Monday, March 31, 2008

Why Learn So Much?

Every now and then, we see things change. To keep up with the knowledge, we have to chase after them. Even when we are trying to stay low and avoiding them, new information keep coming towards us through various channels.

That is the time when we question ourselves "Why learn so much?"

Yes, we do capture and absorb knowledge as it come. But what is the rationale behind it?

Learning new skill and upgrading our current abilities is a must nowadays to survive in the working society. Even when we are not working, we have other skills and knowledge to keep up with. New digital products, new roads, new systems, new policies, new kids, etc, are things we cannot avoid.

The rationale after learning and updating is not to keep the latest, but to apply the learned know-how. It generates more opportunities after knowing more things.

Learning is an input process that allow us to link or relate future to present. We learn to prepare ourself for the future and the coming challenge that new information brings.

So does the new information motivates us?

No,information gathering and containing actually do not motivate us. It may initially, but the uncertainty of having it kills our interest after a few round.

What really motivate us after learning new things is the ability to see chances for improvement or better opportunities that lie ahead. The "brightness" at the end of the learning tunnel is the catch that quitely motivate us, without us knowing it sometimes.

What is amazing after we jumped into applying the new skill is the discovery that we are a more confident and relevant person (to the society). This is another element that pushes us to move forward to upgrade ourself.

For those who still ponder why they need to learn so much, they may have lost most of the exciting moments that others have experience.

Thus, the message is to learn as long as we can and apply the newly gained knowledge to better ourself.


Friday, March 28, 2008

Art Of Smiling

"You're are never dressed until you wear a smile"
- Charley Willey

Starting the day with a smile is a positive step towards a fruitful day.

Smile spreads to others easily.

It is a welcomed sign to many people, and one that nobody will reject (provided it is done in the proper manner).

However, smiling is not simply a physical action. It involves the psychological part too!

A smile reveals many issues.

A sincere smile can be seen and felt by most people.

But a fast-pulling smile done for the sake of protocol may not receive any good feedback.

Do you agree?

How then do we REALLY smile?

Attitude comes first. If we are to smile, do it sincerely.

If the person is a friendly one and no previous bad encounter with, the smile will be easily produced.

However, when it is otherwise, then more effort and mentally preparation has to be done first.

What are they?

To give a sincere smile to whoever deserves it, change your mindeset.

If he is one person who you had detested but has been forgiven, think of his kind deeds done previously. Know that he is still human, and human does err. Changing the mindset will reduce the bad feeling towards him, and ultimately smoothens the emotional friction. The smile produced then will be a better one.

Cleaning up or purifying the thoughts and feelings towards a person, can change one's perspection and therefore, generate a nice feeling in a person. This emotional and pyschological impact gives a smile that will reveal a sincere and kind giver.

Another way is to think of self.

Do you want to, forever, have a disturbed and unbalanced internal reaction upon seeing someone?

Use the smile to rectify the situation.

Use the practice of "One stone kills two birds".
- One, smiling cools you down.
- Two, smiling breaks down any unfavourable situation.

Bring out the smile from the heart. Appreciate and be aware of the goodness of a well delivered smile. Know its advantages. Through the times, a habit will be formed, whereby you can easily produce a gentle smile that everyone will like.

Everyone can smile, but smiling from the heart takes effort and awareness.
Do it sincerely and warmly. Cheers! : )

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Things Are Never Straight

When we opened up our eyes each morning preparing for a new day, we are bombarded with events. Deadlines to complete tasks assigned, new projects, children to take care off, meetings, dental appointments, and the list can go on and on....

Sometimes, we find that we are put into a situation that is helplessly choatic. This is so even after time scheduling. Last minute activities are now a constant. Things poped up now and then to disrupt a good time table. Buffering for accidents and interruptions do not seem to be enough.

How do we mentally deal with this?

Should we give up the high expectation and take things easy?

To be strong and honest with ourselves, we should not damage our hope for improvement by giving up due to the intense time pressure. Rather assess the situation, re-defining the scope and try our best to catch up with the pace. Trying our best will be a consolation when things do not match the outcome. At least we are in a better mental position to understand that we had tried our very best.

People may criticise us for the results obtained, but if we had done our utmost best, we know in our very own heart that we are great to have achieved this level of outcome amidst all the surrounding difficulties.

Giving up is a no-no in any case. The strength to stay on, after committment, is a good virtue for anyone desiring to be a better person. By not taking action or avoiding taking action when things are not straight reflects weakness in the person's character. Waiting for things to go straight (before taking action) is a myth.

Things will never go straight!

Mentally prepare for this message in life. Take action no matter what happen. Stagnation is a killer to progress. Move on and learn along the way. With progress, comes improvement. By doing things and understanding them, we enlarge our knowledge for future applications. Learn to address complex situations as they come forth. Face them head-front with a positive attitude. Even in failure, we do pick up some pointers. This is the learning spirit for anyone wishing for self-improvement.

Appreciating Ourself

Human mind is a wonder. It creates nice thoughts as well as horrible ones. It controls our feelings to love or hate others. And it can even dictate our own thoughts! We are always mentally conflicting ourselves almost every now and then.

Are we at peace with ourselves?

External factors do affect us greatly. Our senses are sometimes confused. Mentally we lost track of what we should be doing. Our mind has too many things to consider to think rationally. We do not find peace psychologically.

Sometimes, we encounter people who are nice to us but are cruel to themselves. They worked for others neglecting their family and self-interest. We do appreciate these people, but sympathise them for their unlimited help to others at the expense of self. If we are like them, do you think we are balanced?

In order to address the above issues, what we should be looking seriously at, is our appreciation of self. What this means is to clean up ourself mentally before all else can be meaningfully carried out.

Appreciating ourself has to be done with a kind intention and not with a selfish objective. It should be done with the aim of helping self in order to help others.

Self-disciplining of the mind has to be look into. Be aware, continuously, of how you think and what you think. (It takes time to strengthen this part though). Always strive for positive encouraging thoughts as these will enlighten your life and well-being. Throw out self-destroying thoughts. Understand yourself. Be honest with yourself. Know your weakness and strength. Stay cool and understand that whatever you have done is the best possible within all means.

Basically, hug yourself.

This is a cruical step for anyone to make peace with himself and to seriously appreciate himself.

What benefit does this step have?

We live in a society full of people. We encounter them everywhere. We work in a team most of the time. If we are not able to appreciate ourself and clean up our thinking, how else are we to appreciate and work decently with others? How else are we to wish the best of others?

Good things, therefore, has to start from self before they can spread to others in the appropriate manner, and not the imbalance sense. By doing and constantly practicing self-discipline to have clear thougths, we will indirectly help ourself by reducing the chance of self-conflict, and also, fill up our surrounding with positive thinking community of people.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Momentum Is The Key

Stagnation means staying put in your comfort zone, playing it safe and doing what you have been doing in the past. No new experiences, no thrill and no progress.

For progress to materialise, you have to move to new areas. After gaining whatever is intented in that new area, search for another new experience for continual improvement. This set the momentum for self-improvement.

You may have done your initial part of the planning:
- Identified your strength and weakness
- Defined your short and long term goals
- Prioritised the goals
- Identified the action to take to reach your goals
- Identified the skills needed to reach your goals
- Deceided on the time frame for each goals

What's next?

Take action! Sitting on a plan with be forever, sitting and dreaming of the plan and the goals.

Having taken all the crucial steps in sequencing the steps to arrive at the goals, move forward. Start with the first step, and then the next step. Keep up the momentum. Keep moving.

Human has a tentancy to slack off into their comfort zone at times. Therefore, keeping check on the schedule is necessary. Self-discipline matters here. The constant push to stay on track. Momentum will ease the inertia when thing moves.

When too long a break is taken, the start-up time and effort increases. This will put more resistance into you, mentally and physically.

Therefore, no matter how small is the step, do it to stay in progress. Shorten the break period to your most comfortable level, but keep moving. Momentum is the key! Self-improvement will automatically come next. :)

Monday, March 17, 2008

Level Of Self-Expectation

We get many expectations daily. They may come from within ourselves, or come from others. The expectation may range from high to low requirement. Some may match our abilities, while some, sadly, do not. What can we do to reduce the gap in the expectation?

Here, note that, expectations from external factors cannot be controlled at times. Hence, what we can do in this circumstances, is to negotiate the terms and relevant scope that is expected of us. However, do face the challenge if the expectation is potentially within our means.

The other type of expectations are those that come from self. This is definitely under our own control. We know best our limits and threshold of pain. So for this type of self-expectation, what is the level we should set for ourselves?

Sometimes, we hear people complaining, with all sort of reasons, why they cannot succeed in a particular area. They blame this and they blame that, but not themselves. Self-expectation comes in here.

The level that we set for ourselves, if too low, will result in a low reward. The path to success will, therefore, be slow (unless lucky!). The less we expect, the less we are willing to do to achieve the expectation. If we set the standard to be too high, and outside the reach of ourselves, we are asking for failure and demoralisation.

Thus, to set an appropriate level is not a simple task. It may have to be iterated at times to adjust for a suitable standard. Do not be afraid of changes. (Only you yourself knows it). Be honest and do accordingly.

Set a level that is slightly above your norm and check the results or outcomes. If they are still within your potential and you feel comfortable, go ahead with it. You may even raise the level higher for the excitement to self-motivate. Why not?

If you face failure, do not give excuses and back off. Re-adjust your level again, and keep focus. Stamina and attitude matter in whatever you do. Just remember, the lesser you expect from yourself, the lesser you will do to achieve it. This may spiral downwards and reach an undesirable stage.

Hence, buck up and go for the ride of your life journey. Set a suitable challenging self-expectation, and dash off ........ All the Way!

Friday, March 14, 2008

How To Control Your Emotion

Everyone of us has emotion. We are human, and we live in a world full of events. Some events favoured us, while some are against us.

People also affect our emotion and our thinking. They make us hot and make us cold. They may like us at times, and dig at us another time.

So what is the constant here?

The constant is we, ourselves. It is our conscious and our self-belief.

What affects us are external. If we are able to isolate this external inputs from our internal self, we are then in a better position to control our emotion, regardless of whether positive or negative. Though we can maintain the positive emotion (example, extreme happiness) as we wish. But extreme sadness? I suppose not!.

What are the key elements in controlling our emotion?

  • Understanding ourselves. This will reveal our strengths and weaknesses in dealing with events. Learn to match or re-focus feeling to other areas that we are comfortable in. Do not dwell long into any extreme situation where emotion gets intense. Move away! Come back to the situation only after some time when emotion or feeling settles down, and when better understanding of event has occurred.

  • Our role in the event. Some roles do not permit us to reflect an honest expression and this affects our emotion. Example is the role as a customer front-line officer. He is expected to be polite and courteous all times. However, he may encounter nasty customers that "do not give up complaining". If he follow suit and rebel, emotionally both side loses out. In this case, self-awareness is important. "What is our duty?". "What is our purpose in the situation?" Try to isolate inputs from our personal feeling. Attached them to the role and serve the duty properly in order to address any adverse situation. Emotion will, therefore, not be affected with this knowledge.

  • Understanding others. Place yourself in the other person's shoe. Seek to understand the situation from his point of view. New discoveries may happen and better relation can materalise. You will be talking in the same frequency as the others (if possible and appropriate). This element will serve to dilute any extreme emotional swing when dealing with unhappy occasion.

Emotion is a sticky problem. Learning to control it takes time and sincere practices. Internalise the way to react and control. Be honest with yourself (be frank over your weaknesses), and aim to be clear of your emotion for the good of yourself and others.


Friday, March 7, 2008

The Skill Of Self-Praising

Now and then, we do like to hear nice comments about us. This is a fact as we are human. We need the extra motivation to move us on.

Comments that make us fly, remarks that allow us to dream and statements that cause us to sing, are what we like to have (even if they are not sincere!).

So what if none comes in?

We cannot always depend on others to praise us. They do not owe us any!
We will have to earn the praise, and have to work for it.

But during the times when we really need the much-desired praise and no one is in sight, the only person to praise us is OURSELVES.

Therefore the skill of self-praising comes in. We cannot anyhow praise ourselves. By doing so, we are asking for trouble. Any little thing, however, simple, if we start praising ourselves, we will get numb after sometime. We will be immue to sincere praises later on.

To receive praise from ourselves, we must know one thing.
It is to set a goal or target, and only where upon achieving it, can we qualify to praise ourselves. The goal set must be slightly above our capability though.

Another issue is the complexity of the goal.

If the goal is too complex and cannot be fulfilled at one go, we can break them into smaller goals. Praise for reaching the individual smaller goals can motivate us to carry on with the next task to reach the final goal.

Be clear of the objective of self-praise. Upon mastering this skill, we are in line for self-improvement. This self-praise is a catalyst to improving ourselves faster. With this skill well-learned, we need not have to depend on others to give us the added motivation to move on. We can self-independently strike on and complete any mission set forth.