Wednesday, November 29, 2006

How do You See Yourself

Even in similar circumstances, different people will accomplish differently. In fact the success of a person does not depend as much as on the external factors as much as it depends on the factors that are inside. This anecdote illustrates it beautifully.

Once, I was passing through a busy market place, when I observed that there were a few young people, who were wearing a pink apron, with the name of a popular cosmetic company printed on it. It was very obvious that they were part of some marketing campaign. Each of these young people had a printed paper on a clip board. They were supposed to collect some information from people and take down their name, address and phone number. In return they were offering a free trial sachet of their latest product.

Now, I have a philosophy in life. I never leave any thing that is free. So, when I was stopped by a young girl, I offered to answer the questions, and gave my name, address and phone number and collected my free sachet. When I got a glimpse of the paper in her clip board, I was surprised to see that, my name was at the bottom of the all ready filled up printed table. She thanked me and informed me that I was the hundredth person she had talked to that day and that her target for the day was over. It was commendable as she was assigned this particular cross-road, that was not crowded, and people passing by seemed to be in a great hurry. And it was still within the first few hours of the day.

I plead guilty of thinking that it is the easiest job in the world to offer something free and ask for some trifling information. However, this was not very easy for another girl of the same age, who was assigned to a crowded bus-stop. People had no other option but to wait till their bus came. It was of course an ideal location for this kind of an activity. But, her paper had only two names written on it. I was surprised, as all she had to do was to come forward, and at least ten people at any given point would have listened to her presentation. But she was standing quietly, looking at people, sizing them up. Sometimes, she would make an attempt to move towards somebody and then stop dead on the track. I could see desperation and fear of rejection written all over her face. I tell you, she portrayed a sorry figure, as she was fighting a war with herself, which she was clearly loosing.

Don’t we, like this girl, loose genuinely good business opportunities or a chance of a wonderful relationship or simply a great time, because some where deep down, we feel that we are not good enough for it? Aren’t there times when we undersell ourselves, and castigate ourselves to a life of mediocrity and unnecessary compromises when in fact we have talents that can win the world?

Why are we hesitant? Why do we fear? It is because; we do not really see ourselves in good light. It is not important what others are thinking about you. It is more important what you think about yourself. And the way, you look yourself; the world will see you in the same way. That is the principle. That is the magic of Self-Image.

Work on your Self Image. It is worth it. Because the extent of you success is proportionate to your self image. I for several years had suffered from poor self image. Thanks to God, I learned a few techniques that helped me to improve it. I would like to share them with you.

- Pray everyday, and believe, really believe that you are God’s child. And you will immediately give a boost to your self image because; you know that no child of God can be a looser.

- Play with children. Children have very high self image and it will brush on to you in no time.

- Talk to yourself. Aloud, if possible. Tell yourself that you are the most deserving person in this world and thank God for it. Then experience the magic.

- Read a lot of Positive books; listen to exciting music rather than sad songs. Exciting music and positive books make you feel happy. As a result you feel more confident and ready to face the world.

- Keep yourself away from television soaps. The face of humanity that they display can be one of the biggest blows to your self image. Also keep away from negative people. Protect your brain, from any sort of garbage.

There are some more that I will share with you some other time. They worked for me. Try them out. And if they work for you as well (which they definitely will), share them with others. Who knows someone out there is waiting for you to come and rescue him from his own-self.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Life of Significance

If dreams are big enough, facts don’t count

The greatest gift to mankind is the power to dream. There is no other species that can dream and visualize the future and work out an action plan. All other are controlled by their surroundings and circumstances. But we can dream. And it has been dream of thousands of people in yesteryears that has brought us where we are on the road of civilization.

We are all born with the power of dream. But, the challenges of real world and the harsh realities of life make us bury our dreams faster than anything else. But that does not make us stop dreaming. What happens is that we shrink the size of our dream to fit our notion of what is practical and possible in real world. As a result the size of dreams becomes so small that we are unable to distinguish between dreams and the vehicles to achieve them.

One of the most saddening, observations I have made is among the youngsters. They do not know what the purpose of their life is. In fact they are never taught to dream. Ask them what their aim in life is; they will say: ‘my aim is to get a particular qualification, or a particular profession, or a good job with big company, or I wish to earn a lot of money etc.

There is nothing wrong with these answers. They feel if they have those, they will live a dream life. The problem is that, they do not know it themselves that why they want, what they want. A lot of people achieve these aims and become apparently successful, but the rosy picture of dream life they had envisaged quickly vanishes and they start feeling bitter. The conclusion they draw is that ‘dreams never come true.’

How can dreams be true if, there is no dream? A qualification, a job, or money is not a dream, but just vehicles to achieve something else. It is wrong to call them dreams. In fact the question of aim is incomplete if it is not followed by another bigger question, that is the big “Why?”

First find what your purpose in life is. You have been sent to this world with a particular set of talents and some emotions. And those talents and emotions are the indicators of your purpose in life. And then think weather, the vehicle you are choosing or you are already in takes you to that purpose. Let me give you some examples:

- There is so much that can be made, build or improved, that will make peoples lives easier. I can do that if I am an engineer.
- I can not see people suffering, I should do something for them, and so I should become a doctor, a nurse, a paramedic.
- I have been gifted with the power to motivate. I can help people by spreading words of encouragement and hope. So I should become an inspirational speaker.
- It is great to see raw ingredients transforming into mouthwatering dishes, and I love to see people enjoying what I have cooked. I am going to be a chef.
- There are so many people who need help. I can help them only if I have money. I aim to get rich.

What are you doing is that you are giving your vehicle a bigger purpose. This bigger purpose is the dream. Dream is a big dream because it crosses the boundaries of selfish interests. It has to include other people around you. You are truly successful only if your success is making a positive impact in the lives of people.

If you learn to dream like this, fact won’t count any more. All the challenges that come in your way won’t dampen your spirit. You will be a crusader in your mission, ready to overcome any obstacle and each challenge will make you a better person. Whatever you do will be within the frame work of you vision, and you will have a life where you will be continuously grow towards your potential and sow seeds that will benefit others.

In fact you will not just live “a life of success,” but, more important “a life of significance.”

Monday, November 20, 2006

Define Your Success

Success! Every body wants it, but no one really knows what it is. Every one has their own definition of success. The dictionary explains success as "gaining of what one aims at." In other words success is equivalent to accomplishment and achievement.

Though this is politically correct definition for success, this very definition is the one that prevents many people from enjoying an everlasting feeling of success. The biggest challenge with this definition is that, the accomplishment in itself is very short and temporary. Therefore, even the feeling of success associated with it is also only for a short duration. Then how should we really define success? I found the answer for this in an incident that I would love to narrate here.

Once during a workshop, I asked a group of four young management students that, what would give them a feeling of success. For one it was getting employment in a MNC. For other, it was buying a particular brand of car, and for third it was befriending and later marrying the girl who was his secret heartthrob.

However the fourth one, kept quiet. After some cajoling, he hesitantly replied that for him success is working for the up-lift-ment of poor and downtrodden. Everyone laughed at him, as it was a very unlikely answer for any management student. At that moment, even I felt that maybe this particular person lacked dream and vision to make it big.

I happened to meet the first three, a few years later in a get-together. Each of them had accomplished the goals they had set for themselves. The first one was working in a large MNC and had got a recent promotion, the other had purchased his dream car, and the third had married his dream girl after settling down on the professional front. I asked them how they felt about their achievements.They said that, for a few days they felt on top of the world. But soon euphoria of achievement wore of. They no longer derive any excitement from it. Though they were happy and proud of the job, the car and the family, but it no longer gave them the feeling of success.It immediately made me think of the fourth one.

Luckily, I met him a few days later in front of a government office. After pleasantries, he told me that he was a program head in a voluntary organization that organizes vocational training for under-privileged. He invited me to his place that was nearby. His humble dwelling and the old motor scooter he drove indicated at his un-enviable earnings. But for the entire, two hours I was with him he kept on talking about his work and how excited he felt about it.

Though in material terms his achievements where next to nothing, but he felt very successful. In fact he was happy that he was living his dream.

It was a valuable realization. Success can not be same as a realizing one's goals. Goals are good indicators of success, as the milestones are for the destination you want to reach. So at every milestone we feel little more excited as we are closer to our destination. But once we reach the destination, somehow we feel a loss of purpose and each milestone that we had crossed seem to loose their significance.

Same is with life. When we chase our dream, big or small it may be, we set certain goals for ourselves, and we feel happy as we achieve each one of them. But once we have realized our dream all the goals we have achieved, become meaningless and unimportant and cease to excite us.

So it is better to have bigger dreams with bigger purposes. A purpose that is for universal good rather than selfish fulfillment can make a person derive an everlasting feeling of success, as was in case of our ‘social-worker’ friend. With bigger dreams you will always have newer goals to work on, new heights to scale.

So, in order to feel successful now and for a life time, get a big dream; and whatever you are working on direct it towards fulfillment of that purpose. In fact change the definition of success from “gaining of aim” to “Process of chasing a dream.”