Friday, May 27, 2011


I just finished watching a great movie, Invictus (means unconquerable). This movie is based on John Carlin’s book Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Changed a Nation and is directed by Clint Eastwood. Morgan Freeman acts awesomely well as Nelson Mandela. A number of conversations by Nelson Mandela (one of my heroes) are still echoing in my mind. It leaves my mind with lots of learning.
Heart to Heart with the Master
Times change, we need to change as well.
Forgiveness liberates the soul. 
It removes fear. 
That is why it is such a powerful weapon. 
I thank whatever gods may be,
For my unconquerable soul.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishment the scroll.
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul. 

Nelson Mandela: How do you inspire your team to do their best? 
Francois Pienaar: By example. I've always thought to lead by example, sir.
Nelson Mandela: Well, that is right. That is exactly right. But how do we get them to be better then they think they CAN be? That is very difficult, I find. Inspiration, perhaps. How do we inspire ourselves to greatness when nothing less will do? How do we inspire everyone around us? I sometimes think it is by using the work of others. 

Here is the list of my learning from this great work:
§ In life (personal & professional), appreciate people. It brings out the best from them.
§ Be genuinely interested in people and find something which they cherish and just follow it.
§ Operate out of purpose and values and not out of ego.
§ Be calm & cool. Be humble.
§ Communicate with people (not just to people) and clarify things.
§ Do your ground work before every moment of truth.
§ Lead by example. As leader lives under a microscope and your example will inspire millions.
 It’s a must watch movie for everybody who loves dreams and aspires to be great. It teaches me humanity and some other finer aspects of leadership. It definitely helps to Learn, Endure, Aspire & Dare. I recommend it to you.

Friday, May 20, 2011

How to Reach Goals?

Arise, awake and stop not till the goal is reached.
The above quote by Swami Vivekananda completes the secret of chasing and reaching goals in life. Once we set goals properly, focus & priority around them is the key. Let me elaborate this in terms of five platinum points to reach your goals and realize your dreams.

Point #1: Set SMART Goal
I believe you have already set some Specific, Measurable, Attainable & Action Provoking, Relevant & Realistic and Time Bound goals for yourself. (If you have not done that yet, please read my previous article ‘How to set goals?’).  Now make sure you have written it in positive sentence and made some symbols to remind your goals to you multiple times a day. Post your goals in visible places to remind yourself every day of what it is you intend to do, be or have. Put them on your walls, desk, computer monitor, bathroom mirror or refrigerator as a constant reminder. Make it a chore that you read (speak to yourself) your goals just after waking up in the morning and before going to bed in every night.

Point #2: Make an Action Plan
This step is often missed in the process of goal setting. You get so focused on the outcome that you forget to plan all of the steps that are needed along the way. By writing out the individual steps, and then crossing each one off as you complete it, you'll realize that you are making progress towards your ultimate goal. This is especially important if your goal is big and demanding, or long-term.

Point #3: Get to Work
I agree, before shooting one must aim but at the same time I also know that ‘talk does not cook rice’. No matter how well set the goal and how great the plan of action. But still it is nothing until we take action. Execution makes all the difference in the end result. Rise early, work late and strike oil that is the secret of success. Every goal on the earth is easy to reach only if we are ready to take the action with full vigor.  Journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step; take the first step today and persevere. Every morning, decide to do things which take you nearer to your goals. Review your progress at regular intervals and ask yourself what have you done today to come closer to your goals?      

Point #4: Stick to It
Goal setting is an ongoing activity not just a means to an end. Build in reminders to keep yourself on track, and make regular time-slots available to review your goals. Your end destination may remain quite similar over the long term, but the action plan you set for yourself along the way can change significantly. Make sure the relevance, value, and necessity remain high. Remember, winners never quit and quitters never win. Apply feedback, stay on track and stick to your goal. Choosing a goal and sticking to it will change everything. 

Point #5: Reach Goal
The satisfaction that comes along with knowing you achieved what you set out to do is a matter of only experience. Many people quit just before reaching the end and then repent their decision to quit. Try to exceed or at least meet the target don’t believe in the proverb ‘aim for the moon, even if you miss it you will find yourself among stars’. Do not let your momentum slow down and finish well. Last 10% time is the most crucial for making you and winner and remember there is very narrow gap in the efforts and price paid by winner and runners up. But the gap in their rewards is not in proportion, that’s huge. So finish impeccably. Once you reach the goal, celebrate your achievement. This celebration sends a signal to your heart; boosts up your confidence and makes you ready to set out for new goals. This celebration actually multiplies the joy and satisfaction of reaching to your goals.  You set a goal to score 85% in the semester and you reached that. Now what about rewarding yourself with a bicycle or a wrist watch or may be a dozen of great books to relish. Never miss your rewards, this will attach wings to your dreams for the time to come.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

How to Set Goals?

A goal properly set is half way reached.              – Abraham Lincoln

Hope you read my earlier article on the blog ‘Why set goals?’ You already figured out the areas you want to set goals for yourself. I believe achieving your highest potential and being successful is your birthright and  I am ready to help you in setting really smart goals for yourself. Here are three platinum points of Goal Setting:
Point #1: Set Goals that Motivate YOU
When you set goals for yourself, it is important that they motivate you. This means making sure that they are important to you, and that there is value in achieving them. If you have little interest in the outcome, or they are irrelevant given the larger picture, then the chances of you putting in the work to make them happen are slim. Motivation is the key in achieving goals.
Set goals that relate to the high priorities in your life. Without this type of focus, you can end up with too many goals, leaving you too little time to devote to each one. Goal achievement requires commitment to maximize the likelihood of success. You need to feel a sense of urgency and have an ‘I must do this’ attitude. When you don't have this, you risk putting off what you need to do to make the goal a reality. This in turn leaves you feeling disappointed and frustrated with yourself, both of which are de-motivating. And you can end up in a very destructive ‘I can't do anything or be successful at anything’ frame of mind. To make sure your goal is motivating, write down why it’s valuable and important to you. Your goals are functions of your desire. Hence from core of your heart, you must really really want this to happen for you and have an attitude to walk all the extra miles required.
Point #2: Set SMART Goals
Probably one of the best things I ever learnt in my life and seems much more useful than few years of schooling is setting SMART Goals. For goals to be powerful, they should be designed to be SMART. There are many variations of what SMART stands for, but the essence is this – goals should be: Specific, Measurable, Attainable & Action Provoking, Relevant & Realistic and it must be Time Bound & must have some Tangible associations.

Specific: Your goals must be clear and well defined. Vague or generalized goals are unhelpful because they don't provide sufficient direction. Remember, you need goals to show you the way. Make it as easy as you can to get where you want to go by defining precisely. There are greater chances of achieving specific goals than general ones. It must be Precise & detailed. One of the ways to test your goal is answering ‘Wh’ questions like - Who? Why? What? When? How? See the difference in two statements:

I will reduce 5 Kgs of weight in 90 days starting from today vs I want to reduce weight.

Measurable: It must be measurable because if you can measure it, you can manage it as measurement is the criteria for determining progress & success. Include precise amounts, dates, etc in your goals so that you can measure your degree of success. It must answer questions like- How much? How many? When? There should be relevant benchmarks and metrics to assess progress and attainment. If your goal is simply defined as ‘to reduce weight’; how will you know when you have been successful or missed by how many points? Without a way to measure your success you miss out on the celebration that comes with knowing you have actually achieved something. You miss out on that significant boost to your conscious & sub conscious mind once you achieve your goals. 
Attainable & Action Provoking: It should be attainable & action provoking. Make sure that it's possible to achieve the goals you set in the time frame you are making a decision to. A smart goal once set, gets your juices flowing and is attained with reasonable amount of effort and application. If you set a goal that you have no hope of achieving in set time, you will only demoralize yourself and erode your confidence.
However, resist the urge to set goals that are too easy. Accomplishing a goal that you didn't have to work hard for can be anticlimactic at best, and can also make you fear setting future goals that carry a risk of non-achievement. By setting realistic yet challenging goals, you hit the balance you need. These are the types of goals that require you to ‘raise the bar’ and they bring the greatest personal satisfaction.
Relevant & Realistic: Goals should be relevant to the direction you want your life and career to take. By keeping goals aligned with this, you'll develop the focus you need to get ahead and do what you want. Set widely scattered and inconsistent goals and you'll fritter your time – and your life – away. Hence it is recommended; you must set goals which are aligned with long term vision of your life and your values. Accomplishing the goal must bring reward to you and that will happen only if the goal is important enough to you.
Time-Bound: Your goals must have a deadline. This means that you know when you can celebrate success. When you are working on a deadline, your sense of urgency increases and achievement will come that much quicker. Moreover, until and unless you put a deadline, what you call goals are simply dreams and not actually goals. People say that impossible is nothing but you can’t give birth to a baby in two months it still requires nine months.
Point #3: Set Goals in Writing
In my earlier blogs I emphasized on writing down what you want to do. The difference between a goal and a dream is the written word. It makes magical impact on the actions you take to achieve your goals. The physical act of writing down a goal makes it real and tangible. Committing things to paper always makes them clearer and more manageable. You have no excuses for forgetting about it. As you write, use the word ‘will’ instead
 of ‘would like to’ or ‘might’ or ‘want’. For example, ‘I will reduce my weight by 5 Kgs in next 3 months’, not ‘I would like to reduce my weight’. The first goal statement has power and you can ‘see’ yourself reducing weight, the second lacks passion and gives you an excuse if you get sidetracked. Frame your goal statement positively & precisely.
Goal setting is much more than simply saying you want something to happen. Once you clearly define what exactly you want and understand why you want it, your odds of success are considerably increased. By following the above steps, you can set goals with confidence and enjoy.
Remember, a goal properly set is half way reached. Hence put efforts in setting it properly. 

Next Friday, look for more tips on ‘How to chase your goals?’

Friday, May 6, 2011

Why Set Goals?

Goals are not only absolutely necessary to motivate us. They are essential to really keep us alive.    Robert H Schuller                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Goals set the direction and momentum for our actions. If you do not know where you are going; you are likely to end up somewhere else. Setting goal means charting roadmap to success. Let me explain results of two extensive researches on impact of setting (or not setting) goals.
In a study conducted at Harvard Business School during 1979 to 1989, MBA Graduates were asked a question‘Have you set clear, written goals for your future and made plans to accomplish them?’
  • 3% Graduates had written goals and plans
  • 13% Graduates had unwritten goals
  • 84% Graduates had no goals at all
Ten years later the researcher interviewed the respondents again and it was discovered:
  • The 13% that had unwritten goals were earning in average, twice as much as the 84% of the students who had no goals
  • That the 3% who had clear written goals when they left Harvard were earning 10 times as much as the other 97%of all the students
Brian Tracy, an international motivator & success coach carried out another research on 100 top successful Businessmen in the world and found out that all of them had clear written goals. You can’t be a winner in the game of life without specific, realistic and attainable goals; Aristotle called it teleological organism. Deciding your most important goals stops you from chasing butterflies and puts you to work on digging gold. Setting goals activates your reticular cortex and puts subconscious mind to work for you.

Now an obvious question might arise into your mind that, if this is so important then why most of the people do not set proper goals. Good question! Okay, here is the answer.

People do not set goals due to one of the following three reasons:
  • They do not understand the importance of goal setting
  • They lack the technical knowledge on goal setting area
  • They are afraid of failure or rejection or may be fear of being ridiculed
Goal is a purpose toward which an endeavor is directed. It can fall in one of the below three categories:
  • What you want to achieve?
  • What you want to have?
  • What you want to be?
Goals are necessary to motivate you to develop your latent potential. If you want to succeed, you need to set goals. Without goals you lack focus and direction. Goal setting not only allows you to take control of your life's direction; it also provides you a benchmark for determining whether you are actually succeeding. Goals unlock the positive mind and release idea and energy for attainment. Goal setting is a tool which enhances productivity, stimulates long term vision and short term motivation and adds credibility & objectivity to your performance. Progress has little to do with speed, but much to do with direction and goals set a direction. Goals also help us to evaluate our priority and maintain a balanced life. 

I believe you are convinced that goal setting is perhaps the most important step towards realizing your dreams.
Follow the blog for learning the best secrets of setting smart goals and achieving them, too.   My next article will definitely help you in learning better goal setting approach.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Attitude defines altitude!

Attitude is a little thing that makes BIG difference in life.      – Winston Churchill

It is not your ‘know-how’ skills that puts you on the path of success and keeps on track. Neither qualifications nor your execution skills, it is not goal setting or time management skills or your habits. It is your own thinking. Lord Buddha said it the best when he uttered ‘We become, what we think.’ Actually thoughts convert into things.
There are lot many different names for this trait. The best word which describes this is -Attitude. ‘If you think you can, you are right. If you think you can’t, still you are right’ – this is nothing but an expression of power of attitude.  There is an awakening in the corporate world for the importance of a positive mental attitude. Customers are lost, friction and conflicts occur, stress increases, employees report sick, performance at work gets affected, productivity goes down – all due to a negative mental attitude. Whenever you're in conflict with someone, there is one factor that can make the difference between damaging and deepening your real wealth, your relationship; that factor is your attitude. You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control your attitude toward what happens to you, and in that, you will be mastering change rather than allowing it to master you.

Positive attitude towards people attracts good towards you, it develops your network. Good communications skills might enable you to communicate better but it is only your connections skills (which are a function of attitude) that uplift your life. If you want to discover a leader in you, give importance to attitude development. Leadership is practiced not so much in words as in attitude and in actions. Good attitude leads to good actions which in turn lead to better results and develop your influence. Nice attitude breeds hope which is the mother of all efforts. And great efforts spring naturally from great attitude. You become a person of hope, a person of awakening dreams.
A name which crops up in mind as a perfect example of a personality who proved, ‘the only disability in life is a bad attitude’ is Helen Keller. She was physically deaf and blind still rose to heights and went to become a great author, thinker & philosopher, lecturer and political activist. When she was asked ‘Don’t you feel bad that you don’t have sight?’ Her answer was ‘It is terrible thing to see and have no vision, I am fortunate that I have a vision’. What an attitude!  I read her autobiography (The Story of my life; I suggest it to you as well) and that actually touched me. Now, Helen is one of my heroes. At times, your environment impacts your thinking.
This morning I was waiting for the train to come at Railway Station and happened to read a statement on a wall ‘Beware of pickpockets’.  These three words triggered extra caution in my mind and I was trying to find out a thief in every other passenger in the crowd.  Immediately, I forced my mind to correct my attitude as I was reminded a line of Albert Einstein ‘weakness of attitude becomes weakness of character.’ I just cautioned myself and soon I was enjoying a beautiful morning with my sweet spouse. I told the momentary restlessness to my wife and she said ‘those who wish to sing; always find a song’. I suggest you the same. Guard your thoughts as thoughts become attitude which defines altitude of life.