Tag Archives: Perception

Deep impact of media, machines and medicines defining you more than your mind!

Mania of mobile! Source: http://www.flickr.com/

Mantra of modern times, which most of us are apparently unconscious of, seems to be that media, machines and medicines have a dominant role in man’s life and role of his mind may diminish! Various forms of media (social, TV to print), machines and medicines (3Ms) have taken a place next to only divine and being incrementally developed and designed to influence/control human mind!! Ironically, you are using your mind to do it only to lose control on very same mind!!!

What does this trend mean to all of us?

How Media, Machines and Medicines (3Ms) are redefining our life!

Past 20 years or so have seen exponential and explosive growth of 3Ms. Strides made in these 3 fields have armed us with voluminous data/information, vast connections with known or unknown people in every nook and corner of world, variety of means to communicate and express our views, enormous computational and analytical abilities and extraordinary diagnostics and medical treatment of most ailments. Advancements made are really remarkable!

Silently but solidly, 3Ms have and would redefine most aspects of our lives. These have crept in our routine like a duck entering into water and most of us are either oblivious of the same or have not even tried to figure out what it means to us and our future.

With no bias, let us objectively understand how past 20 years have redefined us:

  1. Human touch has been largely replaced by screen/key touch.
    Look around at airports, public or private places; more than 80% of people are busy with their mobile phones or notebooks. A very small percentage of people are engaged in conversation.
  2. Our life style and slang have undergone a sea change. Physical values are more predominant than moral values.
  3. Qualitative aspects have been steadily losing to quantities, when it comes to information/data, friendship, relationships, communication etc.
  4. We spend more time in virtual world than in real one.
  5. We rely now more on external monitoring and controls of all sorts of our body functions than internal understanding and management.
    Already, we have several wearable electronic devices for above and several more are on their way. There is no data on what happens to human mind and body, if such devices malfunction.
  6. Images and texts are incrementally clouding our ideas and thoughts.
  7. Media is shaping our perceptions; machines and medicines are shadowing our personality.
  8. Machine calculations and analysis have perished our mental math and analytical abilities and short cut to medicines has cut short our natural body immune system!

Predictions for how things would reshape in next 30 years

Several organizations are working hard to crack new dimensions in fields related to 3Ms. Leading scientists and technologists are predicting and promising to reshape human life in next 30 years. The most notable among them is Director of Engineering at Google Inc. Ray Kurzweil, who is also a well-known inventor and futurist. Here below are the projections:

  • In 2020s – Most diseases would disappear from our planet. Nano bots would become smarter than medicines and normal human eating would be replaced by Nano systems!
    Driverless cars would take over the roads.
  • In 2030s – Virtual reality would start to look real. We would be able to upload our mind/consciousness.
  • In 2040s – Non-biological intelligence would become billion times stronger than biological intelligence.
  • Around 2045 – We would be able to link neocortex of our mind, where our intelligence in believed to reside, to synthetic neocortex in the cloud and enhance its power billion times!

Intensive R&D for above is being carried out in the back drop of few hard realities. No one or science seems to know – where does mind reside in our brain/body; what is consciousness; a disease free world would mean much longer life span (How long – 100 years, more or endless?), in that case what happens to social and ecological balances; what can we accomplish by billion or even million times more intelligence and to what level we want to push our life eventually?

Unanswered questions!

Technological and scientific advancements have been leaving trail of unanswered questions:

  1. By and large, primary agenda of those funding such R&D and advancements is to gain power, popularity and/or profit through business under pretext of improving quality of life and creating new opportunities.
    How far it is prudent to undertake such activities, whose prime movers are power and profit but implications are overwhelmingly social, psychological and environmental?
    Gullibility of public to exotic dreams and devices offer excellent market to businessmen and politicians. Is it not being exploited with no consideration to moral and ethical values?
  2. How few minds could decide and develop something to be put in public domain, which can potentially impact few million minds?
  3. Should the blue print of scientific and technological advancements for public domain not debated and deciphered by a larger group of thinkers and scholars, after evaluating all side or after effects?
  4. How can we tinker with nature and mind, without understanding what these are and how do they function?
    Blatant truth is that science is riddled with fundamental puzzles and paradoxes and does not know what is space, time and life!
  5. One suspects that we are in a vicious cycle of solving a problem only to create another!
    Is direction for new developments right?

So, one thing is very certain – 3Ms have deeply influenced our mind and we have mindlessly compromised our originality and consciousness! It is high time that we become very mindful of what 3Ms can do or undo!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overcoming fear!

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

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

So, to drop fear:

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

Owning freedom!

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

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

Now, to own freedom:

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

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

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(de)Merits of Multi-tasking!

Source: http://www.flickr.com/

Most believe that multi-tasking is more efficient than doing single task at a time. General perception is that you can do it faster through multi-tasking and quality can still be achieved.

Human mind is such that it is always loaded with multiple thoughts. It is rare that only one thought is crossing our mind at a time. If we have 2 or more tasks to perform and we try to concentrate on one at a time, then we tend to remember 2nd task – “Oh that also has to be done”! And in this process, we often land-up doing 2nd task also and that’s how we form habit of multi-tasking over a period of time.

On the other hand, there are several thought leaders, who advise against doing more than one thing at a time.

So, does multi-tasking really have merits?

Mystery of Mind

Our mind is the emperor and gives the command for everything that we think, experience or do. But, we need to understand one fact about our mindit can hold only one thought or image at a time! Consequently, our cognitive sense can recognize only one signal or piece of information at a time. However, such pieces of information, let us call it as train of thoughts, passes through our mind at nearly speed of light. Because of such high speed, at which the train of our thoughts travels, we perceive that we have multiple thoughts at the same time. In fact, our thoughts are discrete pulses of the said train.

Pieces of information in our mind are like blades of a ceiling fan, which look distinct if fan is stationary or rotating at slow speed. If fan speed is increased, then beyond a certain point, we cannot distinguish the blades. These look as one unbroken object – a disk. Same analogy applies to train of thoughts; these appear as if same exist simultaneously!

What happens, when we multi-task

Assume that we are doing 2 tasks in so to say same time. For each task, our mind has a train of thoughts. When we attempt to do these 2 tasks together, 2 trains of thoughts get mixed and hence, we alternate between the two tasks. It is our illusion that we are doing 2 tasks simultaneously; we are doing these 2 in highly broken manner. Our focus also gets split into 2 or into as many number as the tasks, which we attempt to do together.

Net result of above is that either we will commit more mistakes, due to diluted focus and then more take time to correct the same or slow down to avoid committing mistakes. Yet, we would have a false notion that we have done it faster.

In multi-tasking, either efficiency or quality or both suffer!

What to do, when you believe multi-tasking is inevitable

You do come across several situations, when you can’t help but do multi-tasking, especially if you face crisis. It is best then to break each task in cognizable steps, complete 1st step of task 1, then to switch 1st step of task 2 followed by 1st step of task 3, swing back to 2nd step of task 1 and so on. If you have observed some people doing multi-tasking successfully, that’s what they exactly do!

In above process, what you actually do is to take one step i.e. sub-task at a time. You do not actually multi-task. It is only then that it works. In routine life, it is not easy to follow organized sequence of steps of multiple tasks; most likely, you would create a mess! Under crisis or emergency, you are auto-driven to do that.

Maladies of multi-tasking

Our mind wanders uncontrollably and hence, it is not easy to control flow of our thoughts! On the top of it, if we develop habit of multi-tasking, it can only get worse!!

Some of maladies of multi-tasking are:

  1. Net speed of your actions would be slower and quality is likely to suffer.
  2. You would be less effective in your organization.
  3. You could be hyper active or sensitive and are likely to face problems in your relationships.
  4. Most mistakes, mishaps and even miseries are consequences of multi-tasking! 
  5. Classical multi-tasking causes mental fatigue.
  6. Successes would delude you, since you lack or have little of what is needed – Focus!
  7. Your mind would be normally cluttered with thoughts or ideas, which can probably make you creative but at the same time chaotic and confused most times.

Practicing to focus on single tasks or sub-tasks has all virtues; but, one of its great by-products is – it helps you develop consciousness!

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Can Intuitions or Instincts make our judgments free from errors?

Everyone relies on what we call as our intuition, instinct, inner voice or gut feel and act on same. But, is that a right thing to do or there is better way to make judgments or decisions? This is the question, which impacts everyone in everyday life!

Critical moments and crucial decisions put everyone on cross roads and throes of dilemma. There is more than one decision possible; each of those has its pros and cons, equal chances of success and failure. Analysis of situation states something, logic may support same; so, our mind is unsure which way to go!

This reflects reality in everyone’s life. Look at history. Famous decisions were taken by leaders on a flick of a second, while at stake were lives of millions – survive or slain! John F. Kennedy, popular US President was facing such situation in October 1962 on Cuban missile crisis. His military commanders were insisting on air attacks on missile bases, which had eminent danger of triggering nuclear war with USSR. Instead, he chose to stand firm on USSR dismantling missiles and take them away from Cuba. The decision worked and saved mankind of a major disaster! Look at another case of decision by Soviet Union leader Vladimir Lenin, which gave communism to world, cold war with West and costly arms race. As opposed to him was Mikhail Gorbachev, another Soviet leader between 1985 to 90, who showed courage to exactly do the opposite. Historians highly acclaim Gorbachev of his historical decision; but why he was the one and not others to do it? No one is able to say!

Demystifying Intuitions and Instincts

There are several terms in vogue – intuition, instinct, inner voice, gut feel, hunch or divine call. Do these mean different things or aspects? Many believe yes; but these are actually not. Each of these terms relates to an idea or thought suddenly popping up in one and same mind. Feeling of suddenness is very individual. Those who are conscious would see it coming. Most are unclear of suddenness, because their mind is normally in semi-conscious state.

Intuition or instinct is essentially a thought, which you get when your mind is free from any conflict, prejudice or presumption! May be it would not sound very convincing to you; but, that is the truth!

Do Intuitions or Instincts represent future reality?

Not necessarily!

Real intuition or instinct does take you towards what is actually going to happen. But believe me, it is not easy to judge whether what you feel as intuition is really real; everyone tends to misjudge it. Occasionally, you do judge correctly.

Following are broad categories of thoughts, which people get, when they sit on a judgment or decision, however small or big:

  1. Thoughts based upon perceptions
    These include prior information, anticipation, suspicion or fear.
  2. Thoughts driven by convictions
    These include one’s faith, beliefs or doctrines.
  3. Thoughts driven by pure consciousness or mindfulness

Normally, our thoughts are a mix of all 3 categories with type 1 or 2 being prominent, depending upon our occupation. For example, a technocrat, scientist or IT data analyst would have on an average 70% of type 1, approximately 20% of type 2 and balance 10% of type 3 thoughts. When he or she believes to get an intuition or instinct, % of type 3 goes higher at that time – say 15 or 20% mainly at the expense of type 1 and little of type 2. Those with strong flavor for religion or ism would have nearly 70 % of type 2 thoughts.

When convictions or perceptions supersede your consciousness, your decision or judgment could go either way – good or bad! Only when degree of your consciousness at a particular point of time increases to more than 50%, your decision or judgment start to go mostly right!! When your consciousness is predominant, then you would find following things happening:

  • You become more focused.
  • Your mind would distract less and number of thoughts crossing your mind at a time would be restricted to 2 or 3.
  • You suddenly feel more confident.
  • You experience new energy level.
  • You feel at ease and peace with yourself.

An intuition or instinct is real, when more than 50% of your thoughts are driven by your consciousness. Duration of such intuition or instinct would depend upon how long you sustain elevated degree of consciousness! Remember, if you become conscious, you would lose it.

Eliminating errors of judgment

No tools or technology can eliminate errors of your judgment and decision; your consciousness can!

We tend to make errors even in understanding what consciousness is. Becoming conscious does not amount to “having consciousness”. As mentioned above, consciousness or mindfulness is state of your mind, which is free from any conflict, prejudice or presumption! More you practice this state of mind; higher would be degree of your consciousness.

If you want your judgments be free from errors, it is the consciousness you need to crave and craft. If 50% or more of your thoughts are not driven by your consciousness, your gut feel or inner voice can fail you!

You can’t imagine how high degree of your consciousness can completely reshape your paradigm and make most of your judgments or decisions accurate!

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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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