Tuesday, 22 September 2015

The "Why" Trap !

“Why does this happen to me always ?
Why am I singled out everytime ?
Why did he/ she do that to me ?
Why did he/ she say that to me ?
Why did he/ she/ they treat me like that ?
Why don’t I get what I deserve ?

Why do I have to struggle for everything in life ?"

If you relate to any of the above statements, it’s clearly an indication that you have fallen prey to the “Why” Trap – a trap that leaves you with no option but to question every “not so favourable” thing that happens in your life. This leaves you with no energy and enthusiasm to move forward and enjoy life. This “stuck” condition can have dire consequences on our mental and physical well-being as it manifests negativity in us by generating feelings of sadness, depression and anger. These feelings make us feel “victimized” and start the downward spiral resulting in low self-esteem and loss of self-confidence.

The sooner we realize the “Why” syndrome in us, the better prepared we can be to check it becoming an epidemic and engulfing our personality and well-being (physical, mental and emotional). Some of the ways to move out of “Why” trap are as mentioned below :
  • ·         Accepting life as it (status quo) and “experiencing” it rather than “judging” it – As life unfolds it brings along “surprises”  and “shocks” both and we cannot be always prepared for what life brings to us. At times we are left wondering as to what struck us and are unable to cope with what happens. The mere realization that life is unpredictable and would unfold as it has to will help us a deal in building more acceptance towards what happens and being more patient towards letting it happen. 
  • ·         Replace “victimized” feeling with the power to choose your “response” to various difficult situations – The fact that we do not have much control over most situations that occur in our life leaves us feeling like a “victim” and defensive in our approach. This can be easily counteracted with the mere realization that all of us have been endowed with the power to choose our own response to situation and we can choose how we would like to feel (sad or glad) based on how we respond to the situation. A response of positively reacting to situation could help open up many more opportunities for us to grow and move forward.
  • ·         Focusing on “Action” as action generates solutions – Given that the “Why” syndrome leaves us “stuck”, so it becomes imperative that we resort to taking “actions”, even though it could be some baby steps/ micro steps to be still in motion and on the road to growth.
  • ·         Focus on “Self” for your capabilities – The “Why” syndrome results in low self-esteem which leads us to focus on our weaknesses and incapabilities as we are filled with self doubt. If we start focusing on our strengths and past successes, it will provide us with the right impetus to break the “Why” trap and move ahead positively and progressively. 
  • ·         Replace “Why” mindset with “How” and “When” – To move out of the stuck state that “Why” syndrome lands us in it’s imperative to change the mindset to a more active state. A mindset change to “How” and “When” helps bring in action and purpose in our approach. The focus shifts to solutions and goals.

So, get started now and turn your life around from “Why” to “Wow” !

N.B. - The above post is inspired by article from Lauren E. Miller

Thursday, 6 August 2015

The Complicated World of Emotions !

In this article I am using few key learnings from the movie “Inside Out” to share about the complicated world of Emotions.

The world of emotions is very delicate but quite complicated. It can capsize our lives if not catered to appropriately at its different stages through sufficient awareness and proper management. All said and done, there’s no escape from emotions – we would have to undergo them (at any cost) as they occur (and they occur all the time) and the best we can do is to gather an understanding of how they work inside us. This understanding would help us act in accordance with the productive/ constructive outcomes that we may envisage or hope for in these emotional  turbulence.

The movie “Inside Out” is an excellent depiction of how emotions work in us. From the plenty of learnings that I derived from the movie, I am sharing here few of those key learnings

·    Negative Emotions create a dominoes effect if fostered. One negative emotion sets in motion a multitude of similar ones and gives rise to a whole bunch of negative emotions ready to take control of our mind and body. This results in breaking of all the castles (family, friends, relationships, etc.) that we hold dear in our life. To save us from the emotional disturbance that may occur and leave us mentally and physically crippled (inactive), we need to rein-in the horses of negative emotions by not feeding  them with more or allowing them to grow in magnitude so that they do not set in a chain reaction which will be harmful for us.  The mantra for diminishing Negative Emotions is “Make it as small as possible”.

·   Positive Emotions breed slow initially when we have been hit by a spate of negative emotions but once positive emotions set in we need to reinforce them regularly with more supplementary and complementary pieces/ portions. These emotions need to be sustained with daily doses of positivity (thoughts and actions) whether big or small to avoid negative emotions taking control over us.  The best way to break the  shackles of negative emotions is through a  lockpin of strong positive mind-body combination. The mantra for Positive Emotions is “Make it as big as possible” because accentuating the positive help build strong defense mechanism against negative emotions

· Communication with others at an Emotional Level – Every human is an embodiment of emotions that we undergo regularly. So, the best form of communication is to connect with other at an emotional level.  Getting adept at understanding emotions helps us gauge the emotional state of the other person in that particular situation/ circumstance  and provide us with an opportunity to make the interaction positive, constructive and productive.

Let‘s be emotionally healthy through better awareness of their impact on us so that emotions do not act as a deterrent towards our living a happy and satisfied life !

Say "Yes" to Life !

Life’s a matter of choice and we make a choice daily when we wake up –either to perceive life as an opportunity not to be missed and to be lived fully and completely or to let life drift past us without a whisper. Life is all about growing, moving forward, becoming our best and making a difference in the world.

Don’t wait for Life to Happen to you, Say “YES” to the following and Make Life Happen !

Positivity – Positivity in thoughts and actions spur an optimistic and healthy outlook towards 
life and this enables us to get the best out of any difficult situation, circumstance or person by equipping us with an attitude to turn negative into positive, convert challenges into opportunities, perceive solutions instead of problems, transform adversity into advantage. Just remember “Every cloud has a silver lining” and say “YES” to Positivity.

Action – As the famous American businessman Arnold Glasow said “An idea not coupled with action will never get any bigger than the brain cell it occupied” which clearly suggests that Action is the key to achievement. We need to take the first step to move from “Ideation to Execution” and then keep taking small steps to get us closer to our defined goals. Without action, our dreams remain unfulfilled wishes. So, say “YES” to Action today !

Goal – “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there” said Lewis Carroll, the famous English author. The quote so clearly underlines the importance of goals in our lives. Life is a journey and goal is the destination that gives direction to our actions. A “goal-less” life is a wastage of our talent, potential and energy. So, let our life not be like a rudderless boat but be purposeful with the presence of realistic, achievable and time-specific goals in our lives. So, say “YES “ to Goals and be and Achiever !

Dreams – To achieve Big in life, one needs to dream and dream BIG. Dreams are the thoughts that we hold in our subconscious mind and most of the times these thoughts are our aspirations in life. To make our aspirations a reality, the simplest formula is – “Dream it, Believe it, Achieve it”.  As Ralph Waldo Emerson, the American poet puts “Dare to live the life you have dreamed for yourself. Go forward and make your dreams come true” which implies that we should say “YES” to Dreams and put in the necessary effort to make it a reality !

Focus –  Being focused is the mantra to succeed in this age of distraction, mutli-tasking and information overload. Learning the art of filtering out the trivial and attending to what matters most would pave the way for a more abundant and productive life. So, say “YES” to Focus !

Above all, learn to say “YES” to “yourself” as there lies all the resources to make Life Happen !

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

What's Filling Your Life's Platter - Buffet or A-la-Carte' ?

Do you find yourself doing/ attempting “too much” but still accomplishing “too little” or ”nothing” in life ? 

If it’s so, then its time we review what’s filling our life’s platter !

This is an age of paradox where we get bombarded with a huge amount of information in such a little span of time and where every few days a new distraction gets developed (created) to add to the existing huge list of items/ tasks already vying for our attention (limited). The information overload and the shrinking attention-span negatively impacts our productivity and success and this presents a Catch 22 situation for us !  

The question to ask ourself in such a situation is what we are filling our life’s platter with, buffet or a-la-carte’ ?

Let’s see what each of the entails

·         Buffet – The items/ tasks/ things that life people, situations and circumstances throw at us and we are forced to pick up only from what is laid for us. We definitely have a choice here but only from what is offered to us. The Buffet would comprise of things that we could do, it may also be things that we first think of or things to get us through the day and life ultimately. The Buffet menu may not lead us to where we want to reach but only to where we get “led”. The options here maybe unlimited but are the ones that “limits us”.

·         A-la-carte’ – This presents us with the power of choice and control both. Here we select things that matter most to us, things we should do, things that prepare us for life to meet  myriad challenges that life may throw at us. The A-la-carte’s “leads” us to our chosen destination and set us on path of success. The options here maybe limited but that’s exactly what prompts us to make a judicious choice and provides us with “unlimited” opportunities to create our best possible life. 

So, choice is ours about which type we want to be – the Buffet type where we get stuck with unwanted trivials that may lead us somewhere but not where we want to go or the A-la-carte’ type focusing on what we want in life and “leading” ourself on the path of growth and accomplishment.

So, choose wisely !

Monday, 20 July 2015

The Essence of Life Coaching !

Succintly put, Life Coaching is all about empowering and enabling individuals to discover themselves and achieve their best in whatever they set out for. The essence of Life Coaching is so beautifully captured in the following quote by the Leadership Gure, John C. Maxwell where he says

 “ We must answer 3 questions in life

 What do we want ?
 Why do we want it ?
 How badly do we want it ?”

The co-creative and collaborative nature of the coaching process aims to deliver answers to all the above 3 for the individual being coached (coachee). Let’s see how ?

What do we want ?  - Answering this question leads us to the discovery of our “passion” in life, the thing we yearn to do and achieve. This further leads to the identification and establishment of appropriate goals for out life.

Why do we want it ? – Answering this triggers personal insight which helps twofold – 1. Bring more clarity and provide proper direction and 2. Reiterates the realistic need to establish goals.

How badly we want it ? - Answering this helps in
·   Prioritizing goals by revisiting our wheel of life and identifying the sphere (work, home, health, relationship, finance, etc.)  needing our most attention and focus to bring in the desired balance in life.  

·  Putting timelines to our goals and making them achievable  

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Taming Your "Monkey Mind" !

Human mind is very complicated- bombarded with about 100,000 thoughts per day and 7 times more stimulation than our parents/ grandparents. It is very susceptible to influences of all sorts coming from information overload, work pressures, meetings, deadlines, and many more. All this leaves the mind cluttered and confused. This cluttered mind is what the Buddhist term as “Monkey mind”,  a mind in chaos and commotion – hyperactive, restless, jumping, screeching, hopping  and shouting like a monkey. The cluttered mind is full of monkeys of all kinds – worry, stress, anxiety, procrastination,  phobia and any other negative thought or feeling . The monkey  mind keeps moving from one thought to another and the outcome is a life full of distractions, anxieties, worries, stress. The mental chatter the monkey mind engages in fills saps us of all energy, positivity, attention and leaves us high and dry.

When we resist or fight, we make the “monkey mind” more powerful, painful and in control of us. The best strategy to counter the “monkey mind” is
  • ·         To treat it just as a “state”
  • ·         To become more aware of it
  • ·         To withdraw from it
  • ·         Just observe it and not judge

All that we require to attain a balanced life is harmony between mind and body which can be attained by effectively taming the “monkey mind”. Some of the techniques that we could use are  

·         Yoga – Practicising yoga helps build the perfect mind-body connection through various physical movements or postures. It helps bring in more discipline in our mind and an ability to establish mind-body harmony.      

·         Act and not React – Its easy to get swayed by the situation and immediately react to it leading to dire consequences. Instead, whenever faced with a tricky situation, analyze what outcome  you seek from it and then act accordingly.   

·         Meditation  - Meditation of any kind if done properly is useful as it helps the practitioner build up focus and concentration. Sitting quietly for mediation brings peace and calmness.

·         Mindfulness – Just “being in the moment” without any linkage to past or future would help the practitioner detach with thoughts of what happened or what might happen and enjoy the present.

·         Breathing – Breathing helps shifts your focus internally and connect to your inner self. This helps build up the necessary awareness, resilience and calmness to tame the monkey mind.

·         Affirmation – Giving oneself doses of positive and uplifting affirmation (in direct contrast to the various monkeys in our mind) would help build the necessary strength to keep moving forward with confidence and strength.   

·         Mantras – These act as “anchors” of our strength and their invocation give us the desired power to cope up with the monkey mind. The key here is to pick up the appropriate mantra, have faith in the power of every word contained therein and recite it.   

·         Praying – This is another form of “faith” where belief in a figure (deity, god or idol) gives you the power and strength to counter the monkey mind. Irrespective of the religion you follow, praying gives you immense power to build inner strength and tackle the monkey mind.

·         Hobby – Doing something you enjoy or love helps you relax and view things differently (from new perspectives if needed). A relaxed state of mind is always more effective in dealing with monkey mind.

So, go ahead with the technique of your choice to tame your “Monkey Mind” !

N.B.: Many of the above mentioned techniques may have an overlap with each other. It’s purely for the sake of putting them in readable nuggets that they have been defined as separate techniques. Also, the above techniques have not been described in too much detail for the want of brevity. The reader may do more study and research to understand the techniques in more depth. (as I am myself currently doing for some of them !)     

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Determine Your Fulcrum in Life !

Our life comprises of multiple spheres or compartments  such as Work, Home, Friends, Relationships. Attaining holistic well being is about achieving balance in each of the sphere independently and also striking a balance among multiple spheres. It does not take much to create imbalance in life, just an event or a person but it does take a lot (time, energy and effort) to create the balance again and bring life back on track.  

Attaining a balanced life is about determining the right fulcrum
(support)  to live your life completely . Determining our life’s fulcrum is a matter of choice and largely depends on the type of orientation we carry towards our life.  This orientation is nothing else but our disposition towards life and comprises of our attitudes, feelings and actions that guide our life’s movement, either forward or backward.

The 2 possible choices of fulcrum in our lives are  Negativity and  Positivity. Considering that the essence of life is balance, growth and achievement, let’s explore what each of the 2 choices entails for our life.

·         Negativity – In this case the perception gets shrouded with clouds of doubt and criticism which  breeds feelings of inaction and stagnancy. A negative fulcrum in our life would result in

o   Backward movement
o   Dullness and Lethargy
o   Low Self Confidence
o   Living a Purposeless life
o   Abundance of Stress
o   Seeking excuses for inaction
o   Non-achievement of goals

·         Positivity –  In this the perception is laced with rainbow of clarity and hope which breeds feelings of action and movement. A positive fulcrum in our life would result in

o   Forward movement
o   Excitement
o   High Self Confidence
o   A purposeful life
o   Abundance of good health
o   Seeking opportunities to make things happen
o   Achievement of goals

So, if we want to move ahead in life and be an achiever, let positivity be the fulcrum of our life ! 

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Finding Your Talisman in Life !

Humans never feel satiated with Success, Happiness, Achievement and always want more of it and so the quest to discover our talisman also never ceases because we want more of things we love, enjoy and cherish !

Human history is also replete with instances of many famous people seeking to discover their talisman. Just to mention a couple of them - the Gordion Knot for Alexander, the number 7 or the Swastika symbol for Hitler.

If you believe in talisman then the key to finding your talisman lies in where you look for it. Let’s explore where we can discover out talisman

  •   External/ Outward –  Discovering/ Finding your talisman externally/ outwardly would entail dealing with multitude of factors like circumstances, people, situations, objects, etc. which by their very nature are

o   Dynamic and Temporary
o   Out of our “scope of control” and hence cannot be influenced
o   Susceptible to change but cannot be aligned with our belief/ value system
o   Cannot be trusted or relied upon every time and needs to be revisited again and again

Also, there is a very thin line that differentiate a talisman and superstition
  •        Internal/ Inward – Discovering/ Finding your talisman internally/ inwardly would entail connecting with our values, belief system, purpose, mission, attitude and more which by their very nature are

o   Personal to us and creates our personality ; this personality is what creates our disposition to the world
o   Permanent through practice
o   Within our “scope of control” and can be altered, influenced to enable us prepare better for the challenges
o   Susceptible to change but can always be aligned with our belief/ value system
o   Can be trusted and relied upon always 

So, identifying your talisman internally or inside you would not only help us bring in consistent forward movement in life but also build up an “internal locus of control” which is so essential for everlasting success in life.

Beautiful thoughts by Mahatma Gandhi

So, go ahead and identify your internal talisman – whether your attitude/ belief system/ passion/ … !

N.B. : The example of Alexander and Hitler cited by me in the article above does not mean to suggest looking outward for talisman but purely a case in point to highlight the importance of talisman in our lives. 

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

The Art of Achieving Goals !

GOALS are an integral part of our lives and play a catalyst role in our growth and development. By keeping us focused and directed,  they enable us to move forward towards the objectives set by us.

Nothing more can reiterate the importance of goals in our lives better than the fact that to achieve/ accomplish each of us have at some point or the other set goals for ourselves in different spheres of our life (Work, Home, Relationships, Career, etc.). But here lies the irony – very often the goals  established by us to move forward in life never get achieved. There’s something that ails achieving of goals ! It’s  “the inability to make a transition from goal-setting to goal-getting” .

 Mere planning for something would not ensure achieving the attached outcomes unless there is an execution or action. Likewise in case of goals also, there are steps that would help make a smooth transition from goal-setting to goal-getting. Some of the relevant steps are :

·         Getting  rid of the PLACEBO effect – Placebo plays its part in the goal process. They play an enabling role during the process of setting challenging goals but thereafter Placebo effect could only debilitate goal accomplishment process. It may put us into a false state of achievement which may restrict us from taking appropriate action towards our goals. The sooner we get rid of Placebo effect, the earlier we would start on the process of achieving goals.   

·         Setting Goals that are BIG in terms of

o   being holistic in nature, encompassing all the spheres of our life.

o    challenging but achievable. The goals should make us stretch ourselves and push us to limits but within the range of our available resources.

·         Setting up mini-goals to ensure our progress towards your key goal(s).

·         Aligning Goals with the mission and purpose of our lives to ensure that every action and achievement of ours contributes to our identified purpose for living.

·         Inculcating the habit of writing down goals. This would activate the RAS (Reticular Activating System) which would ensure that our brain start focusing on the goals.

·         Internalising our goals through Creative Imagery. Imagining ourself as having already achieved the goal(s) through all our senses make it appear real to our subconscious which helps in taking positive actions.

·         Reinforcing self with positive affirmations whenever we achieve a mini-goal keep us focused on taking necessary actions for accomplishing major/ BIG goals.