One of the common issues that my clients seek coaching support for is getting on top of Procrastination. And they look for a quick fix—a solution overnight. Unfortunately, procrastination is not something that can be wished away just by rubbing the magic lamp. Rather, it calls for lifestyle adjustments so that Procrastination loses its vice-like grip over you, becomes powerless, and then falls by the wayside, whilst you move on. So that it never again catches up with you.
Let’s have a closer look at the issues underpinning the procrastinating habit. Things either don’t take off or fail to pick up steam for some of these common reasons:
- We are not sure that that is the right thing for us.
- We do not have the confidence that it can work.
- We don’t want it badly enough.
- We baulk at other unpleasantness that can likely crop up in the wake of going for it.
- Things don’t pan out as planned or expected en route.
- We don’t seem to have the time for it.
- We don’t know where to begin and when to begin.
- There’s too much clutter in life that it is hard to focus on anything for long.
Sounds familiar? Yet, isn’t it hard enough to not be able to get a handle on what needs to be done to overcome it? Well, it is not really as hard as it might appear. Here are some simple techniques to master the art of doing things on time. Follow them in toto, and procrastination will become a thing of the past.
- Writing down is a powerful process. Keep a journal for ideation and logging small victories. Also use it for writing down goals. Have long-term goals and short-term goals. Give dedicated time for the journal virtually every day and review short-term goals and goal-progression. Having a platform for ideation and logging victories provides great motivation, and motivation is the nemesis of procrastination.
- Use the ideation and goal-review time to decide what is really needed, what its priority is, and how to make the breakthroughs.
- Make a game plan for every goal. Schedule the action (allot a date and time for doing it). This is sacrosanct.
- Don’t make the mistake of overburdening yourself. Do not chew more than you can bite. Things are best done when they are done one at a time. Always have enough free time for all the routine but ‘must-do’ things in life.
- Don’t hurry and don’t worry. Goal-realisation is always time-bound, step-bound and non-linear. There is no other way. Do your best, but allow things to take their own time and run their own course. Have Plan B in place so that you can hold your own till the time Plan A is completely rolled out. Plan B is the key to manage the tension whilst Plan A unfolds and gets executed.
- Action is the essence of goal-realisation. The process of goal-realisation being non-linear in nature, challenges do pop up. Course-corrections will be necessary. The circle of Planning, Action & Review (PAR circle) is a sureshot recipe for achieving anything. Pursue PAR relentlessly but relax mentally, and allow things to unfold over time.
- Develop Discrete Thinking, which is thinking in spells. Think through all important tasks and events, register them, and then leave them alone. Do not let them linger in the mind. Even for victories, whilst you register them and log them in your journal, do not keep gloating over them as, goal-realisation being non-linear, many of them can lose their halos sometime later. Practising detachment over victories will help you fight back during setbacks.
- Wrong and over eating lead to excessive thoughts. Cut down on junk and processed food, and shift gradually towards natural and wholesome food. Gradually cut down the size of your meal portions, and you will find yourself more relaxed, handling challenges with aplomb. Life is a game, play it.
- Increase love & forgiveness in your relationships. Poke fun at yourself, and stop taking yourself too seriously. Allow the ego to melt little by little. Life is love, enjoy it.
- I always say that the hardest thing in this universe is not diamond but changing mental habits. Take the help of a coach. A skilful coach will help you to change your mental habits and reach your goals.
When life becomes a breeze, you are not bound by your mood to do what you want to do. You will no longer need a reason or a season to be able to work effortlessly. That’s when Procrastination loses it power on you. And you become Powerful.
This century belongs to Innovation. And organizations that foster creativity will rule the roost. Organizations where artists become engineers and engineers artists. But innovation is not easy. To borrow words from Steve Jobbs, you need to be “super-honest” to innovate. Just as the anchorite meditating in the Himalayas keeps saying “Neti, neti …” or “not this, not this …” till he gets to the bottom of his search. To be super-honest is to be wanting to know the most brutal truth and nothing else. Where everything else is secondary.
Everytime some thing singular rocks the world, we wonder if it can get any better than this. But human innovation continues to surprise us. And where does this never-ending supply of innovation spring from? Innovation is actually inherent in nature. The world of nature is filled with innovative ideas waiting to be discovered and tapped. It is a world where the intersections of artistry and engineering are found in abundance.
Have a look at this video to know of the boxing champion with the fastest punch in the world and how nature designed this amazing capability. We read in comics about the Phantom being able to pack a punch faster than lightning. Well, here is a real-life demonstration of such a capability:
Scientists in Germany have come up with a startling evidence of life after death. In this daring experiment, they had subjected volunteers to clinical death conditions for twenty minutes. On returning back to ‘life’, the volunteers carried memories of warmth, overwhelming light etc during the period when they were clinically dead. Read the full article at http://worldnewsdailyreport.com/german-scientists-prove-there-is-life-after-death/ .
The fact that memories were generated even during the clinically dead conditions is indication that life does not stop even after the body and brain die. This breakthrough in our understanding of life after death has deep implications. It answers one of the greatest questions in the history of humankind. That there is an indestructible intelligence in all of us. That lives forever.
Today is Teachers’ Day in India. It’s a day when we remember with gratitude our teachers and all those who taught us to live and act better. I consider the teaching profession as the most powerful profession in the world because teachers can influence the thinking of so many, like few else can. Yet, beyond a point, a teacher does not stay with us for ever. Then, we have to fend for ourselves. So, the question is: where do we find the best teacher for ourselves again? If we search for the answer deep within us, we will find it inside us! Yes, we can be our own best teachers!
Great people have found answers deep within themselves. Great discoveries were triggered by “light-bulb” moments that occurred within the person. But the answers never come on a platter. They are thrown up by the indestructible intelligence within when an open mind drives relentless action. And true teachers enable us to open up our minds, and eventually our worlds. I tip my hat to all the teachers in my life.
Have you ever wondered about Diversity? Is it really a bad thing? The universe is full of diversity. Even people of the same demographics are diverse in their thoughts and behaviour. Sometimes, children from the same home are so different from one another. The paradox of diversity is that while it is the mother of all causes of conflict, it is also a panacea—it has a solution to any problem! Diversity itself is not bad; it is our misconceived perception of it that leads to all sorts of problems. By celebrating it, we can celebrate life.
It is because of the diverse nature of life that all sorts of permutations and combinations exist in the universe. Somewhere one of them will meet your unique requirements, no matter how singular they may be. History proves this to be true (you may validate this with your own experiences). That’s why there always is a solution to every issue. You have only to search for it, and the universe will assist you to find it!
Whenever you feel anxious, worried or afraid of something, answer these questions:
- Is there something happening or likely to happen that is worrisome? If so, what is the real danger? How much of it is real or imagined?
- How many times in the past did you go through such a state of emotion? How many times did the fear turn out to be true?
- Did being in a state of worry help or did it complicate matters, related or unrelated to the main issue? Would being courageous or optimistic have been better?
- If the very worst thing I fear happens, how can I mitigate the harm?
- How much of the anxiety is really due to the actual issue and how much of it is due to my anxiety about what others would think of me?
(People forget your failure when a new success sets in.)
The best way to beat uncertainty is to create a plan and work on it. No plan can be perfect, but as you keep working on it, the way forward opens up. This is a natural law.
Often, people who move up rapidly in their careers have displayed the ability to grasp complexity. Dealing with complex information or situations can be disconcerting. For the untrained, it even can cause disorientation. The ability to handle such information or trouble overload hinges on the following:
- A mountain of patience
- Ability to connect the dots
Complex issues need time and dedicated focus. Recognising this is a first step in building patience. The most skilful of the problem-solvers dovetail practice with theory. Often, theory is relegated to the background as bookish. But theory is the distilled essence of practice. The skill of the achievers lies in extrapolating it relevantly to the problem. This calls for micro-detailing. Collating information and drilling down to the first principles are the essential ingredients of this process. Often, reality can be diametrically opposite to what appears prima facie. Let’s take a few examples to understand this. A pump is pumping water through a water line whose cross-sections are of varying diameters. Most people, including many engineers, will tell you that the pressure is maximum when the water flows through a constriction in the pipe. But, if Bernoulli’s Theorem is applied the answer will be surprising. The water pressure is lowest at the constriction and highest at the widest diameter!
What happens if in an insulated room the door of the refrigerator is kept open? The room will become cooler, pat comes the common answer. A closer look at the laws of Thermodynamics will reveal that the room will actually become warmer. Most engineers think that distilled or demineralised water is not corrosive. The reality is pure water is actually “hungry” water and is more corrosive than water with moderate levels of dissolved solids. We can continue with more examples to reinforce the understanding. So, is it that common sense is wrong in these examples? It is not common sense that is actually wrong. The trained mind knows that all that glitters is not gold. To such developed minds, common sense will actually tell them not to jump to conclusions but to go deeper and plumb till the nadir.
Grasping complexity is not everyone’s cup of tea. It needs to be conscientiously developed over years. When that occurs, the experience is humbling. It reveals how often we could go wrong, even when we obstinately thought we were right. It teaches us to listen and to value everyone’s views. It makes us realise that there is always something to learn from anybody, from any situation. It makes us better leaders.
On the occasion of the Mahatma’s 144th birthday, let us have a fresh look at a few of his sterling qualities that today’s leaders can think of emulating.
Gandhi did not display leadership qualities in his younger days. He was shy, introverted and probably was not a born leader. One thing was for sure: his value systems were in place early on. His example tends to suggest that value systems tend to promote leadership qualities even in those not born with them.
Virtue and Assertiveness make a winning combination. Gandhi personified this. He had his way with the Indian National Congress on all matters of importance. Modern leaders tend to shy away from old world values for the fear of being castigated as Luddites. But virtue does not mean weakness or meekness. When coupled with assertiveness and fearlessness, it leads to great magnetism and mass appeal. Gandhi was one of the most photographed Indians of his time.
Great leaders do not hesitate to experiment with path-breaking initiatives. Gandhi’s Non-Violent Movement and Salt Satyagraha were gems of creativity and beyond the scope of normal mortals’ imagination. Few would have thought that these simple concepts would become such unstoppable juggernauts. What courage must he have had to believe that they would ever take off with such a great impact on the masses! Improvement is only possible with experimentation. Gandhi’s life is an epitome of empiricism. His life is a saga of theory and experiment juxtaposed to create a telling effect.
Humility is the hallmark of a deep spiritual quotient. Meher Baba said, “In the world of spirituality, humility is as important as utility.” Gandhi’s humility, deep love for people that comes in its wake, and self-effacing ways endeared him to even the greatest of minds. It played no small role in his ascension to becoming one of world’s greatest leaders.
Slowing down and deep reflection are essential for becoming visionaries. Gandhi’s mind-boggling creativity was promoted by his lifestyle that permitted deep reflection. In a gentle way, he shook the world.
Today is World Heart Day. The heart is considered to be the seat of emotions. The heart sends more messages to the brain than the other way round. A most effective way to bust stress is self-talk directed to the heart. The heart responds faster to self-talk than one can imagine. Filling the heart with loving thoughts is a great antidote for stress. Dr. Wayne Dyer says that kind behaviour increases the hormone serotonin in the body and serotonin is great for relaxation. Images of Jesus often show the Sacred Heart in a halo. Hanuman, of the Hindu mythology, is often pictured with the image of his Lord Ram in His heart. Descriptions like “large-hearted” and “brave-hearted” show the powerful connect between the heart and emotion—in particular, positive emotion.
Great men trust their heart. They listen to it. They strengthen the voice of their heart by leading great lives. Steve Jobs says, “And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become.” Sathya Sai Baba says that you will never be wrong if you listen to your heart.
The heart is truly amazing. It beats 100,000 times a day. It pumps 7600 litres (2000 gal) of blood every day. The blood vessels that it pumps into traverse 96000 km, which is nearly a quarter of the distance between the earth and the moon! I take my hat off to this greatest and most efficient machine that man has ever known.
The Lord’s heart is soft as butter. It melts by the warmth of prayers.