Inspiration Vs Motivation….

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Summer is at its peak and with each passing day the number of people walking on the roads or in the gardens is ever increasing. There is an increased awareness of the negative effects of being overweight in the general public thanks to the numerous social networking sites. Messages regarding ill effects of being overweight are being bombarded through social sites day and night. It’s not just the roads and parks which have seen the increased footfall, even the local gyms, irrespective of availability of trainers and type of equipment, have seen a spurt in enrolment. Everyone seems to be just interested in getting into good shape. But do they actually achieve the aim they start with? 

The main motivating factor, leading the general population to gyms and parks, is apparently the desire to lose weight / have a great fit body. People make resolutions to lose weight and start with a great josh but most of them are not able to maintain the momentum beyond the first week. The effort of getting up early in the morning, putting in extra hours on the road or in the gym and the advised diet control becomes too much to handle. People want to lose weight but without much effort and some fall in the trap of medicines, claiming to reduce weight within months, available off the shelf. By the time they realise these medicines have no positive effect, the financial damage has been done. 

The motivation (desire to lose weight) doesn’t seem to be working in most cases. Then what’s the ans? Me and my wife have been regularly going for our morning walks since last many years. It’s a set routine of nearly 90 mins of walk (approximately 6.5 kms). People do ask us the motivation behind the daily long walks. I have got nothing to lose (not the weight for sure). We get up early in the morning and walk the 6 kms plus as it makes us feel good. Yes, daily view of the sunrise, the feel of the lovely cool breeze, the sight of the peacocks and other birds, the beautiful greenery, all add up to make our walk a wonderful experience which we will never want to miss. We walk to experience the beauty and as a side effect it helps us to remain fit, to an extent. 

The issue is of Motivation vs Inspiration. Majority of the people are being forced by the desire to lose weight or remain fit, to take up morning walks or join a gym. This motivation is not strong enough to help them sustain their resolution. What is required is Inspiration and not motivation. The feel-good factor is missing in most cases. You should love the walk or exercising in the gym. This love / feel good factor will help you persist and sustain with your daily walks / workouts. It’s quite simple “Love what you do; Do what you love”. When you are being forced out of bed and made to walk / workout in the gym, the love is missing. 

“Love what you do …. love will help you face the failures ….help you persevere, persist and finally succeed…” 

“ Be Inspired ( Self – actualization)….Do not wait for a push (motivation ) which may land you at a place you never wanted (You have no control over the push)”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Being Decisive….. The Acme of leadership….…..

 

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The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Amelia Earhart

 

Decision making can be defined in simple terms, as a process of selecting / identifying the best course of action, out of all the options available, to complete a given task. Decision making is one of the most common activities we indulge in, since our childhood, but still find it difficult to accomplish. Decision making is one process which you cannot avoid, try as much as you may. A decision, at most can be delayed but cannot be avoided, even not taking a decision is also a conscious decision someone has taken. 

 Numerous books / articles have been written on decision making process / techniques, a very simple process, which we indulge in, as a routine in our daily life but, may be, do not realise. One doesn’t have to read all those book or articles to understand decision making. Whether you are educated or illiterate the process of decision making remains same. There are set five, six steps which everyone follows to arrive at the decision, whether you are a Managing Director of a big business house or a housewife buying vegetables in the market . 

To start the decision-making process, one has to be clear about the aim or the end state which is required to be achieved. If the aim is not clear your plans to achieve it are bound to go awry. The first step in decision making process is to set a clear, logical aim. There can’t be any ifs and buts in the laid down aim. It should be clearly spelt out and well understood by all concerned. 

The next step is to ascertain if any restrictions have been imposed.   Directions to finish a task by a fixed date is an example of a restriction imposed and has to be analysed in details before coming to a final decision as it may lead to cost, having a direct bearing on the requirement of finances. Likewise, a housewife buying vegetables, may not be able to buy a particular vegetable, though cheapest , because of somebody in the family  being allergic to it . Finances alone cannot dictate a decision. 

Having selected clear aim and analysed the terms / restrictions imposed, the next logical step is to ascertain the resources required to complete the task in the given time frame. Resources will include the work force , machines , finances , the fuel , vehicles etc. A detailed analysis of resources required, based on market survey, has to be carried out to ensure the availability of best quality at the cheapest cost. Vegetable may be cheapest in a particular market but the travel cost being prohibitive may force the housewife to procure it from a nearer market to save the overall cost and maintain quality and quantity. 

Another factor which has to be critically analysed before selecting the best course of action is the time. Time is always constant , number of hours in a day cannot be increased or reduced. Availability of time will dictate the requirement of resources for completion of the task. 

Having seen the time and the resource availability the next step is to analyse the optimal utilisation of the available resources for completion of the given task. This analysis will throw up various options from which the best available course of action, which ensures quality and quantity in the given time frame, has to be selected. After having carried out a detailed analysis of the requirement of resources for completion of the task, you may ask for additional resources or extra time if you strongly feel the requirement. 

Contingencies, which may arise / affect the completion of tasks, have to be catered for at each stage. Enough time and resource cushion have to be maintained to cater for unforeseen eventualities which may affect the completion of task. 

This is what process of decision making is all about. The following factors should be kept in mind for effective decision making :-

(a)      Do not delay taking a decision , too much ,for want of more and more  information. Timely decision making is a must to ensure completion of task in time. At the same time a decision should not be taken in too much of a hurry , unless there is a question of life and death. 

(b)    Do not delay taking a decision for fear of failure. If you have done the analysis well, chances of failure are remote. Certain shortcomings my emerge, which can be corrected on occurrence or later. 

(c)       Do not ever indulge in taking decisions based on votes. Decision has to be based on analysis of the available resources, time, contingencies and restrictions. 

(d)      Arriving at a decision involves the effort of the team. However, the responsibility of taking the final decision is of the team leader.   The leader should be ready to take the responsibility for any failure . 

(e)      Always maintain a record of the decisions taken . Refer to decisions taken in projects /task accomplishments of similar nature , in the past. Gain from the goodness of the previous plan and avoid the shortcomings. 

(f)       Critical analysis of the plans made be carried out on completion of the task to understand the strengths and shortcomings of the plan and improve upon it in future.

 

“ Boys learn from your mother the art of decision making and management . Remember, how efficiently she always met all your requirements , without you ever realising it. Always on time, without ever compromising on quality or quantity”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Walking in the Rain……

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It’s mid-June and Monsoon is fast making its presence felt across the Indian sub-continent and next three months will be just rains and more rains. I hope it’s a normal monsoon as the earth badly needs it. 

We got some relief from the scorching heat today with pre- monsoon showers lashing my part of the country in North India early morning. I and my wife are fond of our early morning walks, making good use of the Golf course nearby. We know nothing about the game but the beautifully laid out course is too good to resist. Today was no different and we were there on the walking track around the course at our schedule time of 5 .45 am. The weather was lovely, low black clouds, with cool breeze blowing. Few ardent lovers of the game had already teed off and on the move. 

The Rain God also couldn’t resist the beauty of the surrounding and decided to step in. Our journey across the Golf course had just begun, and the lovely drizzle started. To be honest , the feel of the water drops felt really good. As we moved on the rain also picked up changing from light drizzle to bit intense. Now was the decision to be made , to continue or get under a cover. The option was to fold our hands and use them to cover our head and run for the nearest cover or spread them open and enjoy the rain. 

For us, it was not a difficult decision to make at all, the call was clear ; enjoy the rain as long as we could. Many a times in our lives we get stuck at such simple decision points. We ignore moments of joy preferring to stick to our boring routines. It is these small moments of joy which help in re-energising / rejuvenating and go a long way in making life a beautiful experience. We get so busy with the routine that we fail to see the goodness around us. It is up to us to treat the rain as an obstacle or a source of joy. Yes our responsibilities grow with us but it is up to us to maintain the balance in life. Breaking away from the routine helps in maintaining the life balance (Do not break the routine too often). Do not let the child in you die. “As long as the child in you is alive you will keep falling in love with life all over again and again”. 

“Walk out …Spread your arms….Enjoy the rain…You have waited for it long …Do not miss out now….”

Understanding Human Relations…..

 

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“Understanding is key. People can find the strength to carry on simply knowing that there is someone out there that understands them unconditionally”                                                                                                                                                 Daisaku Ikeda


Developing , understanding and maintaining relationship is as important a factor in the success of an organisation as it is for the professional and personal growth of an individual. Any organisat
ion is like a family and just as the relationships or bonding in a family reflects the happiness quotient ,  good relations between members of  the organisation will ensure its growth. Any organisation which fails to understand and take care of the physical , psychological, spiritual and emotional needs of its members will find the move on path to success very difficult.  Relation between organisation (management) and employees is not just of work and salaries , it is much more than that. 

Relations based on appointments or seniority may not last for long .To be long lasting the relations have to be based on understanding , beliefs and mutual respect. Bonding between a senior and a junior may be difficult to develop and sustain but between an elder and a younger based on mutual respect , beliefs and faith is easier to develop and is normally long lasting. However , the younger in any relation should always cater for the space for age , experience , responsibility and maturity. 

Interpersonal relations / bonding in any organisation has a direct bearing on the productivity /outcome. Management and employees, both have to understand each other’s constraints, needs / necessities / requirements and emotions . Understanding human behaviour also helps in conflict resolutions , if any. It helps to understand/ analyse the reason for conflict between two individuals / group. 

Management has to cater for the physical needs like the working environment / comfort , safety and physiological requirement of the employees like breaks / food arrangements and medical needs to keep them well motivated. The organisation which reaches out beyond and caters for the welfare of the families of the employee will always achieve better results. An employee assured of the safety , security , well being of his family including good education for children will give his best in the profession. 

Management should always work towards empowering the employee by way of continuous refresher training , keeping him abreast with the latest technological changes , involving him in decision making at the required level. An employee should also understand the need for personal and professional growth .A sense of belonging and the feeling that he / she is wanted in the organisation will go a long way in increasing the motivation level. Fostering of team spirit is vital for achieving the end result helps in enhancing the sense of belonging. 

Each member of the team has to have trust in each other’s abilities and intent. Trust is built over a period of time based on successive actions and responses/ reactions of individuals in varied environments / conditions. 

Promotion and incentives at regular period, based on capabilities and without discrimination or favours will develop faith of the employee in the management motivate him to work selflessly. 

Spiritual needs of the employee , also have to be well understood and respected by the management. Discrimination on grounds of religion , caste and community cannot be tolerated. The beliefs and values systems of the workers must be respected but at the same time the employee should not allow the religious needs and values to interfere in the work . 

Management should be able to empathise with the employees. Team members do not look for sympathy but for empathy and understanding of their problems and provision of workable solution. To achieve empathy the people in management have to understand/experience the working conditions of the team . 

To achieve success ,in any field / task ,a strong bond between the management and workers or better put ; between team members, based on mutual trust , respect , beliefs is an absolute must. The advent and extensive usage of technology that voice mails , video conferencing may save time my help you in working from the comfort of your chosen office space / home but to understand human relations and to bond better your feet should be on the move ( when required )and the mind should always be ticking. Nothing can bond a team better than personal touch , understanding and empathy for each other. And lastly business /or production is not just dependent on the production team but it also depends on the understanding of need, desires of the client /consumer.          

          If civilization is to survive, we must cultivate the science of  human relationships – the ability of all people, of all kinds, to live together, in the same world at peace.”

                                                                                  Franklin D. Roosevelt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Empower the child to Question …to make Decisions…..You have secured his future…

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The future of a child will always be dictated by how strong his foundation has been. The foundation is laid by the education the child gets in the first few years of his life through the parents , school and the environment around. I am a firm believer that the primary aim of education , formal or informal , is to empower the child to question the prevalent and to make his own decisions. Is our education system fulfilling this requirement?? For me the answer is a Big No. The effects can be seen all around us. Most organisations and the nation as such suffers cause of lack of decision making abilities. 

The child starts learning, through observation and hearing, very early in life. The child observes and registers everything he / she sees around. It is on the parents and elders to create an environment conducive to good learning. What do we end up teaching the child??? I am basically referring to the environment prevalent in Indian subcontinent or may be in some other Asian countries. though I think it won’t be much different in other parts of the world as well. Basic values , the child gains from the parents, he will behave the way they do. Most parents do not encourage the child to question. It is simple, you have to do it because we are saying so. Very few will take the pains of hearing the child and giving a logical explanation for any action. Most of us shy away from explaining our stands because we ourselves are not very sure about it. The child is hardly ever given the right to make his own decisions. Even the smallest of decisions, at times , are enforced. The basic job of the parents should be to help the child reach a decision by giving him options and teaching him the art of rational thinking. However, hardly any parent / elder wants to forego their self-proclaimed right of making decisions on behalf of the children. Fear and cautions are usually being ingrained deep in the child’s mind by the elders .  All attempts are made to make the child risk averse. 

Life doesn’t get any better for the child in school. The students is continuously / relentlessly fed rather overfed with data / information and formulas. Hardly any stress is laid on practicalities of life , learning from personal examples. Emphasis is more on scoring marks than on values / overall growth ( mental & physical) . Decisions are imposed , questioning generally not accepted. Teachers have no time , they are struggling to complete the official syllabus , how can they devote time on teaching the true meaning of life to the young minds. 

Restrictions on the child’s ability to question curbs his ability to make decisions. Imagination is limited. “The mind which cannot fly free cannot create new” . 

All this has a long-term effect on just not the overall growth of the child but on the national growth itself. Just look around and see how many thinkers , researchers or decision makers you find around you. Yes some do rise to the position of decision making but how many can actually take risks ( calculated or otherwise ) or make the right decisions. Majority rise to become just good ‘SERVANTS’ ; How good is again a question mark .

 

“Empower the child to question the status quo….

Empower him/ her to take risks….

Let the mind be free….

The child and the society both will grow”

Love for an activity is the biggest source of inspiration for excelling….Follow your heart….

 

 

Stress is an intrinsic part of our lives . A child is under pressure to perform in exams ,passion on stage and at times in sports competitions. Once the school exams are over there is tension of clearing the competitive exams / getting enrolled in a renowned college and thereafter the search for a good job starts.  

All children , irrespective of the background they come from, have dreams . However unfortunately most of them give up on their dreams as they go through the paces of life or as some would like to say , they come face to face with realities of life. This is actually far from truth. The reality is that the parents / elders start guiding the child towards a profession since early years of life. Majority of the parents’ desire that their children get a secure and safe job, they are not open to risks. Fear of failure gets ingrained deep in the young minds and he / she finds it very difficult to shake it off and the dream remains a dream. 

The young men / women, in most cases, grab the first job on offer. The option of waiting and trying for something better or following the passion is not exercised under pressure. The pressure may be of elders, peers or the responsibilities. The child gives up on his / her passion and forces himself to do something he is not comfortable doing. If you look around, you will find that majority of the professionals are not satisfied with their job profiles and if given an option would love to do something else but can’t do it because of varied pressures, specially perceived family responsibilities.

 Parents and children have to equally share the blame for the situation the child normally gets into because of hurry to get a job and gives up his passion. A child is so busy with books and studies till he graduates that he may not be in a position, at the tender age of 21 / 22 years, to decide what he/ she actually wants to do . The problem is more accentuated in society like ours where the child is hardly given the liberty to make his own decisions, which are more or less imposed by the elders. The young adult requires time to realise his purpose and the right passion. He has to go through a period of trials to realise true love / passion. The period may range from four to five years to more of experimenting with different jobs / business. At the young age of 22 to 25 the ability to take risks is at peak. You have the right energy to work overtime, put in that extra bit. Most don’t have responsibilities of family. Even if the responsibilities are there, then have a job to meet that need and put in the extra effort to follow your passion. Invest your time and effort well. 

The young men / women should understand that earlier they take control of their lives the better it will be for them. Take suggestions / listen to advises but make your own decision. The passion or love for a job/ activity itself is the biggest source of inspiration to excel. The love will help persevere / persist against odds”. So it’s better to attempt something you love then to try and fit into something that doesn’t suit you, you don’t have the aptitude for.

 

“Life is not about survival…..it’s about living and living well….

Life is not about being rich ….it’s about being happy ….being satisfied…”

“Live your passion”

 

 

 

Own your Presentation…..Be Unique

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Stage fright is something which most of us suffer from . Not many of us are comfortable being on a stage performing or delivering a talk to a large audience. could never overcome throughout my growing years. It was no different in my case. I was never under pressure for studies (Did reasonably well ) and was reasonably good in sports but getting on the stage was just a Big No for me. The fear of failure , of being laughed at, always got better of me and I avoided stepping on the stage throughout my school life. 

But destiny always has something different in store. The profession I chose for myself demanded public speaking , making presentations or stage performance in some form or the other. With no alternative available I was left with no choice but to question my fear. It was not easy going at all. Those days there were no computers and presentations were done with the help of Over Head Projectors ( OHPs) with slides made on foils. Preparing the slides was a specialised task in itself.

In the initial years I used to try and memorise the script to the best of my ability and squeezed in as much details on the slides as possible, to help out, just in case the memory failed. There was nothing natural about it; very little connect with the audience with the mind more focused on the next line then on the people. Body language was generally very defensive rather non-existent most of the times. But then one learnt from the mistakes and the computers also came in. 

The first lesson learnt was that presentations are not about memorising the script but more about owning the script. The script has to be well researched keeping in mind the mandate of the talk and the intellect level of the target audience. You cannot afford to be wrong with facts and names. Once you own the script you don’t have to worry about the audience and there may not be a need to carry a script on stage. 

Prepare well and develop your own unique style of delivery. Use the rostrum if you must , I do not like being bound behind a lecture stand. I feel more at ease , hands free for making gestures ( should be natural) . I personally do not like carrying any script for reference. One should be as natural as possible. This comes with practice and experience. 

Presentation has to be lively to keep the audience interested / engaged for the desired length of time and driving home the point. The best way is to keep the talk short and simple. Reading from a script is likely to cut off the audience. It’s the novelty and the uniqueness which will hold the attention of the people. 

Use slides if you wish but keep the text to the minimum. Ensure the fonts are readable by the audience. If you have used some quotes or data, give time to the audience to read. Use some good, relevant pictures / movie clips if you can. 

Humour, wherever used should be natural and relevant to the subject being covered. Examples should be contemporary, to make the presentation realistic. The younger generation cannot generally relate to the examples from history or mythology. 

Confidence flows from preparation. Good research of the topic and the audience will go a long way in preparation of an effective presentation. 

“Be unique , Prepare well…..You will never fail in catching the imagination of the audience”