Embrace Discomfort for Growth

untitled-1-copy

In today’s world we all want to be comfortable and have access to all the things that help us lead a life of content and happiness. Common perception is that we will be happy if we are comfortable, but what comfort does is that it makes us lazy, bored and actually discontented. We fail to realize that real happiness comes from progress and growth, that  it is the real inner desire of all. But can growth happen in a comfortable environment? What about the age old wisdom: NO PAIN, NO GAIN.

So we need to understand, what makes us comfortable can ruin us and only discomfort can make us grow continuously. Take the example of any athlete: Can they grow their muscles without the pain and discomfort of rigorous training, which stretches their capacity and grows them into world class athletes?

A gold fish is very safe in a small fish bowl but can it grow like the fish in pond. Safe environment can be a very limiting environment. So how exactly does this work? Let’s see.

In a limiting environment there is always stagnation and many of us can find comfort in this because stagnation has a sort of feeling of order. Order does offer comfort but there is no growth. Now whenever there is changed order it leads to complexity and that is the root cause of discomfort.

Old wisdom tells us that to grow against established players and norms, we need to cause a massive disruption. This will cause changed order, may be chaos in the beginning but ultimately will take us into the trajectory of growth.

I feel there can be 3 ways this disruption or challenge to existing order is caused:

1. Can be Forced upon us

This is one of the main triggers for most of the people. We remain glued to the comfortable and safe environment that we are accustomed to. We don’t see how much better we could become with change. And then one fine day when we are least expecting it, something happens that throws our life in a tizzy. Take example of vinyl record industry for music. The industry was there for a century when compact disc (CD) came and almost overnight the entire vinyl record industry was wiped out. What happened to the people involved in that industry? Well, after initial discomfort most of them were able to re-tool and adjust in the different environment and grow in the modern times with the new format getting higher sales volume and better quality.

2. Someone helps you get there

Another trigger could come when someone else helps us get there. I will give my own example here. I was comfortable in my sales job in a big company. Though the package was not very healthy but I was happy as there was not much job pressure and as it was a big company with dominant market presence we were always able to make sufficient sales and commissions. It was here when this nudge came from my wife encouraging me to look for some higher and challenging responsibilities. Now as my existing job didn’t offer that because of saturation, I started looking for other opportunities and started my own business. It was very tough in the beginning. The customers who I thought were my main strength didn’t feel interested in my new products and were wary of being associated with a new company which was just a startup. First two years were very uncomfortable, to say the least. I had to work double hard and still not get the results that I took for granted in my earlier job. I saw my earlier colleagues still happily working in old company. Many friends started questioning my decision but then slowly things started to change and my new small company started growing. This time changed me entirely and now in hindsight I feel, has broadened my vision. Today I thrive on challenges and look for new opportunities.

3. You trigger it yourself

Another change in order could be triggered by yourself. Take the example of Mahatma Gandhi. Think what would have happened if he had not opposed his racial treatment in South Africa while travelling in train or if he had not started the satyagraha and Civil Disobedience Movements against the oppressive regime in India. He also had the choice of accepting what was norm at that time like others did. He was a barrister and had a comfortable and high paying practice. He could have remained happy like others lived. But then the whole change in order would not have happened world wide. He looked beyond his personal comfort and figured out the real meaning of happiness. There are many such examples world over of people themselves embracing discomfort for growth. These are the people who change the world by accepting discomfort and bringing growth to the society.

It is true that we like to avoid the change, because change is uncertain and brings chaos. But during that period of chaos we look for the solutions. Our mind expands. We look for the methods previously unexplored. Our capacity to think, work and visualize expands. Strength which so far was unknown to us comes to our rescue. We find our purpose and become an individual we always wanted to be.

I would say this change, this discomfort is the seed of our growth and development. As an old saying goes “Change can be scary but you know what is scarier? Allowing fear to stop you from growing, evolving and progressing”

Abraham Maslow also said “In any given moment we have two options: to step forward into growth or to step back into safety”

So shun the safe and the limiting environment, embrace discomfort, look for growth and the glory awaits you.

 

7 Chakras and Health

Human chakra system

In Hindu philosophy and yoga system Nadi is an important concept. Nadis are said to carry life force known as prana. These are channels for so called cosmic, mental and intellectual energies. There are 3 important Nadis: ida – lies left to the spine, pingala – lies to the right of the spine, and sushumna – runs along the spinal cord in the center and passes through all the 7 chakras of the body.

The chakras are formed at the junctions of these nadis and there are seven fundamental chakras in the body. Each chakra is related to one organ or system of the body and provide the energy for it’s function The flow of energy through these chakras determines our health.

1. Root Chakra – Muladhara

It is located at the base of spine in perineum region, between anal outlet and the genital organ. This is your foundation and whatever grounds you to stability. This includes your basic primal needs like food, water, shelter etc. Root chakra is believed to be linked to adrenal medulla responsible for fight or flight response and thus regulate mechanisms for the physical survival. If your energies are dominant in muladhara, then dominant factors in your life will be food and sleep. If there is imbalance in this chakra then you may experience anxiety disorders, fears or defensiveness. Simple physical activity like walking or dancing helps to balance the Root chakra.

2. Sacral chakra – Swadhisthana

It is located just above the genital organ and below the navel. Sacral chakra corresponds to the sex hormones responsible for reproductive functions. Our outward awareness of others and feeling of other people are through swadhisthana. This chakra is associated with sense of abundance, pleasure and sexuality. If your energies are dominant in swadhisthana, then pleasure will be dominant in your life. Blockage of this chakra may cause emotional problems and guilt. Hip opening exercises, dancing and learning to let go of the things will be having beneficial effects on the sacral chakra.

3. Solar Plexus Chakra – Manipuraka

It is located just above the navel. Manipuraka is linked to islets of langerhans in pancreas, which play important role in digestion and energy production. Emotions, personal power, self worth and self-confidence are related to this chakra. If your energies are dominant in manipuraka, you are an action oriented person. Imbalance in this chakra makes you angry, frustrated and directionless. Keeping the digestive fire healthy by eating only adequate quantity of non spicy food and consuming water at room temperature will be beneficial.

4. Heart Chakra – Anahata

It is located at the center of chest just above heart. This is the bridge between our lower and higher energies. Anahata is said to be associated with thymus, which is responsible for disease prevention. This chakra controls our feeling of love and inner peace. If your energies are dominant in anahata you are a creative person. Blockage of heart chakra manifests as one being in-compassionate and lacking moral or principled behavior. To heal the Anahata chakra practice gratitude and have a change of perspective focusing on the positive things in your life.

5. Throat Chakra – Vishuddhi

It is located at the pit of the throat. This chakra control our expression of feelings, that is communication. Thyroid gland which is responsible for growth is associated with this. If your energies are dominant in vishuddhi you will become very powerful. Dishonesty or lack of communication may be caused if there is imbalance here. Hip opening exercises, water consumption and singing could help but more importantly all chakras from heart chakra and above could be balanced only by way of mindful meditation.

6. Third Eye Chakra – Ajana

It is located between the eyebrows and is the seat of intuition. Imagination and wisdom are related to this chakra. It is at this chakra that the ida and pingala terminates merges with the central nadi sushumna and philosophically signifies the end of dualities of nature. This chakra is linked to pituitary gland. If your energies are dominant in ajana then you are an intellectual person. If this chakra is blocked then lack of forward vision and mental rigidity will be there.

7. Crown Chakra – Sahasrara

It is located at the top of the head. As the name implies thousands, Sahasrara is also called Brahmarandhra or the door to God. It is from this chakra that all other chakras emanates. Radiance of all other chakras fade in comparison with this chakra. This chakra represents the highest level of consciousness and enlightenment. The element of sahasrara is Adi Anadi, meaning without beginning and without end. Our spirituality and connection with higher self is possible when energies flow through this chakra. If your energies are dominant in sahasrara then you become very ecstatic and in highest state possible.

The path of progression through the chakras by the process of yoga, meditation and changing thoughts and consciousness is not an easy task. One need to leave many old habits and way of living for finding one’s purpose and union of the soul with the super-soul. Most important thing is that this spiritual progression is possible with complete devotion, faith and dedication to God, Super-Soul or Universe, whatever you call him.

 

Communicate to Connect

graphic1

Everyone communicates to express or exchange information, ideas or thought. Good communication skills are essential in all aspects of life whether they be family or business relations. As world renowned leadership expert John Maxwell says Everyone Communicates, Few Connect. He says connecting is “The ability to identify and relate with people in a way that increases your influence with them.” 

For effective communication you need to connect with the person and make him feel special and if you are able to connect effectively with others then you can reach your full potential.

Effective communication is a learnable skill, which help in personal, professional and family relationships. Here is our list of some to do’s to improve your communication skills.

1. Focus on others

If you want to have a meaningful connection then remember it is all about others. You need to develop the attitude and habit that you give priority to the needs and requirements of the other person. Try to know what you can do for them. Lot many times we see that people, especially those in sales focus entirely on their product and the center of their presentation is they themselves. If you talk about yourself then nobody will be interested instead to develop a rapport, be a good listener and genuinely take interest. More you get to know about the other person more you will be able to offer them best of your service as per their liking.

As Dale Carnegie said “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”

2. Be Genuine

Take genuine interest in their family, work or hobbies and the person will open up like never before and you will be able to connect with them. But most important point is to be really genuine because people are able to differentiate between true and fake appreciation and interest. You will be able to have bonding if the other person sees you warm and friendly.

3. Be Helpful

Don’t think about what I can get, think about what I can give. As an old saying goes help people get what they want and they will help get what you want. We humans are emotional creatures and have a sense of returning favors. So if you do any favor to someone they will be more than happy to help you. Highest form of maturity is when we realize that we are here to serve and help others.

4. Connecting requires energy

Connection always require energy, if you don’t bring liveliness and energy to the presentation, people won’t feel anything. If you wish to connect with someone then know about them, it helps if you have information about them. Invest time beforehand in learning what really matters to them.

5. Look for common ground

For connecting with people you need to find a common ground and then work for your mutual benefits. Common ground means finding common values and benefits. Work to create win-win situations, because if people feel they are not at same level as you then they will become defensive and close their mind to your views.

6. Body Language

Communication is not all verbal but the positive and confident body language also convey your message. A genuine and bright smile will open more doors than any amount of convincing.

As you acquire these skills you will see that developing communication skills help you enhance your personal and professional relations and help lead a fulfilling life.

8 Ways to improve your Mood

Re...Root    June 2013    Picture by Philip Hollis

Mood by definition is a temporary state of mind or feeling. One can be in either positive or negative mood. Among the factors affecting mood, various brain chemicals like Dopamine, Serotonin, Oxytocin and Endorphin are responsible for your happiness. Good news is you can intentionally cause them to flow by any or all of the below mentioned factors:

1. Family

When you are feeling down, spend time with your family and surely your mood will brighten up. Your family members are the ones who are always there for you in the thick or thin of the things. Family members know us best and their company itself is very comforting. The affection and support that we get from family members is simply unmatched. The calm or experience of your parents, unconditional love of your spouse, caring of your siblings or reservoir of energy in your children could be great remedy to your bad mood.

2. Books

Books are your friends. Reading can transport you from from your stressed out reality to another world. Books which are spiritual or realistic in nature give you many other real life lessons and make you realize, how your problems are so insignificant. The good effect of the books on your mind lasts for a long period even after finishing reading.

3. Meditation and Gratitude

Bad mood, stress and anxiety in short term increases heart rate, blood pressure and induce release of hormone cortisol. Mindful meditation is a way that helps you to connect with your internal self and help the mind to quieten and lift your spirits.

Gratitude practices are reminders and mental pictures of all the good things you have experienced. Lot many times it is very common that one takes for granted what they have in life and don’t mindfully appreciate their blessings. Gratitude is thankful appreciation of what one has in his life. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions and good experiences, thus instantly uplifts the mood.

4. Exercise

Exercise is another sure remedy for your bad mood. Exercising releases several different chemicals like serotonin and endorphin in brain. Serotonin is a chemical that affects mood, sleep and appetite. At the same time meeting even small exercise goals can boost self confidence. Endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce perception of pain. More importantly exercise will divert your mind from negative thought to your present work out and lift your spirits in a very healthy way.

5. Friends

Friends are your strong backup in life. You become friends with like minded people so they will be able to relate more to your problems and bring you out of the trap. Spending time with friends will help you defeat unhappy thoughts. One can talk openly and candidly with friends on any issue and simple sharing of your problems will lower their burden. A simple reminder of all the happy time spent with friends is enough to bring a smile on the lips even on a bad day.

6. Community Service

Community Service or volunteering provides you with a sense of purpose in life. it is not only helpful to the people serviced but also immensely beneficial to you that it helps reduce stress and anxiety. With community service you connect with other people and bring fulfillment to your life. It has been scientifically proven that the more we give, the happier we feel. The sense of accomplishment, pride and identity we feel on doing good to others is simply unmatched and highly uplifting.

7. Music

Several studies have found that listening to music can relax you and boost your mood. Music has power to connect with your inner self and change your attitude. Music has a therapeutic effect on your mood.

8. Sleep

Sleep and mood are interconnected. Your mood is first thing to be affected when you don’t get adequate sleep. Long term sleep deficit increase the risk of mood disorder and anxiety. On the other hand if you are anxious, you will have difficulty falling sleep. One simple step could be to improve your sleep habits by improving the quality and quantity of sleep.

Given the complex link between our environment, mind and body relaxation can be very challenging but above factors influence your each moment and you can control them significantly by changing your lifestyle habits.

8 Golden Rules by Steve Jobs

steve-jobs

Steve Jobs born February 24, 1955 was an American inventor and businessman who co-founded Apple, Pixar and Next. Though he never completed his graduation from college but he was a learner all his life. Steve Job’s philosophy and his passion for providing quality and life changing products to his customer is legendary. Though he made many valuable contributions to the world, we have compiled a list of some of the golden rules as laid down by him.

1. Don’t live a limited life

People usually live life as is expected of them within the societal frame work and as is dictated to them by others. But Steve Jobs used to say life as it is around you is made by people who were no smarter than you and once you realize this you too will be able to challenge the various notions of life as it is and change it for the betterment of the world and have your influence on it.

2. Have Passion

Any new job or challenge is very difficult for any person to bear and usually, on facing difficulties, people quit . Only those who genuinely love their job and have a strong passion persevere and continue on the path, which for common people would be insane. As he once famously quoted: Those who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, usually do.

3. Build a great team

Most of the people have enough intelligence that they don’t require to be managed at every single step of the job. The job of the leaders is to articulate the vision properly to his people and bring them on a consensus and a common ground, after that they will themselves look after what is to be done and will not require to be managed at all. So the primary job of a great leader is high quality recruiting, and make his team a cohesive unit with clear vision. A great manager needs to be a great individual contributor.

4. Don’t do it for money

Steve jobs used to say, “Don’t do it for money.” Money, he said, is a wonderful thing because it enables you to do things and implement your ideas but besides that if you do it for money only, then the company and products will not make you feel more passionate and you will make decisions only on commercial considerations which may not be good for your products or company in the long run.

5. Be proud of your product

Premium product or services should remain the focus of your company and you should set such high standards for yourself that you feel proud of your product. Do not offer a stripped down version of your products just to compete on price with competition. Work on adding value to your product and there will be even bigger markets opening up for you. Work on making your product so superior that even if you were not part of the company, it would have been your first choice to buy.

6. Build around customers

Start with the customer and work backwards toward technology and not to focus on technology, and then figure out where to sell your product. Just figure out what benefits you can give to customer who should remain at the center of your product design strategy. Always ask yourself the question, whether what we are doing is useful and compelling for our customers or not.

7. Marketing is about values

Today markets are so crowded and competitive that we will not get much chance to get people to remember much about us so be very clear what you want your customer to know about you. Your marketing strategies should convey your values to the customer in very clear terms. You should think beyond the product, beyond money and more towards something higher. Why your product should be customer’s choice, how it helps them in emotional bonding and satisfaction of their desires.

8. Stay hungry, stay foolish

A lot of things happen in  your life which you are not able to understand at that time but as time passes their significance dawn on you and you could connect the dots looking backwards. Believe in destiny and all will work out well. Sometimes life will hit you on the head but keep going and do what you love, keep looking and don’t settle.

Remembering you are going to die soon is one of the best ways to not fall in trap of thinking you have something to loose. You have no reason not to follow your heart. No one wants to die and still death is the destination that we all share and no one has ever escaped it which means that our time is limited so don’t end up living somebody else’s life, don’t let the other people’s opinion drown down your own inner voice and have courage to follow your heart. As Steve Jobs famous words were, Always stay hungry, stay foolish.

In 2003 Steve Jobs was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer which took a lot of toll on his life but he still remained active and very much involved in designing new products and promoting his philosophy. On October 5, 2011 Jobs  died after making his contributions to this world.

His life will always be remembered and remain a source of continuous inspiration to million of people who want to make their mark.

Also read: Success Rules By John Maxwell