Here are hints that you are careless or downright foolish:
- Do you take a call while you are talking with someone?
- Do you talk over the cell phone while driving?
- Do you text message while driving?
- Do you check your email while talking to someone over the cell phone?
- Do you stop a presentation and take a call?
- Do you visit someone and start talking over the cell phone with another?
- Do you forget to return a call?
- Do you call someone up and start speaking without checking whether he or she is free to talk to you?
- Do you take a call in a flight when you are not supposed to, despite the warning of the air hostess?
- Do you forget to keep your cell phone on a silent mode in a meeting?
- Do you forget to turn off the silent mode of your cell phone and miss calls?
- Do you keep the cell phone in some corner of your house on a holiday and not hear it ring, thus missing calls?
Why does this happen, often, to you? If you have a chronic problem, days go by and weeks go by without accomplishing much.
Here are some of the major reasons you get distracted, again and again:
- No vision of the future
- No clear goals set
- Pleasure centered approach to life
- Harbor a misnomer that self-discipline is bad
- Want to escape from reality
- A strong habit of wasting time
- No demands placed on you by your organization
- No demands placed on you by your family
- A sense of habitual indifference
- A belief that you are very smart and intelligent and can get to the tasks and finish them easily
- Settled for "less" in life
- Stop the source of your distraction-turn off the T.V, disconnect from the internet---
- Spend time to rethink your life
- Set long term exciting goals
- Talk to your spouse
- Take your friend's help
- Read an inspiring book
- Get organized and in control
- Limit your pleasurable activities to a predetermined duration and time
- Start small and conquer
- Set family goals together
- Celebrate small wins when you get back in control
- Set up some productive routines-exercise, meditation, reading---
- Substitute time wasting activities with new important activities
- Review the program you have set for your self every week
- Make course corrections based on the review
You get used to the stress. You get used to missing deadlines. You get used to disappointing people.
Over a period of time this way of life becomes hard wired in to your brain.
You may, well, note these warning signs:
- You have too many things to do and you do not know where to begin
- You are constantly missing appointments
- People keep calling you up to remind things you promised to deliver to them
- Your spouse has given up on you
- Your children do not trust you anymore
- You have come to the point of not caring about the direction your life is taking
- You are aware of several problems-obesity, finance out of control, debts, eating junk food, reading trashy novels, smoking, drinking, forgetting birthdays----and you are doing nothing about them
- Every small setback gives you the power to procrastinate
- You indulge excess in some mindless activity such as internet surfing, video games, chatting, Facebook, watching the same movie again and again---
- You live moment to moment with no planning for future
- You set elaborate plans and never follow them
- Your house is a junk yard
- You have low energy even in the morning
- You overeat
- You have no friends or your friends have abandoned you
- You are on the verge of losing your job
- Your skill sets are all redundant
- You have sunken eyes because of lack of sleep
- Your libido is low
- You constantly fear that things will go wrong because you know deep inside you that you are not well prepared
- You dream of some unrealistic fantasy where you picture yourself very rich and powerful
- You do nothing to realize your dreams
- You have lost touch with your family
- Your children are aping you
- You know deep inside you need to change but you feel helpless
The good news is that the only direction you can move is upwards; Another good news is that you have the choice-either to remain at the bottom or to move upwards.
The journey is tough but the sooner you begin the better it will be for you.
The best way to begin is to take an inventory now or sooner or later.
A good inventory will look like what is given below:
- Spend time with family
- Take spouse for a vacation
- Buy a platinum diamond necklace for your wife
- Loose weight
- Get a promotion
- Change a job
- Start on a path of a new career
It is not bad to get stuck to a routine as long as you have consciously chosen it.
However, most of the routines have been set unconsciously and are dysfunctional in nature.
Examining your routines periodically and weeding them out is a very productive exercise-it has to be done at least once in three months.
What routine are you going to eliminate or modify today?
Are you living a life that is not allowing you to tap your true talents? If your answer is "yes", then you need to take serious action.
How do you know whether you are living a life of mediocrity?
Watch for these signs:
- You are in your current job because of an accident and not because you wanted to be in this job
- You drag yourself to work every day
- You wish it was Friday when it is Monday
- You have absolutely no interest in your job
- You are in the job because of the salary it offers
- You are distracted at work
- You feel exhausted when you return home even though you did not accomplish much during the day
- You are plain bored
- You are constantly seeking joy elsewhere
- Break free-Plan and aget out
- Remain in the job till you retire
They will prevent you from reaching your potential. They will distract you away from your goals and put a strain on your relationships.
Identify them and eliminate them.
All you need to do is look back in time. Make a list of those activities you found thrilling but you have not done them for a long time.
Choose one of them and try it out. You may be surprised that you will find the old thrill coming back. You may also find that there is something new you are experiencing in the activity that you never experienced before.
There are many things in life that we grow out of and there are many things in life we can grow back in.
Here are a few examples:
- Reading fiction
- Reading non fiction
- Playing chess
- Playing old games you where good at ( Please take medical advice before you go back to strenuous games.)
- Long walks
- Playing board games
We live in day in-day out doing the same things, making the same mistakes and vaguely hoping that some day a magic wand will be waived and we will become the kind of person we want to be.
If we really need to change, we then need to do the following things:
- Realize that we cannot change everything together
- Make a list of areas we want to change
- Identify those items on the list that are causing the maximum trouble
- Focus on one or two items and decide to make changes in those arenas
- List all the actions you need to do, in order to reverse the item you have identified and achieve positive change
- Start small
- List the people who can help you to change.
- Focus on getting small wins
- Celebrate when you achieve your milestones
Your subordinate, despite all your attempts to correct him has not responded. Moreover, complaints about him is coming from all sides. You, yourself, find that he is not responding to your requests in various areas.
It is then time to ask him to go. Given below is a check list to consult whether you are doing this in the right manner or not:
- Have you made all attempts to correct him?
- Is firing him a fair option for the company?
- Have you involved your HR department and sounded them in advance?
- Is our boss aware of what you are going to do?
- Are there any legal issues in this action that could back fire?
- Have you tried to make the process as less stressful as possible to you as well as him?
- Have you thought of the workload and how it will be distributed?
- Have you put in place an out placement help(helping him to find another job) by contacting your HR?
- Have you carefully planned what you need to tell him while firing him?
- Do you have contact with a counselling cell of your company or outside which you can recommend for him
- Have you rehearsed what you will tell him?
- Have you blocked sufficient time for him so that you can listen to him in case he wants to talk?
- Clean your house and surroundings
- Offer prayers, do pooja and meditate
- Forgive your enemies
- Eat delicious food-especially sweets
- Burst crackers (fire works)
- Visit relatives and friends
Here are the areas to focus upon and eliminate-inner and outer:
- Negative thoughts that have accumulated
- Bad habits
- Doubts and fears
- Watching negative TV programs
- Surfing Internet sites that are negative
- Relinquishing bad company
- Reading trashy novels
- Unproductive routines
Here are some examples of areas you can neglect:
- Staying fit
- Your financial well being
- Your education/skills enhancement
- Your job
- Your relationships
- Your children
- Your meaning of existence
Once you have done the classification, you may be staring at a long list-"so where do you begin?"
You cannot start working on everything at once.
Use the 80:20 rule.
Only 20% of what is there on the list will give you 80% benefit. Look at the list of what you can do something about and further classify using the 80:20 rule.
Choose 3 items from the 20% list and start working on them.
Your life will change before you even know it.
- Take a result (Example- like being over weight)
- Examine how you see this result
- Examine how you interpret it and link the interpretation to the way you see the problem
- Examine your decisions that flow out of your interpretations
- Examine your actions and how they connect with your decisions
- Examine the results and how they are linked to your actions
- Now, determine the new result you want in life (Example- weight loss of 20 kg)
- Work your way down the cycle
You will be amazed at the results you get in life, if you follow this approach.
- Send an email to yourself about the idea-Gmail is a good storage place
- Talk into a voice recorder-buy a good one that is easy to carry and use
- Talk to your spouse about your idea
- Send a short text message to yourself about the idea
- Carry a small idea note book and jot it down there
How about the dirt and pollution that accumulates in your mind? Do you clean them?
Here are some sources that may dirty and pollute your mind:
- News you read
- Internet surfing
- Books you read
- TV-soap operas
- FM radio
- Some of your friends
- Conversations you overhear
- Movies you watch
- Your own thoughts
I am sure you can come up with a personalized list.
When you make a list like the one above and examine it, you will realize how easily your mind can become greasy, dirty and polluted. It is difficult to function effectively with a greasy and polluted mind- it will slow you down.
Awareness of the dirt accumulation is the first step to cleanliness.
Stay tuned for another post on how to keep your mind clean-spic and span.
Initially, I found the game difficult as I had to master new skills; Game after game, I lost to the opponents; Slowly, I began to improve and win. Initially, they were small wins, but later I started winning tournaments in the video game. I cannot begin to describe the thrill when I finally got to learn the skills to win matches.
Life is exactly like that. I immediately saw video games as medium to teach values such as perseverance, patience, resilience, staying calm even when there is a failure,--- the list can go on.
Video games are a good metaphor to teach children and also adults, wholesome values.
I feel the key is to point out the connection and provide guidance in transferring those values to real life.
Is it a shame to live life in the same manner every day? No! not necessarily, however you may be missing opportunities to have new experiences that you may really enjoy.
How do you get out of this habit?
Here are a few tips:
- Ask your self this question at least once a week to begin with, 'What new experiences can I pursue this coming week?' Friday is a good day to ask this question because you then have a weekend to try it out.
- Be bold
- Seek experiences in areas you would never even dream of.
- Start small
- Have a goal of having a new experience at least twice in a month
- Take the help of others. Do things others are doing that you have never done before
- Hang out with children for new ideas
- Plan together with your spouse and have new experiences together
Try these tips. Your life will never be the same again.
If you are alert you will weed out the routines in your life that are dysfunctional.
Here are some examples of routines that are dysfunctional:
- Reading email through out the day without doing productive work
- Surfing the Internet aimlessly
- Visiting sites that you should not be visiting
- Doing things that are the loudest and the latest
- Water cooler conversations that go on for hours
- Getting through the day without planning
- Doing things just to get by and get through the day
These are just a few examples. You can make your own customized list. I can bet that if you have not weeded out your routines, you will have a long list.
Weed the useless routines that have accumulated, and substitute them with life enriching activities.
Did you get into trouble because of the change in your decision?
It is time to stop this habit. While respecting others point of view is important, you should not forget to respect your own point of view.
Change your decision only if you find others suggestion superior to yours.
However, this evaluation process while changing a decision, is not easy.
Here are a few tips for you:
- Think and weigh
- Check whether the suggestion matches your values
- Clarify all your values as a pre-work or pre-decisions exercise
- Have confidence in your ability to make correct decisions
- Remind yourself always that only you know your entire context and situation
- Look back at your decisions and learn
- Avoid making the same wrong decision again and again
Use these tips and you will breathe easy and live a stress free life.
While we cannot anticipate every surprise that could come to us, we can very well prepare for them. Preparation for a surprise will have to be, more at a generic level unless we can anticipate some specific surprises that could come to us.
Here are some tips:
- Keep fit-exercise daily
- Eat nutritious food
- Continuously nurture your bank balance
- Get yourself multi-skilled
- Have strong relationships-spouse, children---
- Nurture your network
- Anticipate, as much as possible, different scenarios
- Always have contingency plans-plan A, plan B, Plan C---
- Meditate and pray daily
Try them out!
There are a lot of parrots around our house. There are times when they fly into our house through our open window. These birds are fun to watch. They are full of energy, love to fly, hang upside down, and love to play together.
Yesterday, my wife asked me to withdraw some money from the ATM while I was coming home from work. I asked her, "Why should we withdraw money again?" I asked that question because I had sufficient cash in my purse and was wondering why we need to make a trip to the ATM.
However, my wife was upset as the question was filtered through the context of our decision not to overspend!
Since our family resolves conflicts immediately because of openness and transparency, the misunderstanding was resolved.
Is the context in which you are communicating colouring your communication?
Be always aware of the context and its impact on what you say. It can save you from a lot of misunderstanding.
It is time to take action. Depending on the nature of the stuff you want to try out, you will have to decide whether you need a person who can teach you or whether you can learn it yourself.
This is the first decision that will move you to learn and try something out.
It is important that you take that step because you never know there may be a "Picasso" or an "Agatha Christie" waiting to be awakened in you!
This is true for your colleagues, friends, relatives, children and your spouse; This is true even for you!
The need for learning comes from either desire or pain; Both of these are internal processes.
Every desire or pain has to reach a certain threshold before which you can even pay appropriate attention to it.
The great secret is that these threshold levels vary from person to person.
There are people with low threshold levels who take immediate action; There are also people with high threshold levels who wait for, what seems eternity, before they even begin to take notice and act. People with high threshold levels act sometimes too late. They end up missing opportunities to learn and thrive.
Be aware of the threshold levels in you and others. Seize immediate opportunity to learn or teach when you or others cross the threshold levels. Awareness is the key!
What the dentist told me set me thinking deeply. He said," Last time she was scared as she didn't know what will happen. Today she was prepared and so was I."
Most of the time we fear the unknown; We panic and magnify our pain. Moreover, we are that much less prepared to deal with the pain.
Once we have gone that route that causes us pain, we are less afraid, as we are more prepared and hence we hurt much less than the first time.
How about preparing consciously for an anticipated painful experience?
Many a times life brings us face to face with situations and people who bring us pain again and again. The more prepared we are, the less hurt we will feel.
Be prepared for life's recurring hurts so that you hurt less and less.
Think! Try! Do!
It is difficult to stand out; That's what I thought!
I was made aware of a secret today.
It is easy to stand out!
All you need to do is look around and do something nobody has done before or do something differently to others.
How about consciously seeking opportunities to stand out by doing new things or by doing things differently?
You will be surprised how quickly you will be noticed. You will also be surprised how quickly your popularity spreads.
Try it! You will never regret it!
It is important to realize that the person is either not willing to change or incapable of changing or perhaps, both.
The sooner we realize this and stop depending on them the quicker we will take corrective measures and prevent a lot of problems that stem from their poor attitude and incompetence
Be kind to your self and stop taking misery generated by others!
Get these people out of your life!
In our busy lives many of us get isolated. We tend to interact with some people more than others.
It may be because of the circumstances we are in right now or it may be out of pure chance; Whatever the reason, if we continue on this path we will loose touch with people who are important to us and they will grow apart from us; This more often happens with our near and dear ones.
Let me pose some questions to you:
How much time do you spend with your children?
How much time do you spend with your spouse?
How much time do you spend with your parents?
You could ask this question with respect to your other important relationships as well.
Here are the few steps you can take to turn the situation around:
- Ask the question frequently with respect to the quality and quantity of time you spend with people, important to you, to determine the deficits
- Acknowledge the deficits yourself and be aware of it
- Communicate to the person about the deficit
- Plan mutual activities together
- Choose activities that will promote being together and talking to each other
- Plan and block time on your calendar for the person you have chosen
- Do not plan to do something too far away in time
- Spend time together-enjoy
Pause and take stock! When was the last time you joked around with your children?
Balance discipline with fun activities, you will find your children responding, positively, to both.
Think about all your troubles! Didn't they end?
As adults we sometimes get so caught up with the mess and the pain we are in that we tend to think our condition will last for ever.
Remember this when you are brooding over some trouble that has been bothering you!
Has begun ---- Will touch the middle ---- Will finally end!
It takes courage and conviction to say what you want to say and stand by it.
This happens in organizations too, where they institute an anonymous feedback. Such attempts only promote a closed culture and is very detrimental to organizations.
Some of the common damages are:
- Breakdown of relationship
- Loss of direction
- Loss of opportunities (especially for children)
These are only some of the outcomes.How do we prevent this?
It is possible only by constant communication within the family. It begins with developing a culture of openly sharing the innermost feelings with others. It is reinforced by every attempt by every family member to listen deeply to one another!
Only if you are aware that your loved one is in pain can you even begin to help him or her!
Think about it! Notice and take actions before it it too late!
However, just being honest is not enough, you also need to match your actions to what you have promised to yourself or with others; You need to walk your talk always.
Walking the talk is not easy, as you are always tempted to do things that do not promote your integrity.
- You promise yourself to get up at 6:00 am but you switch off the alarm and go to sleep
- You promise to do some errand to your spouse but procrastinate and do something else
- You decide to start exercising regularly, you even start doing it and then you give up
These are few examples of integrity depleting actions (IDA)
However if you keep your promise, then you will be doing integrity promoting actions (IPA).
Most of us have a huge collection of integrity depleting actions already and furthermore we add, day in day out, more integrity depleting actions thus creating a complete imbalance of IDA and IPA.
Just imagine a day full of IPA, a week full of IPA, a month full of IPA, A year full of IPA, a decade full of IPA and a life full of IPA!
Start small and start for small durations; Gradually expand and fill your hours with integrity promoting actions.
Try it out and your life will be filled with peace as long as your actions are aligned to wholesome principles and values.
However there are days when we impact the people around us negatively; Especially our family members-spouse, children, brothers, sisters---.
Do your family members look forward to you coming home in the evening or do they shudder with fear or worry or anxiety?
How has it been lately?
Pay attention, you may be in for a surprise!
Sometimes the warning may have come to you in form of an intuition, or sometimes it may have come in form of some logical reasoning, but whatever the source of your warning, it is important to pause and take notice; Not to do so is to expose you and your family to great dangers and risk.
However, that doesn't mean that you go about cutting relationships at every first warning; What it means is to dwell sufficiently on that warning, take heed, and then verify in the real world.
Remember this, and it will save you a lot of trouble!
- Look for opportunities you are missing with that person to fulfill her unspoken needs
- Examine whether you have missed out on fulfilling some of her expressed needs
- Look back and check what fun activities you were doing together which you have completely stopped
- Anticipate her needs and make a list of them
- Look at the points that emerge from first four steps and develop an action plan
- Surprise her completely by doing something for her from the list you have drawn
- Start slow and gradually increase pace
I believe parents need to be in control, of the kind of friends, their children associate themselves with.
Many of us, as parents, are careful and have our watchful eyes on our children. We may even prevent or dissuade our children from associating with some of their friends. This fine in the actual physical world where we can see, hear, and then assess the impact of the friends our children mingle with.
However a large number of parents forget the Internet.
The greatest dangers are:
- Face book
- Other Internet interactions-Yahoo answers
- You tube
The list can go on.
When was the last time you checked on your son's contacts in his email or the kind of chats your daughter is having with and with whom?
What about the face book? What kind of comments are being written on your child's wall?
Internet brings the world to your child.
No matter how careful you are in the actual physical world, the virtual world may destroy every effort you exercise to protect your child.
Check your child's internet activities. You may be surprised! There is also a good chance you may be shocked!
There are times when it is possible to have some degree of control over large areas of life but there are also times when letting go is a wise thing to do.
This is important, especially in times of extreme shock coming from some life altering event. In those times we need to let go without feeling guilty while realizing that after an appropriate length in time we will regain the control back.
Knowing this important principle can save you from lot of grief.
Think about it!
What do you do?
This is the time to reflect! This is the time to look and establish the goals of the relationship; This needs to be done despite the anger and the hatred that may be welling up in you; Because it is during these times your loved one needs you the most.
You need to get into the habit of looking at others mistakes with compassion.
Who knows? You may need it one day!
This has to be done from a point of view of contingency planning.
Though these scenarios rarely come true, the very fact that you have a contingency plan and escape route keeps you more confident.
Try it out in few areas of your life.
What do you do?
Suddenly you realize that person has been dual faced, slick, and cunning. He or she has planned this meticulously, put on a face of innocence, and lied and cheated right under your nose.
Suddenly you become aware of this and everything is out in the open. You are now faced with the following:
- Guilt (How did I contribute to this?)
- The dilemma-What next?
There are a few areas you need to focus immediately:
- Deciding what to do with the relationship-to keep or to cut off
- Being clear what your goal is with respect to this individual
- Confronting the individual who betrayed you
- Laying out what you want to achieve if the relationship has to continue
- Analysing together the context and situation that led to the acts of betrayal
- Setting up mutually agreed monitoring mechanisms
- Identifying consequences that would follow on violation
Even if you do this, the pain and the shock will not go away. The person who betrayed you need to take equal responsibility to ease your pain, more by demonstrating acts that build trust, rather than just talk.
Over the period of time, the pain may subside, but the memory of the betrayal will take a long time to fade away.