Friday, January 21, 2011


A cursory survey of all successful people will reveal that they had one quality in common--self-confidence. Indeed this is one asset which multiplies your chances of success manifold. The absence of self-confidence rather nullifies many other qualities of a person.Self-confidence not only facilitates success,it also decides how others view you.The thoughts & actions of a confident person always carry an element of credibility,which boost his image & status. Therefore it is essential that if you lack this characteristic , you  take steps to acquire it so that you can attain your goals & fulfill your ambitions. 

A person's self confidence stems from his self esteem.Self esteem itself depends upon how those around you judge you & how successful you have been in your ventures so far.Ironically,while low self esteem impedes success,failure depletes it further.It is a vicious circle.The good news is that this chain can be broken.You need to make systematic efforts in order to do this.

First of all make an inventory of your positive traits. It is not essential that you be an Adonis or a  Venus. Perhaps you have a good height, or a proportionate body, or a sweet voice? Or you may be good at sports,or music, or computers, or personal relationships. Maybe you have a sharp mind & the ability to judge people?Are you sympathetic,courteous,cooperative & gentle? 
The list could go on & on.Just put down your positive attributes on a paper & you will see that you are not such a dud after all.While you are at it;also recapitulate all your achievements to date.A person lacking self confidence usually brushes his feats under the carpet;labeling them as chance happenings. Focus on them whenever you feel unsure of yourself.

Now think seriously-what has been holding you back till now?Go & look at yourself in the mirror right now.Do you carry yourself erect?Can you meet people in the eye?Are you always trying to avoid the lime-light & merge into the background?Is your speech clear & lucid?Are you self-evasive & apologetic in your comments?If the answers to these questions is yes then you need to change all this.It should be done through consistent,constant, mindful efforts.

Now that your body-language has been taken care of;It is time to address your self-talk.It is essential to remember that out of the many conversations that we initiate, those that are addressed to ourselves are most important. They decide whether we will be confident or wishy-washy, achievers or procrastinators, go-getters or back-benchers.Desist from injurious self-talk.Do not undermine your skills,talents and achievements.

Now sit down &think what it is that you always wanted to do but did not have the courage to try? I am not talking of gigantic ambitions here, but an average down to earth dream. Let us say you always wanted to play the drums but felt shy in expressing your desire to anyone. O.K!The time has come now to take action. There must be some musician or a hobby class or a musical society in your city. If not, then look up the papers or advertise for one. Find a teacher &go attend the classes. Before you know it you will be so involved in this activity that you will forget you ever thought yourself incapable of learning it. You will make new friends & this too will boost your morale. No longer will you be able to say honestly -even to yourself- that you are good for nothing.Just track some basic unfulfilled desires & work on them.

When one target has been achieved go for the second one. Plan out your schedule, set out a dead-line & then start. Sit down ,think hard & take your own decisions. Don't run here & there asking for advice. Ignore if someone gives you unasked advice which is likely to slow your tempo. Some people have this habit of throwing a spanner in the works. Avoid them. Use your own resources as far as possible. A target accomplished totally on one's own steam is soooo satisfying.

Show yourself the same consideration that you show to others--thump your back,congratulate yourself &celebrate your success. Aren't you happy that you have achieved two targets on your own? Continue in the same vein &you will feel a surge of confidence like never before.

 After you have attained 2,3,4, such targets you are ready for bigger game. Earlier you must have been very cautious &circumspect in your approach because you were not sure of yourself. But the time has come now to open up a bit ,to take calculated risks &to venture into new terrains. Success in a tough enterprise will give a never-before boost to your feelings of self-worth.

 But be prepared for setbacks too.When you try something new & difficult there are even chances of it going wrong.Take it as a lesson for the future.Obstacles & set-backs should make you better not bitter. Nobody succeeds every time . Remember YOU ARE THE SAME PERSON IN FAILURE AS YOU WERE IN SUCCESS. So the question of slumping back after a failure does not arise. People don't fail; they just quit.

Make sure that your ventures are in accordance with your principles & values because if you do anything against your grain it is sure to nibble at your confidence.Never go against your own value system.

As you advance on the path of self-improvement take care of your appearance. Discard old,worn-out,shabby clothes &get yourself a new image. Join a smart club,learn some new skills,keep up with the times &make new friends. Let your achievements be known in a decent &non-offensive manner in case people did not notice.It would be a good idea to let them know that you are no longer the self-effacing person you used to be. Here's wishing you all the best!
If you want more tips to augment your self worth and improve yourself here are two links :--


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Fighting # Failure

Urban society today lays a lot of emphasis on success.A well-to do person who is successful in his vocation is recognized as the perfect role model--one worthy of respect & admiration.And what are the indications of success?Why,a huge bank balance,a swanky car,a designer home in an exclusive locality,membership of upscale clubs----ah well,you get my point.!!Some are truly successful in the above sense.They are the privileged children of lady luck;some others stand at the other end of the spectrum-they struggle hard to make both ends meet.In between these two extremes are many levels.A laborer's son will consider himself prosperous if he earns enough to feed his family & save a little bit for a rainy day while a business tycoon's offspring will curse himself for being a failure if he cannot rise above the post of a manager.

This shows that a person's perception of his performance  in relation to his milieu,to a certain extent decides whether he will consider himself a success & be happy or deride himself for being a failure.Of course the highly materialistic yardstick of sucess also has a bearing upon how good or bad he feels about himself  in relation to his status.If this yardstick declares him to be a non entity then he is likely to feel inferior & insecure;irrespective of how worthy he is as a human being.

As a result each person is under pressure to perform-even beyond his capacity or aptitude. What happens to a person who is not cut out to be a high achiever? On one hand someone at least in his inner circle is likely to insinuate that he is not smart enough,or does not work hard enough to achieve success;while on the other,he himself could bow down under pressure & succumb to feelings of hopelessness.A feeling of inferiority & worthlessness could make matters worse.

Therefore it is time we gave serious thought to this matter--what is success & who should be labelled a failure.Failure could relate to any one of life's various aspects. Mostly it is a break-up in close ties,a set-back in education,career or business;and finally,the inability to get respect & recognition from others,which could brand someone as a failure.This can be very injurious for that person's mental health & morale.Therefore it is essential for him to safeguard against such a situation & replenish his self confidence once again. The insights given below will certainly help such a person to rethink his strategy &find success.

(1)Even if you have failed a couple of times or more,it does not mean that you shall be a loser all your life. Provided you don't lose heart-these very failures will tell you what to avoid in order to succeed. Learn from your failures,listen to constructive criticism & don't repeat your mistakes.

(2)Failure does not mean that you are not good enough or you don't have the wherewithal to succeed. We all function much below our optimum potential.According to Einstein an average person uses only 20% of his brain. So give it all you have &success will be yours.Start with an optimistic mind-set so that your hormones too,energize your efforts.A defeatist attitude  constricts your vision & dampens the spirit.It will not permit you to  put in your best & then you are likely to assert that "See, i cannot accomplish anything".It is a well-known fact that we get what we believe in.Believe in yourself & you will surprise yourself.

(3)When a person is dejected about his failures it is not only his own incompetence that is the cause of his sorrow. He sees successful people around him & concludes that they are cleverer,smarter or more intelligent than him. He forgets that he is viewing them at this stage of their life when they have arrived. Who knows how long they struggled, how many obstacles they had to overcome & how many setbacks they had to face , before they arrived at this juncture ? Not only this ,he also very conveniently fails to recognize those who are not so successful. Very unreasonably he gives himself the lowest marks.

(4) There is another sphere in which he holds himself to be at the lowest rung of the ladder. All others according to him have better luck than him. He genuinely feels that he alone has been saddled with umpteen inadequacies & problems , while everyone else is much better placed than him. This again is a fallacy which stems from a very subjective view-point. Only the wearer knows where the shoe pinches. Likewise most people are unaware of the tragedies in others' lives.If only we could peep into the lives of those we admire,whom we recognize as being smarter & high achievers;  who knows how many ghosts we may find in their cupboards!!!

(5) Therefore be more realistic & practical. Setbacks &problems will come. One has to learn to take them in one's stride. Do not set very high standards for yourself initially.Start by aiming at small targets.When you have gained confidence by achieving them,go for bigger ones. By and by increase the bar. Striving for betterment & not being daunted by obstacles should be one's motto. But remember -not everyone can be at the top.If you look at those who are above you,you will only be disheartened.Compete only with your own past performance.

(6) Setting targets & striving to reach them can be very stressful at times. Try to savour the small pleasures of life. Be near to & connect with your loved ones. Spend quality time with them. In addition,take out time to be with yourself--not to ruminate about your failures--but to enjoy a past-time or a hobby that you enjoy. These activities will lighten the burden of your sorrow& give satisfaction.When you achieve a target give yourself a treat-just as you would, to a favorite niece.

(7) Taking help &support from your family & friends is fine & also advisable. But other than them, coming to a wider circle, do not expect any concessions or approbation from those around you. This is an era of cut-throat competition. People have their hands full. If you expect too much from them you are likely to be disappointed.

(8) A person who feels inadequate or inferior due to his failures often imagines that people look at him with pity or scorn. This is  far from truth. As i said earlier people have hectic schedules. They don't have much time for others. Besides, public memory is very short. So do not be diffident or self-conscious. Go all out for your goal once again. You owe it to yourself & also to those who care for you ,look up to you & are dependent upon you.

 If you are drained of energy & stamina, this is probably due to your pessimism arising from your past failures.Any steps taken in such a frame of mind will give only half-hearted results.You have to go full throttle in order to be successful.Therefore get a physical check-up done & adopt a healthy lifestyle to insure you are fighting fit.Inculcate a hopeful & positive attitude & then see your efforts bearing fruit.

 Lastly there are many facets to a life. Widen your outlook to remember the ones that are satisfactory.Practice gratitude & contentment. It's a mixed deal that we all get &the positive aspects should always be uppermost in our minds.Set realistic targets for yourself minds.Nobody is a total failure & a failure is never final.What is more--public perception of your worth is only that ;it does not define who you are.

Pic courtesy google.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


It is true indeed that fate is very cruel to some--like the orphans,the physically or mentally challenged,those bereaved of all or many family members in one stroke,or those beset by sudden calamities through no fault of their own. One cannot but admire their grit & determination in face of such misfortune. The very fact that we see them around indicates that they accepted the inevitable & gathered courage to carry on. Hats off to them!

There is another group that complains of ill-luck & discrimination. According to them nothing good ever happens in their lives. They are so unlucky that they fail in every thing they undertake to do. If an outsider were to see their trajectory s/he too would notice that their efforts mostly come to a sorry end. Initially one feels sorry for them & extends moral support, but after a while all tire of them & drift away. 

This raises an important question--is it fate which is conspiring against them or is it because of their own weaknesses that they are not able to achieve anything in life?The answer is not so simple.It is a mixture of both, heredity & environment.Heredity it is ,which endowed them with certain physical &mental attributes which became their strengths or weaknesses.The environment too,must have played an important role in shaping their personalities,forming their behavior patterns and cementing their beliefs.

While talking of environment,not enough stress can be laid upon the kind of nurture a child receives. Even a weak or unattractive child can bloom & do well if s/he gets proper support from his family--particularly parents--& mentors.

The sort of heredity & environment a child gets might be clubbed under luck by the fatalists.But we have seen many swimming against the tide and coming out winners.If one is mindful of one's own strengths & weaknesses;& decides to overcome the latter,a lot can be achieved.

Take the case of Tina. I have known her since we were kids,living nearby,playing together,eating together &studying together. She was frail in health & ordinary in looks.This was in sharp contrast to her younger sister who was bright,chirpy & enthusiastic. There were constant comparisons between the two of them-- mostly at home &sometimes even in school. I remember how her face would lose all color at such remarks. She would lament that she was no good &born unlucky. This feeling took a stranglehold on her psyche as she grew up. Gone was the natural resilience of childhood &Tina was engulfed in a cloak of despondence. Her wistfulness at not being as good as her sister gave way to a strong belief that she was born unlucky &would remain a loser all her life. 

As i look back i can see now that because she did not expect anything good to happen in her life, she just threw in the towel & began to gloat in her failures. Her inertia attracted further disappointments & reinforced her belief in her bad luck. In fact she had begun to like this cocoon that she had built around herself. People would sympathize with her & she took on the role of a martyr. This was much easier than going full throttle for achievement.

At this point i decided to take charge. I made her see that her pessimism was actually the result of her childhood environment, &not because of a serious deficiency inside her or her stars. She did not expect anything good to happen in her life therefore she had given up setting goals & making efforts. Her attitude was also not conducive for problem-solving. So we put our heads together & chalked out a program for her.

(1)FAIR EVALUATION---Firstly she undertook an impartial assessment of her abilities &achievements. She realized that she did have the qualities required to be an achiever. It was her hesitation that was holding her back. As we looked back i pointed out many instances where she had attained success &won accolades.But she conveniently glossed over those instances & glorified her failures. These observations inspired her to change her mindset.

(2)BEING PROACTIVE --Once her attitude changed, she decided to be practical, to regard every thwart as a challenge&not a failure. She was no longer resigned to her fate but leading it by the nose.

(3)REALISTIC AMBITIONS--I cautioned her to not overshoot her capabilities. She started with tiny forays. Success in these made her optimistic &after a while she was able to achieve bigger targets.

(4)EMERGING FROM THE SHELL--Tina no longer felt unlucky or inferior. Her visage was much more serene &cheerful. Her confidence level was rising concomitantly with her achievements. No more whining but a zest for life & a hunger for more success. Now was the time to reach out to others-- even those who had discarded her for being too morose. I encouraged her to vocalize her new-found enthusiasm &satisfaction at the way her life was going.Today one does need to speak about one's accomplishments. Very soon people realized her worth. She joined the mainstream&people welcomed her with open arms.

(5)BEING PREPARED FOR SET-BACKS TOO--So far so good. But as time passes it is not possible to bask in the sunshine always. Ups &downs are a part of life. It was important to drill this into her mind so that she would not slide back at the first setback. I urged her to remember that nobody was lucky for ever. All had to undergo their own share of rough patches in the form of failures ,disappointments, difficulties, pain &grief. By nature some people were reticent about their personal problems. Not knowing their hardships,we considered ourselves to be the unluckiest souls on earth. 

(6)KEEPING CLEAR OF SELF-PITY --Tina realized that she had been suffering from chronic self-pity until she decided to change the course of her life.Her attitude obstructed problem-solving abilities. Therefore she had had more than the usual run of bad luck.Self-pity is just like morass. It sucks the person in it's vortex.

Now Tina proudly proclaims to others "Nobody is born unlucky. Make an effort to change your destiny. It can be done."

As long as one sets luck aside & concentrates upon one's own efforts, it is possible to better one's lot to a large extent.At least then one won't have cause for remorse because s/he knows that s/he has not been lacking in his/her efforts to evolve. 

What do YOU think?Do you believe in luck or hard work?Please share your thoughts.