Sunday, July 11, 2010

Stress Management

We live longer than our forefathers; but we suffer more from a thousand artificial anxieties and cares. They fatigued only the muscles; we exhaust the finer strength of the nerves. ~Edward George Bulwer-Lytton

Do you work long hours? Are your kids making your life miserable? Has your social life disappeared? Do you feel you do not have time even for yourself? Have you ever felt that you are losing total control of your life? Do you feel that the time at your hands is not enough to accomplish your tasks?

Dwell upon the above questions. Everything seems to be hard, tough and difficult. You feel like you have no time and you have loads to do. There are even times where 24 hours in a day seem insignificant and insufficient to us. Why do we feel all this? Is it positive? I really don’t think so. All of these are symptoms that each one of us is suffering from some level of stress in our everyday lives. Today we are going to see what we can try and do in order to manage stress.

In the present day and time, it is important for us to realize the important of stress management. It is important to recognize and realize when you are taking unnecessary stress and then should immediately work on to take those measures in order to manage it in the initial stage before you come to a point where your body is over taxed or you are on the verge of a total burn out.

Before we do tackle the subject, we need to know what stress really is. Stress can be loosely defined as ‘the way a particular individual’s body responds to a situation or demand’. There are many causes of stress but they can mainly be divided into ‘Physical Stress’ (for example a fear of some external dangers) or/and ‘Emotional Stress’ (concern about health, family, job etc).

Stress affects both your physical as well as your mental abilities. It can make you tired, sick and create mind blocks that hinder your normal functionality in day to day activities. At times the effects can be so adverse that they end up in mental breakdowns.

Important to note is that everyone has stress. The key is to remain positive and focus more on the positive aspects rather than taking stress and being negative all the time.

A regular stress management routine or practice makes sure that we are not negatively affected by it and that we may direct it into a positive direction where it makes us feel more relaxed and energized which keeps us happy in general.

In the following we will first see what the negative effects of stress are and the simple ways through which we can eliminate them from our lives followed by what the positive outcomes we can get by reducing these stress elements on our overall lives.


There are several and unending negative effects of stress. Taking unnecessary stress or by not managing it in the right way can lead to the following. Here we will see a few of them:

Health Deterioration

This is the most important factor as we all know that ‘Health is Wealth’. Stress can lead to heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke, drastic weight gain or weight loss, headaches and migraines and make you more vulnerable to getting sick more often.

Mental Disorder

It can affect your mind and your emotional stability. One can have a depressive disorder which can lead to prolonged depression. One can have a loss of concentration and memory, have sudden mood swings and sleep deprivation.

Affect on General Life routines

It affects your overall ability to function, to enjoy life, to accomplish goals, to develop and maintain relationships and to have an overall effective, efficient and content life.


There are several adjustments that you can make in your daily lives in order to manage and eliminate the stress you have. Taking care of these factors can play a major role and help in drastically reducing the levels of stress that you maintain leading to a much purposeful, conscious and fulfilling life. Let us take a look at some of them in the following:

Express your feelings

It is extremely important that you do not bottle up your thoughts and reactions. Express your feelings and react but be sure to do it in an appropriate way. This is way you don’t keep the feelings inside you and at the same time you have an outlet.

Be Willing to Compromise

This is the basic rule and concept of every kind of relationship you have on planet earth. You will not always get your way and therefore it is not sensible to try to do so. Be compromising with the other person or even situations that are arising. This is the only way to deal with situations that do not go your way instead of stressing about them.

Time Management

This aspect can never be stressed enough. Always keep a track of the tasks you have to do and the time you need to do them in. Try to adjust them in a schedule and do the important things first. Keep the unimportant things to the last and do the things that are a priority first. Trying to too many things in too less time will naturally increase the stress levels and make you irritated and frustrated. Manage time sensibly.

Reframe problems & be positive

Try to view the problems and difficulties you have in a more positive light. Instead of fuming at a particular situation, try to look at the positive side and the benefits that situation gives you. If you cannot see the positive side, create it.

Don’t try to Control the Uncontrollable

Not everything in the world is in your control. If you do not like a situation, do not aggravate it by trying to control or reacting to it inappropriately. Instead focus on changing the way you react to it. You cannot control others but only yourself.

Set aside Relaxation time

Always set aside a time in the day which is totally for you. This is the time to sit back and relax. Do something which you love doing. Play sports, listen to music or go for a walk. Do not let any other activity take up this time of yours. It is solely for the purpose of recharging your batteries.

Connect with Others

See, meet and talk to people who are positive and emit positive vibes and give you a better way to look at life. You are majorly affected by the company you keep. Therefore, always look for positive people.

Exercise, Eat Healthy & Get Sleep

The last but not the least exercise every day eat healthy and sleep well. Make sure that you have a 30 minute cardio every day, avoid smoking, alcohol and drugs and sleep for 7-8 hours at least.


Finally we will take a look at some of the many positive effects there are for stress management. Some of them are listed below:

Good Health & Long Life Span

Stress management keeps you in good health as your physical and mental functionality is maintained at a peak and hence resulting in a longer life span. Bear in mind, it is always better to have a long life but only if it comes along with good health which you obviously cannot have if you lead a stressful life.

Better Mood & Mindset

Your overall mood and mindset is good at all times. As you have a reduced level of stress, you have a more positive outlook on life. This of course directly affects the way you look at life and handle the day to day affairs of life.

Clear Focus on Goals & Increase in Productivity

When you do not have any additional burden on your minds and you are a free bird mentally, you have a better focus on your work, career and goals. You are better able to decide what you want in life and are able to work towards it in a better and much organized way. This in turn does result in increased productivity and your personal and professional progress increases.

Contentment with Life

The most important of all, you will be happy and more content with life. When you do not have stress, know what you want to do with your life and are moving towards your goals in the right direction. This will automatically result in a life that is balanced, fruitful and purposeful.

Therefore, I would conclude by saying that we should look at things in a bigger picture and see the positive aspect instead of looking at the negatives. Once we see the positives, the stress will not be there in the first place and even if there is, it will gradually start to fade away and things will be a lot more beneficial for you physically, mentally and spiritually in the long term.

“How we perceive a situation and how we react to it is the basis of our stress. If you focus on the negative in any situation, you can expect high stress levels. However, if you try and see the good in the situation, your stress levels will greatly diminish." Catherine Pulsifer

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Self Esteem - Change the way you see yourself

"Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second- rate version of somebody else." Judy Garland

Self esteem is one of the most essential components of a human being's personality. It is basically the image you have of yourself in your own opinion. You have a good opinion of yourself, you have high self- esteem, you have a bad opinion of yourself, you have a low self- esteem. It is the foundation of our life and something that helps us immensely in living a life that is worthwhile. Until and unless you believe in yourself and your abilities it is almost impossible to achieve success in any walk of life. In other words, we simply need to value ourselves for what we are and what we are capable of rather than wanting to be what we are not.

Low self esteem will affect all areas of life including our career, work, family, relationships, social life, health and what not. It creates an overall unfulfilling feeling whereas on the contrary high self esteem gives us immense confidence and belief that I am sure has the potential to take us a long way in life.

Since we know that this is an extremely important issue and that thousands and thousands of people suffer from low self esteem throughout the world regardless of their health, wealth and knowledge, we need to figure out some important and easy ways of increasing our self esteem. Some of the most effective ways I believe are as follows:

1. Keep a Victory Log

This one is one of my favorite ways of keeping my self-esteem high. Maintain a log book where you jot down all your accomplishments throughout life. It does not matter how big or small your accomplishments may be, you just need to remember what you have accomplished. It maybe the extraordinary skills you possess or the beautiful possessions you have. It might be good grades that you had received or a trophy that you had won. It might be a financial reward that you might have been given or a promotion that you received. It might even have been an approving glance from a person of the opposite sex or the day you scored a hat trick in the school game. It could just be any positive accomplishment that you have made in life.

Just make sure that you have all written in your log book starting today. We all have high and low times and what we need in low times is some spirit lifting. Go through your log book every time you are feeling low or are having any negative thoughts and you will see how this log will give you the great moods once you start thinking of all the good things that have happened to you in life. It simply serves as a reminder of the fact that you have done it before and there is no reason that you will not be able to do it in the present and in the future.

2. Honor Your Abilities

Sit in a quiet place and think of the great abilities and skills that nature has gifted you with. Stop blaming yourself for all the wrong things or even the right things for that matter. Just do not blame yourself. Simply look at the good things and the positive things in your personality and in your life. Be grateful to God for all the great things that you have in yourself and honor it. Remember, if you want the world to honor and love you, you need to honor and love yourself first.

3. Do the right things

Always try to do the right things in life. We all are grown up people and have the conscience to differentiate between the wrong and the right. Make sure that you do your best to do the right things. Believe me you are going to feel a whole lot better when you know that you are doing the things worth doing and the things that are good for your character, health and well being.

To give an example, I personally feel great when I wake up early morning, pray, have a good breakfast, exercise, read the newspaper, work hard, do my daily chores and set my priorities right. I feel that I am doing all the important things that I need to do in order to keep myself energized and to keep my self- esteem at a higher level.

4. Mingle with Positive peopleAlways mix, meet and mingle with people who are positive and energetic, people who have a positive image about themselves, have confidence in themselves and a positive outlook on life. We need to build our network of friends where we are surrounded by good, enthusiastic, determined and positive people.

5. Be KindIt is really not possible to feel good about ourselves if we are inconsiderate, mean and selfish. It is essential to treat others with respect and with love. The more respect and love you give, the more you get it back. Everyone has a special quality and a special resource through which one can contribute to life. Be kind, be humble, help the poor, help the under-privileged and be a part of a noble cause whenever and wherever possible in order to be of help and support to the world and at the same time be worthy of respect and value in your very own eyes. This will pick you up and place you on top of the world.

6. Be Honest, hardworking and productive

Another important factor that helps in raising self esteem is to be honest, hardworking and productive. Again it seems quite contrary to have high self esteem when a person is dishonest and unproductive. When one is honest, there is a satisfaction that is felt within him resulting in a great self image. At the same time, it is important to be a hardworking, sincere person that results in high productivity and again leading to high self- esteem.

The above are some of the major ways that you can use to raise yourself image and self-esteem. Always keep in mind that self- esteem is not what others think of you but what you truly believe about yourself. It has to be genuine respect for oneself. In other words it is self respect.

Hal Urban says `Self Esteem is how we genuinely feel about ourselves, regardless of what others say. And how we feel about ourselves is closely related to how our character develops. Ultimately the development of personal character is both a choice and responsibility." Before we conclude, here is a littlereminder:

"To establish true self-esteem we must concentrate on our successes and forget about the failures and the negatives in our lives." Denis Waitley

Excessive Usage of Internet is a Waste

In recent times, I have been thinking quite a lot about the negative affects the internet has had on our day to day lives in general not to mention the wonderful advantages and positives that we have out of the same. Of course everything has its pros and cons and there are good things and bad things about each and everything that exists in the world. However, it is of paramount importance that things are dealt with in a balanced manner. Wherever the balance is lost in a situation, it always ends up being more harmful then beneficial. Similar is the case of the internet.

The internet helps us in our daily lives. It more importantly plays a major role and hugely facilitates in our educational and informational endeavors, so much so that we almost cannot think of existing without it. However, with all the great positives associated with this form of advanced technology, there are certain negatives associated that have disastrous consequences on one's personal life.

The question is..Don't we all know this? Is it something new and something that we have not heard or read about? The biggest setback is that this is no more a teen related problem. It has now penetrated the lives of people of all ages. Would you believe that even people with grand kids are addicted to the virtual world? Don't they care about their precious time? Should they not be indulging in things that matter and actually make a difference to their families and the next step after that to be making a difference to the world they live in? Should they not be fighting for a cause that would count towards their good deeds that would save them and all of us from hell? Unfortunately, this is not happening.

In order to refresh our minds remind ourselves of the consequences of the excessive use of the internet; let us go through some major points that we should keep in mind.


One of the most common negatives of excessive internet use is the fact that we become lazy and totally non-social. Everyone is just stuck and glued to their chairs, comfortable sofas and cozy beds playing absolutely nonsense games for hours and hours' not knowing what is going on around them to an extent where they are totally cut off from their surroundings and the environment they are living in. They become lazy, sometimes so much that they even struggle to even leave and attend to the call of nature. Such is the effect of the misuse of this so called luxury. Please keep in mind that I am only blaming the excessive usage of internet and not that it should be totally avoided. Everything should be done in moderation.

NEGLECT OF THE ESSENTIALS OF LIFE AND WHAT IS IMPORTANTPeople start neglecting their families, their jobs, their responsibilities, their friends and most importantly themselves and their health. Their families are upset as they almost do not see their beloved family member the whole day just for the fact that they are busy playing some dumb useless game. They spend hours and hours in front of the screen scoring points and winning awards that have nothing to do with real life. They are sitting there all day long watching filthy movies and video clips piling up their sins to an extent that there is no going back. Addiction to the internet and to the virtual world significantly affects your near and dear ones, causing total disbelief and confusion.

No one is stopping you from playing games or watching videos, even I do the same. Just do not overdo it. Think with your mind and see to it that there is a limit to everything.


Sometimes, there is no time left to even give thought to your deteriorating health. One is so negligent and so immersed that they have no idea what they are doing to their precious health. They are sitting all day long with absolutely no exercise. They are putting constant strain on their eyes and teenagers are wearing eye glasses with ridiculously weak eyes and most importantly it is affecting their brains in an extremely negative way.

Reuter reports, "A South Korean man who played computer games for 50 hours almost non-stop died of heart failure minutes after finishing his mammoth session in an Internet café." Here is a real example of how people can totally forget everything as this person didn't care what was happening to him in real life because he was immersed with the online game he was playing.


The addiction to the internet, virtual games and social networking websites day and night is a form of escapism from the realities of life. They are weak people who cannot face the difficulties in life and try to run away from their problems and find ways of abandoning their lives. They should rather leave these pathetic time wasters and stand up and see life eye to eye and defeat the obstacles.


If all of the above is not enough for you to start acting, think about it in religious terms. No religion in the world allows or promotes behavior that has no constructive or productive aspect about it. Yes, it is fine to be not so constructive sometimes and just to take a break from the hectic and busy life that we all live.The only issue here is of being addicted and such an addiction becomes a useless activity after a short while. A useless activity is one which has no benefit for you in any regard. Neither does it help you in your life here nor does it help you in the life hereafter. Overdoing things always takes you away from all the good and takes you towards more of the negative.

There are certain ways that we can rid ourselves of any sort of addiction and similarly excessive usage of the internet. One can help him/herself and get out of this addictive trap by doing the following:- Instead of going about an activity blindly, one can set a time period to enjoy and do certain tasks so that it is done in moderation.- Try to do something constructive that has benefit to you and the surrounding world.- Make sure that you have physical activities scheduled and you spend a significant time period outdoors so that you also take care of your health.- Make sure that you do not neglect your family and responsibilities and you are fulfilling all important criteria of your lives.- Keep some time separate to take care of your health and mental well being.

Taking the above into serious consideration, I believe we should really start taking our lives more seriously and should really start thinking with our brains rather than listen to our impulse and give in to our shallow and destructive desires. I know it is easier said than done but once an honest and serious effort is put in, I am sure we would be able to achieve what we strive to achieve and eventually succeed in our objective and motive.

Patience & Perseverance Keep You on Track

"Learn the art of patience. Apply discipline to your thoughts when they become anxious over the outcome of a goal. Impatience breeds anxiety, fear, discouragement and failure. Patience creates confidence, decisiveness, and a rational outlook, which eventually leads to success." Brian Adams

One of the most important virtues in today's world is that of patience, yet it is non-existent. All Homo-sapiens are in a hurry and just want to make things happen in a jiffy. People want to get everything quickly and are not willing to wait for it or to put in the required effort. They fail to realize that nothing is easy in this world and there is some sort of effort and struggle before one achieves his or her desires.

What we should understand is that we do not immediately reap what we have sown and similarly, we do not immediately receive return on our investment. It takes time and we need to give life just that. Our responsibility is to do our part in life and leave the rest to GOD. What is our part? Our part is to make sure that we do our best in achieving our goals. We need to first think and plan, write an action plan, take the necessary steps and then slowly and steadily put in the required effort in order to reap the rewards. But remember that this takes careful planning and requires us to put thought into it and this whole procedure takes time and hence we need to be patient.

What is patience?

Patience does not mean that we just sit around forever and wait for things to happen. Patience does not mean that we do not fight for our rights. Patience means to keep going on no matter what the circumstances are and to keep motivated and to go the extra mile. There are times when we have a certain goal to achieve, we struggle towards it and think that our efforts are going in vain and hence start losing patience when we really have to cling on a little bit longer and keep going with the hope that the goal is close by. More often than not, we tend to let go of our ambitions at the last moments, just before we are there and this situation is tragic. That is why they say not to lose hope and to remain steadfast in the face of adversity.

Patience is hard. First of all it requires long term endurance and secondly, it accompanies many other obstacles and difficulties. There is unfair judgment, mistreatment, people underestimate your abilities or simply just do not give you your due. These are testing times and these are the times you need to be at your toes the most. You have to fight these circumstances, keep doing what you are doing, persevere continuously and remain hopeful of the future.

Following are some ways that will help you to tackle impatience as it comes and develop patience at the same time.

What is there in it for you?

Whenever an unpleasant situation arises which requires you to hold on and be patient, think about what there is in it for you. Why should you really be patient in the face of this adversity? Is it going to be of any benefit to you? If yes, you should and these reasons will be a source of motivation for you to be patient. At the same time, think about the negative outcomes of not being patient. Will it hurt you, your family, your career or your life goals? If yes, you are better off being patient and wait for the right time. Develop realistic expectations.

One of the best ways to tackle impatience is to change your attitude towards life and develop realistic expectations. Be ready for all sorts of situations and circumstances. Strive to achieve things in the time you have given yourself and give it your best shot. But at the same time, keep in mind that things are not always as we want them to be and should always expect the unexpected. When you are ready for both types of outcomes, you are more patient and steadfast and it is much easier to adapt rather than just hoping that things will turn out well and when they don't, you don't know what to do and how to react.

Contingency Plan

Always have a contingency plan ready. When you have an alternative plan ready, you remain at ease do not lose yourself.You either get your way and even if you don't, you do not procrastinate as you know what the other way of getting it is.That is how you will eventually reach your goal and all the way through you would have been patient and would have faced life with strength and compassion.

Setbacks are not permanent

Always keep in mind that setbacks are temporary and not permanent. These are just stepping stones to success. These setbacks will not last long and will be good for you in the long run. Simply work at solving the certain setbacks that have occurred and move on with a positive attitude. Anything that doesn't kill you, makes you stronger.

Keep your health a Priority

We must bear the fact that our health is extremely important. If we take certain temporary setbacks too seriously, they might affect our physical, mental and emotional health. This overall situation will have an ill effect on all aspects of our lives and hence, result in the deterioration of the quality of our lives in the short term as well as in the long term.

Recognize and realize that things are not always in our control Taking the above factor into consideration will itself help in developing patience. There are many a circumstances which are just not in our hand and we really cannot do anything about it.

What to do then? Cry? Fret? Feel stressed out? Feel miserable and destroy our lives? The answer is NO! We only need to accept certain facts of life and accept them as they are. This is one of the most important lessons of life. Some things are just not the way we want them to be and nothing can be done about it.

Therefore, we shall just look at the positive side and move on to something else that is even more beneficial and fruitful towards our life goals. Coming to the conclusion, patience is a virtue that should be used towards enhancing our lives and making the best use of it. Impatience like violence is a vice that, if not handled properly will lead to disaster and a miserable life. All we need to do is to practice patience in our daily lives and we shall make our lives worthwhile and the world a better place.

"There are three secrets to managing. The first secret is having patience. The second is being patient. And the third most important secret is patience". Chuck Tanner

You haven't failed until you have stopped trying

"Making your mark on the world is hard. If it were easy, everybody would do it. But it's not. It takes patience, it takes commitment, and it comes with plenty of failure along the way. The real test is not whether you avoid this failure, because you won't. It's whether you let it harden or shame you into inaction, or whether you learn from it; whether you choose to persevere." (Barack Obama)

Have you ever felt that you are a failure and that you just can't accomplish a certain task? Do you often try something for a while and when you do not succeed, think that you are a failure and that it is just not your ball game. Do you always have a fear that you might fail and hence, stay away from even trying? I am sure you have and I guess that is pretty normal. Everyone goes through that phase in life where we are not able to accomplish something and it occurs quite frequently in life. At this point, what we need to realize is that this not the end of the world and there are still tons of ways to get where you want to. The mistake we all make here is that we think that we have failed where really the fact of the matter is that you have just not succeeded YET! One only needs to keep trying. If you do not succeed by one way, it doesn't mean that you won't with another.Just keep trying until you succeed. As it has been popularly quoted, "You haven't failed until you have stopped trying."

Let us take a look at some of the greatest examples that we have had in history. To start with, do you know that only 400 cokes were sold the first year; Albert Einstein's Ph.D. dissertation was rejected; Henry Ford had two bankruptcies before his famous success; or Ulysses S. Grant was working as a handyman, written off as a failure, eight years before becoming President of the United States?

Just think what would have happened if the above influential people and real life examples had given up hope and thought that they had failed when they didn't succeed the first time? Would they have accomplished any of what they finally did? Would they be remembered for their achievements? When we see such examples, we learn that nothing is impossible and that it is only a matter of staying in the game and continue putting in the required effort.

In a famous saying, Terry Paulson states, 'Winners lose more than losers. They win and lose more than losers, because they stay in the game. "

It is important that we stick to the task at hand and keep trying until we eventually succeed. This is the difference between successful achievers and over achievers and the ones who do not achieve anything. Do you think the successful people haven't faced failure? Did they get it all in a plate and they just ate it? There is no way that that can happen. Every successful person on earth has been through numerous hardships, been in darkness and faced failure. The only difference is that successful people choose to try again and then again until they succeed. It is their sheer determination and perseverance that takes them till the end and distinguishes them from the rest of the world.

Each and every failure that we go through makes us stronger and ready for a bigger challenge. We have all heard when it is said that "Anything that doesn't kill you, makes you stronger." So failing does not make us a failure, it teaches us, it gives us the strength to face tougher challenges and prepares us for the tougher parts of life that lie ahead. If we got it all easy and we had a smooth sail through life, we will not succeed even in the easiest of challenges in life because we would have not faced hardships and we would have not become strong enough to face the difficulties and hurdles of life. That is when one would realize how important a role each and every small and big temporary failure plays a part in our lives. These failures are just hitches that give us an opportunity to slow down, think, focus, plan and make sure that we maintain our movement in the right direction.

Looking at the positives of facing failure, I feel failure also acts as a wakeup call. It brings us back to reality when we stop seeing the real world. There are always times when we are doing well, sometimes too well to be true and we think that there is no stopping us and we start to take things for granted. Then suddenly there is this shake up that makes us realize that we are human beings and we are prone to failure and that success is never final. This makes sure that we keep our feet firmly grounded and stay down to earth and humble in our dealings.

Therefore, keeping in mind the above mentioned we should not be afraid to face failure and to fail. Failure is one of the most important ways that can teach us how to face difficulty and help us succeed in each and every walk of life. It should be seen as an opportunity to learn, to improve and to better ourselves. At the same time we should make sure that none of our failures go to waste and that we put the experience gained from it to good use for future circumstances and situations. Failure should always be used as a stepping stone to success.

In the end, all we need to do is to remember that one has not failed until he has stopped trying. We can only say that a person has failed when that person just gives up, says that there is no way that he can accomplish a certain goal and eventually stops trying. This is the only point where we can say that a person has failed. But if the same person keeps on persevering and trying, it can never be said that a person has failed.

"If you have made mistakes, even serious ones, there is always another chance for you. What we call failure is not the falling down, but the staying down." (Mary Pickford)

Motivation: The Burning Desire

"Desire is the starting point of all achievement, not a hope, not a wish, but a keen pulsating desire, which transcends everything." -- Napoleon Hill

One of the most important issues of this generation is that of the lack of motivation. Be it in education, career, health, social life, relationships, spiritual development, self improvement or personal development, one of the keys to accomplishing anything in life is having the will and desire to initiate something and more importantly, taking it till the end.

Nowadays, what most commonly happens is that people set out to achieve a particular task, face hardships, find it difficult to manage and before they know it, they have no motivation left to complete the task they had set out for. When they lose the motivation to achieve their desire, they start to have a feeling of emptiness and dissatisfaction as they see that they are not going towards what they had hoped of achieving. This happens with almost all of us at some time or the other and those that have both short term as well as long term negative effects.

At this point, the motivation has to be regenerated so that we can bounce back and get back on track. The question is HOW and WHO? Who is responsible for generating this motivation and how is it going to be done? Will your employer generate it for you? Will your trainer or teacher inject in some motivation? Maybe your friends and family or some aliens from the unknown who are going to make you think and realize that something needs to be done and get you up and running? Unfortunately, none of the above can do anything to motivate you.

The fact of the matter is that motivation always comes from within. It is not something that others can instill in you or force you to do. One needs to have a burning desire to do and to achieve a certain goal.

An excellent quote by Chris Widener says:

"The measure of your success usually comes down to who wins the battle that rages between the two of you. The `you' who wants to stop, give up, or take it easy and the `you' who chooses to beat back that which would stand in the way of your success - complacency."Now, the issue is of having that burning desire and finding the `YOU' who chooses to beat back that which would stand in the way of your success.

Remember, motivation is something that needs to be renewed every once in a while. So there are certain actions that we need to take in order to ensure that the motivation is not lost at any point. Even if it is decreased, we can take these steps to get all the motivation we need back. Let us see some ways in how we can do that.

1. A Mission, Vision and a Strategy

Before you start working towards a goal or a purpose, you need to make sure that you have a vision, a mission, a strategy and a clear picture as to what you exactly want to achieve. It is more like a starting a business. When we start out a business we have a vision, the mission and an action plan. We have a written plan and strategy as to what we want to achieve, how we want to achieve it and by what time do we exactly plan to achieve it.

This can be applied to all areas of life. We need to create a picture in our minds of where we want to be. When we see ourselves doing something we want to achieve, it becomes closer to life and easier to accomplish. In other words, you should have a strong focus and a direction. Without a focus and a direction to move in, there is no way that you can be motivated as you will not know what you want to be motivated for.

2. Motive to act

As mentioned earlier, one should have a vision and a strategy but at the same time there should also be a concrete motive and reason for trying to get to that vision through your strategy. Why do you want to achieve what you want? There might be several different types of motives depending on your goals.

Maybe you want to achieve something because it is a dream that you always wanted to accomplish, maybe there are certain benefits associated with the purpose that would help you in life in the long term, maybe it is something that will give you inner peace and satisfaction with life or you might even have a motive of obtaining and accomplishing a particular cause so that you may avoid any unpleasant consequences as a result of that.

3. Take a break

It is important that we take a break every now and then. Going through the same routine over and over again takes out the zing out of the efforts that you are putting in. Take a couple of days off and relax, do something different and get back to it. For example, we want to go to the gym or exercise regularly but after we have been doing it continuously for some time we tend to feel de-motivated and start getting tired of it. At this moment, it is important that we slow down, relax, re-motivate ourselves and start at it again. This way you take a break, we do not completely stop doing it and start refreshed.

4. Get results and Reward yourself

The most effective way of motivating yourself is by getting good results. Once you have put in the required effort, you are bound to get good results. Seeing these results is a great motivation in itself. When you feel the pleasure of achieving something and get a feel of how things would be when you have finally achieved it all, will give you a sudden boost and you will work even harder towards your goals.

As we know that every main goal is composed of numerous small goals. The obtainment of each small goal leads to the achievement of the main goal. Therefore, at this moment another good idea is to reward yourself for each small goal and every success that you have, regardless of how small that success is. Once you start rewarding yourself, the excitement of these small rewards will help in achieving the bigger goal and hence result in increased motivation.

"Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try." -- Author Unknown

Thus, we can conclude by saying that all one needs is to know what you want and why you want it. When that is crystal clear, the burning desire to reach the goal will keep you moving forward. You only need to periodically provide wind to the burning desire.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Unemployment is an opportunity of a Lifetime

“Hunger is not the worst feature of unemployment; idleness is”. Author Unknown

In recent times, one of the most important issues in the world market has been that of unemployment. Each and every country and its people have been a victim of this issue and are struggling to somehow manage, survive and go through this extremely rough period. Experienced people are losing their jobs, the recently hired are being laid off and the already unemployed see negligible hope of being employed and going forward with their lives in a positive direction.

In these testing times, unemployment is arguably one of the toughest and depressive situations that one could ever experience. Only a person who goes through it knows how difficult and hard it is. It is a situation where people lose their identities, feel useless and fall to the lowest ebbs of depression.

Thomas Carlyle says,

“A man willing to work, and unable to find work, is perhaps the saddest sight that fortune's inequality exhibits under this sun”.

It is a time where there are financial losses, loss of an opportunity to gain more experience, loss of peace of mind, loss of extremely valuable time and most importantly, a loss of one’s sanity.
In these circumstances, people tend to lose hope to an extent where they start thinking that there is nothing left in their lives and this situation would remain forever. Therefore, to survive in such testing times is a huge challenge in itself where people not only need to have the right attitude and the right mindset in order to prevent the damage that this lean period brings but also to convert this into a positive aspect and to be taken as an opportunity of a lifetime. People need to act and take this life situation in their hands and do something that is beneficial for them in the long haul.

Having been through this horrid time myself, I know how tough it is. During my ordeal, I figured different ways through which this period can be passed with much more positivity and enthusiasm. Let us see what some of the different things there are that we can do to use this time constructively so that we can change and propel our lives in a positive and meaningful direction.

1. Give time to your family

First of all, this precious time that GOD has gifted you with must be utilized to the fullest and should be spent with your family as much as possible. Life is hectic and tough and we seldom get the time to spend quality time with our families and to show them our respect, love and affection. Such times should be taken as a golden opportunity to let your loved ones know how much you love them.

2. Relax, Rejuvenate and enjoy your time

One should try to relax, take the time off and rejuvenate. Exercise, go for a walk, enjoy nature, observe the creations of GOD, energize yourself, sleep well, eat well and take care of your mind, body and soul. Refresh yourself and make up for all the stress you have been taking all these years while you have been working hard and providing for your families and for yourself. Enjoy the pleasures of life and be thankful.

3. Improve existing skills

Take the time to learn and improve your existing skills. Use the time to cover up your weaknesses. Attend seminars and workshops, learn computer skills, practice and improve languages, complete distant academic courses and refresh the existing skills. Once you utilize this time to the best of your abilities, you would be able to put them to use and in practice as soon as you get your feet into a new challenge. The hard times will not remain forever and these skills will take you a long way, personally as well as professionally.

4. Indulge in healthy activities

Pursue your passion and play a sport that you have always wanted to learn. Maybe you have lost touch of the sport you had loved in school and never got the time to pursue once you got into your practical life. Fall in love with that sport all over again, be a kid, enjoy the little successes and feel proud of your skills and abilities. I assure you, it feels great.

5. Conduct a SWOT analysis of your life

Carry out a SWOT analysis of your life. Map out on a piece of paper, all the strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats that you have in your life. Use the strengths and opportunities to your benefit and work towards reducing and gradually eliminating the weaknesses and threats that you feel will hinder your progress and will become road blocks in your life.

6. Create a Life Plan

Use this time to decide what you want in life. Decide, plan, develop an action plan, see, believe and you are well on your way. As the great people say, ‘Seeing is Believing’. Once you know what you want to achieve in life, you automatically know what needs to be done in order to achieve your goals and your wants. Design your life and develop smaller goals, the attainment of which will lead to your larger goals in life. Slowly work towards your goals one by one and a day will come when you would have finally reached your goals and that sense of achievement will give you the contentment, fulfillment and satisfaction that you would never have experienced in your entire life.

7. Find your spiritual self

Get close to your GOD, find your spiritual self and move in a direction that will do you good in the present world and the world hereafter. Use this time to pray, to contemplate, to think, to thank and to talk to GOD. Believe me, you go one step towards GOD and GOD will come 10 steps towards you. You will differentiate between right and wrong, you will have a clearer conscience, you will be happier, your mind, body and soul will be at peace and you will discover a whole new side of yourself that you had never known.

8. Discover the purpose of your life

Everyone human being has been sent on earth to accomplish a certain purpose in life. Discover that purpose of your life, ask the questions, look for the answers, work towards your purpose and I am sure you will accomplish the purpose you have been designed to accomplish.

9. Work on your personal development

Like professional development, one must also work on continuous personal development. This is a development and improvement that should never stop at any stage of life. This is a process that should go on until the end of life. Strive to live a balanced life, balance all the aspects of life and remember that there is always room for improvement no matter how good you are.

10. Keep looking for better opportunities

Last but not the least, keep looking for better opportunities. Without your sincere efforts and hard work in anything you do in life, you will not reach your destination. You put in the effort and GOD will take care of the rest. Believe in GOD and the world shall be yours.

The above mentioned points are not by any means the be all and end all of discovering life. There is a lot more to it. It is different for different people and personalities and it is your job to find ways that will best be of benefit to you and your well being.

So keep working hard, keep a positive mind set, look for good in the bad, the positive in the negative, opportunity in the difficulty, light in the dark and you shall convert catastrophe into harmony. GOOD LUCK!

Creating Balance is Creating Success

“Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance and order and rhythm and harmony”. Thomas Merton

One of the most important aspects of our existence is having a balance in life. It is common sense that creating and maintaining a balance in anything we do is extremely important. However, this is rarely the case. Life is tough, hard, hectic and busy where everyone is running after their own set of goals, desires and wishes. No one has time for their friends, their families, their own selves and even their GOD. Everyone has their auto pilot switched on and they just keep on going on and on until it is too late to realize what they have missed out on.

It is only after the damage is done that we become aware of what has been missing and what we have been neglecting all throughout our lives. Therefore, it is important that we identify the areas of life that need to be taken care of. Once these areas have been identified, we then set our targets and see where our strengths and weaknesses lie. It is essential that we know what needs to be done and then it is our duty to be conscious of these facts and implement them in our daily lives. You will see that once we start doing all the right things, it gives us major confidence as we feel complete as human beings and improve and prove ourselves better then our surroundings. Our target should always be to become better and superior at whatever we do in life.

It is important to note that all areas of our lives are interconnected and interwoven. If one aspect of our life is neglected, it will affect another aspect of our life and therefore, the balance will be broken. It is more like a table standing on 4 legs. Even if one leg is damaged or broken, the whole table loses its balance and is useless. Similar are our lives.

Haider Al-Mosawi’ writes: “You can advance your career by having good social connections and you can enhance your family life by having good health and vitality.”

“Your family life can also suffer if you are neglecting your health and live in a state of exhaustion.”

There are different aspects of life that need to be balanced. You can also depending on your preferences and priorities change the order of these or even reduce or add more aspects to better understand and better control your lives. I have personally divided the aspects of my life into 10 divisions. These include the following:

1. Health & Fitness
2. Mental development and Education
3. Work, Career and Finances
4. Home & Family
5. Social Life and Relationships
6. Life Purpose and Contribution
7. Character, Integrity, Ethics and Virtues
8. Daily Habits and Routines
9. Emotional Control and Development
10. Spiritual and Personal development

Looking at the above, we see that these divisions more or less cover all aspects of our lives. In order to simplify life, we only need to focus on these 10 factors. The lesser the aspects the easier it is to simplify life. Even if you add more aspects, those will more or less always fall under the above categories so it is better to stick to less yet cover every aspect.

To start off with, attach a certain percentage to each and every of the above aspects. For example, think what level of accomplishment you want to reach in every aspect and where you stand at present. If you are satisfied you can give 90% satisfaction in that area and if you feel that you have not quite reached there yet, you can maybe say 50%.

Once that’s done, you know which areas you are satisfied with and which areas need improvement. Then slowly we need to start working on the aspects that are not right. As we commence balancing the rest of the components of our lives, they help in achieving even better results in the other components. We start to feel that our life is under better control and we feel comfortable and confident within ourselves. We start performing better at work, our behavior with colleagues and family improves dramatically, we are relaxed as our guilty conscience has a sudden relief and we start to have more confidence in our way of life. All this gradually converts into a calmness and peace within our minds and soul. This positivity and change takes us in a constructive direction and ultimately has a huge effect on our overall happiness, success and helps us enhance our life to an altogether higher level.

We all need goals and a particular direction in life. We need to have these goals created in all the different aspects. We have certain major goals to attain and then we develop smaller steps, actions and achievements that will combine together to help us obtain the final goal.

Personally, taking the above mentioned components into consideration, the smaller goals that will help me reach my final goals include things like, I need to exercise daily and reach a certain weight by a certain deadline. Similarly I have my goals mapped out as to what education I want, what skills I want achieve, what financial status I need to obtain, how I want to treat my family and what kind of relationships I want to have with them, my social life, my purpose of life (like contributing to the world through my writing and by helping the poor), the way I want to live my daily life, the principles and virtues I want to live by, the character I want to have, the closeness I want to have with my GOD and the improvement that I constantly need to make every day to make my life a life worthwhile.

When assessing my life, I assess my day. When I see that my day includes work, learning and development, health, 3 healthy meals, prayers, social life, time for hobbies and my passions, my family, friends, daily routine and chores, my spiritual and personal development and that all these components are carried out with integrity, honesty, values, ethics and good character, it gives me the greatest pleasure in the world to know that I am striving to live a balanced life and once this much needed balance is obtained, everything starts to fall in place. I will finish by quoting the following quote that summarizes the whole message.

“Balance, peace, and joy are the fruit of a successful life. It starts with recognizing your talents and finding ways to serve others by using them”. Thomas Kinkade

Achieving Targets

Life goes on unabated without let or hindrance, be it good or bad. We grow from infancy to adolescence to youth to middle age and then comes old age and eventual departure. There is no stopping and the vagaries of time are known to all and sundry.

As is known that we need to plan our lives because if we do not have a plan then it is a life devoid of direction, a life tending to go haywire which can lead in any way, a way good or bad. In order to have a direction we require to have a purpose, an aim and an eventual target in mind.
Once we decide what our target in life is and which way we want to move then it becomes a bit easy for us to make plans, to take decisions, to analyze our weaknesses and strengths as then they are all geared towards achieving a certain target.

Planning, working and eventual achievement of this achievement can be difficult, but once you have prepared yourself, done your planning and since everything is now directed in a given direction, things should start falling in place, but do they? No, they don’t fall in place as pieces of puzzle, things become complicated and you get frustrated, dejected and stressed as things are not working out the way you had planned. We have all heard the saying “ Man proposes, God disposes.”

Bearing the above scenario in mind, we have a plan gone berserk; we are lost and are not beginning to lose direction. In all these happenings, beyond our control, we start losing sight of our eventual target, as we get involved in damage controls whereas we should have done and taken care of issues earlier under the surmise of preventive measures, but again, what are we, mere pawns in the wheel of this great universe are.

Given our frustrations, disappointments and stresses, we continue to struggle, we do not give up and we continue trying to make things work according to plan. Here is where we go wrong!
We are ignoring the basic necessity of a plan and this is to make adjustments as you go on. No plan is fool proof, you need to reassess, step back, review and adjust. Or in other words, show flexibility; never ever forget the eventual aim that we started with. If we do not adjust, we will keep on getting frustrated, stressed out and we will start thinking negatively, which will affect all parts of our life, including our personal and family life. The fault lies not with the plan, but with us, as we forget the target, get involved in problem solving and refuse to be flexible and make adjustments.

We should take cue out of the way a river flows. It has a target to fall into the sea from its original point of origin. In order to achieve its aim, it goes around cities, mountains, forests, thus making its own way. If it does not, it will destroy forestation, flood land and make it useless, destroy human life and habitat. The river achieves its aim by being flexible and not by being stubborn and obstinate.

We should act the same way, by being flexible, ready to make adjustments and not to get stuck with a given plan. The aim and target should always be kept in mind because that is the ultimate goal.

This will help us in achieving the end result we desired, whatever they may be and not get stressed, fatigued and frustrated if things do not go according to plan. Let us be innovative, flexible and ready for all eventualities as the ultimate is having your cake and eating it too.
Having said and explained the benefits of being flexible in our planning, I would like to mention here that this trait is a very valuable trait if one can set aside his or her ego. Flexibility can be applied to anything we do in everyday life.

I have always tried to be flexible in my life as this was one of the first lessons taught to me by my father when I was still a child. I did not comprehend it in the beginning, nor as I grew up. I was strong willed and felt that the world was at my feet. I was good at everything I did; in studies, in sports, debates etc. at school and high school. I felt that I could do anything I want, the way I want, but then things started to happen in the opposite of what I had planned and foreseen. This lead to me getting depressed initially, then I decided to fight and more of these helped as I started to get rebellious and argumentative leading to further problems. All this started to affect my personality, behavior and my general outlook, then I returned towards God and suddenly I recalled what my father had told me when I was still a kid; I remembered “Flexibility”.

I began to think of ways to get out of my situation, continued and enhanced my contact with God and tried to be flexible and reasonable. As time went by I started to notice my different approaches starting to work and the jigsaw pieces started to fall in place and eventually I sorted out my problems and issues.

Going by hindsight, I now realize that I was wrong in trying to bulldoze my way as I kept coming up against one hurdle after another, leading to stress, depression, rebelliousness. How wrong all that was, I realize now. Had I shown flexibility in the beginning, I would have been spared all the anguish and pressure. I have learnt my lesson, but the hard way.

Let us take cue out of my own personal experiences and move towards making adjustments and being flexible as these will help in achieving our end goals as that is what we strive for and that is what counts in the end.

Positive Attitude is the Key to Success

“You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control your attitude toward what happens to you, and in that, you will be mastering change rather than allowing it to master you”. Brian Tracy

When we observe our surroundings, the environment and the people living within and around us, we learn that the world is a difficult place to live. It is not an easy task for anyone on this earth to survive and live a peaceful life. Wherever we see we find people struggling and fighting each day and each moment in order to achieve their goals and to be successful. Every human being has their set of problems and difficulties which they are trying to overcome in order to obtain what they are striving to obtain.

This constant struggle and all the obstacles that occur at every step we take become a huge cause of depression and people tend to lose heart. Then the only way to go ahead is to just keep persevering with the tasks at hand so that you could progress and finally achieve what you have set your foot out for and not leave anything half way through. At this moment, the power and force that drives us is our attitude. A positive attitude is something that makes or breaks a person. If you have a positive outlook on life, you will always look at the positive side of things.

Looking for the positives in everything you do and see will ensure that you are content and happy and live a life full of optimism and hope. Hope is of course what we all live by as no one knows what GOD has kept in store for us. Therefore, there is absolutely no use being negative and spreading the negativity around. By doing this we will not only damage ourselves but also damage our surroundings and the people we are related to in some way or the other.

Problems are there and they will remain there and will never go away. We will solve one problem and another one will arise, then another and another. This is a cycle that will continue throughout our lives until we live. Therefore, it is important that we face this life and the difficulties that arise with a positive attitude and with good will and enthusiasm. It is all about how we view the world. When things are not going good and everything seems messed up, it is only our positive attitude that keeps us going and ensures us that it is just a phase that will pass.

Thomas Jefferson says:

“Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.”

It is actually all about our mindset. If we decide that everything is good and look for the positives, we will find that things are actually great. Similarly, if we want to see all negative, then we would find negatives and discrepancies in even the positive things in life. Hence, it is important to keep a positive mindset and outlook on life.

Kahlil Gibran says:

“Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens”.

What needs to be done has to be done. We can either choose to do it with an unthankful and ungrateful attitude or we can do it with a smile on our face, but we have to do it in either case. Therefore, the obviously right way to go about it is to do it in a positive light and with the hope that this hard time will pass and everything will be sorted out eventually. We just need to be patient, wait for the right time and believe in our GOD.

There is a famous saying that states:

“Seeing someone happy does not mean that everything in his/her life is perfect. Rather he or she has chosen to overlook the imperfections in their life”.

That is exactly the way how one should go about life. Humans are imperfect and therefore the world is imperfect and this is something we should learn early in our lives. If we do not accept this fact and keep getting depressed and angry about what people or external factors do to us, it will all eventually lead to total depression and total disaster.

We cannot control others and we cannot change others. The only thing that we can control and change is our attitude. Once we alter our own attitude, the world all of a sudden looks a rosy place and everything seems to fall into place.

As human beings, we need to learn to be thankful and happy in all situations. No matter what the circumstances, we should always give it our best shot and should try to see things in a positive light. Positivity literally takes all the unhappiness, pain and negativity away from our life. We always have a choice. There is nothing in this world that happens to us without our will and desire. If we feel good, it is because we chose to feel good and if we feel bad, it is because that’s the way we want to feel.

Similarly, attitude is a choice that we need to make. We can choose to alter our attitude towards positivity or negativity and all that happens to us is because of us only. We cannot blame anyone else for the way we feel and the way we see the world. All that really matters is the fact that we give it our best shot and should not have any regrets.

So please, keep a positive attitude on life, work hard towards your goals and keep the positive attitude going under all circumstances. Eventually, we will all reach our destination and achieve our desired goals and the world will be a much better place.

In the end, there is one absolutely brilliant saying that sums up everything:

“"Discouragement is dissatisfaction with the past, distaste for the present, and distrust of the future. It is ingratitude for the blessings of yesterday, indifference to the opportunities of today, and insecurity regarding strength for tomorrow. It is unawareness of the presence of beauty, unconcern for the needs of our fellow man, and unbelief in the promises of old. It is impatience with time, immaturity of thought, and impoliteness to God.” William A. Ward