Get naked – And grow!

growA seed has to break off its cloth to grow and become what it is supposed to be.

I recently went for a Toastmasters (an international public speaking forum) meeting after a very long time. As is usually the case, being a guest, I took a seat in the last row. The meeting was being carried along quite well. Gradually the first section where speakers deliver prepared speeches got over.

Then was the turn for the impromptu speaking session where even interested guests would get an opportunity think on their feet and speak to on a topic. I have always loved this part as a regular Toastmaster since the guests can get a chance to experience their potential even when they are not a member of that club. And have always encouraged guests to use the opportunity to stand up and speak.

That day, I was the guest! Damn! And this, I realised the moment the first session was about to end. My mind started to race. “What are you going to say? You don’t even know the topic they will give? What if you make a fool out of you? What if you spoil your image?”

And then my second mind said, “Which image? What are you trying to protect? What will this lead you to?”

Pat came the reply from the other side of the mind, “Static! Without growth you stay and stale! And no growth means death – isn’t it?”

I immediately stood up for the opportunity. I was prepared to put down my protection and get naked. So, I didn’t stagnate and grew a little more!

How often do we take a step back when an opportunity shows up? Thinking what if it goes….? What if we fail? What if we are unable to perform? What if people see that? And that I too have some fear? What if ….. ?

So many individuals stagnate in their personal and professional life. Just because they refuse to explore and are scared, “What if this happens?”, “What if that happens? And the world starts looking at me as a failure?”

Have you ever thought along these lines? Trust me, people in the world, like you and me, themselves are trying to fight their own demons, the internal dialogue that is always pulling them down. So, it’s always better to choose to rise to the occasion, rather than shying away due to some invisible fear.

That day in the Toastmasters meeting, the best part was, once I rose up to speak, the fear of being seen and being mocked at, and all other kinds of stupid self-talks succumbed to my courage. And that happens to everyone! Once you show up and face your fear, that’s it! It can no more stop you.

That day I faltered and saw myself destroyed in front of everyone, right? I was naked.

A few laughed, few others didn’t! Does it matter? Not sure!

But what I am sure is that I grew a little more. As I have already been naked, I now further think about how to improve my speech to the next level rather than thinking about what others will think or say. Somebody has rightly said that all your fears of losing something vanish once that particular event happens in your life. “Once you reach the rock bottom it’s the best place to be at, as the only way you can move is upwards.

Fear is often with us only until you face it. Once you face it, the same fear becomes your best friend enabling you to prepare better for similar scary event the next time. A quote along similar lines by Steve Jobs says, “Remembering that you are going to die is the best way to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”

Another great part facing your fear and getting naked is that you are then set free. Nothing can stop you. You have already been there, done that! And, if not altogether, you can surely deal with those fears one at a time. The technique would usually be the same – first, think the worst possible scenario and be prepared for the same, but don’t pause. Next, dial to your courage when you already did something small you were scared of, and start taking baby steps. If you are terrified of public speaking, start by just standing behind the podium and getting the feel of it. Gradually, start taking bigger steps and finally your day will come.

After this teeny tiny fear is done, go for a tad bigger one! And step ahead with similar strategy. To tell the truth, once you are done, you will look back and laugh your heart out thinking that you too were someday scared of it!


Stop worrying about these!

One of my posts was about how we can reduce stress at work. And today I want to help you to carry out one of the methods to minimise stress – stop worrying. Now worrying is something that comes naturally to human beings. If there is nothing to think of most people find something to worry about. I agree, it’s not your fault that you think in that manner. However, you have to now start making choices to start living rather than worrying.

Not always! If your worry is about the water tap not working or the gas cylinder leaking it’s fine for a few minutes so that it makes you act. But if it is about the items provided below you must choose again before focusing on it. Remember, your energy flows where your thought goes.

  1. Future: I personally used to be so very worried about how I will move ahead in my life. But over the period of time things have fallen to place. So many people around us worry each day about tomorrow or the distant future. It’s good to have the awareness so that you can mentally prepare for any challenge the situation brings to you. However, spending endless time thinking about it is just taking away your energy. And is definitely destroying your health and peace of mind. Michel de Montaigne’s quote, “My life has been filled with terrible misfortune, most of which never happened”, does throw some light on the fact.
  2. Past: “I could have done this”, “I should have rather done that”, are all useless thoughts right now. And please, we all have to get rid of these. What has happened has, and nobody can change past events. Isn’t it better to spend our time and energy on what we can do now?
  3. Age: “Oh Lord!” I see so many of my friends and family members worrying about their age and that they are getting older. We are all getting older and age is moving an upward trend – for everyone. In no normal circumstances, as far as I know, do we have a technology that can help us to stop the ageing process. Then of what use is worrying about age? An old proverb goes, “Age and glass of wine must never be counted”.
  4. Basic body characteristics: I once had a counselling client who happened to be very short – just about five feet. And he was so upset about it, spending all his time thinking about the height. When I asked him whether he could do anything about it, he said that that is what I should tell him. Neither I nor anyone I knew had heard anything close to increasing height manually. When I told that he should learn to live with it the client even go angry and pissed off. Imagine what would happen to him if he continues to feel frustrated about his height. Imagine his life after five years or ten years m Some people want to have fairer colour? Or a different face structure? Maybe a bit more flat or broader?
  5. Thumbs Up: No it’s not the soft drink. It’s about the mouse clicks on your posts or pictures. So many individuals, mostly teens, crave for those upsurging “likes” on their post or picture. Worse is the fact that they get disappointed when the number is less and these Thumbs Up count is able to destroy their self image.
  6. Others opinion of you: It’s a bit tough to do but you must practice this as well. People will anytime have opinions or judgements about you. So many people lose their strength just due to the fear of being judged or mocked at. However, it is for you to decide whether others opinion should have any weight for you or not. And how much should those opinions impact your life. Roosevelt said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

Your focus decides what type of life you will live. And you can choose anytime to only think about other things and to discard all of these from your life so that you will be able to be far more productive and fulfilled, leading a worry-free life.

So are you prepared to choose better thoughts than the above? What are those? Do let us know through the comment section below.


Tips to manage stress at work!

Serious businessman working with analysis financial at office.

Who doesn’t want to manage it? Which organisation doesn’t want to reduce it? Google, Microsoft, small start-ups, almost every organisation has been offering various training sessions, employee engagement initiatives and what not to address it. A complete industry and education curriculum has been designed to address such things at workplace. But it seems there is no end to it.

Burning deadlines, micromanaging bosses and never-ending queries from co-workers and clients – indeed relaxing at your workstation seems to be a long forgotten term. It is really far tougher than anyone would have imagined. Coming out of college, most fresh graduates walk in thinking of a different world; and here it’s all totally upside down. Traffic, sun’s increasing heat, sun’s decreasing heat and other life aspects simply add to the other already existing and traumatising stuffs day in, day out. This all together might send out a chill down your spine if you are just planning to join the workforce in near future. And they say, enjoy work, love work, love your company, blah blah blah!!!

But indeed there are ways you can bypass the stress at work. Here are a few simple tips to keep your mind’s health to its best:

  1. Choose your tasks properly: Or let’s call it: Prioritize your tasks properly. If you are to have a good time in your workplace, you have to set priorities on what is to be done before the rest. And work according to the set schedule. Remember every task is not to get the same attention and importance. Therefore, you should control the tasks to be done and not the other way round.

We often get bogged down by letting too much on our table. Listening to everyone and taking up everyone’s task can make things difficult for you. So, try to always choose your tasks properly.

  1. Breeeathe first: Huh! Have you experienced that you started your day off without giving it a thought and went on and on. Finally, after the day went by you still found that you were left with several of the most important tasks – even more than the ones you completed!
  2. Track stressors: Yes, this should have been the first tip. Better late than never! Find your stressors, if possible, by keeping a journal. Not essential to keep a notepad – even a laptop or a mobile would do the job. Pen down all that stress you out, along with your reaction to all of it. Watch out your responses too and see if your response is appropriate or not.Do you get carried away by the emotions carved out within you or are you able to hold your calm and respond rather than react?
  3. Use opposite hands: Surprising indeed! However, this tip is simply superb! If you are normally a left-handed, use right and vice versa!You would become more available in the present once you start practising to use the reverse hand. Why? Because you have to be conscious of whatever you are doing. In other words you have to be “present”. We are mostly stressed because we are living either in the past or the future. In the present, it is only relaxation and no worries can creep in.
  1. Spend time alone: When I was attending a training event in Bangalore the trainer would tell us to go, have a mindful lunch and not talk to anyone during the break. He recommended us to be with ourselves and that is one of the best ways to relax. There are people who do believe the opposite, though.
  2. Let go: Whatever you do, however much you try, there will be things outside your control. As Stephen Covey shares about two circles: Circle of Influence and Circle of Concern – in his bestselling book Seven Habits of Effective People – our focus has to always remain on the items  within the Circle of Influence. Once this circle is acted upon the latter Circle will automatically become smaller and smaller.And you should always try to let go off things not within your control. How much can you do or change? You are not the only one to handle everything, but there are many others to support you. So let go a few that can’t be controlled.

What do you think of these tips? Do you have any other effective tip to address work related stress? You can choose to let us know by commenting below.


Persistence – The Game Changer!

dont lose heart-persistEnergy and persistence conquer all things. –Benjamin Franklin

When the great motivational speaker, Les Brown, as he repeatedly shares in his talks, was struggling for his first job as a disc jockey he approached a radio center and the manager there didn’t at all entertain him. The next day he again approached the same person and the head did the same – sent him back. He again reached out to the same person the following day and was sent back. But he didn’t stop. He still didn’t give up but stepped once again and finally got the job to get tea for the people there. It is awe-inspiring to know the way he never gave up in the face of rejection.

Bran Acton, the founder of one of the most reputed messaging mobile app, WhatsApp, that Facebook recently purchased for $19 bn, had been earlier rejected by two social networking giants Facebook and Twitter for a job. It was in 2009 and the businessman had tweeted back then: “Got denied by Twitter HQ. That’s ok. Would have been a long commute.” He learned from these rejections and took the startup route to today change into a billionaire with net worth $3 bn.” He turned that rejection into his fortune.

Had Brown or Bran given up on their efforts in face of rejection none would have been where they are today. They inspire others today through their action and words. These are the people who changed the direction of tide to became rich and famous today only though their perseverance.

I accept not everyone has the desire for becoming so rich or famous and you might be one among them. Whatever your dream or desire is, you must learn to persist in the face of any challenge. Every road comes with hurdles and roadblocks and if we don’t learn to persist and persevere achieving anything might become difficult.
One who has the ability to persevere will be defeated because defeat is only when you give up. A very strong belief to practice in life regarding perseverance in face of rejection and failure is: “There are no failures, but only feedback.” You try, and succeed. If not, you learn and try again. This same cycle is repeated and finally you succeed.

Sportspersons who rise up to any adversity of injury go ahead to later become winners in various competitions. These are often not small muscle tension or bone fracture but serious injuries or illnesses. Often, in such cases, even doctors give up saying that they can’t do anything. Every star in the sky says that this would be the end. But they go on to walk again, even run, and finally achieve their dreams, How do they do it?

It is sheer perseverance and never give-up attitude in the face of adversity. It has been said that there is no substitute for hard work and persistence. An interesting article appeared in NY Times and it talks about Ms. Cha who failed hundreds of times in her driving test but finally made it in her 960th attempt. Nine hundred and sixty? Is she crazy? I would say, if crazy, so be it. We need such crazy people in our society who can bring change and not give up to small challenges. But that definitely requires great courage and determination. Today Ms.Cha is a national celebrity; Hyundai gave her a free car and has been featured in their television commercials.

Learning to drive was Cha’s dream and she continued doing whatever it would take to realise it. Now whatever is your dream, it is important that you too persist and persevere. Things we want and dream about take time to actualise and become true. Expecting results too soon might lead to disappointments and frustration thus leading you to give up – in all areas of life.

Choose your dreams carefully and once you start off to pursue it, persistence is the key. A simple relationship can’t survive; a baby can’t walk, inventions would have been impossible, had we given up in the face of adversity. Your dreams, big or small, are worth it. They are worth your time and effort. So – come what may – you must persist!


Break all barriers with ‘Mamba Mentality’?

What do you want to do? How far are you ready to go to do that? What are you ready to let go? Are you prepared for the long strife? Are you prepared to fall, rise, again and again and still stand back towards your pursuit?

basketballRecently, Kobe Bryant, the famous American basketballer, released a Nike shoes by the name – Mamba Mentality – and that is what made this term quite popular. When asked about what it means and why such unique name the champion said that the term implies an individual’s constant quest to find answers, infinite curiosity to attempt to improve by figuring things out. And that a person has Mamba mentality when they are not worried about the future or the end result but only about the present moment.

Most people across the globe know about this rockstar of basketball, Kobe, as the epitome of performance. The six and a half feet player says he has been using this attitude throughout his life. He gave everything to achieve whatever he wanted to. It is about utter determination, focus and persistence towards whatever goals we set up. It doesn’t bother about your odds to win or the opponents, rather, just about the final result, which is, I will be the champion. Losing is just impossible when you have this kind of mentality because you lose only when you stop, and that never happens.

Human beings have an amazing potential to single-handedly drill through several kilometres of mountains (Dasrath Manjhi’s story) when they are able to direct their total energy and passion towards one activity in a focused manner. FOCUS (1) Or do anything that seems crazy to even think of in the beginning. However, if you too want to achieve something it’s never late to start working towards your goal with Mamba mentality. Once you are able to create that kind of attitude nothing will stop you because you will not be ready to stop. And the ability to focus on present would also put you in Flow state that psychologists have found to be essential for any focused activity.

People often give up in the face of one or two failures believing that probably it’s impossible or not for them. And they would better give up being as they currently are. However, if they delete the possibility of giving up they would definitely reach where they want to go or get what they want to have.

And in fact, we need people with such Mamba mentality – not only in basketball – and drilling mountains – but everywhere and in every profession. Be it going to the moon or taking care of your family, we need it. It’s not impossible, though difficult – it might seem.

Now achieving anything worthy would not always be a cakewalk. The road towards those achievements is filled with different forms of hurdles – big and small. If one doesn’t step in the direction with such mental make-up, they are sure to put down weapons in face of difficult times.

You might say – “He’s Kobe and might be different.” How can any common person achieve this mentality? Meditation is definitely meditatea way to gain focus and even Bryant used to practice it. He also gives credits to the meditation practice for his several peak performances. The practice, over a long term, usually allows you to focus on the present and not worry about the past or the future. Worrying would have otherwise taken away a part of your energy. However, the practice brings a razor – like sharpness to your action and any performance you deliver is nothing less than just your best.

Secondly, the activity sure has to be something you are interested in. Or can be interested in. Else, how would you hope to deliver an ever-lasting mentality? Although we talk of interest in an inborn terms, I recently realised that interest might be generated if you are interested in generating that at least. What do you think?

These people too must decide to stop thinking of unnecessary people and let them go. In fact, Kobe was sometimes even hated by his teammates for being arrogant. However, he did delight spectators and his whole team through the amazing action he used to deliver during the matches.

Mamba mentality is not very unique and, although not by the same name, every achiever has used it, and is still using it. The phrase is actually the key to exceptional performances in anything one does, and therefore, essential for every individual on this earth. Without it, there’s nothing BIG happening in the world.

What do you think? Do share your thoughts in the comment section below.


Pause – Don’t just do it!

“Go for it”, “just do it”, “do before you think”

Heard of the above phrases? Did you follow?

I am here to tell you, request you, and urge you – to pause! And not always fall for such phrases.

Why do I say that? Am I demoralising you? Don’t I want you to move ahead? Let’s see!

This world is filled with so many social media pages, news channels, entertainment channels, etc, bombarding you with numerous statements, incidents and stories every minute. So many books, videos, images, etc. is pouncing on all of us every moment asking us to forget thinking and just react to an incident. Or time and again change the way we think.

This age of Twitter and Whatsapp where anything one sees or hears anywhere in the world, within a few minutes, reaches every corner of the globe; along with their personal interpretation of those events. It’s so easy to be moved by such overwhelming number of talks around us.

But think about it. If you start acting on every word people say or everything you see you would probably waste your enormous energy in so many futile activities. Firstly, there are huge chances that such news would not be true. And secondly, many such news or incidents might not be something you would like to even think about, let go take action on it. Thus, if you give your focus to those you might waste enormous personal resources, and probably get distracted from what you really want to do.

Therefore, to be able to best use your potential you must pause and choose – Where will your focus go!

If you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything.

If you don’t pause to think and choose it’s easy to fall for anything. This would make it difficult – almost impossible – to move ahead and do or think about other things that really matter to you. Every individual is different and we all might not be interested in everything happening around us – not because we are insensitive – but probably because we have other graver concerns driving us. And where we can be far more productive.

I recently watched a video clip of the world-famous, award winning American singer, songwriter and philanthropist Lady Gaga that made perfect sense. She was talking about herself and how she had to actually start making choices and turn down offers she didn’t really want to go for. She had become a money making machine, and, although she was earning millions she had been unable to enjoy any of those. She had started to feel pressurised to take up every assignment and in fact, psychologically became very weak. Later, she realised that she doesn’t want to do everything and so began to make choices. This made her more focused on important tasks and therefore brought more fulfilling results.

Oftentimes we seek external validation to ‘feel good’. And so don’t act as per our own wishes and desires but that of the outside world. This, in turn, sure enables others to accept us, and might even give momentary happiness to us. However, it might also handicap our ability to accept ourselves.

So if you are trying to make others happy at your own cost how many people’s happiness is in your control? One? A score? A few thousands? Speaker and author, Dr. Sean Stephenson, in one of his talks, says that we all need love – not from anyone else – but from our own selves. And that we got to love ourselves even when the whole world doesn’t.

As shared in one of my previous articles too, there will always be people unhappy with you or putting forward negative comments about your action. However, you can be strong only when you stand, act and speak for your personal satisfaction and joy. And for that you must sometimes – pause!


Courage to be hated – It’s essential!

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Being liked and loved is great for all of us! We all crave for affection and really like to be liked. However, in life, sometime, somewhere, someone is going to hate you. And not just someone, but many someones will hate you. Doesn’t matter who you are! If it hasn’t happened until now, just watch out! couragetobedifferent

Is it wrong that people hate you? Not always, as I think. Just because people have not liked what you have said or done doesn’t mean you are wrong. Or you have to change who you are or what you believe in.

Imagine what the world would be like if we all walked all the time to be liked and live by our society’s predefined standards. Nobody would be trying anything new but just walking in a manner that the society doesn’t hate them and accepts him or her. Had this been the right way there would have been neither Galileo, nor Wright Brothers; neither Jesus nor Buddha; neither Steve Jobs nor Jack Ma – nobody – absolutely nobody – and hence, NOTHING!
We all are humans and need connection and affection to grow and do well in life. However, does that mean one should stop offering his or her own judgement? Does that mean one should always follow the crowd? Or never do anything just because society looks down at it?

Just yesterday I had an interaction with my dad where he was explaining to me the significance of society, and of following that society. But even he could not justify his words when I brought in to talk on the system of ‘sati’ or killing girl child systems that the society had once followed. Significantly, the moment you or anyone stands against it many haters would switch sides and stand against those systems. It is good to be a nice person and go by the existing doctrines. However, we are also individuals and have our own identities that might not match those of societies. So we have to draw the line. Everyone has to draw the line – when he would listen to others and when not; when he would permit himself to go after his desire to be liked and when not and when he would break the shackles of rules and when not.

Someone has aptly said, “Courage is not the absence of fear but the judgement that something is more important than fear.” So even if you have some fear about the world around you, courage means you can walk on in spite of any such fear.

Numerous teachers, philosophers, entrepreneurs, or whatever the profession have stood by their personal beliefs against everyone else’s to bring significant contribution towards the society, and the humanity as a whole. And this is the major element that when you draw in the courage to walk on your own path you are able to transform many people’s thoughts and drive a new way of thinking. It was only when they chose to walk out and go against the society that they were able to do whatever they did. They had the courage to be hated. They took the liberty to think and reflect. They stopped to do things society and everyone was doing just because everyone was doing it. They paused – to reason out with themselves, then with everyone – and so later did things everyone appreciates today.

Nevertheless, it all started back then when they had gathered the ‘courage to be hated’, and kept walking their path even when the world ridiculed them and hated them. Even their families distanced from most of these individuals and that must have been really tough. Therefore, if you, me or anybody wants to do anything, they have to first ask themselves if they have that courage – to be hated – or not. And still the final question to also ask is if not you – WHO?

What do you think? Do share your valuable thoughts in the comments section below!


Competency Mapping – The novel HR tool!

Human Resource Management works to bring the organisation and the employees together so that they both are able to achieve their goals and objectives. There was a time when there were less variety of job roles and very few types of skills were being used. It was mostly about skill based jobs. But, gradually we started using more variety of skills and various business processes demanded the use of specific higher order mental labour that were invisible to eyes and therefore difficult to manage.
Actually, David McLeland, a Psychologist, published a landmark article in the American Psychologist in the 1960 and stated that organisations must go for hiring based on competencies rather than test scores. And in 1973, he developed methods for predicting human performance for US Information Agency where the objective was to erase human biases of traditional intelligence and aptitude testing.
McLeland defined competency as “an underlying characteristic of an individual that is causally related to criterion referenced effective and superior performance in a job or a situation.”
Competencies usually have four characteristics that are:
Motives: Every action is based on what an individual thinks of most of the time. People with growth mindset like to set challenges and grow.
Self concept: A person understands about himself and how well does he take himself towards various challenges. A person with high self-concept would take failures as a challenge.
Skills: Developed ability to do certain activities, often with the help of existing knowledge.
Traits: Any individual’s frequent response to a situation. An individual who values strength is more likely to behave from the position of strength rather than feel demotivated and let outside events control him..
Knowledge: Memorised body of information that a person has. Eg Knowledge about the history of HR.
Competency Mapping: it is the process of finding out the competencies required for each job role within an organization, levels of these and finally using it for all different processes within the organisation.
A combination of all these together leads to what we call competencies or behaviours leading to effective performance of a task.
Why Competency mapping? The process gives the exact behavioural expectations for a position. Additionally, previous skill based models were not competencies but skills. This left great space for biases as there was no particular universal way to measure the skills. How do you know a person has good communication skill? Pronunciation or style or fluency or body language or something else?

But this new technique gave the HRs a better tool to hire, the line managers a better tool to measure performance, training managers a better way to find the gap and address it. Everyone has something to gain. Even the individuals themselves know exactly how to work and what behaviour to show.

Competency mapping serves a variety of purposes like giving better role clarity, succession planning, and clarity with growth path of individual employees. A document on the web indicates that competency mapping methods How competency mapping.
Steps in competency mapping:
1. Clarify the purpose of competency mapping within the organization. And choose the position for which competencies needs to be mapped. Once that is clear you can go ahead with the actual process.
2. Then Job Analysis for the position is done to find out the activities performed by individuals. Asking the position holder and seniors questions related to the job, or observing them are few of the many methods for Job Analysis. They can be asked about the competencies required to perform the job.
3. Responses of participants is carefully analysed and the inputs is converted into standard competencies.
4. With the results of job analysis, competency based job description is formed.
5. There are certain generic competencies required by all employees working within the organisation. And there also are the specific competencies for specific positions that might not be applicable to other positions.
6. Once the competencies are identified, rating has to be done as to what level of particular each competency is required for the particular role. This can be on scale of 1-5 or 1-3 or certain words like beginner, experienced and expert can be used in place of a rating scale.
7. Then this is used for various HR functions within the organisation.

Where we today are in need of multi-skill development, competency mapping is the process that helps to identify exact competencies, or better say visible behaviours required in key positions and thus do all HR processes accordingly. So you are no more guessing about a person’s skills but are very sure about the visible behaviours or competencies.


Change your perspective – change your life!

If you change the way you look at things the things you look at change! – Wayne Dyer

Steven Covey, in his best-selling book, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, has shared a story about a man who walked and sat near the seat Covey was sitting on. Along with this man were his children who were behaving extremely loud and unruly. And this man was sitting as if completely unaware of the situation. For long, Steven held his calm and wanted the man to take control of his kids. Everyone else around was also getting irritated and impatient. So, finally, although agitated, the author politely told the man, “Sir, your children are really disturbing a lot of people. I wonder if you couldn’t control them a little more.” To this the man calmly informed everyone that he has just lost his wife and the children didn’t know how to react to the loss of their mother.


Immediately the total atmosphere changed. Covey and everyone else there saw things differently and felt differently. Now the running around and shouting of children didn’t hurt anyone’s ears. All irritation got transformed into compassion and concern. In a moment they would even smile at the shouts of those little kids.

What had changed in the above story? Was it the way children were shouting? Or the environment people were sitting in? None of these! It was just the window or the glass through which the author and other people were looking at the situation that had changed – their perspective had changed!

Things are not what they are; they are what you think they are!

Have you ever used a kaleidoscope? Does the outside world changes while using the instrument? No! Use of a coloured glass makes the outside world, which remains the same, to appear colourful. Same is with perspective – choice of a different window – a different angle – to look at anything. However, it further does change how we feel and respond to the situation.

Also, we all have our own filters for the world. If you and I both were to walk along the same road in the same direction and at the same pace, we both will have a different experience. Because we individually filter the world differently, so notice different things and thus have different perspectives. And that is for almost every situation.

I used to consider Google and Facebook such great companies offering everything for free. I loved browsing the internet. However, a few days back I came across a trustworthy video revealing that these companies peek into our mails and anything we do, later passing on the information to other companies. Knowing this, I developed an intense loathing towards these companies and haven’t stopped but I suddenly minimised their usage. What changed? Just the perspective – the way I thought about, and felt about those companies. Everything else still remains the same.

A majority of situations in life have a similar story to tell. If somebody loses their job and becomes sad, it is just because of the glass they are using to see the situation and events. Change the glass and everything will change. Often when someone, a counsellor or a coach, takes a step to help such individuals, they only try to show a different way to look at the situation and hence the future. When the person who has lost the job or anything special reflects further, they are able to see it from different window – a different perspective. A person losing a job might see the opportunity to explore his own deeper interests, or a time to take care of his family, or something else. And the way he sees will make him think and feel in a certain manner that will in turn impact his behaviour, finally, his life!!

When there is a loss of life in family, it’s really difficult to move on knowing that somebody we loved is no more in this world. However, thinking of the illnesses he had been suffering here, the numerous tasks for which he needed help and how weak he might be feeling during those times, it appears better right? You might now be better able to accept the loss. Isn’t it about choosing a better perspective?

Almost every situation gives us this opportunity to change our glass and derive a more empowering perspective to move further. Getting or choosing a different perspective for anything is not something that can be done in a moment always, but it’s not impossible either.

Albert Einstein once said, “Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them”.


Always a fresher never a failure!

I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life. –Steve Jobs

As Jobs mentioned in his quote above, experience brings its own ‘heaviness’ or pressure of “being right” or “can’t fail”. And this pressure, in turn, takes away the joy of trying out new things or new ways.

There is an interesting term in Zen Buddhism – Shoshin! It essentially means “the beginner’s mind”. The term says that no matter how much we may think we know, there is always more to learn, and so, why not be lifelong beginners?

When you think, “I know it all”, comes the thought of always being right. And, together comes the fear of doing wrong. It also has some linkage to our society as an adult always has the society’s perception of him in the back of his mind, and so doesn’t want to fail. However, a beginner is not ashamed of making mistakes as he or she is just a beginner and comes with an open mind to learn.

Peter Drinklage, Emmy Awards winner, and the famous character of the well-known TV series Game of Thrones, said, in a commencement address that he could never have become what he has if he would not have given himself the permission to fail. He had been an employee earlier for several years and was terrified to try something else and to fail. We all are! But finally the “dwarf actor” did step out as a beginner to try in television and rest is known to all.

Failure – is it that bad? That nobody is ready to meet it? None of the greatest legends of any field think so. In fact, failure comes out as a failure only if we don’t take anything from it. Else it is always a feedback – to learn something and restart just like a beginner – just like a fresher. Tony Robbins, one of the world’s top motivational gurus, says, “There is nothing called failure. There are only results.” Results to learn from.

And who is a learner? One who accepts himself as a beginner – who is ready to clean up his mind’s slate to write new alphabets.

Jobs started fresh from the scratch after he was thrown out of his own company. What if he would also to think, “I have already been at the top of my own company, I can’t work again with other starters?” “I am already having so many years of experience, how can I work again at the lowest level?” He would never have done what he is today remembered for.

Actually, only the person flying high has the risk of falling down. Or only the one who considers himself high above the ground will feel the risk of falling down. Else anyone, though a manager or a CEO, will rarely fall if they always consider themselves as beginner, on the ground and learning.

Being afraid of failing means being afraid of trying out, and creating new things. And trying out is the essence of joy and of creation. In fact, when you are no more afraid of failing you are no more afraid to live. And you will embrace all challenges of life with the thought that you will try and try. Because if results are not as you desired it’s not failure but just an outcome not same as what you had hoped for. You can always start fresh taking the learning from your previous attempt.

We might get disturbed being a beginner with the thought that we have already done/seen so many things. How can I fail? This is what spiritualists call as “ego”. And the moment such thought appears it can lead you towards your doom. Trying for perfection is just okay, however, not at the cost of learning from mistakes, or failures as they call.

So shake yourself up. This is not the end. There are still great heights for you to reach. You are still a beginner.