Tag Archives: Trait

Hints to identify your hidden talent and core competencies!

Making match of talent and opportunity! Source: http://www.flickr.com/

If you wish to excel in what you choose to do, than it is critical to identify your built-in talent, trait or core competencies early on in your life. However, it is no less important to know that it is never too late to discover same at any stage of your life or make corrections in the ones identified and pursued earlier!

Normally, people don’t make conscious efforts or there is lack awareness on how to identify their hidden taste, tendencies and competencies, in which they could shine. There are also cases, where some people are capable of finding out what their hidden talent is; but, they are unable to map or match it correctly to the career path. Therefore, often they end up following advice of friends, father or fraternity in selecting their career or brain, Beauty, profession. Some may still develop well; but most fail to do a good job. There are wiser ones, who rather than living a frustrated life, change their pursuit mid-stream and come out then with flying colors in the new profession.

Lot of school going students tend to follow hype created by their friend circle. They are cut to be artists or architects, but go for engineering and then struggle for success. Children of business families are inherently pushed by their parents to pursue family business, regardless of their capabilities or choices. I have come across host of employees, who were doing very well in their career as engineers but opted to pursue MBAs only because that would give them better career opportunities and salaries, even though they hardly had any flair for managing businesses! There is a kind of fear in minds of most young professionals to follow their hidden talent, lest they should fail and miss the bus of opportunities that their peers are enjoying by following text book rules.

Look at hidden talent of some well-known personalities – Hedy Lamarr, “Bombshell” beautiful actress of 1940s used to experiment at home for automated control of musical instruments and also received a patent for invention in this field. She wanted to be better known for her innovative brain than her skin beauty. Famed suspense movie director Alfred Hitchcock was a graduate from London County Council School of Engineering and Navigation. An engineer’s mind often gave his movies a cutting edge! Former US President Jimmy Carter was a peanut farmer and engineer, before he catapulted to become top political leader. Super and successful model Cindy Crawford was nearing her graduation in chemical engineering when she firmed up her mind to fire into entirely unrelated field of modelling!

Where does your talent and tendencies hide?

What we can’t identify, we declare it invisible (hidden)!” As a matter of fact, core talent and tendencies of anyone are never hidden. These are visible through one’s behavior and responses all the time. Real challenge for most is lack of adequate knowledge on how to co-relate and collate these in a structured manner, as same surface in a random manner and moreover, these can undergo some variation over a period of time depending upon experience made by the person and his/her beliefs having undergone a change.

There are 3 aspects, through which hidden talent or tendencies come out –

  1. Type of original or primary thoughts
  2. What you do with those thoughts
  3. How you respond to a given situation

What you consistently or repetitively do nearly 80% of time in above 3 aspects is your talent or tendency.

Type of your primary thoughts is the seed for your talent!

Most important thing to know is that primary thoughts are the ones, which come on their own and come effortlessly. Please ignore thoughts, which are secondary, provoked or induced.

Categorize your primary thoughts as follows:

  1. Conventional or unconventional
  2. Positive or negative
  3. Old (repeat) or new
  4. Abstract, object, people or transaction related

What you do with your primary thoughts is how you nurture your talent!

This is a key to build your core competency. Watch out how you handle your primary thoughts:

  1. Ignore or discard
    This does not help in building any competency! 
  2. Investigate (analyze) and implement
  3. Implement straightaway 
  4. Improve and implement
  5. Innovate new ideas based on primary thoughts

How you respond to a situation determines your trait or characteristic!

It shows what kind of person you are or you would become:

  1. React
    This would take your talent in wrong direction.
  2. Accept but no further action
  3. Accept and offer help
  4. Define or understand it, decide on path forward or seek a solution
  5. Develop it further
  6. Dissect and debate

These 3 aspects can help you unleash your true potential

Understanding these 3 aspects in you can indeed boost your decision making power at any stage of life, since these clearly guide you to shoot it right – be it decision to plan a new career or change the existing one.

Don’t believe that your talent is hidden only in your DNA and that it can’t be changed. DNA only determines basic tendencies; but by practice, same can be altered. 

Once you know your current hidden talent, it empowers you to alter if you discover that better opportunities lie elsewhere. But, before you embark upon any opportunity, you must make sure that your core talent is aligned to it.

Hiring manager can take advantage from knowledge of these 3 aspects how to frame their questions and understand the talent of candidates being interviewed from answers given by them.

Examples of matrix for areas, you would score the best

Remember you need to pick only what you tend to repeat most of times, ideally 80% of instances:

Matrix to identify areas where you can excel!

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Mind boggling effect of thoughts on our being, body and its built!

Reflection of good thoughts! Source: http://www.flickr.com/

A study by scientists of Swansea and Milan Universities of people in various age groups has concluded that those, who spent too much time on internet, are more susceptible to caching cold and flu. Internet addicted people suffer from stress, when they are disconnected with internet. Cycle of relief and stress that they go through leads to altered levels of cortisol – a hormone, which is responsible for impacting human body immune function. Previous research had shown that excessive use of internet leads to greater sleep deprivation, worse eating and drinking habits among users. Note that culprit may be internet; but real cause is addiction and/or stress, which is nothing but thoughts albeit negative!

In 1950’s, Henry K. Bleecher of Harvard University published his research finding that 30 to 40% of patients suffering from chronic ailments improved after taking a placebo! A placebo is like dummy tablet say sugar pill that has no therapeutic value, but patient sees it as part of treatment without recognizing that it is dummy but believing it would help. Since then lot of medical research has proved that placebo does work and leads to biological changes in body, which are actually triggered by psychological changes. It only establishes intimate relationship of brain with body; mind over matter!

How our brain controls body

Regardless of biological explanations how brain controls our body, bottom line of this control is our thoughts. Ironically, very little work has been done in physics or physiology on “How a thought gets developed in human mind”! It is our thought that sends command through nerves/ blood vessels to concerned part of body to control it in a specified manner.

See below short/long term physical effects of thoughts on our body:

  1. If you are generally optimistic (essentially positive thoughts), your eyes glow and face wears smile or serenity! In longer term, aging effect on your body is slower.
  2. If you are carefree and rarely tense, you would enjoy good health and immunity with body weight being normal. However, if you become careless/casual, you would run risk of becoming obese.
  3. If you a confident person (confidence comes by clear thoughts), you would raise your head, look straight and walk fast. Over time, you are less likely to suffer from cervical or spinal problems!
  4. If you are generally stern and angry faced, you would develop crow’s feet lines around eyes and wrinkles on forehead.
  5. If you are worrying or stressing type, you would be vulnerable to host of health issues – poor digestion system, IBS, high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiac ailments or disturbed sleep leading to dark shadows under eyes and weak immune system!

Train your thoughts and tag your world along!

Everything that we experience comes through our thoughts in mind! It is only our thoughts, which give us feeling of life in ourselves and in others around us. Absence of thoughts is absence of life and in medical terms, one is brain dead. Our intentions, perceptions, ego, emotions, desires, needs, habits, tendencies, traits, biases, beliefs, fears or faiths are nothing but a set of thoughts. We tend to classify those differently, since our sensory response to each of them is different. Our world is roughly 50% physical comprising of matter and energy and 50% is virtual comprising of our thoughts!

Such is colossal effect of thoughts; but equally callous/casual is the approach of most people towards thoughts! Normal tendency is to think – oh, what is there? It is just a thought; it does not matter! Stark fact is our thoughts become our talks and tasks, after getting converted into words and wishes/wants!

Thoughts also create radical impact:

  • Thoughts help you dream and design your destiny! 
  • They shape your personality!
    Medical field generally talks of genes impacting your persona. But, genes only determine your tendencies and your thoughts can alter same. If genetic tendencies are favorable, impact of your thoughts would get accentuated; but if contradictory, those would impede impact and you would struggle more for a change!
  • Thoughts can influence upcoming events, until those become a reality! 

Now, how to train your thoughts!

My research has revealed that you can train your mind only for positive thoughts; but never for negative thoughts! Negative thoughts would always build automatically!!

Less positive you are, more negative would you be. When your negativity recedes, positivity rises! To train your thoughts:

  1. If you are happy and hopeful, you are ready to go to step no. 6 below.
  2. If your mind is laden with loads of thoughts, divert your mind and get busy with your work, until your mind becomes light.
  3. If you are confused or irritated and can’t find reason for same, believe that what is in your mind is rubbish. Simply discard it.
  4. If your mind is preoccupied with some problems, determine what needs your immediate attention and what can wait. List down the latter on a piece of paper; but attend what is immediate, leaving aside everything else.
  5. Finally, when you think you are focused, then is the time for next step.
  6. Practice to build your thoughts only on basis of your present observations or goals and knowledge but never emotions.
    Nothing else must be considered to build your thoughts.
  7. Our mind keeps wandering, which actually means random thoughts roaming in our mind. Lot of researchers and psychologists suggest that allow them to come and go; just observe. This is a right thing to do; but what is not right is to create pressure in mind to drive them away, since by doing so, you create opposing thoughts, which is wrong. Instead, believe random thoughts are redundant; hence give no importance. This is the best way to practice and push them away!
    Another significant revelation from my research – “Random thoughts or remembrance of even most loved or respected ones, including God, can’t stand you in good stead! It means a malady in mind – traces or tones of obsession or prejudice!!” So, practice to think or remember even God consciously!
  8. Drill in your mind nothing is more important than to focus of what you choose to do now!
  9. Secret of your positive thoughts is surfacing of your happiness! Practice to capture and consolidate those thoughts!!
  10. Make serious efforts to allow single thought at a time in your mind!

By training your thoughts as above, you would witness miraculous and mind-blowing changes in your being and body!

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One master key that can open many doors of opportunities!

When opportunities open for you! Source: http://www.flickr.com/

Most of us would like host of opportunities to come our way. We would like have highly remunerative job in hand, be able to change to better employer when needed, dream home to live in, fabulous vacation at bargain price and so on. However, sometimes we get those and other times, we have to be content with or compromise our needs or wants, since desired opportunities do not show up or some of those come our way but never fructify.

Most people work hard to become more deserving or increase their potential to attract better opportunities through additional MBA, MS or other specialized qualifications in their portfolio, attending courses to enhance their soft skills like managerial courage, conflict management, communication, focus, decision making or leadership. However, it is often seen that those, who are destined to get opportunities, get it without additional degrees or development programs! More the qualifications and certifications are, less are the opportunities available for most; Murphy’s Law seems to rule the roast!

One thing is certain – people, who do get opportunities easily, do their things very differently than those, who may be dexterous and diligent but are deprived of opportunities! The most powerful key to bring such a differentiation is “Open mindedness”!

One may be very dynamic, dashing, dedicated, diligent, highly qualified and/or experienced; but if she or he is not truly opened minded, all of those attributes would not be of much avail! An open mind is a master stroke to defy Murphy’s Law!!

There are 4 types of people:

  • Those who are not open minded.
    They are dogmatic!
  • Those who are open sometimes and close minded on other times.
    They are directionless or opportunistic! 
  • Those who are open by desire but close their mind, when it comes to doing it.
    They are dithering type.
  • Those who are truly open.
    They are decisive!

It is only the last category above, who holds the master key to open doors to opportunities.

Signs of open mindedness

Everyone would say she/he knows what open mind is; but research shows only less than 5% of people really comprehend it correctly.

True definition of open mind is – “Absence of any preconceived notion and presence of mind”! This definition implies that mind is always in attentive and present mode.

Clear signage of an open mind is:

  1. You would be a great listener.
  2. Your mind would never be overwhelmed by your ego, emotions and prejudices.
  3. You would not have hard traits or habits.
  4. You would accept the realities without hesitation.
  5. You would never be afraid of being proved wrong.
  6. Your capacity to take risks and challenges by choice would be enormous.
  7. Your faith or beliefs can’t blind or blank your mind.
  8. You would not turn blind eye even to your mentor, teacher, preacher or guru.
  9. You are unlikely to block your mind by choosing a role model!
  10. You are bound to be candid and upright! You would hate to play politics or have split personality!
  11. You would be free from confusion and full of confidence!

Significance of an open mind!

An open mind would not only be attentive, receptive and present, but also be clear. You automatically become a keen observer! The clarity of mind would help you to see opportunities in every problem or challenge!

Remember the fact that mother of all opportunities is nothing but problem, issue or challenge!!

In short, an open mind makes you a positive man, who is constantly seeking, cracking and creating opportunities in every sense. When you do that, then your luck or destiny comes chasing you; believe me. The popular phrase – “God helps those, who help themselves” comes true on you! You would be amazed to see how one good news brings another; one opportunity opens the door of another.

Open mind brings sense of deep satisfaction and accomplishment. What is very important to understand here is that when mind is open, it has to necessarily close on decisions and actions!

So, would you not like to make your mind truly open and obtain the master key to control be it your career or be it destiny?

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For true impact, treat communication more as a trait than technique!

Impact of great communication! Source: http://www.flickr.com/

TED talks are hugely popular all over world. These are 18 minutes or less duration powerful video presentations by world’s most inspired thinkers and speakers from host of disciplines and cultures. Some of TED talk presenters communicate very effectively. “Talk like TED” has caught fancy of several communicators and tips to talk like TED have wide circulation!

Can toeing the tips make you a good communicator?

World has witnessed several iconic communicators, whose words and work have revolutionized paradigm of millions of people. Among living legendary communicators are Chris Anderson – founder of TED talks, Warren Buffet – one of the richest investors, Tony Robbins – incredible motivational speaker, Richard Branson – founder of Virgin group in UK and Jack Welch – former chairman and CEO of GE. You can find numerous essays, articles and videos analyzing styles of these and other famous communicators.

By emulating these styles, can you become an effective communicator?

Then, there are host of training and development programs for communication/presentation skills. These teach the techniques in a variety of ways, including multimedia. These are very helpful to understand guidelines, rules and techniques of communication.

But, do these techniques make you a terrific communicator?

Practical experience and examples show that there is much more than techniques, tips and styles, when it comes to good communication.

Top ten advisory for great communication skills

Let us take top ten points, which most would agree, has top ranking in making communication impressive.

  1. Exhibit enthusiasm and engagement
    Audience receiving your communication must generate a natural feeling that you are indeed excited to interact with them and that you are totally involved in what you are doing. Training or teaching can make you aware of these attributes but can’t endow the same. You definitely need 2 qualities to exhibit these – ownership and sincerity! If you are missing on these, no amount of coaching or style would help you.
  2. Good body language
    How you present and conduct yourself have colossal effect on your audience. Your body language reflect what you are. Body language includes right type and amount of eye contact with audience. Lot of people believe they can make up the body language; not only that is bunk, it casts a bad impression on your audience.
    Your body language can be good only if you are good – good by character, values and mannerism! Right type and degree of your eye contact comes through your conviction and empathy!!
  3. Be simple and sweet
    This is what people from every class love most!
    Can any technique or tip make you simple and sweet? You have to develop trait for it and be genuine to make it part of your routine life. If you are complex by thought or nature, it is just impossible that simply because you are standing on a prestigious platform, you can switch on to become simple and sweet! It would look fake.
  4. Communicate what your audience can relate
    If you can’t carry your audience with you, it would misfire; people would not be impressed.
    So, you ought to convey what your audience can relate easily and appreciate. It would come easily to you, if you carry deep respect for others. This is possible if you forego your ego!
  5. Put away distractions
    People lose interest, if you distract. You have to stay on course. This is possible, only when you are focused!
    If you are normally not focused, don’t believe that suddenly you would be able to focus, since your stakes are high.
  6. Really listen
    It is a universal fact that listening is far more significant that speaking! If you communicate like one way street, you would be stuck and cut a sorry figure.
    To be a good listener, you need to be free from your ego, biases and be open minded!
  7. Be brief and precise
    Long communication are never welcome. Human listening faculties don’t work efficiently, when used for more than 20 minutes at a stretch. If you don’t hit and highlight the key point/s early enough, your communication would lose its purpose. This calls for presence of mind and avoiding over-enthusiasm!
  8. Be part of audience
    If you stand apart from audience, it would be averse to own what you are communicating. You can excite or inspire people, when you genuinely show that you part of them. This is possible, if you drop your ego and prop up your sincerity and humility!
  9. Tell a story
    All of us love stories, as these create thrill or chill. When emotions are evoked, effectiveness multiplies!
    Yes, art of telling a story can come from coaching and practice. However, your expressions or body language play a vital role in invigorating the audience!
  10. Ask for feedback
    Demonstrate to your audience how much you care for their views and feedback. Midway of your conversation, check from audience what you are delivering is making sense to them, are they satisfied with your answers to their questions, is your explanation simple and direct and then take overall feedback.
    Feedback makes real sense, when you exhibit ownership and open mindedness!

If you evaluate highlighted words under above points, you would realize that more than training and tips, a good communication has more to do with your character and qualities i.e. trait.

To sum up, rules without reasoning and techniques without trait are too mechanical and mundane to make meaningful impact!

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Strange but true – good writing, speaking and execution skills seldom coexist!

Harmony is a must to evoke appeal! Source: http://www.flickr.com/

You need ideas to write, you need ideas to speak and you need those to execute; yet research and surveys show these 3 skills normally do not exist together!

Pick the names of great authors, barring few exceptions, by and large they were not great communicators. Take examples of effective corporate mentors, they make poor managers. Bosses, who speak very well, hate to put same in writing and instead chose to assign planning and execution of their ideas to their sub-ordinates. I have witnessed many of such bosses in their younger years. They were never good implementers.

USA has produced some of the finest orators. Among its Presidents, John F. Kennedy has been rated as no. 1 orator. Historically famous speeches that he gave were written by his advisor and primary speech writer Ted Sorensen. Barrack Obama, current President has been rated as 3rd best orator after Franklin Roosevelt. His famous speeches until March, 2013 were written by White House director of speech writing Jon Favreau. Point to note here is that Ted Sorensen and Jon Favreau are not know for great speaking skills and these Presidents were not the authors of what they spoke!

Take the case of Russian born Vladimir Nabokov, who is known as one the most ingenious authors of 20th century for his originality and highly accomplished writings. His speaking skills were not impressive.

In today’s highly competitive world, you need all 3 skills at good levels – writing, speaking and executing. It looks, as though, nature refuses to grant all 3 in 1 person. Some are blessed 2 out of 3; but being blessed with all 3 seems to be a rare feature!

Why is that?

Why 2 or more skills at great level is unique and rare!

It is like a good tennis player can’t be a good badminton player; it is nearly impossible that a decent soccer player can ever to be a deserving (American) football player! Here below is how it seems to work:

  1. When you become good at or have natural taste for a particular skill in professional or personal life, you are inclined to become better and eventually great!
  2. When you fight on more than one fronts, you run the risk of losing all. Knowing this well, you dissuade yourself to focus on more than one skills.
  3. When you become great in one skill, you stand out of the crowd and come in limelight! When you are acknowledged in what you do, you get addicted to it! This alienates you further from other skills or traits.
    Therefore, you would notice that geniuses are not great at people skills; conversely, those having people skills are seldom genius!
  4. Rule of nature seems to clearly suggest that being too good at one makes other ones grim for you. So, if you are dedicated in translating your ideas into words, you would neglect or hate to give voice to the same. That is how good writers would not become good speakers and vice versa. When you are too engaged in execution, you become least concerned with words or voice!
    It is for this reason that darling of public invariably fails to become darling in private (even for his/her most dear one)!!
    Hence, Excellence inherently invites adversity in one or another form.
  5. Now comes a major paradox – our polity and practices are such that during starting phase, we are encouraged to focus on one area or skill, which is very understandable. We would tend to become from good to great in that skill! In corporate life, if we become great in one skill, management would brand us as experts and that compliment becomes a curse in terms of climbing organizational ladder beyond a certain point.
    And, if we focus on “no one area”, we would be master of none and run risk of being branded mediocre!

So, life looks to be a constant struggle; continuously countering with contradictions or conflicts, meeting diametrically opposite demands, managing right and wrong, good and bad. As a matter of fact, our lives have actually evolved out of conflicts, if you closely observe.

Above also implies that initially you need to focus on one area; but deflect it to other allied ones at an appropriate stage or time. This is very critical. You should restrain yourselves to go too deep of any area, if you want to emerge as true leader.

There seems to be one way out of above jumble mumble or vagaries of your life. Bring harmony in your thoughts, traits and tastes! I am sure, you have come across someone, who does most of his/her things right. What that person actually does is to think, write, speak and do in full harmony. When there is harmony in approach, outcome for everything is at optimum level and hence very appealing. It does mean simple, straight, smart but well connected thinking and doing.

Finally, simple mantra to get it – harmony enters, when your inner conflicts exit!

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