November 10, 2019

Leadership Lessons for the New Age

Born leaders are rare. They have an inexplicable magnetism that draws people towards them. An example of born leaders are the Dalai Lamas, the Buddhist leaders for spreading compassion and helping people attain enlightenment, who have been chosen in their childhood for the last six centuries based on spiritual signs.

Leadership is now believed to be a skill that can be acquired by working upon yourself.

Let’s start with a question. Ask yourself, “Why do I want to be a leader?”
The answer is likely to be - To take forward a cause close to my heart.

Then ask, “How will I know that I have become a leader?”
The answer is, “You are not a leader, if you are not able to make people follow what you wish them to follow.”

So what is it that will make people follow you to take forward your cause?

At a leadership workshop of 50 bright students this is exactly what was asked and out of the 50 different answers that came from these students 37 were most relevant.

Broadly the answers were of two categories:

  1. Self-qualities that will draw people to you.
  2. Qualities towards others that will draw people to you.

I am going to elaborate upon these qualities so that you can, recognize the ones you have and build upon the ones that you need to develop, to be a great and authentic leader in the New Age.

SELF-QUALITIES THAT WILL DRAW PEOPLE TO YOU:

  1. Constant evolution: One who is continuously improving through self-development. Go for wholeness, perfection will follow. Reading New Age stuff and attending workshops will help to stay relevant, somewhat like an “App” that needs a download of regular updates for better performance and adaptation to new trends.
  2. Courageous: One who takes the bull by the horns and moves forward. But when tackling evil, you need courage with caution. 
  3. Confident: One who knows what they are doing and where they are going. Unstoppable but not overconfident nor arrogant in attaining your vision.
  4. Good speaker: Proficient verbal communication in gatherings and interviews is important to get people fired to do what you wish them to do. Imparting your original, non-cliched thoughts without any ambiguity is important and so is being humorous. Clarity should be part of your communications strategy, so before you speak, understand.
  5. Problem solver: One who doesn’t desist from delving into problems to solve them. Don’t walk away from hurdles but cross them. Thinking itself is a box. If you want "out of the box" solutions, be silent to open this ''box" to get insights and then focus your awareness on them.
  6. Leads by example: One who shows the way by leading from the front. Be the path-breaker but not pompous about it.
  7. Responsible: Taking responsibility does not mean you are guilty. It means that you have the conviction to lead and do whatever it takes to get the best outcomes.
  8. Selfless worker: This shows that you can sacrifice a few things dear to your heart in order to take forward your cause. There is no gain without pain. But this pain will not be a suffering.
  9. Positive attitude: This keeps you going even in the face of adversity and lifts your spirits as well as the spirits of those around you. Positivity attracts positivity and this will always help.
  10. Committed: One who is consistently involved with a cause will always achieve. The persistence of soft water flowing over hard rocks is able to round them beautifully.
  11. Calm in the face of adversity: A high emotional quotient is needed so that you become an anchor for those who are following you. A low emotional quotient will drive people away from you because negative emotions are like a bad odour. Natural equanimity in the face of opposition is desired. 
  12. Energetic: People like to see a spring in your step. It is magnetic. Exercise makes one more energetic.
  13. Powerful: If you are not well connected you are not powerful. In today’s age your network is your net-worth. It is wise to pilot your leadership in an initial hub before using networking to scale up, because when you showcase your abilities others are drawn to you.
  14. Creative: Creativity makes your approach innovative, and newness is always welcomed. A balance of inspection and introspection will enhance your creativity especially in tackling uncertainties and complexities.
  15. Enthusiastic: Enthusiasm begets enthusiasm. Be passionate towards your cause, and always hungry to do more and push boundaries.
  16. Idealistic: Keeping to noble, ethical and moral principles of a land is important. Any immorality on your part will take people away from you. Do what is right. Don’t do anything against your cause in private, otherwise you yourself will become ambiguous.
  17. Resilient: If you fall down seven times, get up eight times. Be a champion who never quits.
  18. Intelligent: Intelligence is a quality that can be developed with mental exercises such as Gestalt Thinking. This is important for strategic thinking to achieve your goals. Answer questions with a presence of mind.
  19. Acceptable Appearance: Do in Rome as the Romans do. You need to look appealing to your target audience for them to be drawn.

QUALITIES TOWARDS OTHERS THAT WILL DRAW PEOPLE TO YOU:

  1. Takes everyone along: Don’t let anyone feel left out from your cause. Involve them in your processes and engage them for something meaningful in your cause. A feeling of ownership is important to keep your followers loyal to your cause. Making a few decisions democratically by engaging in regular conversations is a good idea. Discriminations should be made upon declared criteria.
  2. Concern for team members: Anticipate needs of team members. Read about the paradigms of different generational groups and become sensitive to them. Respect for others is paramount for leadership.
  3. Makes leaders: An incredible law of the universe is that, what you give you get. So the more leaders you make the more your leadership will be enforced by the universe.
  4. Good listener: Do not listen to reply, but listen to understand. If you try to prove you are the smartest, you actually prove you are not smart, because there is no definition of ''smartest". 
  5. Inspirer: You need to inspire people for your cause with your thoughts, words and deeds. When you do this with feeling it has emotional appeal. Appreciation inspires. Figure out what motivates different generational groups. It’s not always a “carrot”.
  6. Honest: Fact check and don’t project fake facts. Make sure that your transparency levels are so high that little can be done behind the back of your followers. This will enforce integrity and fairness which are important factors for building an attractive culture.
  7. Polite: Don’t just be a flower but a flower with a fragrance. People are drawn towards genuine kind words and genuine kind actions.
  8. Empathetic: Feel what another feels and then act accordingly. Be kind.
  9. Helper: This may be your ultimate fuel for happiness! When you help others you get a "helpers high" and others feel grateful about the help they receive. One good turn leads to another.
  10. Belonging-ness: You have to come to an understanding that you and your followers are one family and you must behave like a family member. Family gatherings build fellowship.
  11. Sacrifice: Sometimes you have to sacrifice something in order that your followers or your cause gets something beneficial.
  12. Punctuality: If you are not punctual often, your followers may lose interest in you.
  13. Willingness: Be willing to take up causes incidental to your main cause.
  14. Flexibility: A rigid tree can break in the face of a storm but a flexible one survives. Be open to “pivoting” your cause or point of view, if the environment demands it. Be in an organic flow.
  15. Supportive: If you find someone disturbed, take them aside at an appropriate moment and place, and give well considered inputs for solving their problems. Be an understanding counsellor.
  16. Social: If you are an introvert how will you reach out effectively to people? So become social and gregarious because that’s the true nature of human beings. Learn how to use "social media" effectively.
  17. Keeping to your word: This is important because if you don’t keep to your word often, people will lose trust in you.
  18. Compassion: Pursue your passion with compassion for sustainability. Ensure that there is minimal “hurt” with what you are doing. Mother your cause. This is the mother of most leadership qualities.
A true affirmation of most of these qualities is when you exhibit them even when concerned people are not looking.

Transformation begins with first transforming yourself.

All of these 37 qualities can be acquired or enhanced with one secret. To know more click here - Presence, Present Moment and Going With The Flow 

October 25, 2019

A Simple Meditation

Your soul is already, in bliss, aware, wise, creative, relaxed and also full of energy. All you need to do to renew yourself with its qualities is touch it by silencing your mind for a while. Meditation is how you do this and meditation is not as difficult as made out to be!

Before I give you a simple technique, let me tell you what it does. Meditation just increases the space between two thoughts and take note that there is nothing such as achieving complete stillness and no thought, here on earth! When the spaces between thoughts increase, there is less of habitual thinking which causes mental clutter and more of feelings and nudges coming from your heart. The hearts desires translate into thoughts in your mind and can be recognised by a relatively silent mind as your first thoughts on a subject. When we meditate, we can easily catch these "first thoughts" because we start to automatically watch what we are thinking! Here is an example of what a "first thought" is like and why you should follow it - If your friend asks you for a coffee and your first thought is a hesitation, then you must follow this hesitation and postpone your coffee for another time. Since your heart knows the future as well, the hesitation was caused because something closer to your heart, such as a close family member dropping by at home, is due to happen, and the coffee date will spoil it!

Now here are a couple of things to do to prepare yourself before you start your meditation.
  • First, the time has to be right. Early morning after a bath is a good time because you have yet not started your mind on thoughts about work.
  • Turn off any humming noise from appliances if you can.
  • Put your phone on "Silent" mode and if possible, place it in another room.
  • Sit straight on the floor or on a chair or bed.
  • Let your hands face up and legs be in a comfortable position because you don't want to focus on discomfort.
  • Close your eyes.

THE MEDITATION
After your preparation is done, slow down the pace of your breath to the slowest rhythm that is comfortable to you. This does not mean taking deep breaths but taking normal breaths at a slower pace. Now, mentally follow your breath at the tip of your nose going in and then going out. In your mind you can say “In” as you take a breath in from your nose and “Out” as you allow your breath to go out from your nose. After sometime if you don't feel like saying it, just follow your breath going in from your nose and out of it, with the attention of your mind. If some thoughts arise in between, let them come and go like you watch passing vehicles on the road. You don’t sit on every vehicle on the road and go off on it for a ride, do you? No! So, allow these thoughts to flow and just keep following your breath in and out with your mind. Do this till you feel like. And, when you feel like coming out of it, lie down with your eyes closed. Then, get up when you feel like.

Try to do this every day at the same time but without timing it. Don't ever time it because meditation is all about going into a timeless zone.

Rest assured that with daily meditation, you will be renewed with soulful energy, inside-out, for the day, every day. Your clarity and creativity will give you joy and when expressed will give others joy. Each day will surely be a meaningful day!

If you wish to go a step further into prayerfulness, then click on this link - Prayer and Worship

October 23, 2019

Hurt In The Heart

A hurt in the heart is like an arrow striking your heart and sticking there. I am sure that at least once in your life you would have felt this way. Now, where did this “arrow” come from and how did it pierce your heart?

First, when you are a loving person, you keep your heart open permanently for those you love. There are no shields on it because out of love you have removed walls that divide and restrict. Then comes a person you love who may not necessarily want to hurt you, but because they are not operating from an open heart they may be unaware of how open hearts are vulnerable to words and actions that can slight the heart and slit it. They are operating from the mind and the ego which gives a sense of a separate self and not a sense of family. They are operating from the qualities of the mind like shrewdness and cleverness; logic and analysis; calculations and returns; unfaithfulness and disloyalty. All these are the “arrows” thrown at you from their minds in the form of words and actions, and because your heart is bare, they strike and injure it.

Now, if you don’t call this out to the person who hurt you, they will continue to injure you and the injury within will continue to fester in your heart! Calling it out is also like removing the arrow and throwing it away so that the injury can heal. Remember to call out your hurt very specifically to the person who hurt you and tell them exactly what it was that caused discomfort so that they don’t repeat such behaviour. If they still continue blindly with the same patterns, then the best thing is to avoid coming into their line of sight!

It is possible that because of a past hurt you decided to shield your heart and gradually opened it later with time. A shielded heart is unable to express feelings and these feelings get pent up inside the heart in the form of emotions. When your heart is hurt these emotions come bursting out and you get emotional with tears or crying out aloud. This is perfectly fine because the heavy load in your heart is being emptied out. You can try beating a pillow too to get all your emotions expelled out. E-motions are just “energies in motion” and it is beneficial to get them out at the first opportunity to lighten your heart. So in a sense, an injured heart may become a blessing in disguise!

Don’t ever close your heart with a shield because the heart radiates love like the sweet fragrance of a flower that attracts the gentle caress of loving beings. Your heart is the conduit of God to spread love in the universe too. Would you want to deny yourself all these joyous gifts for the sake of a few pinches that pain your heart?

In closing, here is an apt quote to encourage you to keep your heart open:

‘‘The wound is the place where the light enters you’’ - Rumi


An interesting story about a heartbreak - Going For Love

October 16, 2019

Presence, Present Moment and Going With The Flow

The title has some buzz words, which if you have read or heard about meditation, you may have come across.

Meditation is a practice where an individual uses a technique to achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state.

Some people focus on an object or thought and some un-focus to be in meditation.

The fact is that one becomes mentally clear when the space between thoughts is increased whatever be the technique. There is no such thing as “no thought” because there will always be a thought conscious or sub-conscious at some interval unless you are dead!

One becomes emotionally calm when we allow, during our practice of some meditation technique, our pent up emotions in our sub-conscious to rise to the surface like bubbles and be expressed. Uncontrollable crying is often an outcome and the end result is calmness.

With meditation, when the space between your conscious thoughts increases and your sub-conscious emotions dissolve, you will feel your own “presence” as something larger than your body and mind and encompassing your whole being with a reassuring warmth. You are no longer worried and anxious about your future and you are no longer uncomfortable about some past happening. You are then right here in the “present moment”.

When you are in the present moment, you are then consciously “going with the flow” of each present moment as it progresses with different events in the course of the day. In your calmness, you accept every moment with whatever present it brings and because there is space between your thoughts, which is actually where your presence resides, you respond to each moment with wisdom. It is within this space that you get in-spirations, in-sights and in-tuitions. You now have a “presence of mind” because the space between your thoughts is awareness, tapped into the all-knowing super-intelligent “Universal Consciousness"!

When you go with the flow, you have consciously befriended life and no longer think of it as opposing you. You have started to walk hand-in-hand with time. You are not sitting still in some timeless realm nor are you shying away from events, instead you are engaging with each present moment with presence of mind and going with the flow... Isn’t it exciting that time brings to you waves upon waves of people, places and circumstances to engage with? It can be as joyous as waves upon the ocean landing on the beach where you walk. I feel you will become passionate about life if you think of it this way!

To receive each “present” from the universe with the same excitement with which you receive a precious gift, find a meditation technique and keep marching on...

If you want a simple one to start with, then click on this link - A Simple Meditation

October 15, 2019

Prayer and Worship

Prayer means an earnest and devout petition to God or an object of worship and it also means a spiritual communion with God or an object of worship.

The Indian word for worship is “Puja” and it is made up of two words, namely:
Purna - meaning Complete
Jiva - meaning Self

When you earnestly yield, to your object of worship, your “complete self” i.e. your ''body, mind and heart'', during worship (or even for that matter during your daily work because work is worship too), then you reach a blissful state of devout oneness! In this state you are in prayer and will receive answers to all your questions and wisdom to direct your life forward. When you are ''earnest'' (deeply, sincere and serious), then prayer becomes worship and worship becomes prayer!!!

This leads to a harmonious life where you are marching in unison with “All that there is”. You may ask, ''How can I know I am in unison with “All that there is” when a lot of It is generally invisible?''
Well the invisible has at command all the invisible stuff in you - your gentle nudges within, your conscience, feelings, thoughts, senses, and all of these in people and even things around you as well. So called inanimate things too have the entire blueprint of the cosmos present within them and are alive and kicking with activity within.

So if a book suddenly falls in front of you, it is the invisible leading you to it to gain the knowledge you need. If you bump into an old friend at a cafe, it is the invisible leading you to an exciting opportunity...

An understanding of prayer and worship must lead you to make it a daily and important part of your life in order to keep your invisible-self in harmony just as bathing and brushing your teeth have become a daily part of your life in order to keep your visible-self in harmony. I believe that daily bathing is honouring yourself too because not bathing is dis-honouring yourself. Similarly, daily prayer and worship is honouring the invisible and not praying and worshiping is dis-honouring the invisible. In prayer and worship, you are like an open vessel taking a dip in holy water that lies in the deep. The vessel gets washed from outside and takes a sip of the holy water from its opening and gets washed from inside too!!!

Are you now ready to commit yourself to daily prayer and worship? If yes, and you don't know where to start, here's a link with a simple way to begin - A 5 Minute Simple Ritual To Align With God

October 13, 2019

What Makes A News Service Trustworthy?

“Fake News” and “Paid News” have become the buzz words for all news coming from sources that have a wide outreach that it makes it difficult to build trust on any news service.

However, an intelligent person would ask, “What is the “agenda” of a news service?”

1. Is it to promote a bias like a particular political party/personality/organisation/religion or is it to promote facts for people to form opinions on those facts by including views expressed by all stakeholders related to a fact?

2. Is it to promote mainly dramatic events to build their TRP which translates into greater advertisement revenue or is it to promote a balance of negative, neutral and positive events in the same ratio as the quantum of such events? An example of “neutral news” is key findings in an Academic Conference which are rarely reported though a large number happen everyday.

3. Is the funding method of a news service, linked to big corporate houses, political parties or even non-profits that lobby; largely advertisements; or mainly crowd funding? Crowd funding would generally suggest that the news service is likely to be democratic otherwise it may not receive amounts from a vast population. If it is crowd funded by a group with say a political bias then it would be easy to catch that political bias in their news.

4. Most importantly, is it raising questions or reporting facts that will encourage people to make themselves and life better? Ex. What are the effects of over population in a country? What are workable solutions for controlling population explosion? And, is it broadcasting answers to such questions answered by authentic “Subject Matter Experts”?

Ultimately you have to spend some time to observe and research about a news service and come to your current decision on where to get your news from so that you make informed choices based on reliable information.

Want to know what global impact Artificial Intelligence can have? Click here - Will AI take away your job?

October 11, 2019

Why is there sacrifice, struggle and pain on earth?

Metaphorically speaking if everything that existed was just white coloured atoms then these white atoms would not know they were white. However, if they got an opportunity to be in a dark space then at least like a candle in a dark room they would know they were white light.

Further, if they got an opportunity to be each of the component colours of white in the rainbow spectrum one by one i.e. red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet, then they would experience and fully know each of their components.

Now to experience one component you have to forget that you are the other components, otherwise you cannot experience them. So there has to be a veil or filter to hide all that you need to forget and let in only that which you need to experience.

In real life this means that to experience being tall you have to forget that you are both short and tall and remember only your tallness. To experience being a gloomy person you have to forget that you are both cheerful and gloomy and remember only the gloomy part of yourself.

Forgetting parts of yourself and leading a less than whole life is a sacrifice because you do have to struggle when you don’t have all your attributes available to you and the struggle can be painful. If you have seen someone with amnesia or Alzheimer, you will understand the struggle and pain better.   But forgetting is necessary to realise your wholeness by experiencing your attributes in parts because there is no other way of realising them.

You can reduce the struggle and pain if you are willing to share your life with someone who has what you don't have. For example, an engineer can collaborate with a management graduate to open a tech start-up. The engineer makes a product with his skills and the management graduate grows the business of selling the product. Both fairly share the profits rather than neither of them having a profitable business! Both of them still are able to experience their attributes.

Until you realise your attributes by experiencing their facticity and particularity, you will be an un-satiated “white atom” and the good news is when you experience all your parts you will be a satiated “white atom” able to rest in the peace of “Being”. I guess then you would have a “been there, done that” kind of feeling sitting with the Lord of Creation and shall go no more out into the universe to experience its trials and tribulations.

Want an objective picture about life? Click here - The Painting of Life

For a deeper understanding of life I recommend the books pictured below

For a deeper understanding of life I recommend the books pictured below
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