Personal Excellence

Why do we need leaders?

A probable question that mostly we don’t ask. Do we really need leaders? How does one differentiate from the other in terms of leadership?

The leader is the one who takes his people from the valley of known to the dream peak

A leader is none other than a common man. A man who has the same tissues and brain, same sort of feelings, shows vulnerability and has the same emotions like any of us. A leader is never born. There is no one with born leadership trait. It’s all in the permission one gives to a thought to follow. A thought of so called known vision. The reason it’s called a know vision is of the reason one believes in it at a certain point in time. Then puts the action in place and works tirelessly to reach that vision.

The leader is the one who shows vitality and vigor to reach the vision. Goals are part of the vision for the leader. That’s the not the end result. Every leader’s vision is always not specific but wide in its view. They device an approach which they feel is right to reach the vision. One of the challenge is in bringing the consensus amongst the people to follow the vision.

This leads to a question, when I follow a vision, can I be a leader? Why not? For a simple man or woman, like manager at work, or coffee seller at a coffee shop or a student who dreams of getting a high paid job or the sweeper etc. Let’s take the example of the sweeper. A sweeper’s purposeful vision would be to ensure his family is able to have the minimum commitment of food, cloth and shelter in place; to provide education for his children and to lead a calm life.

When the sweeper works tirelessly towards the vision of building and nurturing this, he or she is a purposeful human in its own right. Then when does he or she become the leader? When the same sweeper adheres to the integrity of life as its core principle and starts to think, that it’s not only a necessity of calm life for himself or herself but also for the peers in his work needs to be established. When one starts to think this way and act upon it, in their circle of influence, he or she become a leader.

When such a transition happens, within oneself to support the fellow humans with the best of his or her capability, a leader is in place. Now assume, when every one starts to think this way and acts, it brings a massive change in oneself. A change within the community. That change leads to the fundamental question – When such a change happens,

Do we need leaders?

Basically, what has happened is that, the moment we see someone with a thought process for a larger cause, we start to acknowledge their views. We start to follow and support their opinions. We start to believe. This belief is the culprit. Because, once you start to believe, you don’t start to think. Belief leads to blind follow. That’s where we have this term blind faith. Faith is nothing but a strong belief on to something.

Let’s take a pause and allow this thought to digest in you. Isn’t that we can also think? Can’t we also try to expand the core purpose of us to support a human? When we start to build this cycle of support for one human, we are building the real human chain. A chain we know, that we are linked by similarities of physical and emotional appearances and needs. When we start to think and act on this, where is the necessity for the leaders?

We all have the capability to think. A thought becomes powerful, when you allow it catch a link. The link is the action. A thought becomes thinking, when it catches one’s mind. A host. A host on which it can influence upon and make one to act. The one who caught on to that influence acts. While others, just dump their thoughts. We perceive the thoughts through his or her action. Because action easily influences a mind than a powerful thought.

For example, as you read this blog, when it creates a spark of thought, then that’s something you need to catchup on. That’s kindling of one’s own mind. When I record this and deliver as a speech or as an enactment, then it becomes an action. An action didn’t kindle your own thought. A thought that projects me in your mind based upon your perception and created a thought that, whatever he said seems right. This action influenced your thought to follow mine. The more action I do, then it becomes a belief. A belief that eventually turns into blind faith.

Thus, it’s a thought that you had allowed, to project another thought of belief. The principles that you had acknowledged at your first go as the rightful ones. The principles which we never questioned. As to why?

Relating back to the quote mentioned above, a leader is the one who takes his people from the valley of known to the dream peak. Isn’t that we actually gave the power to a common man to become a leader?. Isn’t that we believed in the vision set by someone as the probable best one and started to follow it?. Isn’t that we then blindly started to build the faith and trust on these leaders?

Well, if that’s the case why did we leave our thoughts?. Our own thoughts that guides us to build us for our family. Our own thoughts that navigates us through tough times. It’s because not everyone is brought up in the same way. Though everyone is born in the same way not everyone builds themself up in the same way. A person, who had seen the plight of her people, her society, her community gives the power to her thought. How can I change this? That powerful thought leads to thinking. A thinking that results in actions. Actions that are hardship to her. But she carries with the vigor and vitality to endure. This makes her a leader, because we are not prepared for this. We feel, that we cannot endure. We fear, we fail. We constraint ourselves by the boundary of societal standards and norms.

Assume, you are in the middle of a city. In a city in the midnight. There is not much traffic around. There is also not much people around. You are lost in the city to reach your destination. You have the route, google maps in hand but you can’t figure it out. You get a thought to ask someone. You figure out by searching and reaching the nearest shop or a taxi driver to get the guidance. A thought to ask. A brave step to start. That’s how a leader is born. Taking the first step. Not large steps. Small step of bravery. But continuously.

When you acknowledge that you can give power to the thought, then you can become a leader. When everyone gives power to the thought, they start their thinking process. A process that can lead to action. When such an action of embracing a vision for the betterment of fellow human happens, you become a leader.

Thus, it leads to our first question.

Why do we need leaders?

Sunday Reverie, Personal Excellence

Theory of constraint to personal excellence

What is theory of constraint?

The theory of constraints (TOC), as it’s known among the management teams. It was conceived as a philosophy of continuous improvement. It has evolved in the last 30+ years from the time Dr. Eliyahu Goldratt introduced the concept in his book “The Goal“. TOC tries to identify a constraint with in an organization production process. The assumption is there is always a constraint. Basically, TOC by Goldratt laid out a systematic approach to identify what was preventing a company from achieving its goal of making money for its owners. This blog is trying to use that approach, to help in one’s thinking or the focussing process.

Who is Dr Eliyahu Goldratt?

Eliyahu Moshe Goldratt was an Israeli business management guru. An author of several non-fiction and business novels on the application of theory of constraints. He introduced the optimized production technique, the famous TOC, the thinking process and other TOC derived tools.

“I smile and start to count on my fingers: One, people are good. Two, every conflict can be removed. Three, every situation, no matter how complex it initially looks, is exceedingly simple. Four, every situation can be substantially improved; even the sky is not the limit. Five, every person can reach a full life. Six, there is always a win-win solution. Shall I continue to count?”

Eliyahu M. Goldratt

How TOC got evolved?

TOC became famous through his book, The Goal. In his book, the protagonist is an operations manager. Goldratt uses TOC to device a plot. The plot revolve around identifying the current constraint, building upon the constraint to find out which would be the next limiting constraint. For example, in the production plant, the operations manager faces one particular constraint. The constraint is the inadequate machine tool capacity. Goldratt explains how this affects the production process, and when resolved what can be the other constraint that limits the system.

What are the key elements of TOC?

Goldratt followed five focusing steps in the process of on-going improvement in his TOC. Those steps are

  1. Identify the constraint: Try and identify a constraint, that is limiting the output. This can be a production constraint or policy constraint.
  2. Exploit the constraint: Achieve the best possible output, with the constraint in place. Goldratt visualized the production process as a flow process. In a flow process, try and remove the limitations that constrain the flow. Also reduce the time that is affected by the constraint and apply it for a most effective way possible.
  3. Subordinate other activities to the constraint: Now, link the output of other operations to match the constraint. Thus this helps to smooth the workflow. Also clears any stagnation points that can happen due to the work in process inventory. Avoid making the constraint wait for work
  4. Elevate the constraint: When the constraint is not resolved, assume the machine output cannot be increased, then increase the staff and the number of machines to reach the desired output.
  5. If anything has changed, go back to step one: When the outcome is changed, go back to starting stage again. Assess to see if there is any other operation or policy that is becoming a system constraint. Follow the above steps again. This helps in consistent process of ongoing improvement.

How an Olympic swimmer used TOC principles?

TOC can be applied to Personal Excellence too. It’s not only for organizations but also for personal growth and victory. To cite an example from Theory of Constraint Institute, an Olympic hopeful failed twice. She failed to qualify for the swimming team. She took the TOC and proved in the she can win. This is upon correction of few short falls. Those were

  • Take time to stretch.
  • Avoid dehydration.
  • Remove fear and think positive.
  • Communication with coach to be better. Develop good communication.
  • Train when you are in strength. Don’t stretch when you are tired.

She upon applying the TOC principles, went to win gold medal and clock new world record. She turned out to be a motivational speaker in future and also returned to olympics triathlon after few years.

“For every effect there is a root cause. Find and address the root cause rather than try to fix the effect, as there is no end to the latter”

-Celestine Chua

What are various thinking process?

Considering 5 steps mentioned earlier, the basic questions that needs to be answered are

  1. What to change.
  2. What to change to.
  3. How to cause the change

The above questions of the Thinking process, helps us to drill down into our visualizations. This helps to present the cause and effect relationships, which we observe in our day to day activities. It helps us to capture those to portray their relationships in a simple and straightforward manner. The Thinking process is an integral part of TOC.

TOC when applied properly, can have a real good impact psychologically. This is by systematically addressing the question. These are the questions one has intuitively, however TOC brings this out clearly. There is a process based on the psychology of change that acknowledges and systematically addresses the questions people intuitively ask when evaluating a change.

  1. Am I addressing the problem?
  2. Is the solution for the problem, a good one?
  3. When the solution works towards resolving the problem, how does it benefit me?
  4. What can go wrong with the problem and its solution?
  5. How can this be implemented?
  6. Am I geared up for this?

These questions are to be answered clearly and frankly.

How it can help for one’s thinking process?

Let’s try to see how this can be used in our regular thinking process. The simple approach to start with is, looking into the 3 questions. We can look into this thinking process aligned with an example.

  1. What to change – One of the simplest thing might be to wake up early at 5.00am. The change that we are looking here is to waking up early. Instead of waking up at 7.00am, how can we wake up at 5.00am?. That’s the change.

2. What to change to – Here, the change is instead of 7.00am to 5.00am, what needs to be changed and what would be result. Basically, to arrive at a goal of what that 2 hrs difference is going to add by doing this change. The change of waking up early in the morning at 5.00am.

3. How to cause the change. – This involves what needs to be done, to make this change effective. The effectiveness of waking up everyday in the morning at 5.00am. Once, you have these three questions framed for your actionable goal, then you can apply the TOC constraint model to achieve it.

Taking the example of waking up early in the morning at 5.00am to be our end goal, let’s try and apply the TOC in principle to see, how we can achieve this goal.

Goal – Consistently waking up every day in the morning by 5.00am.

First step – Identify the constraint.

The general constraint for waking up early in the morning can be

  1. Sleeping late night
  2. Binge watching shows/movies
  3. Not having a proper morning routine in place

Once we had identified the constraint we can plan the steps to avoid these constraints. According to TOC, the critical thing is identifying the constraints. The fact to arrive at any of the constraints, are generally intuitively known to oneself. However, to note down those and look into those as constraints is what we miss most of the times. Thus apply the TOC in the regular scenarios, be it your commute or ability to focus or the issue of distraction or planning on a goal to achieve. Start with the 3 questions, and then capture, the steps. Once you had captured, the first step, let’s move on to the 2nd step.

Exploit the constraint

Assuming, that we would still love to wake up early, having the constraint in place. This means, looking at the constraint as the possible scenario’s below

  1. We cannot sleep early, due to work schedule. (repeatable work calls late into the evening/night) – Policy change.
  2. Binge watching to Reading – Activity change.
  3. Plan a morning routine – Planning.

Though, we cannot change our work schedule, probably we can look into the aspect of binge watching. Change of work schedule will be a policy change. A policy change can always have a profound impact when it is planned and executed properly. If the work schedule involves co.ordinating with various teams across the globe, for a review call; probably you can introduce a cyclical or rotational working schedule in place. This means, if this month you have to extend in to late night discussions, probably next month, it can be your peer.

Every action that brings one closer to its goal is productive.

As we instinctively know that binge watching drains us out, the best thing is how to switch to reading or writing. Though we plan as a massive change or complete shift from binge watching to reading might not happen at one go. The best, is to focus to reduce the time. Probably from 3 hrs of binge watching to 2hrs, and start reading before going to sleep. This can leave you fresh, rather than be drained into sleep.

The most important factor again is a policy change. This is planning a morning routine. Most of the times, we don’t have in place a morning routine. Thus the best is, to have a morning routine in place. As simple as waking up in the morning, doing 20 mins of yoga or meditation, 20 mins of exercise and conclude the last 20 mins with your coffee and news. Once we exploit the constraints, we get avenues to build around the constraints, if they are not easily changeable.

Subordinate other activities to the constraint

Link all the activities that can improve by removing these constraint. By waking up early, what are the relevant things that can go well. Some of the possible good outcomes can be

  1. Reaching on time to office. Not to get struck in the regular traffic jams. A 15 mins early start to office can help us to ease away most of the regular peak time traffic.
  2. A good healthy breakfast. The time in hand helps us to have a proper breakfast. Even the breakfast can be planned.
  3. This also give us ample of time, to do proper morning exercise. It can be jogging or running or meditation etc.

Elevate the constraint

When the constraint cannot be resolved, how do we still achieve the goal of waking up at 5.00am. Elevate the constraint, is actually working out the near term and long term outcome. At the same time accepting the constraint cannot be changed in near future; so working out on all relatable mechanisms to resolve the same.

“Since the strength of the chain is determined by the weakest link, then the first step to improve an organization must be to identify the weakest link.”

Eliyahu M Goldratt

When the major constraint of work schedule or late night working cannot be reduced, then the next probable steps can be reducing the time for binge watching. Also, look into ways to optimize your morning routine with a clear focus. Thus you get additional time to sleep, by the reduced binge watching. Also, the morning routine can be optimized not to be a rigorous one. It can be a planned one. A simple one with jogging and good breakfast.

This way, in near time by elevating the constraint, one can execute the best possible outcomes. Once the constraint is removed, then one can perform to their planned vision.

If anything has changed go back to step one

When the constraint is removed and the vision is achieved, the goal does not stop there. According to TOC it is a continuous improvement cycle. The best way to do, is go back to the routine again. When waking up 5.00 am has become a regular affair, then to look into the aspects that can be agents of distraction. Some of the probable agents of distraction can be

  • The checking of social media or youtube before going to bed.
  • Late dinner in the night. Occasional drinks.
  • Mind wandering through various in coherent thoughts.

There can be multiple other things. But looking into these, and starting to remove one by one, shall make the way forward for excellence.

The TOC 5 steps when properly approached and implemented, helps an individual enormously. It helps one to achieve their goals with more clarity and augment their capability. This TOC Thinking Processes enables one to strategize properly to benefit them to a greater extent. TOC is based upon one’s imagination. The more you apply, the better you become. It is one of the best ammunition for Personal excellence.

“Excellence prospers in the absence of excuses.”

Lorii Myers
Personal Excellence

5 reason’s why one must decide one’s own path

Yoda Quote from the movie, Star Wars.

We all have our own dreams. The dreams are unique to us. No two dreams can be the same. In order to live our dreams, the effort is tied to oneself. When we wish to follow our own dream, it’s all about choices. The chances we take towards those choices. This involves sometimes, going against the norm, the expectations of our society or the culture. It can be also a hurdle against our own families or friends. The moment we choose, a path for our own, we face isolation. We are alone. This can be purely due to the sudden uncertainty of our future. Are there way’s to excel during the uncertain times? Yes. We shall dwell in another blog. However, following one’s own heart has its valuable advantages. Today we are going to look into the five reason’s why we should follow our path.

Though, following one’s own path is all about guts and self belief, do remember, the journey is not about a creative quest, it’s all about one’s own evolution. How much ever you follow someone’s path, it’s all about copying their steps. However, no two journeys are the same, just because time is the differentiation factor in everyone’s life.

Our own identity

Once we start on our own path, we are creating an identity. The freedom of presenting as we are rather than someone else. That’s the gift of fulfillment, when people around us identify us, as we are. This shows the more authentic side of us. An authenticity of self belief. When we force ourselves, into something which is not our own, it can affect us psychologically. Being authentic, has its own risks. We might loose our friends, our current environment or the society to which we belong to. However, when we build our own identity, we attract the right people into our life. Now, that’s the second advantage which one brings by being authentic.

Build our community

Every unique individual, the world had seen had created their own community. Rather than looking into the great philosopher, leaders, warriors let’s look into our own life. Let’s think about our very own families. Let us travel few hundred years back. Our great maternal ancestors, can be a right example. Our great grandfather would have been the very first guy, who took that risk of moving to a village or starting to work or probably choosing a certain way of life. The reason, he might have did that is, he felt it’s of utmost important for him to start on a new path or a journey. The one to which he can identify himself with. That led him to build a family, a family that grew into a community. The community which became a society, to which we belong to. However, along the way the family took the comfort of their journey and norms, rather than building or creating something new.

As like our great grandparents, let us the take first step of being unique. With that we can to build our own community.

Being Fearless

The day we come away from the shadows of someone, we start to cast ours. The speciality is we just need to look to our shadows only. No need to fear, for being what we are. Though the path we choose, can be a journey of mistakes and hurdles, we can potentially learn and adopt ourselves better. The more we learn from our very own journey, we build the capability to reach our destination better and smoother. That ability is the growth mindset. In that mindset, it’s not fear that burns us, it’s the passion to reach our goal. Success paves its way to us.

Every hardship along this path, makes us stronger. We don’t become judgmental. We start to understand, that the other people’s opinions and judgment is because of their insecurities and not because of us. At the same time, we see them with empathy. That’s the trait, we attain, when we follow our own path. Being empathetic to others.

Beautiful Purpose

A life lived with a purpose, glows like a candle in darkness.

The purpose of one’s life is something personal and to do with their experience. However, the journey of one’s own path, can define a purpose. The purpose of being kind. The purpose to support the illiterate. The purpose can be anything. The purpose can glow like a bright candle in the dark. You can deft and define the darkness. But that purpose, defines our life. The life that can be paved only when we follow our very own path.

Being Inspirational

We may never knew, who we inspire by our acts. However, when we follow our own path, we are sure to leave a trail that makes others to wonder and get inspired. A simple act of living our life responsibly can inspire the people around us. There is not a need, that we need to change thousands of people around us. As we are able to inspire and change one, near to us, we have already created the ripple effect for change.

We must live as we were meant to live. We must live in truth

Marcus Aurelius
optimism, Personal Excellence

You can defy and define the darkness like a candle

One of the worries as individuals or employees or as entrepreneurs, we come across is people who appreciate you with resentment. Let’s make a positive assumption that, they are not doing it on purpose. They are neither unkind nor mean. But this is common, amongst some peers, collegues or employees. We get pulled down on these thoughts. Sometimes, they eat into our productivity. It costs us a day. The question that immediately arises, how can we avoid these thoughts?

The first and foremost is acceptance of the people as they are. Once we know, that we have people like that around us , let’s accept them as they are. Because, the moment we delve into these thoughts, we can sense

  1. A kind of anger grows inside us
  2. We feel being cornered.
  3. We start to worry too much.
  4. We start to think how they have taken us for granted and drive us in a direction of becoming resentful like them.

What these kinds of thoughts leads us into? They ultimately destroys the peace inside us. We don’t give much of eye contact. We don’t show the good gesture towards them, when we happened to meet them. The best way to overcome is the candle’s philosophy of sharing is caring. I would like to narrate a story which I heard as a kid.

Quote by Dalai Lama

It was a stormy night. There was a little hut at the end of the street. In the hut stayed a father along with his cute little daughter. His daughter’s name was Anisha. As they were in dark, the father, went in search of matchstick. Once he returned, he lit a candle. It was so bright. The hut was glowing by the light from one little candle. Suddenly there was a thunder strike. Anisha, hearing the sudden sound screamed. The lightning was so bright, she was scared. As the wind blew in their little hut, the candle light flew off. Her father, again lit the candle.

Anisha, asked “Father, why do you light only one candle? We have so many, why don’t you light all?”

The father said, “This is the best of all the candles”.

She asked “how?”

The father replied, “This candle is called as Hope. The one which can hold on against all challenges and be positive to believe that the storm will stop”.

Anisha, asked “Okie Father. If it is hope, they why can’t we lit all other candles at the same time”.

The father replied “Only when there is hope, all other things can exist. Without hope, nothing can prevail in this storm”.

He further added “The candle of hope, can show us to have faith in what we believe. As we have faith, it shows love and empathy. It guide’s you to peace. With peace, comes joy and happiness. Fulfillment and serenity. Acknowledgement and acceptance. Forgiveness and fortitude. Thus be a candle of hope. Once you be the guiding force as hope, you can light all the candles and make it bright for all the one’s you meet in your life.”

Anisha, believed and lived as a candle of hope.

As in the story above, let us be a candle of hope. Let’s believe, in our work of excellence. It cannot be ridiculed by resentful people. Let’s be positive and build ourself forward with a smile. An assurance that we will with stand the stormy nights as a candle of hope.

When we become the candle of hope, we can defy the darkness. We can define and light up, thee dark spaces. We as candle of hope, be as the light to show the light for the hopeless, the broken, the resentful, the painful people. The best way, is to keep doing our work of excellence. Let the excellence speak for itself. That will fill the world with hope. And us too. As a candle of hope, we never loose anything by lighting other candles.

optimism, Personal Excellence

Problems are not stop signs, they are guidelines

How many times, have you across this statement? But why is that every time, when you face a problem, you always feel much worried. You sometimes get into fear zone, you get anxious and sometimes you belittle yourselves. One of the reason, is you overestimate the problem. The ability which you have, to solve a problem is far more greater than, the problem itself. Most of the occasion, the reason you fear a problem is because of uncertainty paradox, the problem possess at that point in time. So how do we navigate through any problem. I would call it as APPLE approach. For each of the state I will try and relate a scenario, which can be of close relevance. Help you to look at the problem from a different angle and use them as a guidelines to navigate it.

The Apple approach involves the following

  1. Acceptance
  2. Puzzle
  3. Perception
  4. Learning
  5. Engage

Acceptance – The first and foremost is when you face a problem, face the problem. At the first instance, accept to yourself that you are in a problematic situation. Hiding away or disowning the problem, is not going to elude you away from problem. It’s only going to make it worse. Let’s assume, you have lost the job. You have credit card dues to be paid. You are slipping on your payments. But when the credit collection guy follows up with you relating to the payment, not picking the call is going to mount internal pressure on you. At the other end, the call agent is going to record that, you haven’t taken the call multiple times. The best way is to accept the situation, accept the reality and accept the fact that you will not be able to pay it this month. Once, you have accepted it, you can handle the call better rather than getting panicked about the call.

We cannot change anything, unless we accept it

Carl Jung

Puzzle – Once you accept the problem, you will get to know there are many puzzles that exist with the problem. There are many unanswered questions. Proceed one step at a time. Acceptance bring you a clarity as to what is that you can act upon immediately. Relating to the same example of job loss, the acceptance of the problem, make you to think what is that you need to do? One step at a time, whom you can reach out to seek help to refer you for a job, where you can apply or how can you quickly adopt yourself, to engage in a part time work.

Thus, you would have realized, the puzzles started to pave ways, when you started to work on what is in hand at that point in time. Anything will still remain a puzzle, if it is after 1 week or a month or even a year. Hence, focus on the current point in time activity, so that you are not puzzled and struck because of the problem.

Remember, even the hardest puzzles have a solution.

Perception – The moment you get into a problem, you face fear. The fear leads to bad visualization of something that’s not in existence. It implants in your head a visual which you get worried much about. This is not even in existence in the first place. Hence, start to perceive positivity. Think positively, how the situation can turn around. Think, what if the rental owner accepts my request for delayed rent payment for the next couple of months. Visualize the same. You would be surprised for sure, how this can turn the course of the events.

It’s not so easy to build positive visualization at tough times. But the speciality, is that the positive visualization acts far more stronger during tiring times. They send those positive vibes of energy around you. The energy around us reflects the vibe what we carry. You would realize whenever you are happy, you carry a positive vibe while when you are sad, you carry a negative vibe. Practice it. Associate yourself with positive vibes. Always bounce back swiftly and quickly like a tennis ball.

Thoughts become perception. Perception becomes reality.

Learning – Every problem is placed in front of you to teach you a lesson. You cannot really know what’s the future would be for you. However, you can plan, how the future has to unfurl itself. The best way, is to carry the learnings from the problems. When you slip on credit card payments, it gives a clear lesson that you spend more than you earn and we don’t control those unplanned purchase. However, this would also teach you, the better you start to save, you would be in better position to face the challenges. That’s the lesson. Start saving.

Every problem when it occurs, can also show you who helped you; the books that inspired you; that dialogue from the movie which pushed you to act; the Starbucks delivery person, who passed on a smile on your worst day, to cheer you up. Look into every bit of activity in those tough times, and each would be an act of kindness, love and support you would have received. Do pay it forward with good gesture, because you would never knew, when you might need it for yourself.

Learning is so wonderful, when it’s from our own life experiences, because we can be mentors to the one who faces it.

Engage – Finally, once you had faced the problem and came out of it do engage yourself to move yourself forward. Don’t be holding on to the same forever. This relates when you loose someone in your life. When you miss your loved one, due to unforeseen situation, it takes time to recover. Take your time. But never hold on there. Because, you might be that light for someone, whose candle is yet to be lit. Gather your hope. Build your strength. Engage yourself again with this beautiful world. Every loss cannot be answered with a purpose. But we can build a purpose out of it, to ensure we can be a guiding force to someone.

“When the Japanese mend broken objects they aggrandize the damage by filling the cracks with gold, because they believe that when something's suffered damage and has a history it becomes more beautiful.”  -Barbara Bloom
Image source – pin interest https://bit.ly/2TU0Ilg

You can turn out to be a transformation agent for someone out there. You are never alone in your problem. There are so many people out there similar to you. The only thing is that, you don’t know who they are. Advance yourself with optimism. Embrace it. Be empathetic, so your compassion can help someone. Consider the experience as a thread stitching your broken pieces together. Something similar to Japanese kintsugi – meaning golden repair. In Japanese art of kintsugi, the broken objects are not something to hide but to display with pride. Embrace and engage. Believe once you sail through a problem, you would be far more different, matured and glowing as like this kintsugi. For your information, everyone in this world is a kintsugi. Some glow, because they share; mostly others don’t. Let you be that candle. A candle that looses nothing by lighting other candles.

Personal Excellence

Analyze your thoughts

Thoughts are like those different seashells. The way the seashells gets pushed to the seashore, thoughts occur the same way in our life. Most of them again gets pulled in by the waves. The one’s you catch can be grouped together to make great products. Do you know, a common man can make minimum 39 different varieties of products from a seashell. The reference to thoughts as seashell carries value. Let’s understand about seashell and relate to thoughts.

Seashells generally grow bottom up. They are like the exoskeleton. Every seashell carries unique patterns. These shells acts as protective homes for the soft inhabitants. The visually striking patterns are used to attract a mate or provide camouflage.

Shell patterns carry the complete history. They represent as what had happened at the shells’ growing edge. They are like a diary.

Like the seashell, our thoughts are by those nerve sparks that creates it. Each thought has its own origin. Mostly at the initial stage of formation, they are not so stable. They can be easily destroyed similar to the wave current for the seashells, for us it’s the situation current. The time at which the thoughts gets formed.

The Seashell life can be related to 3 stages of our thougths.

  1. The formation stage
  2. The dead stage
  3. The life stage.

Formation Stage of Seashell can be related to the future stage of thoughts. When the conditions of formation are not suitable for seashell, they don’t get formed. These can be due to the varying nature of of the wave beds where are they getting formed, the wave currents and the wave heat as well as pressure or the hijacking hunters of the ocean.

Similarly when your thoughts are focussed on to future, you are living in an environment in your mind that’s so fragile. The thoughts hallucinates you, of realism, of aspirations, or in most cases related to stress induced fear, anxiety etc. Though the thoughts of future are not concrete, they can get shattered immediately once your current environment changes. Simple correlation would be, when you are on a vacation on Mauritius beach, you live in a scenic environment. Most of the time, you would visualize your life being beautiful and even planning as to how it would it be, when you plan to live by a beautiful seashore. The moment your vacation gets over, you come back to reality. With in few days, you totally forget about the future lifestyle that you were building as pack of cards at Mauritius. The future thoughts when captured and held properly can turnout to become beautiful seashells. But mostly we leave those to fall and they vanish with time.

The dead stage of seashell are the one’s where they get pushed into the seashore. These are scattered all over on the seashore. In this stage, the mussels or the oyster or the clam have died either full-filling their journey or failing along its course. They become the remnants of the past. Similarly the thoughts of the past are the dead stage. The reason is, in no way we can go and correct the course. The one that happened as good, are to be rejoiced while the bad ones are just a scar, an experience. But never to dwell in those for long, because they don’t drive you forward. They just hold you.

Formation of a pearl. Referrence Natgeo Wild.

The life stage is where the pearls are made. Pearls are formed naturally when an irritant – in general a parasite – gets into an oyster, mussel, or clam. In order to protect similar to a defense mechanism, a fluid coats the irritant. It’s called as ‘nacre’ as it is coated layer upon layer. It’s deposited once a shining pearl is formed. Your present thoughts are similar to those. The irritants are like your hardships. The more you focus on the current one in hand, you will gain results. The results can be simple work completion, to a happy dinner with family or a time by yourself in the evening watching the sunset.

Life is a mixture of all these stages. All these thoughts. You cannot do away with one another. They are here to stay. The present thought in the current moments keeps you in the moment. The future when aligned with the present, helps you to work your way up. Grab your steps in a planned way to reach your goal. The past can be just a guiding force, when its an experience. The more the present, it keeps you at the peace and with a percentage of future should act as a guiding force to reach your goal. The past has to be minimalistic. When you forget about your past, you are bound to repeat your mistakes again.

Above all, the only thing you have to heal is the present thought. Get that right and the whole picture will change into one of harmony and joy.

Eckhart Tolle

Personal Excellence, Task delivery

Busyness means that you are not in control of your time

“Don’t be so busy, trying to make a living that you are too busy to make a life”

A simple and powerful quote to speak about being busy. Most of the times, in our day to day life, we get ourselves busy. We wakeup in the morning with the news alerts to office email alerts; then as we get ready to office, we are busy with the calendar alerts to the calls for the day; Once we reach office we are busy with the workload and at the end of the day we try to close all the pending activities, which we eventually procrastinate for tomorrow or few days away. This didn’t include all the activities which would be on priority in your personal life. Those gets pushed towards the weekend. When the weekend happens, we suddenly realize it flew away like anything and we are back into our regular mundane routine.

So, how do we avoid being busy. Busyness in my perspective comes from inability to prioritize your tasks. A simple comparison between being busy and being productive is, as below.

A simple comparison between being busy and being productive.

A quick look into being busy aspect of our day to day life throws us a much needed clarity

  1. Multiplicity – By Multiplicity, I mean working on varied number of things at any point in time. Simple example can be filling the form at office and at the same time, quickly tweeting about a thought; then leaving your desk to grab a coffee.
  2. Haphazard – There is not a proper way in which we work. That is we don’t block the time for a specific activity. We would be typing a contractual document, would have received an email alert; would pause our work on the document and proceed towards replying the email. In the due time a slack message or the teams chat update, we try to give a quick response.
  3. Quantity – The biggest block which we need to break within ourself is the quantity factor. Over the course of time, we start to believe its the number of tasks we completed than the quality of the work. The quantity factor without realization, would push us to accept as many as possible. At the end of the day, it’s not the quantity that counts but the quality.
  4. Scattered Work – With volume of task or work to be completed, we find ourselves as in an election room. The reason I refer to election room, there is work scattered everywhere. Documents lying on the table for review, multiple windows of tabs always opened on the screen, our official as well as our personal to do list keeps on growing everyday; even our workspace at home are scattered with all the files both online as well as offline.
  5. Work in Waves – This reflects two main points. The task closure and delivery of tasks. We can see that, we would be working continuously to complete a task or work when the deadline nears and during that time, we would also focus to pull in other tasks so that we don’t get into the same trap again. Incidentally, what happens in reality is, post the deadline or extension of the deadline we start to procrastinate. Take a break till the next pressure mounts for the same. Break the momentum. This style of working is similar to a wave pattern, with multiple ups and downs. The ups are our pressure points and downs are our procrastination points.
  6. Impulsive – The larger culprit of busyness is being impulsive. Being impulsive in delivery of task not only puts us at stake, even the team at stake. The reason is there is no proper predictability as to which task we might complete and by when; hence any task closure be it personal or official gets into this impulsive behavior depending upon the urgency and personal interest.

Thus, we can understand by this time, that being busy doesn’t add any value. It’s like spiraling water current, that pulls us down forever. The best way is to be productive. We shall look into that as a separate blog.

To conclude, busyness kills all the priorities for not planning properly. Hence, when we are busy, we are not in control of time. Time controls us as per the urgency than priority.

optimism, Personal Excellence, Teamwork

Repeat your thoughts to actions

Actions speak louder than words. The phrase that we had heard multiple times. The phrase that had grown with us, irrespective of our understanding about the same. Have you ever looked into your actions? What made you to act? What pushed you to perform a task?

As you deep dive into this, you would understand that, its your thoughts. Think about a simple scenario. Cleaning of your house. There is an upcoming long holiday. You would have said to yourself, that you would clean the house during that time. You would have repeated the same with your family members or friends, whomever you share you accommodation with. If you had been staying alone, like me, you would say it to yourself.

When the holiday comes, you would feel bit lazy. You would think, let me do it tomorrow. But suddenly, when you think that you would clean the house, which you had said to yourself, you quickly swing into action. The action is a result of your repeated thoughts. Thus, once you had cleaned your house, you feel a sense of fulfillment. It clearly proves, that when you repeat your thoughts again and again, it gets into action. This remains the same across any field. In a relationship, the heated arguments happen just because of the repeated thoughts that ran in our brain. That’s the reason, we burst out one fine day. Similarly, politicians and media uses the same strategy to repeat their agenda or advertisement again and again. This gets registered and connected in our life as thoughts. When there is a call to action like supporting a cause or buying a product, these thoughts quickly push us to action. Thats when you buy a specific brand of chocolate or that ticket to support a cause.

When you have a work to do or task to complete, visualize the same as an end result. How that task would benefit you or your office upon completion? How much workload for that, day would have got reduced. The moment you happened to do so, you would have realised that the one which you procrastinated during the first half of the day, you would start to work in the second half post that coffee. We attribute it to the coffee, which made you brisk to complete the task. But actually, it’s the thought that got that spark in your subconscious mind to get the job done. Coffee was just an instrument. Had you been drinking tea, it would have been tea too.

Your only limit is your thoughts. The way you think, defines your action.

History, Personal Excellence

History is by most motivated

I remember the lines by Marthin Luther King, when I think about History.

We are not makers of History. We are made by History.

This quote is of significant importance to our title today. Martin Luther King felt the pain of racism. He fought for the civil rights. He understood, that the current situation of him at his point in time in America, was because of the past history. That’s were this quote by him makes a splash.

However, he didn’t accept the history to push him down. He wanted to change it. He dreamt about a better future. A better society with equal rights. A society without racism. That’s how “I have a dream” his remarkable speech was born. Today, if we all are enjoying the fruits of better life, better education, better livelihood compared to the past, it’s because of leaders like Martin Luther King who changed the course of History. Gandhi was motivated enough with his ahimsa principle to bring in freedom to India. Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma, was awarded noble prize for her non-violent struggle for democracy and human rights. The burmese people feel the freedom of life in their country, its because of Suu Kyi.

History doesn’t mean the larger cause alone. If you are living a life of better livelihood, had opportunity to have good education and a comfortable life, then somewhere along the line, it might be your parents or grandparents who took the challenge upon themselves of writing a better life for you. Motivation is intrinsic. However, when you are clear as to what it can benefit others, then you create history within your circle of influence. 

As a quote says,

We are here to create history. Not repeat it.

Lets be motivated enough to create history. A history that shall be good to other others. 

optimism, Personal Excellence, Professional Growth

Choose your stage

In our life, we dream a lot. We dream about becoming an entrepreneur. We dream about becoming the CEO. We dream about becoming a writer, an artist and many more. Dreams are the visions. As famous past president of India Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam says, 

“Dream is not that which you see while sleeping it is something that does not let you sleep”

These dreams are visions. The reason they are visions because those are just wish. Occasionally, when you watch your favorite author, you wish one day you shall turnout to be an author. The same way, you see your friend who is an entrepreneur, you wish yourself that you can also become one in near future. As long as they are just wish, the dreams remain far fetched. Because, whenever you happened to hear your favorite author’s speech or meet up with your entrepreneur friend, you happened to wish. When you have this kind of vision, you are in stage 1.

In order to move from stage 1, of vision to make it a possibility, you need to envision it. Envision is all about visualizing yourself in that wish. Visualizing yourself as an author. Visualizing yourself as an entrepreneur. You relish yourself in the view of how you as an author, would give the speech. Probably sharing a smile on your face wholeheartedly, when you sign an autograph. Visualizing yourself as an effective boss for your team. When you have these repeated visualization, you have started to get immersed in these thoughts. There are sparks inside you, pushing you to capture some elements of the visualization, like what would you name your business?; or what would be the title of your first book. When you started to capture these details, make those notes you are in stage 2.

When you had started to list down the names for your business or started to write those pages for your book, you are already entering the execution stage. Execution is all about making things happen. Turning your dreams to reality. Going from vision to victory. The execution of turning dream into reality will not be an easy task. But your passion will keep you active, as like the oil to the lamp in the midnight. You will burn through multiple nights, rigorous focus on solid goal of realizing your dreams. That’s stage 3.

Now, view yourself in which stage you are. Push it forward to the next stage. If you are on stage 3, have you attained the desired result of what you visualized at the first go. Build the fountain of energy to make it happen. Sow the seeds of workmanship so as to bloom soon. 

As a poem line in Tamil language goes, 

What you sow in the west, will shine as Sun in the east. 

Be the one to shine.