your point of view. Even if you are not able to see the other point of view, accept it to be as true as yours. It may be because the other perspective is not visible to you. Conflicts are necessary, because they force you to look at other perspectives.

The only way to avoid conflict is to live in isolation.

Your Point of View is Yours

Your point of view is your version of truth, which is one of the many acceptable perceptions of reality. Reality is unknown.

If your point of view is different from someone else's point of view, you may choose to argue in favour of your point of view. Or, you can try and understand each other's point of view. Argument will only lead to disagreement because each point of view is correct from its own perspective. If you understand each other's point of view, both of you will end up with a much richer common point of view. Even if you are not able to see each other's point of view, then simply accept the other point of view to be as valid as your own,and move ahead.

The story of "6 Blind Men and the Elephant" illustrates this beautifully.
6 blind men go to a zoo to form an idea of the elephant
One touched the tail and found it similar to a Rope
Second touched the leg and found it similar to a Tree
Third touched the side and found it similar to a Wall
Fourth touched the ear and found it similar to a Fan
Fifth touched the tusk and found it similar to a Spear
Sixth touched the trunk and found it similar to a Snake
The six blind men argued endlessly to support their own point of view but could not reach any conclusion on what an elephant is like

Can you imagine the common point of view that would have emerged if the 6 blind men decided to understand and/or accept each other's point of view?

Allow Yourself to Get Cheated

Stop protecting yourself from family, friends or colleagues.

We spend a lot of energy in protecting ourselves from getting cheated financially or emotionally. We are normally on our guard, and our alert mind is tuned to look out for anything fishy. We feel deep discomfort in the feeling of being cheated.

Most people in your life are not going to cheat you. A few may cheat you slightly. And very rarely will someone cheat you in any significant way. If you are open to being cheated slightly, and are willing to take the risk of being cheated significantly sometime, you can save a lot of energy, be more at peace, and have much better relationships. It’s not worth being careful all the time.

November 23, 2007

What is most precious?

If you were to die tomorrow, which of the following would you like to have at your bedside?

1. Your Bank Statement (s)
2. Your Spouse
3. Your Children
4. Your Car Keys
5. Your Parents
6. Your Laptop
7. Your Friends
8. Your Golf Clubs
9. Your Life Insurance papers
10. Your Driving License

Respect yourself. Respect your words.

If you do not honour your words, no one else would.

Honour your words means treating what you say with respect and putting in sincere effort to achieve what you say. Being a leader would force you to think ahead and create a future. You may create a future that looks difficult. You may make promises that you don't know how to keep. And you may fail. However failure doesn't matter, as long as your intentions were honest and your efforts were sincere.

If you do not honour your words, no one else would. This is probably the most important criteria of being a leader.

Leadership is a way of being

Anyone can choose Leadership as the way of being.

Leaders need not be winners. Winning or losing is the outcome of an attempt. Leaders have higher chance of winning, however winning or losing does not define the leader. Even if India had not gained independence, Gandhi would still have been one of the greatest leaders in history.

Leaders are not always right. There have been some great leaders in history, who were a curse on mankind. They led their followers into killing and looting. They led their followers to even their own deaths.

Leadership is neither a title nor an award. Leadership is a way of being. Leaders are people who honour their word. Who are committed to their cause. Who can generate passion in others for the cause. Who exude trust and confidence through their actions. It is people like these who are given the privilege of being leaders.

November 22, 2007

Impossible is Impossible

The very existance of this universe is so impossible, that nothing is impossible.

Look around you - can you see the birds, the trees, people, water, sky
Read up on astrology - are you aware of the stars, the planets, the galaxies, the milky ways

If all this is possible, then how can anything be impossible?

Cocktail of Emotions

Humans are a confused concoction of mixed emotions

When the going is good, and you are achieving one success after another, you become very positive about the future. Sky is the limit, and the goals that you set are high. With each achievement and success, your goals become even higher. Your achievements always fall short of the goals. You try harder, achieve more and push your goals even higher. This cycle continues till you either burn out or give up. You feel powerful and confident due to all your successes, but you feel frustrated and unsuccessful as you are not able to achieve your high goals.

When things are not so good, and you have not met with much success, you feel low and disappointed. Your expectations are low and you set very low goals for yourself, always fearing the worst. Your achievements are almost always better than the worst possible. And hence there is always a feeling of relief and happiness at each achievement. You do not feel powerful or confident due to lack of major successes, but you feel happy and successful as you are able to achieve all your low goals.

Tired by doing Nothing

We often tire ourselves out through continuous flow of useless thoughts.

Sit comfortably in a quiet place with your eyes closed. Notice the thoughts that are flowing past in your mind. Do not try to block or alter anything. Just sit quietly and observe your thoughts like a third person. Avoid getting judgemental about what you are thinking. Just let the thoughts flow. Do it for as long as you feel comfortable - 2, 5 or even 10 minutes.

While a few of you will notice a peaceful calm mind, the majority would notice completely useless thoughts, memories, concerns, opinions randomly floating through the mind.

Are you surprised at why you feel so exhausted all the time?

Being a Leader is a Privilege

You can be a leader only when others grant you this privilege.

You are a leader when there are people who;
trust you,
get inspired by you,
feel positive in your presence,
have faith in what you are saying, and
are willing to take the risk of accepting your opinions and views

You can, at best, strive to have these qualities. You will become a leader only when others perceive these qualities in you.

November 21, 2007

Feeling Successful

A true and lasting feeling of being successful can only come from acknowledging and respecting your achievements.

However, you can easily fool yourself in feeling successful by simply comparing yourself to less successful people with similar background as yours.

Similarly, you can easily fool yourself in feeling unsuccessful by simply comparing yourself to more successful people with similar background as yours.

Most people fool themselves into feeling unsuccessful.

Success cannot make you feel Successful

Feeling Successful is an emotion that is not really related to Success.

Consider that everyone in this world is running a race. Everyone is somewhere in the race. The beggars and homeless are somewhere towards the end, whereas the likes of Bill Gates and Ophra Winfrey are somewhere towards the front. You are also somewhere in the race, running and trying to move ahead of those in front of you.

Also, consider that everyone is suffering from myopia. Therefore, no matter where you are in the race, you can only see 5 people ahead of you and 5 people behind you. A small shop owner somewhere in the line can only see and compare with similar 5 people ahead, and 5 people behind. This shop owner cannot even see Bill Gates or Ophra Winfrey. If the shop owner moves ahead, he would have a different set of 5 people ahead and 5 people behind to compare with. Similarly, a multi-millionaire somewhere in the race can see and compare himself only with 5 similar multi-millionaires ahead and 5 behind.

People continuously move ahead or behind in the race. Their position keeps changing with successes and failures in their own lives and in the lives of others. However, no matter where they are, their position remains the same from their own perspective. There are always 5 more successful people ahead, and 5 less successful people behind.

Satisfaction is in your Imagination

Extrapolating further from Luck is Relative Part 1 & 2

Satisfaction felt from any event does not depend on the actual event at all. It depends solely on how the actual event was, as compared to the expected event. Expectation is often a result of imagination. Thus,

Your satisfaction from any event depends on the actual event, only as compared to your imagined event

You feel happy if you are able to catch a flight that you expected to miss. (Ref. Are you Happy when you should be Sad?) Catching the flight has nothing to do with your happiness. You wouldn't have given it a second thought if you had reached the airport comfortably before time.

You feel sad if you have to travel in economy section when you expected to travel in Business Section. (Ref. Are you Sad when you should be happy) You wouldn't have thought twice about travelling in the economy section, had the attendant not created the expectation of your getting upgraded to the Business Section.

The same event can make you feel satisfied or dissatisfied based on what you were expecting.

November 20, 2007

How to be Successful?

To be Successful, you need to acknowledge and respect your achievements.

Success is the achievement of something consciously attempted.

There are many things that we attempt in life, like, trying to control our hand movements as an infant. Each achievement, however big or small is success. At any point in life, there are many things that we have achieved (Successful), and there are many things that we have not achieved (Unsuccessful).

Most of us normally feel unsuccessful, since we are tuned to focus only on what we have not achieved (Do Achievements make you Happy?). To us Success is a moving target, because with each achievement our focus shifts to the next desired achievement.

Success is relative. We feel someone else is successful if he/she has achieved what we have not achieved. However that someone else also feels unsuccessful, since there are things that he has not achieved, and others have achieved.

Success is a feeling, emotion or a state of mind, similar to happiness. You can feel successful at any point in life if you are willing to acknowledge what you have achieved. All of us have made significant achievements in life. We simply refuse to acknowledge them.

Do Achievements make you Happy?

Most for us are tuned to ignore whatever we have achieved and to feel unhappy about whatever we have not achieved.

In the last stage of Miss Universe beauty pageant there are three finalists left on stage. The judges announce the name of the Second Runner-up. Now there are two finalists left, one of them would be crowned Miss Universe. The judges announce the name of the First Runner-up. Now there is only one finalist remaining, and she is crowned Miss Universe.

While walking away from the stage should the First Runner-up feel Happy or Sad?

Surprisingly most people tell me that she should be feeling sad at losing the crown. But shouldn't she be feeling happy for being the second most beautiful woman in the Universe?

Luck is Relative - Part 2

Click here to read Luck is Relative - Part 1

Are you sad when you should be happy?

Consider that while checking in for your flight, you are informed that due to some system malfunction they may upgrade you to Business Class, at no extra cost. You are also given access to the Luxurious Business Lounge while waiting for your flight.

When boarding, you are ready to walk into the business section, when the attendant directs you to your economy section seat, informing you that the malfunction has been corrected. That's lousy luck. You could have been sitting in the business class. How unlucky.

Think again...

You got to wait for your flight in the luxurious business lounge instead of the common area. Everything else remained the same --- and you think you are unlucky?

November 19, 2007

The Truth about Truth

Truth is one of the many acceptable perceptions of Reality. Truth is often mistaken as Reality. Reality is unknown.

There was a time when everyone believed that the Earth is round, and the Sun and the Moon go around the Earth. This Truth was the perception of reality at that time. Only a madman could say that the Earth is round and it rotates like a top and goes around the sun. It took many great thinkers and scientists many years to change the perception and make everyone believe that the Earth is round and goes around the Sun. This is the Truth today. However this is not Reality. We have no idea what reality is.

For those who are not convinced, allow me to offer another perspective of Reality - “The Earth is stationary and is at the centre of the Universe. Everything else, including the Sun, the moon, all stars, galaxies etc. go around the Earth.” I challenge you to prove that my statement is not true.

Power to Create...

Could the prehistoric human ever foresee that their persistent efforts at improving life, by continuously improving their hunting stones, would one day create New York !!!

Even without being consciously aware, each one of us plays an important role in the future that is getting created. I welcome everyone to create a future that empowers humanity.

Luck is Relative - Part 1

Are you Happy when you should be Sad?

Consider that your cab breaks down on the way to the airport. You have to catch an important international flight in 30 minutes. You are truly stuck as no replacement cab can reach you before 2 hours. Walking down to the airport (1 KM away) seems to be the only option. So you try and make it on foot, lugging your suitcase and hand baggage. You try your best, but by the time you reach the airport, it is already 10 minutes late. Feeling very upset and tired, you make your way to the airlines authorities to find out about the next available flight that day, if any.

And voila, they tell you that your flight was delayed due to some technical snag, and you still have 15 mins to check in, so rush.... You move fast, all tiredness disappears, you complete the check in formalities, reach the aircraft and sink in your seat, tired but happy, thanking your lucky stars.

Lucky and happy, aren't you? Your good luck saved your day.

Think again.

Your cab broke down, you had to lug your suitcase for a KM and your flight got delayed --- and you still think you are lucky?

Click here to read Luck is Relative - Part 2

November 16, 2007

Design the Future you live into

At each moment in life, there is a PAST (that was) and there is a FUTURE (that can be). You are free to choose your being in PRESENT based on the past (that was), or the future (that can be).

Your being in Present based on the Past (that was), will ensure that your Future would be a continuation of the Past.

Your being in Present based on the Future (that can be), will ensure that your Future would be as designed by you, unconstrained by the Past.

November 15, 2007

Surviving Tough Times

"Tough Times Never Last, but Tough People Do!"

This is a book authored by Robert Schuller. I haven't read the book, but this title is what keeps me going whenever I am passing through rough patches in my life.

November 8, 2007

What is the Best Gift?

Listening Sincerely.

Listening sincerely is the best gift you can give anyone.... your spouse, kids, parents, family, boss, colleagues, friends etc.

How to improve Communication dramatically?

Stop Speaking. Start Listening.

Don't just 'lend an ear'. Try to really understand what the other person is saying. Try to see the other person's point of view. Speak only after the other person has been quite for at least 10 seconds.

Strong Belief is the Key to Success

Only if you truly believe that you can learn cycling, will you get up after each fall and persist till you are able to cycle...

November 6, 2007

Why Kids Learn Faster...

Simply because Kids look at entry barriers as an interesting challenge....whereas, grownups look at them as pain.

So next time something appears difficult, check your interest levels.

Entry Barriers to Anything New

For most of us "lack of habit" is the biggest entry barrier to adoption of anything new. However, the 'habit' can only be formed by adoption and practice. Clearly there is no alternative but to go through the pain of crossing the entry barrier.

Recall the effort required to learning cycling, swimming, driving, typing.... how much effort does it take now?

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