Lack of Confidence
First of fall we need to understand the reason for lack of confidence. Lack of confidence is due to a fear of one kind or another (mostly unfounded). As an American wrote, “my life was full of misfortunes which never happened”.
Of course, one need not be reckless. Yet, harboring fear never helps. We need to think rationally and pen down what makes us afraid and why. This process helps remove some of the fear and begins the path of building confidence.
A famous Management Guru one said that there are four ‘C’s which form the foundation of an individual’s growth and a Company’s progress. These four virtues are – Curiosity, Confidence, Courage and Consistency. The most important of these happen to be Confidence. If absence of confidence the other virtues will simply disappear.
It is said that “they conquer who believe they can”. Self-belief is thus the second important factor in building up confidence. Confidence emerging out of self-belief is necessary for any significant achievement. New opportunities always carry some incidence of chance. For taking any initiative you must be prepared to take calculated risk. In fact not taking any risk is the biggest risk of life.
Further, Confidence enables you to trust yourself. And if you don’t trust yourself, nobody else will. No one will feel secure in placing any responsibility on you. That will be the dead end. There is no further growth.
Often we do not see opportunities because we are not interested. On the face of it, lack of desire acts as a strong handicap in our progress and growth. But, Confidence trains our mind to desire what the situation demands. It makes us alert enough to recognize and seize emerging opportunities. With desire created by confidence we look ahead, strive hard and succeed.
Confidence breeds courage
For taking risk of any kind one needs to have courage. If we have confidence; we will be able to rise up to the demands of the situation. So we must go ahead and take calculated risk. Courage enables us to move ahead! Yet, if there is no confidence it will be very difficult to harness courage.
Most people lack self-confidence. You can help them! Smile. Your smile will reassure them. You will be doing a great job helping them to gain confidence. This is particularly true when somebody is meeting a new group of people. We must also remember that the more we are helping others to gain confidence, the more we enhance our own self-confidence! We help ourselves too!!!
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The main cause of hesitation is uncertainty. Often we are not sure of the result of our decision or action. Fear of making a mistake is the root cause of hesitation. How can we overcome this fear of making a mistake?
Ask yourself “have I met anybody how does not make mistakes”. Is there any leader in the world ever who never made any mistakes? Everybody does. If that be so then why one should be afraid of making a mistake. It gives you enough reason not to hesitate. But, reason is not the only thing when we talk of hesitation and or fear of making a mistake. The associated problems like how others will feel or perceive about decision/action bothers our mind.
What happens if you don’t take a decision? What happens if you don’t take action where it is required? Consequences of inaction or indecision are far more severe than the fear of making a mistake.
The best thing is to think and act. When it something serious you can note down crystallize your thoughts and then act. But act you must. And that to must happen well in time. Delayed action often leads to further problems. Where ever you hesitate you must fix a time limit which could be from a few seconds or minutes or hours as the situation remains. Stick to the time limit. Don’t worry about the consequences of actions that you have taken after due consideration.
You must imbibe in yourself a desire
for doing new things. Habit of doing new things also builds your self
confidence. Self confidence in turn makes you a decisive person who does not
hesitate. Hesitation is a serious development need which you must address.
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At our learning centre, we recently held a discussion on- “What is important for success- knowledge, power or wealth?”
Importance of Power
The participants in the discussions were entrepreneurs, corporate executives, bankers and others. Different views were presented by the speakers. Some considered knowledge as most important factor. They enumerated examples of successful people who had risen from being unknown to highly rated successful individual by consistently acquiring knowledge and gainfully using it. Knowledge in such cases did not necessarily mean any university degree or such other qualification. Knowledge, here, denotes application of mind of the practical knowledge received through any medium and using the same for earning name, fame and wealth. Steve Jobs is one such example. Our own Dhirubhai Ambani is another. Even Warren Buffet’s story is no different. It is rags to riches. While academic Knowledge has also helped lots of people to become successful and famous.
Importance of Power
The role of power in success, too, cannot be undermined. Politicians achieve power and then use the same to achieve greater power. This is how power helps them to be successful. In the present scenario, a powerful politician can introduce his/her son or daughter to become a nominated leader and in the process achieve success in politics. Many politicians, today, are following this model of leadership succession. Likewise, a powerful bureaucrat can use his power to help his friend relative to achieve success.
Importance of Wealth
Wealth can buy knowledge and power. So, one may say that if you have money, you can achieve any goal by hiring people, facilities to create any large project and achieve success. But without Knowledge achieved through experience it is very difficult to see the success of a large project. Political leaders can no doubt introduce their wards in leadership succession through the power they wield, but unless they ensure that the latter gain sufficient experience, the entrant may not be successful. Knowledge acquired through experience alone will bring success to them. Here too, Knowledge gained with experience becomes important. Power alone will not work.
So, the fact of the matter is that knowledge learnt through studies or gained through experience is indeed very important in any field.
But, it needs to be remembered that the meaning of success has to be defined by each and every individual in his/her own terms.
How should one do that? That will be a subject of another post.
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Happiness is your own individual decision
Total freedom to your pursuit of Happiness
Age no bar for Pursuit of Happiness
Everyone in his/her life pursues various objectives and goals with the ultimate objective of achieving happiness. ‘Pursuit of the happiness’, these words initially used by US president Jeffereson Devis. Subsequently they were made popular by Martin Luther king in his famous speech ‘I have a dream’. No doubt, everyone has a right to pursue happiness in whichever way the person likes. However, very often we are so much involved in daily routine that we are carried away by the string of events. In the process, we lose focus on what we are trying to achieve. It will be a good exercise for each one of us to reflect on these words and work out and define what is how you plan to pursue your happiness.
Firstly, we must understand that happiness is not just momentary pleasures of life. I do not say that pleasures of life should not be there. But that these should be only a part of our larger plan, which should addresses some or all of the related features of happiness. The following aspects are of immense importance in an individual’s life.
Your attitude to life. One must have a positive attitude. Life is full of ups and downs. There could be challenges, successes and failures. Positive attitude means just to accept these as a part of life. You become a witness or an observer of what is going. At the same time, use your discretion to take decisions. It’s only then that we understand that we can remain composed and maintain our poise in turbulent times. In fact, it is necessary to maintain our poise even in the happiest time. None of the two situations last forever. Like every night is followed by the day. Every day is followed by night. But in life it may not be in the same order and the durations may also vastly differ.
Importance persistent efforts towards achieving your Goals for Happiness: In order that you pursue happiness, you must define your goals: in all of the following aspects. When we are working towards achievement of our Goals, we feel satisfaction for the efforts made. Besides, persistent efforts are bound to produce desired results. This process of efforts, and achieving encouraging results of our Goals make us happy, Continue doing this and be happy. Happiness is a journey not a destination.
- Health goals. Good mental and physical health is extremely important if you want to lead a happy life. Doing what is necessary to keep good health is everyone’s duty. Regular exercise, following proper food routine and maintaining positive attitude can ensure that you are moving towards your health goals from day to day. Yet, it is a continuous process to pursue throughout the life.
- Career/ financial goals. If you are successful in your career it expected that you will also do your financial and remain comfortable but you have to fine tune of your objectives and follow the plan as devised.
- Your family is undoubtedly equally important and should feature in your pursuit of happiness, according to our own Indian tradition. The importance of finance and family are critical in your pursuit.
- Then comes your social goals. What do you want to contribute to the society and what you actually do, determines how successful you are in following social goals. Here again, you need to define and then follow your plan of action. The amount of success you achieve in your social goals will add up in your happiness. It will also determine how the society perceives and respects you. In other words, it means your reputation is reflected by what and how you contribute to the society.
- For leading a fuller, complete life you must pursue some hobbies. At least one. It could be music. It could be painting .It could be some sport. It could also be travelling, writing etc. But the important thing is that you have atlaest one hobby on which you able to spend some time. It must not only for name sake.
- Last but not the least your spiritual goals are also important. We all know that no one has to stay here forever. Sooner or later we must depart. We don’t know where. This uncertainty needs your spiritual pursuit. Whichever religion you may follow, you must define your spiritual goals. These will eventually define how you are remembered after your departure.
In the end I would like to say that understanding life is so important that its significance must never be undermined. Ups and downs are inextricably intertwined in our day to day life. Acceptance scores our expectations is something we must all remember in our pursuit for happiness.
Thank you for your reading.
Persistence is perhaps the most important reason of anyone’s success in life. The 4 faces of persistence that I have chosen to discuss are:
- What is persistence? Its definition.
- The road blocks or the difficulties faced for persistence.
- How to develop persistence if it is not the part of your personality?
- Last but not the least, how does persistence help you to achieve your goals? This discussion will contain examples of the leaders who are the shining stars in this respect. Let us deal with each of this 4 faces in detail.
Face 1: How do we recognize the ability to persevere in anyone’s personality? What have the leaders and thinkers in the past stated about persistence? The review will enable us not only to understand but also to assimilate the virtues of persistence. Following are the famous quotes of great leaders and thinkers from different fields
- Winston Churchill: “Never, never, never, never give up!”
- Buddha: “A jug fills drop by drop”
- Samuel Johnson: “Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance”
- Napoleon Hill: “Victory is always possible for the person who refuses to stop”
- Albert Einstein: “It is not that I’m so smart, it is just that I stay with problems longer”
- Ralph Waldo Emerson: “By persisting in your path, though you forfeit the little, you gain the great.
- Unknown: “It is when things get tough and you don’t quit that success comes”
- Unknown: “The darkest hour is just before the dawn”
your persistence in following your project measures your faith in yourself.
Face 2: The moot question is persistence if understood to be so important for progress; then why it is missing in almost 90% of the educated working class. It is difficult to find one common answer for all those who lack perseverance. A study of the human behavior assigns the following reasons why perseverance is missing in most of the people.
i) Accepting life as it comes. The habit of living life in a certain way which does not require to stretch out of your comfort zone does not allow one to think beyond.
ii) Sometimes, the problem starts during our formal education. The education system does not emphasize the important of simplicity in dissemination of the knowledge. Complex instruction affects the student’s ability to understand and assimilate. As a result there is a tendency of the mind to go somewhere else. Important of persistence does not come in to the picture.
iii) Lack of patience, inability to take risk and inadequate courage also act as deterrents.
- iv) Goals of life should be specified and written down by each individual. Our goals inspire us to persevere in order to achieve them. When there are no goals there is no inspiration.
Face 3: How to develop persistence
i We must specify our goals and they should be written down. The goals can be according to your priorities. The subject of our goals can be: health goals, career and financial goals, and family goals etc. You may add any other goal as per your liking. But, these should be time bound. These will inspire you to persist in your efforts for achieving these.
ii) Meditation is very useful. It enables you to review that you are moving forward in the right direction. When you meditate on any subject, the mind will keep on wandering and providing inputs on the subjects. This means that in the back of your mind you will keep on thinking about your goals. Meditation is not related to any particular faith. You may sit down and meditate on your breath or any other object. But make background thoughts hover around your goals.
iii) A detailed plan of action in pursuance of your daily tasks as well as weekly will be very helpful.
iv) And, above all the most important action that you can take, to bring persistence in your personality is to love your job. When you enjoy your work you are encouraged to continue doing what needs to be done.
Face 4: The benefits of persistence. These are immense. Progress in any project that you may undertake will become easier than you may imagine. Big difficult projects will not frighten you. You will gladly undertake these knowing fully well that these will require your consistent hard work. Your commitment to your mission becomes impeccable. The lives of great leaders of the world tell us innumerable success stories of those who failed many times before achieving success. Some of the well known examples are: Abraham Lincoln who failed repeatedly before becoming successful, Dr. Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and our own Mahatma Gandhi. You may find any number of examples that you may like when you go through the pages of world history.
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What is leadership excellence? What are the important features? How is it supposed to be pursued? These are the questions that we will consider. There are 6 steps, which I think, that a leader needs to take in order to pursue excellence. These are:
The leader’s attitude is very important. Self awareness too is very significant. But more importantly, proper implementation of any idea in great detail is critical. Other 3 important aspects are- accepting responsibility, realizing that pursuing excellence is your own choice and determination, and finally the leader must be must ensure that the team members are in a position to live up to the leader’s expectations. Having said that, let us now deal with each of these 6 steps one by one.
Step 1. Any idea or plan must be executed/implemented with great precision. In fact the quality of implementation of an idea is even more important than the idea itself. Leading management Gurus advocate that ‘A’ quality implementation of ‘B’ quality plan is more productive then ‘B’ quality implementation of ‘A’ quality plan. When we look through the finer details of any task, we are able to follow its original objectives. But it doesn’t happen if we overlook the details. Excellence is a continuous process. It is not just an event. It is not just an accident. But it is your choice which you follow step by step, always. This becomes easier if you love every moment of your life and therefore if you love everything that your do from moment to moment.
Step 2. Your attitude is extremely important. Excellence is not just a skill like those skills you require for doing anything correctly and nicely. Excellence is your attitude to do every job with at most care and while enjoy at the same time. Precision and enjoyment may appear to be incompatible but they are not. There is no doubt that you have to follow this practice of using eye for detail and getting satisfaction for following the finer details at the same time.
Step 3. The good news is that there is no preparation required to pursue excellence for the leader. It depends entirely on their choice- decision and determination to follow the decision. One may decide just now that henceforth from the next moment onwards he/she will do everything while pursuing excellence. Sometimes there may be time constraints and other such difficulties. But the pursuit of excellence teaches you make best use of the available resources. Some people talk of discipline. Excellence is not discipline. It does not ensure quality of work which can be classified in the required category. Discipline is defined as that you must do something at a time when it needs to be done even when you don’t like to do. In a way it cages you while the ‘excellence’ knows no such restrictions. It emerges from the application of your mind and the joy that your draw out of doing something that you like to do.
Step 4. The 4th important step that leader must take is to accept responsibility for excellence in a group life. The leader does not teach his follower to achieve perfection. Perfection is unattainable. But when you chase perfection you catch up with excellence. The leader ensures that his/her followers understand it very well. Such leaders have the ability to motivate the followers to such an extent that the commitment of the followers becomes as strong as that of their leader. This is particularly true in respect of the political leaders. Dr. Martin Luther King is one such example. But for him Barak Obama would not have become the President of USA.
Step 5. Self awareness is something that the leader must practice. It trains him/her to observe their actions from moment to moment. They develop the ability to change their action as per the requirement of changed circumstances. Their decision making process does not suffer a jolt even if most unexpected event take place. In our sacred book, ‘The Bhagwat Gita’ such a person is known as ‘Stith Pragya Purush’. It depicts not only the alertness of the mind but also the coordination between the mind and the reaction which lead to necessary speech and or action.
Step 6. Last but not the least the leader has to be realistic. They can pursue excellence only if their expectations are reasonable. Any unachievable task if set before the team is bound to de-motivate them. This does not mean that the team member can take things easy. Life is such that for achieving any significant result you have to stretch yourself. It’s the leaders job that he practices not only himself but also ensures that the team member follow suit.
When the leader undertakes their journey as per the steps enumerated above, it is then that the leadership excellence is pursued.
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It is necessary to identify the negativity in your attitude. What is negative attitude? Negative attitude is when you start focusing on the problems that you might face during your efforts to achieve your goals. It is the lack of hope that things will happen to help you out in your mission. It is the feeling that people will not help you because on earlier occasions you met with rejections. Negative attitude is the lack of your conviction that you can overcome the hurdles that you might face during your journey. In a sense, negative attitude is also a lack of belief in you. Some more symptoms of negative attitude are enumerated below:
1.Laziness: When you think you don’t have the energy to get up and do the work. Sometimes you don’t even think and realize that laziness is simply whiling away the time. It is not even procrastination which will be described separately.
2.Low self esteem: It is an extremely harmful attribute in your personality. You start thinking that you are good for nothing. You accept the situations in which you are because your self esteem is so low that you think you can do nothing better.
3.Low productivity: Work has a strange tendency of expanding as per the time available. Even worse is when no time is allotted for the completion of a task. This gives you a feeling of solving certain important problems whereas in fact you are just being satisfied in remaining busy. This approach will never allow you to increase your productivity. For doing more in a given time, you have to stretch yourself. Therefore is it necessary that you allot specific time duration for a task. In the beginning, the allocation may seem difficult, but once you form a habit it will become much easier. Difficult or easy, it is necessary.
4.Lack of initiative: For any significant progress, initiative is necessary. What is initiative? Initiative is your first step for going ahead with a task. When it is something new, you have to creatively think and courageously take the first step, even if there is some risk. No risk is the biggest risk in life. Any significant initiative cannot be taken to move forward without accepting this reality. So don’t be afraid to take initiative.
5.Not listening to understand: In the course of conversations, sometimes we tend to focus so much on what we have to say, that we stop listening to the other person. This is particularly so when the speaker has said something for which we have a ready argument to negate what he has said. Unfortunately, such a habit does not allow us to listen and assimilate what the speaker says after that. Evidently it leads to miscommunication and problems. The solution is first understand and then be understood.6.
6.Faking: We feel envious of some people who are more successful in the material sense than we think that they deserve. Such a feeling leads us to a myth that it is their style which makes them successful and we try to imitate their conduct. This is a extremely bad situation. We lose belief in ourselves, and how can we expect that others will believe us.
7.Not trying to express: When we have certain ideas, but either we do not want to express, or we are afraid to express, is also indicative of our negative attitude. It is necessary to develop an ability to express without hesitation. The fear of rejection which takes away your ability to act is one of the serious handicaps.
8.Not learning lessons from mistakes: There is no one who does not commit mistakes. Whenever we undertake something new, mistakes may happen. This is normal. However, repeating the same mistake again and again, is neither normal, nor should be acceptable. Thus we must learn lessons from our past mistakes and use these lessons to direct our future efforts.
9.Ego: Ego happens to be another aspect of personality which does not allow us to grow. Ego comes in the way of our approaching people to help us. It makes us believe that it is below our dignity to seek help. A success Guru had said that there are eleven principles of achieving success. And what are these eleven principles? These are, ask, ask, ask….(eleven times).
10.Jealousy: Jealousy is a negative emotion which keeps sapping our creative energies. We gain nothing in the process. It makes us feel as victims of fate or poor destiny. Jealousy may even take away our sound sleep. The worst part is that sometimes it cannot be contained, it goes on swelling. Jealousy must be thwarted out of the personality.
11.Avoiding hard work: There is only one way to success, and that is the hard way. If we habitually seek short cuts it will be very difficult for us to work hard. What is working hard? When you are fully devoted to completing the job and you forget even your surroundings, you continue to work even when you are tired because you want to complete. That aspect of work may be termed as hard work. Initially it may be very difficult, but then one can form a habit. For any significant progress, hard work is necessary.