Saturday, April 30, 2011

Hold fast to dreams!

Hold fast to dreams for when dreams go;
Life is barren field frozen with snow.

Hold fast to dreams for if dreams dry;
Life is a bundle of dull days and soul cry,

Hold fast to dreams for if dreams die;
Life is broken-winged bird that can't fly.

Hold fast to dreams for if dreams break;
Life is a tiring journey and relations crack.

No one knows power of your dreams;
Your dreams have sunshine and bliss beams. 

Hold fast to dreams.Yes,your dreams.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Bye to bad habits!

First we form habits then they form us. Conquer your bad habits, or they’ll eventually conquer you.                                                                                                                             -- Dr Rob Gilbert

Personal Development is a function of good habits. More healthy habits we develop (and bad habits we break), better our personality becomes. Nurturing golden habits is the key to success. But how many of us engage in breaking bad habits and building good ones, consciously? Breaking old bad habits and building new ones is a sort of change and change is always painful. It is challenging to break habits. There is no magic bullet; we will have to go through the aching path. We need to practice lot of self-discipline for first few weeks but gradually it gets easier. Once we are able to change the old habit to a new healthier one, it will serve us very well.  
Here are 5 easy steps to replace bad habits with good ones: 
  1. Make a choice: What bad habits do you have? What habit do you want to do away with? (zero down to one single habit you want to work on) Why do you want to break any habit? How do you plan to do the same? Awareness leads to better choice and better choice in turn leads to better results. Once you know all the pros and cons of the habit you will be in a position to make better trade off. Once you know the payoff and trade off; make a choice and commit for the change. 
  2. Write it down: Don’t leave commitments in your brain. Write them on paper. This does two things. First, it creates clarity by defining in specific terms what your change means. Second, it keeps you committed since it is easy to dismiss a thought, but harder to dismiss a promise printed in front of you. Putting on paper what you want (or do not want) has lot of psychological impact in your favor. Once you actually put this on piece of paper in specific terms, it converts into desire and your subconscious mind also starts working for you. As Paulo Coelho says, ‘the whole world conspires to help you in achieving your goals’.
  3. One habit at a time: It takes 3 to 4 weeks to break an old bad habit or to replace it with good one. It may seem like a long time to focus on only one change, but I’ve found trying to change more than a few habits at a time to be reckless. With just one habit change you can focus on making it really stick. Multitasking between three or four often means all get ignored. So have faith and work with patience. 
  4. Take action & persevere: There is a story, ‘one out of four frogs sitting on the log at the banks of river decides to jump in the water. How many are left? You might say three, right?  Wrong.  Deciding is not doing. Similarly no matter how fool proof your plan is? To get results, you need to take action and keep on taking it with renewed energy and feedback every time. Bouncing back is the secret of success. Even if you fail thousand times, make one more attempt. Don’t quit, persevere.
  5. Ask for help:  Go to your friend and request for help. Partner with your friends, spouse, siblings or parents. Yes, self-motivation for self-discipline is sine qua non for succeeding in breaking bad habits. But other people can be of great help to you in doing so. Seeking help from invisible hands also gives you faith and required impetus. God cares about every area of our life and HE wants us to ask for help. Make God, your mentor in the journey of personal development.  When we rely on our relationship with God, it makes us more capable individuals. I advocate living by simple philosophy: Do your best and let God do the rest.
Say bye to old bad habits and start living with the ones you always wanted to live with.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Read to Lead !

A book is like a garden carried in the pocket.       - Chinese proverb 

Knowledge is the power, so the saying goes. People who left positive impact on the sand of the history were all knowledgeable people. They were great readers and committed learners. Today, many of those are not among us but their brain which birthed their works is still speaking. They developed their brain through voracious reading.  Passionate readers end up indelibly as great high-lifters in life. When you sow reading as a seed, you'll reap excellence in the future. Books are the building blocks of destinies, and when you get committed to it, a real star is born! All great leaders have one thing in common: They read voraciously. An average person reads less than one book every year on the other side some of the CEOs of Fortune 500 companies read one book every week and some other great leaders read one book every day. In today’s fast paced world ‘the more that you read, the more things you will know; the more that you learn, the more places you'll go.’ While there are certainly numerous ways to learn (observation, experience, classroom instruction, relational interactions, etc.), I am a huge fan of the benefits of professional development gained from good old-fashioned, reading.  Michelangelo said it the best way ‘the day I stop reading, the day I stop learning – that’s the day I stop leading and likely the day I stop breathing’. Reading is a basic tool in the living of a good life. Student’s who want to get high earning jobs need to take it very seriously. Studies conducted by N2growth point out ‘active readers are likely to have annual incomes more than 5 times greater than those who spend little or no time reading. I believe by reading anyone (yes I mean anyone) can grow/develop given one prerequisite; the desire to do so. Personally, the habit of reading has brought me lot of knowledge, self respect, maturity and of course, money.  It has developed my thinking and execution skills to a great extent.  What distinguishes successful people from failures rarely has anything to do with intellect, wealth, social pedigree, career standing, or other like pursuit. It has everything to do with desire. So my suggestion is, get actually interested in reading. Frankly speaking I have lot of sympathy for the leaders who do not read. If you’re not learning you have no business leading. How can you possibly be expected to grow an organization if you’re not growing yourself? How can you accept the responsibility to develop a team if you’re not developing yourself? I feel great for teachers and students who are passionate for reading and actually feel sorry who don’t.

With love for reading……..

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Time is Life !

If you squander your time, you waste your life; as it is the stuff life is made of. – Albert Einstein

‘Time is money’—right?
Wrong. Money lost can be re-earned but the time wasted can never be returned.  People say times come and go but actually time never comes and goes, rather people come and go; time is eternity. God created time before people. Time is currency of life passing through seconds, minutes, hours, days, months and years.
Time factor makes a lot of difference between the poor and the rich. The poor spends his time in futile activities while the rich invests it in his dreams which will come true once the investment of time & energy gets matured. Whatever we become in life is what we use our time to accomplish. Time is the only asset equally given to every person on the earth. H Jackson Brown once said, “Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Michelangelo, Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Leonardo Da Vinci, Abraham Lincoln and Albert Einstein.”
 To succeed in life, we must learn to manage our time effectively.  Time is very precious & valuable asset and has some characteristics:  time cannot be stored, time cannot be stopped, time cannot be stretched and time cannot be managed too. We can manage our actions & behavior but not time. Stephen Covey defines a matrix in his bestselling book ‘Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’.               

 Time Management Matrix:
The two factors that define an activity are urgency and importance. Urgency means it requires immediate attention. Urgent matters are usually visible. They press on us; they insist on action. Paying mobile bill by due date is an urgent activity.
Importance, on the other hand, has to do with results. If something is important, it contributes to your mission, your values and your high priority goals. For example, reading might not be urgent but it is important.

We react to urgent matters even if those are not important. Whereas important matters that are not urgent require more initiative, ownership & drive. Being in quadrant 1 brings - stress, burnout, firefighting, focus on the immediate & crisis management. There are some unnecessary things calling for our attention in this busy world. Those things are known as time wasters. These distractions or time wasters include: long calls, visitors, attending unscheduled meetings/parties, long hours of sleep, lack of self discipline, laziness, lack of planning, procrastination, gossips, lack of priorities, unclear objectives etc. These fall in quadrant 3 & 4. Spending more time in these quadrants would lead to a mediocre life. While spending time in quadrant 2 would mean long term perspective, discipline, control, balance & visionary life. We must have clarity on our goals and press on the activities which are important (Q-2) to turn our dreams into reality.

Strategies to manage your time better:
§ Increase your time awareness. Get to know where is it going? Failing to plan is actually planning to fail; so plan your work and be organized.
§ Prioritize your tasks and learn to say no to time wasters. Most important things should never be sacrificed on the cost least important ones.
§ Learn to utilize smaller chunks of time. I would suggest never leave your place without a book in your hand. I have found out that if we use smaller chunks of time (waiting time); we can read 25 pages every day which equals to 750 pages a month and this means 36 books (considering 250 pages in each book) in a year with no extra time.   
§ Use tools like post-it notes, to do lists, calendar, diary, reminders etc.

Time is life; live it.