Tag Archives: learning

Upgrade – Reboot – Repeat: The process for continuous self progress


 

 

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As per a recent report from the World Health Organization, life expectancy continues to grow globally with no signs of slowing down. It appears that the global life expectancy has increased from 64 years in 1990 to 74 years in 2011. And developed countries can comfortably add another 15 – 18 years to that number.

What does this mean to an average person in terms of their knowledge and keeping up with the rapidly changing world fueled with exponential growth in almost every aspect of our lives? Well, to understand the intensity of this major impact in our lives, we need to reflect upon the development and progress we have experienced in the past and the time line associated with this progress.

Just some 30 odd years ago in the early 1980’s the world was a much different place with ideas, systems and technologies that were being developed against skepticism, opposition and perhaps doubt as well. The world was at early stages of accepting Hip Hop into the main stream music, Sony Walkman was perhaps the coolest gadget to possess, IBM released their first personal computer, Apple Macintosh wasn’t released yet, the cold war was the major fear factor being hawked to the otherwise peaceful public going about making ends meet, and the former Soviet Union’s KGB were being portrayed in the movies as invasive and authoritative figures who intimidate to keep a very close eye on every individual or citizen and the USA was projected to be the exact opposite.  The below pictures of Shanghai and Dubai speaks to how the major business hubs looked then compared to today.

Shanghai Then and Now

 Shanghai

Dubai Then and Now

DubaiDubai-Then-And-Now-2

And if we were to look at the world just another 30 years ago in the 1950’s it seems to be struggling for less than half of the luxuries the world enjoyed in the 1980’s. Barely crawling out of the world war and depression with people looking for jobs and rapidly migrating to new cities in search of a living.

What truly is amazing is that it appears that the world had completely changed in just about 30 year cycle and morphed into something that is very different. And most of us expect to live past 60 years. That’s two cycles of total paradigm shifts that impacts the thinking, lifestyles, objectives, and to certain aspects the social values and political structures. In some aspects it appears that the knowledge being instilled in us is already outdated by the time we are in our 30’s depending on the time lines we choose to compare.

And in today’s world of exponential and rapid growth we are often found caught between the shifting processes where by the time we learn a particular system and become fluent with it, we are already required to begin to learn the new upgraded to updated version of the same. It appears the shift timeline is now diminished from 30 to perhaps 5 years. We are now forced to keep learning continuously and staying abreast of the latest and greatest in several aspects of our life or face the threat of being discarded as an old PC or the first generation iPhone. It is now imperative to be educated and updated to merely survive. Whether you want to keep your job, get a job, use a phone, watch television, or keep up with the inquisitive minds of our children or even travelling, you are required to learn and quickly adapt to the new and latest in each of these aspects in our lives.

Now, the process of learning and educating ourselves has also evolved. The internet and mobile browsers has taken the excuse of “ignorance” out of our lives. If we do not know something it is most likely because we haven’t taken the time to google and learn about it. And unfortunately we are often surrounded by those who have taken the time to learn this and take the liberty to quickly evaluate our lack of knowledge and thus judge our attitude towards change and learning. Those of us who haven’t managed to re-educate ourselves are faced with loosing arguments, stagnant careers, slow progress, and basic social securities and social status being threatened. The Maslow’s hierarchy pyramid seems to be much wider in the middle and amidst a major morphing process.

So for an individual in today’s world it is absolutely imperative to re-educate ourselves and learn the new and unknown. More than just learning we have to change our thinking and begin to accept change and new concepts, processes and values in several aspects of life. Today the world believes that if it isn’t broken, BREAK IT and rebuild it better and the way we like it. Today technology is not about making life easier. Technology is now influencing and changing social dynamics. A series of algorithms in Facebook alters social behavior patterns. If you want to know how much money a public company has made, all you have to do is look at their financial reports on line, and this report also tells you how much the top executives make in this given company. You can snoop around LinkedIn to see who is working where and what they do for living along with their career growth and progression. You get multiple reports on a particular political situation or revolt. The media reports one perspective, people on the growth update a different view on Facebook and others tweet the live events as they happen. The new generation are no longer interested in learning how to drive a car, instead before they learn to drive they are more interested in what technological features and energy efficient these vehicles are. Career choices are not made in terms of how much money they will make, but the new generation is more interested in what they represent and lifestyle choices.

Change is not an option. And educating ourselves and staying aware and current is absolutely essential. It doesn’t matter you like it or not. If you are feeling left behind, all you do is “Reboot”. Clear your existing cache of knowledge and upgrade yourself right now. Everything around has shifted. The new economic superpower in China, India is not a poor country, USA has the largest Debt, the richest nation in the world is a tiny Arabian Peninsula called Qatar, the most educated country in the world is Canada with 50% of the population with post-secondary education, and USA and Iran president spoke directly with each other for the 1st time in 30 years this week. Our opinions have to change and we need to be more accepting of changes and be better informed. You can do this now or wait to be educated by your child who has put the mobile browser to better use. And these young minds will be changing the world much more in the next 30 years. Also what they are learning now will be outdated by then.

But getting better educated isn’t of any use if you do not accept it and use the information to change and progress. You have to learn to let go of the old information you hold so dearly to make way for the new. Here is an example to consider. The world’s top cause of death is Ischemic heart disease. And the most common cause of ischemic heart disease is when the arteries responsible for blood flow to the heart become stiff, narrowed and sometimes blocked by the buildup of fatty deposits or plaques. The major cause of this has been linked to smoking, high blood pressure, obesity and a diet high in cholesterol and saturated fat. All of which is due to lifestyle choices mostly prevalent in the developed and fairly educated nations of the world. What good is this piece of knowledge if we do not change for the better?

Upgrade, Reboot, Repeat! _ Its not a choice. Its the only option.


Are you a blind follower? Living a life with a leader’s mindset.


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Do you have a leaders mind set or a follower’s attitude? Do you believe what you are told or shown or do you seek to educate yourself better with balanced and fact based information? Our lives in many ways take upon the designs that our mind allows it to form. The choices you make, your opinions, reactions to life events, and progress through your life is dependent on your mind set and the attitude you take towards your personal life and growth.  The mindset and attitude we take towards each aspect of our life bears a serious consequence on the outcomes.

Many systems in life are about following. Law, religion, government, processes and work are mostly about following rather than leading. But the successful people in life and people who do greater things in life are those who take a leaders mind set to these aspects of life.  These are the kind of people who bring about change in their personal lives and at times change other people life as well, they inspire, do something different and inspirational, and forever leave a mark that brings about better things in life and change things from old to new.

What is a leaders mind set? Well, a leaders mind is much different from that of a followers mind. A leaders mind consists of a few key behaviours in thinking and ideas. Namely:

Learn: They always try to learn and acquire more knowledge about things. And often they take it upon themselves to learn from various sources to form a balanced opinion as opposed to ask and blindly believe what they are told.

Question: They do not blindly follow things. They ask questions and seek to know why it is so? They have a greater need to understand things in life.

Reason: They thrive on what makes sense to them and adheres to some form of logic. It has to make reason to them. They cannot accept a thing that doesn’t make a good valid case and reason.

Thinkers: They prefer to think things out. They take the time to think things over before they choose a reaction. They tend to ponder a bit more and evaluate things clearly before they say or do anything.

Observant:  They observe people and events very keenly. They do not jump to conclusions or from instantaneous opinions. They calmly observe, think, question and take a higher perspective of what they observe. It helps them see beyond the obvious and often see what others miss.

Reflecting: They like to draw from their experiences and learning’s. They try to reflect upon their pasts and other peoples experiences. The value and remember the right and wrong decisions of the past and project balanced view of eventualities in the future.

Balanced: They are balanced individuals. They tend to take a broader perspective and think of different possibilities and point of views before they take a stance. They do not like to make extreme judgements or favor any extreme point of views. They rather fall back on a balanced opinion.

Decision Making: They strive to take rational decisions rather than emotional ones. And they are firm on their decisions once they have put it through the above processes of thinking.

Courage & Confidence: The display a certain level of courage and confidence in executing their decisions once they are convinced that it is the right thing to do. They remain determined and willingly face and overcome the challenges that they may find in their path to success.

There are no great followers. There are only great leaders. The problems with religions and several such governing systems or theories are that there are too many blind followers and very little leadership mindset applied to them. For example in following a religion: people rather ask others and believe what they say about their own faith and follow them blindly as opposed to read themselves what their books preach, think about it and develop sensible balanced ideas to from better educated opinions.  Similarly, many of us tend to form a sweeping opinion about other people’s cultures and values based on a single event or piece of news flashed in a media.

We are absolutely out of excuses for ignorance in today’s world. You can thank the internet, Google, or any search engine for that. Everything you say can be verified through a mobile browser instantaneously and you will be called out if your statements are not right. Yes, you can be a follower on twitter or like a zillion things on face book today. But when it comes to your opinions, values, statements, and behaviours, you cannot go far with an ignorant or a blind follower’s mindset.

Growth and progress in life is only achieved by learning, questioning, and understanding the facts. Success happens with a lot of hard work and the hard work goes into developing many of the above mentioned leadership characteristics. In the world of today, even the most sensible and valued ideas are questioned and challenged. Understanding the facts, reasons, and forming balanced rational opinions and choices based on well educated thinking is imperative for a successful and happier life. Whether it is understanding your companies strategies, government policies, your work, your relationships, choices in life, opinions about people or your culture, it is absolutely necessary to indulge in some good thinking and balanced and educated opinions and reactions.

A life of half baked choices, and semi educated opinions will often lead to very disappointing and bitter life and eventually lead to a several other problems and confusion. If people do not react to your uneducated opinions it doesn’t mean that they are agreeing with you. Often people choose not to react to such blind ideas of out social courtesy. The eventual loss is yours.

So, eliminate the ignorance in you. Give up on the blind follower’s mentality. Take the trouble and time to question, think, learn and form balanced opinions in life that will help you make educated choices towards your happiness and success.  Put your ego aside and seek to learn. And most importantly, do not blindly accept what people tell you as facts. Remember that subject matter experts such as  doctors, engineers, economists, MBA’s or priests also often go wrong in their decisions and make mistakes. They too have flawed and biased opinions. But if you adapt a few characteristics of the people who do greater things and succeed in life, you will lead better and fulfilling lives. In this process you will educate and inspires others to become better and seek knowledge as well.  This way you too can contribute towards making a better world. But it begins with your attitude and mindset.


Earn what you desire


 

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“A man can be as great as he wants to be. If you believe in yourself and have the courage, the determination, the dedication, the competitive drive and if you are willing to sacrifice the little things in life and pay the price for the things that are worthwhile,
it can be done.”

-Vince Lombardi

 

Everybody has aspirations, desires and dreams. Some dream to be rich, some to become a celebrity and some to find true love. But we seldom think about what we are doing with our time, skills and energy towards attaining these things. More importantly we never think if we are worthy or currently working towards becoming worthy of what we desire for.  The simple wisdom behind this states that if and when one becomes worthy of something they will soon acquire it. This means for example: if you wish to become a successful writer, then you will have to begin to hone your skills as a writer and keep learning to become better as a writer. And once you work towards such dreams you will eventually pave your way to becoming a great writer and success will eventually meet you.

Similarly, many desire for a particular kind of a partner in life. Must be handsome, well established, earning good, decent, loyal, good looking, intelligent, caring etc. And the list may go on endlessly. The question that is vital in such situation is; are you truly worthy of such and individual? Or simply ask yourself, what such a person will seek for in a partner and if you have those qualities. If you do not, you better get working on developing such qualities.  The same applies to the opposite sex as well. If you are a pot bellied, classless and insensitive individual you may never find a decent, self respecting, well kept, gorgeous and intelligent woman who would love you.  

 

Man, alone, has the power to transform his thoughts into physical reality; man, alone, can dream and make his dreams come true.
Napoleon Hill

 

You have no one to blame for not being able to achieve what you desire for but often yourself. One needs to see and understand the need to earn their respect, dreams and wishes. And the effort put towards earning such things in life often paves the path and enables you to meet your dreams. There is no substitute for hard work and perseverance towards ones goals in life. People who adapt such relentless hard work, focus and continuous self development towards their goals in life often achieve them and enjoy the glory and success. While those who choose to just desire and never do anything towards meeting their possible success often end up taking solace in their failure or excuses for not being able to become successful.

“We learn by doing.”

 

-Aristotle

 

All of us have our individual potentials and skills. We each have our share of battles to fight and hurdles to overcome. We are no different from the next person. But some amongst us choose to earn their success while many do not. This single choice often differentiates us between the haves and have not’s. People become successful because they choose to work towards their success. Success hasn’t come to anyone easy and never to those who just keep dreaming of it. You earn your success.

 

“Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.”

-John Quincy Adams

 

If one takes this simple wisdom towards every aspect in life, one can certainly experience a much more rewarding life. You earn the love you seek, the respect you cherish, the wealth you desire, the success you dream of and the lifestyle you aim. The only question you need to keep asking yourself is: What am I doing to earn what I desire?

 

If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavours to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
Henry David Thoreau


Your world is a result of your “reactions”.


 

Stress and difficulties have been my best buddies all through my life. In fact they are buddies with every one of you.  But regardless of mental stress and the troublesome  circumstances life has taken me through, I have been fortunate to realize my own behavior and often laugh at the things I do. Especially when I find myself or others under pressure, I find we do many silly and often stupid things. Our rational and cognitive self disappears and instant emotional responses take precedence which invariably stands tall opposing our basic logic.

Allow me to explain myself by sharing one of my such irrational responses to a situation: I once got on a popular diet recommended by someone close which promised a drastic weight loss in a week – 10 days time which would be a good kick-start to get on an eventual balanced diet program. Having stuck to my diet from day one which involved consuming copious amount of bland vegetable soup and low-calorie raw fruits and vegetables, I arrive on my 4th day successfully. I had dreaded this day because it involved me surviving on partly skimmed milk and bananas. Of course, I hate milk!  But as my luck would have it, my morning began with my daily dose of senseless comedy and needless stupidity.

Here is a short version of what I mean: A customer with an annoying disposition calls me when I was in the washroom and left a message for me on my voice mail. I see the message on my mobile phone and decide to listen to it once I am out of the door, on my way to work. Meanwhile, he calls my boss asking him where I was and that I didn’t pick up his call. By the time I was heading out my boss calls me asking me why my customer was calling him and why didn’t I pick his call. Having explained to him my obvious reason, I call up my customer to help his query. During which my boss calls me to check if I had called him. He gets my voice mail as I was still on the phone and thus leaves a message to call him back. He assumed that, perhaps my phone wasn’t working and all calls were going to the voice mail directly. After I was done with my customer, I picked up my voice mail again and then called my boss to let him know that I resolved the customers concern, and my phone was just fine and I am furious with his impatience and micro management and my this annoying customers behavior.  Phew! No, this isn’t an exaggeration. It is exactly a day in the life of a Senior Manager in the corporate world of today.

Anyhow, in this madness and my rage, I stop by at the gas station to pick a couple of bottles of my hated milk for the day. I rushed in and walked past the puffed up shiny bags of potatoes chips wearing their contents proudly on their chest, and those gleaming bars of chocolates screaming for my attention. I got to the refrigerator and quickly scanned through the neatly stacked stout cans of soft drinks in all colors and shapes and calorie counts looking for my milk. And there again there stood several of them in different colors, flavors and shapes and sizes. I quickly scanned and saw one in blue which read “French vanilla”. Yes, perhaps this flavor will help me guzzle it down with some relative ease and thus grabbed it, paid for it and got back into my car. As I began drinking it on my way to work, I found the flavor to be rather strong and thick. But as I couldn’t take my eyes off the road to read the fine prints I continued consuming its contents until I finished it. And once I reached my work, I looked at the bottle and the writings in small letters. It said “Coffee creamer” and when turned it around to see its calories I realized that I just had consumed the whole 1000 calories of its contents.  There crashes my diet plan and three days of sacrifices.

 It is amusing how we react to such simple daily pressures. And what is even more amusing is how easy it is to avoid such reactions. If I had only cooled down and controlled my anger I would have been a bit more focused. If only I realized there was absolutely no need for me to rush to work, I could have been a bit more diligent in picking up the right bottle of milk. I could have very well done that. But I didn’t and hence ended up doing something totally stupid.

 It is so odd to see us; intelligent beings do such stupid things in life. Many of our problems and unpleasant situations are created by us and our instant reactions. And we would be the first to see such stupidity in others and either correct them or laugh at them. But we seldom think about our own such behavior. No matter the external situation or circumstances. The choice of how we react to it is absolutely in our control.

 The power to choose our reaction:

It is the mental process which helps us to judge and analyze from multiple options and selecting one of them based on preference. Choosing from these multiple options usually results in a consequence or a need for action that would eventually derive at a desired consequence.  In any given day as human beings we are subject to making several choices that affect our living. They may be from the simplest forms to complex in nature. The consequences of these choices or decision to choose one from another may affect our lifestyle, religious affiliation, political position, finances, attitude towards others, reaction to situations, and health.

Our life essentially is nothing but a collective result of the choices we have made along the way. There choices were made at several moments in life, based on several experiences and circumstances, but nevertheless these were our choices and we face and live the consequences of these very choices. We may choose to blame the circumstances, but nevertheless the choice was ours and we are solely responsible for those choices and the eventual outcome. We each have the power and freedom to choose right from wrong. Often we end up choosing easy from hard and sadly the hard ends up being the right one to choose. The righteous and just thing to do often involves hardships, disagreement from common folk, against certain odds, and at times contrary to common thinking. But it is in such choices that great accomplishments lie. Greatness has never been served on a silver platter, but it has only been earned by the choices made against all odds with the will, determination and perseverance. But it begins with the choice. And the power to choose is in you.

Here are some ideas on changing the outcome by changing your reaction:

1. When someone can not understand your point of view, try rephrasing it differently with calm. Do not express frustration or anger but instead express patience and stage what you are trying to say differently. Do not brand them as stupid or crazy if they cannot understand you. It could be your choice of words and demeanor is confusing to them. It may be easy for others to understand you but it doesnt mean that this person would also be able to do the same. Remember that each person, their experiences, comprehension, and demeanor is different. You have to match their understanding to make your point. It is not necessary for them to meet your style of communication.

2. When faced with an aggressive or pushy person, do not push back or try to retaliate with more aggression or rage. Instead, try walking away and avoid a futile attempt to communicate with someone who is obviously has lost their mind in anger. Allow them to cool down. Life doesnt end at that moment. You can always return to discuss the concern or issue later again if it is worth your time.

3. In an argument, state your point calmly and patiently try to explain. There is absolutely no point in raising your voice or expressing anger which makes one deviate from the point of concern to a battle of rage and ego. Remember that a disagreement is often with a certain issue and work or discuss to agree or agree to disagree. Do not turn it into a battle of egos or who can shout louder than the other. The volume of your voice or the choice of harsh words has never helped driving a point through. It has only helped aggravate the emotion. (I thank my sister for this lesson). 

4. When someone is stubborn in doing something that you believe is wrong and they do not listen to your advice, learn to let them learn by their mistakes. As you learn from your mistakes and people need to learn from their failures, let them go through the process. Some people choose to learn this ay and it is better for them. And also remember that some people may choose to do something which they fully well know could result in getting hurt. But they have their own reasons. For example: I know those who go out of their way to be nice to people who could hurt them because they belive that their nice and loving behaviour may help inspire the other person to become a better person.  So learn to be supportive of such people. Allow them to do as they seem fit after having explained your concern. But be there to support them with your love and understanding if they get hurt.  

5.  Do not stop yourself from reacting to any situation. By staying silent to avoid possible discourse, you invariably position yourself as a victim in your mind. Instead try to react in a manner that you express your point respectfully without hurting anyones ego.  Remember that as your react to a given action. Your reaction provokes others to respond too. So try to react in a manner that will invoke a positive response from others. In other words, your reaction can calm things. Your reaction can aggravate a situation. And your reaction can inspire others to be like you.

  • React to a problem with a solution not stress.
  • React to anger with calm and composure not anger.
  • React to stupidity with humor nor ridicule.
  • React to adversity with empathy not rage.
  • React to authority with compliance not aggravation.
  • React to injustice with polite defiance not violence.
  • React to ego with class and humility not disrespect.
  • React to confusion with patience and rationality not impulse.
  • React to arrogance with avoidance not submission.

Remember that your reaction can inspire change. Be inspirational! The world is often nothing more than a result of your reaction to any given situation!

I leave you with some chosen inspirational quotes from some well-known people about choice and reactions:

A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events and outcomes. It is a catalyst and it sparks extraordinary results. ~Wade Boggs
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“Man is made or unmade by himself. By the right choice he ascends. As a being of power, intelligence, and love, and the lord of his own thoughts, he holds the key to every situation.” – James Allen (1864-1912, author of As a Man Thinketh)

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 For some reason I did something where I realized I could get a reaction. That was when I broke out of my shell at school, because I really didn’t have any friends or anything like that and I just kind of was going along, and then finally I did this zany thing, and all of a sudden I had tons of friends. ~Jim Carrey 

“You and I are essentially infinite choice-makers. In every moment of our existence, we are in the that field of possibilities where we have access to an infinity of choices.” – Deepak Chopra (1946-…, physician and author of The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success)

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Reaction – a boat which is going against the current but which does not prevent the river from flowing on. ~Victor Hugo~
“Until a person can say deeply and honestly, “I am what I am today because of the choices I made yesterday,” that person cannot say, “I choose otherwise” – Stephen R. Covey (1932-…, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People)

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That’s what takes people out of the fight half the time. They get hit and half the reaction is your ego is saying, ‘I cannot believe that person just lit me up – how humiliating.’  ~David O. Russell~

“There are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them.”- Denis Waitley (1933-…, motivational speaker and author of The Psychology of Winning)

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The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed. ~Carl Jung
 
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 Start with what is right rather than what is acceptable. – Peter F. Drucker

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It’s choice – not chance – that determines your destiny. – Jean Nidetch


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