Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Have a Mind of Your Own

We’ve all been blessed with a brain. Why is it then that we find ourselves following what someone else thinks? Examples:

There are lakhs of people supporting Anna Hazaare. His methods to fight corruption must be the best and I wear the ‘I am Hazaare’ cap. Herd mentality.

70% students of my class are answering CAT this year. I am not sure of how an MBA can help me but let me try CAT too. Welcome to the RAT race.

All my friends have a smart phone, I must have one too. I spend 20K to buy one. Peer Pressure.

My friend went to Maldives for their first anniversary, we should go too. Influence.

It is simple to get swayed by such happenings around us. However, it limits our ability to make our OWN decisions – choices made after putting in quality time and thought, analyzing the situation, the problem at hand and the viable solution. It requires stressing our grey cells, spending time in prodding an issue and coming up with a logical solution. When we make such informed decisions, we are sure to succeed in implementing them. We are convinced of the resulting actions and have our logic to back up our belief. This is a learning process. And it is worth all the effort.

After all, it helps our mind be our OWN.

So next time you are presented with an idea, give it a THOUGHT before you give it your NOD.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Don't Fret over Bad Times..

I look at people around me and imagine how they would look ten years from now. I know the answer. Older.

And then I virtually turn to look at myself. And wonder.. how would I look after ten years? I know the answer yet again..

How often we neglect this basic fact of life – we are aging by each minute, growing closer to our end. Is this philosophy? I think, it is. The greatest of all knowledge that we can accumulate in life. It is this truth that all of us know but fail to remind ourselves. And this is the reason for all our sorrows!

How?  Well, we keep worrying our heads daily over some BIG problem life has thrown upon us – financial problem, career problem, boss problem, work problem, property problem, family problem, relationship problem etc. There is a simple way to solve all this but we overlook this method each time.

The solution is to understand that any problem we are facing currently is TEMPORARY. It will pass. After all, everything does pass, doesn’t it. Nothing remains ‘as is’ forever – your face, looks, love, financial situation, a relationship, children, society, priorities. They change.

So, whenever in problem, remember this – It will CHANGE. It has to

Don’t fret over bad times or try to hold on to good times. As, sooner or later, with or without our wish, it will change. And you will have to MOVE ON.

The best thing to do is to enjoy NOW. This very moment is yours, so take control.

Be happy!  

Friday, August 19, 2011

Are we Independent?

Many of us in India associate the word 'Independence' with the historic day of 15th August, 1947. We have been independent as a country for 64 years now. But how independent are we as individuals?

An owner of a company employing a hundred employees and giving them orders would say he is his own boss, so independent. A fresh college grad with a promising job offer would claim he is self sufficient and so independent. A working woman with two children would believe she can support and provide for her family without help, therefore she is independent. This signifies how often we associate independence to being financially sound.

Whereas Independence does come from having a good bank balance and your four limbs in place, it does mean more.

Being truly independent means having the ability to decide what you want to or not want to do for a living. It means speaking your mind out when others around are trying to fudge and cover up. It means wearing a dress without worrying about what people might think. It means having the courage to stand up for your belief even though you seem to be the odd one. It means having the guts to walk a path that others might not take for the fear of failure. It means doing what you want to do without waiting for a nod of approval from someone. It means having the liberty to decide right and wrong without any ‘should be this way’ syndrome.

Freedom is a state of mind. And it always leads to happiness. We are sad or unsatisfied because we have tied our well being to some person, situation or article. To be truly independent, one has to stop relying on others and start being self-dependent. Same applies to happiness.

Thought – You need to feel independent to be independent

Action – Identify three areas of your life where you think you are dependent on others for happiness. Try to bring a change for better. If this is not possible, see if you can change your attitude 

Monday, August 1, 2011

Silence is Golden

We spend a lot of time every day ‘not talking’. For example the time spent in doing routine chores – daily ablutions, eating, driving, reading, working et al. But does this mean that we spend this time in silence. Think about it.

May be not. Though our mouths are shut, our mind keeps working. We are constantly thinking, listening, judging, calculating, deciding etc.
Even when asleep, our minds remain active. Dreams are a good proof of this fact.
With so much happening in our heads all the time, it is essential for us to take a break. The best and most convenient way is practicing silence! It’s simple and can reap us several benefits.

Sitting in silence for 15-20 minutes daily can help us focus on our thoughts, purpose and true desires. This is the easiest way to establish a connection with our inner self. At first, one feels uncomfortable. The mind wanders. It runs around like an uncontrollable child. With some practice and patience, though, one can learn control and focus.
When we sit in silence, we can actually access, communicate with our inner self. Our inner self is tranquil, calm and at peace as compared to our external self which is always active.

Yoga advises ‘mauna’.  Mauna is a form of meditation where one learns to spend some time without speaking. Thus, focusing on our ‘self’, mind, thoughts and emotions. This leads to contemplation, self analysis and awareness. It also increases will power and inner strength.
So we see how silence is more important than speech.

If you love talking but feel you talk a lot or out of turn, unable to control your tongue, practice this technique. It will help you organize thoughts better and focus on the content and timing of your speech. Thus, helps you become a good listener and converse better with others.
Practicing a few minutes of silence in solitude every day can actually help you become more self-aware and a confident speaker.

To begin with, assign a place in your home/office where you can sit alone in silence for 10-15 minutes. Close your eyes and breathe slowly. Next try and remove all thoughts, in other words, silent your mind. One way to do this is concentrate on your breathing. If your mind wanders, bring it back to the breathing.

Practice this for a week and see the difference.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Smile Time

How many times do you smile in a day?

Freeze. Think. How many times do you think you show that pleasant curve on your faces?

Some of the common responses:

- few times

- as and when I feel like

- when required

- the more self-aware ones could come up with a real number, 10, 15, 30 !

- what a silly question, who keeps a count?

Might seem silly to observe this very insignificant happening of our daily routine. But wait before you dismiss this simple expression as insignificant and unimportant. As it can change your every day, your thoughts, your attitude, your Life.

A smile is more than just a facial expression, which is a result of some voluntary muscles coming to play when reacting to some pleasant sight or thought. It can not only make you feel happy when you want to but even when you feel otherwise.

According to a Swedish study, it was found that people find it easier to react to a facial expression in kind i.e. if you see a smiling face; it is easier for you to smile back rather than frown back! Similarly, if you smile even when you do not feel so, your brain gets a message of seeing, experiencing something pleasant and the result is a good feeling. Thus, you stay in high spirits. Try it and you would agree.

A smile is the most simple of all expressions, yet we find it difficult to make it a habit.

The reason: we do not realize the benefits of using this personal and instinctive skill.

It is the most powerful communication tool we possess. And its use is unlimited and free. It is a language, understood by one and all. When in crisis, it works like a medicine. On a dull day, it refreshes you more than a cup of coffee.

So if you want to change your sad day to a happy one, you know where to begin. Just remember to smile at as many people as you come across.

Smile at the receptionist, at your colleague when you meet near the coffee vending machine, the bus conductor on your way back home, the building watchman, the bakery guy you cross every day, the kid in the neighborhood. When you meet your spouse after a long-tiring day at work, try a warm and heartfelt smile. You will see an instant result on his/her face. The next time you pick up your phone to answer a call, smile. You are bound to converse and feel better. Smile as much as you can and you will be surrounded by positive energy.

Thought: They say we use only 17 muscles to smile whereas 43 to frown. So conserve energy, smile more!

Action: Smile at the next 10 people you come across today and observe their reaction