Be The Change
“Be the change you want to see in the world” – Mahatma Gandhi
Sometimes in life we wonder where we are today and how can we move from this place of discomfort/struggle/confusion and frustration to a place that is comforting & nurturing.
I have observed that the quality of our questions leads us towards the quality of our answer.
The first step towards asking the quality question is to be aware of yourself andbe ready to change. It is time that we acknowledge and accept our weaknesses as our own and convert them into our strengths or simply let them go.
Over the years I have realized that if we stick to a few basic principles, life becomes much more interesting
1. BE KIND – be kind to yourself, even if you make a mistake, say to yourself ‘it is ok to make a mistake’, and then focus on what you could have done differently for greater results. Remember whatever you focus on, grows.
2. Believe in yourself – You don’t have to be great to start it, but you have to start it to be great. Know who you are and why you are the way you are?This knowledge gives you strength to believe in your own self.
3. Be Courageous – be courageous to take up new paths. Courage comes from knowing that something greater than you is having your back. Courage makes you stand up for your own self and decide your own destiny.
4. Behave like you are the best – give the job you are doing your 100%, believe that you are best at what you are doing.Invent your best self and hold on to it for rest of your life.
5. Be ok with uncertainty – It is ok to be uncertain about things and situations in your life, remember uncertainty and confusion leads you towardscertainty andclarity.
6. Turn Around –Nobody is going to live your life for you. You have to live it yourself, whether you are rich or poor, no matter whether there has been any injustice to you orsome unfortunate things may have happened to you. Self pity is the worst pity and a dead end road. You have the choice to decide to stay parked at the dead end or to turn around and drive out to an interesting path towards freedom.
7. Commit to Humour – When we are able to laugh through our misery and things that are disturbing us, our creativity opens up. Stay connected with humour, laugh at your own mistakes and learn from them.
8. Spend time with yourself–Listen to your inner voice, sit quietly with yourself everyday for few minutes. Pay attention to your breathing. You will experience the bliss, and notice that you are more proactive in your thoughts and actions in your day to day life.
9. Face your fears – Someone’s opinion about you does not need to be your reality. Enemy outside cannot do us any harm. Enemy is within that we need to heal and make it strong.
10. Act now – what are your goals and aspirations, put it down on a piece of paper, whether it is committing to exercise every day or learning a new skill, make your own destiny by creating your own vision board. Start taking small steps, even when you are not able to see the whole staircase. Act now.
When I lost all of my excuses, I found my results. I live by Dr. Wayne Dyer’s quote “The only limits you have; are the limits you believe.” Say Yes! to CHANGE and be the CHANGE you want to see in the world.
Good Luck & God Bless.
WHAT MAKES YOU COME ALIVE?
“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”- Howard Thruman.
A few years back, I coached a corporate executive Aditya (name changed) who was suffering from anxiety pangs. He was neitherable to perform in office,nor washe able to spend time with his family and friends. His hobbies were also eluding him from having that mental peace.
After listening to him for a while, I realized that wherever he wanted to perform or express himself, he would feel anxious and stressed out. He wouldstart sweating and his pulse would start beating rapidly. It was clear to me that he carried a belief that he would experience something unpleasantwhenever he performed or expressed himself. I observed that he re-lived the same unpleasant experience every day, not once but over and over again. As a consequence, he constantly lived in fear, his past experience was impacting his present and future.
In the book ‘The Prophet’ Kahlil Gibran says, “Yet the timeless in you is aware of life’s timelessness, and knows that yesterday is but today’s memory and tomorrow is today’s dream.” I understand that first we make our own beliefs and then our beliefs make us. My job was to make Aditya realize that yesterday is history, tomorrow is mystery and today is present.
I use Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) in my coaching sessions. NLP is a way of life. We all use it everyday in our lives without even realizing it. My Amma (grandma) used to make us laugh and distract our attention by shifting our focus away from the scolding we received from our parents for not adhering to the rules of the house. She was simply using a technique to change our focus without us even realizing it, with a positive intention of comforting and nurturing us with love and laughter.
I asked Aditya if given a chance, how would he make the bad experience look funny. He replied astonishingly “Oh, I never thought about it”, and he then started the thought process with which his body relaxed and there was a hint of a smile on his face. I encouraged him to add funny sounds and feelings to the unpleasant experience as if he was watching a cartoon movie. In the process, Iobserved him relaxing more and more. I nudged him further by saying “now when you have taken care of that, tell me what makes you come alive”. He enthusiastically replied “leading my team and finishing the targets, and spending quality time with my familyand yes, of course swimming”. He created a vibrant picture of his best self and narrated it with minute details. When he came out of the experience, he was fully relaxed, happy and energetic.
I am a firm believer that we can learn to get over our problems. It is important to accept your failures, mistakes, bad experiencesand learn to laugh at them and then take corrective measures and move forward from there.
When you are not able to laugh at yourself and learn from your experiences,then there is a false belief in your mind that you are miserable because of someone else. We have to understand that it is not about the other person who made you feel in a certain manner that is making you uncomfortable or miserable, it is you, inside your own mind, who is holding on to terrible memories. None of us are exempt from this, and that is ok, as long as we are taking care of it. I have also struggled with it in the past and dived deep within to have a talk with myself.
I believe that It is not what happens to you but how you deal with what happens to you that makes a difference.The best thing about the past is that it is over. You can look at yesterday and say that you are a better person today, even if it is just a tiny bit, you are still headed in the right direction.
Anxiety & stress are feelings & feelings can’t stay still. They are always moving somewhere in some direction. The fact that they are moving means that you can move them out of your body. Our feelings are not outside of our control. You can easily control the feelings once you understand the logic behind it. Focus on the feelings and move them out of your body. Do not take everything to your heart, take it to your lungs and breathe it out.
Today, years later, when I seeAditya performing brilliantly at his work place as an energetic leader inspiring many more with his work ethics and enjoying a healthy and balanced life at home, I realize that when we take ownership of how we feel within and become aware of what makes us come alive,the journey towards the success is effortless.
Peopleusually ask this question “what if this does not work?”. I simply reply that “if this does not work, something else will. NLP is like an ocean of techniques, you can pick and choose whichever fits your values and beliefs as long as you are willing to work on yourself. Remember, “when the student is ready, the teacher arrives”. Stop and suspend all other thoughts and simply focus on what makes you come alive, and what you can do. Then just go ahead and do it.
Just do it.
Shrug It Off and Step Up….
One day a farmer’s donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do? Finally, he decided that the animal was too old and it wasn’t worth to retrieve the donkey and the well needed to be covered up anyway. He invited all his neighbors to come over and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone’s amazement he became silent. A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well. He was astonished at what he saw. With each shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up. As the farmer’s neighbors continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and happily trotted off.
This story has inspired so many. It teaches us that life is going to pour shovel of dirt on us, all kinds of dirt in the way of criticism or failures. The trick to get out of the well is to shrug it off and take a step up. Usually when someone criticizes you, you have a thought that echoes in your mind saying “I am not good enough”, “I’m incompetent”, or “I don’t deserve to be here”. This thought manifests a feeling, and you start believing in that feeling. However, if you channelize that thought and think about the positive intention of that criticism, you all of a sudden have a new perception and a new thought pattern. For so many years, you have been criticizing yourself, and it hasn’t helped you in any way. Start approving yourself and see what happens. Each of our criticisms or failures are like stepping stones. It gives you a chance to look at yourself in the mirror and say “It’s ok, hang on there, I accept you and love you just the way you are, even if you are down and out, even when someone calls you name. You are much more than who you think you are”.
We can get out of the deepest wells just by believing in the power of affirmations. According to the research on the significance of the affirmation words I AM THAT, I AM,it has come to the light that these words were written in the ancient spiritual literature in which God tells Moses “This is my name for ever, the name by which I will be known for all the future generations. I AM THAT, I AM”. Align these words with what you identify yourself with. I encourage you to keep in mind that this is your own divine name as well. When you say I am strong, you are defining God as well. Create your own I am mantra. I have witnessed a client with a depressive disorder coming out of the disorder by simply focusing and practicing on healing and uplifting affirmations.
When we own up to our reality and identify the positive intention behind our failures & criticism, we identify the real us. Every failure teaches us that failure is not the opposite of success, it’s part of success. The next time someone criticizes you, take a pause and go beyond the criticism and understand the positive intention behind it. Be open to the criticism but don’t let that affect you. Criticism is meant to help you be a better person. Learn from it, just the way the donkey did; everyone around him called him names like “he is too old & good for nothing”, yet he proved that he is strong and intelligent enough to get himself out of a situation where others would surrender. He took charge of his life and chose persistence & determination over self-pity.
Dr. Abdul Kalam once said “What people think about you is not important, what you think about yourself means everything”.
The donkey in our story also cried, cribbed, blamed and depended on others for his miserable situation, but realized in the process that by not taking the responsibility he lacked courage and was in total denial of his own powers. In that moment of realization, he simply shifted his focus on self. The donkey has taught us to introspect ourselves and focus on ways to come out of that situation. There is always more than one way to come out of a bad situation.
When the donkey found balance within, he was able to think through his dark situation and was able to choose consistent behavior over confused behavior. That made him invent a smart way to bring himself out from that scary and dark well. Always remember, when we touch the rock bottom in our lives, you can’t go anywhere beyond that, the only way is to come up. By taking the right amount of responsibility & understand what went wrong, you can take corrective measures in the right directions. Ralph Waldo Emerson beautifully shares “The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall”. Rise and shine above all the limitations.
Some people are obsessed with the ideas of success. Success is not a divine land at the end of the quest. In the same way, failure is not black and white. Life is truly 10% of what happens to us & 90% of how we react to it. Failures and criticism can be inspiring. They can lead us to bigger and better things, but only when we learn something from them and are ready to own up to our failures. Use your energy in cultivating your capacity to be brave, hopeful, innovative and make yourself resourceful in any situation. Affirm yourself that “I am what I am because of my past. I thank my past, I learn to let go& to move on”.
I would like to leave you all with Nelson Mandela’s inaugural speech in 1994:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that frightens us. We ask ourselves, who I am to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are we not to be? You are child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fears, our presence automatically liberates others”.
Instead of labeling or identifying our failures/criticism as stigma, taboo, embarrassing, losing face, let us own our failures and make few changes in the way we perceive things.
Stand up tall, shrug off all your failures and criticism off your back and step up,
|Old thought process
for failures & criticism
||New thought process
|Failing in exams
||Affirm: I accept & learn from my failures, I am capable of converting failures into stepping stones
||Watch 10 famous failures on YouTube
|Failure to keep the family together
||Affirm: I let go off judgment & accept & love self & others as they are
||Be a good listener
|Failure to keep sober
||Affirm: Even if with this disease I accept myself the way I am. I am my best friend
||Get yourself busy, get yourself engaged in activities that gives you happiness and satisfaction, build on relationships, exercise rigorously, eat healthy and drink plenty of water
||Affirm: I am open & receptive. I take initiatives to create my life the way I want
||Go for 3 days holidayJ. Join or play your favorite instrument. Meet positive people and plan ahead.
|You are not strong enough
||Define Positive Intention (DPI)
Affirm: I am strong and capable
||Build on your physical and mental stamina and strength
|You are too fat/thin
||DPI: I accept & love myself the way I am
||Surrender to the thought of change and work towards it. Eat healthy
|You are nothing without your parents support
||DPI: I am lovable and capable
||Take up ownership and initiatives in whatever you do
|You are not smart/intelligent enough
||DPI: Everyday in everyway I am getting better & better
||Listen, read, share
be ready to trot off and lead self and others into new beginnings….