Friday, 16 November 2018

Winning the Game of Life !

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When life hands us disappointment, failure, downturn and like, It's an indication that the time is ripe for some self-reflection and to ask ourself - How well are we playing the game of life and whether we are adequately equipped to play and win in this tricky GAME of life ?

With its uncanny nature and all the idiosyncracies, life always leaves us guessing about what's coming next. The unpredictable and uncertain nature of life never allow us to gain a grip over things and we tend to lack proactivity in addressing the challenges that life throws at us. Amidst all this, life still rolls on and leave us gasping to catch up with its' speed and pace. Though we can never be hundred percent prepared and equipped to deal with the twists and turns in life, but we can still manage to beat life at its' own game if we develop an effective strategy.

The strategy to win is plain and simple - incorporate in our repertoire of daily living, the elements of clarity, purpose and action which can effectively negotiate the after effects of unpredictability and uncertainty that life regularly poke us with.

Decode the acronym GAME, and voila, we arrive at 4 key elements for our survival kit in this VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) impacted world. Let's find out what these 4 elements are :
  • G for GOALS - Who wants to keep moving in life without reaching anywhere ? With the exception of a rocking chair (pun intended), I am sure none us wants to live like that - living in a haze of confusion and be lost in our life, achieving and accomplishing nothing. This is where GOALS play the saviour for us by providing the much needed clarity, both in terms of where we are headed and where we intend to reach. Goals bring purpose to our life and act as a springboard to propel us to greater heights of success. Establishing goals are mandatory for us if we want to succeed and accomplish our dreams in life. Goals work as milestones and checkposts, keeping us focused on the way forward. A life without goals is like a meaningless meandering that we engage in but with goals, it becomes a purposeful quest for bringing meaning to our life.
  • A for ATTITUDE - To win the GAME of life, it's important to understand how we approach it - either we can see opportunity in every challenge and make the most of life or see challenge in every opportunity and forever be stuck in life. To win the game of life, it's essential to carry an attitude of optimism, possibility and action because dark days outnumber the bright ones in life and if we can keep our spirit up during tough times then life is a song and then there's no stopping us. So, let's build an attitude that provides us altitude.
  • M for MOTIVATION - Consistency is the hallmark of a winner. When we talk about the  game of life then progress, even if it is small, holds the key to success. This in turn depends on our type and level of motivation. Motivation is that inner urge which keeps us going towards our goal and more big and distant the goal is, the more the need to build sustained motivation in us. The main aspect of motivation that we need to work upon is not whether we are  motivated or not, because we are always motivated for something but rather about whether we are appropriately motivated, in alignment with our life's purpose and goals. So, if we plan to win the game of life, then we need to develop and sustain motivation that's directed towards our goals in life and not away from them.
  • E for EMOTIONS - Talking about the hyper connected world that we live in today, it is our social identity that's defining our success so building a strong and sustainable relationship with our social connections, networks and groups becomes very crucial. Emotions play a major role in building a long lasting relationship, both with self and others and winning the game of life becomes much easier. Emotions is perhaps the most less understood among the 4 elements being discussed and if we have to thrive on relationships/ connections then we need to start building on our emotional skills. A highly developed emotional skill is all about a better awareness, understanding and application of emotions, in self and others. Once developed, this skill renders us more balanced, in better control and in a better frame of mind to take logical decisions. 

Sunday, 21 October 2018

The Lost Connection

When did we last check the “likes” on your social media posts?
When did we last send/ receive “Add friend/ connection” request?

Most of us, in all probability, would answer “not too long back” to the above 2 questions.

Doesn’t the above clearly highlight our “obsessed” self and also indicates that to create space for ourselves in this digital cosmos we must take an oath of allegiance to “Attention” and “Connection”.  Quite characteristic of this cosmos (digital) is the chaos created by our craving for “popularity” and “likes” in our bid to remain visible and relevant in the parallel digital social world.     

Akin to the hyperconnected nature of the digitally connected world (Internet), our lives also, in this digital world, thrive on the ability to network so as to derive the best from this gigantic superhighway of (social) communication. The hyperconnected world characterised by WWW, Internet and various Social platforms has broken barriers of communication to such an extent that it just takes 3-4 hops to establish any new connection. Somewhere, our existence and relevance also, now seems to be substantiated only by the number of connections we have. “Recommendations and Referrals” has become the new currency of professional success and CNF (Connections, Networks and Friends) is assumed to be the panacea for all that we seek during our existence in this digital world.

But in all this hype about more connections, expanded network and more friends, we seem to have let go of the most important connection i.e.  the connection with the self. Agreed, the CNF (Connections, Networks and Friends) help us achieve and accomplish a lot but at what cost? The price we pay is huge, in terms of compromising on our most robust support system - our “inner self”. No doubt, man is a social animal and needs to connect with others for survival, but hasn’t this over-reliance and dependence on others gone too far under the garb of being trendy and to align with the needs of social platforms?  For few, it provides an opportunity to mask their inefficiencies, incompetencies and thrive solely on their skill of “networking” whereas for others, the competent ones, it lands them into this so called “popularity” rat race, where the focus is on maximising the likes, and incrementing the CNF (Connections, Network and Friends) at the fastest possible pace. A closer look at the downside and we can realise the intensity of the impact this over-reliance has on our personality by way of severely denting our self-esteem/ self-worth and also derailing us from our quest to evolve and grow, just to mention the key ones.

Isn’t it time to ponder whether disconnecting with the self is a reasonable price to pay for the paradox we are living, where what we are seeking is exactly what we are found wanting in ! The more attention we seek through CNF (Connections, Network and Friends), the less attentive we tend to be becoming; the more connections we are adding, the less connected we tend to be becoming. The need, at this point, clearly is not to get lost in this illusionary world of virtual existence where the crisis of losing our real identity looms large but to connect with our inner self, where the real world resides. This connection with the self may definitely turn out as panacea to the ills and after effects of digitally obsesses living and we can’t afford to let go of this crucial “self-connection” if we plan to smoothly surf this gigantic superhighway of information and connection.

The following few steps could easily help us establish and sustain the “self-connection”

·       Building regular self-time in our routine to focus on self-reflection

·       Practising mediation, mindfulness or any other similar practice to develop acceptance, acknowledgement and observation

·       Observing digital downtime to experience living in the “real world”

·       Replacing digital usage time with any hobby that helps build self-esteem and self-confidence

·       Practising an agenda driven digital consumption to avoid digital overuse

·       Practising independent decision making wherever possible to develop self-reliance and self-efficacy

·       Practising Minimalism and Essentialism to help develop the habit of “living with less”

Let's realise the potential that lie within us and harness the power of self-connection to beat the blues of obsession filled digital living ! 

Monday, 3 September 2018

Seek the "Bright Spot" in Life !

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Do you remember the biggest turnaround of your life ? - That instance when you came out triumph even though the odds were stacked against you and everything was going amiss around you.

Ever wondered how you managed to turn it around in your favour ? What triggered the turnaround, that too at a time when you had lost all hope ?
You may reflect and come out with plenty of reasons but the most crucial would be how it all started - that mind shift which occurred that propelled you to look at the situation with a more positive intent and perspective. Amidst all the turbulence and tribulations, the moment you started seeking the "bright spot" is when the change started to happen for you. And this change is what resulted in turning your life around for better.

Whether the going is smooth or rough, there are 2 key things about life that we always need to remember -

1. Life is unpredictable and will always keep springing surprises and
2. The basic nature of life is "forward".

Given the above understanding about life, the only way to deal with the vagaries of life and keep momentum intact in life is to always look for the "bright spot", even in the worst of the scenarios. Whether you call it "being optimistic" or something else, all that matters is not to get bogged down by unfavourable situations and go into a "freeze" mode, but to figure out something positive and worthwhile in every adversity and keep growing in life.

The phrase "Every cloud has a silver lining" is just so apt to explain seeking the "bright spot". There's always something good you can find in any situation, something that cheers you up and tells you that
  • Life is not about any one event or incident but rather about entirety; the realisation that life is a composition of all the events and incidents that have occurred in your life till now 
  • Life is not about the experience per se but about the learning it provides to help you become much wiser for future
  • Life is not about failure but about the feedback that every failure provides so that the mistakes are not repeated
Seeking the "bright spot" becomes a challenge if you start observing things in the shorter context of what is happening. The best way to overcome this challenge is to start observing things in the larger context of how less worse (if things are dismally bad) or better you could make it because the "whole is greater than the sum of its parts". So, start finding that "bright spot" that could turn it around for you - maybe there's a learning you could derive, maybe there's a bigger damage you could prevent, maybe there's a change of course you can identify, maybe there's some other realisation that could dawn on you.

Once you have sought the "bright spot" then you can be rest assured that life will only be as bad as you would allow it to be because you would have then seized the control of your life also. So, never get impacted by the bad things that may occur in your life at times (and may get even worse) because you still hold the control for turning the tide in your favour.

Live life to the fullest and next time you find yourself in a tight spot, just seek the "bright spot" and bring about the desired turnaround in your life. You can always create your best possible life if you don't sweat about the small stuff and just focus on the beauty of making your life much more worthwhile !    

Monday, 30 July 2018

What's Your Doorway To Life ?

Haven't we been spectators to our own life many a times when it spirals downwards, roller coasting downhill ? Those days when everything appears challenging and things just seem to go from bad to worse, when reaction overtakes the response and the external forces appear too many to handle and  then we assume that the only option left with us is to "confront" and the only thought that crosses our mind is to wait for things to get better (only if they will).

The events in life are never in our control and they may occur anytime, anywhere and in any form. Quite contrary to the events in out life and much against the popular belief, the outcome of any event is never pre-defined and is always under our control. Just a case in point - consider the day that starts off with a minor irritation but ends up with an exhibition of full blown anger. Few things that may still have gone in our favour also go the other way. Life seems like slipping away from our hold/ grip and and we are left in the lurch wondering what went wrong. The blame gets passed on to the events that occurred which catapulted a manageable day into an unmanageable one. 

All this while when the reasons were being sought to pass on the blame, a little introspection could have worked wonder. A little thought to the following could have brought back the control of the day and of life. 

Ask yourself - What's controlling my life and what's determining the outcomes in my life ?

And when we ask yourself the above, let's not settle for the most convenient and easy answer which is "external events". If that would have been the correct answer, then just about everyone would have been struggling to control/ manage their life. How is it, then, that so many still seize control of their life when they sense it slipping away ?  

The mantra is quite simple - "Identify your doorway to life !", which means finding out through what lens do we view life. Simply put, the doorway defines our attitude to life and the values/ philosophy we live by. Though the day may not begin as per our expectations many a times and we may face unfavourable situations, events or circumstances but still we can end our day well if our doorway is of positivity, hope, trust, faith, teamwork, and anything that makes our life better in some way. 

Getting perturbed by unfavourable events is easy and this can play spoiler in our unless we build a doorway on the foundation of trust and confidence - trust that things may seem bad right now but will surely get better in future, so let me focus on what this experience has to teach me; confidence in self that I possess the requisite capability and capacity to turn it around by holding onto enabling and empowering positive thoughts and actions.  

Always remember that we can seize the control of our life whenever we want to and nothing external can determine the outcome in my life except myself. Once I imbibe this, all I need to do is to build a doorway that's always empowering for me, helping me to accomplish more and evolve.

So, let's do whatever it takes to build a doorway that will even inspire the Universe to conspire and help us attract peace, love, harmony , success and happiness in our life !

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

When Life Hits An Impasse !

When our life is brought to a screeching halt and we are thrown in a tizzy, all we wonder is "What now?" . What had so far been a smooth cruise now appears to be a tricky and bumpy ride. Looking further ahead, we see our life engulfed in a cloud of confusion and chaos. This is when the reality hits us that our life has hit an impasse !

The "cul-de-sac" that stares at us in our face and leave us completely blank is in fact a manifestation of our ill-conceived goals and ill-directed actions. Now, when all our goals seem out of sight no clarity of direction, the only way forward is to do course correction.

Hitting a dead-end in life is not the end of the road for us. A little bit of self-probing and self-reflection could help us get our life back on track again. This is the right time to dig deep and identify what's holding us back.

The following could help us explore the root cause:
  • Do i feel motivated (at this moment) to pursue the goal ?
  • Am i pursuing my existing goals of my own free will ?
  • Do i feel overwhelmed/ underwhelmed with my goal(s) ?
  • Do i need to rework on my goals - maybe establish a different goal altogether or rework on the existing one ?
  • Do i need to establish few mini-goals that will help me be motivated ?
  • Are my action items in place ?
  • Have i set my priorities right ?
  • Have i built the necessary discipline in my daily routine for the tasks that needs to be executed? 
  • Have i built a closure (timeline/ deadline) for the tasks identified by me? 
  • Have i identified all the available options ?
  • Do i have a mechanism in place for feedback ?

Pondering over the above questions could help us pin point where exactly the problem lies - whether in our goals, action items or time. Once the root cause is identified then its not difficult to do the necessary course correction and go beyond the impasse !

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Brace Yourself For CHANGE !

The mere thought or mention of the word CHANGE instils in us a feeling of discomfort, if not anything more. Remember the times when CHANGE caught us unaware and landed us in a "No- Man's Land" where all we did was to rue the moment when we resisted the first step towards a better
future and life. The many missed opportunities and chances stand as a testimony to our reluctance or inability to change.

We grow up hearing that "Change is inevitable" but still we do not brace ourselves for it. The sooner we realise that the only thing constant is Change and there's no escape from it, the better equipped we will be to welcome the Change when it arrives in our life!

Bracing ourselves for any sort of Change is all about implementing the following "4W Model" where each "W" deals with an essential aspect of Change.

Let's understand what each "W" stands for

  • WHY - To embrace any new situation, scenario or circumstance, we first need to be convinced about it. This "W" is all about establishing and becoming aware of the need to change. This awareness then sets the right context for us to take future actions which are well aligned. We become ready to adapt to change the moment we realise its benefits in terms of our growth and evolution.  
  • WHAT - After establishing "Why", this "W (What)" is about getting specific in terms of what transformation or transition needs to happen to bring about the desired best/ better state in us. Being specific helps in gaining better clarity and the details help us identify clear and precise steps for initiating and achieving the change. Identifying whether a change in skill, knowledge or attitude is required help us complete the "What" component of change.
  • WHERE -Closely linked to "What", this "W (Where)" is about identifying the area(s) of our life where Change needs to be brought in. A case in point is our constant struggle to achieve work-life balance. Our quest for holistic wellness depends a lot on our ability to select the area (Home, Office, Health, Relationships, Spirituality, etc.)  that needs to be prioritised for action.  One of the key reason for Work-Life imbalance is our failure to pinpoint the area (Home, Office, Health, Relationships, Spiritual, etc.) that needs to be prioritised and focused upon. Once the "Where" is identified, then taking specific actions become easier and smoother.
  • WHEN -To ensure that we do not "miss the bus"  to a better life, it's important to put a timeframe to our actions towards adapting the change. Defining a time limit based on appropriate parameters help ensure that we not only stay relevant but are also ready to move to the next stage of change, as and when it arrives. As with everything else, a closure is essential to let the change happen seamlessly.
   So, embrace Change without any Fear and Success will always be Near! 

Monday, 26 February 2018

Activate the GPS of your Life now !


In this world where we constantly strive to reach somewhere all the time, can we imagine using our smartphones with the GPS (Global Positioning System) turned off ? Wouldn't that put us out of balance, out of focus and leave us in a state of commotion ?

The VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) world that we live in expects us to be always connected with everything around us so that we are in sync with the changing world, if we need to keep pace with the things. Our digital existence and ultra reliance on technology is made possible because of GPS acting as our guidance system and helping us to reach where we intend to. And if the GPS turned on, there is very little possibility of us losing our way or failing to reach our desired destination.

But how about our life ? Do we always reach where we intend to ? Do we always find our way when we get lost ? The fact is that, life always presents us with moments that may make us feel overwhelmed, lost, confused or completely clueless about ourselves. A cloud of obscurity engulfs our goals and destination and we just wander through life aimlessly, without a definite purpose. It is during these moments only that we need to take stock of things and not let life pass by us with just a whimper.

Wouldn't it help immensely to have a GPS for Life that could start from where we are and then guide us to where we intend to go ! Further, what should this particular GPS (of our Life) comprise of to help us move beyond the crossroads that we find ourselves staring at many a times in our life. The expectation from this GPS is simple - to lead us into light where we have a clarity of purpose, direction and action. A timely activation of this GPS could then provide the control back in our hands. So, building a GPS that acts as a guidance system for our life need to possess the following three key elements

  • G for GOALS - Moving ahead in life is all about gaining clarity of destination and direction and well established goals play a pivotal role in brining this clarity. Goals aligned with our passion breeds purpose in our existence and builds in us the needed inspiration and motivation to achieve our goals.
  • P for PROBLEMS - Anticipating problems that we may encounter on path to our goals helps us adopt a proactive approach. It prompts us to do a self-analysis in terms of the resources we currently possess and also those we may require in future to be able to solve the problems that may act as barriers enroute our goals. These resources refer to the appropriate skills and competencies relevant to the context.
  • S for SOLUTIONS - This component is all about displaying a positive and progressive mindset. When the going is tough or when we feel overwhelmed with the goal/ situation, all we need to do is to keep going. Focusing on solutions will keep us motivated to take small steps which will take us closer to our goals. 

So, wherever you find yourself at this point in time, just activate the GPS (Goals-Problems-Solutions) of life and reach where you always yearned to !