Take charge of your life

Everyone constantly faces challenges – at home with our spouse, children or other family members; at work with your peers and bosses. Sometimes life itself seems a challenge because it throws up so many relationship-based and situational challenges.

But the biggest challenge of them all is one’s mind. Often, it is possible to control everything else but one’s mind. Being master of the mind is no less than mastery of the world. Chapter 6 of Bhagavad Gita says, “Our mind is our best friend and our worst enemy. If we know how to manage our mind, we can manage our time, our relationships, our life, everything.”

This is where spirituality comes in. Spirituality is not a way to look at certain things, it is a certain way to look at all things. It is the path to a mentally decluttered value-based life. It is also about managing relationships in different sorts of challenging situations. Spirituality teaches us control of our thoughts, emotions and desires. It is actually the science of managing one’s mind.

The result: A sense of well being, tranquility and inner peace. It also creates the feeling that one is on top of the situation and in control of it, rather than the other way round. Spirituality is not bound by the confines of religion because it’s not about chanting prayers, undertaking pilgrimages or charitable work. It’s about much more than that. Contrary to what we all believe, spirituality is not just for mystics or old people. It is meant for everyone.

Life is beautiful but only if you really want it to be that way. This needs you to make a conscious decision to achieve your full potential and give your life greater meaning. Many of us are not aware of our potential. One must never let life slide by. Inspiration, curiosity, love, knowledge and enthusiasm give life its true meaning. We are said to be ‘living’ life only when we experience happiness, lvoe and fearlessness, not stress, anxiety, boredom and a sense of aimlessness.

The truth is we need sincerely to try to enjoy every step of this journey called life. One is always waiting for something to happen to be happy. Alternatively, we wait to complete the job at hand and then enjoy the fruits of it. But that means we are always postponing happiness. Happiness is in the journey not the destination.

It is important to do things we value because only then can we give 100% of ourselves ot it. Chapter 3 of Bhagavad Gita explains that this si about the concept of swadharma, or finding one’s true calling and following it sincerely. Once we value what we do, we start feeling good about ourselves. The self-esteem goes up. It also gives a sense of purpose and meaning to our lives.

Once we start to have some controls over our actions and become more positive in our outlook, we may also find the law of attraction coming into play. Inexplicable events occur and we find things falling into place for us. they seem to be coincidence but that’s the law of attraction working for you. You attract what you think. We can align our inner world with the strong belief that whatever we wish for will happen. When you think positive, you get positive results. Let the power of positive affirmation take over. It was well said that what you visualize it that you realize.

The capacity to sacrifice is something we must all reckon with. It is sacrifice that enables one to appreciate the real worth of what one does because it takes a great deal of effort, introspection and prioritization to give away something. Sacrifice always brings joy and growth. An important aspect of sacrifice is that it requires you to go beyond your comfort zone, which creates a physical, emotional and intellectual blanket around us and prevents us thinking new thoughts.

We become prisoners of our self created comfort zones. We don’t open up to new people and become averse to criticism. We cling to the emotional crutches we have created.

At the intellectual level also we become stubborn. “It’s either my way or no way” is the constantly nagging feeling.

On the other hand, when we sacrifice something, seek something else and transcend our comfort zone, we are no longer scared of change and grow as individuals.

In real terms, most of us are averse to change and resist it. We fail to realize that everything is changing anyway, whatever comes has to go and it is pointless to cling to it. That’s when one can start to come to terms with life’s ultimate truth, i.e. that change is the only constant.

The Bhagvad Gita says, “When we live in this world, we experience the pairs of opposites – hot and cold, joy and sorrow, success and failure. They come and they go. And even while they are here, they are temporary.

Most of times, it is resistance to a changing situation, rather than the situation itself that creates conflict. Instead, one should face a situation as it is and refrain from coloring it with biases. Lapsing into “why me” or “why did it have to happen” makes for mental turmoil.

Through acceptance of situation as it is, one automatically starts focusing on finding a solution rather than on the problem itself, And sure enough, one does come up with a sensible solution.

As Harivansh Rai Bachan said, “Apne man ka ho to achha. Na ho to aur bhi achaa. (If we get what we want, it’s good. If we don’t get it, it’s even better).”

Making of successful leader

Who is a good leader? What is it that makes a good leader stand out in the crowd and mesmerize you with his/her finesse in everything he/she does? Experts say that along with numerous other qualities, it is the quality of feeling empathy towards your employee and colleagues that actually makes one a successful leader and eventually leads to the success of any organization.

You can find people in leadership roles almost everywhere you look. However, simply shouldering responsibilities of a leader doesn’t necessarily makea a person an effective leader. Leadership itself is a privilege and a skill. There are many leadership skils and competencies that when combined and applied, go towards making you an effective leader.

So what is empathy? Empathy is the ability to have an intuitive understanding of other people and their needs. Within a business setting, it is critical for empathy to be as widespread as possible, permeating all departments from sales to accounting to manufacturing. In today’s world, as evidenced by the terrible financial crisis of last year, there is a possibility that we could get too caught up in data. When we do that, we often fail to see truths that are right in front of us. Employees at ll levels of an organization need to understand the people beyond the office walls – their customers, their clients etc. This enables everyone to make better real-world decisions. Over time, even the smallest decisions influenced by empathy add together to produce a more informed and nimble organization.

Empathy is a necessary attribute of a great leader but i is not sufficient. A lot more is required. In fact, some highly aggressive corporate environments see empathy as a sign of weakness. A good example of such cold-bloodedness was the hot-shot chief executive Albert John Dunlap, who appeared to relish the title of ‘Chainsaw A1’, bestowed upon him for the way he could and would fire any number of employees without hesitation. Well, he was considered to be golder CEO for a while, but he ended up being denounced for an accounting fraud! And that’s the core of the matter – people who are not empathetic often end up being selfish and short sighted instead.

Effective leaders, make tough decisions when situations warrant, but hey also communicate with employees and understand what they are going through. Empathy distinguishes a good leader from the great ones, in a crises situations.

It has been understood that empathy is one quality that a leader must possess in order to be successful and it also plays a role in making an organization achieve its vision. So,, what are the behaviors that go into making any person empathetic towards others and how can this quality be developed?

Empathy can be built from three major behavior
– Recognizing your own shortcomings – past and present.
– Listening to others and learning more about their lives and their private challenges
– Explicitly aspiring to a noble deal of leadership.

If you want your business to adopt widespread empathy, there are really three steps to follow.
1 – Leave the office and get outside. Go to places where people are most likely to act like themselves.
2 – Be genuinely interested in other people. Forget about what is that you do and start caring about the needs of others. Find the real needs first and your solutions will dramatically improve too.
3 – Bring evidence of the real world back to your offices.

Empathetic leaders position people first. True empathy stems from the leader’s ability to display genuine concern towards the needs of others. High level of empathy is denoted by:
1 – Listening to people:
Pay attention to their tone of voice, to the hidden emotions behind what they are saying to you and to the context. Don’t interrupt people. Don’t dismiss their concerns offhand.

2 – Focusing on the non-verbal communication:
the body language of people often communicates what they think or feel, even when their verbal communication says something quite different.

3 – Being fully present:
when you are conversing with people, don’t check your email, look at your watch or take phone calls. Allow people to have their comment.

4 – A Smile:
it makes people comfortable and you more.

Hence, it can rightly be said that, even if you have all the qualities of becoming a successful leader, but if you miss the basic quality of feeling empathy towards your teammates, your journey towards success will be very short lived. Put yourself in their shoes and see how success touches your feet.