As we are progressing, as technology is facilitating connections, giving us new ways to interact with one another, we are becoming more & more disconnected. Technology is not the problem, but our ability to use our wisdom is! We have lost it. We have lost our ability to sieve high quality from low, from what is real to superficial, we have been conditioned & molded to believe what is just projected to us. We have lost our ability to decide, gauge & even reflect on what should be believed, absorbed, held on to & let go.
This blog is an outcome of many incidents & awakening that I have experienced over the last few days/weeks. I see many people posting their best pictures, best days, their highest thoughts, their success stories etc. etc in the social platforms likes Facebook, LinkedIn & tweet about their best ideas/thoughts. Whether they uphold it or not, that's a different debate altogether. All these things are good momentarily but very distracting & short-lived. At least to me this doesn't create any impact because behind the reels, another reality lies. A reality that you are running away from, a reality that you are finding hard to acknowledge & accept, a reality that you have become uncomfortable with because of all the illusions that you created. The rat race of being seen as the best is increasing amongst people & this pains me. Sometimes I too get tempted to be in this race when I see the world just believing in what is shown & not taking a moment to reflect, use their wisdom to figure out what is true & what is fake. But then fortunately I can see the consequence of that choice which I know is short lived & not fulfilling to me. Slowly, rather than creating an impact, your focus gets shifted to how I can get admiration & approval for being best, seen as best. And for sure, that's not my intent.
The saddest part is, in this chaos when someone genuinely puts something concrete, of value & impact, we ignore it; rather it gets ignored amidst the fake. A habit of being in haste is slowly getting formed. Majority of the people don't even realize that they are being influenced by this social "seen as best" revolution which isn't taking them anywhere. And a new form of disorder is taking shape: Social Media Obsession & Anxiety. Read more about this. Hail Google!
Recently an incident happened & it shook me to the core. One of the acquaintances who was always projecting the best on the social media, suddenly gave up on his life. This news was shocking for me! What happened & why? Everything seemed alright. Life on the social media seemed so good. No one could even doubt that something substantial was happening on the inside that was hidden from the world. Something so troubling that one decided to end one's life?! Based on what was shown, nobody even cared to look past the projection. Nobody cared to even ask just one simple question: "Is everything ok?" We assume that everything is fine. But trust me, things may not be as it is shown. Deep down the reality may be very different. This is a trap that we are trapped in!
Many years ago I saw a couple posting pictures of them projecting their best into the world. They were one of the couples who set couple goals for others to follow & imbibe. And months later, I got to know that the man committed suicide because of some personal relationship issues. This shook me. What's wrong with us? Social media is here to facilitate connections & not to enable our attachment to our best projections. We are human! We have ups & downs. We have problems in our career, relationships & its okay to have these. What if we choose to drop the projections & show what's real without packaging, filtering & sugar-coating? What's the fear? Fear of abandonment, rejection, looked down upon? Do you then think that those individuals who only puts you in the pedestal for your projections, worth your time & effort? Who are you then putting down by holding on to them? If not dropping it altogether, can we at least choose & care to ask: "How are you?" That would make a lot of difference in someone's life. And I say this from my own experience & encounter with people. They have huge follower-ship but say, "I don't have a real connection or a real friend. They all come to me for some ulterior motives not because they care for me." Isn't this a sad state of affair? They cry in front of me, they share their stories, their pain, their concerns but that doesn't make them bad, low or unappealing. That doesn't mean that they are not having good memories or goodness in life. All it means is you are human & its okay to be real, to embrace yourself with all your imperfections, challenges, dark sides.
Our work is not to be perfect but be real. So, drop the mask, the projection & be real. At least if not anything, you will give flame to a movement where people will be comfortable being themselves, being seen as they are. Living your life is more important than the petty projections! Sooner you realize, you will make a better & meaningful living for yourself & your significant others. I would be keen on seeing that real self in you; no filter, no projection, no packaging but the real you. Let's use technology to connect with that person & not ignite the "seen as being best" race. Likewise, let's see the real talent, the potential, the possibilities, the real value, the depth & not just the projection. This way we will create a better world for us & generations to come. I take the responsibility for creating an environment for people where sadly projection is given more importance than substance & reality. Will you too? If yes, start from today. Acknowledge a person who is real; reach out to one person & ask how he/she is. Read beneath the lines & make a difference, save a life.
This blog is my gift to you to ignite this awareness in you to hold on to reality & let go projection.
Believing in you,
Thanks to Clarence Thomson, a great Coach and an expert in Enneagram style that I got to know my style, the box in which I have been living my life and operating from there. Remember, everyone operates living in either of the nine boxes called the nine Enneagram styles. After having read Clarence's books and after having been coached by him on my Enneagram style, now I know why I do what I do; why I behave the way I do; why my inclination towards innovation, creativity and intense emotions; why people misunderstand me at times & likewise; why my resistance to systems; why my affinity towards those who are discarded/considered as misfit; why the mood swings and the like. When inside the box, everything made perfect sense to me. I saw myself, life and the world living in that box. But with that came lot of other things that hindered my growth & progress which I wasn't aware of. The very gifts become bottlenecks when you are not aware of your style because every one has their own way of reacting, behaving and doing things. I am so glad to have uncovered this aspect of mine that now I find so much comfort not only in accepting myself but every other view that comes my way. I now don't consider myself as flawed because of my uniqueness but a huge gift which can be utilized in projects, situations that seems like a deadlock to others. To read more about the Enneagram styles, do read my earlier blog post, the link is given here: your-views-are-skewed-and-not-shared-by-everyone.html.
I dedicate this post to all those people who are highly creative, innovative and can think out of the box but fail to convince others to buy into their ideas or upon facing resistance to their ideas, they just sulk and give up like me. You see there is high demand of people with these gifts that I had quoted above. Don't take it as bragging, but I have all those gifts too along with the dark side of these gifts. I have come out of these by learning hard lessons, I don't want you all to do that. Hence, I am writing for you all. How the world looks like to us when we operate by living in that box which has innovation, creativity and out of the box thinking and when this doesn't make any sense to others living in a different box, what we do? So, here it goes and if you can relate to this and want to add more points based on your experience, please feel free to do so either by commenting or writing directly to me.
1. It's difficult to change something that is rooted deep, that which makes sense to everyone else. Your out of the box thinking may not be accepted at one go. Because that idea, thinking is making sense to you but not to others. If they have to buy your idea, remember you have to understand the box, the well that they are in. Only when they allow you in their well, you can lead them out. Got it!
2. Don't take resistance personally. In fact, be happy that your ideas are too unique for others to understand, assimilate and even accept that to be real. You see the way forward, but others can't. They will resist, but if you allow the resistance to put yourself down, then the idea remains an idea without any execution. And that's not at all good for something that needs revamping and innovative thinking; needs YOU.
3. You are not flawed, you are unique. Many a times, there is a tendency to doubt ourselves. This happens because not all think like us and hence, we don't have the majority supporting us. Instead of considering yourself as unique there is maximum probability for us to consider ourselves as flawed. This thinking erodes our very gifts and disables us from making huge impact in the world. We are meant to do that.
4. More the resistance, greater possibility of you making an impact. Challenging status quo needs courage and different set of skills. The more you face resistance, remember you can make a greater impact there. So, instead of sitting back when faced with opposition, try to understand the reasons for their resistance. It might be due to fear, due to discomfort or seeming threat to their very existence. To help them, you have to allow them to first over their fears and inhibitions. Be patient here.
5. Along with empathy, comes mood swings. There are times when because of the empathy, we tend to have our own mood swings to deal with. Because we can feel so much, we live by looking at what is missing and hence have to deal with a surge of emotions when we don't see others understanding the flaws of being where they are. We see great possibilities, but we also lament over the idealistic things that we have in our mind which leads to melancholy. These are the times, when others misunderstand us and our behaviours.
6. Seek to understand first and then be understood. In a world where it is hardwired to first be understood, let's play the game other way around for our own good. Let's understand first by getting curious when faced with resistance, and then help them understand our point of view. Makes sense?!
My biggest take away is, "To help them, you have to allow them to lead you in." Only then you can really make a difference through your uniqueness. Only then you can make the best use of your gifts. If you give up, you lose and they lose the opportunity to let innovation, creativity and out of the box thinking solve the problems that they are stuck in. So, let's not resist but let's try to persist. Let's try to overcome our dark sides to enable us & others to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Our intention is to make a difference and not to win an argument. Be creative about your approach, rest you have it all to make it happen.
"Your perception of the world around you is not necessarily the same as what is actually occurring."
Why we do what we do? Simply because it makes complete sense to us! More stringent our views, more difficulty we have in accepting others & letting go of our narrowed perspectives. With these specific views about ourselves, life and people; we box ourselves into certain categories. When we are unaware of this aspect, we protect our world view at great cost to our full potential. With awareness of our underlying motives and openness to shift our views, we embrace greater possibilities and liberate ourselves to understand life, people & ourselves from a better, newer and wider perspective. This is like getting hold of a magic wand to understanding ourselves, people and life. There is so much joy in variety. Earlier, familiarity gave me confidence, but now disagreements give me joy because there is an opportunity for me to view things, situation from a different angle, unknown to me. Also, when we don't have control over our gifts due to unawareness of our box, they become our shadows that stop us from blooming into our best selves.
Enneagram (from the Greek words [ennéa, meaning "nine"] and [grámma, meaning something "written" or "drawn"]), is a model of the human psyche which is principally understood and taught as a typology of nine interconnected personality types. I have attempted to collate few traits from each style, mostly from good reads on Enneagram so that you can figure out which style you relate to most and accordingly become aware of the fact that your views are skewed and not shared by everyone. Joy lies in being flexible and embracing the gifts of all the other styles and dropping the shadow sides to develop into your fullest potential. So, let's get started.
Gift: Ability to see and work towards perfection.
Shadow: Often notices what's wrong & what needs fixing.
Communication style: Sounds over controlled & restraint.
Emotion: Low-key anger, tight control over their emotions.
Behaviour: Sarcastic & angry out-bursts, problem in delegation.
Gift: Ability to anticipate & tend to someone else's need. Notices people.
Shadow: Lose themselves in the intent of taking care of others.
Communication style: Talk about others.
Emotion: Strong feelings.They aren't acting out of love but making an emotional investment. Engages in emotional blackmail if you don't reward that investment.
Behaviour: Manipulative, operates behind the scene, difficulty in admitting their own needs openly, neediness in their body language, indirect, requires lot of positive affirmations and recognition, gives non-verbal messages.
Gift: Drive to succeed in attaining a goal. Notices what others expect.
Shadow: Competitive striving may rob them of their souls.
Communication style: Language of the role they are playing.
Emotion: Avoid their feelings in the effort to keep up a successful image.
Behaviour: Become workaholics, ruthless, measures success through the eyes of others, claims credit, wants to look good in order to succeed.
Gift: Passion for creativity, emotional depth & a profound desire for authenticity, notices how others feel.
Shadow: Fear of being ordinary.
Communication style: Mood based.
Emotion: Become stuck in melancholy, feel different from others, believing anything good is unavailable.
Behaviour: Conceptual, intuitive, visionary, unrealistic. Getting buy-in for ideas is a problem. A sense of longing is always there.
Gift: Ability to conceptualize & to master knowledge, notices information.
Shadow: Emotionally remote & socially awkward, less attention to their physical side of life.
Communication style: Likely not to talk arising from their desire to keep distance.
Emotion: Hoard emotions, time, energy & thoughts.
Behaviour: Reserved, unworldly, intellectual isolation, stingy with appreciation,hates talking to people below a certain level, loves to debate.
Gift: Loyalty, notices what can go wrong.
Shadow: Questions their inner authority, anxiously anticipate anything that could go wrong.
Communication style: Change thinking & style to match that of the group.
Emotion: Believes world is not a safe place because they feel powerless from inside.
Behaviour: Looks to group for security, often the ones to challenge authority, fear of fear, anxious & self-doubting.
Gift: Positive, energetic and ability to generate ideas.
Shadow: Easily frustrated when things slow down.
Communication style: Love to talk.
Emotion: Out of touch with the more negative portions of reality, avoids sad or painful feelings.
Behaviour: Little tolerance for boredom or discomfort of any kind, habitually over-schedule & fill their lives too full of activity in order not to feel their inner fear.
Gift: Natural confidence & ability to take charge, notices who has what kind of power.
Shadow: Claims power whether others like it or not.
Communication style: Have loud voices.
Emotion: Feels they are larger than life and are driven to excess.
Behaviour: Intimidating, stirs things to spice up, generous if you comply.
Gift: Being calm, easy-going, capable of understanding divergent opinions.
Shadow: Avoid conflict, deadlines, unsettling thoughts.
Communication style: Talk in sagas.
Emotion: Suppressed anger.
Behaviour: Agree with all sides, either achieves consensus or remain inactive, lack assertiveness, appear not to notice but in fact they don't notice themselves.
Have you figured out your box? Are you finding difficulty in acknowledging the shadow side to your gifts? I too found it difficult. But I choose to drop my inhibitions, I choose growth over arrogance. Are you open to drop the ones that aren't serving you and embrace the new ones? The gifts that we admire in others is nothing but our unacknowledged gifts. Acknowledge these and transform into your whole being. I am an Enneagram style 4.
"The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek."
There's no denying that we have immense power within ourselves to create a life of our choice and to be who we truly want to be. We have gifts that make us unique and enable us to grow in life. But, these same gifts, habits, patterns act as a block in our progress beyond a limit. Yes, we set limits for ourselves. We create our perfect system and we operate within that system. We become so good in doing this, that we ignore the very gifts and tend to absorb the darker side of it automatically and not by choice. Sounds crazy?! Yes, it does and it occurred to me too. Sometimes accepting harsh truths is difficult and we tend to avoid it/ ignore it. That's our blind spot, that's our area of growth. I too have set a perfect system for myself, a limit beyond which I feel I cannot grow. I keep coming back once I reach that limit to start from scratch again. My default mechanisms inside starts to play the moment I tend to cross that limit & pulls me down. This is a subconscious agreement that we make with ourselves without even us knowing it or acknowledging it. The moment when we get irritated, get anxious, get angry, get mood swings, don't feel good, feel low, feel stressed, feel negative etc. are the moments we need to take note of our behaviours. That's the time to really figure out the answers that we might be asking ourselves unconsciously. Why haven't I been able to make the next cut? What is the perfect system that I have set for myself? What limit have I set for myself?
You won't find a single person who would say that he/she doesn't want to grow in life/improve oneself. Everybody does but not everyone gets to the root of understanding what stands in the way of doing that. Honestly, nothing except oneself. You are your biggest ally and your biggest enemy! The human mind, their behaviours are so unique and exciting that if we really try to delve deep into this subject, we will realize that all that we do, act, behave, think are nothing but our beliefs, conditioning, patterns in action. Based on these conditioning, we create a perfect system in which we operate. That's our comfort zone and we like being in it because we get comfortable with the ways, the results. We get comfortable with the certainties and start to see things being in that system. If the beliefs are too deep, we become rigid in our approach too. Then our restlessness when not being in our comfort zone, increases.
Citing here a conversation that I had with one of my coaching clients as an illustration to show how the perfect system that we create stops us from taking the next big leap. To maintain confidentiality, I am twigging the context a bit.
Client: "I am stressed out and I don't know what to do."
Me: Tell me more.
Client: "I don't think I can handle this. I am not prepared. This is my dream project and I know I am going to mess up because my team members are not serious about it and I don't see them taking ownership."
Me: "Can you be more specific as to what they aren't doing that you want them to do?"
Client: "They lack in confidence, they are not showing the professionalism that is required, I have to be on my toes to get things done, I have to send them reminders for things. How can I even do this? If I lose out on this, I lose out completely."
Me: "What is it that is truly bothering you that you are taking solace in blaming your team for their inefficiency? This is the same team with which you built your credibility. What is different now?"
Client: Refusing to admit initially. "I am nervous. I think I am not equipped to deal with this huge opportunity that is there. I feel I am not good enough. There is more abundance than I can handle."
Me: "Brilliant!!! I thank you for admitting this. This is a great realization and acknowledgement!"
Client: " Um mm...It's actually not about the team. I haven't handle this before. So, I don't know what I can do and how I can lead them."
Me: "What is the limit that you have set for yourself? What is the limit beyond which you think you cannot grow?"
Client: "Ah! I think this is it! Working on this project is like going beyond my comfort zone. I am fearful of the uncertain path. I need to be in control of the things which I am not. I can't see the big picture."
Me: "Brilliant! Do you want to take a cut to your next level? Do you want to challenge your beliefs that are handicapping your growth?"
Client: "Yes, for sure!"
And the conversation goes on....Finally, the client debunked the perfect system, the limit and chose to commit to living in limitless abundance for self and the team. What seemed like an external issue was actually an internal issue that my client courageously handled and moved forward.
It is important for us to challenge ourselves, throw the light of awareness and question ourselves as to what is the default limit that we are slaving to and why?! Do you want to break-free? Do you want to understand the behaviours that are keeping you stuck? You are meant to fly, so break-free right now, right here before you regret later.
"When we avoid difficult conversations we trade short term discomfort for long term dysfunction."
We often avoid difficult conversations. We fear consequences & repercussions we are not prepared to face. The strategy that we often use is to distract the conversation, brush it off, put it under the carpet assuming that if we don't face it, we will be relieved. But, alas this is not the truth! The more we push the difficult conversations aside, the more we risk ourselves of it's bitter consequences. Difficult conversation could be with anyone, including self. Can be on any topic, any aspect of one's life. It's like a spring, the more you force against it, the more it tends to sprung. Interestingly, the cornerstone of true connection is the ability to have difficult conversations.
Are you in touch with your actual emotional state? Are you aware of the deeper emotions driving your thoughts, feelings, behaviors; sometimes without even you being aware of it? Do you know yourself truly? Are you willing to have that daring & difficult conversation with self first to be aware of your emotional state? Better self-awareness empowers us to make the desirable changes in life. We can accordingly build on our strengths & identify areas we would like to improve. By being aware, we discover our uniqueness and give ourselves the power to experience that. As far as my own experience goes, we deny having the difficult conversation. Sometimes we know the truth and the truth has the ability to shake the very foundation of our upbringing and hence we deny listening to that. When our intention to become our better selves is higher, we can easily challenge ourselves to have that conversation. But, when we are more concerned in protecting our hidden self from us and others, we find it difficult. There is a beautiful saying,"The cave that we fear to enter has the treasure that we are looking for." So, it is important that we challenge ourselves to enter that cave to look for the treasure.
Here are few steps to empowering yourself to having the difficult conversation:
1. Identify one difficult conversation that you are thinking about having or know that you need to have either in personal or professional sphere.
2. Identify your intention of having that difficult conversation. Is it sourced in pure joy of uncovering or a hidden agenda of blaming the other person or criticizing self?
3. Have an open mind to explore different perspectives & stories & not argue.
4. What will you take responsibility for and what actions will you take to correct it?
5. How are you going to deal with your feelings during the conversation? Unexpressed feelings take a toll on our self-esteem and relationships. Thus it's not about not expressing the emotions but about being matured enough to understand it and put it across in a receptive way.
I leave you with this inquiry, "Is the real conflict inside you? Maybe you need a conversation with yourself first than with anyone else!" What do you say? Are you ready to have a difficult conversation with yourself?
"Clarity about what matters provide clarity about what does not." - Cal Newport
What distractions are you using in your life to run away from the REAL ISSUE? This is a question that we need to ask ourselves if we want to really have inner peace & joy. Many a times the problems that we think are not really the problems. The actual issue is something very different and deep seated. In today’s world full of distractions, how do we even pause for a while to connect with our real issues?! We don’t have time for all these, that’s the very common and expected answer. But, let me remind you that by not reflecting on the real issue, you are in a way adding on to the issue which will erupt one day & then no amount of distractions will be a saviour.
Many years back, when I took sabbatical from work to raise my child, I used to be very active on Facebook. Then my only way to fill my inner vacuum was to get applause for raising my son. My sense of worth came from there. I used to upload pictures of my son and I would get numerous likes. Those likes gave me pleasure, outwardly. It validated that I was doing a wonderful job of raising my son. Did I believe myself?! I am not sure, otherwise I would not have craved for likes after likes. I was pretty active then on Facebook and every day, my network would get to see some pictures of my son. Then came my self-validation bit. I would post my picture and felt good to see numerous likes on my picture. As if the likes were a revelation of the fact that I am beautiful & still I am. How stupid of me! Yet, I missed something. I felt good for some moments, then I would feel vacuum inside and again I would upload, get likes. The vicious cycle went on. I didn’t know then that I was running away from the real issue.
One day, I decided to deactivate my account because some part of me was saying that this is not worth it. This is not me. No offense to those who post pictures please! That’s how I felt. As I stopped using Facebook to distract myself from the real issue, I got in touch with my real issue. I had self-esteem issues myself. Revelation for me! Did I think I am worthy enough? No. Did I think I am beautiful? No. Did I believe in myself? No. I embraced this pain. And questioned myself, “When people around you believe in your abilities, what is stopping you from owning that? What’s the real issue?” And the real issue was I had the habit of deflecting abundance in my life. Every time anything good happens, every time I got a praise, I had the habit of deflecting it. Meaning I ignored it and didn’t let myself feel the abundance, the joy in the moment & neither did I open myself up to receiving the abundance. This acted as a big barrier in my life. This habit limited my experience of abundance.
I challenged this believe in me and tried to ponder, what exactly could be the issue. See, when you really want to find an answer, you do get it. When you are ready, the Universe starts revealing the answers to you. I had been a high performer in my life and I never settled for less. I always wanted to scale from one level to another. Most of my job hopping can be attributed to that trait. My benchmarks were high. What was good for others, was mediocre for me. I never enjoyed the success because then I deflected it by saying that I could have done better than this. That became a habit and unknowingly it started forming the wall and blocked abundance from flowing into my life. I still remember my days when I was pursuing my MBA; after the semester, my friends used to ask me how my exam was, and I would say, ok. When I asked them the same, they would say it was great. When results came out, I used to outscore them. Then they would come and tell me that I lied to them. But, I couldn’t explain to them what my problem was then. I didn’t know myself. Now I understand that all my life, I had set high benchmark for myself.
Again, the real issue is much beyond that. When inwardly you don’t feel you are good enough, you keep raising the benchmark for yourself thinking that attaining the next level would make you feel good. But, alas that’s not the case! You must enjoy the journey and not focus on the upper limit. Because there is no upper limit. You can scale to whatever heights you want to. Only you create that limitation to distract yourself from the real issue.
If you want to really feel inner peace, joy & happiness, then let abundance, joy & success flow through you every moment. Don’t wait for a particular thing to happen in your life to feel abundance. That way you are blocking it from coming your way. I have learnt it the hard way, I don’t want you to do the same. Better late than never. Don’t run away from the real issue!
"No matter what your ability is, effort is what ignites that ability and turns it into accomplishment." - Carol Dweck
Mindset is simply a person's way of thinking & his/her opinions about self, people & life in general. According to world renowned Standford University psychologist Carol Dweck, there are basically two types of mindsets: FIXED MINDSET AND GROWTH MINDSET. Our mindset typically determines and shapes the life that we lead & the success that we achieve. We can live in the expression of our highest self only when we drop the fixed mindset & chose to cultivate the growth mindset. All those who attained mastery in their fields, interestingly had growth mindsets.
Let's check out the traits of both the mindsets to understand this better. A fixed mindset usually avoids challenges, likes being in the comfort zone, dislikes failure, feels threatened by others, adheres to past accomplishments & intelligence, is averse to learning new things, new perspectives, ideas. A growth mindset on the other hand is open to learning, embraces failure, imperfections, takes risks, draws inspiration from other's successes, enjoys putting in effort & developing.
It is very important to analyze one's mindset and check if it growth focused or fixed. Whatever it may be, there's always a scope to drop something that doesn't serve us and embrace the one that will not only help us grow but discover our own potential which we might not have even thought of. We can cultivate the growth mindset. We are all victims of the victim. When circumstances fixates our ability to think, create & see beyond, we become victims and thus low performer in every aspect of life. When we know how to deal with the demons, rise above the circumstances, we become fighters & thus high performers. We keep struggling to win, to rise up. The last stage is the stage of a peaceful warrior. A peaceful warrior has a growth mindset & thus is a super performer, the master. In this stage learning becomes the focus without caring for approvals, achievements, validations; without the need to prove anyone but to walk the path towards self-actualization. Our aim should be to walk the path of a peaceful warrior. Now the question is, how do you change from having a fixed mindset to growth mindset. Here are few ways to do that:
1. Make learning you goal & not achievement. Your energy flows in the direction of your focus. We are bound to fail at some point in life. When learning becomes our goal, we see the lessons in the failure & work towards improvement rather than breaking down & giving up.
2. Look at your inability to do something as your opportunity to grow. Efforts make you stronger and doesn't mean that you are not good enough. Life is a process of progress. We move from one level to another and it's a journey. We have the capacity to create with due efforts that what we want to no matter what the circumstances or stages of life are.
3. Challenge your thinking patterns & habits.
4. Acknowledge your weaknesses & look for ways to make a shift. Every gift has a shadow and every shadow can be turned into a gift with effort. You got to dig deep.
5. Change is mandatory. Accept this fact & look for your inner resistance to change. What could be the triggers inside you not allowing you to embrace the change?
6. Learn to accept & give constructive criticisms. There's no point taking anything personally. Constructive criticisms shows you your blind spots & acts as a catalyst for your growth.
7. Learn to unlearn.
8. Be gentle on yourself.
Last but not the least, remember that you are whole, complete, resourceful & a work in progress. You have to just pick up from where you left & keep walking the path. Cultivating a growth mindset will enable you to attain your highest potential. Remember, however successful you are today, this is not your highest expression because it's a journey & not a destination.
It's been a while that I stopped reading newspapers in the morning. You know why?! Is there anything inspirational in the news that I start my day with?! Well, you have the answers. No offense to anyone, but let's get real and talk real. 70% to 80% of the content in news channel, print media are more about news of victims and only 20% are positive & inspirational. This has nothing to do with the publishers but this is a yardstick for us to see where we are heading to. This is a reflection of the direction in which we human beings, humanity is moving. And this is alarming! You would agree, the picture is not so rosy. I have always been a supporter of righteous causes and values. I have faced the burnt of being different, not following unethical ways and standing up for what is right, never being silent about hard things. It does scare me but gives me immense fulfillment. Because that's my being, that's who I am. Yes, I have made a difference this way to larger mass of people. In fact, all of you in your own way have impacted the world around us. Just by your being, you can make a difference. How do I say this?! According to Dr. David Hawkins, when one reaches a high level of consciousness sourced in love & not fear, it can offset the negativity of huge number of people. This means, one single person holds the capacity to offset the negativity around us. Imagine how this world will be when few of us chose to be in this path of consciousness that is sourced in love & not in fear?! But, this path is not easy. It is difficult. However, you have to keep walking this path because it is fulfilling, joyous & worth walking.
Here I am citing a small incident from today's experience of mine while I was driving. It was the rush hour in the morning wherein everybody on the road seemed to be rushing to their destination. As if time is running out and if they do not come first in this race, they will loose out. I see cars zooming, people crossing the roads in hurry and honking sound all around. Because of the fear of the traffic police, at major traffic signal points, the cars stop. But, places where police isn't there and where not much traffic is there, people tend to move past despite of the red signal. I stopped my car when I saw the red light despite of the fact that everybody around me was speeding to their destinations. If you notice me, you'll feel as if I am the only one who had lost the rat race and clinging on to the traffic rules. Earlier I used to get angry to see people around me not following them. But, with self-awareness & deeper understanding about where to put focus on, I just thought of doing my bit not bothering if others are doing it or not. Anyways, I have always been known for not following the herd. So, it didn't matter to me to follow something which I felt wasn't right. But that was not enough. There was this truck driver behind me yelling at me using all the abusive language that he could use to instigate me to move forward because I was obstructing his way. I was not letting him pass the red light. I put my window pane down and told him that it's a signal for red, so wait till it turns green. He wasn't satisfied. He kept yelling and raced his truck forward to scare me so that I move. I was scared. But, I chose to do what I felt was right. I hung onto my decision of obeying traffic rules. I saw all cars plying on the road moving swift pass me. I was there alone with the angry truck driver behind me. I was also wondering if the traffic light was alright?! Also, for a fraction I was tempted to move forward out of fear. But, I chose trust, love & greater consciousness for myself. Sometimes, you have to just do what is right & ignore everything. After a while, the light turned green and I headed off to my destination. I again met another rat race which I was least interested to participate in. As a human being, the survival instinct in me told: "What was the need to be righteous in a world when your main focus should be to survive?" Then my emotional mind cropped up and said: "That's why probably you are not in the rat race & not winning any worldly games!" Much to my satisfaction, my limitless mind with greater consciousness sprung up and said: "Be proud of yourself for choosing this path of uncommonness. Because of people like you, the world is a balance place with it's beauty still intact.That you are making a difference to millions of people through the small actions that you take by being emotionally responsible, conscious & right, this world still has hope, love & joy. This is a gift not only to them but to their next generations as well." That's the moment when I realized my victory of consciously walking the path to higher self-actualization. It's like coming home to that power which created us.
Hats off to all those, who by their tiny actions are making a difference in the world. At least, you can be proud of the fact that all those 20% inspirational news still popping up in media, news channel and around are because of your intangible contributions which necessarily may not be recognized, but you know it when you feel the warmth & joy. You are happier, fulfilled & your life is purposeful.
I welcome the peaceful warrior in me. From a fighter, I now walk on the journey of a peaceful warrior. I urge you all to do the same at your right time.
"If another can easily trigger you, it is because you are off balance with yourself."
We cling on to our narrow views till one day we realize that this clinging is not serving us at all. This narrow view with which we see ourselves, others and life itself is nothing but our blind spot. Our views aren't the reality. It's just a perspective and perspectives are infinite. Our narrow lens limit our growth & bars us from having a holistic understanding of life, everything in it & thus our inability to enjoy it. We assume that our identity lies in holding on to these perspectives that we had formed while growing up. There's a basement inside all of us which is a residing place for our fears, doubts, inhibitions, suspicions. These are those demons which we created based on certain life experiences, some feelings of self we assumed was right to protect us then and carried along. We made some rules, some assumptions thinking that these are the black and white norms based on which our world must operate. Otherwise, we will feel the pain, the frustration, the loss, the negative emotion that made us to create the rules in the first place. In order to regain our positive state as quickly as possible, we try to distract it with something that doesn't trigger us & make us feel safe. But the irony is, it surfaces till you confront it & sit in containment.
Anything that triggers us, irritates us or arouses deep emotions such as anger, sadness in us is nothing but a knock at the door to our basement trying to tell us that there resides some unacknowledged fears that we haven't dealt with, nor accepted and that which needs immediate attention. But, we try to project the discomfort outside us. We don't acknowledge that something needs healing in us. A deeper look into the triggers will tell you that if you look within, you will get all the answers to the challenges that you are facing in your world. We become so good at projection and focusing outward, that whenever there is trigger, we reload ourselves and project a patterned behaviour as a reaction to the trigger. Because of this reaction, we are unable to truly deal with what's actually happening with us. We take solace in associating this discomfort to something outside us i.e. someone's behaviors, someone's words, someone's actions, some instances etc. But the truth of the matter is, our triggers are our unacknowledged fears. Fears hold us back from living a peaceful, happy & joyous life having it all. Fears don't enable us to feel our emotions, to take actions & to change perspectives & recreate new beliefs that would change our life for good.
Containment is the ability to sit in the anxiety and feel the emotion, the trigger. Whenever there is a trigger, and you are tempted to defend yourself by putting across the pattered behaviour, allow yourself to just sit in the anxiety and just feel the emotion rather than trying to cover up with actions & reactions. Why is it important to do this? You will become aware of what resides inside you that you are resentful of, trying to avoid or even acknowledge. You will then be able to give this acknowledgement a name which may be an emotion, an experience or just a belief about self. The moment you understand why you behave the way you behave, half the battle is already won. The intensity of the fear will just dilute and now you would be ready to view yourself, people and life altogether from a new perspective. A perspective which is not the reality but something that will serve you. "What got you here may not get you there", as quoted by Master Coach Marshall Goldsmith. If you want to unstuck, you need to see life from a different perspective.
My personal experience says that it is good to be open to different perspectives. It feels good to know why we behave the way we do, to acknowledge our fears, to let the door to our basement open and take a wider view of it. It will liberate you and your understanding of self, others and life. This will enable you to replace your fears with love for yourself, others and life as a whole. Operating from a space of love is so profound. It energies you not to form strategies to hide your authentic self but to show your real self to yourself, others and be proud of it. You will be able to love yourself unconditionally and also create that space for others to love themselves unconditionally. And then you will surely be able to make a difference to your life & others as well.
Inviting you all to gather the courage and allow yourself to look inside; open the door to your basement. What you will find there will amaze you & shall be life changing. It's a liberating experience!
I was in conversation with someone who once upon a time was doing really well in life, stood out from the crowd and made a mark for himself. Life just unfolded for him and he was undoubtedly a high-performer. Everyone flocked around him and he enjoyed all the attention and success. But, there is a dark side to this standing out if not handled wisely & strategically. And these tips come from the person himself who reflected on his life journey & concluded that the following points are very much required to protect one's uniqueness and sustenance as being different from the crowd. Yes, to stand out, you must embrace the dark side of it too. To maintain confidentiality of the person concerned, I have refrained from using the name.
Here goes the tips:
1. Never stand out too early in life. People will start seeing you as a competition & will stop being your ally. You don't want insecurity to creep in other's mind because of you & your presence. So, tone down to be in the battle for long.
2. Learn to play politics. Of course not the dirty ones, but at least you should be able to save yourself from its clutches. Professional world is full of such politics. You must know to deal with such situations. Or else, it will kick you out of the game.
3. Simplicity is a gift not to be displayed in front of takers. They will stick like parasites if you show your simplicity as your weakness. Make it your strength and not allow anyone misuse you in the disguise of being simple.
4. Know how to handle your emotions. Being overly emotional will send across a message to others that your decisions are based not on rationality but on emotions. This will be enough an opportunity for your critics to highlight this as your weakness. And you know what happens next.
5. Have a mentor or a senior person who really appreciates your strengths & uniqueness. This will enable you to grow and have a strong foothold in your professional life. It will save you from much of the turmoil & unwanted hassles.
6. Develop the social intelligence to understand how to mingle with the crowd and harness their support. Even if you stand out, it is the crowd that decides your existence in the professional world.
7. Be prepared to face lots of challenges and roadblocks along the way. The path isn't easy. So, either do your home work well or make your strategies to be a long-term player.
8. Perspective taking, sharing & gaining mutual consent is the key towards your growth.
9. Choose your battles wisely. Never compromise on integrity & values.
10. Know these distinctions and communicate in a language that is commonly understood: tact vs rudeness, empathy vs. apathy, communication vs aloofness, assertion vs. dominance, intention to create vs. intention to win, inclusion vs. standing out.
Last but not the least, leaving you with this thoughtful quote from the book, Mastery by Robert Greene: "Often the greatest obstacle to our pursuit of mastery comes from the emotional drain we experience in dealing with the resistance and manipulations of the people around us. If we are not careful, our minds become absorbed in endless political intrigues and battles."
Coach to People Leaders, Start-up Founders & Transitioning professionals