Thursday, May 2, 2013

Lessons learned and some yet to be adopted: Speaking from my own experiences

Hi Everyone, or may be more of a hi to myself, since what is going on in my mind right now and what I am going to pen down in this note now is more of a talk with myself. But I like putting things on paper and sharing them further. It helps me tremendously in understanding my own thoughts, much more clearly. I hope that you enjoy reading the post as much as I liked writing it.


I always enjoy watching videos related to career advice or any interesting sessions for that matter. Better put, I would say I love watching videos of people who are motivated towards what they are doing. That may serve as an advice for a professional life or may well be more inclined towards social, personal aspects of my life . I was watching a keynote speech by Nora Denzel few minutes ago. She was a keynote speaker at Grace hopper celebration of women in computing 2012 and has been Director at IBM, SVP at Hewlett Packard and currently sits on two public boards ! So cool and actually overwhelming..right? I know. She offered some excellent career advices in her speech (Do check them out. Just google her name and you will find a link). Really inspiring but one thing that daunts me when I try to bring some of what they talk about in myself is, looking at all the years that have passed by and the difference that I see in myself as a person vs. them when they were at my position. I feel that attitude or the success they have in their career today is a result of the way they have pursued things all the way in all their past years. They surely talk about how they have improved themselves and that even they were not as good as they stand today but for the differences that I observe between myself and them, can I overcome them now? Right now, my mind is telling me that possibly I can. But i would need to make extra effort to cover that difference possibly. 

Few months back I was watching this video by Sushmita Sen. It's titled "Living life on your own terms". Just amazing. I loved her attitude and the poem where she defines what success means to her is simply great. I would say the best definition of success I have come across and I am sure thinking of many of us will resonate with how she has defined it. Likewise many more such videos of several other inspiring, enthusiastic people. Watching them and introspecting after that, makes me feel that I need to change many things in my attitude. We all might be already having some of them but still reminding ourselves helps in keeping a check. I am listing them out here. Feel free to add if you have some more tips. I will also keep editing this note, adding things as and when they hit my mind :-)
1. Being disciplined: I have a long-long way to go here. I wake up by 7 or 7:30 but unless there's a deadline in front of me, I will not start working without squandering the best of my day's time, when my mind is totally fresh, in listening to music for sometime. I really want to work during morning hours but even knowing it, I miss it most of the times. And I hate this thing about myself. I think it is extremely important to channelize our energy in the right direction rather than spreading it out. Just knowing what our goal is, is not enough unless we work towards it. I am working towards improving myself here. One the same lines, there's this syndrome by the name 'Watson's Syndrome' that i read about in one of the books. Something we really need to be careful about. I definitely need to watch myself for it. It happens when you have a daunting task at hand, something that we are finding hard to pick up because of the fear of not being able to complete it for whatsoever reason. And in order to avoid it, we tend to remind ourselves of some other 10 things which are just not at all so important at the present than our task. Let me give an example: If I am working on a project at hand that is my topmost priority but because I am finding it hard, it comes to my mind that, you know what, I need to go to bank or need to get groceries and so on. These bank and grocery shopping are all indeed tasks that I need to do soon but not right away. I am just looking at them as an escape from the project work. That is what Watson syndrome is.
2.  "You are average of five people you spend your time with" : That says it all what I wish to mention here I believe? :-) This is from a philosopher, Jim Rohn. Being conscious of the company and talks we enjoy and spend out our time essentially, can be big factor in shaping our thoughts and personality. At times when we wish to take a break, our preference should be to spend that time doing other things we enjoy rather than being in a company where we might enjoy at that point of time, but in retrospect we feel that it is influencing us in a direction which we are trying to avoid.
3. Being a fighter: We all have our share of ups and downs in life. It is okay and in fact important to give ourselves time to come out of those hard times. Expecting to be so strong that you just try to pull yourself up much earlier than what you also think is not enough, that way you are not just being too hard on your self but it is not even realistic and practical. By putting such goals for ourselves we are just building walls of disappointment, something which will bring us even more down. It is okay to be sad, mourn, cry when things do not seem to be going our way, but staying there longer than what is necessary is what is not right. Our friends (true ones) and family will always be there to support us, but i always remind myself that yes, I am fortunate to have them, but i should not let that support become my crutch. There will be times in your life when you stumble, your loved ones will be there to hold you and make you stand back but if you do deny to walk, you are essentially putting their efforts go down the drain. From my experiences, I have learned that following these two steps really work.Tip 1:- When we are constantly thinking about a problem, we are literally looking at just that ONE path. Talking to someone you can count on or taking your mind off it some way, helps us to think objectively. Tip 2: Whatever did not work out, accept it. One thing that always helps me and actually that is something that really helps when nothing else gives me comfort,is saying this to myself "Thinking of all the good things that have happened in my life, God has been so kind to me. If things have not worked out the way I wanted them to be this time, I will take that as HIS will. I have a short vision. May be if my wish is granted, i might feel happy at the present moment but in the long run, it will not stay the same way. So, trusting in his will is THE best thing to do". Believe me, it might be sounding very philosophical and more as a something to comfort one's heart,  but that has helped me many times in my life and I have got my answers too for the most part. For The ones I haven't I am more than 100% sure, I will. 
4. Develop hobbies: It is absolutely great when we enjoy our work and we should. But there are times when we need a break to keep that enjoyment alive, rejuvenate ourselves. Develop hobbies, instead of killing that time by doing things you do not really enjoy, the whole process of taking a break gets defeated otherwise. I personally enjoy reading blogs, listening to music (Oh God..I need to lessen that. It is stepping out of my hobby zone and taking on to my mainstream work! ) and guess what..shopping !!!!! (something that acts as my stress buster too sometimes)
5. Give your best in whatever you do, once you decide to pick it up: Once you decide and accept some task, do it with all honesty. Do not come up with reasons later for not being able to put your 100% . Let me give an example: lets say you get a job offer but the salary does not commensurate with the workload. If you eventually decide to accept it, even after not being excited about this salray-work structure, do not try to take it lightly and cut corners. Yours going out and explaining your line of reasoning for doing so is not going to benefit you in any way except hurting you by casting a negative impression on your attitude. You are essentially losing your credibility for work.
6. Self-Respect: I wonder how I am bringing it after 5 points ! I give 100% value to one's self-respect and dignity. It is so very important to me. May be the most important. But the hard fact being that in spite of admiring this trait so much, I am not able to follow it when it comes to my own self-respect. Trust me, I have hurt myself so many times. But hopefully, being conscious about it and reminding myself will make me follow it more firmly for myself. Never let anyone step on your toes and of course with that being said, make sure that you watch your actions too. It is very easy to lecture others for hurting you. But also keep a check on your own actions and also we need to be able to draw a line that defines our self respect for our own self and eventually others. We can not stop others from crossing that boundary without ourselves being aware of where that line begins. It is tempting to confuse self respect with ego at times. I think, Self-respect is being able to stand up for your beliefs, to be able to speak up for your own actions, dignity in your own eyes where as ego is the attitude you throw on others. You do not have to be an egoistic to maintain your dignity !
7. Learning to say 'No' and a firm one: It happens with many of us that if we are helpful, polite and sensitive, we get pushed around a lot. People around us tend to catch that personality trait of ours and aim to take advantage knowing that saying no will make us feel obligated and conscious and we will eventually end up saying yes. But practice saying 'no'. By saying no, we don't just save ourselves time to do things we actually enjoy doing but also saves us from getting into the situations that are going to cause stress later on.And in doing so, do not worry about what other person will think about you. If they really like you, they will understand why you said no and if they are not your real friends, they will not start liking you in the true, genuine way just because of you said yes this time. They might say nice things on hearing a yes but always have another chance to show their anger any time you end up saying no in future. And do not try to soften the no with an apologetic tone.That will make it weak. Be firm. This comes from one of the blogs that I follow (Preeti Shenoy's). She writes really well.
8. Do not be too hard on yourself: Sometimes we try to be an extremely strong critic of ourselves. May be when we are aiming for something or trying to change an old habit.Accepting that things will not fall in place as quickly as we wish or expect will make life and the journey to ultimately achieve the goal we are striving for relatively easier.  But we tend to be such a strong judge of ourselves, set our expectations so high for a change to occur, that even when we are progressing towards it, no matter how slow but we fail to observe that movement entirely. We just keep our eyes on the destination, without realizing that it is a time-consuming process and as long as we are working "towards" it, it is all good. It happens a lot with me atleast. I tend to analyze myself so strongly at times that it just leads me to a low state, which in fact pulls one down. 
9. Hard to figure out what is right/wrong in dealing with people?  Now, this is more about personal aspect of life. We at times run into situations where we are not sure if the way we are behaving with other person is right?  I feel that the best and most accurate solution for that is to put yourself in other person's shoes and go over the same situation again. Ask yourself, What if you were at other person's place and the way you behaved with him/her now, if he dealt with you in the same way? If you are talking to yourself with all honesty, you will get the answer. This might sound like over-thinking but one has to decide - hurting someone or over-thinking a little bit. And you know what, we are fine over-thinking much more than this when we ourselves get hurt :-) 
10. Day-Dream :-  I am a big advocate of this, but of course only when it is limited and as long as that's not the only thing you do ! Having dreams in your life , having a list which makes you feel that if you get this, you will be so happy, really helps you in staying motivated. Now, this does not conflict with being dissatisfied or ungrateful for what you have or achieved so far. If you keep complaining for things you do not have at present, that is definitely not the right way. But feeling thankful and happy looking back at all things you have in your life so far and being motivated to achieve more, taking inspiration from others is all in good spirit ! And having a set of goals/dreams for yourself also helps you get up and look at the road ahead when you are pulled down by some hardship/setback in life.

Well... so easy to say all these big-big things naa..:-) I know. I am writing all these things here today with the hope that saying it out in public and also writing it down will make me conscious! Fingers crossed here  :-)

Be hopeful, healthy and stay motivated. Take care !

PS If you are reading till this point, you are on my list of fives  :-) LOL !

Dippy