Five Steps to turn Failure in to success

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Failure is one necessary step towards achieving anything which is significant. Failure needs to be accepted, as fear of failure never allows you to take any risks. It pushes you into inaction which is the bane of life. Inaction is worse than procrastination. In any one’s life, procrastination is the enemy of a strong personality. It fills you with guilt which goes on increasing. Though failure has many negative effects, there are also some positive outcomes. In this essay, I would like to discuss both the negative and positive attributes of the failure. More importantly, I will put forth some suggestions on how we can leverage the positive aspects of failure and use it as a tool to propel us towards achieving our mission.

Negative aspects of failure are listed below:

i) It discourages you. Sometimes you get into depression as you feel you are good for nothing.

ii) It affects our positivity. It tends to weaken our hope and brings in a streak of pessimism in our life.

iii) We start avoiding company of our successful peers which dampens our spirits. This in turn weakens our personality.

iv) Sometimes, it may make you feel that life is good for nothing. It is not worth living. You want to escape. In worst cases, it pushes people to try to commit suicide.

v) In order to cover the loss due to failure, it may make the victim reckless. Trying to cover losses without proper thinking, the person plunges into bigger problems, debts etc.

vi) Often, failure leads to addiction. In a bid to escape facing the realities of life the ‘failed person’ resorts to drinking, drugs etc.

vii) Failure brings social stigma whereby people look down upon you. No one likes to be in the company of someone who has failed. Failure is not accepted as a part of struggle for success is some societies.

viii) It is sad but the victim is often ridiculed to make matters worse. Instead of helping to pull the person out of trouble those who had harbored some kind of grudge enjoy putting spanner in the wheel. The victim suffers even more.

ix) Extreme anxiety attacks the mind and the victim starts doubting everything. Suspicion brings further misery to the life of the victim.

x) Besides, failure may result in sleeplessness. It aggravates the difficulties and problems. It also affects health and weakens the mind.

So much for the negative impact of failure. Positive results of failure are also many, if the failure is viewed in the proper perspective. How the failure impacts a person or an organization depends on your immediate response after the failure takes place. If you own the failure and analyze the reasons, failure turns a teacher. Best lessons are drawn only from failures. But if you start the blame game and assign reasons of your failure to some people, sabotage or even the circumstances to give yourself a clean chit the failure snowballs into worse failure.

These are many reasons why failure should be viewed positively. I will list 5 which are most important according to some psychologists. These are:

i) As said above, failure acts as a teacher. Follow the lessons learned in a failed attempt and don’t repeat the same. Lessons learnt during failed projects, when put to practice and adopted suitably, shape the character.

ii) Failure inspires you to innovate. If one thing does not work, you try another. All scientific inventions are based on this aspect a failure. Thomas Edison once said, “I have not failed. But I have found out 10,000 ways in which things don’t work”.

iii) Failure is used for quality enhancement. For any product, the quality department will try to find out the circumstances in which the product fails. But for software programmers this is just a necessary tool.

iv) Failure enables individuals to face facts of life. It helps you to understand that struggle in life is necessary. This is the only way you can come up.

v) The worst factor in anyone’s life is fear. Failure helps you to overcome your inherent fear and makes you courageous. Further, you develop courage to take calculated risks in life. This is necessary as the dictum – no risk no gains.

Having talked about the negative and positive aspects of failure, let us deal with the question, “How negative effects of failure can be countered and how can we turn failure into success? I give below the answer as 5 steps that we must take to achieve the desired results.

Step I. Be prepared to accept failure. For any venture which poses some risks you must be prepared for the worst at the beginning itself.  In this case you will be able to handle the situation because you are not taken by surprise.

Step II. Create a strong desire in your mind to succeed in spite of the grave difficulties on the way. Become prepared to face the difficulties and work hard. Don’t expect the task to be easy. You strong desire will help you to adopt this attitude.

Step III. Open your mind to embrace any change that you may have to make in your plan of action. World is changing fast and there is no science to inform you what changes will take place and when. Your open mindedness will come to your rescue.

Step IV. Develop your mind power. Comfort or discomfort resides only in mind. While a heavy traffic cannot deter someone from enjoying listening to the music in cool comfort of an air-conditioned car, it can be a harrowing experience for another soul who is not prepared to adopt the change.

Step V) Last but not the least, choose a role model. There are many great world leaders who have embraced many failures before coming out as great winners. Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, Nelson Mandela or Steve Jobs- who was turned out the company he started, are just a few examples.

Therefore, choose your role model. Read and understand his/her life. Draw your own lessons and go ahead with your projects.

When we focus only on the positive attributes of failure during the journey of the work involved, we will be rid of the harmful impact of so many of the negative attributes of failure. So our attitude and choice of actions make all the difference.

Thanks for reading.

7 Ways to keep yourself motivated

 

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Life becomes dull if you are indecisive and a procrastinator. You tend to become de-motivated and perform your tasks as these were a burden. In today’s fast paced world such habits and/or altitude have no place. So, it is necessary to keep yourself motivated understanding fully well that difficulties are a part of life and these must be faced squarely and upfront. How does one keep self motivated?  I have 8 suggestions in this respect which I would like to share with you.

Suggestion 1: like your work. Whatever work you may be doing, feel happy and proud about it. If you are doing some work which for any reason you don’t like; it’s time for action. These are two options. Change your work/job, if it is possible otherwise start liking the same work that you are doing. You might ask how can we start liking something which we don’t. For this, I will ask a question. Looking back in your life, have you always been constant in liking or disliking certain things? The honest answer is ‘No’. If you have changed your preferences due to outward influences, you certainly can do the same with your conscious effort.

Suggestion 2: Discuss ideas and not people. Individuals are only references to the ideas that you want to discuss. And that alone should be their only significance. Each person is an individual. His/her conduct and habits are the products of multifarious circumstances and influences to which they have been and are exposed. Don’t judge anyone. Accept as they are and deal with them to the best of your ability. Consider handling difficult people are your challenges, you alone have to face. It’s your personal battle as explained in the great book “Bhagwad Gita” and you should never run away from the battlefield.

Suggestion 3: Never argue but you may agree to disagree. Arguments do not lead anywhere. Expressing your opinion is necessary. But do it with an open mind. If the opponent agrees with your views, that is good. But if not, and at the same time you still feel that you are right, just say that we agree to disagree. It may appear difficult. Assertiveness is certainly not easy, but you will find that the difficulty is mitigated when you start practicing it. Here, the important point is how you speak. What words you use. Your tone is equally important, if not more.

Suggestion 4: Failure is a part of your road to success. This only shows that you have tried. Every effort cannot bring desired results. All the scientists invent wonderful things by failing many times. Each failure teaches how things don’t work until a way is found when they do. Analyze the reasons for failure and move ahead. Never indulge in the blame game. Putting blame on others for anything hardly ever helps. If it’s a person, you need to understand and proceed. If it is a circumstance, you need to provide for it.

Suggestion 5: If some system or procedure does not work, change it. Don’t cling to it thinking that it had worked on earlier occasions so it should work even now. Everything changes. Life is changing faster than ever. Review the situation and analyze the reasons. But still if it does not work it may only mean that if has out lived its life. Some freshness, something different and new needs to be added. Add it. Do not allow any belief to interfere with you necessarily to innovate.

Suggestion 6: Review the benchmarks. Progress does not mean that you may be performing successfully at the same space. An athlete who wants to compete will keep on setting higher goals. The difference may be minuscule. But enhancing his/her target will keep the motivation alive. Fast advancement in technology is certainly making life very competitive. You have to be abreast with the technology and you have to be adept in using the same. When you keep on changing your benchmarks your will face now challenges which will keep you motivated and make life more interesting.

Suggestion 7: Develop a system of getting others’ feedback in the most befitting manner. You must know yourself and you must also know how others know you. This will keep you motivated, enough!

Thanks for reading.

 

 

 

 

Language

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Hi,

 

Today, I’ll talk to you about ‘language’. Language is the only difference between animals on one side and by humans on the other. Its importance therefore can hardly be exaggerated. Great leaders and great thinkers have talked about language and its importance differently.

Karl Kraus, the German philosopher said that the language is the mother of thought. How true? Imagine if we did not have the facility of language, how we would think. It’s just not possible. Another thinker, Samuel Johnson said that the language is the dress of thought. Both are right. Indeed the language is the mother of thought and it is also the way the thoughts are dressed and presented.

Grammar is helpful in creating the sentences. But the speakers don’t have to worry about technical details of the grammar. In any case, the spoken language is different from the written language. The written language has to be correct grammatically as far as possible. But the spoken language essentially has to convey the idea that the person wants to express. Technical details of the grammar may have to be compromised for the sake of brevity. If you tend to be verbose, the objective of communication may be lost. Most listeners cannot pay attention to the speaker who is verbose and who uses too many words to say something which can be effectively conveyed in a few words.

The word of a man/woman is the most durable of all materials. It lasts longer than one can think. Some time ago, when I was conducting a program for the lecturers of a college, one of the participants said “the tongue is one of the strongest organs in the human body. The tongue does not fall sick normally. And if it does, it heals itself quickly. But the wound that the tongue may create sometimes are not healed in the lifetime. It is indeed true. So, one must use the tongue with great care and discretion. And, it’s not only the words but it’s also how you speak these. Your tone is extremely important. If the same words are said in an inappropriate these create undesirable effect.

Like everything else, language also has its own limitations. It can describe all the situations that you may have gone through vividly; it may create the leaves of the book of your life neatly, but it cannot describe one’s character. Character can be recognized by the person’s behavior, his conduct and so many other personality traits. It is said that one should never react. He/she should only apply mind to face whatever be the situation; whatever be the circumstances. Likewise if any person behaves in an uncivil manner you should not react. Use your mind. Application of mind will guide you how you have to face the situation. Here again, the most appropriate language with proper modulation (tone) will be found very useful.

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But there are some languages which everyone understands. These are universal. Language of smile is the same throughout the world. Language of kindness will be understood by the deaf as well as by the blind. So let’s use the universal language of kindness and let’s always wear a smile.

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Thanks you for reading.

Sail Seven Streams to Enjoy the LinkedIn Jaunt!

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  1. Be Very Selective

LinkedIn is a professional platform. So, be sure to carve out your Professional Objectives. Evidently, you need to be very selective in building your connections. Your efforts should be focused on quality and not quantity. It is necessary to find commonality while inviting people to connect. The proposed connections should be beneficial to both. For example if you are selling a service or a product all those who are decision makers to buy your products would be the most appropriate connections.

  1. Personalize Connection Requests

Send a polite email for the invite after going through the profile of the person. Describe briefly how the connection will be beneficial to both of you. If you have met the invitee at a social event, you may refer it. However, brevity is extremely important. Nobody likes to receive a verbose mail or any kind of message. The words chosen and the sentences constructed should delight the receiver of the message. It can happen only if you speak from heart. It means you need to be your natural self while communicating. Write to express but not to impress.

  1. Group participation

There are many groups formed on the LinkedIn. Some of these are active, others not so. Identify the group which is most suitable to your professional needs. In the beginning it will be easier to participate in a group where most members are from the place around. Unless you are a high profile professional, joining a group with participants from different countries may not be very effective. We must understand that the cultural background plays an important role in people coming together.

  1. Publish Posts

Create content of your niche expertise and publish in LinkedIn. Your post will be seen not only by your connections but by everyone on the LinkedIn. You have to be very careful about the ease of reading and comprehending by the people who view your post. It must add value. While content is the king, simple language which is easy to understand, will be appreciated. A long sentence with many clauses may not be appropriate for your story on the LinkedIn. Further, sentences of different lengths when put together in a paragraph make reading very interesting.

  1. LOINs

Loin means LinkedIn open networkers. They are the people who want to network with as many people as possible. One can search by using the group search feature. There are open networkers who will welcome you. Some groups cater to specific locations. There are other groups serving various industries and services. You have to select the group which is most suitable to your professional interest. In the search features if you specify the criteria you will be able to find out the group of your choice.

  1. Post status update daily

You need to establish that you are active on LinkedIn. It is therefore expected that you post something of interest to your connections and people at large every day. You may spend only 15 minutes daily. But use these 15 minutes with great discretion. As said above every post that you publish should be found interesting at least to some of your connections. It is understandable that you can’t please all. Therefore don’t even try to do that. Your focused approach on subjects of general needs or special interest to your connections will be highly appreciated.

  1. Your Profile

What you write on your profile is particularly important. It should give a clear message about your background and your profession. Instead of writing in a traditional chronological fashion you can be more innovative. Consider you are speaking to a large group of people. While you are addressing all to inform about yourself, it should clearly indicate your intention and interest. Take special care to choose a nice photograph. Give information and links to your website/websites, blog sites etc so that people can easily view. Recent events that you may have created or participated in would also be newsy and of interest to your friends.

 

I am sure that you will find that your sailings in the above seven streams will bring you a lot of joy with success on your ‘LinkedIn Jaunt’.

Thanks for reading.

Eight Points to Improve your Listening Skills to be more Successful!

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In the December 2015, I had written a blog on communication which was reasonably appreciated. Recently, I came across something really revealing about the importance of communications.

A study by Harvard University revealed that, once you pick up a job, only 15 % of your success depends on your academic degree and/or knowledge. But 85% of your success is driven by your communication skills- your spoken words and the way you speak. Equally important is your active listening. So, I am repeating the text of earlier blog.

Let’s examine four possible combinations of speaking & listening. This will enable us to understand what communication can do to our lives and to our organizations.

Possibility 1

Effective speaking but poor listening. If this is the leader’s characteristics the results could be as under:

It will increase your focus. You may have generated good followers & good soldiers. But the potential leaders will leave. There will be practically no innovation. Stress level will increase.

Possibility 2.

Effective speaking and active listening. That is the perfect combination for the leader. The focus of the leader and of the organization will remain in the forefront. Things will happen fast. Loyalty of employees will increase. Appreciation of mind and ability to enjoy the work will bring in more breakthroughs, more innovations. People will collaborate with each other and also compete with each other. The best will blossom with the leader’s effective speech and active listening. An atmosphere of sustainable leadership will prevail.

Possibility 3.

Poor speaking but active listening. It will amount to lack of focus. Also, waste of time & money. There will be thrust on management by committees. People might get an impression that anything goes.

Meanwhile active listening will also result in the positives. The employees will become more self-expressed. Application of mind by them will increase. There would be greater innovation.

Possibility 4.

Poor speaking and poor listening. It will be nothing but a slow death of the enterprise. The death of textile mills in Mumbai & Ahmadabad can be attributed to this syndrome. Misunderstanding and conflicts will rule. Opportunities will be missed. There would be high rate of attrition. Isolation will result in fragmentation, and finally extinction.

Just perusing the above possibilities would shake our slumber. Importance of communication will then be fully realized. So, I will deal with both aspect of communication- good speaking and good listening.

Effective Speaking:

First of all it is necessary to have strong content. Content is the king. Effective communications take this into account more than any other aspect of management or even life. Content means domain knowledge. You can’t fool people with shallow thoughts. Much less you can impress them. Lot of hard work goes into acquiring knowledge. The biggest problem is seen when you have worthwhile knowledge but you can’t use into your advantage due to lack of effective speech. Your expression remains impaired. People would barely know that you are a storehouse of useful information.

Then what should you do? Become a good speaker. Practice the art and science of speaking clearly, confidently and convincingly.

How do you speak clearly? You must understand that speech in the result of decision to communicate. First thinking clarifies the idea you want to project to the listener or a group of listeners. Then brain sends a signal to the lungs and some breath is released. Breath strikes the vocal cord to produce sound. But the words are created by the speech organs. So in order to speak clearly, think clearly. Cultivate habit of deep breathing. It enables to have sufficient breath to support strength of your voice. This will also enable you to speak longer sentence without breathing in between. The flow of speech will enable ideas to flow smoothly.

Active Listening      

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Communication does not mean only effective speaking. In fact, it is the beginning point. But even more important is active listening. Active listening will bring about the results that you are looking for. You communicate with someone or a group of listeners with an objective. How can you influence others? By listening to them actively or with your speech. How do you find whether you are a good listener or not? I give below a checklist which is self- expletory.

Checklist:

  1. Don’t think of what you are going to say next when another person is speaking. Just focus on understanding and assimilating what he/she has to say.
  2. You must listen with an open mind. Don’t try to relate with your own experience, similar experience. When someone is relating a story in support of his argument, your tendency to evaluate should be given a pause. Never be judgmental, as they say.
  3. When you are listening, try to recreate mentally what the other person is saying objectively.
  4. Try to see things from the speaker’s point of view. Empathize and be compassionate while listening.
  5. Try to uncover the intent of the speaker. All speakers may not be terse. Their verbosity may require a little extra effort on your part to understand the intent. Make this extra effort.
  6. Think what results you can produce through listening rather than speaking. If you want to influence people, you will be amazed to observe how listening comes in handy and helpful.
  7. Listen a minute longer than it is comfortable. That extra minute will give you extra input. In any case, you are having a dialogue for understanding the other’s point of view.
  8. Last but not the least; you must remember that your words of advice will be seen as unwanted noise. Never give an advice unless asked for. If you are not convinced and the solution demands that you must express your views, do that and say we agree to disagree!

Thanks for reading.

Twelve Ways to Stay Cool under Pressure

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No one can claim that they are never under pressure. Some situations or people cause pressure to others.

The pressure is often aggravated by your personal frustrations. If you wanted to complete a task but due to whatever reasons you don’t do it, it causes frustration. Often times you may try to ignore it. But it cannot be erased. Such frustrations which cause pressure can be avoided by following:

  1. Don’t expect to do more than a human being is capable of within 24 hours.
  2. If you are made to do something which you don’t like, it will cause pressure. You will not be able to do it well. It is not abnormal.
  3. It will cause frustrations which can be avoided if you put your mind and soul in what you are doing.
  4. By following above, enjoy the collateral benefit of starting to be happy with your work.
  5. Watch your body language. Keep a smile on your face. You may find it difficult in the beginning. But as you consistently try, you will find it very rewarding.
  6. Take a pen and paper and write down the cause of your pressure. You will find that the cause is ill conceived. That realization will by itself bring down the pressure.
  7. Listen to some calm and soothing music of your liking. Music can do wonders.
  8. Practice – ‘Act, but never React’. When you act, you use your mind. But if you react you lose your mind. Evidently using mind is far better than losing it.
  9. We need to realize that within control anger is harmless. In fact anger enables us to fight for our rights. But when anger goes out of control, it causes blood pressure and various other health hazards. So, always keep anger within your control.
  10. Practice deep breathing. It gives more oxygen to our system. This, in turn, helps us to keep our mind cool. Deep breathing also makes it easy for us to express our selves articulately. You may ask how it will help. More breath in your lungs will enable you to speak longer sentences in one breath. Thus, improper pauses can be avoided.
  11. Increasing your self- awareness will also help. You become aware that you are doing your best. This awareness gives you a satisfaction which blows out your pressure.
  12. Develop a positive attitude. Concentrate on the positive aspects of life. Consider that life is a great boon and it is your duty to get the best out of every minute of your life. After all, time is the only resource which has been equally distributed by God, the almighty.

No doubt, it is difficult to control your temper and remain cool in difficult situations. But we all agree that if the can remain cool the results that we desire, will be achieved. Our efforts to follow the aforesaid points, therefore, are well deserved.

Thanks for Reading.