“What would you like to do now that your doctors have shared the heart-breaking medical news with you?” asked an interviewer recently Dr. Piers Sellers, OBE (born 11 April 1955), NASA climate scientist and astronaut, veteran of three space shuttle missions, who in October 2015, has been diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer. Dr. Piers Sellers replied that at this stage, when his personal horizon has been “steeply foreshortened” to about one to one and a half year, what really important is how he is going to spend his remaining “Time”. He added that he has no exotic bucket-list as such and would like to spend his remaining time with his loved ones and get back earliest to his important work on climate change.
Dr. Sellers has had the distinction of undertaking six space-walks more than 220 miles above earth and observing from space her fragile environment and melting ice due to global warming. Climatic changes due to global warming can have devastating impact on earth, not only on her flora and fauna, but also on her ever increasing human population, especially with sea levels rising due to melting of ice. He, however, is hopeful that a technological solution to the problem of global warming will soon be found.
This interview of Dr. Piers Sellers made me to think as to what really matters in life, especially when one is faced with a distressing situation like this.
We live in an interconnected world and what ultimately matter, I believe, are living in relationships and having meaning and purpose in life. Relationships are important at all levels of our existence whether it is at individual level or at the level of family, society, or nature.What we need is to live in harmony in our relationships because it is in harmonious living at all levels that we experience happiness deep within. Secondly, we exist on this planet to serve, to make a difference, and to live for a purpose that is much bigger and more important than ourselves. We need to feel that our lives stand for some thing worthwhile and we are making a valuable contribution. We also need to nurture our relationships not only with others but also with nature as we have the responsibility to protect the nature and leave this planet a better place for the generations to follow….
“mPower360” wishes Dr. Sellers all the very best in his future endeavors. May Almighty bless him with long life, good health and happiness, and strength to fulfill his mission…
Often we hear many people talking about ‘making a difference’…and some of us believe that to make the difference, we need to do something big…something challenging…or, something inspiring. Well, true, but we could also make the difference by doing small things…all we require, according to Professor Joseph L. Badaracco, Jr., of Harvard Business School, “an intense accountability to oneself…” and “a genuine commitment to others…”(Badaracco, Questions of Character, 2006, p.85)
In India, we are very familiar with the proverb in Hindi : बूँद-बूँद से भरता है घड़ा (Boond-boond se bharta hai ghara) meaning ‘a pitcher is filled drop by drop’. So steady efforts can lead to a great impact…
Life presents us with many opportunities to make small but meaningful differences around us…supporting others…adding value to their lives by being more understanding…more helping…more forgiving…more appreciative…more sensitive…more positive…or, devoting our time mentoring young students, empowering them with values and skills to succeed in their lives…or, giving opportunities to the less fortunate to learn and grow…or, making our surroundings cleaner or greener…. The opportunity may come during a conversation in a meeting, on the sports ground, over the dining table, in a workshop or a class room, or listening to a friend… We need to be open to recognize and act on those opportunities… and contribute our bit to make a difference to the world around us.
When we give our time to make this world a better place, we actually give a part of our life to make the difference…
Are we ready to make this world better than we found it…?
Have you ever thought what a word of appreciation can do to us? Before we attempt to answer… let us delve deeper to unravel what appreciation is all about.
When we appreciate someone or something, we are displaying our awareness or understanding; or we are recognizing, valuing, admiring, respecting the worth, importance or quality; or expressing our feelings of gratitude and gratefulness; or simply saying thanks.
Why do we need to be appreciated? We human beings need to be appreciated…because it brings out the best in us. We love to hear words of appreciation like “Thank you”, “Good show”, “Well done”, “Excellent job”, “Keep up the good work”, “Great performance”, “We are proud of you” as these strengthen our resolve to do better than the best.
Is it necessary that we appreciate only if something big happens? No… not necessarily…you could even appreciate e.g., your spouse for a meal well cooked or for an effort made at home such as fixing a TV set or a leaking tap, or assembling a new set of dining table and chairs. You could also appreciate your young child for learning a new word or finishing the meal properly by just saying, “Well done” or by giving an appreciative pat on the back. You could appreciate your student in the classroom for asking a question or showing understanding of the concept that you have been trying to teach. You could show your appreciation to a colleague at the work place for extending a helping hand or a job well done. Well…there are numerous occasions for you to express your appreciation; you need not wait for something really big to happen…
Appreciation shown to a person over a period of time goes a long way in developing greater confidence and encourages the person to perform better. Appreciation helps us in making more friends thereby enlarging our circle of influence. Appreciation also leads us in nurturing happy and long lasting relationships at home, school, workplace, and in communities. Care must be taken to ensure that appreciation is genuine and from the core of our heart.
What happens when we do not appreciate? What will be your reaction if you are not appreciated? It may perhaps make you feel neglected, ignored, or even taken for granted. Would you like this kind of a feeling? Certainly not…In fact no one likes it. And, what impact would it have on your relationships? Think about it…it would certainly be nothing to get elated about…or to write home about.
When do we appreciate? Is there a right time for showing our appreciation? Appreciation, I believe, should be timely for it to have greater effect. It should, as far as possible, be shown spontaneously and on the spot. It serves little purpose appreciating someone long after the event is over.
Each one of us needs a jhappi (tight hug) of appreciation, full of love, affection, and respect to bring out the very best in us…
So, do not forget to appreciate someone today…
Most of us keep running after success throughout our lives knowing not what it is and it keeps eluding us. Mostly, we define success in terms of positions that we attain or physical facilities like a palatial house, a big car, a fat salary, a huge bank balance, etc. We keep working very hard without any respite to think as to what exactly this success is all about. In this “Bhagam-Bhag” (aka Rat-race), we have little time for building relationship, being busy from morning till evening acquiring more and more physical facilities endlessly. If we carefully look at our daily schedule, we would find that our major chunk of the time goes towards accumulation of these physical facilities. And when we attain them, we, for a while do get pleasure but that is very short-lived and yet again, we restart this cycle to look for something that will give us a feeling of having succeeded. The primary reason for this feeling is that we do not allocate our time wisely towards nurturing our relationships with our family members, friends and colleagues. I am not trying to suggest that these physical or material things have no importance at all. They do play a significant role in our lives and are important to lead a decent life style but the problem starts when they become the only focus of our life totally ignoring our relationships. So, we need to define first what “Success” means to us.
According to Ralph Waldo Emerson, the great American philosopher, Success means:
“To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of elder people and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty and goodness in others;
To find the best in others;
To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;
To know that even one life has breathed easier because you lived.
This is to have succeeded in life.”
Lastly, When we succeed, Success makes us feel Happy. Happiness is a feeling within; it has nothing much to do with physical or material things. When there is caring, appreciation, love, and affection for others; when there is trust and respect in the relationships, we are happy and successful.
Harmony in relationship is the key that opens the door to Success and Happiness.
Be successful…Be happy…Always.
Lao Tzu, the Chinese philosopher and author of Tao Te Ching once said,
“Watch your thoughts, they become words,
Watch your words, they become actions,
Watch your actions , they become habits,
Watch your habits, they become character,
Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.”
We express our thoughts through the medium of words. Words have the power to transform…they can exhort us, push us, spur us, goad us, encourage us to reach those pinnacles of success that we dream of. On the other hand, words, if not uttered with awareness, may drown us to those depths in the ocean of misery, where-from it may not, sometimes, be possible to come out unscathed. Horace (65-8 B.C.), the great Roman poet said, “And once sent out, a word takes wing beyond recall.” Words, therefore, have the power to build our character and in turn shape our destiny.
When we explore our existence, we find that we are interconnected; within one self, with our family members, with other individuals in the organizations we work for and in the society, and also with plants, trees, and animals in the nature. In fact, the whole world revolves around relationships and the quality of life that we lead is determined by the relationships that we have. Relationships with other individuals have feelings and emotions and when there is harmony in our relationships, we experience happiness. Words play an important role in nurturing these relationships. How our relationships will eventually turn out depends, to a large extent, on the words that we use. So, it is vital that whenever we utter a word, we do so with utmost responsibility, awareness and right understanding.
“The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.”
These lines have been a part and parcel of my life, have guided me through thick and thin, motivated me to go on doing my best and have had a transforming effect on me.
So, words have the power to transform…we need to express them in our relationships with responsibility, right understanding, and awareness so as to experience happiness.
Emotions are the feelings that we express in our responses or reactions to something or someone. When we are happy about something or angry about someone or sad about something, then what we express are the emotions that we feel. Emotions are either positive like happiness, joy, love and affection, or negative like fear, sadness, anger, disgust and shame. We all can easily differentiate between the facial expressions and tone of voice for positive and negative emotions like happiness and sadness but it may, at times, be difficult to distinguish between emotions which are either positive or negative in nature, for example, happiness and surprise or anger and disgust.
We, human beings, live in relationships whether it is in the family with our parents and siblings, or in the school or college with class mates, or in the workplace with the boss and co-workers and in these relationships we express our feelings through emotions. For harmonious living in our relationships, we need to first recognize these feelings and emotions and then conduct ourselves accordingly in a mutually fulfilling manner and this calls for intelligence, widely termed as emotional intelligence or EI.
“The capacity for recognizing our own feelings and those of others, for motivating ourselves, and for managing emotions well in ourselves and in our relationships.”
Although, emotions have been an integral part of human beings yet, it is lately that the importance of emotional intelligence is being appreciated because of its bearing on performance and satisfaction. Today, more and more organizations are recruiting emotionally intelligent people and probably, because of this reason, more emphasis is being laid on including EI in competitive examinations for admission to MBA and PGDM programmes offered by the elite institutions. The Times of India, New Delhi, Saturday, November 03, 2012 reported that the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) is planning to introduce an additional section in their Common Management Admission Test (CMAT) to test the emotional quotient (EQ) of aspiring management graduates.
So, how can we develop our emotional intelligence and in turn nurture our relationships? Goleman in his book, Working with Emotional Intelligence, states:
“Our level of emotional intelligence is not fixed genetically, nor does it develop only in early childhood. Unlike IQ, which changes little after our teen years, emotional intelligence seems to be largely learned, and it continues to develop as we go through life and learn from our experiences – our competence in it can keep growing….There is an old-fashioned word for the growth in emotional intelligence: maturity.”
He suggests that to develop our emotional intelligence, we need to improve our personal as well as social competence. The former includes ‘self-awareness’ and ‘self-management’ where as the latter includes ‘social awareness’ and ‘relationship management’. The diagram below depicts these four areas of emotional intelligence and also the competencies needed to develop these areas:
Self-confidence, self-control, empathy and influence are some of the essential competencies to improve our emotional intelligence, which guides us to nurture our relationships in a mutually fulfilling manner leading us to improved performance in our endeavors and greater satisfaction in our lives.
Lastly, “people will forget what you said, people will forget what you do, but people will never forget how you made them feel,” with these words of Jason Barger, I sign off this blog post wishing you all harmonious relationships through right understanding of emotions.