Tag Archives: Bane

Are modern day science n stress making us more sick or superstitious?

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True image or illusion?

Current US President Barack Obama has revealed in a recent interview that he always carries in his pocket a statuette of Lord Hanuman, small Buddha, silver poker chip etc. and seeks inspiration from same when he feels tired or discouraged. But, he has said that he is not that superstitious.

He is not alone; he has millions of followers!

How gifts and gadgets of science are making you more superstitious

You would find celebrities, artists, leaders, especially from political polity and gen. next more than ever before wearing rings containing specific stones, colorful bands or sacred threads on their wrists or lucky charms to attract good omens. Advancements in multimedia enable millions to watch them like never before and entice them to emulate such practices.

Scientific advancements have given advent to social media and social media have brought together not only colleagues, cultures, traditions, beliefs and rituals from every corner of our planet but also voices of faith healers and fortune tellers. Every other day, I get text message on my cell phone about forecast for my future and what I should do to make it lucky. One day while under duress, one is bound to fall prey to same.

All kinds of wearable devices are now available to monitor nearly all parameters of your body. Everything looks hunky-dory as long as these parameters are within prescribed limits. But what is if some of those go out of limits? You land on the lap of stress, superstition or god for quick fixes. Hardly anyone would run to doctors for every tit and bit; but if someone does it, he/she would create another set of psychological problems.

When you are stressed, you fall either sick or prey to superstitions

Stress has long list of its byproducts – insomnia, IBS, cardio disorder, lever dysfunction, diabetes… and now new research studies including one conducted by Ohio State University have added cancer, as it gets accentuated by stress.

In modern age, there are many more media available to invite stress, leading among which is social media and mobile phones. Social media is a great boon as well as a gruesome bane. It is a classic example of how plus and minus go hand in hand. Thirty years back, we were surviving very well without having even a line of remote communication at home; today we can’t sustain a minute without cell phone in hand.

No one notices, rather dislikes to notice silent stress of taking selfies, posting images supposedly better than previous day, racing to get more likes and repenting if buddies or beloved did not like it.

Untold story of how science has been misused by man

In its original form, science is secular and secures everyone; but depending upon how it is used or applied, it can create values and virtues or vices and viruses; it can develop faith or fear; surprisingly, its positive use promotes spiritualism and negative use prompts materialism.

Though the taste of man or masses is for positive, their recipe is for exactly opposite – negative. That is why scientific facts have been twisted by most people into their fractured faiths i.e. illusions or superstitions and turned on more far right and left wing ideas and ideologies leaving little space for the center or balanced ones. Discoveries of atom and subatomic particles should have consolidated our conviction that god is everywhere but we have pushed him elsewhere – deeper into isolation and places of worship. We have used these discoveries more for destruction than for construction, creating more stress on our system. We have misused stress to create more medicines and manipulated the fact that it is more a matter of mind control.

We hardly know who we are; but we want to jump into bandwagon of knowing who and where aliens are. We are unable to arrest decay of our world colony; but billions of dollars are being spent on race for colonizing Mars and Moons.

But, all is not lost yet, if we can still realize that it is a bad idea to misuse or overuse science, its gifts and gadgets and that it is a bane to drift away from core principles of nature and life!

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Is goodness good beyond a certain point?

A taste of Goodness! Source: http://www.flickr.com/

If your answer is yes, it is not right!

If your answer is no and you mean to turn to bad after that point, it is completely wrong!!

If your answer is yes and you chose to be neutral – neither good nor bad – beyond that point, then only it is right!!!

Here is why?

During my tenure with a German multinational organization, my colleagues in another group got a new boss. Within few days, these colleagues discovered that he was difficult to deal with. These colleagues decided to stick to their decency, with a hope that boss would change. But that did not happen, even after several months. Over next few further months, some colleagues decided to act difficult with the boss; few would not co-operate or ignore his direction by making one excuse or another. This made the boss very toxic and vindictive against them. There were others, who continued with their good attitude towards the boss. Instead of appreciating, boss started to take his frustration for those, who were acting difficult, on them, overload them with work, yet term them under-performers and timid. Net result was that all employees were unhappy and boss was unrelenting but with increasing frustration.

In a relationship, if you keep tolerating truant behavior of your partner or spouse, you may run risk of lending support to his/her toxic leanings. If your good attitude does not bring a change and you turn it towards bad, it would spell a disaster.

If you keep fulfilling demands of a kid out of love, reasonable or not, you would encourage that kid to become demanding and in turn dictatorial in latter part of life; but if you don’t, without making her/him understand, you would drive kid to become obstinate.

Belief “When goodness does not work, switch to be bad” is a big bane!

This belief is thoroughly blended in the blood of majority. If kindness does not yield result, resort to cruelty; if friendship does not work, find an answer through ferocity; build or break! Most of us seem to swing between two extremes. We don’t let go; don’t call it quits or ignore. And this is what turns a beauty into burden, blessing into bane and great into grim. We would justify our wrong action under cover of having tried right one. That is bunk!

This goes on micro to macro levels. Look at how handling of terrorism has been goofed and lives of millions made ever unsafe!

When things don’t work out for us, most of us have learnt to derive emotional satisfaction through blame games, biases, bashing, banishing, booing, anger, antagonism or abandonment! Often, one sees immediate results; but that is an illusion; it is actually the making of worse things to come!! World over, everyone thinks that wrong means can win him/her right; but every time everyone has been proved wrong. That is what human history shows. Moreover, if you rendezvous with or resort to bad means, you run risk of losing your goodness for good.

So, if good does not give results, going for bad is never a good option!

Endless goodness is not good either!

If you do it right or good, you would get good results. You would then be tempted to do more of it. At one point, it would give rise to greed, addiction to good and then things start to go down. Take any example – loyalty of an employee beyond a certain level becomes a liability and employer would subtly start to dislike it. Dedication above a certain decibel is disastrous.

Endless goodness would end you up exploited in hands of evil or bad ones! Worst still is that any strong attribute such as endless goodness is like an electric charge, which would attract the opposite and set you on a course of collision.

So, never forget that good is really good until it hits a limit!

Being neutral is next to good!

Learning and practicing to be neutral is one of the nicest things to do. When things don’t work out despite your best try, it is pointless to keep trying same way. Leave it and come to a neutral point. Just take no position, neither left nor right. Be at the center and watch for things to settle on their own.

To come to center or neutral state, you can do one or most of following:

  • No reaction or emotion, just observation of what is going on
  • Be silent and serene; but not stern
  • Ignore, if need arises
  • Neither bend nor back-out
  • Never give-in; but you should let go
  • Stick to facts and stay unruffled
  • Maintain calm and candor
  • Do communicate but concisely and precisely
  • Remain firm and fair

When you are neutral or at center, you would make unique experience of:

  1. Sowing in you seeds of decisiveness
  2. Learning divinity in detachment
  3. Understanding what it means to hold your feet firmly on ground
  4. Raising your self-esteem
  5. Finding real purpose in your pursuits

To sum up, if goodness is gold, your ability to go to center would add to its glitter!

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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!

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Why bosses need to believe in balancing!

I need balancing! Source: http://www.flickr.com/

How often do you come across bosses or top management, whose approach is highly balanced? I am afraid that answer would most probably be – “Seldom”!

Whole environment, in which bosses or managers evolve, develop and operate, is highly skewed towards running year’s business figures. It is almost like a doctrine drilled in their mind that success has to come at any cost, business slowdown is a shame and cost has to be ruthlessly controlled to secure healthy bottom line. Yet, some years are exciting by performance and bosses get rewarded; some are disappointing and employees get reprimanded! Do cycles of good and bad years teach a lesson? Rarely, since there are standard explanations available to them from leadership discourses!

Coming to management or leadership development programs, comprehensive or concise, all are structured around single sided stories. These glamorize failures and then, swear by successes! These programs do serve a good purpose albeit limited, as the same do not bring out why successful persons and businesses fail, and how to prevent or delay that. These simply pass on advisories – be a visionary, be in driver’s seat, lead from front, be focused, be strategist and analytical, have managerial courage….; but do not stipulate how to be. It presupposes that everyone can and will get there. This is what a gross gaffe is!

Both managers and management programs need to consider one very vital aspect – when you are focused on one side of the story, you would also commit flaw to comprehend other side of the same. This is where balancing acts or views acquire substantial significance.

Biases of bosses!

Bane of too much focus is the bias! You can see how problems creep in corporate life, if more focus is directed at left part of following points:

  1. Higher quantity can only come at the cost of quality!
  2. Increased speed decreases accuracy.
  3. Higher throughput or output would lower productivity.
    Often, it goes unnoticed and managers then cry for more man power for more output.
  4. If you chase figures, you would compromise values.
  5. High business growth is often accompanied with lower time and money available for personnel development.
  6. Put more structure and material to measure performances of personnel, you would spoil the beauty behind spirit!
  7. Hold hands of strong performers, lose helping hands of majority and middle order.
  8. Set stretched targets, upset work-life balance!
  9. Banking on long hours of working, beating down smart way of working!

Above clearly indicates adverse implications of one sided view or approach, which is widely practiced in corporates. This is one of the main reasons, why you witness cycles of ups and downs.

Bet not on brilliant but on balanced bosses!

This may not go down easily in the brains of many; but then brainy things are always simple but difficult to believe!

Are you not witnessing sudden spurt in articles on social and print media on how to hire, hire the best, spotting the talent and so on. It sounds as a very sound idea! But, hold on a bit.

A boss or a future leader has to be fair, flexible, forthright, punctual, healthy, communicative, sincere, honest, kind, courageous, generous and more! This elevates her/him next to the God!! Is not it? How do you develop leadership pipeline aligned to the God? I do not believe that current business schools, management development programs or leadership coaching is geared up handle this. These all narrow down to hire or develop the most brilliant or intelligent. How many most brilliant people do you think you can get in the market place? And to spot such talent, you need more talented people on panel! Do you have such people on board?

Few would admit it, but blatant fact is that popularity of a program is directly proportional to its ability to create dreams that are difficult to achieve! 

Most organizations or managements commit blunder in putting too much faith on –

  1. Strong personalities
    Bosses or managers having strong personalities would polarize company environments – a divide between right and wrong, strong and weak and wreak havoc in longer term.
  2. Intelligent class
    2 or more intelligent people put together can only give birth to insanity!

My advice would be to encourage balanced personalities. Mentor, harness and cultivate center of each qualitative attribute in employees. That alone can bring fairness, flexibility, sincerity and all what is needed for long term sound health of an organization.

In above, we would create bosses, who are more of buddies than bête noire, more rational than emotional!

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Let easy access to every information not impair, but improve your intellectual abilities!

Information deluge! Source: http://www.flickr.com/

Intellectual abilities far outweigh your technical competence, educational qualifications, experience or general knowledge/information. If someone stands out of the crowd, it ought to do something with his/her intellectual abilities. Ability to analyze, rationalize, empathize, reason-out, lead, innovate, create, anticipate and foresight comes from your intellect!

Intellectual abilities have more to do with your EQ (emotional quotient) as compared to IQ. Everyone has these abilities; but the degree varies. Those with higher degree of intellect are tremendously successful in their career and personal life, enjoy terrific happiness and sense of accomplishments!

Intellectual abilities can be defined as your abilities to comprehend, contemplate and conclude using your consciousness and wisdom! These are all about mind and its response to a given situation!! This sounds like a simple statement; but it plays the most significant part in making you!!!

Let us discuss what the biggest threat is that can impair these abilities and what opportunities are there to improve the same.

Risks that we run in current era!

This is an era of information explosion. Colossal amount of information is being captured, collated, classified and presented every second. To access this information, internet and smart phones, apart from TV, Tablets and PCs/Laptops, have become integral part of nearly everyone’s life.

Research results and surveys show staggering use of on-line media. As per GlobalWebIndex, people across the world now spend an average of 10.7 hrs. daily on all forms of media, out of which 5.6 hrs. are spent on digital media! Weighted world average, as per survey conducted in Jan. 2014, for daily time spent on social media alone is 2.0 hrs., with Argentinians spending highest time of 4.3 hrs. and least time being spent by Japanese at 0.8 hr. Average American spends 2.3 hrs. per day, whereas Indians spend 2.4 hrs. on social media. Most of such time spent is for non-work related information exchange.

If you are an active user of social media, you would only know how much time you are tempted to spend on clicking likes, conveying greetings for birthdays, festivals, job or profile changes of your friends or followers! Most of times, people do it under compulsion or casually; but seldom consciously or purposefully!

Where does this relentless search and storage of information (in physical or mental files) lead to?

  1. Majority of times, surfing and search for information by most is random and hence, its end use is also random.
  2. When you don’t have a purpose of an activity, you would not know or bother about prudential limits of the same. This is when, you would stray into what is not sober and tend to get hooked to inadvertent or indecent information.
  3. Without a clear purpose, you can never focus on quality and hence you fall prey to quantity!
    So, you would engage yourself reading and collecting lot of information. This can only clutter and confuse your mind and kill your focus! It would be interesting to know that more than 80% of information that you read from print or soft media is irrelevant to you. So, imagine the time you spend first to read and then to mull over or discuss such information!
    It is good to remember that “good has limits; but bad has none”. Immaterial information is actually an ill!
  4. Irrelevant information makes you inefficient and incoherent!
  5. If you believe that what you do for fun, leisure or entertainment, including reading or viewing information, does not impact your character or class, think over again!
    What you do for fun actually has firm impact on your persona. So, be frugal with information flow or exchange!!
  6. Loads of information would lower your drive, patience, peace of mind and sound sleep.
  7. If one or more clicks can get you every information, multiple answers to every question you have, that too duly analyzed, then what is left for your brain to work on? How would you strengthen your analytical and computing abilities?
    2 things are sure to happen – (a) what comes easily also goes away easily. So you would have problem to retain such information in your mind (b) for lack of exercise, your brain would lose its power, like your muscles do in absence of good use! 

From above, it is very clear that easy, enormous and erratic information can severely impair your intellectual abilities.

How to convert risks into rewards!
You are blessed with superbly advanced information technology; do everything possible that it does not become a bane for you. Here is what you can do:

  1. Lower your engagement for the information, which is not relevant to you or to which you are inert or you react. Put more emphasis of such information from various media that makes you alert and active.
  2. Most efficient use of information that you gather is to align it with your short and long term goals.
  3. Practice to evaluate or investigate the information you possess as to what are contradictions, lack of clarity, presence of paradoxes and gray or unexplored areas in the same.
    Result of such evaluation would be your real opportunities to work on!
  4. Decipher from the information you have, up to what level the work has already been done. Going beyond that level, work and innovate would bring you experience and excellence, you would ever treasure and endear!
  5. Neven keep information or knowledge you possess as dormant. Roll it in following cycle:
    Information –> Investigate –> Innovate/ new ideas –> Inspiration –> Increasing intellectual abilities/Implementation/Strengthening your beliefs

So, why not take full advantage of IT enabled age to become fully Intellectually enabled?

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