Thursday, April 29, 2010

Immunity To Criticism

Criticism is something we have been coming across since childhood, but most of the time even after growing up, our response remains something similar.
When a child is raised with condemnation, judgment and criticism, at subconscious level, he or she makes the association that if he were to speak and express himself, he would be opening himself to being verbally attacked, judged and condemned. He learns that the way to stay safe & comfortable and to avoid parent’s rejection and criticism is to remain quiet and say nothing. This strategy works as a child but not as an adult, staying quiet and saying nothing, shall prevent one from a deep and satisfying relationship with his spouse and children; and preventing oneself from furthering his career and feeling fulfilled at work. In fact, one shall never be his true self.

There is no single human being who has not experienced criticism, but what is the right way of handling it constructively and thus gaining the power and significance of developing immunity to criticism.

Now, let’s talk about how to develop immunity to criticism.
Being criticized can be a horrible or even traumatic experience. And constant criticism is a sure fast way of killing the intimacy and love within a relationship, often shattering the recipient’s self-esteem and self-confidence. Criticism and blame lead to contempt, and contempt destroys the relationship.

Criticism is a serious problem for all relationships – family, romantic and work-based. The fear of criticism causes many people to either freeze-up or do nothing, or to structure their behavior and personality to please and appease the other person. When a person is afraid of being criticized, he or she will take no action, take no risks and will not perform at his or her best.
Accordingly, they do nothing except try to maintain the status quo and eventually, the status quo leaves them in the dust.

Some so-called self-help gurus and motivational speakers will tell you to ignore all criticism but this is the extreme response; we must be open to feedback and we must be able to engage in some level of self-criticism or self-evaluation. At the same time though, I do believe in learning and developing the ability to become immune to criticism.

What does that mean? Not becoming susceptible or vulnerable to criticism; not taking it personally. Even as a child when one goes through criticism, please realize the circumstances and situations, the parent goes through, maybe he himself had a critical childhood, or his present is upsetting etc etc. so don’t take that criticism as personal to you, it was situational at that time. And at present the situations are different.

The expression “don’t take it to heart” applies here. The key is to act almost as a scientist who simply observes but does not place any emotional attachment to the feedback.

Truly successful and fulfilled people with high self-esteem are not harshly or destructively critical of themselves. They observe and self-evaluate and are open to feedback.

And so it is with most of us, the reason we often feel quickly queasy, off balance, defensive or afraid when someone says something critical, something we don’t like, is because we either doubt ourselves or they have raised an unresolved issue for us. However, when confronted with a person who thrives on attacks and criticize, then it is best to remember your key strengths at that time. It is his opinion and he has full right to have a different opinion, but what matters more is what you think about yourself, how much faith and confidence you have in your own self.

Finally, if we are to achieve anything great in our lives, then we must expect criticism and be okay with receiving it. Winston Churchill said “Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.” And we must expect criticism if we are to attempt anything new because we have to first try and not everyone will like what we do. Albert Einstein said: “Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.”

And no matter what you do, not everyone will like you. It is impossible to please everyone for everyone has their own opinion and sees the world through their own filters. We have to be first happy and peaceful with ourself , as such you will be wasting your energy trying to make others happy!!

In the words of Winston Churchill, “You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.”

This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that whenever you are climbing the ladder of success, criticism is part and parcel of this ladder, you should feel happy about it as you feel this pull, accept it, learn from it and move ahead. If you are running in a race, your eyes are focused on the finishing line, not on the people who are watching you, or may be criticizing you or judgmental towards the way you are running, if you stop in the middle and start listening and responding to them, you have served to their purpose, as they don’t want you to succeed.
The negative words and criticism is outside you unless you choose it to penetrate through your thoughts. You can either be a reflector and let it go, or an absorber and keep living with it for the rest of your life. You always have a choice, and choose what is beneficial to you and not the one which is harmful. Let’s develop this Immunity, and it shall make you stronger emotionally.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Corporate Treadmill

Work pressure, expectations from the boss, market conditions and thus, the stressed goal sheets in office- all this leads to frustration that you cannot think of expressing at your workplace. Most of the time you carry it back home with you, and take it out on your loved ones, as they are easily available with listening ear. But that’s not fair!!!, thus creating further imbalance in your life both at home and work.

Let us examine the corporate life with a compassionate eye, many professionals locked in a room running on a treadmill for whole of their life, all the while give so much effort and determination yet not going anywhere? That is how most people end up living. We wake up and spend way too much time driving to work, once there we spend way too much time and energy working very hard for someone else, leaving our own self unfulfilled and empty!

Life waits for no one, and often we get hints of how we can waste away our most precious resource when we work 14 hour days, and our dinner is cold when we get home, our kids are already in bed, and our spouse is just getting ready to turn in for the night. We can miss out on so much! The workplace where we spend so much more time and end up reaching nowhere, if we actually get present to that time and place, make it more meaningful, richer, fuller, compatible and enjoyable, we shall be living a better life with more prosperity and abundance, not only at work but also at home.

Internationally renowned personalities known for their management concepts and practices, even our own Indian management gurus, have given wonderful gyan sessions on leadership and management. But is it not all leading to too much intramural competition creating high pressure and tension and stands in the way of collaboration. Each one wants to promote himself, and then even if it is at the expense of others their life and career.

I agree workplace competition is healthy — sometimes. When it leads to rivalry, the results can be toxic. Many employees today are dealing with backstabbing of colleagues and hostile work environments. Competition is healthy for people. It encourages each individual to work hard and strive to be the best. Too much competition within a group of people working together, however, can be detrimental to the harmony of the team, and thus to the overall progress of the organization.

Those who suggest that "a little healthy competition can’t hurt" are thinking only of offensive tactics and forget that even these efforts, if out of alignment with corporate goals or values, can hurt the organization. When the employee wins, the organization may lose, if not in the short term, then in the long term.

We all are still walking on this corporate treadmill and getting nowhere! Of course there is a solution, which needs to rework the basics, or rather go back to basics, because as a human nature, we all want bonding with others, love, peace and happiness around us, being honest and faithful to our co workers and get the same in return. And this can be done in corporate world also, with little extra effort.

If you are in command and leading the team then you have to facilitate and empower others, be a guide with a torch in your hands, leading them. At no point you should create fear and insecurity in their minds. Even if a feedback is to be given check the intention with which it is given is important, is it an intention to pull down or to pull up and empower. There is always a transfer of energy between two people while going through a conversation. If the intention is of hurt, anger, insecurity, there is a transfer of negative energy, while if you are giving a constructive, positive feedback, for the overall benefit then there is positive energy flow, which works for the benefit of the team and organization as a whole. Stress always brings down the performance and so does the flow of negative energy at the workplace. Even if you need to criticize someone, check your intention first, do it with acceptance towards the other person and see the difference.

Whenever you are throwing your anger on a poor soul, check your own insecurity first, there must be some hidden– Fear and Self- Doubt, which is to be overcome, and it is the most unhealthy emotion for yourself first and then anyone else. For your own benefit, you have to work with yourself, overcoming your own weakness and then anyone else.

We should replace the feeling of insecurity and fear to trust and belongingness in our peers and subordinates. People working in the same team, work in collaboration rather than competition, and then we shall start enjoying the different flavors and colors corporate life has to offer.

It shall be much easier to overcome your frustrations and maybe even turn them into inspirations. This will give you the power to succeed in any organization. This is the trick to overall success and happiness, striking the right balance at work and home.

Let us not forget that a treadmill shall not lead otherwise anywhere. Even if you win this rat race, you still remain a rat, come out of this be a human first and not a machine. Otherwise imagine yourself in an endless, self defeating and pointless pursuit of life. Like the futile effort of a lab rat trying to escape whilst running around a maze or in a wheel, in the modern city, many rats in a single maze expend a lot of effort running around, but ultimately achieve nothing (meaningful) either collectively or individually.

We spend a whole life and realize at the end of it where did I reach? What was that I wanted? We still have time; stop and check, where are you going? We can make the same place much more fulfilled and meaningful for us. The world around us can change and become much better if we are ready to change our-self, it is very simple. It starts from oneself and ends at oneself only.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Hope In Despair

How does one have hope in a declining economy, shrinking investments, disappearing jobs and health concerns? As we journey through life, we can expect many challenges and struggles. Often I meet people who have shattered dreams and plans gone awry. The responses of individuals and groups in each situation are unique; you can give up in despair or stand amidst a raging storm with hope and faith in future.

We know there is no quick fix for any given challenge or situation. But we can control our response, have hope and be courageous, creative and compassionate.
Chaos can have profound meaning that leads to a deeper search. Creativity can come out of chaos such as job loss, natural disasters and failing health. If we only focus on the problem, the result is we will intensify the pain and become engulfed in fear and doubt. There is a call to re root ourselves in God, whose supply of mercy and compassion never goes bankrupt. It offers us an opportunity to develop a genuine trust and hope in God who really cares.

With trust in God, we truly can move mountains. We are as small as our fear and despair, or as great as our courage and hope.

We may not be where we want to be at this moment, but we cannot dwell on that. We have to look again towards the God who has been good in the past and will deliver us into the future. We have to hope in Him and believe that He is able, and pray Him for His love and hope in spite of the circumstances.

Hope is possible beyond despair. We remain hopeful even when there appear to be no signs of hope at all. Why? Because our hope is not based upon signs. Our hope is based upon God and God alone. We put all our hope and trust in Him.
He is at work in the whole universe and always has been. It is He who has brought everything into existence and keeps everything moving forward in the immense unfolding of the universe. He has been at work in all of human history and continues to be involved in the world of politics, economics and religion – not to mention what we call “nature”. And last but not least, God is at work in you and me. There is no area of life from which He can be excluded.

We continue to hope even when there are no visible signs of hope. We recognize the darkness and apparent hopelessness of the present situation and put all our trust in God. Then, gradually, as our eyes adjust to the darkness of despair, we begin to see the emerging shapes or outlines of God’s great and mysterious work. These are the paradoxical signs of the time that only become visible once we believe that God is at work in our world, once we learn to look at life with an attitude of hopefulness.

What matters in the long run, though, is not only that we are hopeful but that we act hopefully, that we do whatever we can with confidence and hopefulness. What would be tragic at this time would be that we give up hope and stop trying to work for a better world, or that we carry on working but without any hope.

Many have provisionally believed in God, but hesitate to trust him fully. Their hearts are fearful that nothing will really ever change. For them, God is still on probation. They will need to trust God fully and enter the life God has for them.

He will never leave us nor forsake us! The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me. God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
There is a greater purpose in all things: And we know that all things work together for good to them, who love God, to them who are called according to His purpose. If God be for us, who can be against us? He is with me even in the depths of despair. Remind me that no matter what I may endure now, an unending joy awaits me in the future if I cling tightly to Him.He has great plans for you, and you're in conflict with Him when you speak or think negatively concerning your future.

In your present need, God is aware of your anxiety and will do what is best for you. Ask for His strength and trust Him by putting your present and future in His Hands.

Do not look forward in fear to the changes in life; rather, look to them with full hope that as they arise, God, Whose very own you are, will lead you safely through all things; and when you cannot stand it, God will carry you in His Arms.

Do not fear what may happen tomorrow; the same understanding Father Who cares for you today will take care of you then and every day.

He will either shield you from suffering or will give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace, and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations.
A pessimist finds a problem in every opportunity, but an optimist finds opportunity in every problem. Your despair is an opportunity to meet your best friend, let Him hold your hand tightly and you shall never be lost again.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Resilience- In Daily Life

Resilience is much more than the ability to bounce back. Resilience requires embracing the challenges of life and working with them, rather than moving around them, avoiding or withdrawing from them. It is changing the thoughts of fear and despair into faith and hope. Two important ingredients of resilience are positive energy and good health.

How does one work with the challenge? It is possible when we look at it as an opportunity for growth, self improvement, thus transforming a difficulty into development. Suffering in human life is actually like an engine of human development. Suffering brings riches we could find in no other way that is why it is necessary to go through it, learning and developing all throughout and thus getting victory over it. Vicissitudes of life are means to shape our character. When adversity is faced by a resilient spirit, you are actually transforming it into discovery and development and thus making a good fortune out of it.

When something goes wrong do you get better or bitter? Getting better is resilience. Life tests us and our capacity to cope, and the more we can cope up with; the richer and fuller our life gets. We have to learn to spring back after suffering through difficult and stressful times in one's life, to bounce back with more power and energy. It is more about surviving and thriving after trauma.

Resilient people face challenges and they do not break down. They know how to soothe themselves without being victims. They make it through the mire. These individuals redefine their world and create a new and successful life. When unpleasant things happen, they are ready to respond in a productive way. The skill sets involved revolve around the ability to move on after a set-back, regrouping after a defeat, learning quickly from mistakes, turning a negative into a positive. Resilience is a form of marketplace elasticity. It allows anyone involved to stretch and bend - to rebound without breaking under the most turbulent of situations. And we all know if you don’t bend your break. Faced with any situation, try all the options: amend it, adapt to it, avoid it and if nothing possible accept it as it is, this too shall pass.

When you are driving your car and another driver is driving wrong and coming head on to hit you, the first and foremost reflex is to save ourselves, we do not go ahead and collide for an accident with him, we have to save ourselves first. Similarly in life even if other person is doing wrong or harming us, don’t go head on avoid that accident at first place. We have to be first concerned about our self, don’t spoil your own health and peace of mind for someone else, learn to first love yourself, don’t harm your own self. Once you have saved yourself from that head on, now you have extra energy to sort this issue positively.

The better approach is to be open and flexible, to be appreciative of whatever good you do find in your daily circumstances, rather than focusing on bigger questions, such as ‘Will I be happy if I move to another city or a better job?’ or ‘Will I be happy if I get married?’ But life is a journey and no destination. So what you do along the journey is most important.

Taking time to relax and breath is key to developing resilience. Resilience is to be woven deeply into the fabric of the human soul. Throw us an obstacle, and we grow stronger, resilience in the face of adversity. It means a strength and compassion that will not be defeated. The great news is that emotional resilience is something that everyone can develop, and the first step to it id to decide that you want to develop resilience and second step is to stay determined and third step is to make persistent and consistent efforts to keep working on it. 

Don’ t Give Up

Friday, April 9, 2010

Mind Detox – Take The Garbage Out

“All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think, we become”- Buddha

Mind is a very powerful resource- God’s gift to us, which if used properly can create a beautiful life. On the other side if left unchecked, life can become miserable- what is your choice?

As we have healthy food for the body, we keep a check on what we put into our digestive system, to keep the body healthy, similarly we have to keep a check on the diet we are giving to our mind. Pure thoughts are the healthy diet for the mind. Creative thoughts are like vitamins and positive thoughts provide proteins that build will power, while thoughts of serving others are like carbohydrates, which provide energy for the mind. Feed the mind righteously; keep a constant check on the thoughts you are feeding your mental system with. These thoughts not only effect your day to day action, prosperity, success and money but also your health. If garbage is put in only garbage shall come out – stop and check.

One might have to reformat the system, because for years of life you have been thinking in a certain pattern, based on past experiences, information and belief system one holds. Lot of garbage has already being fed into the system. Thoughts are like a CD that is played in the laptop of the mind. What you play is what you see and experience. What you think is what you live. To make changes in your life it is necessary to eject the old CD, and insert a new one that you like. Stop and check.

It is very simple let us take few examples: boss said something wrong; this is stimulus, as an employee one would give response to it, but in between this stimulus and response is the freedom to choose. It is not what he said to me, it is what I did with what he said to me. Most of the time in between what was said and how we reacted to it, we start drawing inferences from it based on what our CD is playing. So stop and check.

In physics we have studied that a metal’s stress is inversely proportional to its resilience although the pressure remains constant on different metals. The stress would change on each metal based on how much resilient it is. Similarly how much resilient is your mind and soul, would depend your reaction to any given situation. What material is your soul made of? – weak metals like copper and tin can easily be bend, but iron and Gold can pass through any amount of pressure. Gold rather becomes more beautiful after passing through fire. This is resilience, which even we are accountable for, how much resilient is my spirit, when it comes across a challenge. This resilience is a very important term with a deep meaning; I shall cover it separately in another post.

Another example is first time you taste a cup of green tea, and you don’t like it, but next time you programme your mind and you love the same cup of tea. The list is endless, but the trick is important.

Now this new programming shall only be possible once the earlier junk or garbage is cleared, cleaned or detox. We need to sit in silence everyday for a while atleast, keeping all our hi- tech gadgets switched off. And in this silence feed your mind with best possible positive thoughts, with a daily effort of 15 minutes and religiously doing the same for 40 days, it shall become a part of your life and believe me, just do it as prescribed like a medicine and see the difference in your happiness, peace, health and success.

Your mind holds fears, worries, stress and so forth. Mind detox is removing the compulsive thoughts, fears, hates, worries and other attachments from our minds; this removing is only possible by replacing, replacing this negative slowly and slowly by all positive. So stop- check, waste thoughts, they are of no use rather harmful.

Right thought creates the right vibration, if you think yourself as a victim of situations; others would also see a victim in you and not a leader. Stop and Check. Actually you can lead your life the way you want; God has given you the powers and resources to achieve this. You are not a victim but a conqueror.

At times because of our previous hurt, even in a new relationship we start building a wall around us in order to protect us in this new relationship (whether boss, colleagues, friends or spouse). The wall is build of our own mind stories based on past experiences, so that now we are not hurt again. The moment you build this wall the energy flow in the relationship gets blocked, and then we find ourselves in the similar situations with similar people, but actually it is our own repetitive behavior of that repetitive CD which is running in the mind. So the key is detox your earlier CD, create a new one and change the situations you find yourself in.
All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make our world. Today you create thoughts of your spouse cheating with you; tomorrow he shall do it actually. Because of your thoughts, which became your body language, negative energy and behavior or may be words, reality manifested.

You go for a fresh interview and carry your old baggage of thoughts with you, and then you say the interview panel rejected you, where as you rejected yourself in your thoughts before the panel did the needful in reality.

Guard your thoughts. Stop And Check.