Tag Archives: Bias

Our day to day dilemma or delusion – Schrödinger’s cat is dead or alive?

yes-nein-or-yein

Yes, Nein or Yein? Image source – flickr.com

My wife is a cleaning freak and is currently on house cleaning spree because of upcoming major Indian festival. I had been expecting that any day my bedroom cupboard would be upside down, albeit organized as is where basis by her standard. But, it had not happened.

Today morning, I walked down to my cupboard to fetch some article expecting least what I witnessed – it was cleaned up, reorganized and I found it hard to lay my hands of what I wanted. I began to feel upset. But, I said to myself – hang on; this is nothing new. It is just my dilemma or delusion whether I would find Schrödinger’s cat dead or alive. Cat is dead; just accept the reality that cupboard has been reorganized regardless of my comfort or discomfort.

You must be facing likes of above situation a number of times every day. If your cell phone rings when you don’t want to be disturbed, your mind would instantly suspect caller to be one, you don’t want to talk to; but majority of times it would be another person, whom you won’t refuse to talk. Your spouse insists upon you to accompany for shopping and you put extra money not for spending but for not cutting a sorry figure. More often, you would find whole money gets spent, as if your spouse or shopkeepers had prior knowledge of extra money in your pocket.

So, your mind is constantly engaged in tossing the coin – would it be this or that?

Splendid substance behind story of Schrödinger’s cat!

I won’t go into technical or experimental aspects of this story; if you are interested, please go on Google. It is very easy and interesting to understand. What is very important here is to know that such simple idea has led to monumental advancements in every field – technology to physiology. Schrödinger stated that there is no way to know in advance whether the cat, which has been placed in safe part of a chamber but facing threat from unsafe part, is dead or alive unless you observe or open the chamber. If you don’t observe, then cat is neither dead nor alive; it is in state of superposition – a term which Schrödinger or science does not know till today what exactly it is – call it metaphysical. Ironically, many argue that there is unseen force or mechanism in our universe that has prior knowledge.

What Schrödinger or science could not fathom till today is – this idea has great relevance in our day to day life. Most refuse to believe there is science behind our life and there is always life behind science.

Sum and substance of this story

Things, which are in our thoughts or are unseen, have equal probability of actually being alive or dead, this or that, right or wrong, great or gory, successful or setback. Only when things surface or become reality, then we see them in one or another form.

So, game of guessing or tossing the coin that we continuously play is actually futile. There is equal chance that things would turn out to be positive or negative. Your wishing that they be positive does not make you positive; actually it is negative contrary to popular perceptions as that indicates your obsession or addiction to positive. And, if you want it be negative even for a positive reason, it is negative as it indicates your bias or prejudice.

Now comes important link from last week’s post, which is not only proven in life but also by science’s famous law of Complementarity. This law states – you would get result as per type of set up to measure it. Such set up is physical in science but mental in life.

Therefore, if you guess or toss the coin, you are negative and that increases chances of negative results or disappointments. But, if you don’t guess, you are positive (which actually implies you are prepared to accept the reality) and you have higher chances of getting delightful results.

Try above game without cheating; you would be astonished with astounding results!

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Your environments closely track your thoughts – how and why

its-posible-to-do-it-your-way

It’s possible to do it your way!

One fine morning, you meet your difficult boss and find him very decent, contrary to your previous experiences. On analysis, you discover that on this day somehow you had a good feeling for the boss. Another day, you decide to consciously keep positive feeling and meet the boss but you are shocked to find that he was damn difficult. You wonder why?

A deliberately developed positive feeling has, at its back, negative perception about the boss; that is why you had to intentionally create that positive feeling and hence it is actually negative in nature; so, you got negative result.

You would have often observed medicine prescribed by a doctor, on whom you have faith, works well; but same medicine for same ailment does not work on another patient, who does not have faith on same doctor.

Surf innumerable articles on power of positive thinking. These invariably talk of practical experiences of people that good thoughts bring good results. Good news come in bunches, so do bad news. If you get into trouble, more are staring at you unless you have turned around to take that trouble in a spirited manner. You do become what you believe.

Difficult to fathom but fact is your environments are shaped by your thoughts.

How your environments are shaped by your thoughts

Your thoughts instantly impact your body language and behavior, which in turn would influence the atmosphere you are locally in – if you are participating in a meeting or communicating to someone, your thoughts dictate what you talk or do. This is called as primary influence. The way your audience would respond and how you perceive it would trigger what is called as secondary influence. It is quite possible that primary influence is positive but secondary one is negative, if response of your audience evoked negative reaction in you.

It is very important that you make a correct judgement about types of your thoughts. There are active thoughts, which everyone can make out – being kind, candid, optimistic or pessimistic, stressed etc. But real challenge is to understand your passive thoughts that are at the back of your mind – beliefs, biases, suspicion or like, which are far greater in number. It is combination of active and passive thoughts, which determines whether you are positive, negative or mixed and influence your environments accordingly.

Why your environments are entangled with your thoughts

All points or particles in space of our universe are interconnected. Therefore, we see local reality and instant remote connections, regardless of distances. This is one of the tenets of quantum theory on which all modern advancements are based. Einstein could not come to terms with this weird reality and unsuccessfully struggled to demystify it in the latter part of his life. However, scientists have been finding increasing evidence of same without any clue on how it works.

Therefore, your mind, in other words its thoughts are connected with all points locally and remotely and hence able to influence the same.

So it is you, who possess the power to influence your environments and incoming events!

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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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How to defeat a disappointing or damning day!

When disappointment drains you! Source: http://www.flickr.com/

Sometimes you get up in the morning with not too good a feeling. You do not feel enthusiastic or excited. You feel your energy has been drained. On that day, you may experience lot of things going wrong. You would get into a tiff with your spouse or dear one/s for a trivial reason right in the morning. While preparing to leave for work, you may not find important document which you need to carry or receive an unimportant call, leaving you very irritated. On way to office, you could find this day too many red traffic signals or getting stuck in traffic. On reaching office, you may find e mails from upset customers and receive a piece of mind from your boss, which leaves you wondering what more disappointments are in the pipe line today! You somehow finish your day and retire to bed hoping that a better day would emerge tomorrow!!

Can you be sure that tomorrow morning would be better than yesterday? Normally not! If it turns out to be better, what exactly changes? Most people are unable to figure out or don’t care to figure out. They tend to defer it to their destiny or divine. But, then cycle of decent or damn days continues, so do fun and frustration!

Is it possible to start every morning with same zeal and zest, energy and excitement, hope and happiness? 

Your distress can’t decrease your disappointments; instead it increases!

When things don’t happen as per our wants, we react – why? We feel irritated or infuriated. We reject the things, if those are not right from our view point. We don’t know to accept what has already gone wrong. We rebel or remorse against the reality, if it is bitter; but rejoice, if it is sweeter! This is precisely our problem! Reality is always real, whether we accept or reject; then why treat a reality differently and relate it to our taste?

It has been drilled in our mind that wrong or unwanted things must be greeted with agony, anger or anxiety and embrace right or wanted things with ecstasy. See implications of such approach:

  1. We lean heavily on negativity and hence become prone to same.
  2. Worries or whining is like a whirlpool of distress, which can only suck you deeper! Negativity attracts negativity.
  3. It shakes your confidence and composure!
  4. It fractures your belief in prudence and propriety!
  5. It generates a bias for pessimism!

Your de-stress is key to design your day!

Everyone believes stress is natural; but that does not take away the fact that it plays havoc, regardless how powerful or poor one is! Stress defocuses and disorients you, may be by a small degree. When stress is not major, you may not notice it; but it is there in your sub-conscious mind. Silent stress is far more damaging than loud one, because latter would take you to the peak of your problems quickly and hurt you so much that you would then rush for quick healing!

Silent stress is very challenging because most people are unable to recognize it! It could be as little as a thought that my morning was not good; so now my day would not be good either. This thought is good enough to encourage you to commit a series of mistakes to draw you deeper into disappointment. That day, you are not able to manage your boss, customer, sub-ordinates or spouse as well as you do another day!

Here are few things you could practice to do to defeat an adverse day:

  1. When you get up in the morning, remind yourself that problems are part of life.
    Practical and real world is where problems are present and not absent.
  2. If anything adverse shows up, avoid reciprocating it with your reaction. Just observe and be to yourself.
    We all have learnt that reaction to wrong things is our right; but in reality, this is absurd.
  3. Carry out a simple check in morning and during day – if you are free from stress, you have to be happy; conversely, if you are not feeling happy, you ought to have stress!
    When stress is absent, your energy and excitement levels get boosted!!
  4. Like cancer virus, viruses of ego and prejudices are present in all of us and these substantially weaken our immunity to stress.
  5. Stress, which can be in form of anxiety, anger, agony, fear, frustration or obsession, is nothing but conflicts of thoughts in our mind. Source of such stress is always emotions from your past. So, live in present to live stress free!
  6. Common belief that “what does not start well will also not end well” is bunk!
    It is purely in your hands, when you want to let go your feelings from immediate or distant past. Terrible things can translate into terrific things at any point of the day, by taking a pause and redeeming yourself.
  7. If you are conscious or anxious that thing/s should not go wrong, probability is high that those would go wrong! So, your best bet is not to guess what would go right or wrong.

So, substance of the story is by linking exciting events to euphoria, you also link disappointing happenings to your distress. Drop both links; you would then gain freedom to freely design your day!

How about enjoying this freedom?

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When being good is not good enough in your professional or personal life!

Be good enough at what you do! Source: http://www.flickr.com/

Are you one of those, who face dilemma time and again that they do their best; but their desires or dreams do not come through? You are sincere, serious and honest in your endeavors; yet, do you encounter disappointments that results are seldom up to your expectations? Does that leave you wondering and often frustrating that while you have done all what you can, why you are being deprived of what you deserve? If yes, then here is what can help you to create better understanding of how things happen and how those can be changed!

First and foremost thing to understand is that if good does not work, then becoming bad is a very bad idea. Try whatever you want to with bad frame of mind, it would never ever serve your purpose. Often it has been seen that when good sense does not bring success, people lose their cool, doubt relevance of goodness and fall back on wrong ways – anger or anxiety, reaction or remorse, frustration or fear! Interestingly but ironically, bad or wrong ways suppress the realities and show up immediate results, which are either short lived or lead to bigger issues of other types now or later.

I have seen many bosses in corporates, who were initially very nice and empathetic to their employees. They would give them freedom and motivation. But later on, due to tough competition or faulty strategy, when their business units started performing poorly, they changed their attitude towards employees. They started to lose their temper for no rational reasons, became poor listener and disinterested in understanding the challenges employees were facing. Few bosses multiplied their woes, when top talents in their team started to desert them and the rest fell out of grace of the top management and faced a bad patch in their career! So, it is an illusion that being bad can ever pay off.

Then, being goody-goody is also bad. People like to be goody, when they want to avoid controversies or tough decisions. Therefore, they make attempts to please everybody and in that process, they lose their peace!

Real issue with most of us is that we believe or perceive that qualities and caliber that we possess are good enough! If things do not work out or results do not turn out as expected, we would put blame elsewhere – market conditions, coincidences, stroke of luck etc. This prevents us to reach to the root of the issue. Key lies in challenging our own perceptions or beliefs and comprehend where we are going wrong!

Indicators when your goodness is not good enough

  1. When your repeat efforts do not yield expected results.
  2. When your ideas or work does not elicit encouraging response from your target audience.
  3. When even 15% of your perception about self does not echo in what others have to say about you!
  4. When there are few takers of your talent!
  5. When your supervisor, sub-ordinates or peers do not approach you for support or guidance!
  6. When you manage to please one section of people especially seniors but displease another section.
  7. When your near and dear avoid interacting with you.
  8. When you often miss to do things, which matter to you.
  9. When you are prone to making mistakes and do not implement the lessons learnt.
  10. When you are low in patience and short in temper!
  11. When you do not feel like looking into eyes of others and communicate or others do the same with you!
  12. When your fellow beings keep a distance or disregard you!
  13. When you are not getting sense of accomplishment in what you do!
  14. When you don’t feel happy and get distracted too often.

Above list can help you to check whether you are good enough in your professional and personal life. If you are not, then you are likely to fail to get what you want.

What can you do to be good enough!

Please look at the parameter and emphasis on the right side of each point below:

  1. It is good to be simple and straight forward; but more important is to be sound and strong mentally and physically!
  2. Be flexible; but never falter in being firm!
  3. Be compassionate; but equally important is to be courageous to take tough decisions!
  4. Take lead in developing new ideas; but never lag behind to disseminate and communicate to as wide an audience as you can!
  5. Be cordial; but never shy away from inevitable conflicts and discords!
  6. Be respectful; but never repress your legitimate feelings or compromise your self-esteem! 
  7. Have always good intentions; but greater should be your thrust on implementation!
  8. Be energetic but don’t make attempts to exhibit it through your body language or oratory skills; instead allow it to be experienced by others on their own!
  9. Believe in actions; but completely regulate your reactions!
  10. Be confident; but avoid at every cost to be arrogant!
  11. Be open as well as ardent observer!
  12. Believe your people; but never be blindfolded and biased!
  13. Charisma helps, but not without character and convictions!
  14. Generosity is as relevant as gratefulness!

So if you make “being good enough” as your goal, then growth and successes are bound to greet you!

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