Monday, May 31, 2010

Be Happy – Prefer Love over Hatred

God gave us two ears to hear, two eyes to see and two hands to hold. But why did God give us only one heart? Because he wants us to find the other one. You love someone not because you need that person, you need that person because you love that person. In love, the past is not important, but the present. Experience is more relevant than the pain you went through. The only thing that will make it stronger is forgiveness and not the retorting of sin. God is so good. He knows where a person will be happy, where they can love and be loved, where heaven on earth is.

No matter what words were used or what meaning about love was delivered, love quotes were said and written out of inspiration and to emphasize each person’s purpose for living…and that is to give love. There are times when one must love even to the detriment of one's "state" (so it would seem, anyway). There are times when one must work oneself to the point of exhaustion for the sake of love. And there are times when one must get involved in things that seem less than clean, less than spiritual, in order to help the humanity. One must jump into the mud in order to rescue those who are drowning in it. One must jump into the ocean of ignorance, attachment, strange ideas and views, spiritual falsities, in order to save people from these things.

Out of love God becomes man, and takes on the incredible burden of ego, of illusion, of ignorance, in order to save man from these. In the same way, it is important for man to hold the well-being of all ABOVE "spiritual elevation." The kind of spiritual elevation that seems to be in competition with true love and service and help is not true spiritual elevation. Love is the truest spiritual state of man. It is the closest to God, and the closest to Truth. This is not to say that one should not take the time necessary to be with Him, to rejuvenate in prayer and communion, this is essential -- just as food and friendship and air are essential -- to the human soul.

One must have a balanced and wide view of these things. Sometimes, when one is performing a task for the sake of love and one begins to feel weary, tired, one's mind may even feel less spiritualized and illuminated due to the tiredness that one feels. In that case, there are two ways that people might tend to choose. One person may heroically work on until falling over in need of rest. Another person may stop immediately in order to rejuvenate, reconnect to God, etc. Either of these choices may be appropriate, but most likely something more balanced is appropriate. People should not feel as if their spirituality is so frail that they are not able to persist in a task, or in the great task of world salvation, to the extent that is truly needed. And also, one must maintain one's connection to God, one's spiritual/emotional health. Therefore, it is wise to take a moment, an hour, a day, or even more, to rejuvenate in His arms when necessary.

There are times when it would be wise to work until you fall over, for if you fall He will catch you. And, truth be told, He is with you always. When you see the truth, you will know that He is always with you, even AS you are working yourself to the bone. So, He does not want to take away from the value of being willing to fall over in your efforts to serve, to save, etc.

At the same time, there are times when it is absolutely necessary and/or appropriate to take very regular breaks to be with God. There are times when the super-abundance that this would create is what is absolutely needed (for example, when a person needs a type of healing from you, which would take a super-abundance of energy). And also, there are times when a very HIGH refinement in one's way of thinking is also absolutely needed for the task. People of the absolute HIGHEST enlightenment may be able to maintain such a rarity and illumination of thought in any state, but most of His followers cannot. Therefore, there are times when it is appropriate to take regular breaks with God, long before you are anywhere near the point of falling down.

You must evaluate these things with this question: What does love require? What does this person, this world, this group require? You must feel through things with this question in your hearts, and turn to Him continually for guidance, for the answer to this question, and you will find the right way to go in each specific case.

There is nothing so untrue TO YOU as the lives that you are living. Your hearts are dissatisfied. You are so dissatisfied with the values that you and others around you have. You experience your relationships with others to be dissatisfactory, because human beings everywhere are choosing to follow the values that this world has to offer, rather than loving wholeheartedly, passionately, with generosity and integrity.

It is true that ordinary" in the sense that you understand the word "ordinary." Love is greater than anything that this world has to offer. What this world calls love, for the most part, is not enough to keep any heart feeling alive and happy.

The point of your entire existence is to love. Learn to love, transcend yourselves for the sake of love, for the sake of others. That is the whole reason that you are here, to love. Many people go through their whole lives pursuing other things. When they die they are unfulfilled. No person can be fulfilled until they learn to truly love; to love from the heart, without self-protection, without fear.

Love means that you are aware of others around you, that you care about them from the depths of your heart, with all the emotion and attention that you feel for yourself and your own life. Love means that the spiritual and emotional well-being of others means everything to you, and you will commit your being and your life to enriching the lives of others; to uplifting their spirits; to reminding them of who they are; to helping them let go of false ideas and fears, and to love.

This may seem out of reach, you may be thinking, "That's far ahead of where I am. I'm just a beginner in the spiritual path; I'm not a saint." You may then think that you are invalid. You need to understand that you learn to love by loving. And since there is no other purpose to being here, on this planet, you may as well start now.

It is true that love requires learning to love. It is true, that you will have to go through many cycles of learning what you are doing that is unloving, and adjusting to be more loving. But you see, this is all part of the love itself: to learn; to adjust, to transcend your limitations.

There may be many things that you do now that you call love, but you will come to find out that they are not done out of love, but out of fear, or self-protection, or self-interest. Love requires that when you see that truth, you face it with courage, and adjust. The ego requires that when you see that fact, you collapse, feel terribly ashamed, and fail to make the adjustment; and fail to love, because you are too busy feeling bad about yourself. Or else, ego will require you to deny the errors you make, or become defensive. Either way, love will not be fulfilled.

Love will be fulfilled when you are willing to be honest. Yes, this is one of the first requirements for love: self-honesty. When you are self-honest it is because you hold something, or someone, as being more important than defending your bad habits or negative beliefs. When people are willing to look honestly at themselves it is almost always for love's sake.

So, you must look around you, at your beloved ones -- your friends, your family, whoever is most near to you -- and love them. Learn from them what you are doing that is unloving, either by asking them, or by paying attention to their responses to what you are doing. Learn to love them better. Commit yourselves to this task of loving, truly loving.

And also, look at those whom you do not consider your friends, and love them too, despite everything that causes you to feel distant from them, or angry or unhappy with them. Love them despite these things. See past their negative attributes and bad habits to the soul that they are, and love that soul, and pray for their release from the bad habits that have bothered you and hurt you for so long; for those bad habits have hurt them, too. Your love must prevail upon your hate. Prefer love over hatred.

Love is to see who people are, and who God is -- who God REALLY is, and who people REALLY are -- and to love them. Love is to see what everything really is, and to love everything, as it really is. And also, love is to see what people are going through, and to care, and to respond honestly, without letting self-protective or fearful feelings get in the way.

This is love: to transcend oneself for others. Love is to adjust for others. Love is to see others, and love them. And by means of true love, others feel less and less like others. You come to feel that every man and woman, and God, and the whole earth, is your own -- your own child, brother, sister. And then, further, you come to feel that these ARE you; part of your own body, your own soul. Your desires are not separate from those of God, or from the true heart's desires of others. When this comes to be, you will have found inner peace, and there will no longer be any need for struggle.

Be Happy – Prefer Love over Hatred

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Be Happy - You Can Restore Your Mental Peace Anytime

Now, life is full of struggle. In spite of our best efforts, we find there is something which is still there to be cared for. That something needs your immediate attention. You fear that if you do not do, or attend, or take care appropriately, you or your dear one can be hurt. You become restless. You loose your mental peace for sometime. It may continue to such time when you feel that the problem is over or has lessened than earlier. It happens many time and you feel uncomfortable in spite of there being all other comforts available at your disposal. Why? Have you studied why that particular something has come up. Who was responsible for that’s creation? If you created, how did that happen? If someone else did it, how did he dare? If that has been created by some one else against you, why could you not take action timely? There is a need of introspection.

Sometime, you may feel that you are alone and that nobody else is going through what you are. You have worked on yourself, healing, changing and becoming more enlightened to the way the game of life is played. The result is that you don’t feel like playing anymore. No, you aren’t suicidal, but rather you just want to be left alone. You see the world as superficial. You see the people you live self-destructing right before your eyes and you and have tried to help them only to find that your help is not wanted.
You have even wrestled with that until you understand that you cannot force others to accept your enlightenment and your wisdom. You cannot force others to accept your views of life, of peace, of balance, of harmony, of personal reflection, and self-accountability. Eventually, like a hermit, you go off to live your simple perfectly balanced beautiful little life alone. This is not the same as the lost souls who do not know who they are or where they are in life.

This is about those souls who know exactly who they are, where they are in life, and have a good idea of where they are heading and what it will look like when they get there. These people have ambition, direction, drive, and often some form of a spiritual calling, a higher idea, or a humanitarian cause that motivates them to give of themselves to humanity in ways that others cannot understand. These souls hear a small voice whispering to them to go public with their peaceful harmonious ways. But going public is noisy, harsh, rude, prejudiced, and often dangerous for the gentle calm souls. So they hide. They do a lot without publicizing their acts. They restore their mental peace amidst chaos. They can do so at anytime.

Anger and pain controls a lot of people. It’s a sad fact. We all know someone who still allows their childhood wounds to dictate and control their every decision. We all know of people who are afraid to really open up and love someone else for fear of being rejected and hurt again. Anger is a passionate motivator. People who are really ticked off are seldom docile and quiet about it. Crush your anger by diverting your attention to something else. Think why you are angry. Are you always right? Have you ever tried to think after putting yourself in other’s place? Perhaps you may like to give up your anger when you realize the truth.

Now look at love and inner peace. By nature, love is not controlling or dominating. It is a light that shines and warms, but it does not push and shove. Take a crowd of people who are all in a loving openhearted peaceful state, like a congregation after listening to a beautiful uplifting sermon. For just a moment, the crowd sits awash in the sacred silence.

The hidden souls are trying to live their lives like that congregation and the truth is, it is hard to hold onto our warm cosy feelings while being cut off in traffic, screamed at by irate customers, and listening to a critic say that we aren’t very good at whatever gift we are trying to offer the world. It’s so much easier for the musician to play alone in his room and the writer to journals just for himself. These people hide their gentle souls because they want to remain gentle in a world that is harsh and often cruel.

Then that small voice of spirit calls out from the inner sanctuary of our minds telling us we must come forward and share our gifts. The world needs your gift as much as you need to share it.

Terrified, we wrestle with that guiding voice telling it to leave us alone in our hermit’s nest. It is in that struggle to maintain our loving hearts while confronted with other people’s hatred that we find just how sacred the love in our hearts is.

You were taught how to hold an inner light while held safely away from the chaos and ugliness of the real world. You were spiritually healed, taught, and enlightened in your safe sanctuary, but that is just a false world designed for the beginner to learn. Once you have mastered your own heart and mind and have learned how to be a truly beautifully balanced loving soul, then you will be kicked out of the nest and told to go spread that light. Yes, you are different from what appears to be the norm.

You won’t know how many others are out there just like you until you come out of you hiding spot and begin to interact on a deep heartfelt level with all of humanity. You must step into the darkness or nobody will know that you are a shinning light, my dear. Yes, I know you are content to simply light up your safe secret little corner of the world and no longer have an ego attachment that needs for the world to see you as shining and glorious.

You would be perfectly content hiding away in your sanctuary, working, singing, laughing, and loving just the safest people that you have met. However, it’s not for you that you must shine your light into the darkness. It’s for those lost souls who are frightened, broken, and alone. It is so seldom that a Gandhi or a Mother Teresa appears on the scene, that the lost souls do not believe that unconditional love really exists on a day-to-day level. You do not build lighthouses in safe sunny places. You put them on the edge of the shore where the storms are. You are a beacon of light in the storm of humanity. Deal with it, and get to work doing what you were trained to do.

Be Happy - You Can Restore Your Mental Peace Anytime

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Be Happy – Make Your Priorities First

Somebody asks us to do him or her a favor and, though there are a gazillion other things we should do first, we find it difficult to turn the other person down because he or she has done us a favor in the past, or is a close friend or a family member. We've all been in this situation. The concept of gratitude prevails and we find ourselves trapped in something we really didn't know why we committed to. We can sometimes be so worried at causing disappointment in other people, often at the expense of our own activities and interests.

Frankly, knowing how to say 'no' requires skill. Others might say that it shouldn't be hard to do. But, let's face it. We live as social beings and acceptance often occupies the number one spot in the list of virtues we want to achieve. Despite this, there are actually ways we can circumvent this difficulty. Here are five more friendly, pain-free and reasonable ways to say 'no'.

1. Say 'no'; then show what the other person has to do to get a 'yes'

For example: An employee is asking you for a raise but you hesitate to do so because lately he's been skipping work and picking arguments with co-workers. Yet, he looks like he really needs it and has been working for your company for three years now. You want to give him a raise, but his recent behavior is a little disappointing. How do you say 'no'?

Tell him that you can't approve a raise right now, but will do so once you see an improvement in his work ethic. You can say, "I understand your need for a salary increase, but in order for me to implement that, we'll have to work on strengthening your work habits. Now, let's see how we can make that happen…"

2. Make it impersonal.

Make it sound like saying 'no' was a matter of circumstance, not of choice. An example of this is: "We've just paid our mortgage and my daughter is going off to college in two weeks. I won't be able to lend you money."

3. Say 'no' in a way that will make the other person say 'no' to himself or herself.

Instead of saying 'no', teach the other person to say 'yes' to what you want. Do this subtly, of course. For instance, your fashion conscious sister wants to get a pink iPod while you want a blue one. You can tell her that while pink is a cute color, it's more difficult to match with her clothes. Once you level with her and link what you want with what interests her, she'll give in and agree with you.

4. Say you want to say 'yes', but…

Like tip number two, make it sound like you had no choice but to turn the other person down. This way, the relationship remains intact and no one gets hurt. Just don't involve other people, like blame your saying 'no' to somebody else, as this could result in conflict and ill feelings.

5. Say it nicely.

You're giving negative news, so you might as well do it nicely. Let the other person down easy to avoid misunderstandings. It's the least you can for the disappointed. People tend to be more accepting of bad news if it's brought in a polite and sympathetic manner.

Be Happy - Make Your Priorities First and Learn to Say No to those jobs which are not relevant to your own priorities.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Be Happy – There should not be any fear of success.

Many times, we meet such people who tell they're afraid of success. Amazing! We all try our best to get success in our efforts. But some of us feel fear also as to what we will do once we are successful in our venture. We think that if we succeed, our lives may change dramatically and perhaps we may not be able to handle it. Yes, it happens with many of us.

It's true even for you too. When you succeed, your life will change, your friends may change, your financial life may change... most likely for the better. But instead of embracing this change, many fear that they may loose something, what they have today.

Six months back, my friend changed his four-wheeler, you can say, he upgraded and bought a car which is much costlier than the previous one. He purchased it and his purchase surprised majority of his friends, neighbors and relatives as well. They had never imagined that he could ever manage to have such a costly vehicle amongst other possessions.

Afterwards, their expectations went up drastically and somewhere he lost their sympathy too in many cases. Demanding higher contributions to the social causes, they started to say, “Sir, this you can manage very easily.” They did not know that the car which he has now, was got financed on monthly installments. He had purchased it as a mark of his success in one of his ventures. After this purchase, he did not endeavor to enjoy his successes afterwards. Rather, he feared about the consequences of his success.

You may be among the millions of people who live with fear, anxiety and panic everyday. You start thinking about succeeding, you feel the fear coming on, then you realize that things have to change, but you don't know how you'll be able to handle that change.

Then you start to feel the anxiety, you wonder what if you fail, what will people think of you if things don't work out... then the panic begins to take over and you're not sure what to do so you don't do anything.

Instead of embracing success and the changes that will come from that success you fear it, and things remain the same... nothing changes even though you want things to get better.

This goes on for years and years... you want the change, you desperately want things to get better, but they don't. Instead they get worse... and the fear, the anxiety and panic begin to magnify... You want a better life but you can't seem to get the negative thoughts and
feelings out of your system... you just can't eliminate the Fear, Anxiety and Panic.

Your mind and subconscious mind are trained to respond in a certain way when you think about success and all the changes that come with it... and that's why you keep giving in to the fear, anxiety and panic... it's a trained response... You may think that there's no hope... that there's no way you can ever succeed or change.

But you can. Yes you can change the way your mind and subconscious mind work... and you can eliminate the fear, anxiety and panic that stop you dead in your tracks. All you have to do is change the mind's patterns and beliefs and your response will change, you'll begin to eliminate the Fear, Anxiety and Panic Attacks.

Power Affirmations for Eliminating Fear And Anxiety helps you kick fear, anxiety and panic attacks out of your life once and for all. Living with fear, anxiety and panic attacks everyday is just not a way to live. There's no homework nothing to study No exercises. You can wash away the fear, anxiety and panic attacks by building up your own confidence that you are going to win due to your own efforts which you had planned to effectuate a definite change in your life. Since you have already decided to make the change, why do you fear of the consequences? If you improve your life standards, your achievements, it is you who did it – none of your neighbors, relatives, friends who are now jealous had contributed anything, nor are they going to contribute anything. Why do you fear? Forget and go forward.

Be Happy – There should not be any fear of success.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Be Happy – Fatigue can be overcome easily

Fatigue is a feeling of tiredness, exhaustion, or lack of energy. You may feel mildly fatigued because of overwork, poor sleep, worry, boredom, or lack of exercise. Any illness, such as a cold or the flu, may cause fatigue, which usually goes away as the illness clears up. Most of the time, mild fatigue occurs with a health problem that will improve with home treatment and does not require a visit to a doctor.

You know! A stressful emotional situation may also cause fatigue. This type of fatigue usually clears up when the stress is relieved. Fatigue is one of the problems of our busy modern lifestyles and many people complain of having low energy levels. This means that although they can get through the day they rarely have energy left over to be able to lead an active lifestyle. But the fact is your energy levels are a good indicator of your current fitness level.

But how can you have a good fitness level if you don't have enough energy to be able to exercise? Well, the whole cycle need to be reversed and slowly strength and fitness recovered and increased over a period of time. It is important to have lots of energy to fit everything we want into our life. When we have this natural energy we find we feel happier, more energetic and more enthusiastic about everything in life. We also become more motivated to want to be active on a regular basis. If we are often tired and feeling sluggish this can lead to apathy and the blues which is not helpful to getting the most out of life.

Energy is not something that is tangible. You cannot get it or find it and is not something that you can see or touch, but you will surely know if you don't have enough of it. But to get more of it you first have to create the conditions under which it is possible to show up in your life.

If your health, strength, fitness, attitude are all aligned in the right way, there is nothing else for you to do but to feel energized. It is the natural "side-effect" of a fit, healthy life - it just comes with the territory.

If it is not happening for you some changes are necessary. By adding a proper exercise program into your life and starting slowly but consistently you can get back to where you should be quite quickly. It is important that you do not waste your precious little energy on ineffective exercise that will not give you much in return.

Low intensity type activity like walking, jogging or cycling needs to he done sparingly as too much can further eat into your energy stores but not give you any 'bang for your buck'. You need a proper program with strength building exercise that will recover lost strength and speed up your metabolism (your body's engine).

This type of exercise program will energize you throughout the day by building back your strength. Your better conditioned muscles will make every task in your day so much easier and save some of the energy drain. Exercise will also increase oxygen flow to the brain making you feel good, more mentally alert and you will have an overall happier disposition.

To support this exercise program it is important to try and eat better. Shoot for 5-6 small meals spread throughout the day. Each meal should have a protein source as its base; add lots of raw or cooked vegetables and a small amount of complex carbohydrates (rice, pasta, grains etc). If you are a busy person, you will need to organize your meals the night before and then take them with you wherever you go the next day.

Although this all sounds easy, it will not just happen overnight. Like all of us it is a journey and we can only aim for improvement not perfection. Each week the goal should be just to do a little better than the week before. These good choices will not only give you your energy back but rejuvenate your whole life. Whenever I felt some fatigue, I took some steps and felt energized again. If you feel so, you may try them.

Firstly, you may get extra rest while you are ill. Let your symptoms be your guide. If you have a cold, you may be able to stick to your usual routine and just get some extra sleep. If you have the flu, you may need to spend a few days in bed. You may return to your usual activities slowly to avoid prolonging the fatigue. Be sure to drink extra fluids to avoid dehydration.

If generalized weakness and fatigue are not related to another illness, you may listen to your body. Alternate rest with exercise. Gradually increasing your exercise may help decrease your fatigue. You should limit medicines that might contribute to fatigue. Tranquilizers and cold and allergy medicines often cause fatigue. You may take action with due consultation with your health care taker.

You may improve your diet. Eating a balanced diet may increase your energy level. Do not skip meals, especially breakfast. You may reduce your use of alcohol or other drugs such as caffeine or nicotine, which may contribute to fatigue. Cut back on watching television. Spend that time with friends, try new activities, or travel to break the fatigue cycle.

For remaining fresh throughout the day, you need to have a good night's sleep. This may be the first step toward controlling fatigue. For sound sleep, you must eliminate all sound and light disturbances. Do not eat just before you go to bed. Use your bed only for sleeping. Do not read or watch TV in bed.

Based upon my personal experience, I feel that if you too go through the above process, you may have some lesser fatigue than before. Slowly, you can overcome this syndrome finally.

Be Happy – Fatigue can be overcome easily.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Be Happy – Make Yourself Stress Free During Your Tough Times

Have you ever remembered your good days and your bad days? I think you still remember all the bad incidents much deeper than your happy moments. You increase the gravity of your sorrows by comparing to your good happenings. I am sure it is true in your life and in my life, in the lives of the majority of us.

Today I find it to be a beautiful day, same as I had read through my text books in my student life.. The sun is shining, the breeze is blowing softly and the temperature is just right — the perfect day. Even with all the challenges I have to face, I still look up at the sky and smile as the clouds chase one another across a "picture-perfect", blue background.

But I know that all the days to come will not be as beautiful and comfortable as this day is. Yesterday was dark and dreary, pierced with giant streaks of lightning, which generated thunder that rattled the windows.

Yes, I know that all the days that follow today will not be as bright as this one, nor as dark as yesterday. Some days will be better than others. Some will be worse. And I do not know which ones will or won't.

But this one thing I know: There will be change. There will be ups and there will be downs. That's how life is — there are good times and not so good times. The good times will not last forever. Every now and then, there will be rough times. But remember, even the worst times won't last either.

The trick is to enjoy the good times and make the most of them; to tolerate the rough times and know that they won't last forever. Generally, it appears that the good times seem to go so fast and the bad times seem to last forever, but this is not really so. It is our experience of time that makes it seem that way. Five minutes in my dentist's chair may feel like an eternity, whereas sixty minutes spent chatting with a friend may seem like just a few seconds.

Whenever we encounter difficult problems, the tendency is to focus so intensely in trying to arrive at a solution that we become all tense and tied up in knots. When that occurs, we tend to become frustrated, fearful and sometimes angry. The problem here is that we're trying to force a solution instead of allowing a solution.

Anger could be expected, but prolonged anger is harmful to body, mind and spirit. You know! Natural anger lasts for only about seventeen seconds. Anything beyond that is a reaction to circumstances or remembered situations.

Fear is one of our deadliest enemies. The fear causes us to stay awake at night conjuring up all the terrible things that could happen because of the unsolved problems we're facing. This kind of fear is dangerous, self-defeating and downright useless. It shakes our very foundations and needlessly drains us of energy.

And to be frustrated is natural. But let us not dwell on the frustration. It's like having a flat tire while driving in a thunderstorm and getting out of the car, becoming soaking wet and kicking the flat tire for being flat. It does no good.

How to Deal With Problems

How then do you deal with your problems?" The first most important thing is to disconnect from the problem. By this, I don't mean that you pretend that the problem doesn't exist. It does exist, so get all the facts you can and then let it be. Break focus with it. This way, your subconscious mind will work towards a solution.

When we force our minds to be totally focused on the problem, when we do not let it go, even for a short while, we deny the subconscious mechanism the power it has to help resolve the crisis. We must let it go. We must take a break from thinking about the problem.

Do whatever you can to break focus. Since all things have energy, even our problems are energy "things". If we focus on the problem too long, we energize it and make it stronger. By letting go and switching our focus, we shift our energy away from the problem and are now "energizing" the solution.

Does it matter how big the problem is? Not really. The Higher Self knows the answer to every problem we could ever encounter. The size of the problem is not important. What is important is how we look at the problem. Withdraw your attention from it for a short while a number of times a day.

During those times, don't look at the facts. You've already done that. Just look away from the facts to something pleasant, maybe listen to some good music, watch a great movie, go for a walk, talk to a good friend, read a good book. Just break focus with the problem for a short while.

If you do this, you will notice that the problem will appear to be less and less formidable. And somehow, in some way, you will get the guidance to do what's necessary to overcome the challenge. It may be that your car is being repossessed, the house is being foreclosed, a close friend or relative or even you yourself may be battling poor health. Doesn't matter what the problem is, break focus, allow calm, quiet and hope to flow through your mind.

As you practice doing this, almost magically, things will start to change; you will feel better, more hopeful, more empowered. And you will think more clearly. You will hear the "still small" voice within giving you the guidance you need.

Don't take my word for it. Just try it and see for yourself. You have nothing to lose except your problems. And you have everything to gain.

Use various sources of inspiration to keep on going when it seems that the road has been too long and dark. Remember, Morning has been all night coming, but see how surely it comes.

But Make Yourself Stress Free During Your Tough Times and Be Happy.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Be Happy – Win Your Battle with Confidence (Part 2)

Each and every thing in our life gets its own importance. Sometime, something seems to be of less importance but later on, that becomes a major issue taking our time forcibly. That is why we need to give due importance to each matter at appropriate time. If we ignore something unduly or handle it without care, that can cause us a good cost. We need to take action carefully and with confidence. In this direction, the first step to be taken was narrated yesterday. Next steps can be taken as below:

Step 2: Setting Out

This is where you start, ever so slowly, moving towards your goal. By doing the right things, and starting with small, easy wins, you’ll put yourself on the path to success – and start building the self-confidence that comes with this.

Build the knowledge you need to succeed:

Looking at your goals, identify the skills you’ll need to achieve them. And then look at how you can acquire these skills confidently and well. Don’t just accept a sketchy, just-good-enough solution – look for a solution, a program or a course that fully equips you to achieve what you want to achieve and, ideally, gives you a certificate or qualification you can be proud of.

Focus on the basics:

When you’re starting, don’t try to do anything clever or elaborate. And don’t reach for perfection – just enjoy doing simple things successfully and well.

Set small goals, and achieve them:

Starting with the very small goals you identified in step 1, get in the habit of setting them, achieving them, and celebrating that achievement. Don’t make goals particularly challenging at this stage, just get into the habit of achieving them and celebrating them. And, little by little, start piling up the successes!

Keep managing your mind:

Stay on top of that positive thinking, keep celebrating and enjoying success, and keep those mental images strong. And on the other side, learn to handle failure. Accept that mistakes happen when you’re trying something new. In fact, if you get into the habit of treating mistakes as learning experiences, you can (almost) start to see them in a positive light. After all, there’s a lot to be said for the saying “if it doesn’t kill you, it makes you stronger!”

Step 3: Accelerating Towards Success

By this stage, you’ll feel your self-confidence building. You’ll have completed some of the courses you started in step 2, and you’ll have plenty of success to celebrate!

This is the time to start stretching yourself. Make the goals a bit bigger, and the challenges a bit tougher. Increase the size of your commitment. And extend the skills you’ve proven into new, but closely related arenas.

As long as you keep on stretching yourself enough, but not too much, you'll find your self-confidence building apace. What's more, you'll have earned your self-confidence – because you’ll have put in the hard graft necessary to be successful!

Overcome A Major Fear...

A major source of stress in your life is the "fear of rejection" or "fear of criticism." This fear of rejection manifests itself in an over-concern for the approval or disapproval of your boss or other people.

The fear of rejection is often learned in early childhood as the result of a parent giving the child what psychologists call "conditional love."

Rise Above the Need For Approval...

Many parents made the mistake of giving love and approval to their children only when their children did something that they wanted them to do.

A child who has grown up with this kind of conditional love tends to seek for unconditional approval from others all his or her life.

When the child becomes an adult, this need for approval from the parent is transferred to the workplace and onto the boss. The adult employee can then become preoccupied with the opinion of the boss. This preoccupation can lead to an obsession to perform to some undetermined high standard.

Don't Burn Yourself Out...

People usually put so much pressure on themselves to perform in order to please their bosses that they burn themselves out. They often die of heart attacks before the age of 55. This conditional love in childhood is a very serious stress-related phenomenon in the American workplace.

Action Exercises:

Here are two things you can do immediately to deal with the fear of rejection, criticism and disapproval. First, realize and accept that the opinions of others are not important enough for you to feel stressed, unhappy or over concerned about them.

Even if they dislike you entirely, it has nothing to do with your own personal worth and value as a person. Second, refuse to be over concerned about what you think people are thinking about you. The fact is that most people are not thinking about you at all. Relax and get on with your life. You will succeed.

Be Happy – Win Your Battle With Confidence.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Be Happy – Win Your Battle with Confidence (Part 1)

From the quietly confident doctor whose advice we rely on, to the charismatic confidence of an inspiring speaker, self-confident people have qualities that everyone admires.

Confidence is generally described as a state of being certain either that a hypothesis or prediction is correct or that a chosen course of action is the best or most effective. Self-confidence is having confidence in oneself. Self-confidence is extremely important in almost every aspect of our lives, yet so many people struggle to find it. Sadly, this can be a vicious circle: People who lack self-confidence can find it difficult to become successful.

After all, most people are reluctant to back a project that's being pitched by someone who was nervous, fumbling and overly apologetic. On the other hand, you might be persuaded by someone who speaks clearly, who holds his or her head high, who answers questions assuredly, and who readily admits when he or she does not know something.

Self-confident people inspire confidence in others: their audience, their peers, their bosses, their customers, and their friends. And gaining the confidence of others is one of the key ways in which a self-confident person finds success.

Two main things contribute to self-confidence: self-efficacy and self-esteem. We gain a sense of self-efficacy when we see ourselves (and others similar to ourselves) mastering skills and achieving goals that matter in those skill areas. This is the confidence that, if we learn and work hard in a particular area, we'll succeed; and it's this type of confidence that leads people to accept difficult challenges, and persist in the face of setbacks.

This overlaps with the idea of self-esteem, which is a more general sense that we can cope with what's going on in our lives, and that we have a right to be happy. Partly, this comes from a feeling that the people around us approve of us, which we may or may not be able to control. However, it also comes from the sense that we are behaving virtuously, that we're competent at what we do, and that we can compete successfully when we put our minds to it.

Some people believe that self-confidence can be built with affirmations and positive thinking. At Mind Tools, we believe that there's some truth in this, but that it's just as important to build self-confidence by setting and achieving goals – thereby building competence. Without this underlying competence, you don't have self-confidence: you have shallow over-confidence, with all of the issues, upset and failure that this brings.

Self-confidence is about balance. At one extreme, we have people with low self-confidence. At the other end, we have people who may be over-confident.

If you are under-confident, you’ll avoid taking risks and stretching yourself; and you might not try at all. And if you’re over-confident, you may take on too much risk, stretch yourself beyond your capabilities, and crash badly. You may also find that you’re so optimistic that you don’t try hard enough to truly succeed.

Getting this right is a matter of having the right amount of confidence, founded in reality and on your true ability. With the right amount of self-confidence, you will take informed risks, stretch yourself (but not beyond your abilities) and try hard.

The good news is that self-confidence really can be learned and built on. And, whether you’re working on your own self-confidence or building the confidence of people around you, it’s well-worth the effort! The bad news is that there’s no quick fix, or 5-minute solution. You may have to work consistently in this direction.

How confident do you seem to others?

Your level of self-confidence can show in many ways: your behavior, your body language, how you speak, what you say, and so on. If you are self confident, you would be doing what you believe to be right, even if others mock or criticize you for it, you would be willing to take risks and go the extra mile to achieve better things and admitting your mistakes, and learning from them. You might be waiting for others to congratulate you on your accomplishments and accepting compliments graciously. “Thanks, I really worked hard on that prospectus. I’m pleased you recognize my efforts.”

If your level of self confidence is satisfactory, you may be governing your behavior based on what other people think and staying in your comfort zone, fearing failure and so avoid taking risks. You can be working hard to cover up mistakes and hoping that you can fix the problem before anyone notices. You may extol your own virtues as often as possible to as many people as possible. You may even dismiss compliments offhandedly. “Oh that prospectus was nothing really, anyone could have done it.”

As you can see from these examples, the absence of self-confidence can be self-destructive, and it often manifests itself as negativity. Self-confident people are generally more positive – they believe in themselves and their abilities, and they also believe in living life to the full.

Building Self-Confidence

So how do you build this sense of balanced self-confidence, founded on a firm appreciation of reality? Building self-confidence is readily achievable, just as long as you have the focus and determination to carry things through. And what’s even better is that the things you’ll do to build self-confidence will also build success – after all, your confidence will come from real, solid achievement. No-one can take this away from you!

So here are three steps to self-confidence, for which you may use the metaphor of a journey: preparing for your journey; setting out; and accelerating towards success.

Step 1: Preparing for Your Journey

The first step involves getting yourself ready for your journey to self-confidence. You need to take stock of where you are, think about where you want to go, get yourself in the right mindset for your journey, and commit yourself to starting it and staying with it.
In preparing for your journey, you may do these five things:

Look at what you've already achieved:

Think about your life so far, and list the ten best things you've achieved in an "Achievement Log." Perhaps you came top in an important test or exam, played a key role in an important team, produced the best sales figures in a period, did something that made a key difference in someone else’s life, or delivered a project that meant a lot for your business.

Put these into a smartly formatted document, which you can look at often. And then spend a few minutes each week enjoying the success you’ve already had!

Think about your strengths:

Here, you may look at who and where you are. Looking at your Achievement Log, and reflecting on your recent life, think about what your friends would consider to be your strengths and weaknesses. From these, think about the opportunities and threats you face. Make sure that you enjoy a few minutes reflecting on your strengths!

Think about what's important to you, and where you want to go:

Next, think about the things that are really important to you, and what you want to achieve with your life. Setting and achieving goals is a key part of this, and real self-confidence comes from this. Goal setting is the process you use to set yourself targets, and measure your successful hitting of those targets.

Set goals that exploit your strengths, minimize your weaknesses, realize your opportunities, and control the threats you face. And having set the major goals in your life, identify the first step in each. Make sure it’s a very small step.

Start managing your mind:

At this stage, you need to start managing your mind. Learn to pick up and defeat the negative self-talks which can destroy your confidence. It is commonly observed at large, among many of us in our communities, that we quarrel and squabble over petty or non apparent reasons. We are good in attending weddings and festivals, but we show hostile attitudes to each other in community affairs. We do not listen to each other with the intention to understand for a better perspective. We make haste conclusion and poor judgment of each other without having adequate knowledge and information. We choose to argue, fight and scold each other instead of having a peaceful dialogue on issues of common concerns. Political arguments and spiritual debates have become the battlefields for character assassination. Consequently, we end up in a serious and hostile conflicts and that is what is currently happening in our communities and social welfare institutions. The major sources of these problems are poor judgment, lack of tolerance, ill behavior, and lack of respect among us. We must adopt rational thinking.

And then commit yourself to success!

The final part of preparing for the journey is to make a clear and unequivocal promise to yourself that you are absolutely committed to your journey, and that you will do all in your power to achieve it. If as you’re doing it, you find doubts starting to surface, write them down and challenge them calmly and rationally. If they dissolve under scrutiny, that’s great. However if they are based on genuine risks, make sure you set additional goals to manage these appropriately.

We may discuss the next step in our next post. In the meanwhile, start your efforts to build up your self confidence, for your success and for your happiness.

Be Happy - Win Your Battle with Confidence.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Be Happy – Differentiate between Attitude and Aptitude

Generally, we do not differentiate between Attitude and Aptitude. But there is a difference. An attitude is a hypothetical construct that represents an individual's degree of like or dislike for an item. They are generally positive or negative views of a person, place, thing, or event-- this is often referred to as the attitude object. People can also be conflicted or ambivalent towards an object, meaning that they simultaneously possess both positive and negative attitudes toward the item in question.

An aptitude is an innate, acquired or learned or developed component of a competency (the others being knowledge, understanding and attitude) to do a certain kind of work at a certain level. Aptitudes may be physical or mental. The innate nature of aptitude is in contrast to achievement, which represents knowledge or ability that is gained.

The altitude of your attitude determines your aptitude. Attitude is your behavior whereas Aptitude is your liking / inclination / talent. Attitude is your outlook, your mood. Aptitude is your ability to learn - a propensity for learning. Your attitude has much more bearing than your aptitude on your potential altitude. (You can reach great heights because you have a can-do spirit, even if the academic knowledge doesn't come easily to you.)

Attitude is what a person develops from his environment and Aptitude is something that a person has an innate capacity to do. It’s to have flair about a particular field since birth. Some people can naturally act, paint they don’t have to learn it. It’s like a natural thing for them. While attitude is something situations in life teaches oneself. It may be for good or for bad.

Thomas Jefferson says, "Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude." Keep on going and the chances are you will stumble on something, perhaps when you are least expecting it. I have never heard of anyone stumbling on something sitting down. Actually, any fact facing us is not as important as our attitude toward it, for that determines our success or failure.

If you don't like something change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude. Don't complain. Life is too short to spend your precious time trying to convince a person who wants to live in gloom and doom otherwise. Give lifting that person your best shot, but don't hang around long enough for his or her bad attitude to pull you down. Instead, surround yourself with optimistic people for better performance. To the world you might be one person, but to one person you might be the world. For success, attitude is equally as important as ability.

Aptitude found in the understanding and is often inherited. One professional says, “Archery is something that I took up later and didn't know I had a natural aptitude for.” Faith is an aptitude of the spirit. It is, in fact, a talent: you must be born with it. In aptitude tests, I scored highest in maths. But personally, I don’t wish it to be my means of earning.

The winner's edge is not in a gifted birth, a high IQ, or in talent. The winner's edge is all in the attitude, not aptitude. Attitude is the criterion for success. Today's students can put dope in their veins or hope in their brains. If they can conceive it and believe it, they can achieve it. They must know it is not their aptitude but their attitude that will determine their altitude. Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.

Be Happy – Differentiate between Attitude and Aptitude

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Be Happy – Your failure Can Ensure Your Success

Is it possible to love without attachment? We do have so much love to give, but is it the right kind of love? We tend to feel a kind of ownership over all that we love whether we own that thing or not. It is easier to utter the words ‘I love you’ than to actually mean it. Love is perceived in many different ways. My mother would say: “Love, but never be possessive of what you love. Once you are possessive, you might claim ‘this is mine”.

There is a hierarchy of love - right on top parents, spouse, children, siblings, other family and friends. Love stops here and further down the ladder it becomes ‘like’. We must love all as if our own. It is universal love. This is not easy to follow but maybe we could try. For starters, we could do little things that make people smile. A kind word or tone would not take away from you but give a lot the other person. If you want peace and if you want happiness, you must live in love. Only through love will you find inner peace. Only through love will you find true happiness. Love flourishes through giving and forgiving. Develop your love! Immerse yourself in love! Love is the basis of everything It is the single most important quality that has to be developed. All your thoughts must become immersed in this quality of love… then truth will naturally establish itself in your heart. Never feel disheartened if you do not get results in your love. Your love with someone must be free of your interests. If you fail in earlier instances to win anyone’s heart, you should not feel disappointed. Your consistency can ensure success.

On this earth, we are all here on a journey granted to us for a limited period. Along the way we find several co-travelers who become part of our lives but they too have their own destination. People who serve are Godlike: their service should be appreciated, whether they belong to your peer group or not. We need to learn to love without attachment. We love those who we feel are ours. What about the rest? Why is an amazing emotion like love saved only for those few people who we perceive as ours? For instance, how might one learn to love the person who has wronged us? I guess I would say OK, don’t love, but at least try not to hate. That is an improvement.

Now, we may have look on materialism. It is true that things can never bring you happiness. Once you’ve bought something, its value diminishes. At first I used to think that was not true, but in time I learnt that it is one of the few truths in life. I constantly try and make an effort to not get attached to ‘things’ now because at the end of the day they are things. This doesn’t mean don’t shop, don’t want… it means realize that actual happiness cannot be attained from anything external. Enjoy all the things you have and be grateful for it, as that too is the grace of God but do not expect it to give you anything. I find my peace every evening as I sit by myself and watch the sun set. That is when I feel real joy. The sun sets with such ease and that is how we should be.

I would get attached to songs and smells! Some smells can take you back in time and songs too can transport you to old memories. It is nice to remember but if we dwell on the past we are missing out on the present; we tend to miss out on new smells and songs as we’re so preoccupied with the old. We have to let go because holding on to something does not give us ownership rights. So much baggage! To enjoy the journey, travel light. In other words, practise loving detachment. Love your failure – it can ensure your success.

A successful venture capitalist, Peter Morgan Kash had raised millions of dollars and started up dozens of successful bio-pharma companies. He has also lectured on entrepreneurship at the Wharton School of Business and Japan’s Nihon University. One of the earliest lessons he learnt was that there is no success without failure. He started working on wall street at the age of 21 and by 30 made a sizable fortune. “But in no time, I lost virtually all of it,” he writes in his book, Make Your Own Luck: Success Tactics You Won’t Learn in Business School. “What made the loss particularly difficult was that my setback was due entirely to my own poor judgment. No one had squandered my success except me.’

As it turned out, this period became one of the richest and most educational times of the New York businessman’s life. He went on to have several successes. “But I do believe that I would never have had them, if I had not failed so spectacularly early on,” he mentioned recently. “In our culture, people tend to think of failure as a static condition or a termination point at which a person’s inability to achieve their goals, aims and desires becomes apparent. This is often viewed as a more or less permanent condition. That, however, is completely erroneous understanding of failure.”

After studying the lives of dozens of successful entrepreneurs, Kash found that all people who succeed go through periods of their lives when al their efforts seem to fail. Yet what separated boys was not failure per se, but how they responded to difficult times.” Remember that a negative multiplied by a negative can be a positive. He says. “Today I realize that life is wave pattern – there are ups and downs, good times and bad. Life doesn’t stop at any one point on the wave. Success and failure are just two words we use to describe different points on the wave. Wherever you may find yourself on the wave, know that this is temporary,” he explains.

But as a doer, he also has anti dotes: first, listen to your heart, on what you truly want and then never give up. Listen also to your critics, although you must not measure yourself by their take. Learn to pay the price of success. Finally, have faith in yourself and the web of life. Even a negative from someone can lead to a positive outcome.

Be Happy – Your failure Can Ensure Your Success

Monday, May 17, 2010

Be Happy – Review Your Working Periodically

It's Sunday evening and I'm just completing my weekly ritual which involves an inspection of my performance during the last week against the target I fixed and planning for the coming week.

Overall it's been a very good week and 7 of my 10 priority goals are either on or above target. The three that are below, well let's just say they have my utmost attention. I'm sharing this with you as the weekly ritual of reflecting, reviewing and updating has allowed me to continue to grow and make significant performance gains for twelve straight years without missing a beat.

I'm convinced that anyone and that means YOU, can use the following system to make 2010 the best year of your life. Before I share my weekly ritual with you, let me provide a strong dose of reality as to WHY you should take this very seriously. Right now there are now 137 days already gone and 228 days are still in our hand to be used in 2010.

The truth is that NONE of the plans, goals or intentions that you set at the beginning of the year have held up against the weight of opposition and adversity and change. I've been around the block a few times to know that the shelf life of any goal or plan expires VERY quickly if it is not reviewed and updated on a regular basis.

Good intentions, while honourable, are of little use when you let weeks, months, and years of potential and possibility slip by un-inspected. The fact that you most likely don't engage in a weekly performance review is one of the key reasons why you are probably behind target after 137 days.

Let's change that right now! READY, SET, REVIEW. Isolate one goal and ask the following questions:
1. What specific goal am I committed to achieve? 2. What are my current results in relation to that goal? 3. What went right and why? Identify strengths and strategies to repeat. 4. What went wrong and why? Identify weaknesses and strategies to drop. 5. What corrective actions will/should I immediately implement to remain on target? 6. What are my commitments / goals for the upcoming week so that I can consider my efforts a success?

That's it, pretty simple isn't it? Of course it is! So take a guess at what I'd like you to do right now? I challenge you to sit down and complete this exercise. Give it the time and attention it deserves and I'm quite confident that you will have positioned yourself for having a breakthrough week. This system may help you review your performance, your working periodically and improve your working if you feel that you are somewhere wrong.

Be Happy – Review Your Working Periodically.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Be Happy – We Can Win Evil Spirits

Every human being is a social animal. This is a proverb we mostly use when we study the social behaviour of human beings. We accept that the human beings are like animals but their attitude makes difference and put far away from the group of other animals. Virtually, our divine capability of using intelligence towards socialization makes us different. But all the humans are not the same. Their approach to any single issue may differ. We need to identify and make sure how that approach may happen beneficial to others.

You know Sister Alphonsa, a native of Kerala in India who has recently been canonized by the Vatican as a Saint! Canonization did not make her a saint, she was already a saintly lady. It means that she is allowed to be publicly celebrated in the Christian ceremony of liturgy. Saint Alphonsa had a difficult life full of suffering, but she never complained. She lost her mother as a baby and was brought up aunt. She burnt her feet as a youth, becoming deformed. She suffered many illnesses, and died at a young age of 36 with an agonizing tumor.

Yet she was not bitter at her misfortunes, but charitable to those in need. Although dedicated to the Christian God, she made genuine friendships with peers of other religions. Whilst in wretched pain, she offered hope of healing to people suffering around her. As a young trainee nun (a postulant) she wrote in her diary: “ I want to be careful never to reject anyone. I will only speak sweet words to others. No matter what my sufferings may be, I will never complain.” These beautiful sentiments are ideal for a harmonious life.

Christians believe that after death, a person’s soul continues to live, either in heaven (for a good person) or hell (for a bad one). Canonization is the Pope’s recognition that Saint Alphonsa is living in heaven. Yet compassion and goodness is respected by all religions. A saint-like person bears witness to her faith by honoring both gods and fellowmen. In their respect they allow people to live as they would like, acknowledging that happiness is a goal for everybody. Love is the ghee in the frying pan of society, making life more palatable.

Even the ordinary person can perform small miracles in his own life. It’s easy to forget how much you love each other when you are tired, or sick, or in a bad mood. It seems only natural to snap and growl when we don’t feel good. But that only increases our problems, because now we have our aches and a sore family. Take, for example, the neighbor's family. The father has a reputation for welcoming newcomers to the block, showing a ready smile whatever caste or creed they are. Offering advice and help, he becomes a good friend to all who need one. The grandmother ages gracefully, smiling and not complaining, so garners sympathy and caring. People are pleased to help her out, because her feebleness does not make her disagreeable.

Joy, love and charity are balm to the spirit, allowing people to live happily together. This is true of religious communities – as within a family – which are so often set at each other’s throats by hatred. If we love each other, we cannot kill or maim. We cannot incite others to do the same. If we find joy in ordinary and simple things, we would not seek to seize the power of life and death over others. Nor would we lust after moving great crowds of people to our will.

If we are charitable, we deserve charity in return, but more than that it will enrich our soul. Those who give away the most are the wealthiest among us. Saint-like people help in their own everyday way to bind together families and communities. We cherish the small saints that we meet, and every group has their fair share of these precious people. The writings of Saint Alphonsa offer us a glimpse of what it means to be saintly, and how we can all aspire to these human ideals.

All of human beings have more or less many attributes in their character. Some people make efforts to nurture their gentle qualities whereas others do not care for them so much and their bad characteristics have been coming out very frequently. What we are to do is to identify what good qualities we have and what not. Those qualities which are missing can be groomed up in spite of all the odds like Saint Alphonsa did. We should not care for the bad habits, attributes and approaches. As soon as our good qualities exceed the bad ones, we will win the battle with demonism. Let’s try in right direction ignoring the negativism. We all have good qualities.

Be Happy- We Can Win Evil Spirits.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Be Happy – Don’t put off Your Plans Frequently.

Why do you put off your plans very frequently? Did you ever ask yourself? Have you ever evaluated how much you loose in terms of your productivity, finance, time and other benefits? That can be enormous but can be avoided if you do take certain steps, very simple, so simple as they are if you go through the following lines:

1. Make yourself accountable.

Set a writing deadline (other than the paper's due date) for yourself by making an appointment at the Writing Center or telling your TA (or a former TA) that you're going to give them a draft on such-and-such a date. If you make your Writing Center appointment for several days before the paper is due, then you may be motivated to have a draft finished, in order to make the appointment worthwhile.

2. Leave your work out.

Keeping your work (books, notes, articles, etc.) physically out, in full view, gives you a reminder that you are in the middle of the paper, or that you need to start. Also, if you write in more than one shift, it can be helpful to leave off in the middle of a paragraph and leave your 'tools' where they are. When you return to the paper, you'll be able to "warm up" by finishing that paragraph. Starting a new section cold may be more difficult.

3. Work on improving your writing when you don't have a deadline.

Investigate your writing process. First of all, you may not think you have a thing called a "writing process." But you do—everyone does. Describe your writing process in detail. Ask yourself:

• When do I usually start on a paper?
• What tools do I need (or think I need) in order to write?
• Where do I write? • Do I like quiet or noise when I write?
• How long a block of time do I need?
• What do I do before I start?
• What do I do at the end?
• How do I feel at the end (after I have turned it in)?
• Then ask yourself:
• What do I like about my writing process?
• What do I want to change?

Once you can see your writing process, then you can make a decision to change it. But take it easy with this—only work on one part at a time. Otherwise, you'll get overwhelmed and frustrated—and we all know where that leads, straight down the procrastination road.

4. Evaluate your writing's strengths and weaknesses.

If you aren't ready to evaluate your writing process completely (and it's okay if you aren't), then you could try just listing your strengths and weaknesses as a writer. For instance, perhaps you are great at creating thesis statements, but you have trouble developing arguments. Or, your papers are very well-organized, but your thesis and argument tend to fall a little flat. Identifying these issues will help you do two things:

1) When you write, you can play to your strength; and
2) You can choose one weakness and do something about it when you DON'T have a deadline.

Now, doing anything when you don't have a deadline may sound strange to a procrastinator, but bear with me. Let's say you've decided that your writing is too wordy, and you want to work on being more concise. So, some time when you don't have a paper—but you do have a free hour—you waltz into the Writing Center and tell your tutor, "Hey, I want learn how to write more clearly." You confer, and you come away with some simple strategies for eliminating wordiness.

Here is why this may make a difference the next time you write a paper, regardless of whether or not you have procrastinated (again!): You print out your draft. It's 1 a.m. You go to bed. The next morning, you read over your paper (it's due at noon). You say to yourself, "I notice I'm being too wordy." BUT, rather than concluding, "Oh, well, it's too late, there isn't anything I can do about that," (as you may have in the past), you can choose to employ some of what you learned (previously, when you weren't under the gun) to make your writing more concise. You edit the paper accordingly. You turn it in.

When your instructor hands the papers back the following week, there are far fewer instances of "awkward," "unclear," etc. in the margins. Voila! You've made a positive change in your writing process!

What does this have to do with procrastination? Well, making one small change in your writing process creates momentum. You begin to feel more positive about your writing. You begin to be less intimidated by writing assignments. And—eventually—you start them earlier, because they just aren't as big a deal as they used to be.

Evaluating the strengths and weaknesses in your writing gives you a sense of control. Your writing problems are solvable problems. Working on your writing when you don't have a deadline helps you gain insight and momentum. Soon, writing becomes something that, while you may not look forward to it, you don't dread quite as much. Thus, you don't procrastinate quite as much.

This strategy also accounts for the fact that if you perceive procrastination as having been successful for you in the past, you aren't going to give it up right away

5. Hone your proofreading and editing skills.

If you procrastinate on writing because you don't like to re-read what you have written, the good news is this: you can learn specific proofreading, revising, and editing strategies. If you finish your paper ahead of time, and you re-read it, and you don't like it, you have options. Writing a first draft that you don't like doesn't mean you're a terrible writer. Many writers—in fact, I would venture to say most—hate their first drafts. Neither Leo Tolstoy nor Toni Morrison produced brilliant prose the first time around. In fact, Morrison (a big fan of revision) said recently, "You don't have to love it just because you wrote it!" If you practice some revision and editing strategies, you may feel more comfortable with the idea of re-reading your papers. You'll know that if you find weaknesses in the draft (and you will), you can do something to improve those areas.

6. Learn how to tell time.

One of the best ways to combat procrastination is to develop a more realistic understanding of time. Procrastinators' views of time tend to be fairly unrealistic. "This paper is only going to take me about five hours to write," you think. "Therefore, I don't need to start on it until the night before." What you may be forgetting, however, is that our time is often filled with more activities than we realize. On the night in question, for instance, let's say you go to the gym at 4:45 p.m. You work out (1 hour), take a shower and dress (30 minutes), eat dinner (45 minutes), and go to a sorority meeting (1 hour). By the time you get back to your dorm room to begin work on the paper, it is already 8:00 p.m. But now you need to check your email and return a couple of phone calls. It's 8:30 p.m. before you finally sit down to write the paper. If the paper does indeed take five hours to write, you will be up until 1:30 in the morning—and that doesn't include the time that you will inevitably spend watching TV. And, as it turns out, it takes about five hours to write a first draft of the essay. You have forgotten to allow time for revision, editing, and proofreading. You get the paper done and turn it in the next morning. But you know it isn't your best work, and you are pretty tired from the late night, and so you make yourself a promise: "Next time, I'll start early!"

7. Make an unschedule.

The next time you have a writing deadline, try using an un-schedule to outline a realistic plan for when you will write. An un-schedule is a weekly calendar of all the ways in which your time is already accounted for. When you make an un-schedule, you consider not only your timed commitments such as classes and meetings, but also your un-timed activities such as meals, exercise, errands, laundry, time with friends and family, and the like. It is not a list of what you should do in a given week; rather it is an outline of the time that you will necessarily spend doing other things besides writing.

Once you have made your un-schedule, take a look at the blank spaces. These represent the maximum number of hours that you could potentially spend writing. By starting with these blank spaces as a guide, you will be able to more accurately predict how much time you will be able to write on any given day. You may be able to see, for instance, that you really don't have five hours to spend writing on the night before the paper is due. By planning accordingly, you will not only get a better night's sleep, you may also end up with a better paper!

The un-schedule might also be a good way to get started on a larger writing project, such as a term paper or an honors thesis. You may think that you have "all semester" to get the writing done, but if you really sit down and map out how much time you have available to write on a daily and weekly basis, you will see that you need to get started sooner, rather than later. In addition, the unschedule may reveal especially busy weeks or months, which will help you budget time for long-term projects.

Perhaps most importantly, the un-schedule can help you examine how you spend your time. You may be surprised at how much (or how little) time you spend watching television, and decide to make a change. It's especially important that you build time for fun activities into your un-schedule. Otherwise, you will procrastinate in order to steal time for relaxation.

You can also use the un-schedule to record your progress towards your goal. Each time you work on your paper, for example, mark it on the un-schedule. One of the most important things you can do to kick the procrastination habit is to reward yourself when you write something, even if (especially if) that writing is only a little piece of the whole. Seeing your success on paper will help reinforce the productive behavior, and you will feel more motivated to write later in the day or week.

8. Set a time limit.

Okay, so maybe one of the reasons you procrastinate on writing projects is that you just plain hate writing! You would rather be at the dentist than sitting in front of your computer with a blank Microsoft Word document staring you in the face. In that case, it may be helpful to set limits on how much time you will spend writing before you do something else. While the notation "Must work on Hemingway essay all weekend" may not inspire you to sit down and write, "Worked on Hemingway essay for ½ hour" just might. Or, if you tell yourself that you will write "all weekend," for instance, the sheer agony of the thought may keep you from doing any writing at all. If, however, you say that you will write for two hours on Saturday afternoon, you may actually accomplish something. The important thing here is to keep your commitment to yourself. Even if, at the end of the two hours, you think you could keep going, s. Go outside and enjoy the weather. Your procrastinating self needs to be able to trust your new non-procrastinating self the next time you say you will only write for a certain amount of time. If you go overboard this time, then the next time you say, "I'll write for two hours and then s," the procrastinator within will respond, "Yeah, right! I'm going rollerblading!"

On the other hand, it may work better for you to trick yourself into working on your paper by telling yourself you're only going to write for two hours, but then continuing to work if you're feeling inspired. Experiment with both approaches and see which one seems to work best for you.

9. Be realistic about how long it takes you to write.

Procrastinators tend to be heroic about time; they estimate that it will take them two hours to complete a task that would take most people four. Once you have determined that procrastination is hurting your writing, begin taking notice of how long it actually takes you to write. Many students have a "page an hour" rule. Perhaps you can write a page in an hour if you are totally rested, fed, and focused, your roommate isn't home, and the wind is blowing just right. But what if the phone rings, what if you are tired, and what if you have to go to the bathroom? When you estimate how long it will take you to write something, expect that there will be interruptions along the way.

10. Parting thoughts

As you explore why you procrastinate and experiment with strategies for working differently, don't expect overnight transformation. You developed the procrastination habit over a long period of time; you aren't going to s magically. But you can change the behavior, bit by bit. If you s punishing yourself when you procrastinate and start rewarding yourself for your small successes, you will eventually develop new writing habits. And you will get a lot more sleep.

It is expected that if you seriously think about your practice of putting off your plans frequently, you would definitely put off your habit of procrastination and you may be better off in terms of your achievements.

Be Happy – Don’t put off Your Plans Frequently.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Be Happy – Don’t put off Your Plans Frequently (Part 3)

There are many other reasons why we put off our tasks. In order to break the procrastination habit, we need to get past the idea that in order to write, we must have all the information pertaining to the project and we must have optimal writing conditions. In reality, writers never have all the information, and conditions are never optimal.

Think of a writing project that you are currently putting off. On one side of a piece of paper, write down all the reasons for your delay. On the other side, argue (as convincingly as possible!) against the delay. We may have several grounds, namely:

Ground No.1 "I can't function in a messy environment. I can't possibly write this paper until I have cleaned my apartment." But there are no conditions that are necessary in order for you to write, except two: 1) You must have a writing implement (e.g., a keyboard or a pen) and 2) you must have someplace for writing to go, such as into a computer or onto a piece of paper. If, when faced with a writing project, you start piling up prerequisites for all the things you must do before you can possibly start writing, consider whether you might in fact be making excuses—in other words, procrastinating.
Ground No.2 "I know it's time for me to start writing, but I just haven't done enough research yet. I'll spend one more night at the library, and then I'll start writing my paper." But truth be told, you will never collect all the information you possibly could for your paper. Better to write a tightly-crafted argument with the information you have NOW, AT THIS VERY MOMENT, than to keep doing research and risk throwing your paper together at the last minute.
Ground No.3 "I do my best work under pressure." There are lots of other ways to create pressure for yourself, besides waiting until the night before the paper is due to start writing it. You can set a time limit for yourself—for example, "I will write this paragraph in half an hour"—or you can pretend that the paper is a timed essay exam. If you do this a week or two before the paper is due, you'll have a draft in plenty of time to revise and edit it.
Ground No.4 "In order to work on my paper, I must have six uninterrupted hours." You can and should work on a paper in one hour blocks (or shorter). This will help you break the writing task down into smaller pieces, thereby making it seem more manageable. If you know that you can work on one part of the paper for one hour, then it won't seem so daunting, and you will be less likely to procrastinate. Some writers find, however, that they do need longer blocks of time in order to really produce anything. Therefore, like all of the strategies outlined here, if this one doesn't work for you, throw it out and try something else. You might still find, however, that you are more productive when you plan to write "all morning" rather than "all day."

Ground No.5 "What I write has to be perfect, " AND/OR "I can't write anything until I have a perfect thesis statement/intro." A first draft (or a second, or a third, or even—the final product) does not have to be perfect. When we write an early draft, we need to turn off our internal critic and just get some words down on the page. The great thing about starting early on a writing project is that it leaves us plenty of time for revision, editing, and proofreading; so, we can set ourselves free to just let our writing flow, without worrying about sentence-level concerns such as grammar, punctuation, and style. You'll find some other thoughts on editing in our handouts on proofreading and revision.

You can improve yourself by following the methods given below:

1. Break it down

The day you get the paper assignment (ideally), or shortly thereafter, break the writing assignment up into the smallest possible chunks. By doing this, the paper never has a chance to take on gargantuan proportions in your mind. You can say to yourself, "Right now, I'm going to write the introduction. That's all, just the introduction!" And you may be more likely to sit down and do that, than you will to sit down and "write the paper."

2. Get a new attitude

We shoot ourselves in the foot, to begin with, by telling ourselves how horrible a particular writing assignment is. Changing our attitude toward the task, when possible, may go a long way toward keeping us from procrastinating. Tell yourself that the task isn't so bad or difficult, that you either know how to do it, or that you can learn how while you're doing it. You may find, too, that if you start early on a particular assignment, your attitude never has a chance to get very negative in the first place! Simply starting to write can often help us feel more positive about writing.

3. Ask for help.

• Get an anti-procrastination coach. If you are really determined not to procrastinate, then get help from the supportive people in your life. Tell someone about your writing goal and timeline, and ask them to help you determine whether or not your plan is realistic. Once or twice a week, email with a friend, relative, or mentor, in order to report (admit?) on your progress, and declare your promise for the next week (or few days). If, despite your very good intentions, you start procrastinating again, do not think, "All is lost!" Instead, talk to someone about it. They may be able to help you put your slip into perspective and get back on track.

• Get a buddy. See if you can find a friend to work alongside you. They don't have to be writing a paper; in fact, they can be playing Solitaire, for all you care. What matters is that you arrange to meet them at the library (or wherever you have decided to write) at a particular time and stay there for a specific period of time, thus creating accountability.

• Get help with your writing. If you are procrastinating because you think you are a weak writer, then ask someone (a Writing Center tutor, a current or former professor or teaching assistant, a friend) to help you improve.

• Form a writing group. A writing group is a great way for undergraduate and more advanced writers alike to create accountability, get feedback, and simply get reminded that you are not alone in the struggle to produce and to improve your writing. See our writing group packet at for more information on how to form and sustain a writing group. Dissertation writers may benefit not only from joining a writing group but also from reading our handout on the dissertation. This handout was written by a former Writing Center staff member who eventually completed her dissertation.

4. Get unblocked.

Sometimes, we procrastinate because we feel stuck on a particular essay or section of an essay. If this happens, you have several options:

• Turn off the screen. Type with a dark screen, so you can't see what you've written, decide you don't like it, and delete it immediately. Sometimes procrastination stems from insecurity about what to say, or whether we have anything to say. The important thing, in that case, is to get started and KEEP GOING. Turning off the screen may help lessen your fear and turn off your internal critic. When you turn it back on (or print out what you've written), you may find that you do have something to say, after all.

• Write about writing. Take 15 minutes and write a letter to yourself about why you don't want to write this. This lets you vent your frustrations and anxieties. Then, Take 15 minutes and write about what you could do to get unstuck. You can also try writing about what you're going to write, making an initial assessment of the assignment. You won't have the pressure of writing an actually draft, but you will be able to get something down on paper.

• Write the easiest part first. You don't have to start at the beginning. Whatever section you can do, do it! If you think that's wimpy and you would rather do the hardest part first so that you can get it out of the way, that's fine—whatever works for you. If you start writing and you get stuck, write about why you're stuck.

• Talk it out. Try tape-recording yourself speaking the ideas you want to include in the paper, and then transcribe the tape.

We may discuss some more options in our next posts. In the meanwhile, please don’t put off your plans very frequently.