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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

be SILENT to LISTEN!

Sshhh!!! Silence please!!! Keep quiet!!! Stop talking!!!

Words which, I am sure, will take many of us back to our childhood and Kindergarten classes, right??!!! Right back to our teachers shouting and trying their best to get us to listen to their lessons and to their instructions! That we have to maintain silence in order to be able to listen is an age old formula that we have always been taught and will continue to teach for generations to come… and rightly so too!

In today’s corporate scenario, it is neither just technical competency nor just the hardworking ability that take priority whilst employing individuals. Communication is one of the vital aspects taken into consideration too, and a core aspect of communication is the ability to listen. In today’s fast moving world, maintaining personal relationships has sometimes become a challenge, especially when both partners are busy with their respective jobs and have lesser and lesser time to give each other and their family. In both the above cases, taking time out and truly listening to the other person can be an effective solution.

It cannot be just a coincidence that the words LISTEN and SILENT are anagrams i.e. are made out of the same alphabets! It is therefore, but natural that for us to learn how to LISTEN, one must learn to be SILENT first! Let us now understand what being SILENT means:

• S: Sincere – Do you remember the times when the person in front of you was smiling with a sombre look on their face, with all the right signs of listening, and yet you just know that they are not interested at that time, that they are not sincerely listening to you but just so for the heck of it??? Well remember this, so can everyone else make out too!!! Yes, so here is the first step to being SILENT to LISTEN: be sincerely interested in what you are supposedly listening to…

• I: Inquisitive – Be curious. When one is intently listening to something, one’s brain automatically keeps working on the same too. This raises questions in the listener’s mind which they would want clarified. This also helps the speaker to understand that the other individual is truly listening and attempting to understand what is being said. It is thus a good idea to ask relevant and non-threatening questions to customize the conversations.

• L: Like person – Make sure that you like who are listening to… Their communication ability, their competency in the subject, their handling of the audience and the content, etc… Many a time I have seen listening of an amazing topic go flat just because according to the listener, the speaker’s behaviour and value system did not resonate with what was being said. Not just the content of what is being said, but also the person saying it has a lot of impact on how well it is listened to. Ensure that you talk to and are hearing from the right person.

• E: Empathize – Sometimes listening is not just about hearing what is being said, but it is also about communicating feeling what the other person is feeling. Especially when the other individual is sharing information connected with emotions, be they positive and negative, that of joy or sadness, one ought to be able to relate and express empathy on the same towards the other person. After all they are talking to a human being and not a wall!

• N: Non-verbal communication – Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Your actions speak so loudly that I can’t hear your words!” The impact of the right non-verbal communication whilst listening is vital for the other person to get the feeling and acceptance that listening is happening. So, nod once a while when appropriate, smile at the other person, lean forward, show facial expressions, and let the other individual know that yes, you are listening!

• T: Talk- Listening also involves talking… to a certain extent! One needs to paraphrase (repeat the speaker’s words in their own words) once in a while. One also needs to ask the right questions to continue and steer conversations while also summarizing points once in a while. Also important to talk during listening, is to once in a while also express thoughts about self to the listener as course of self-disclosure in order to continue conversations smoothly. So, talking to the right extent n in the right manner is vital to listen effectively!

From Robert Cialdini who said that listening to the other person helps you to convey your point more effectively, to Stephen Covey who emphasized listening as very important under his 5th habit ‘Seek first to understand than to be understood’ in his popular book ‘7 Habits of Highly Effectively People’, the importance of listening to one another is highlighted in many ways. We ought to learn and practice the above constantly!

Be SILENT so you can LISTEN…
You have the power!

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Published in ‘The Hans India’ on 25th Aug 2011

September 4, 2011 Posted by | RevathiOnline Learning, The Hans India Newspaper | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Happiness@Work™

Aristotle once said “Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.”

‘Happiness’, as we know, has been defined by an innumerable many, right from Mahatma Gandhi to the Dalai Lama in their own way. In this article the I define ‘happiness’ as ‘that state of mind that one wishes to come to instantly, so as to respond the way one needs to respond in any given situation or time towards any individual.

In this inspirational and motivational article, ‘Happiness’ is treated, not just as an abstract concept, but also as a few practical and implementable techniques that can be applied at any point in time so as to get one back to a state of positive energy!

The techniques are as follows:

1) Positive Attitude
As Herm Albright said, “A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.”

Positive attitude is about being able to look at situations with a positive outlook, being able to think positive, being able to take purposeful action towards one’s goals, no matter what the situation.

Research suggests that having the inner confidence that success shall come our way and that I can achieve what I want, helps us take on challenging tasks and goals at work.

2) Respond, don’t react
As Charles R. Swindoll puts it, “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.”

Behavioral pychology defines a human beings actions as ‘Response to Stimuli’ from the environemnt. Every time something happens, instead of reacting instantaneously, learn to pause and think of possible cause and effect, i.e., possible reasons and consequences. An attitude of responding is most important today because that is the one choice we have in life!

Research shows that as we learn to think and respond at work, conflicts reduce and more mature and composed discussions are possible, thus leading to effective teamwork and productivity.

3) Appreciation
As Voltaire said, “Appreciation is a wonderful thing: It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.”

Human beings desire appreciation. They are extremely happy when their efforts and talents are appreciated. Telling another that they are apprecited also increases an attitude of gratitude and humility within us.

Appreciating oneself for our accomplishments can be a powerful concept that helps us to constantly stay motivated, especially when no one else does so.

Research shows that in organizations, those constantly appreciated for their good work, tend to feel more motivated to accomplish their tasks successfully.

4) Imagine
Imagine here means to dare to dream.. to dare to think BIG!

Victor Frankl, who spent a few years in “Auschwitz”, said in his book “Man’s Search for Meaning”, that is it not the problem-free today that keeps one happy n motivated! A problem-free today is virtually not possible. It is, the things that one can look forward to in the future tomorrow, the things that one is yet to achieve, wants to reach n looks forward to doing, that help one be happy today!

Follow the following steps to Achieve Dreams!

4A) Dream Big

4B) Believe in Possibiliies

4C) Power of Visualization

4D) Tell your Network

4E) Planning n Prioritizing

4F) Hardwork n Passion

4G) Write n Review Goals

4H) Celebrate Success

Thus, to be able to get through anything today, and to stay accepting and happy, it is nice to remember where our career is heading, the reason why we are working, and our future plans with this finances and the learning.

5) Smile
As Phyllis Diller rightly said, “A smile is a curve that sets everything straight.”

By saying Smile@Work it does not mean to make work a place of humor. The seriousness of tasks that we do, their importance are not to be misjudged in any way. All we need to do is to constantly find something to feel good about at work, or even elsewhere. A smile on your face will brighten up not only your day, but also maybe another’s!

6) Excellence
Excellence for me is defined by Martin Luther King’s powerful “If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michaelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”

Striving to perform the best that we can, living up to the standards set in the industry, working towards excellence in whatever we do, while also constantly learning to get better, gives us the motivtion to continue on the journey of our life.

When we strive to excel, we have something challenging to focus on, that uplifts our spirits and helps us re-enter the realm of happiness.

The above are a few simple practical techniques on being constantly happy at work!

Revathi Turaga
http://www.revathionline.com

July 5, 2011 Posted by | Training and Learning | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Meta Mind Elements of Excellence…

A professional today has to breathe and live his/her dream 24×7, and have the ability to put up with tremendous stress… which does not come easy

As we venture into our journeys, armed with our passion, knowledge and skills, there is a comprehensive list of 54 elements of Meta Mind Management™, a researched one stop technique and framework that helps us increase our speed, target the right audience, and achieve results, to practice and use to achieve the same…

Meta Mind Management™ is a behavioral science that provides a model, framework, methodology and philosophy for personal and professional excellence using international concepts for managing mindsets and sharpening skill sets, to achieve success and happiness.

To simplify this, 🙂 over our research of successful and high achievers, amongst others, in this world, it has been found that, there are certain common factors amongst them. They share certain –

1. Values – These are our desired results, and motivators – What we value, aspire for and are precious to us in life. These are our goals. Research provides 9 values that peak performers share to achieve success in life. These include goals like peace of mind, financial freedom, health, relationships, professional goals amongst others.

2. Beliefs – These are feelings of certainty. Based on experiences, we develop belief systems that determine what we do and what we don’t in life. Research provides 9 beliefs that peak performers share to achieve success in life. These include believing in oneself, in hard work, in being in charge of one’s life amongst others.

3. Attitudes – These are our thought patterns & perspectives. This has also to do with the fact that we get what we expect from life, and how we look at life. Research provides 9 attitudes that peak performers share to achieve success in life. These include an attitude of learning, positivity, humility, and gratitude amongst others.

4. Skills – These are our abilities exhibited as behaviors. This is about knowing how to do anything and to practice and perfect that. Ultimately, al skills narrow down to communication at different levels. Research provides 9 skills that peak performers share to achieve success in life. These include communication, creativity, goal setting, assertiveness, and leadership amongst others

5. Qualities – These are our habits which over a period of time, become attributes. Actions when repeated over a period of time become habits; and habits which when become ingrained in ones personality becomes one’s attributes which are exhibited or described as qualities. This is when others define us by these qualities, for example – that we are disciplined. Research provides 9 qualities that peak performers share to achieve success in life. These include discipline, passion, confidence, responsibility, and empathy amongst others

6. Knowledge – This is to have awareness of the laws of excellence in this world. Knowing the laws of human behavior, which are as true as the law of gravity  and science, gives us insights that can help us to create change. Research provides 9 laws of human behaviors that peak performers accept and work with to achieve success in life. These include the law of control, of change, of focus, and of honesty, amongst others.

Revathi Turaga
+91-92915-39560

December 9, 2008 Posted by | RevathiOnline Learning | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment