Tag Archives: Dream

Our Comfort Zones not only create Inertia; but also inhibit Efficiency & Growth!

Psychologically and biologically, we are always tempted to create comfort zones at work as well as in personal life and our natural tendency is then to live in those! Our comfort zones are actually the cause of our inertia, inefficiency and inadequate growth.

When individuals, management included, in companies start creating comfort zones, the result is unwieldy systems, structure and processes, rendering them uncompetitive. That is when companies have to go for costly ways of restructuring, reorganization or reinventing themselves!

Why we fall prey to inertia created by comfort zones

  1. We like path of least resistance.
  2. We talk of challenges; but hesitate to walk the same.
  3. We have implied liking for gap between our desires and drive.
  4. We relish things on a platter; that’s what comfort levels can provide.
  5. We are mostly risk averse and hence like to wander on roads most traveled.
  6. We carry false notion for developing expertise by only doing repetitive activities over a long period of time, which is devoid of challenges and instead develops comforts.
  7. We like Change; but don’t like to change ourselves!

What we crave and create, we own and don’t want to abandon i.e. comfort zones; this is what invites “inertia in our thoughts and actions”.

How inefficiency and stagnancy creep in

Comfort zones are big barriers to achieving higher efficiency and growth.

  1. Comfort levels are invariably coupled with complacency. So, people like to perform same function or work same way, they are used to do. They do not seek or even see areas to improve.
  2. Every activity or function has 2 parts – (a) what needs to be performed on a repeat basis and (b) what can be changed and done differently.
    Part (a) has possibility to execute faster through use of tools, methods and/or experience. But, if one is in comfort zone, he/she would be averse to apply the same, as mentioned under point 1 above.
    What is far more damaging is reluctance, which comfort zones create against implementation of part (b)! It is this part, which brings new ideas, innovation and usher in real change.
    When part (b) remains dormant, it drowns companies or individuals into gross inefficiency and ineffective growth and development!
  3. Rut of routine and repetition make leaders to lose their luster!
  4. Comfort zones are like cancer, which would only spread, unless cut away.
  5. Comfort zones are the cause of illusion that direction is right and drive is smooth.
  6. Companies and cadres lose momentum and rhythm; therefore, they are no longer vibrant and agile.
  7. Being devoid of Change and Innovations, all stakeholders would go downhill and degenerate.

When we are aware of consequences, why we still crave for comfort zones!

There are two main causes:

a. We constantly live in fear of known or unknown. It is because of this that we humans have become habituated to save our skin, seek safe routes and create secured environments!
Above succumbs most of us to tested and tried things. We start to relish things, which are routine and repetitive! That is how we develop inherent inertia and invariably resistance to Change!

b. This is strange; but true! It is easy for us to be complicated; but difficult to be simple. Therefore, we tend to complicate matters, methods or means, rather than simplify the same!

This is rampant across the globe. Such complexities make us to spend more time and energy in doing our things, test our patience and create fatigue. Feeling of comfort comes in when we gain experience by doing or executing these over number of times or we discover some steps to do these faster (which is actually not a simplification; but using familiarity for faster actions).

Comfort zones are nothing but emotions of ease in execution, which arise from past experience; but these are not necessarily efficient and are barriers to new Ideas and Innovations!

How to kill or come out of comfort zones

  • Contrary to your belief, comfort zones provide only temporary relief. It is the constant drive for Change, which provides continuous thrill. So, you have a clear and only one choice – cut out comfort zones!
  • Comfort zones would eventually kill or throttle your career.
  • These can enhance your experience; but not efficiency.
  • Preference for little constraint over comfort would always pay you.
  • Shed away your emotions for comfort; just capture experience or knowledge, which past instances have created. Your inertia would vanish, if you truly do that!
  • Very important to know is that it is easy to complicate matters; but difficult to make those simple.
  • Simplification brings elegance and efficiency.
  • When we reinvent, we actually convert complicated things into simple ones; not other way around.
  • Put stress on simple thoughts and approach, actions and executions. That would bring you out of your comfort zones and make you:
    • Agile
    • Vibrant
    • Innovative
    • Courageous to traverse on roads less traveled and discover how your dreams become realities!
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Perfection promotes Problems!

There is something seriously wrong about our ideas for Perfection. Not sure how many are conscious or clear what to attempt, when they suggest or swear to be perfect! Also, be cautious to understand rationale behind the above caption – it does not imply “imperfection is to be inculcated”. This applies to companies, institutions, and individuals, as also work, hard and soft skills, products or services.

Implications of Perfection

  1. Efforts for 90% of perfection are doable with diligence and dedication; next 5% are harder; next 3% are harrowing; but balance 1.9% is herculean!
    Is there anything like 100% perfection? One does not know and let us leave balance 0.1% to aliens from outer space!
  2. It is time guzzler and hence, also goofs on good opportunities.
  3. It is not efficient and hence expensive.
  4. It requires lot of practice, patience and polishing, at the cost of productivity. Therefore, population of perfectionists cannot be large.
  5. Many desire and dream perfection; in practice very few can drive it!
    Therefore, it is devoid of popular appeal.
  6. Perfectionists are isolationists.
  7. Perfect bodies, beauties or businesses could prove to be bane, as these would attract lot of attention, rivals, imitators and hence, their real values would wane over time!

Be free from Defects, instead of being Perfect!

To be free from defects or flaws is a completely different paradigm as well as perspective than to be perfect. Drive to be free from defects takes away all problems associated with process of perfection!

Above has shown that to be perfect could be an ordeal; below would show that to be free from defect is ideal!

  • Process of getting perfection does not mandatorily target defects removal; whereas making it free from defects – be it product, system, service, character, competences, lifestyle or else, focuses fully on weeding away defects first!
    Former is analogous to “knowing what you should do, having little concern or knowledge of what you should not do” and hence, as a result, you would also do wrong things and then spend efforts to correct the same, which is wasteful! Latter is equivalent to learning first what you should not do; so what you do would automatically be free from flaws and hence most productive.
  • Definition of defects depends upon “functional requirements” in case of objects/ activities and “what creates good impact on others and self”, in case of personal behavior/characteristics.
  • When you remove all defects or keep it free from defects, you would find that resultant output is highly functional, acceptable, suitable and economical.
  • When an object or subject becomes defect free, it becomes simple and beautiful! Further attempts to bring what we term as perfection, actually make it complicated and starts spoiling its elegance and élan! From that stage onwards, output starts to plateau and time/costs start to soar.
  • Efforts should, then, be directed at innovations or variations to create different versions or flavors. That would be most efficient and economically sustainable!

Let us look at 2 simple examples to explain relevance of above:

By removing all impurities from drinking water, we make it potable. Further attempts to perfectly clean it, would remove minerals and that would not be good for health!

2nd example – Head of an organization is preparing communication on company performance for employees. Defect free communication would be one, which would be simple to understand, short to digest and sweet to appreciate.

Instead, if he vies to make it perfect by putting all performance data, graphs, explanations for up and down sides and so on, such communication would no doubt have depth and details; but consume lot of time and man hours to prepare and would turn out to be complex. In most cases, it cannot be communicated transparently and effectively, and would leave audience guessing and gasping to grasp!

For the Future Perfect…

The mandate is clear:

  1. Redefine “Perfection”.
  2. Efforts for perfection should cease, once all defects or flaws are removed.
  3. Any extra effort is like a creamy layer at the expense of volume (of efforts), without creating value.
  4. Instead, such extra efforts should be directed for innovations, new creations and versions.
  5. Objects and subjects, body and being become the best and beautiful, when these are free from flaws.
    These are also, then, exquisite, elegant, efficient, affordable and sustainable!
  6. Attempts to make things 100% perfect could push you to perils!
  7. Nature’s laws demand minor (not major) degree of imperfections and imbalances. This is what has made whole universe in a dynamic state. It also brings fizz and fervor in our life!
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When your taste is for Success, why your recipe is for Failure?

Everyone wants to be successful at work, career, professional or personal life; but few get it and others not, despite their best intentions and efforts. Often, we relate success and failure to stroke of luck or destiny. We have innumerable examples of many CEOs or top managers riding high and then gliding down. We tend to believe that as inevitable.

So what is behind such bizarre situation, most of us face? Why do we face varying degree of wins and losses?

Here are blatant facts:

Your recipe is seldom compatible to your taste

Your focus is always on the end result; but hardly on the route to get there. How many of you plan and choose your ways, mend your methods mid-way and change your course to come on the road which leads to what you want? I have not come across more than 3 to 5% of people, who would really take this seriously.

It is not that what you select initially would give you necessarily intended results. Therefore, you must constantly evaluate, talk to your seniors or well-wishers and be flexible to mend mid-course anything that is needed, rather than clinging on.

So, never be afraid of making mistake; but be agile to make amends or even take a U-turn.

You concentrate more on spices than recipes

Your natural leanings are for thrilling and glamorous yet easy jobs. You often suffer from “neighbor’s syndrome” or “follow friends” and believe that others have it easy and exciting, having no clue of their real story. In the process, you unsettle your mind and find it difficult to enjoy what you have in your hands and translate into a success.

You believe that having being qualified (and experienced), your path to success should be simple, straight forward as well as spicy, which is rare and hence you resent, rather than being resilient!

Your patience could be poor or pathetic

What are fashionable now are fast fixes and fruits! If you do not get these, you would be quick to throw the towel. Your thin patience is a sure source of your troubles.

Unless you go through drilling and building your fundamentals, knowledge and insight, be tenacious and toil at work, you cannot get success or even if you get it, same would not be worth it!

You may have Wishes; not Will Power

When it comes to wishes, you would have a plenty; but your will to execute these is scanty!

Is not a simple plain fact that unless your Doings match your Desires and Dreams, how would those become realities? It is unfortunate that more than 90% of people have too wide a gap between Wishes and Will. Their intentions are sacrosanct; but implementation is sordid!

You have loads of Perceptions; but lack of Convictions

Most of us have lot of ideas on what we should be, what can be done, what would make us click, what is good, what others should do…. and all sorts of opinions, based upon our perceptions. But, we are generally empty in conviction and courage to carry these forward, convert into execution and deliver results.

Many of us are painfully poor to deliver what we perceive and promise. We tastefully think that things would come on a platter to us.

Your Mind can drive you Mad

Our mind tends to react spontaneously, when something goes wrong or awry. Decisions based upon 1st reaction of mind are normally negative. At the time of crisis, we mistake such mental reaction as our gut feeling or instinct. This can lead to problems. Journey to success would always have ups and downs, pleasures and pains. People often fall prey to their mental reaction and that messes up what you have accomplished that far.

So, whenever you face an issue or a barrier, just observe reaction of mind; but do not act. Take a pause and analyze – is that a part of process or an error of your earlier judgment. If it is former, counter and if it is latter, correct.

Also, your mind would always drive you on road of least resistance and most comfort. Beware; it can indeed be a bad road and hence, shun it, if your consciousness says so. Do not be afraid of hardship and hard landings; these may eventually land you on healthy success.

Your role may differ; but most rules to success not!

Except for local irregularities, our world is flat. So, do not think that what applies to successful personalities like Bill Gates, Carlos Slim or Michael Dell will not apply to you and vice versa. Rules for securing success are same universally to the tune of 90 to 95%. Learn what is the recipe of theirs or others, including your boss or leader, if they are successful. This is very crucial for you. You cannot fail, if your recipe is right.

Therefore, you need to be daring n doer and don’t be in defeatist or denial mode or mood.

You be the Master (Chef)

You can follow your role models, idols and learn; but remember, you have to eventually cook your own recipe for success; no one else can! While you follow others, avoid temptation to become slave and not master. One of the most serious problems with us is that we know we should drive and we perceive also that we are driving; we are actually not! We are slave to our habits, notions and traits. We will allow events to overtake and overwhelm us; perceive that we are dolls in the hands of destiny and refuse to understand that actually destroys us!

So, you need to be your own Master!

To conclude, nature has given man only 2 choices – Succeed or Fail in whatever you do. No one sensible would like failure. That leaves you with only one option – Learn the recipe and cook your success to relish n rejoice!

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What can bring you in Limelight?

Let me quote real life example of Peter M. (name changed), who started his engineering career 23 years back with a multinational company. He was ambitious, technically sound, sincere and diligent. His qualities saw him growing well in the organization for first 12 years. He was happy the way he was and with his accomplishments. He was put through leadership development programs. These did create impact; but limited. He used to be too busy with his routine duties and did not find time or could not fathom what he can do to bring incremental change in his qualities and character.

From 13th year, Peter’s growth started to taper down and 2 of his peers surpassed him to take up key management positions. He did not align well with his management assessment of these peers, though he knew that they are more visible, better respected by management and employees alike. He became very frustrated; however, determined to figure out how to come in the limelight and achieve a faster growth. But, his preference to focus more on his routine work brought him only limited results. Though he is now holding a management position; but his grouch is growing on being treated at par with rest of peer crowd and gap is widening with his earlier 2 peers.

Do you want to be like Peter M. or be Different and Distinguished?

Hopefully, you do not want to spend 9 to 5.00 p.m. stereo life and do desire, dare and dream to stand out. You do aspire to leave a legacy behind you, which generations would remember and revere?

10 myths and misconceptions to be discarded

  1. It is destiny, which determines my destination.
  2. I cannot influence others.
    Although we ignore how we are constantly getting influenced by others.
  3. I am not gifted like great people, who have/had God gifted talents.
  4. I cannot be very different than what my Zodiac sign suggests.
  5. I know enough; why should I break my head to know more.
  6. I have no choice, but to live with my limitations and inhibitions.
  7. If I am happy with what I am and I do; I do not need to change or take initiatives.
  8. It is more important to work for comfort than to work on constraints.
  9. It is impossible to solve all problems.
  10. I cannot drive my seniors.

10 point resolution

  1. I need to be in limelight not for popularity; but for a purpose.
    When you get it, popularity would come as an automatic consequence.
  2. If I want to be different than the crowd, then I ought to do things differently.
  3. Ideas should not remain merely in mind or as words on lips; but should become way of my life.
  4. I have immense possibilities to explore.
  5. I would have hopes for myself and heart for others.
  6. I would help; but not hurt anyone.
  7. I would not be judgmental or develop any prejudice against anyone.
  8. I would be positive.
  9. It all starts from me and ends with me.
    Hence, successes and failures are all mine.
  10. It is foolhardy to assume that my path would not be rough; but I would remain on course.

10 points to come in Limelight

  1. Be in limelight for right reasons and not for wrong ones.
    You may get tempted to be visible by raking or engaging in controversy, conflict, crisis or culpable acts; you would get thrill but troubles also!
  2. Be aware that whatever you do, it is always possible to do it differently and more efficiently. Keep exploring these possibilities; you would find one and share such info or knowledge with all stakeholders.
  3. Best differentiator for you is to innovate or create values in what you do!
    You may feel inertia or inhibition to do that; but push yourself and pursue till you get it. Set a goal for yourself that be it small or big, you would create at least one value in your work in one week. It can be as small as changing format of documentation partially for better clarity. Once you do this, you would automatically feel motivated to do more and more.
    It is important that you share and spread these with your seniors and colleagues. It is desirable that you reach wider audience through publication of these ideas and public speaking through media and other forums.
  4. Be consistent and credible in your behavior and care about comforts of your colleagues.
    It matters a lot and gets noticed.
  5. Be ethical by choice and not by fear.
  6. Bring elegance and élan in how you carry and present yourself every time!
  7. Be interactive and helpful to as many people as you can.
  8. Be composed, when you face conflicts or setbacks. Use your emotional intelligence and not emotions or ego to manage and learn from these.
  9. Be a problem solver; not a problem creator or narrator.
    People have natural tendency to do the later part; trash it.
  10. Be efficient by giving more for less – more output in less efforts or time, more meanings in less words, more love even if you get less and so on.

Believe it that if you wish to be different and distinguished, it is within your reach and realm! It is just 3×10 – 10 I’s to Ignore, 10 I’s to Imbibe and 10 B’s to Implement!!

This would be a sure shot to hog in and hug Limelight!

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When the Best in you starts to bite, then….

Everyone wants to excel, in what one is engaged and be the Best. Sooner or later, one does move to the peak of his/her performance. Beyond then, what? This is when you find yourself at cross-roads. “You dream, dare, design, drive and get there with diligence” only to face “dilemma like never before?” It is a paradox, which humans have been facing all along.


In my last week’s post (click to refer), I have dwelt on a number of examples to demonstrate that how ordinary to extra-ordinary people have got into Worst, when they were at their Best; how “winning qualities” turned into “not merely losing” but “damaging” ones.

Let us understand this paradox.

While you are at your Best, why you invite the worst?

This applies to every individual for his/her one or more qualities, talent or competence. Status or size of his/her role does not matter!

  1. Your journey to the peak
    Your journey from normal performance to peak is like climbing a hill or mountain, depending upon degree of efforts required. When I am referring to the peak of performance, it can be by your own belief or it could be by the standards of your company, community, country or globe.
    When you reach the peak, it is like standing on the crest of a hill. 3 scenarios emerge at that stage:
    a) You are ecstatic. You look up and feel; now sky is the only limit. When you look down, you feel or find you are being looked at by the most.
    Above makes you over-confident, tempts you to break your limits and attempts to go further up, which is not feasible or sustainable and puts you into trouble.
    b) You feel out of the world and proud of the height you have attained. But, you are also very likely to feel nervous and at risk. You discover there is nothing more to go up to.
    This would shake your confidence and pull you down.
    c) You feel enchanted and endear the height you have attained. You want to remain there.
    This makes you complacent. Soon, you would discover, you are stagnating and losing the thrill, you enjoyed during your journey up. This would be start of your downfall.
    Above also proves – what goes up, ultimately comes down; but, what matters most “how and from what height one comes down!”
  2. Your being under people’s eyes and pressure
    Your accession to the best would be acclaimed by your seniors, peers, sub-ordinates, society and/or media. They would like you to remain there or push you to go beyond! It induces pressure and stress inside you. This is when you lose your strength and become gullible.
    There are several examples; but, I would cite very recent one:
    When one of the greatest Indian cricketers Sachin Tendulkar scored 99th century in year 2011, tremendous hype and hysteria was built by media and Indian society for him to score next one. But, he took unusually long – more than a year, to score his 100th! Apparently, the pressure built on him must have taken its toll.
  3. Your new found love and lust for repeat success
    In majority of cases, taste for being on top is too tempting and you do not want to lose this position. That brings conflict of thoughts in you – your focus on endeavors versus your fear to lose your position. This is when repeat success starts to haunt you.
  4. Your self-portrayal and self-treat
    When success is at your feet, suddenly you tend to portray yourself differently. Having got this credit, you like to debit it with a break, indulgence, even self-treat throwing prudential norms to the wind. To add fuel to your desires, people and media surrounding you would sympathize – “after all you are a human with natural weaknesses”, albeit initially.
  5. Perils of your precision and passion
    When you are very focused, passionate or dedicated on one or more areas of your activities, styles, traits or talent, it is very common that you would ignore or become weak in canonically connected areas or quality. For example, if you focus on quality hard, you would lose speed; if you are too decent, you cannot be tough and so on. So, on one hand you gain from your strengths, on the other hand you’re ignoring the canonically connected parameters or areas would start to hurt you!

How to manage, when you are at your Best

  1. Get governed by your Top Line
    There are certain rules, which should be on top of your mind, regardless of “time, space, status or significance of what you do”:
    1. Hide nothing
      If you feel like hiding what you do; there is bound to be something wrong! “Do what you don’t have to hide” is the most beautiful and simple rule as deterrent to do something knowingly or unknowingly wrong. It would make you automatically ethical, eloquent and elegant!!
    2. Hurt no one
      Avoid all such actions, which can hurt someone. Otherwise, it is costly and complicated for you.
    3. Help everyone
      Within your possibilities, make sure that your work would help as many people as possible.
    4. Happiness for self and others
      Do not do anything, which does not make you happy or conversely, what you ought to do, feel happy doing it. Also, see that your actions make others happy as reasonably as possible.
    5. Health – never ignore
      You need to be healthy to accomplish what you want or aim at. It is unwise to ever assume that you can compromise health and still get there.
    6. Holistic in approach
      Be very cautious about canonic connection between what you do and what you tend to ignore, as mentioned above. Do not overlook surrounding parameters or areas, while you focus on mainstream. This would help you not only manage your strengths; but also emerging weaknesses!!
    7. History must not haunt
      Assess or evaluate upfront whatever you plan to do, should not come back to haunt you. It is again a great self-deterrent to not to break prudential norms of society you live in.
                       – Above constitutes your “7H Top Line”-
  2. Step down
    Once you have reached your best or peak level, continue only till you are able to create values and/or growth or fulfill remaining objectives. After that, step down and choose another course or journey to climb up. It means to abandon the same position and not what you have learnt and experienced.
    Our memories work best for the last instance/s. So, there is a grace in stepping down at right time. Everyone would cherish all the more! Stepping down opens new opportunity for you to choose another course and excel again and more importantly, keeping the Worst away.

So, before you do anything, always remember and follow your “7H Top Line”. Once done, remember and implement 1 Step Bottom (Down) Line! You would be the Winner all way!!

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