Monday, January 10, 2011

What Really Motivates Us

I came across a great talk by Dan Pink at the RSA. It might help you understand human motivation to work especially relevant in the modern workplace.
He says three factors shown by scientific research that lead to better performance and personal satisfaction are Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose. Watch the video for details:

Dan Pink also gave a similar talk at TED sometime back which some of you might have seen:

The TED talk doesn't seem to appear embedded in Google reader, so here is the direct link.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Will Smith's Wisdom

You've definitely got to watch this video completely. I've always admired Will Smith but now I totally respect him as well.
He has such an enthusiasm for life and lives it so powerfully that anyone can get inspired by his passion.

A few quotes from the video:
"You have to believe it. There's no reason to have a plan B 'cause it distracts from plan A."
"Being realistic is the most commonly travelled road to mediocrity."
"The second I decide it's done, it's done."
And he also quotes Confucious "He who says he can and he who says he can't are both usually right."
I find these all so true.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Here and Now

I came across this wonderful quote by Alan Watts.
What you do is what the whole universe is doing at the place called "here and now".

Alan Watts has written more than twenty-five books and recorded hundreds of lectures and seminars. He studied the eastern philosophies of Buddhism, Taoism and Hinduism.
I didn't know about him until two days back when I came across his book "Buddhism The Religion of No-Religion" at a local bookstore.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Living in the Moment

Do you regret something you did in the past or hold a grudge against something bad that happened to you?
Do you enjoy doing simple chores like washing the dishes or organizing your files? Or do you grumpily go through the tasks you don't like?
Are you worried about a future event like an exam result, a job promotion or about the future of a relationship?

If your answer to any of these questions is yes, then you are NOT living in the moment. You are not enjoying some of the precious moments of your life.

Our lives may sometimes seem mundane. We may not feel loved, appreciated or valued. 
We may be led to believe that we can be happy only if something happens. For instance, we will only feel good if we make a lot of money, get married or become successful in our business. 
But have you wondered that those are just our own feelings and thoughts? And we have the ability to change those.
If we give the utmost importance to every moment and live like it is the best day of our lives, the whole experience of life changes.
Knowing that we create our own experiences takes the power away from other people and circumstances - and makes us in-charge of our lives.
Each one of us can live life king size if we realize that every moment is completely new and fresh and that in every moment, we have the ability to be the person we want to be irrespective of our past, 
family or background.
To be the person we want to be, we need to stay grounded in the present. And to help with that, we can implement certain techniques.
I will briefly explain about three such techniques that I have been using for a few months now and have found effective.
  • Positive affirmations: Affirming positive things about ourselves and others, makes us believe in those. e.g., Every morning I repeat that "I'm going to have a great day"; Since I'm new to Toronto, I say "I make friends easily"; Before giving a speech, I assure myself that "I am a great speaker"; We can repeat these affirmations whenever we feel negative about something. Even affirmations about other people change our attitude towards them, e.g. I affirm that "My co-workers are very helpful"; "My family loves me very much"; "I'm respected by my boss". And now I find other people's gestures as more helpful, loving and respectful. So, doing this exercise can have amazing results. I am experiencing how I can change my life by simply changing my attitude.

  • Meditation: In its purest form, one can try breath meditation like yoga. In the simplest form of this exercise, once can just go over the events of the day and analyze the actions and thoughts. We can learn what could be done better the next time. For example, if I feel angry at someone, I analyze what did to make myself feel that way. The key here is to NOT analyze what other people did or what the circumstances were. When things don't turn out the way we want or when we judge people for being different or for behaving in a certain way, we experience negativity. Meditation gives us a way to analyze and learn from our own experiences. The responsibility for my happiness is always mine. It is different from placing blame on yourself - meditation is the gentle process of learning carried out with self-love. 
  • Gratitude. It helps not only to increase self love but love for life in general. Gratitude is appreciation for the here and now. If we are thankful for the now, we focus on the present rather than the past or the future. Even though we may face challenging situations, there can be always something to be thankful for -- like the family, friends, home, electricity, food to eat, the smallest things in life. I know it appears hard to feel thankful especially if the situation looks bleak! It seems far easier to feel as if we are a victim of circumstances. But then as a victim, we lose the power over our own lives. Once you start to notice beauty even in the little things, you will find your life changing!

It is helpful to remember that it's a learning process that takes time and practice and it is okay to fail while learning.
There can be many more tools and each of us can find some more suitable to our personality. Just accepting that the quality of life at any moment is totally in our control, is the first and the biggest step.
After that, all it takes is a little effort every moment and it becomes easier and easier every day.

To conclude, I would say that "If we let go of the burden of the past and the worry of the future, and simply live in the blissful present moment, life is easy and beautiful."

P.S.: I presented this as a speech at my Toastmasters club

Friday, March 19, 2010

Total Freedom

I have been analyzing my thoughts, feelings and actions for some time now. I've also been reading books, blogs and other articles related to spirituality and how we, as human beings, behave.
I have realized that most of our thoughts, feelings and actions are based on our perceptions of people or situations. And these perceptions are formed due to our past experiences and our social conditioning.
That's why different cultures and different people have a different sense of rights and wrongs.

In India, someone choosing to not live with their parents is something frowned upon. Whereas in most of the Western cultures, grown-up children are expected to leave their parents' home and live independently. In fact, they think something is wrong with adults who live with their parents.
So, which one of these do you think is right?

In truth, there is no right or wrong. It is what it is.

We even label people as being good or bad, judge them for behaving differently than we expect. But we all behave the way we do because of our experiences that condition us.
So, when we judge, we forget, that just like we didn't have any control over where we were born, what our circumstances were, how we were raised, others didn't either.

So, if we move beyond all the perceptions and accept everyone and everything as it is and lead our life doing whatever we want to do, loving every moment, we would be truly free.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Need Inspiration?

So many of us give up when faced with obstacles.
Well, a Muslim woman organized a TEDx conference in a village in the backward Shekhavati area of Rajasthan against all odds. I was totally moved by the story of this strong woman.
Read her inspiring story about TEDx Shekhavati at Chris Anderson's blog.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Toxins: Effects and How to Remove

Just like water can't flow properly through a drain that is blocked, our blood circulation and hence the nutrient absorption won't be efficient if there are toxins in our blood.
Examples of some effects of the presence of toxins in the body:
  • Skin problems like acne, skin allergies, rashes
  • Kidney stones
  • Chronic fatigue and low energy levels
  • Swelling
  • Stomach irritations
  • Altered metabolism (which can lead to obesity)
  • Weakened immunity due to low absorption of nutrients
  • Even cancer in serious cases
Toxins are absorbed from the environment or because some chemicals are produced in the body due to negative emotions. Toxins accumulate because our body is unable to excrete those in some way. Some most common reasons for toxin accumulation:
  • Improper breathing
  • Lack of exercise
  • Low fluid intake
  • Negative thoughts and beliefs, stress
  • Improper diet
  • Incomplete excretion of waste products
 Ways to purify blood (rakta shodhan in Sanskrit) and the body by removing the toxins:
  • Proper breathing: 80% of the toxins are removed from the body via the breath. For more details on breathing, check out my post.
  • Yoga and yoga breathing routines like Pranayama: This calms the mind and removes stress which can be a major cause in the toxin build-up.
  • Sweating: Sweat is another way the body releases toxins. The ideal way to sweat would be to exercise but one could also use sauna once in a while or other ways to sweat.
  • Regular exercise: Exercise improves blood circulation and aids in the proper functioning of body organs and produces sweat.
  • Drink lot of fluids: Drink at least 8-10 glasses of water (more if you sweat a lot). You can also have juices or add something to water like lemon juice, electrolytes, glucose etc to replenish the loss of essential electrolytes from the body. In fact, warm water with the juice of 1 lemon taken in the morning on an empty stomach is a great liver detoxifier, and has been shown to aid in weight loss.
  • Ayurvedic blood cleansing: You could try some commercially available ayurvedic compositions used for cleansing the blood and the body. You could also use some herbs that aid in cleansing the blood like Neem, Triphala, Turmeric, Manjishta.
  • Diet improvements: Include food in your diet that naturally helps cleanse the body - fiber rich foods like whole grains, green vegetables, fruits etc. And avoid processed food, food containing preservatives or any kind of chemicals in it.
  • Fasting: Various forms of fasting could be regularly undertaken to let the digestive system remove toxins. You could go on a fruit fast for a day where only fruits and water are had during the whole day (you could have an early dinner to make it easier). You could also go for a complete fast where only water is had during the day. The first few times fasting would seem difficult but after that you would notice a feeling of being active, light and your thoughts would improve. Fasting is supposed to make the mind calm and is suitable for meditation. Make sure you start fasting with one day at a time - maybe once in a week or ten days. Ensure that you don't indulge in too much eating the next day. Fasting will be effective if we have a regular balanced diet during the non-fasting days.
  • Go caffeine free: Or at least reduce the intake of caffeine.
  • Sleep well: Have a regular sleep schedule so that the body has enough rest and the biological cycle is well maintained.
  • Ayurvedic Massage: Massage improves blood circulation. Upon absorption through the skin, the medicated oils help to remove toxins from the system.
Please share your experiences or any more suggestions for toxin removal. Also, it would be great to hear from you after you use these techniques.
More later!