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Breaking Paradigms

A paradigm can be described as a certain mode of thinking bounded by particular parameters and criteria. During any situation or problem, while looking for a solution, an individual has certain assumptions that they make, certain preset notions and rules that they believe in which guide them to think of possible solutions to that situation. These rules and beliefs are within the stipulated paradigm or thinking of the individual or of the society or the field in which the individual is working. These paradigms, though very useful in resolving situations, many a time also limit one’s thinking and perception. Today, we are going to explore the world of breaking these paradigms, i.e. the world of ‘paradigm shifts’!

One of the most popular notations of ‘paradigm shifts’ is as given by Stephen Covey in his bestselling book ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective People’. In this book, Covey talks of paradigms with 2 perspectives. One, of how the passengers in a train, initially irritated by the ruckus created by 3 kids, taunt the absent-minded father for not disciplining them. Later, after learning that the 4 of them were returning from the kids’ mother’s funeral, the passengers understood the uneasiness in the children’s minds and thereafter, started to encourage them to make more noise and jump about, thus attempting to take the kids’ minds off their mother’s departure. One additional piece of information, Covey says, can change the entire way of looking at a situation. He refers to this as a paradigm shift in thinking! Information may also create paradigms, says Covey, through the famous example of the same picture having both an old woman and a young beautiful damsel’s pictures. People would only see the side of the picture that they have been fed information on earlier. Thus, paradigms always exist, and it is possible to also break them and look beyond them.

We see things in a certain way, under certain defined rules. Many a time that helps us to find solutions as well as common notations of interpreting situations. However, some times, stepping out of these rules and boundaries is what gives rise to innovation. For example, from the perspective of mathematics, the answer for ‘what is half of 13’ would always be 6.5! However, assume this from a linguistic perspective, and it may be as 13 i.e. 13 divided with a horizontal line midway. Or it can also be 1I3 i.e. a vertical line between 1 and 3. Once one starts to look beyond the defined rules of mathematics and starts to accept other perspectives, it is possible to find alternate solutions, alternate methods, and alternate paradigms. When solving a mathematical problem, it is important to stay within the realm of mathematics, however, other times, once in a while it can be creative and also a little fun to step beyond the obviously accepted norms.

All great inventions are children of this fantastic phenomenon of ‘breaking paradigms’. From a Galelio who thought beyond the accepted norm that the earth is the centre of the Universe, to an Edison who kept thinking beyond what is known in electricity, to the Wright Brothers who chose to look beyond what human beings can do while inventing the technology of aerodynamics, from the challenge of putting a man on the moon to the experiments conducted on the atom by Rutherford, looking beyond paradigms has always been difficult, revolutionary, and has resulted in extremely successful and useful inventions!

The most powerful example of breaking paradigms that comes to my mind is that of Roger Bannister, who in 1954 decided to break the paradigm that existed in human minds – a paradigm that was considered reality and a medical truth – that the physical human body cannot run a mile in 4 minutes! It was medically proven to be not possible for the physical body. No athlete across the world could accomplish this impossible feat! Roger Banister, a medical student, decided that this was a paradigm in the mind, and on 4th May 1954, for the first time in the history of sports, an individual ran a mile in 4 minutes! Something considered literally impossible!! The most interesting outcome of this paradigm breaking, is that just within the next one year to that event, many more athletes could run a mile in 4 minutes. Today, almost every athlete can run a mile in 4 minutes. Did the human body change??? Or, did the paradigm change???

So, let us understand that, for all of us, paradigms exist! They are in our minds! They are useful! They help in resolving situations and problems with known tried and tested formulae! Sometimes, paradigms can limit. We need to learn the ability to work with the existing paradigms whilst also striving to look beyond them for creative alternatives…

Embrace other paradigms n work with them! Resolve problems creatively…
You have the power!

Published in ‘The Hans India’ on 28th July 2011

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September 19, 2011 Posted by | RevathiOnline Learning, The Hans India Newspaper | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Wrong Handshakes

In today’s corporate as well as cultural scenarios, maintaining certain accepted etiquettes are important. Etiquette can be defined as the forms, manners and ceremonies established by convention as acceptable or required in social relations, in a profession or in official life. Etiquette gets formed right from the word go and the initial handshake to the sustenance of perceptions over time. Technically, a handshake is known as a short ritual in which two people grasp one of each other’s opposite hands, in most cases accompanied by a brief up and down movement of the grasped hands.

As per a display in the Pergamon Museum, Berlin and other places, right from the 5th century BC times of ancient Greece, shaking hands while meeting has been a tradition between two soldiers and represented a truce where neither side wielded a weapon. The handshake slowly moved into the western culture and into the area of corporate etiquette. It is important for one to know how to successfully wield the customary handshake in a corporate scenario. Thus it is important to also know how not to give the ‘wrong’ handshake!

A handshake can reflect and let the other person perceive a lot about your personality. There are so many wrong ways to give a handshake. Some of them are as follows:
The Dead Fish: Patricia Rossi, the author of ‘Everyday Etiquette Made Easy’, calls this “The worst handshake in the world,”. This is when the hand is floppy and flimsy and project insecurity and non-commitment.
The Politician: This is when one shakes with the right hand and cover the shaking hands with their left hand. According to author Matthew Rothenberg, this feels too personal and too early in the relationship.
The Wrestler: This is so vigorous a handshake that can almost rip the other person’s arm out. It may convey that one is too eager and pushy
The Queen or The Fingertip: This is when one extends just their fingertips to another person. It conveys the feeling that the individual does not want to touch the other person.
I’m stronger than you are: This is crushing the bones in the other person’s hand so much just like trying to wring all the juice from a lemon. It makes it look like one needs to prove themselves.
The Oww!: This depicts an overeager person who may catch the other person so much by surprise on the handshake, that it becomes awkward for the other person.
Oh ok, I’ll just pretend to care about meeting you: This handshake can be very limp and apathetic and very awkward for the other person, and gives the impression that one is disinterested
We’re now bonded together for eternity: This is when a handshake does not end and just feels like eternity. This happens when people are a little too happy to greet you or who are extremely nervous and forget to let go. You do a few hand pumps…and then some more…and some more…and finally, hopefully, your hand is let go!
Aha! Am sure you didn’t see that one coming: This happens when the individual does something different, mostly out of nervousness. For instance, this can be when one is putting the left hand out for a handshake when everyone usually uses their right hand. This can lead to fumbling and even embarrassing situations. In these scenarios, it is a good idea to follow the crowd and use the right hand.
A good proper hand shake is called a ‘winning handshake’. It consists of a firm but not bone crushing grip and lasts about 3 seconds while maintaining good eye contact. The person has to be approximately 3 feet away. The hand has to be angled towards the chest with thumb pointing upwards. The other person’s hand can be ‘pumped’ once or twice from the elbow and then released, even if the introduction of the person continues.

Learn to meet, greet, part, offer congratulations, express gratitude, or complete an agreement well. Master the ‘right’ handshake!
You have the power!

Published in ‘The Hans India’ on 11 Aug 2011

August 30, 2011 Posted by | RevathiOnline Learning, The Hans India Newspaper | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Plan your evening… using Six Thinking Hats

What do I get her? Where do I take her? Will she enjoy the movies? What cuisine would be her favourite choice for the day? Should I get her flowers or a brooch or buy her jewellery?

Uff!! The umpteen thoughts that go behind planning this your evening out with your loved one! Some of us finally go with our intuition, and if we’re lucky, the evening is fantastic… and for those of us inexplicably in love, it is a breeze…
Still, for those of us who’re unsure, or yet battling out choices, here’s a method that can help… taking into consideration logic and emotions – Edward de Bono’s Six Thinking Hats! It is a simple, effective, globally accepted parallel thinking process that helps us to be more productive, focused, and mindfully involved in making decisions – even in matters of the heart!!

Planning your evening out with your loved one, usually is a swirl of emotions, which may lead to a state of helplessness and confusion. We finally decide and cross our fingers for the best! What are these emotions doing where there ought to be only one. Love…
Now, here’s a real gift… a technique that helps make the best choice within 30 minutes! Just 30 minutes…. All you got to do is to use the Six Hats and follow the steps below:

Blue Hat – 2 minutes
Wear your blue hat for 2 minutes and manage your thought process the next 30 minutes by playing the role of a facilitator. Answer:
Focus: Decide how to make this the most cherished and fantastic evening for us.
Sequence of hats and time for each: Blue (already started – 2 minutes), Red – 30 seconds, White – 4 minutes, Green – 4 minutes, Blue – 2 minutes, Yellow – 4 minutes, Black – 4 minutes, Red – 30 seconds, Blue – 4 minutes
Total time: 25 minutes
Remember, the time you are wearing a hat, stay focused only on the questions under that hat, without wandering off to others!

Imagine! An effective decision on the best way to spend your evening, in the next 23 minutes!!!!

Red Hat – 30 seconds – feelings, emotions and intuitions. Answer:
Is there any place you just know is right?
Is there any gift you just know is right?
No reasons, no logic, no explanation as to why – just note it down. Nothing on the top of your head – don’t worry – leave blank.

White Hat – 4 minutes – data and information. Answer these (no speculation – based on past experiences, or ask her or her friends and relatives you know):
her likes? – in clothes (western/Indian/etc), in cuisines (Mexican/Indian/Italian/Mediterranean/etc.), in gifts (jewellery/clothes/perfume/etc), and flowers and card?
her dislikes? – what should you be sure to avoid in the above?
Where did you go out the last 3 to 5 times to eat – how did she react to the place?
What were the last 3 to 5 gifts you bought her – how did she react to each of them?
What did she talk about movies – which ones did she like more – romantic/ motivational/ art/ comedy/ action/ etc?
What does she love spending her time doing more – movies, eat out, shopping, time in a park in conversation, party, or a combo?
her favourite colours, flowers, etc?
any other data or information that can be relevant and you know is accurate?
special options open in the city for this week? the latest fashion? What’s happening and what are the “in” parties and places to be in the city?
Pause here and do the research in the city paper and on the net and the bill boards for what’s on.
No evaluation of any data, just make the entire list.

Green Hat – 4 minutes – think of ideas and alternatives. Use the above white hat information and answer:
choices for the evening – movie, dinner, gift, flowers, shopping – or a combination of any of the above
choices for movies – theatre, movie, seats, show?
choices for dinner – restaurant, time, table, book in advance?
choices for gift – from likes and dislikes – gift wrapper colour to the gift – buy with her by taking her shopping or buy earlier – where to buy?
choices for flowers n card – place to buy, when and how to send / give her, mix of flowers for bouquet – you can give her more than just roses!
choices if to go shopping – your budget, which mall(s), shopping for what?
any other ideas you have on how to spend the evening?
Again, no evaluation of any of the above choices, just make the entire list.

Blue Hat – 2 minutes
Consolidate the points from the above green hat ideas and the 1st red hat intuition points to form a cohesive list of activities for the evening.

Yellow Hat – 4 minutes – benefits. For each of the above consolidated points under the blue hat:
Why should we do this that evening?
How will it work out for the good?
How will it help us have a good time?
How will it express my love and affection towards her?
How will it make her and me happy?
Are there any other benefits and plus points in any of the above points?

Black Hat – 4 minutes –weaknesses or the areas of potential problems or points of caution in various ideas. For each of the above consolidated points under the blue hat:
Why may this not work out that evening?
What possible problems we may face if we take up this activity?
What possibilities that something here may be unpleasant for me or for her?
What may cause problems at home, or for work the next day?
What are a few unexpected situations that you may need to be prepared for?
It may be tough to get yourself to look at potential problems in the activities you want to do on this day, still, focus your mind on them, as they are important in a decision making process. Then, since you’ve thought about them already, you’re prepared for them!!

Red Hat – 30 seconds
The Red Hat deals with feelings, emotions and intuitions. For a quick 30 seconds, take a look at all the points you have listed down, and pick the option/options that appeal most to you. Choose the combination from what your intuition says – take minimal time..

Blue Hat – 4 minutes
Wear your blue hat for 4 minutes and manage your thought process by playing the role of a facilitator. Consolidate and answer with a yes or no and if yes, specify:
Flowers and Card:
Gift:
Dinner:
Party:
Shopping:
Movies:
Potential problems to be prepared for that might crop up:

All said and done, spending time with your loved one is only about love and friendship and happiness and enjoyment… So, relax… and have a fantabulous time!!!
The Six Thinking Hats model is also a useful tool for ensuring comprehensive analysis of problems, creating a framework for conversations and preventing conflicts.

Also refer http://content.msn.co.in/MSNContribute/Story.aspx?PageID=e28cf452-09be-4dd5-a6c0-c998d81bf851

Revathi Turaga
Certified Edward de Bono trainer and Meta Mind Management trainer
http://www.revathionline.com

December 9, 2008 Posted by | Edward de Bono | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Myths about Training and Learning

interesting article I found… do not know whether the article is possibly true or the myths are… another question for discussion here is: does a MYTH become TRUE when most people start BELIEVE in it?

Myths about Training and Learning

Myths have a way of perpetuating themselves. There are quite a few related to training and learning too. Everyone seems to believe in them. So much so that they have become sacrosanct and no one even bothers to question them.

 

When I heard some for the first time, it was in the context of a training program that I was myself going through. My first reaction was: ‘Wow! That sounds incredible.’ In the enthusiasm of the collective wows that were generated, I accepted the myths as truth.

But I soon realized I was not comfortable believing in them. Intuitively, I knew they could not be true.

 

Now all these myths seemed to be backed up by solid research though. So I wondered if I was being my usual arrogant self by questioning these supposed universal ‘truths’.

But I started my probe anyway and what I found really warmed my heart! These were myths for sure, very similar to urban legends that get popularized without any sound basis. Read on and join me in smashing them.

 

Myth 1: You remember 10% of what you read, 20% of what you hear, 30% of what you see and 90% of what you do.

 

This is a widely repeated statement by trainers all over the world. Maybe you’ve been subjected to this statement at some time as well. I hope you have  The round figures are easily remembered but completelyJnot made it though. wrong.

 

The findings can be traced to one D.G. Treichler, an employee of Mobil Oil Company, who put forth these figures in 1967.

 

However, the NTL Institute for Applied Behavioral Science has laid claim to the figures, saying they are based on research in the early sixties and bizarrely adding that ‘we no longer have – nor can we find – the original research that supports the numbers’.

Though, there are many arguments against these figures, one that is most obvious is that all the percentages are perfectly round. What research into human behaviour ever resulted in four different round numbers?

 

Myth 2: In communication, only 7% of the meaning is conveyed through the speaker’s words, 55% through his facial expressions and the rest 38% through tone of voice.

 

I am sure you have come across this lulu too, especially if you have attended communication or NLP programs. In one sweeping statement, words are reduced to an insignificant role in the great game of communication.

 

Yet, when we think about this deeply, the fallacies start becoming obvious. Is it really possible that if I get lost in Shanghai and ask a passer-by for directions, I’ll have to work out the correct route mostly from their facial expressions and tone of voice, and not from the words they use?

 

The findings are attributed to research done by Mehrabian but, in reality, they are just a distorted version of what Mehrabian himself has to say on his website. He expresses the results of his research in the form of an equation:

 

Total liking = 7% verbal liking + 38% vocal liking + 55% facial liking

 

He explains that “this and other equations regarding relative importance of verbal and nonverbal messages were derived from experiments dealing with communications of feelings and attitudes (i.e. like-dislike). Unless a communicator is talking about their feelings or attitudes, these equations are not applicable.”

 

Myth 3: We use 10% of our brain (or anywhere from 1% to 15% depending upon where you have read it).

 

This one is so popular, even Albert Einstein is usually roped in as one of the endorsers! The media too has played a role in orchestrating this myth. Many of us therefore look at it as given.

 

Scientists have tried for years to change this misconception. They have clearly stated that there is no scientific evidence to suggest that we use only 10% of our brains. In fact it is very hard to say what using just 10% of your brain means.

It could mean that I could cut 90% of my brain and be just fine or that I just use only one out of every ten nerve cells at any one time. Let’s attack this one with common sense.

 

First of all, it is obvious that the brain, like all other organs, has been shaped by natural selection. Brain tissue is metabolically expensive both to grow and to run.

It strains credulity to think that evolution would have permitted squandering of resources on a scale necessary to build and maintain such a massively underutilized organ.

 

Secondly, losing far less than 90 percent of the brain to accident or disease has catastrophic consequences. Various medical tests reveal that there does not seem to be any area of the brain that can be destroyed without leaving the patient with some kind of functional deficit.

 

Likewise, electrical stimulation of points in the brain during neurosurgery has failed so far to uncover any dormant areas where no percept, emotion or movement is elicited by applying these tiny currents.

 

Having dug hard and deep, I find no evidence at all to support this myth.

The most powerful lure of the myth is probably the idea that we might develop psychic abilities, or at least gain a leg up on the competition by improving our memory or concentration.

 

All this is available for the asking, the ads say, if we just tapped into our most incredible of organs, the brain. It is past time to put this myth to rest, although if it has survived at least a century so far, it will surely live on into the new millennium.

 

The next time you are subjected to this one, just ask the speaker politely “Oh? What part don’t you use?”

 

Author: Shalu Wasu ;  Source: Tickled by Life

 

About Revathi Turaga

Revathi Turaga is an international Meta Mind Management trainer, inspirational speaker, and behavioral coach.

Based in Hyderabad and heading GAMMA’s business development corporate operations in South India, she holds certifications and trains in Edward de Bono ‘s Six Thinking Hats and lateral Thinking, NLP certified practitioner, Creativity, Positive Attitude and Excellence Workshops of Meta Mind Management, psychometric assessments and profiling tools such as DISC, MBTI, PAPI & 16PF, Dale Carnegie’s Presentation skills, etc. She can be reached at +91 98666 45870 or info@revathionline.com. Visit http://www.revathionline.com

November 19, 2008 Posted by | Training and Learning | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment