Today I choose life

The mind is a search engine.

Our memories are the data bank that is being searched.

The words we input, return the memories associated with them. When you type in: depressedlonelyunhappy, etc., all those memories are retrieved and this is what you experience.

From today, choose what memories you want to recall. Then input those words in your ‘Search Engine’. Try words like “happypeacefulpowerful, etc”.

See the result for yourself.

Today I choose life. Every morning when I wake up I can choose joy, happiness, negativity, pain… To feel the freedom that comes from being able to continue to make mistakes and choices – today I choose to feel life, not to deny my humanity but embrace it.” – Kevyn Aucoin

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Be Flexible

Things that break easily tend to be rigid and hard. Therefore and to be unbreakable, we need to be flexible.

Circumstances change. Being flexible is about adjusting to such changes while keeping our goal in sight. This makes us unbreakable, and the journey easier.

It is also about resilience and sensitivity to things others say and do. Faith in ourselves. Confidence in our potential. Belief that there is benefit in everything that is happening.

Resilience is the super quality that can be best described by looking at people who have been knocked down by life and have returned stronger than before. Rather than letting failure overcome them, they find a way to rise.

Cultivate flexibility, build a positive attitude, promote optimism, manage emotions, and see failure as a tool to improve.

Stay committed to your decisions, but stay flexible in your approach.” – Tony Robbins

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Fear Of Failure

The belief – ‘survival of the fittest,’ has been ingrained into our psyche since the earliest days of civilization. Repeatedly told that the world is competitive and only the ‘top notch’ can survive, we live comparing our successes apropos others. Competitiveness is explained as the possession of a strong desire to be more successful than others or the quality of being as good as or better than others of a comparable nature.

We live in perpetual fear of failure. Of threatened survival. Is it true that being an ‘always winner’ can bring genuine happiness? Can it even guarantee happiness? Is it not more likely that buying into this belief, might actually be ensuring unhappiness?

Ask anyone why they have not accomplished their goals yet, and fear of failure will always crop up as the number one reason to, most of the time. But, this has nothing to do with being born with low self-confidence. It has everything to do with fear of failure being a socially acceptable behaviour. What we really fear is failing to do something right the first time. Is it really reasonable to expect anyone to do ‘right the first time around’? No. People require several attempts and lots of practice to get things right at all. Yet we go on expecting ourselves to ‘do it right’ the first time.

Why are we in this situation? Right from school, we are trained that getting the ‘right’ answer the first time is the only thing that is rewarded, whereas the wrong answer is punished in a variety of ways: low grades, scolding and contempt from teachers and peers. By our late teens, we have been very effectively trained to fear failure. And most certainly not been taught to embrace failure as a key step in learning.

Most of us are still stuck with a big, ugly Fear of Failure staring us in the face whenever we try to break out of our current reality, go after big goals, or think about learning something new. Somewhere along the way, one has to de-learn the lesson to fear failure. Learn to go after what you want regardless of how often you might probably fail. Embrace failure as a part of getting what you want out of life.

The keys here will be –

Re-training your brain to go after new things. Take a class in something you’ve never done before. It doesn’t matter what it is. If you’ve never done it before, you are bound to fail the first few times you try it. This is a great way to relearn how to court failure, and then overcome it on your way to achievement.

Remind yourself that, fear of failure wasn’t always there for you. When you were a toddler, you had absolutely no fear of failure. If you were afraid to fail, you’d never have learned to walk! Somewhere inside who has absolutely zero fear of failure. That inside man wants to try to do everything. Access that brave little person once again, and you can achieve anything.

Choose to cultivate contentment, joy and bliss. Real, lasting happiness is about being who we really are and not something we have to strive for or can buy. Choose happiness now.

“Failure isn’t fatal, but failure to change might be” – John Wooden

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Hope: I think, I can!

‘Hope’ – a feeling of expectation and desire for a particular thing to happen.

Hope is an optimistic state of mind that is based on an expectation of positive outcomes with respect to events and circumstances in one’s life or the world at large. Amidst the constant changes in life and continually arising confusing, chaotic situations, Hope becomes our life jacket. Hope helps us to keep afloat in the storms that at times cause unexpected changes. Living with Hope keeps us awake. Hope opens us to the opportunities that life offers. We overcome fear and expect the best. We develop the vision that everything will get better and all things will themselves fall in line.

Hope helps us to keep the meaning of our life alive.

Barbara Fredrickson argues that hope comes into its own when crisis looms, opening us to new creative possibilities. That with great need comes an unusually wide range of ideas, as well as such positive emotions as happiness and joy, courage, and empowerment. Hopeful people are “like the little engine that could, [because] they keep telling themselves “I think I can, I think I can”. Such positive thinking bears fruit.

Hope has the ability to help people heal faster and easier. Individuals who maintain hope, especially when battling illness, significantly enhance their chances of recovery. This is important because people with chronic illness believe they have little chance of recovery. If health care providers begin to recognize the importance of hope in the recovery process, then they could learn to instill hope within their patients; thus enabling patients to develop healthy coping strategies. Shaping people’s beliefs and expectations to be more hopeful and optimistic is an essential component of positive psychology. In general, people who possess hope and think optimistically have a greater sense of well-being.

“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.” – Desmond Tutu

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Being Bold

Do you remember what it was like to ride the bicycle with support wheels? The constant swaying. A little to the left and then resting on the little wheel, then off to the right. Lurching from one side to the other. Stopping and starting. Hiccups. All the way. Now, do you remember the exhilaration when, as a child, you could cycle without those aids! Free as a bird.

You can still do this. Every day. Facing all those daunting tasks and looking around for those small support wheels. You never needed them. And you don’t need them now. However challenging the situation may be. Even when the job at hand is totally new. It’s just learning to cycle again. Whatever obstacles are put in you path, whatever hurdles you come across. You don’t need those little support wheels. Ever again.

Pick yourself up. Remind that you did it before. You can do it again. Drag yourself out of your comfort zone.  Discard those feelings of discomfort. Those misgivings. The niggles of suspicion. Slay the ghosts of fear. Have faith.

Trust yourself and go for it; you will achieve. You will be surprised by your own force. Sitting in the comfort zone, you will stagnate.

“Being bold is being firm, sure, confident, fearless, daring, strong, resilient, and not easily intimidated. It means you’re willing to go where you’ve never been, willing to try what you’ve never tried, and willing to trust what you’ve never trusted.” – Mike Yaconelli

Being Bold 20171128

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Move On With Determination

Determination is defined as firmness of purpose. Determination is that positive emotional feeling which involves proceeding towards a difficult goal, despite obstacles. Determination serves to motivate behaviour that will help achieve one’s goal. Determination is the pre-cursor to goal attainment.

To be successful at any activity, one should follow a series of steps. First, have the desire to achieve. Immediately followed by motivation to be on the top. To do so, one needs determination. And to get this determination to work, we need passion. Passion is strong and barely controllable emotion. It is pure energy.

This is the energy inside each of us. It is this energy that gets blocked when we resist change. When we are not prepared to change our thinking. When we do not own responsibility for our own well-being. When we lack self-esteem. When we react rather than respond to situations. When we suppress feelings. And when we are comparing and criticising. We do not realize that not expending energy itself consumes energy. In other words, remaining at the same status (being static) will also use our energy.

Determination is the positive emotion that pushes individuals toward action, that results in important outcomes such as diligence and perseverance, and the development of constructive coping mechanisms. Acting with determination also boosts physical health and mental well-being. Specific positive outcomes include illness resistance, increased survival rates and decreased levels of depression.

An individual experiences positive personal growth when they are able to proactively cope with a difficult situation. In such a case, an individual can acknowledge a demanding situation, take action and maintain high coping potential. One can acknowledge the benefits of a difficult experience yet display a willingness to put forth an effort and achieve specific personal goals.

It is very hard to move on, but once we do move on and with determination, we will realise it was the best decision we have ever made.

“Desire is the key to motivation, but it’s determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal – a commitment to excellence – that will enable you to attain the success you seek.” – Mario Andretti

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When Doing One Thing, Do Just That One Thing

I’m a person of whim, and easily distracted. I don’t like multitasking. When I’m doing one thing, I like to do just that thing.” – Margaret Atwood

Multitasking is working with split attention and currently enjoys a great reputation, but the fact is that we are never actually multitasking. Instead the brain switches between tasks so quickly that it feels we are performing each activity in succession. Imagine a machine were to switch between tasks. We know how much downtime is involved, changeover operations have to be scheduled and performed fully, else the machine will malfunction during the process. It’s not easy for our brain to switch tasks. It takes time and invokes a second level of executive functioning, meaning that we have to use a lot of resources to switch tasks. Do we pause to think what kind of costs we are loading on each task switch? Multitasking drains our effectiveness. We end up performing each activity far more poorly than if we had done it on its own. And the task-switching overhead multiplies exponentially with the number of things being juggled.

The antidote to doing too many things at once is, of course, to only do one thing at a time. That’s the most basic definition of concentration: doing one thing at a time. It is the easiest thing we can do to create a substantial increase in our ability to focus.

When we reduce the number of things you are mentally juggling, the cognitive cost is vastly reduced. Just changing from three objects to two objects frees up a tremendous amount of overhead. The best, however, is to reduce the number of things we are doing or thinking about to one at a time. This lowers the juggling overhead to zero, and allows us to focus 100 percent of our brainpower on one topic.

Develop a habit of doing one thing at a time.

Distractions have become the norm in this tech-driven world today. But it’s more of a habit we have got used to. The challenge now, to break this habit is to make a new habit. Which should be – doing just one thing at a time. Every time we catch ourselves doing too many things at one time, let’s consciously return to just that one essential. The thing that matters. Practise this at every opportunity, at work, at home, while driving the car, all day long. Gently remind ourselves, “One thing at a time.”

We can take a quick check on how strong our habit for distraction has become. Shut everything off and do something simple with no distractions. The first thing that happens, often, is that the mind begins to complain “This is boring. There’s something on TV. Why can’t I just play some music? What’s wrong with eating while studying?” And so on. We will experience anything from mild discomfort to an almost irresistible compulsion to bring back the distractions.

That’s the place to start. To attempt some discipline about doing one thing at a time while trying to concentrate. Concentrating without distractions will eventually turn out to be incredibly pleasant. It will refresh and energize. Stable focus can increase our feeling of satisfaction in what you are doing.

It’s not that difficult. All it takes is a little practice.

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Let’s Nurture Relationships

Each one of us may have been in these situations. There is a deadline to make, and we maybe did not realize that somebody may have needed us. Possibly, they simply asked: “Could you help me fix the photocopier? Could you just take this call?” Instead, so focused were we on what we think was ‘the right thing to be doing’ we do not ‘see’ these moments and we don’t cherish these truly important times in our lives when people seek our help. These are little moments where we could dip inside and use love, compassion or care.

To build meaningful relationships, people need to be not ‘just there’, but ‘emotionally available’.

The available partner is eager for introducing you and making you a part of their inner social circle. They are keen to learn and hope to become a part of your circle too.

The available partner is open about their life. And quite clear about where you stand with them. They like sharing their feelings and want you to reciprocate.

The available partner is excited by your emotions and feelings, which indicate that a closeness is developing between the two of you. It means you are investing in them and they are investing in you. There is a ‘want’ to love and be loved.

The available partner is all excited to learn about you. The more they know, the more the connection grows. And they want to share as much as they can with you.

The available partner is eager to share. Even the things they may be apprehensive about. They are eager for both to discover more about each other.

Let’s end the rat race. Let’s nurture relationships.

Where would you be without friends? The people to pick you up when you need lifting? We come from homes far from perfect, so you end up almost parent and sibling to your friends – your own chosen family. There’s nothing like a really loyal, dependable, good friend. Nothing.” – Jennifer Aniston

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Leadership

Warren Bennis once stated, “leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.” Great leaders possess impressive social intelligence, a zeal for change, and for the most part, a vision that allows them to set their sights on the issues that truly merit attention.

The responsibility of leaders is to develop a vision, provide direction and foster inspiration. Yet, while leaders set direction, they must use management skills to guide their people correctly. The mapped route must arrive at the proper destination.

An effective leader, therefore is a person who –

  • Creates an inspiring vision of the future. Leadership is proactive – problem solving, looking ahead, and not being satisfied with things as they are.
  • Motivates and inspires people to engage with that vision. Effective leaders link together two different expectations – first, that hard work leads to good results, and next that good results lead to attractive rewards or incentives. This motivates people to work hard to achieve success, because they expect to enjoy the resulting rewards.
  • Manages delivery of the vision. Work allocation, delegation and monitoring will ensure effectiveness. This also includes change management. Changes must be implemented smoothly and thoroughly.
  • Coaches and builds a team, so that it is more effective at achieving the vision. Individual and team development are important activities. First, great leaders understand their team dynamics. Successful teams are created because the leader ensures that team members have the necessary skills and abilities to do their job and achieve the vision. They identify, leadership potential in others and nurture this. This creates and environment that ensures success over the long term.

Leader and Leadership should be understood properly. These roles are often confused with people who are just managers. Managers may be highly skilled, good at their jobs, and valuable to their organizations – but that does not make them leaders.

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams

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Worrying

The state of being anxious and troubled over actual or potential problems is worry.

Worry is a way of thinking. Imagining the worst. Rushed responses, reacting under fear or duress, work deadlines are all forms of worry. When we rush we worry; while worrying we force ourselves to think about what will happen next. Instead, we should focus on what we can do now. When we think less, think slowly and think positively, then we can understand our thoughts and stay practical. Thinking clearly in the present situation, helps us visualize possible outcomes and next steps. As we begin to think clearly in the present, we programme ourselves to picture the future too. This dissipates anxiety over unknown possibilities. Worrying over how tasks will be completed and creating self-doubts over our competence, limits our ability to respond to challenges.

Flexibility is one solution to overcome worry. This covers acceptance and allows alternate thought processes. It lets us accommodate the unforeseen situations that we encounter and enables us to make the best of things. To an extent worrying is good stress. It can force one to look for creative answers, out of the box solutions. But you need to be in control of these situations.

If you are a worry wart and constantly fret about everything and anything – from health to wealth and everything in between and it sounds like you may be worrying your life away, you are a victim of chronic worrying. This is a mental habit that can be broken and you can train your brain to stay calm and look at life from a more balanced, less fearful perspective.

To tackle your chronic worrying problem, start first to distinguish between solvable and unsolvable worries. When a worry pops into your head, ask yourself whether the problem is something that can be solved. Is the problem something you’re currently facing, rather than an imaginary one? If the problem is imaginary, how likely is it to happen? Can you do something about the problem or prepare for it, or is it out of your control?

Solvable worries are those on which you can act immediately. Start brainstorming. Make a list of the possible solutions. It is not necessary to find the perfect solution. Focus on the things in your control. Once you have an action plan, you’ll feel much less worried. Developing the ability to embrace your feelings – feel grounded – help to control worrying tendencies.

Chronic worriers can’t stand doubt or unpredictability. They need to know with 100 percent certainty what’s going to happen. Worrying is then seen as a tool to predict the future. The problem is, this doesn’t work. You may feel safer when you’re worrying, but it’s just an illusion. Focusing on negatives won’t stop them from happening. It will only keep you from enjoying the good things in the present. So, if you want to stop worrying, start by accepting uncertainty. Ask yourself – ‘Is it possible to be certain about everything in life? How would having certainty in life be helpful? Will bad things happen just because they are uncertain? Is it possible to live with the thought that something negative may happen? Don’t look at the world in ways that make it seem more dangerous than it really is. Or treat every negative thought as if it were fact.

Your feelings are impacted by the company you keep. Emotions are contagious. People with whom we spend more time have a greater effect on our mental health. Spend less time with people who make you anxious. Choose your confidantes carefully. Few people will help you introspect, to improve perspective, while most will feed into your worries, doubts, and fears.

Talk therapy can help chronic worriers worry less by getting to the root of their issues. Individuals need to understand what causes their anxiety or what it is related to. Talking to supportive people helps you dig deep enough and go back to the origins of your worrying nature.

Since, worrying is usually focused on the future, the ancient practices of mindfulness and meditation can help by bringing focus back to the present. This strategy is based on observing and then letting them go. Acknowledge your anxious thoughts and feelings. Don’t try to ignore, fight, or control them. Instead, simply observe them from an outsider’s perspective, without being judgemental. Let your worries go. When you don’t try to control anxious thoughts, they pass by.

Using meditation to stay focused on the present is a simple concept, but it takes practice to reap the benefits. Your mind will inevitably keep wandering back to your worries. Don’t let this frustrate you. Each time you return to the present, you are re-inforcing the habit that will eventually help you break free of the worry cycle.

In situations where nothing can be done to change the outcome, worrying can still serve a motivating function in preparing you for bad news – if it comes. In essence, worry often provides impetus to do something rather than nothing.

“Life is too short to worry about anything. You had better enjoy it because the next day promises nothing.” – Eric Davis

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