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Tuesday, September 15, 2015

4 Great Examples Of Presence Of Mind

Most folks wonder how to improve presence of mind? or how to develop presence of mind?
Some people also appear for the presents of mind or presence of mind tests and fail miserably.
First let us understand the meaning of words:
The presence of mind definition or presence of mind meaning is pretty straightforward.  Presence of mind is your tact sensitivity in a given situation, this is a key aspect of your personality. You can avoid lot of stress and unnecessary hassles if you are on top of your mind and do some small things in the right way.

Here are few examples:

Be Careful with Cash Transactions

When you make any monetary transaction in cash
 if you need to pay $80 in cash and you take out a $100 bill then while handing it over to the receiver utter these words or something similar "Here you go, I am giving you $100".

In India:
if you need to pay Rs 80/- and you take out a Rs 100/ note then  while handing it over to the receiver utter these words or something similar "Here you go, I am giving you Rs 100/-"

How does this help?
The above are just example of small denomination. If the transaction is in cash and the amount is considerable(not every small) then uttering the words will help you and the receiver remember exactly  how much amount was handed over. This will help avoid confusion in situations when either you or the store owner is in a hurry or if either party is absent minded while the currency was being handed over.

Also Read: How To Stop Procrastination and Improve Productivity

Be Careful When You are Put on the SPOT

In your professional life, you will be in situations where you will be put on spot. Be Careful. Don't Panic. Retain/ Maintain your composure and your balanced state of mind.

For example, if you are a manager and your boss(senior manager) calls you and asks you who is the worst performer in your team? Don't be pressurized to give an answer. Ask your boss the reason why he is asking this question. Understand his perspective, then ask him for some time to think over it. It may be few minutes or an hour, but it always helps to buy some time. This way you can do due diligence with your immediate team members and understand the consequences before you share any name.

Another example of presence of mind while negotiating is given below:

Boss: This is the maximum salary(X) that we can offer you for this transfer.
Me: No, I need, X + (50% of X)
Boss: Are you crazy? that is not happening, you know that's too much to ask
Me: I know, If I need a revolver, I need to ask license for a War Tank
After sometime, negotiation for the role...
Boss: For this project you need to report to Mr. X (here X was senior to me but X and me were reporting to the same boss)
Me: Boss, once you make someone captain of a team then later you cannot make him a vice captain.
Boss: What?
Me: Have you ever seen president of a country become a vice president? Once the expectation is set, it is set.
Got both, better salary and the right role, reporting.

Conclusion: Your ability to apply courage, common sense and tact sensitivity in a given situation are key factors which determine your presence of mind. This is one of the most important aspect of a persons personality. If you are focused and agile this skill will take you to supreme success in your career and life.

If you read this article, you may also want to read Great Habits and Fundamentals of Success

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Take It Easy

Life Advice from a Shuttle Driver

Year 2012. I was working in US and was going through an interview process to move from one project assignment to another.  For a specific internal job opening,  I was called for an interview at least 4 times. I desperately wanted to get selected for this position. But each time I used to go over for an interview, the interviewer used to reschedule the interview giving some reason. I started to get frustrated because I did NOT have a car. I had to take company shuttle to move from one building to another building. It was very tiresome and time consuming, it also started to adversely impact my current project and day to day activities.

So when I was called for the 5th time, I wasn't in a particularly good mood, forget about motivation, I was actually in a state of mind that I should just get done with this process/ formalities with zero interest in either getting selected or rejected. 

On my way for the interview, I boarded the shuttle. The shuttle driver was a lady, from her looks she looked like ~40 to ~45 years of age. She started casual conversation with me. I shared few details of what I was going through. One topic led to another and in the process I realized that she drives that shuttle right from 7 AM in the morning to late evening. She has responsibilities of her family as well. She did mention that the job was tiring and takes a toll on her body but while narrating all the hardships she had a smile on her face. In no way was she complaining. In fact she also shared few things which stated that how important was this job for her and how it has helped her to support her family.

The entire conversation instilled the much required positive attitude in me. While I was about to get down from the shuttle she wished me good luck and said "Take It Easy". These last three words came as a jolt to me because before I boarded the shuttle I was very frustrated and negative. While getting down I had a changed perspective towards my own situation. I knew I had a bad experience in the past but all I needed to do was to "Take It Easy". I realized that with a positive and cheerful state of mind my chances of getting through the interview would be brighter. I smiled to myself, walked towards the interview room with confidence and passed the interview with flying colors.

Lesson Learned: Our state of mind is a key success factor in critical situations that life throws at us. If we don't panic and learn how to take it easy we have better chances to sail through. When life throws lemons at you, learn to make lemonade out of it.

You Don't Fail Until You Quit

This happened just yesterday. I was in a discussion with some of my younger colleagues on their achievements and lessons learned of past one year. It was a very  engaging discussion and everyone came up with lot of good thoughts on what they had achieved and what they had learned in last one year. It was a very important discussion and all the more important because it is their first job and it was the first year of their career.

All of them came up with great pointers on the lessons that they had learnt in the last one year. Here are the top six which I would like to share:

You are on your own

Come what may, you are your own. You will get all the help possible from the support system around you but at the end of everything you are on your own. Even GOD helps THOSE who HELP themselves.

Never Lose Hope

There will be difficult times when you will think that things are not working, you may start to lose hope. There will be times when you would be on the verge to give up. That is the time, that is the moment when you need to close your eyes, take a deep breath and tell yourself "Not Yet". I am not giving up. I am going to try One More Time.

Business Impact

Your ability to understand the business impact of what you do will take you to great heights in your professional life. It doesn't matter whether you are at a senior position or a junior position, it doesn't matter whether you are a business consultant or a technical expert, your ability to understand the business impact will be a key aspect in defining your professional success.

What Goes Around, Comes Around

What you sow is what you reap. Your Karma will strike back, it may not be in the exact same form and shape but when it does you will know. So take a pause, think before you speak, mark your words and think before you act because everything will back to you one day with compound interest.

Learn the Art of Negotiation

80% of your professional success depends on how you communicate and negotiate, only 20% is skill based. So whoever you are, whatever you do, learn the art of communicating and negotiating. Don't just listen, pay attention. Don't just see, but observe. Don't just speak, but make sense.

Think Globally, Act Locally

Last but not the least, the thought that went through my mind with jet speed is Think Globally, Act Locally. I was Awestruck with this thought and started to imagine the multiple ways in which this thought can be applied to our day to day lives. So, I decided to google it and guess what, I found About 6,29,000 results in 0.32 seconds. Here are few key results:

Think Global, Act Local for the Planet, for the environment.

Think Global, Act Local for the Community
Think Global, Act Local for the Business, for the Customer
Think Global, Act Local for the Digital World, because digital is changing the world we live in
Think Global, Act Local for your own growth as a person and as a professional

Hope this helps the readers to learn from the experiences of others.

Read More:  Ten Things You Should Definitely Do Before You Turn Thirty

Sunday, September 6, 2015

The Jury Room

At some point in time, we reach a stage in life where we realize that whatever we are doing on a day to day basis to earn our daily bread is in reality not of our interest. We of course have to do it anyways because it provides the much needed job, money, comfort and serves our daily needs. But then in our subconscious mind, we always ask ourselves: Is this really that one thing that I want to do for my entire life? If yes, then good. If not, then what is that one thing that I would like to do with all my intensity. What is that one thing for which I can put everything at stake? What is that one desire? What is that one driving factor? What is my Passion?

Alright then, we now know that we need to find our passion but then the next question is: How do I find my passion? How can I find my passion? What do I need to do?

Lets find out.

As per wikipedia, Passion is:

Passion by definition is a very strong feeling about a person or thing. Passion is an intense emotion, a compelling enthusiasm or desire for something.

How would you find yours?
Here is a trick. Get yourself into "The Jury Room". This jury room is not the same jury room as shown in the TVF show TVFPitchers. This my friends is a real jury room where you will live with yourself and make your life's most significant discovery, that of discovering your passion. 
So here is what you need do to:
Confine yourself to a room/ place with no human contact. Have all the possible material available to live with comfort(that is food, grocery, internet, television etc). Be in that room/ place for continuously 21 days without any human contact. No one comes to meet you. You meet no one. No phone calls allowed.

On the 22nd day, when you walk out of that room: You would exactly know What Your Passion is v/s What Your liking, disliking and just mere interests are.

Did I try this? Yes, I did. Not in its purest form as described above, but very close to it. And definitely it was not on purpose/ planned. It just happened, it lasted for about a month and a half. 

Did I have human contact? Yes, I did but it was very very minimal. So the answer is coming from that experience. If you really want to find out your passion, you really have to spend time with yourself. In peace. 

Why 21 days? There are no hard limits but if you can push yourself into doing  something continuously for close to 21 days then you will either figure out that " it doesn't work for you, eventually you will give up" or that you like it but "not that much" or you will figure out that "Yes,  this is that one thing that I would like to do this for my entire life". That my friend is your discovery of your own passion.

Conclusion: The most critical aspect of life is to be able to earn our daily bread and to support ourselves and our family. However, in the day to day routine we should NOT forget or ignore our real talent and/ or our real passion. One needs to spend quality time with oneself in order to find out the real passion. You will stumble upon lot of opportunities in life which will seem promising, you will also find lot of things which will seem to be interesting but your real passion will be deep within your heart and soul and you will really need to dig deep within to discover it.

So, spend some quality time with yourself, get inside the Jury room and find out what is your purpose of life, dream big, start small but act NOW because the purpose of life is a life of purpose! Wish you all the best.

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