It All Begins with YOU

The COVID-19 and the resultant pandemic, along with the lock-down has had a all of us cooped up in our homes. During the interim, I had a number of online sessions. Interacting with the YOUth across the spectrum, if there is one thing that stood out for me, it would be how the YOUth adapted/ adopted to this period. In a vast number of cases it had to do with uncertain future, demotivation, anxiety, job loss and resultant stress/ depression.

Some of the words (and the resultant emotions) had to do with the economy (depressed), psychological impact (negative), anxiety, fatigue, stress, suicide and so on and so forth. While, some of us saw it differently; opportunity to connect with family, a healthy lifestyle (and hygiene), environment (and its positive impact, with lesser emissions/ green house/ ozone layer), connect with nature (pets & plants). In a number of cases, it was how you looked (and handled) the issue.

I believe that a lot of this has to do with your “self talk“. What do you tell yourself? What do you tell yourself when you are faced with a situation/ challenge/ issue/ problem? Some of the chatter (inside your head) is what you’ve heard over the years – your parents, your elders, your teachers. This goes a long way to pattern your thinking. While growing up, if you’ve been constantly told that “you cannot do it” or “it’s beyond you” or similar words, its a belief system that takes shape in your mind.

There are a number of ways to overcome this writing in your head. It starts with your self talk. In school, we had a prayer (early mornings) and the lyrics went something like this: Humko man ki shakti dena, man vijay kare, Dusaron ke jai se pehele, khudhko jai kare. [Oh God, Grant us inner strength to be victorious over our minds, Before victory over others, may we gain victory over ourselves.] In those halcyon days, we never understood the deeper meaning of the passage.

Each day, early morning, what do you tell yourself. Of course, there will be challenges. Of course there will be ambiguity. Of course, things will not move as you want them to OR as you planned it to be. In the uniform, we said, “If you plan for three options, be sure the enemy will adopt the fourth”. So be it. Do you give up? That is not an option.

So your self talk should be on something on these lines. ” XYZ you are good. You’ve always been good. Look at your results (and recollect some of the wonderful achievement of yours). You can do it. Yes, there have been times, when you could not do it due to … but having addressed that, there is no reason for you to fail. Let give it a try.” Thoughts on similar lines, would also help.

Unless you believe in yourself, fat chance, that the world will believe in you. Unless you radiate confidence, slim chance, that the world will feel confident around you. Unless you demonstrate peace, calm and in control, people around you will panic. It begins with YOU.

Post-pandemic the one question you need to ask yourself is: Will I come out stronger OR will I come out weaker?

You Create Your Reality

Self-Fulfilling Prophecies as YOUr Thoughts manifest into Reality

Often we’ve heard about ‘Self-fulfilling Prophecy’ and the resultant outcomes. We’ve heard/ read about them since The Secret hit the stands. We heard of Laws of Attraction and about thoughts changing our destiny. Norman Vincent Peale mentioned about thinking certain things that will make them appear in ones’ life. Your thoughts manifests into reality. Does it work?

We’ve sportsmen thinking about the forthcoming event and how they prepare for it. The 100 metre race is the most popular and prestigious event for an athlete. Many of the champions, including Usain Bolt, have said, and its a well documented fact, that they run the race, many times over in their mind. The start, the mid-race and the finish including the raising of their hands in the ‘V’ictory pose. They run it over and over again till it becomes part of their muscle memory.

How does it work? Well, it works at many levels.

Let me elaborate. While in the uniform, we had an excellent Commander as our boss. During the annual appraisal, the pen-picture he had written was jaw dropping. Reading it, one felt one was reading the pen-picture of FM Manekshaw. He saw the consternation on my face, smiled and quipped, “I know you’re not this, BUT I WANT YOU TO BECOME THIS”. My life was never the same thereafter. One learnt a lesson for life. Set high benchmarks. Give your subordinate an image to live up to. The subordinate strives for it to manifest. And it does.

In one of leadership training program, we had to select a name for ourselves. The only requirement was that the adjective selected should be the same alphabet as your name and preferably describe you in a word. It should resonate. That day, each one of us earned a moniker which has gone on to define our lives. We have a Vibrant Vishwas, Awesome Anu, Kewl Kerry and I was Passionate Prabir. Even after so many years the name has stuck and people call me Passionate. And each time someone calls me Passionate, I cannot but be one. What is your Good Word?

And last but not the least. Say you have an issue and you keep talking/ thinking about it. The kind of energy and neural connections you make goes on to make that habit more pronounced. Say, you are planning to quit smoking and all your efforts earlier to quit smoking have failed. And the next time you try, with a thought, ‘Oh! it gonna fail. All my previous attempts have failed. What makes you think it’ll succeed this time around?’ By such self-fulfilling prophecies you’ve already sown the seeds of failure. And the worst is, when it does fail, you reinforce it by stating, didn’t I tell you so?

Your mind is a very powerful weapon. Use it with care. Sieve the kind of information (and thoughts) that you’re planting. It is THE MOST IMPORTANT activity of your stay on this planet. Make it worthwhile. The power of your mind works when you think of (and supplant) the outcome. Images of what it’ll be like to quit smoking, for eg. You are habitually late in your official capacity. Plant a thought of being on time. Keep repeating it. And slowly the change happens. It works.

Monkey Business

The dreadful behaviour of the Monkey in your Head

Why don’t you achieve things you set out to do? Thought of quitting smoking, but don’t seem to be able to do so? And you always blamed it on, ‘your poor will power’. Thought of exercising but that tomorrow just doesn’t seem to come, neither the Monday … or the next week; while in the meantime your waist has taken over your belt, and is headed towards your work table now 😉

So, what prevents you from getting the job done? From following your diet? From following your exercise regime? From getting up in the morning? The answer is ‘THE MONKEY IN YOUR HEAD’.

What monkey? Well, the one that keeps delaying timelines, procrastinating, the one preventing you from getting up from your bed in the morning, the one telling you, ‘Tomorrow’.

Let me ask you a question? How many men did you see from the Defence Forces having these issues? Don’t we like those additional minutes under the quilt? Truth be told .. yes, we do. Then how do we overcome these issues? Let me share a couple of pointers. The monkey loathes discipline and that discipline has to come from within (not when mom, dad or someone else says it). Take these steps forthwith:

a. Always jump out of bed (to begin with) AND fold the quilt/ bedsheet and make your bed.

b. Organize your workspace/ work station. Neatness and orderliness pains the monkey. It of course, improves your efficiency.

c. Set deadlines/ targets. Lose two kilograms by 30 May, 2020. The monkey dreads deadlines. It knows it doesn’t have ‘excuse’ to offer. Targets pushes you.

d. When the monkey says tomorrow; confront it with, “Ok, give me a time!”. It fears commitment.

Believe me, it takes just ten days to develop a new habit. Once you start seeing the benefits, and the fact that you start achieving small targets; you start feeling good about it. It spikes your self belief, you get self motivated and your self esteem sky rockets. In the Army we used to say, “Winning is a drug – once you taste it, you seldom give up on it”.

Get Addicted to life. Get Addicted to achieving. Get Addicted to success.