Tag Archives: Innovation

Materialism always matters to man, since at its root is mathematics!

When math is wrongly applied! Source: https://www.flickr.com/

Do you know why sane and saintly advises to shun materialism have proved to be futile always? It is plain and simple – seed of materialism had been sown by mathematics and mathematics is integral part of our life and therefore, it can’t go away in practical life; in ideal life – possibly!

Money, modern gadgets, medicines, science and technology would have not existed without “mathematics” as well as “man’s urge to have more and better”, which is actually materialism!

Materialism and mathematics go hand-in-hand to bring progression as well as regression!

  1. It all started with humble number – 0 or 1 and then 2,3,4….during initial stages of evolution of human race.
    t is the numbers that gave ability to man to count, crave for more or clamor for less!
  2. Thereafter, came virtual numbers -1,-2,-3…. And then the stage was set for major revolution!
  3. It gave birth to imagination, innovation and creation on one hand and lust for power and greed for controls on other hand.
  4. Mathematics became the foundation stone for all branches of science and medicine. Einstein’s relativity theories and for that reason other theories – Newton’s Laws, Quantum Mechanics, Super Symmetry etc. could have not come to existence without mathematics.
    Every modern day progression has foot prints of math and material in it!
  5. Solid progression has brought sharp regression!
    Conflicts and controversies, worries and wars, money and manipulation, cruelty and killings, rivalries and revolts came up as consequence of materialism! Why otherwise Jesus Christ would have been crucified or Mahatma Gandhi assassinated?
    It seems that nature demands progression and regression to go hand-in-hand!

Can we be spiritual without material?

Preachers, Gurus, First of all, let us deal with lot of misnomers around spiritualism or being spiritual.

Prima facie, very definition of being spiritual or spiritualism in holy books, philosophical essays, articles written by believers and preachers is vague and leave you confused. Some spiritual leaders have defined it as the way to connect to the higher being – God or divine powers to get bliss and peace during life and after death, get relieved of sufferings and physical pains of self, dear ones and some noble souls wishing that for all people on this planet. Many pursue spiritualism for progress in their profession or business, success in their pursuits, getting more money and means to live luxuriously. Some intelligentsia like to be spiritual for getting benefits from their good karmas but no bruises from bad karmas! Many follow it, especially in east, to get moksha i.e. getting rid of their physical being, not knowing what it exactly means!

It is not a question of being for or against spiritualism or materialism. Point to be driven home here is that while taking recourse to spiritualism, we are intimately entangled with material or physical objects.

Another great gaffe is – being spiritual has been linked to good thoughts only, forgetting that good would always go with bad, as much as progression goes with regression!

To put the fact simply – spirit essentially means thoughts!

Now, to get thoughts, you need not only mind but also matter – brain. It is hypothetical that spirit, in other words thoughts can exist without brain. Further, what spirit or thoughts are supposed to be about? Thoughts always and actually comprise of images and ideas about matter!

This proves that matter and spirit co-exist; these cannot exist without each other. Matter creates spirit but spirit (thought) controls matter!

Look at godmen, gurus or preachers, who talks or write about spiritualism. They need material to communicate – mike, mobile or other form of media, apart from an audience. They need means to commute; money and organization to promote their ideas or thoughts about faith. Is not it then hypocrisy to advocate shunning materialism?

Where does this lead us to?

Above analysis brings following facts on the surface:

  1. Matter and spirit are as much interwoven as matter and mathematics are!
  2. Matter is determinate and spirit is indeterminate.
  3. It is proven beyond doubt that only good thoughts (spirit) can lead to progression in every sense and that is what we witness today – modern means and media; a lot more to come! Read the minds of those, who are engaged in advancing our civilization; they are full of only good thoughts – if they ever get bad ones, they falter and fail.
    But, bad thoughts certainly lead to regression. This is where same technology and advancements are misused to create chaos, fear, fundamentalism, terror etc.
  4. It you want to make the most of matter and spirit, moderate or balance the use of the same.
    You would be the happiest and luckiest, if you use spiritualism and materialism just to the extent you need to achieve your goals; not more, nor less!
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Baggage that you carry at the back of your mind is your biggest bottleneck!

Baggage at back of mind! Source: http://www.flickr.com/

One fine morning you get up with bad feelings and start to wonder what has happened to you today! You feel tired or lazy; things look hopeless and you witness lot of things going wrong. You are unable to figure out what has really gone wrong. Your health, blood pressure and everything around you are otherwise as good as previous days.

Some leaders are great communicators. However, you would notice that on some occasions, they are extra-ordinarily effective and inspiring; but there are instances when they do a lousy job. Why? Females are known to have mood swings. Medical sciences surmise that it is because of hormonal changes. Do the swings of what is at the back of their mind swing their hormone levels or hormones swing what is going on in their mind is really not known to science.

There are several star sportsmen like Roger Federer in tennis, Lionel Messi in soccer etc. Sometimes, they are in the best form and other times, they can’t keep with their track records. Why?

The reason behind each of above examples is “What is at the back of his/her mind”, which holds concerned person back; impairs his/her performance; does not allow to do what one attempts to do!

What we mean by “What is at the back of mind”

Though it is a very common term, people seldom know its complete meaning and colossal effect.

Thoughts, information and/or images from your past memory, which are passively present in your mind constitute what is at the back of your mind. Your mind might be actively witnessing an action or making you to perform an action; but these Thoughts, Information and/or Images (TII) constantly influence or rather get mixed up with what you are actively engage with – thoughts or tasks. Sometimes you are aware about it and sometimes you don’t even realize this!

Your beliefs, faith, habits, biases, ego, obsession, fear, anger, anxiety liking or disliking are always part of TII!

Now is the key information hitherto little known – what is at the back of our mind (passively present) has been termed for centuries as “Subconscious mind”! On other hand, what is being witnessed now (actively present) is our “Conscious mind”!!

“What is at the back of mind” is more a bane than blessing!

If you believe that having things at the back of your mind i.e. in subconscious mind do good to you, then start to rethink.

Things that can reside at the back of your mind are countless. Some of the significant ones are:

  1. Love or respect for someone
    If it is balanced, it is bound show up for a right reason and at a right time. Then, it works well. But if you are overwhelmed, then it resides at the back of your mind. You would tend to overdo and in that process, mess it up.
  2. Past performance or incidences
    When you are able to pull from your memory only lessons learnt, it would help. Instead, if you keep images of past incidences at the back of your mind, it would lead to over or under confidence and that would impair your performance, rather than improving it!
  3. Anger, anxiety, fear or stress
    These rampantly reside at the back of mind of everyone, cause most issues and mood swings. These lead to pessimism and hopelessness.
  4. Attention deficit and absent mindedness
    These are the prime causes of mistakes and mishaps.
  5. Prejudices and ego
    These are foundation stones for arrogance, split personality, irritation and tendency to blame or pass on buck to others!
  6. Multitasking
    Only when you keep several tasks or items at the back of your mind that you would multitask. Although most people defend merits of multitasking, it actually messes up their efficiency.
  7. Feeling pain in the body
    When feeling of body pain remains at back of your mind, it is frustrating and nagging. If you divert your mind i.e. take it away from back of your mind, then pain decreases or disappears. 
  8. Feeling lethargic or inertia
    There are days, when you feel withdrawn or lackluster; enthusiasm in you is missing and initiative lacking. You are at loss to understand, what has happened to you. These symptoms are because you are passively struggling with your thoughts at the back of your mind, leading to confusion and reaction and that alters levels of mainly 3 hormones in your body – Adrenaline, Cortisol and Norepinephrine.

What is at the back of mind is a burden, you must get rid of!

Right from childhood, mind gets so used to keeping thoughts, images and information (TII) at the back of mind that we start to believe that it is a necessity and we can’t live without same. This belief has been further reinforced by innumerable books and articles on importance of subconscious mind, which as a matter of fact promotes keeping things at the back of mind, albeit only positive ones. What one forgets – if you keep positive things at the back of mind, it is impossible to prevent negative things to also creep in! 

My research for years has revealed that whatever is at the back of your mind – good or bad – it does not do anything good to you! It is a burden worth dumping it away!! Some of you may then start to wonder what would happen to your knowledge, notions, traits or beliefs. 

It is too simple to believe what can work wonders:

  • Practice to keep knowledge/information, ideas and images in your memory but not at the back of your mind.
    Let it not be passively present in your mind; allow it to sleep in your memory. 
  • Do your things unmindful of your past; don’t prejudge or predefine; just witness whatever is happening.
  • Allow your conscious mind to take control and respond to what you witness.
    You would be amazed to see how your mind would automatically fetch knowledge or information from your memory right at nick of time or as needed.
    Most innovations, creativity, breakthroughs and successes have come to people, when their mind was functioning like this!!!

So, a mind without any baggage at its back is amazingly powerful, peaceful and progressive! Any elaboration further would only belittle its phenomenal effects; you need to experience it by doing it!!

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Fine dividing line between Passion and Obsession or Dogma/Doctrine!

Passion to live in a home! Source: http://www.flickr.com/

On the face of it, this topic may not be very interesting to you. But hang on a bit and think it over – you want to do what you love or you want to love what you do? Which of the 2 options you choose can make a difference of day and night! If you believe that, you must know the following:

In modern corporate life, time and again you would hear – you must be passionate about what you do; in other words, you must love what you do. How does that differ from desire to do? What happens, if your love changes to lust? Is it not the same as passion changing to obsession?

No leader had ever become laudable, unless he/she had passion for what he/she pursued! Look at some examples – Mahatma Gandhi, Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy, Steve Jobs or Jeff Bezos of Amazon Inc.

But, then there are also very successful personalities like Michelangelo, Michael Jackson, Leonardo DiCaprio, David Beckham or Donald Trump – Republican Party hopeful for 2016 US Presidential election. They have been adjudged by many as obsessive. Even Charles Darwin was known to suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). How about Vladimir Putin – current Russian President, who is a real hero in the eyes of his countryman? He is dogmatic!

Now, see the effect of fine line between passion versus obsession or dogma. According to author Joshua Kendall, Steve Jobs was obsessive. Though he made Apple as the most imaginative successful company in the world, his obsession costed him happiness, health and family! Though Winston Churchill has been acclaimed as a passionate statesman, he had visibly showed signs of being dogmatic!!

Distinguishing passion from obsession or dogma/doctrine

Here below are the key differences among the three:

  1. Passion is consequence of consciousness; whereas obsession is an emotion and dogma/doctrine is driven by strong biases.
  2. Passion means mindfulness; on other hands, obsession is mindlessness and d/d is rashness or even madness.
  3. Passion is backed up by rationale; but the base of other two is rigidity.
  4. Passion thrives on reasonableness; obsession on recklessness and d/d on ruthlessness.
  5. Passion is coupled with consideration and kindness; however, the other two are devoid of concerns and cultivate cruelty.
  6. Foundation of passion is wisdom; but obsession is weird and d/d is vindictive.
  7. Passion allows freedom to focus on all aspects of what you are passionate about; other two generate fear as well as focus on single aspect of what you are obsessed or dogmatic about.
  8. Passion has peace! Obsession or dogma/doctrine has noise and turbulence!!
  9. Passion is what you implement for self; obsession and d/d are what you impose on others.
  10. An impartial observer would love you for your passion but hate you for your obsession and dogma/doctrine! 

Notwithstanding the above, a very common and confusing element in three of these is very intense feeling, though in 3 different shades, for a person, object, idea or activity; only the method to execute the same and attitude underneath change! 

Preventing to cross-over from passion to obsession or dogma/doctrine!

When you become passionate, you come on a slippery slope and can easily slip into obsession or dogma/doctrine and hence, always be aware of perils of the latter two illustrated in ten points above!

Catch the phrase mentioned in the beginning of this article once more – “What works – Do what you love or love what you do”. There is an extra-ordinary meaning behind this ordinary phrase! 

If you do only what you love or like, you would run eminent risk of converting your love into lust; make a maniac. If your passion for beauty migrates to love for body, you would fall prey to obsession. If you love or respect only God or godmen, and not godly messages and acts, it would generate in you religious fanatic. Your focus or passion for your duties is what would turn into great performance and ownership; however, doing it for love or attracting attention of employer/s would no doubt brand you loyal but make you laggard!

If you only do what you like or love, you would tend to overlook or omit what you ought to do, because you may not love that. This is what seemed to have troubled Steve Jobs, Steve Ballmer, former CEO of Microsoft and several famous leaders. 

True passion is to love what you do and not love for whom you do! Love your objectives and not the objects to achieve same! If you put your trust in this, you can never transgress into obsession or dogma or doctrine!!

Passion is always positive! Apart from bringing to you what is elaborated in above points, it makes you highly focused and dedicated, brings you tremendous purpose and ownership and promotes innovation and creativity at the same time. It is in your hands to develop your passions. Never carry false notion of passion being necessarily a gift of your genes. To be passionate for what all you do should be your top agenda!

Best option is to determine and develop passion after setting your goals. Whereas passion and goals are individually golden, alignment of the two together is what makes it platinum and that also helps you to prevent crossing the fine dividing line between what is desired and what is to be damned!

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How can you tame and translate your troubles/problems into opportunities!

Without exception, all leadership disciplines and discourses delve and coax you to see opportunity in very problem. You agree and resolve to do so; yet, you keep getting troubled and overwhelmed by problems. You helplessly watch one problem bringing another and make you more frustrated!

Why is that all leadership, sane or saintly advices keep going for a toss?

No one wants to live with problems; but everyone keeps them alive!

Let us face the bitter truth – nearly all of us live with large gap between our lip and life! Knowingly, no one wants to prompt a problem; but unknowingly, nearly everyone ends up promoting one.

I know of several people, who have unwittingly started liking the company of problems and troubles. On a given day, if they have a smoother ride, they feel uncomfortable or unusual and get itch to involve in some ruckus!

Perfectionists see problems in most things; picky ones get troubled by a drop from their hat! And majority does not have patience to pursue problems further. So notwithstanding complete dislike, people resign to live with problems. I would attribute such scenario to 3 main reasons:

  1. Living in comfort zone of either sympathy or excuses, which people elicit when in trouble.
  2. Inertia to change.
  3. Lack of definition of the problem or inability to do so.

Do not be surprised, majority falls in 3rd category! We like to live in gray zones and make ourselves believe that we are not part of the problem!!

Sources of major troubles/problems

  1. Non-acceptance of things or people as they are; in other words non-acceptance of realities
    Most people are perpetually engaged in questioning what is real. They would not accept what has happened. If an employee has performed poorly, boss would nag and needle.
    By such attitude, you only throw suspicion or make a person feel guilty, instead of encouraging a remedy or resolution.
  2. Miscommunications
    Many people suffer due to inadequate or inaccurate communication. If bias gets developed between supervisor and sub-ordinate, you and your spouse or beloved, first casualty would be communication!
    If we sit to analyze, we would be aghast to see troubles, communication causes!
  3. Being judgmental
    We are best lawyer for our mistakes and best judges for others’ mistakes. Then, mistake or no mistake, we derive pleasure in passing comments.
    Vast majority has tendency for presumptions and creating perceptions, which could be often false or bereft of facts.
  4. Desires disproportionate to what you deserve
    Simple fact of life – you don’t get what you desire; you can only get what you deserve. Yet, we would put our greed above God!
    It is very easy to create wants; but you also create worries in same proportions at the same time!!

Paradigm shift a must for how you perceive a problem!

Despite all advancements in education systems, knowledge areas and management programs, there is one fatal flaw – coaching for how problems should be perceived. Here below is what needs to be understood:

  • It is good that a problem surfaces; otherwise, it can cause damage beyond repair! Hidden problem is like body ailment, which if remains undetected can turn out to be much more problematic with associated side effects.
    So, never get put-off or panic when problems crop up.
  • Do not defer a problem or trouble that you face to heavenly hands!
  • Problem must be defined! If you cannot do that, take help of a mentor or doctor, a teacher or preacher.
  • Neither like nor dislike a problem! This is most crucial.
  • Just observe and be conscious of problem or trouble that exists.

When you follow the above, you would automatically discover a good or effective solution. It is a mystery; but at the same time a reality! Try it; but do this sincerely. Never fake around it.

Normally, there is illusion that by breaking head, you can break open a solution. You do not; you do it when you become just an observer, even when you are the affected person! Biggest benefit from addressing your problems is that you definitely emerge as a better person!

Opportunities are created, when you reach root causes!

When you recognize, define and observe a problem, you can find its solution. Moment you find a solution; you can and must take one further step – to understand causes at its roots.

Root causes are where your opportunities lie! You are losing in stock market or on your investments; know the reasons and you can create a winning streak. That is how Warren Buffet has risen to be one of the wealthiest persons. All areas related to remedies or resolutions of root causes constitute your opportunities. Pick any or all and you can design your destiny.

Is the necessity mother of inventions? Think over! Necessity creates an unfulfilled urge, which is nothing but seen by us as a problem. So, necessity is mother of a problem!! And problem is the mother of inventions or innovations!!!

If we dive into depth of how internet and wireless technologies have evolved as an example, we would discover that it is passion to solve one problem after another, which has led to such innovations and created unprecedented opportunities for all of us.

So, if you have problems or troubles, then you can know root causes and if you know root causes, you would discover an ocean of opportunities!

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Most managers fail to graduate to good leadership, since their most qualities are opportunistic!

Often company management and its HR folks fail to notice how behavioral pattern of employees undergo a change as they move up the ladder.

Jerry (name changed) was an employee of a well-known multinational company. During early phase of his career, he was reasonable, rational and great team player. When he graduated to become supervisor, his approach took a turn. He became hard on his team members and would not listen to their concerns and issues. He showed strong tendency to push his group’s objectives even at cost of cooperation with his peer groups. This was construed by his management and HR folks as great ownership! When one of his peers was promoted as his boss to head the business unit he belonged to, his attitude towards his new boss became belligerent. His perceived ownership started cracking and he would refuse to accept responsibility of shortfall in performance of his group. After few years, he got a chance to head another business unit in his company. His behavioral pattern made a sudden shift. He would vociferously talk about need of synergy among groups, empathy for employees and supervisors to own responsibility for group’s performance, regardless of market conditions or employees’ performance!

Worldwide, Jerrys are in huge majority, who exhibit changing qualities or behavior as they move up the ladder. It is almost universal that with every new job responsibility, come a kick of excitement and perk of new qualities, which are just opportunistic! These exist, as long as position exists. Barring some exceptions, such qualities disappear in personal part of life, because these are not inherent!!

Qualities brought by position are opportunistic!

Look at stark realities in your own organization and you would discover that those people, who never imbibed certain qualities, suddenly pretend to don the same upon taking up a new responsibility. Some common examples are:

  1. Values and culture
    They show sudden paradigm shift in sensitivity towards customers and securing their satisfaction; but asking in the same breath to not to fail in securing higher price from market and get change orders to improve margins!
  2. Empathy
    They start to advocate employees’ motivation and welfare; even though may lack patience to listen and understand employees’ concerns.
  3. Productivity and cost efficiency
    Even though the definitions and actions are ambiguous, new bosses would boast for boosting company’s productivity and drive to lower costs!
  4. Leadership quotes
    It is a fancy for bosses to cite famous leadership quotes and inflict intellectual assault on their audience! They neither care about context nor conviction for what they quote.
  5. Innovation and unleashing talent
    Employees suddenly start to receive discourses and dressing from bosses to innovate and unleash their talents! Obedient employees nod their heads and clap; but never ever able to fathom what and how they need to do it!!

Look at the perfect parallel with students of arts or music. When some of them become celebrities, god knows how they get inspiration from blue to fight for the causes of HIV infected patients, blind children, animals and birds! Yes, it does help them to elevate their images and ratings!!

Can Opportunistic qualities be made Perpetual?

Yes, perks (in terms of emerging qualities) of new position can be made perpetual!

Unfortunately, I have not come across any company across world having a systematic program to cultivate opportunistic qualities of people into perpetual strengths. This is one of the main reasons why good leadership is always scarce. Often, companies would treat opportunistic qualities of individuals as inherent and assign them leadership roles. Such leadership is highly fractured.

Here is what a company or even common professional can do:

  1. Everyone has traits or inherent qualities, which can be classified into 5 categories, based upon how she/he consistently/repetitively responds to following entities and situations:
    1. Response about Self
    2. Response to other known individual
    3. Response to masses
    4. Response to conflicts
    5. Response to opportunities
  2. Note down his (I would be using “he” now on, without gender bias) traits, when he starts to work with the company by making a table with 5 columns having titles as in point 1. Use maximum of 3 key words/attributes per column e.g. confident, polite, balanced, aggressive etc. Hence, in 15 key words or attributes, you would describe above 5 responses/traits of an individual.
    Shortlist those employees, who have minimum of 3 responses on positive side.
  3. Record responses of shortlisted employees after they receive each promotion for higher function under 5 columns of the said table.
    You would discover that some of responses/traits would start to undergo a qualitative change. It is possible that some changes are not in same direction e.g. after 1st promotion, he shows arrogance instead of confidence earlier and after 2nd promotion, he is back as confident or become shy or underdog.
  4. Before an employee is given key leadership position, evaluate this:
    1. If an employee shows changes in 3 or more traits, he is not a leadership material.
    2. No qualitative change in 3 traits would make him average leader.
    3. No change in any of 5 traits would make him a great leader!
  5. With above information in hands, it is very much possible to transform opportunistic qualities exhibited by an individual vide step 3 to perpetual status through a good mentor.

This is a solid method of identifying seeds of leadership and cultivating same into a great breed!

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