What type of thoughts occupy your mind?

Your state of being is a direct result of the type of thoughts that crowd your mind. So be certain to only carry with you positive, uplifting ones.

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How to use Clifton’s Strengthsfinder 2.0 to propel yourself to success

The Strengthsfinder 2.0 is a widely popular book based on the research done by Gallup scientists. They came up with 34 intrinsic talents that is most common in human beings, and developed a test that helps uncover your top 5 talents at play. The premise of the book is that, it is a much more effective use of your time and efforts if you choose to work on bettering your already established talents, rather than working on improving your weaknesses. In other words, take something good and make it GREAT, instead of taking something lacking and bringing it up to mediocre.

Once you take the test that comes with the book, it will give you your top 5 traits. These are the talents you already possess, which are intrinsic qualities about you, the way you behave, the way you think, and the way you see the world. 5 of your top qualities which may or may not be apparent to you on the surface. Now, in my humble opinion, the Strengthsfinder test and its explanation is one of the best on the market. It does not give you superficial answers/qualities and a lengthy explanation of it and leave it at that. This book takes it one step further.

Let me give an example. One of my talents that they revealed was ‘Individualization’. What it meant was that I had an innate ability to see every person as unique human beings with their own differences. I am able to recognise the individual strengths in people and bring them out. While this is all very true and resonates with exactly how I deal with people, I kept reading and saw that Gallup actually had ‘Ideas for Action’. These ‘Ideas for Action’ gave me clues as to what types of vocation I would excel at, and what types of projects I should take on that puts my talents (in this case Individualization), front and centre. Things like people management would be something I would excel at, because I can see my team members as individuals with their specific strengths, and I would thus be able to put them all to work in the area where they will perform their absolute best. I would be able to communicate with people from all backgrounds with ease because I would be much more sensitive to cultural and other biases since I will not view all people as the same. Other areas such coaching, organizing networking events, etc would be a great fit for me. Gallup posed questions that made me stop and reflect on how I could really put my Individualization traits to use, so I could help those around me in their lives and in turn they could see me as an authority.

Now this is just an example I used out of my own five talents. You can look through your own results after taking the test and go through the same process of reflection and self-improvement.

See, there are a lot of such self-discovery ‘quizzes’ out there, but several of them have very simplistic results and elementary levels of explanations. The fact that Gallup has a team of scientists developing this system, shows. The book does not explicitly tell us ‘what to do with our lives’, but rather does something more powerful: it reveals to us what our innate talents are on a deep psychological level, and gives us ideas for action that will help us put these talents front and centre. The idea is to make a regular habit of putting our innate talents to use (instead of working to improve on our weaknesses regularly), so we can show the world our unique strengths and establish ourselves as an authority. Now, what field you want to establish yourself as an authority in, is up to you. But for maximum success and fulfillment, it should be a product of your vision for yourself and your innate talents.

Did you read the book and take the test? Shoutout below and tell me about your 5 talents and how you have been using your time to turn them into strengths.


 

Thanks for reading UnPsychology!

Do you feel like you are not living your life’s purpose? Know that you have a lot more to offer and want to make a real difference in your life as well as the lives of others.. but just have not yet figured out HOW?

Enter your email address below and I will personally send you a FREE copy of my 12 Questions to kickstart your internal purposefinder right away.

While you’re at it, feel free to check out some of my other posts on Unpsychology.

Experiental Avoidance: Is it holding you back?

I wanted to share this really nifty little concept with all of you.

You know how we tend to have some goals or visuals in our mind of things that would make us REALLY HAPPY if we only did them? Those things that excite and simultaneously scare us that we would LOVE to do, ONE DAY? So exciting, but doing them just seem so daunting

For example, maybe you dream of doing a triathlon one day. You know you’ve been training, but your mind could be saying: “Am I good enough? I think I am okay, but I need to be REALLY AMAZING to do it!”

Maybe you want to quit your job and create your own consultancy. Instead of figuring out how to take the leap, your mind could be saying:
“I dont have enough knowledge to do it yet! Maybe after another 5 years I’ll be good enough.”

Maybe you want to write a book! Instead of starting on it already, your mind could be saying:
“Oh one day when I have enough time I will do it! I want to do it so BAD but thinking about it right now is making me anxious!”

All this going on up there is a concept called ‘Experiential Avoidance’, where you subconsciously attach fear-based thoughts to your goals. With this, you end up creating a negative energy around your otherwise positive goals, thus hindering the process of actually moving towards them.

I came across a fantastic blog called The Career Psychologist where they explain this concept with a brilliant little video. Take a look.

Now tell me, what mental blocks do YOU have that are keeping you from moving towards your goals?


Thanks for reading UnPsychology!

Do you feel like you are not living your life’s purpose? Know that you have a lot more to offer and want to make a real difference in your life as well as the lives of others.. but just have not yet figured out HOW?

Enter your email address below and I will personally send you a FREE copy of my 12 Questions to kickstart your internal purposefinder right away.

While you’re at it, feel free to check out some of my other posts on Unpsychology.

 

One simple exercise that tells you if you are living your life purpose

A fun exercise I like to do that usually assures me if I am on the right path in life is to visualize myself 10 or 20 years down the road. I like to imagine what type of ‘me’ I would like to be by then. I like to call this the Idealized Me. From that point, I visualize the actual path (often like a little dirt path!) from the present ‘me’,  and see if it is leading to the Idealized Me. If I see that my starting point i.e. the Present Me is NOT leading nicely to the Idealized Me, or if the path from the Present Me is going somewhere else altogether, then I take a step back and reassess.

See, the thing is.. Oftentimes, we get too caught up in our present lives. We have full-time jobs, an education, and the world’s concerns on our shoulders. We are so busy making a living and earning money and paying bills and taking care of loved ones, that we rarely have time to reflect or assess. You are living your life, but the concept of ‘living your dream’ falls by the wayside.

But what does ‘living your dream’ really mean though?

You see, within all of us are passions, talents and characteristic that are absolutely unique to us. These are our unique intrinsic qualities and talents. Maybe you are an adept problem-solver and you LOVE working with your hands. Or maybe you are someone who sees the beauty in everything. Perhaps you are someone who loves to dive deep into people’s minds, analyze situations, behaviours. Or perhaps you are someone who comes up new crazy ideas to change the world everyday and are just itching to run with them.

Whatever your own intrinsic talents are, they give you immense pleasure and make you feel pretty good about yourself, since well, you are just naturally good at them. Right? Now, if you were living a life where you had the freedom to flaunt and utilize your intrinsic talents on a regular basis, how spectacular would that be? And by regular basis, I mean as a career. Just think about this for a minute. Indulge your imagination.

If our passions and unique talents align themselves with what we do for a living, the potential for pure happiness, the potential for innovation, the potential for impact, and the potential for RICHNESS.. would be absolutely THROUGH the ROOF!

And THAT, is what I mean by ‘living your dream’. It is, simply, a heightened state of consciousness where you are truly in tune with WHO YOU ARE and what your life purpose is.

So if you have never really given any of this much thought, go to the top of this post and do the little exercise. It takes a few minutes, but it can be profound. It gives you a lot (of exciting things) to think about.

Now, tell me. Have you been able to carve out a life for yourself that gives you the privilege to live your purpose every single day? Shout out in the comments below. I would love to hear it.


Thanks for reading UnPsychology!

Do you feel like you are not living your life’s purpose? Know that you have a lot more to offer and want to make a real difference in your life as well as the lives of others.. but just have not yet figured out HOW?

Enter your email address below and I will personally send you a FREE copy of my 12 Questions to kickstart your internal purposefinder right away.

While you’re at it, feel free to check out some of my other posts on Unpsychology.

6 tell-tale signs that it might be time to quit

Have you ever been in a job where you felt that your energy was being drained? We have all had a job or two where we felt undervalued and overworked, but when do you know that your current career path is simply NOT the one you should be on? Maybe it is time to call it QUITS. Your life and your talents are too valuable to be wasted on doing something you are not passionate about.

If you are even slightly doubting your current job / career path, the signs below are worth considering seriously:

  1. Your passion is gone. Your friends and loved ones would be concerned for you if they saw you in this state. The fire in your eye, the spring in your step is gone as soon as you enter your workplace.

 

  1. Your work suffers. Your lack of passion has started to negatively affect your work and it shows. You find no value, have no interest, and certainly no desire in producing the work you have been hired to do. You spend hours looking at your to-do list and get nothing accomplished. Don’t mistake that for being lazy – you are unmotivated because you have stopped feeling inspired and passionate.

 

  1. You KNOW there is more out there. You are overwhelmed with the feeling that there is way more to life than this. You know your heart and your calling lies elsewhere, and can almost feel an invisible pull. You cannot bear spending another moment doing something you don’t love because you know WHERE you want to be. And it is not here.

 

  1. You stop socializing at work. Those coworkers you used to go for coffee runs with, those friends you used to go grab lunch with, you barely want to speak to them anymore. You just want to be done with your day so you don’t have to have anything to do with this part of your life anymore.

 

  1. You feel physically sick. The night before the start of another workweek is the worst. You physically dread going to bed, and waking up the next morning because you know what awaits. This is an important sign that it is time to quit. No job or amount of money is worth feeling physically and mentally sick for.

 

  1. There is no one at your workplace whose position you want to take over. A few years ago you would have gunned for his position at the company. You were the uber-ambitious newcomer looking to climb the ladders and move up the ranks. But now, you look at your senior executives at work and can hardly point out one person whose job you want to take over. You just know this company, this industry, is not one you want to be in. So why stay?

 

If you have identified with these signs, maybe it is time to take a step back and re-assess. Maybe it is time to take the big bad step and call it quits. Life is all too short to be spending doing something less than what you are passionate about.

But be careful. Although these signs can say a lot about the way you feel about your work, there are a LOT of other factors at play. It might be a tad bit fool-hardy to jump the gun before exploring the root of your issues. An in-depth consultation with a coach will be your best way of determining whether there are other factors in your life contributing to these feelings, and if they can be resolved first, before you pull the trigger and call it quits.

Rising up to the occasion – what it means to be ‘Clutch’

Happy Motivational Monday!

Today I was watching the World Cup game Germany vs Portugal, and it got me thinking. Athletes have one of the toughest jobs in the world. It is not only a physically rigorous training, but it is mentally extremely taxing also.

First, to go through the amount of physical training that an athlete (of the World Cup caliber) must go through, one must be able to push their minds past the limiting perceptions of pain and endurance. Your mind must withstand and endure, even if your body is on the verge of failing. After all, more than half the battle is believing you are able to keep going. Your mind calls the shots, your body merely follows. So, for these athletes to be trained to perform at arenas such as the World Cup, they must show exceptional willpower and endurance.

Second, the training is only one piece of the pie. What happens AFTER all the training is over, when it is actually time to step onto the field and PERFORM? The field where thousands and even millions of people from ALL OVER THE WORLD, are feasting their eyes, their hearts and their hopes on. This is when your mind has to be able to work its absolute best. No matter of physical training and skill is going to save you if your mind crumbles and you ‘choke up’. Yes, it is an UNIMAGINABLE amount of pressure. But rising up to the occasion and PERFORMING when it matters most, is called ‘clutch‘.

It is not only athletes who are ‘clutch’ though. ‘Clutch’ can be any person who is able to rise to the occasion, get charged up and do their absolute best. Whether it is giving a speech infront of 50 people, performing the Heimlich maneuver on a choking friend, or being a contestant on ‘The Voice’. There are hundreds of such people around us, with the unique and admirable ability to perform when it matters most.

Is it possible to develop yourself to be ‘clutch’? To a certain degree, yes. Although some innate qualities you possess may help or hinder your ability to be ‘clutch’, it is a quality that can be instilled into someone, to a certain degree.

Keep an eye out on this blog as I will be talking more about it in the upcoming weeks. Meanwhile, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below!

Lessons Learnt from The FIFA World Cup, is a series of blog posts which will draw inspiration from The World Cup series and its incredible athletes. Discussions about motivation, mental endurance, and peak performance will be some highlights of this series.

6 steps to clear your head of distractions and be more productive

If your life is anything like mine, there is an endless stream of distractions everywhere. You may want to sit down to work on an article/project/etc, but you are bombarded by Facebook notifications, Tweets, emails, your phone buzzing, etc. Sometimes it feels next to impossible to just get that one thing done in a timely and effective manner.

Here are 6 steps that worked for me and can work for you too. How to clear your head of the noise of the buzzing outside world:

  1. Switch off your Facebook. Studies show that the average person spends almost 4 hours a day on  social networking sites. That is one sixth of your day gone, scrolling through your newsfeeds, clicking ‘Like’, and sharing useless videos about cats and dancing babies. No wonder you can’t get anything done. Switch off Facebook. And while you’re at it, switch off your Twitter and Instagram too.
  2. Put your phone on silent. When you are sitting down to write, do yourself a favour and put your phone on silent. Think about it, when you are at a seminar or a classroom, you put your phone on silent as an act of respect for the speaker. So why can you not give yourself the same respect and allow your brain some quality uninterrupted time?
  3. Drop the unnecessary commitments. If you are the type of person who has a tendency to commit to several things at once, you are only stressing your brain out. You are not being able to focus on the things that are actually important or interesting to you, because your brain is too busy being occupied by the not-that-important-or-interesting-but-I’ll-do-it-anyway things. Quit it.
  4. Get moving. A few times a week, hit up a treadmill/stationary bike/running path. It’s not about going hard and sweating up a storm – it is about getting the blood flowing to your brain and allowing yourself the space to generate ideas. There is just something incredibly zen about being on that bike and brainstorming a world of ideas..
  5. Jot it down. If you have too many to-do items swimming around in your head, jot them down. Whether it is post-its stuck around your computer monitor, or Google calendar entries, just put the thoughts down on paper (or digital). Just seeing them in front of you makes everything seem less daunting, and lets your brain relax for a bit.
  6. Celebrate the small successes. Done steps 1-5 and already accomplished a thing or two? Hooray! However small the victory, always remember to take a moment to be proud and even share it with a friend/partner or do a little happy dance. Pat yourself on the back and keep going!

 

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‘Happiness’ – not a shiny utopian unicorn

Today at the onset of a work meeting, our manager decided to show us video about how ‘happiness leads to a better work environment’. It was a TEDx video and I was quite impressed with the speaker. It was not merely his style of speaking, which I did find quite captivating, but also the subject of his talk. This was something I had thought about many a times, so I mentally nodded the entire way through his talk.

He talked about how being happy leads to a better work environment. But more importantly, the point he was trying to make was, happiness nowadays seems to be a ‘concept’, almost like a utopian place we can one day hope to find ourselves at when – and if – we achieve what we set out to achieve. If we meet conditions A and B, or if we finally attain object C. Once we meet A and B, and then attain C, we then set ourselves another goal – Goal D! – and now our ultimate happiness all depends on when – and if – we attain Goal D!

Do you see the pattern here? It is like we are bent on putting our happiness on hold until we reach this moving target far off into the sky. Don’t get me wrong – having goals are extremely important. In fact, hope itself is what keeps us going from day to day. But we all know those people, who are completely convinced that they cannot be happy until they attain a certain something they have laid their minds on. Or until they change a certain something in their lives. Until then, happiness is on hold!

What is up with that?

If you need me to break it down for you, then here it is: Happiness is not ‘the attainment of a certain object/goal/person’. Happiness is not what happens to you once you reach your final destination. If you think of it that way, you might as well be chasing the proverbial shiny unicorn while he gallops on into utopian land! I.e. its not gonna happen! There is no guarantee at all that once you reach your destination, ‘happiness’ is going to be waiting for you wrapped up in a shiny bow! Quit living for the future. Stop treating happiness like a unicorn. I assure you it is not!

Happiness is simply a state of mind you CHOOSE to be in. In the present. And who better to control your state of mind than your own awesome self? Happiness therefore, is a conscious choice. A choice you can make every single day when you wake up, or when you go for your afternoon walk. Happiness is choosing to ignore obstacles along the way to your goal, and focus on the help you received from strangers. Happiness is choosing to ignore the fact that you are in a crowded subway train, but concentrating on the fact that you did not have to drive and fight traffic today. Happiness is not only deriving pleasure from the small things, but from the journey to your destination ITSELF. Heck, look around you for a second – there is no much to be happy about!

It is perfectly healthy and natural to come up with ambitious goals for yourself. But don’t base your happiness on the attainment of it. Revel in the feeling of striving to achieve your dreams. Indulge yourself in the pursuit of the exciting journey to your destination. Surround yourself with beauty, passion, dreams, and beautiful people who are passionate about the pursuit of their dreams. Breathe in the now, dream of the future and fall in love with the present.

Just be. This – now – is happy.

 

Behind every ego? A brickload of unaddressed insecurity

A few months ago, I had a friend come to me and tell me about the frequent fights she was having with her husband. They had been married for six months (prior to which they dated for a year), but the fights – always over trivial matters – were starting to get frequent. As she told me more about these fights, I could see a pattern emerging:

While she adored her husband and made playful jokes with him with no negative intentions whatsoever, her husband took the jokes personally and got offended and angry. This led to fights between the two newly-weds, and over the course of weeks, got more and more frequent. The fights would always last a few days, with my friend apologizing in the end – sometimes for days – before her husband finally conceded and let go of his anger.

My friend would always tell me that her husband was great in every way – except for when he got angry. She had no clue why he took things personally out of the blue, and why he had such a hard time ‘forgiving’ her over such trivial matters, even though she apologized for days and really meant no harm whatsoever. She tried talking him calmly when they were not fighting, but nothing ever worked. He would put up his defenses and act like it was her fault. She was at her wits end.

I thought about it for a bit and told her to try an ‘experiment’, just to see what we could get out of this. I suggested that next time she try ending to his ‘ego’.. Tell him how brilliant and generous she thinks he is, and how she is constantly impressed by his ability to handle tasks.. Tell him how much she admires his kindness and smarts. I suggested she treat him like porcelain for a week or so, and constantly tell him how much she admires his good qualities.

The results were what I expected. She came back to me a week or so later, happy and thankful. She told me how well he responded to this approach, and they have had virtually no fights whatsoever since she tried this experiment.

So what happened here, readers? Do you think the husband is a crazy lunatic looking to make his wife feel horrible? Do you think he is ‘not right’ for her, and she should never have married him?

No.

This is what happened: Simply put, he was/is insecure about himself. They only dated for a year, and then got married. After marriage, when they started living together they just started to get to know each other. Everyone has insecurities of different magnitudes, about different things. During the initial adjustment period of a man and a woman cohabitating together, a lot of issues surface which have to be dealt with. Insecurities present themselves front and centre, and most of the time, they make the individual feel judged or unaccepted or being themselves, and thus, they feel ‘attacked’. People have different ways of dealing with insecurities such as this, which is either the fight or flight responses. With a lot of men, who are traditionally the more ‘closed off’ sex, the ‘fight’ syndrome takes over: Since they are not big believers of ‘talking it out’ or even delving deep into the root cause of their insecurities/feelings, the only way they know how to deal with insecurities is to react a) with anger, or b) ‘close off’ even further.

At this point, communication skills is key. Now, a year of dating + 6 months of marriage is unfortunately not long enough to understand each other’s communication styles and/or to finesse the process.

So where does ego come in? Well, the size/state of one’s ego is directly proportional to one’s insecurities, as hard as it may be to believe. In the case above, when my friend ‘stroked’ her husband’s ego, he subconsciously eased up and felt more comfortable around her with his insecurities. Since he felt accepted and comfortable, his ‘fight’ response did not feel the need to emerge.

Eventually, once the communication channels become more clear and understood between my friend and her husband, she will have developed a better footing from which to address issues. Since he will feel more accepted, he will be able to open up to her and will not need to ‘attack’ or ‘fight’. She went to the root of the issue and worked it out, without having to resort to fights, arguments or further confusion.

Behind every ego is a ton of unaddressed insecurity, and unless the person has gotten violent (for which there is NO excuse), it is worth the effort to try and address the issue at the root. Now that you are armed with this knowledge, just take the time to patiently work through your partner / friend / family member’s issues. You never know what kind of wonderful rewards await the both of you once these pesky ego/insecurity issues are out of the way!