The most valuable thing you have in your life is your time and energy, and both are limited…

′′….. Stop having hard conversations with people who don’t want change.

Stop showing up for people who have no interest in your presence. I know your instinct is to do everything to earn the appreciation of those around you, but it’s a boost that steals your time, energy, mental and physical health.

When you begin to fight for a life with joy, interest and commitment, not everyone will be ready to follow you in this place. This doesn’t mean you need to change what you are, it means you should let go of the people who aren’t ready to accompany you.

If you are excluded, insulted, forgotten or ignored by the people you give your time to, you don’t do yourself a favor by continuing to offer your energy and your life. The truth is that you are not for everyone and not everyone is for you.

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Book of the Month – February 2022 – The Psychology of Money

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Timeless lessons on wealth, greed, and happiness doing well with money isn’t necessarily about what you know. It’s about how you behave. And behavior is hard to teach, even to really smart people. How to manage money, invest it, and make business decisions are typically considered to involve a lot of mathematical calculations, where data and formulae tell us exactly what to do. But in the real world, people don’t make financial decisions on a spreadsheet. They make them at the dinner table, or in a meeting room, where personal history, your unique view of the world, ego, pride, marketing, and odd incentives are scrambled together. In the psychology of money, the author shares 19 short stories exploring the strange ways people think about money and teaches you how to make better sense of one of life’s most important matters

The biggest barrier to positive change is identity conflict.

The more deeply a thought or action is tied to your identity, the more difficult it is to change it…… The biggest barrier to positive change at any level—individual, team, society—is identity conflict. Good habits can make rational sense, but if they conflict with your identity, you will fail to put them into action….

Over the long run, however, the real reason you fail to stick with habits is that your self-image gets in the way. This is why you can’t get too attached to one version of your identity. Progress requires unlearning. Becoming the best version of yourself requires you to continuously edit your beliefs, and to upgrade and expand your identity.

James Clear from Atomic Habits

𝗜 𝗹𝗼𝘀𝘁 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗿𝗮𝗰𝗲 𝗯𝘂𝘁 𝗴𝗼𝘁 𝗯𝗮𝗰𝗸 𝗺𝘆 𝗹𝗶𝗳𝗲 !

E𝒗𝒆𝒓𝒚𝒐𝒏𝒆 𝒕𝒉𝒓𝒐𝒖𝒈𝒉𝒐𝒖𝒕 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒘𝒐𝒓𝒍𝒅 𝒉𝒂𝒔 𝒌𝒆𝒑𝒕 𝒈𝒊𝒗𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒆𝒙𝒂𝒎𝒑𝒍𝒆 𝒐𝒇 𝑻𝒐𝒓𝒕𝒐𝒊𝒔𝒆…𝑺𝒂𝒚𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒕𝒉𝒂𝒕 𝒔𝒍𝒐𝒘 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒔𝒕𝒆𝒂𝒅𝒚 𝒘𝒊𝒏𝒔 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒓𝒂𝒄𝒆 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒆𝒎𝒑𝒉𝒂𝒔𝒊𝒛𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒗𝒂𝒍𝒖𝒆 𝒐𝒇 𝒑𝒆𝒓𝒔𝒊𝒔𝒕𝒆𝒏𝒄𝒆 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒅𝒆𝒅𝒊𝒄𝒂𝒕𝒊𝒐𝒏.

Well ! No one has ever bothered to ask the Hare his side of the story, so let me tell you the story from a different point of view…

I met the Hare and sat down with him for a heart to heart talk.This is what he had to say after we spent the better part of a balmy summer afternoon getting to know one other.It was a wonderful experience, believe me..

“Yes, I am the hare who lost.No, I did not get lazy or complacent.Let me explain.I was hopping over the meadows near the hills and looked back to realize that the tortoise was nowhere to be seen.Assured of my healthy lead, I decided to take a short nap under the large banyan tree near the pond.The anticipation of the race had kept me up all night.For days, that old silly tortoise had boasted about his ability to plod for hundreds of miles without stopping.Life is a marathon, he said, not a sprint.I wanted to show him that I could run both far and fast.

The shade of the tree was like an umbrella.I found an almost oval rock, covered it with grass, and turned it into a makeshift pillow.I could hear the leaves rustling and the bees buzzing – it felt they were collaborating and even conspiring to put me to sleep.And it didn’t take them long to succeed.I saw myself drifting on a log in a beautiful stream of water.

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Become an instrument only, and my intervention will be constant….. 

Why Sri Krishna did not save the Pandavas when they played dice with Duryadhana & Shakuni

Since childhood, Uddhava had been close to Krishna, charioting him and serving him in several ways. He never asked for any wish or boon from Sri Krishna. When Krishna was at the verge of completing his life’s mission on earth, he called Uddhava and said, “Dear Uddhava, in this avatar of mine, many people have asked and received boons from me; but you have never asked me for anything. Why don’t you ask for something now?” 

Even though Uddhava had never asked anything for himself, he had been carefully observing Krishna since his childhood. He had always wondered about certain contradictions between Krishna’s teachings and actions, and had always wanted to understand the reasons for these apparent or real contradictions.

So he asked Krishna, “I have observed that several things you have done or not done in your life were different from what you have always taught or stood for. I truly wish to understand why —  for instance, during the great yuddha,  the role you played confounds me to this day. I’m curious and wish to understand. Will you explain?” 

Krishna said, “Uddhava, please ask without hesitation.” 

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12 Blocks to Active Listening

Communication is central to any type of interaction and relationship. Most relationship problems can be overcome if individuals improve their communication skills, and replace passive, aggressive and passive-aggressive communication with more assertiveness.

What we often fail to comprehend is that active and assertive listening is THE most important communication skill. In fact, we usually put more effort in how we can get our point across and become more assertive in what we ask and express, than actually realize the significance of our listening skills. We tend to forget that communication is a mutual process of listening to the other and expressing ourselves.

Today our focus will be what prevents us from listening actively and attentively. By recognizing the 12 blocks to listening and realizing when we engage in those, we can subsequently improve our listening skills. This will inevitably bring positive changes in the way we communicate with others.

After all, listening does mean not just hearing with our ears, but actively being mindful and attentive of what is being expressed, so that we first understand it fully. You are what you listen to- and this does not only apply to music!

The 12 Blocks to Active Listening

If you often find yourself in situations that you cannot communicate with someone properly, maybe you are also not listening properly.

Of course it is understandable that we can not always give our full attention to whoever is talking to us- yet understanding what prevents us from doing so is a first step in making necessary adjustments in order to improve our communication. Let’s look at 12 common blocks to listening.

1. Mind Reading

Have you ever caught yourself drifting away from what the other person is saying, because you are already making an assumption in your mind about what they will say?

Although this is to some extent natural and automatic in many conversations, and it may suggest that you understand the other quite well so that you can already guess what they’re about to say, mind reading can become an obstacle in your communication with others.

The reason for this is, the more time you invest in trying to figure out what will be said next, the less involved you are with the present moment and the other person.

After all, no matter how well you know and understand your conversational partner, you are not really in their head- so it is beneficial to actually listen to them rather than presuming you know their next sentence before they utter it.

2. Rehearsing

We can all be guilty of this occasionally; rehearsing means preparing what you will respond next, before your partner has finished talking.

This can often be accompanied by interrupting the other, to say what popped in your mind- which can take a negative turn quite easily, because interrupting is regarded as quite offensive and aggressive and can trigger a defensive attitude of the other person.

Then your focus is on constructing your next argument, not on the person talking to you. Consequently, you focus on yourself and not the other- but listening is all about the other.

It can therefore be worthwhile to pay close attention to them for a bit- it won’t be long until you also have a chance to speak. In addition, the more attentively you listen, the better you will absorb and understand the other’s message- so the more authentic you can be in your response.

3. Filtering

Filtering means having selective attention only to certain types of information, and letting your mind drift away otherwise.

We tend to use filtering when we want to ensure we are not threatened, or when we expect or wish to hear specific things from the other.

For instance, if you feel you are in danger if the other becomes upset, your attention may be more tuned to cues of increased emotion of the other. If the threatening cue is not present, then you can be distracted by your own thoughts and lose concentration.

Understandably, this is a block to effective communication because you do not receive the whole message of whatever the other wants to say- only fragments of it. You basically hear only what you want to hear.

4. Judging

Judging means having a negative opinion that is already firmly established about the other person, or making negative criticism in your mind about what they are saying.

By making judgements or assessing that the other person is not worth listening to, you close yourself from actually hearing what they have to say. Being open and flexible is always an advantage in communication.

5. Daydreaming

Something the other just said triggered a memory, image or thought in your mind- and then you got carried away on your train of thought.

You know how it goes, one thought let to another, and another, and off you go! Suddenly you are disconnected from your partner, lost in your own mind, drifting away. Or you simply lost interest and therefore concentration.

Often when you return to the conversation, you have absolutely no idea of what has been said so far. You may feel confused or awkward. This can be very embarrassing in some occasions, especially when you ask a question about something that has already been expressed while you were off somewhere far. It is quite obvious that such a thing is disrespectful to the other person.

Seek First To Understand Quotes By Stephen Covey
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Book of the Month – July 2021: ATOMIC HABITS BY JAMES CLEAR

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by [James Clear]
No matter your goals, Atomic Habits offers a proven framework for improving–every day. James Clear, one of the world’s leading experts on habit formation, reveals practical strategies that will teach you exactly how to form good habits, break bad ones, and master the tiny behaviors that lead to remarkable results.

If you’re having trouble changing your habits, the problem isn’t you. The problem is your system. Bad habits repeat themselves again and again not because you don’t want to change, but because you have the wrong system for change. You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems. Here, you’ll get a proven system that can take you to new heights.

Clear is known for his ability to distill complex topics into simple behaviors that can be easily applied to daily life and work. Here, he draws on the most proven ideas from biology, psychology, and neuroscience to create an easy-to-understand guide for making good habits inevitable and bad habits impossible. Along the way, readers will be inspired and entertained with true stories from Olympic gold medalists, award-winning artists, business leaders, life-saving physicians, and star comedians who have used the science of small habits to master their craft and vault to the top of their field.

Learn how to:
*  make time for new habits (even when life gets crazy);
*  overcome a lack of motivation and willpower;
*  design your environment to make success easier;
*  get back on track when you fall off course;
…and much more.

Atomic Habits will reshape the way you think about progress and success, and give you the tools and strategies you need to transform your habits–whether you are a team looking to win a championship, an organization hoping to redefine an industry, or simply an individual who wishes to quit smoking, lose weight, reduce stress, or achieve any other goal.

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If you want a good life…..

The story of two Farmers:

Once upon a time,.in a small village lived two poor farmers. They had small piece of land on which they worked hard to take care of their own and their family’s needs.

Suddenly, both of them died on the same day. Yamraj (God of Death) took both of them together to God.

God asked them, ‘What was missing in your life?’

One of the farmers said angrily, ‘You gave me nothing and I lived a very painful life. I had to work in the fields like a bull all my life & whatever I earned had to be spent on just feeding myself & my family. I couldn’t wear good clothes or feed my family good food & whenever I was able to make some extra income, someone would come & take away all. I had nothing left with me.’

After listening to him God again asked, ‘What do you want now? What should I make you in your next life?’

The farmer replied, “God, do something so that I never have to give anything to anyone. I only receive money and things from all sides.’

God said, ‘Ok. You can go now. I will give you the life you have asked for.’

He left.

Now, it was the turn of the other farmer. God asked him, ‘What was missing in your life?’

The farmer, with folded hands said ‘God, You have already given me everything. A good family, some land, plenty of food to eat. I and my family never slept hungry. 

There was only one shortcoming in my life which I regretted my whole life & still do today. Sometimes, hungry or thirsty people used to come to my door, to ask for food but I was not able to give them anything as I didn’t have enough to give & they had to return from my door, hungry.’

God asked him, ‘What do you want now? What do you want to be in your next life?’

The farmer pleaded with God, ‘God, do something so that no one will ever go away from my door, thirsty or hungry.’

God said, ‘Ok. You can leave now. You will be given what you asked for.’

Both the farmers were born in the same village on the same day. The farmer who asked only to recieve money from all sides but not give anything to anyone – he became a beggar in the village. Now he didn’t have to give anything to anyone. Anyone who passed by him, used to give him money & things.

Moral: It is often seen that, mostly people always like others’ things more & because of this they are not able to live their life well & are never happy. If you want to live a good life, think good. Do not count just the shortcomings of your life, rather be grateful & enjoy what God has given & serve others, you’ll never lack anything & will ways be happy.

On the other hand, the farmer who didn’t ask God for anything except that there would be never a day when anyone has to leave his house thirsty and hungry – became the richest man of that village.

-Osho

( contributed by Mr Balasunder)