Why terrific thoughts and quotes go for a toss in implementation!

Absence of execution means presence of illusion! Source: http://www.flickr.com/

All of us know what is good or great for us; but when it comes to doing it, we lose grip on same! We love motivational thoughts, positive thinking and inspirational quotes; but when it comes to implementation, these seem to lose impact and we hardly practice the same seriously!!

Many times, some of our own thoughts are so overwhelming, powerful and life changing; but we fail to bring any change. Often the fact is that we might have even determined that this is how we want to be; but our deeds are hardly matching to our own decision and determination.

Look at this – “Life is about making an impact, not making an income – by Kevin Kruse”! Don’t you love this quote? Perhaps you do, since this is one of the most popular quotes! If you love this, are you working incessantly to make an impact? No, you don’t; you do the opposite – being busy in making income. You put those making millions of dollars on high pedestal and make them your role models! Many of us believe that we make impact by selling or buying followers or friends in XX dollars on social media!! We crave for the quote; but wrongly comprehend its very essence.

See another one – “Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve – by Napoleon Hill”. Nobody would disagree with power of mind. But, then how many of us realize the enormous energy that resides in us? Should it not make each one of us supremely confident and courageous? On an average, we only make less than 7% productive use of our mind!

All of us want to be successful and are perhaps aware that “If you are focused, you can’t fail!” Only thing that stands between success and setback is focus. We would spend lot of time and energy in attending learning programs, leadership courses and undergo mentorship; but the success is seldom in sight for many. Reason – most don’t seriously put their sight on “Focus”!

It is incredibly ironical that we are so near to our own thinking, which is terrific; but we throw or tow ourselves away from practicing it! What bugs us?

Why we love terrific thoughts and quotes!

Various people do it for a variety of reasons:

  1. These have become a fancy and fashion for all, especially elite and celebrities!
  2. Most take pride in citing good quotes in their conversation or communication.
    These no doubt make content of your communication rich!
  3. People like to be known in public that they side with positives and not negatives.
    Reality may be often reverse!
  4. Quotes are usually phonetically very appealing and concise. These have subtle humor or rhetoric. Therefore, a good quote can be very catchy.
  5. These invariably relate to real life examples and have profound meaning.
    Therefore, these are striking to us.
  6. Good thoughts and quotes evoke emotions and euphoria! These release Endorphins in our body, which is a “feel good” hormone!!

Why we lag in executing our lucid thoughts and quotes!
If 10% of population would have believed in employing their positive thoughts and quotes, our planet would have been dramatically different! Is not is amusing that things, which are mind boggling, becomes meaningless to us when it comes to imbibing or implementing! The most probable reasons are:

  1. Our inertia
    Many of us believe that we are dynamic and dashing; but reality often is we are docile to change! We are perennially infested by our inertia.
  2. Fractured conviction
    You believe that you have conviction in a good idea or great quote; but you are actually in “Yes & No” state!
    In absence of firm convictions, your terrific thoughts go for a toss:
    - When you face crisis or criticism
    - When your role model/s, nears and dears carry different ideas than you
    - When your friends mock at you
  3. Fragile patience
    To pursue anything positive, patience is a must. Everything that is right or good has a systematic and structured method to evolve. One cannot bypass this.
    Most of us are impatient; like quick results and when that does not happen, we give up. We go on the wrong side, which would show quick result albeit wrong one.
  4. Tendency to follow masses
    Even though masses mostly commit mistakes, we feel out of place if we don’t follow them. We are shy of standing out of and away from crowd.
  5. Confusing emotions as inspiration
    You normally comprehend a thought or quote on its surface; look at its face value. This evokes your emotions and you confuse same as your inspiration. It is for this reason that you experience a short kick of excitement.
    You need to go deeper and focus on its larger implications. This is when emotions give way to your inspiration. If you are inspired, you feel compelled to implement! 
  6. Lot of reactions but little of actions
    Out of total efforts and energy that we spend in our life, actions are as little as less than 10% and more that 90% emanate from our reactions. This is one important reason why we are high of intents and low on implementation.

So, would you not like to dump above 6 tendencies as much as you can, to allow terrific thoughts or quotes to shape a terrific life for you?

Creativity and Innovativeness come, when we kill fear and create freedom!

An Innovative idea! Source: http://www.flickr.com/

All of us need to be a good manager, supervisor or go getter; but that alone is not be good enough to keep us going. After a certain point, we experience a level of saturation, things appear to have come to a plateau or we face a knot. What was motivating becomes monotonous; excitement ebbs and our performance becomes poorer for what we were otherwise good at!

Everyone encounters above phase or phenomenon consciously or unconsciously. Only exceptions are those who are creative or innovative! Creativity and innovativeness are 2 qualities, which you need to keep your interest and initiative alive and drive in the fast lane. Common perception is that one can run her/his life without these 2 qualities. Yes, one can but then, it would lack luster, liveliness and charm. It would be mired in inertia and comfort zones!

Further, the most talked about word is “Change”. But, most of us are ignorant that very important constituents of “Change” are creativity and innovativeness. Then, there is a misconception that creativity and innovativeness are gifts of God or it comes through genes and it is difficult to develop the same. Such ideas need to be dumped; if you make an efforts, you can become creative and innovative at any stage of life. Only obstacle is the wall built by you in your mind! Key to become creative and innovative is to overcome fear and own freedom!!

Look at some of the top creative and innovative people, who have changed the world and lives of billions – Einstein, Thomas Edison, Benjamin Franklin, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Leonardo Da Vinci, Jeff Bezos of Amazon and Larry Page of Google. They have discovered path breaking ideas to usher dramatic change/s. Most common characteristics with all of these people are or were fearlessness and freedom to think!

Fear and freedom are nothing but opposite states of our mind! So, how to drive fear away and derive freedom?

Overcoming fear!

Fear is essentially a negative emotion, which emerges out of past negative experience or memories. Challenge is that there are host of negative emotions arising from your past – anger, anxiety, arrogance, greed, obsession ad like. You can’t pick and choose one negative emotion i.e. fear and believe that you can drop same. Doing that would only have temporary effect and then it would resurface, because you are still holding on to other negative emotions! As a matter of fact, you would be surprised to know that you should not be passionate about positive emotions like pleasure, thrill, ecstasy or even consolation arising out of your past experience or memories. Reason is that when you recall such positive emotions from past, you would not be able to help prevent negative emotions also from past to surface. This is one of the main reasons, why most people are not able to overcome their fears!

The best bet is to use past memories as a source of knowledge but never a source of emotions! It is the emotions that evolve out of present, which alone can give you excellent feelings and make you frolic!! 

So, to drop fear:

  1. Do not give importance to emotions, which are connected with your past memories. Ignore!
  2. Minimize your preconceived notions.
  3. Believe in putting trust on people and banish doubts.
  4. Focus on efforts but not on results.
  5. Practice to drop hesitation or inhibitions.

Owning freedom!

There is lot of ill-conceived notions about freedom. Freedom does mean right to express oneself through any medium and working at one’s own will. But, many consider getting bound by duties and discipline is loss of freedom, which is bunk. Freedom does not mean exercising no control or restrain and be able to do freely what you desire.

You can own freedom, only when you accept that others have a right to own their own (freedom)! Freedom has more to do with absence of mental barriers or restrictions than physical barriers/restrictions; no doubt the latter is integral to freedom but it loses meaning without the former!!

Now, to own freedom:

  1. First and foremost is to overcome fear, as mentioned above.
  2. Be prepared to break conventions and customs, if need be.
  3. Be an optimist and open minded.
  4. Drop hard notions and prejudices.
  5. Traits, habits and ego could be show stoppers for your freedom.
  6. Believe that nature offers infinite possibilities and mankind has so far discovered only a small portion of the same.
  7. Biggest challenge to your freedom or free thinking comes surprisingly from your faith, culture, traditions, rituals, gurus, mentors and role models. You generally need them for a guided and balanced life; but at the same time, they inculcate in you predetermined ideas and perceptions, and hence limit your ability to go beyond, explore and experience something entirely new.
    So, you need a very careful tradeoff between traditional beliefs/practices and true freedom!

To conclude, it is a glorious idea to get rid of fear and ride on freedom, which would bring creativity and innovativeness well within your reach and you would be able to reap rich fruits!!

A world of difference – “Just in time” vs “Just ahead of time”!

Rushing to be just in time! Source: http://www.flickr.com/

“Just in time” is a very popular practice by individuals and companies for punctuality, optimum use of time, productivity enhancement, quality improvement and cost/inventory control!

Dell USA, iconic manufacturer of personal computers, revolutionized its manufacturing method by introducing “just in time” inventory from early years of its inception in late 1980s and that resulted in solidly cutting down its operating cost, capturing sizeable global market share and catapulting it to multibillion dollar giant. But, its too much focus on “just in time” did not keep it “ahead of time” with technological trends and consumer tendencies. So, its decline started since year 2005 and lost its leadership position to Lenovo and HP.

My experience from extensive travel in Germany shows that most locals are very passionate about punctuality. They don’t want to be too early or too late in anything that they do; it has to be precise within few seconds – a fantastic sense of just in time, even over weekends! This compels them to be in rush most of the time. It makes them hypersensitive and seems to be the cause of high blood pressure and cardiac problems for many!!

I know of several corporate bosses, who are stickler to time. Some of them plan their meetings back to back – one meeting ends at 12.15 p.m. and another one starts at 12.20 p.m. as an example. If the first meeting does not conclude in time, the boss would in any case adjourn it, even if it means that some parts of discussion becomes redundant. Such time control no doubt directly saves time of the boss but makes it far ineffective for him/her and team on the whole!

People, who are stickler to time, tend to be temperamental and even toxic. They often end up spending lot of time in unnecessary arguments. So, obsession about punctuality or penchant for “Just in time” seems to spell both good and bad! It is needless to mention that one, who is late, loses!

Why “Just in time” is inefficient on the whole!

Ideally and on paper, just in time is supposed to give best efficiency; but practically speaking, it is laden with lot of intangible issues.

  1. “Just in time” means running after exact time scheduled. But, time is actually very illusive. More you run after time, more it would run away from you!
    It is a practical fact that being conscious or cautious of time makes you to lose it.
  2. Watching the time by itself is a distraction and most mistakes are committed, when you are distracted!
  3. It creates stress in you.
    Stress is a spiral; you would be sucked more and more into it.
  4. If you are running most of time to be precise by clock, your nature and body would tend to become sensitive or hypersensitive. You would develop tendency to lose patience and peace for flimsy reasons.
  5. It demands meticulous planning and hence, entails disproportionate amount of your time and energy to accomplish that.
  6. “Just in time” looks lucrative, because you visibly see saving in time, reduction in direct cost of inventory and/or operations; but, such saving can get far more outweighed by invisible and intangible expenses or inefficiencies, which you fail to notice in normal course.
  7. When you are cutting it too fine, lot of things go wrong that you normally don’t expect and desire. Murphy’s Law starts playing a dominant role in such situation!

“Just ahead of time” is far more holistic!

You can make a world of difference by not planning for a precise deadline or cutting it fine; instead plan and work for a span of few minutes ahead of that timeline! All of us in rush of our routine fail to realize great advantages, which “Being ahead of time” brings. Our usual surmise “Oh, I am short on time; cannot waste a minute” is in fact a bunk. We don’t realize, how much in reality we are wasting by rushing and then tripping.

By being ahead of time, I don’t mean that you should keep lot of margin in your hands. Be ahead of time by a span, which creates a comfort level for you and takes into contingencies that can hold you back – usually it would be 5 to 10 minutes.

There is a complete paradigm shift and change in frame of mind in this approach:

  1. “Being in rush” would change to “being relaxed”!
  2. Rather than carrying burden of time line, you would enjoy beauty of time management!
  3. You would be far more composed and confident before start of any activity.
    This is bound to bring the best results for you.
  4. You are most creative and innovative, when you have time in hand and freedom from worry of a deadline.
  5. You are able to maintain your focus.
  6. You would find that the time, which you get in your hand by being ahead of schedule, is most exciting and energizing!
    You would automatically utilize it to your advantage; so it is never a waste!!
    Please don’t ask – how and why? Just experience it!
  7. On the whole, you would truly enjoy, whatever you are engaged with!

So in net sum, by being just ahead of time, you would not only go ahead of your team or rivals but also be an early and easy winner!

For true impact, treat communication more as a trait than technique!

Impact of great communication! Source: http://www.flickr.com/

TED talks are hugely popular all over world. These are 18 minutes or less duration powerful video presentations by world’s most inspired thinkers and speakers from host of disciplines and cultures. Some of TED talk presenters communicate very effectively. “Talk like TED” has caught fancy of several communicators and tips to talk like TED have wide circulation!

Can toeing the tips make you a good communicator?

World has witnessed several iconic communicators, whose words and work have revolutionized paradigm of millions of people. Among living legendary communicators are Chris Anderson – founder of TED talks, Warren Buffet – one of the richest investors, Tony Robbins – incredible motivational speaker, Richard Branson – founder of Virgin group in UK and Jack Welch – former chairman and CEO of GE. You can find numerous essays, articles and videos analyzing styles of these and other famous communicators.

By emulating these styles, can you become an effective communicator?

Then, there are host of training and development programs for communication/presentation skills. These teach the techniques in a variety of ways, including multimedia. These are very helpful to understand guidelines, rules and techniques of communication.

But, do these techniques make you a terrific communicator?

Practical experience and examples show that there is much more than techniques, tips and styles, when it comes to good communication.

Top ten advisory for great communication skills

Let us take top ten points, which most would agree, has top ranking in making communication impressive.

  1. Exhibit enthusiasm and engagement
    Audience receiving your communication must generate a natural feeling that you are indeed excited to interact with them and that you are totally involved in what you are doing. Training or teaching can make you aware of these attributes but can’t endow the same. You definitely need 2 qualities to exhibit these – ownership and sincerity! If you are missing on these, no amount of coaching or style would help you.
  2. Good body language
    How you present and conduct yourself have colossal effect on your audience. Your body language reflect what you are. Body language includes right type and amount of eye contact with audience. Lot of people believe they can make up the body language; not only that is bunk, it casts a bad impression on your audience.
    Your body language can be good only if you are good – good by character, values and mannerism! Right type and degree of your eye contact comes through your conviction and empathy!!
  3. Be simple and sweet
    This is what people from every class love most!
    Can any technique or tip make you simple and sweet? You have to develop trait for it and be genuine to make it part of your routine life. If you are complex by thought or nature, it is just impossible that simply because you are standing on a prestigious platform, you can switch on to become simple and sweet! It would look fake.
  4. Communicate what your audience can relate
    If you can’t carry your audience with you, it would misfire; people would not be impressed.
    So, you ought to convey what your audience can relate easily and appreciate. It would come easily to you, if you carry deep respect for others. This is possible if you forego your ego!
  5. Put away distractions
    People lose interest, if you distract. You have to stay on course. This is possible, only when you are focused!
    If you are normally not focused, don’t believe that suddenly you would be able to focus, since your stakes are high.
  6. Really listen
    It is a universal fact that listening is far more significant that speaking! If you communicate like one way street, you would be stuck and cut a sorry figure.
    To be a good listener, you need to be free from your ego, biases and be open minded!
  7. Be brief and precise
    Long communication are never welcome. Human listening faculties don’t work efficiently, when used for more than 20 minutes at a stretch. If you don’t hit and highlight the key point/s early enough, your communication would lose its purpose. This calls for presence of mind and avoiding over-enthusiasm!
  8. Be part of audience
    If you stand apart from audience, it would be averse to own what you are communicating. You can excite or inspire people, when you genuinely show that you part of them. This is possible, if you drop your ego and prop up your sincerity and humility!
  9. Tell a story
    All of us love stories, as these create thrill or chill. When emotions are evoked, effectiveness multiplies!
    Yes, art of telling a story can come from coaching and practice. However, your expressions or body language play a vital role in invigorating the audience!
  10. Ask for feedback
    Demonstrate to your audience how much you care for their views and feedback. Midway of your conversation, check from audience what you are delivering is making sense to them, are they satisfied with your answers to their questions, is your explanation simple and direct and then take overall feedback.
    Feedback makes real sense, when you exhibit ownership and open mindedness!

If you evaluate highlighted words under above points, you would realize that more than training and tips, a good communication has more to do with your character and qualities i.e. trait.

To sum up, rules without reasoning and techniques without trait are too mechanical and mundane to make meaningful impact!

Most casual but serious mistake we commit – confusing Seriousness as Sincerity!

Reflection of sincerity! Source: http://www.flickr.com/

It is normally difficult to comprehend colossal difference it can make, when one is serious as opposed to being sincere, though dividing line between the two is very fine even by dictionary meaning!

I had a colleague in a German multinational company in which I had worked, who specialized in X-ray spectrometry. He was too passionate about his work. He showed highest degree of sensitiveness to customers. He would sit late in office and come early in the morning to make sure that he replied to each and every letter and enquiries from his regional sales office counterparts and customers. If anyone pointed out shortcoming in his replies or work, he would be hyperactive and take great deal of time to prove that he had not committed a flaw. He used to be right most of the times. During appraisals year after years, his boss used to give him always highest marks for his sincerity. One morning he reported sick and did not come for few weeks. He was diagnosed for having had high blood pressure, which he neglected for too long and that had affected his heart.

Few years down the line, I figured out real difference between seriousness and sincerity and I felt in retrospect that boss of my above colleague should have appraised him for being too serious, rather than being very sincere and issued him warning about long term impact on his health! Unfortunately like this boss, most of us in professional and personal lives hardly care to understand fine dividing lines, which eventually turn fatal or cause our failures!

I can now identify hundreds of employees in organizations I have served, who failed to grow commensurate with their efforts since their focus was on being serious and not sincere!

Drawing a distinction between Seriousness and Sincerity

Reflection of seriousness! Source: http://www.flickr.com/

Earnestness is the only attribute, which is common for seriousness and sincerity. Following would clarify how these 2 words make a world of difference:

  1. Seriousness makes you sensitive; whereas sincerity makes you savvy!
  2. Seriousness brings worries; on other hand, sincerity banks on wisdom!
  3. Former makes you prone to errors; but latter promotes accuracy.
  4. Former has shades of obsession; but latter swears by ownership.
  5. When you are serious, you tend to work to please others; whereas you work because it pleases you, if you are sincere!
    Therefore, serious people are serious to show off their work and talk a lot about it!!
  6. Seriousness elicits emotions; but sincerity evokes inspiration!
    It is for this reason that seriousness prompts people to make their fascination or frustration, pleasure or displeasure very explicit!!
  7. Seriousness makes you anxious; whereas sincerity makes you conscious or aware!
  8. Although serious people are intense in their work, it is sincerity that accentuates innovativeness!
  9. Seriousness makes you restless; sincerity, instead, molds you to be relaxed!

Above makes it amply clear that seriousness and sincerity are look-alike but their outlook is nearly opposite. Paradox is that both kinds of people, who are serious or sincere, appear to be fully evolved and engage in their work or duties. As a matter of fact, serious people are seen vociferously dedicated. Real challenge for serious people is that they believe they are doing it right and refuse to accept there is something missing in their approach. They keep wondering why they are less productive and often fail to get good results. On other hand, sincere people appear sober and always score high!

Sincerity signifies balanced state of mind!

There is very subtle difference in doing same thing in 2 or more alternative ways, which we term as fine dividing line. It this difference or dividing line, which separates winning and losing, blessing and bane, effective and defective!

Let us understand how such subtlety comes.

We start to do it right and we don’t notice or sometimes don’t even comprehend how wrong creeps in. To cite some examples:

  • You have a close relative ailing and it is right to attend to her/him. But, when you start taking care of the relative, ignoring your health and other duties, it starts hurting you.
  • Your loyalty to your employer and customers is strong to an extent that skews your work-life balance.
  • You are humble and hence, hesitate to tell your boss where it hurts you, even when you are ill-treated or ill-rewarded for your efforts!
  • You are eagerly waiting for your spouse to return home in evening, which is a good sign; but beyond a time you become anxious and even frustrated. When he finally arrives, you would not like to hear him why he got delayed but would like to be heard how you have been hassled!

It is also a fact that sincerity is a highly misunderstood quality, though it is one among the most significant ones! Sincerity symbolizes balanced state of your mind – neither right nor left; just the center. When you are sincere, you are genuine. You start to do things, because that is obvious, not an option. You don’t do it for anyone’s sake. You do not see any other alternative but to do it. You don’t get obsessed to single thing or thought but view all aspects with same genuine feeling. This is when your efforts fructify and you start to reap rewards.

So, it solidly pays to be sincere, but not being serious!