Thursday, 30 October 2014


Work is the key to success, and hard work can help you accomplish anything.
*It’s worth it!
With this latest PDP piece on 'Work Hard Attitude', hype up your motivation, fuel yourself to re-board the resolution train, and keep digging the flags into each peak as you pass by your goals.

“Keep at your work as diligently as possible, without giving up. Something will give...Even if you get a toe in, stay with it. It’s a beginning that can grow.”
~ Amitabh Bachchan

Well, this could sound a little ‘old fashioned’, but if you ask me about my ‘theory of life’; I would plainly say just two simple words to you, “Work Hard!” I am a serious believer of the saying, ‘Work hard in silence, and let success make the noise.’ I always get impressed and inspired to see people who work really hard with a ‘never-give-up-approach’. I look up to them as my ideals, as my heroes, as my supermen. Today we hear a lot about ‘Hard Work versus Smart Work’. But to me, Smart Work is not an isolated term; it comes to me mingling your Hard Work with a ‘Sense of Purpose’. If I lose sight of my destination; of course, my hard work will take me nowhere and I will be banging my head like a bug on a windshield. In other words, if you are running off track, you will not be able to see the finish line no matter how hard you run, or how fast you run.

Hard work in the right direction is often the difference between hitting the bull’s eye and completely missing the target. Born in 1953, Zico came from a lower-middle-class family in Brazil. He spent much of his youth dreaming of being a professional footballer and cutting classes to play football on the streets. His passion for the sport made him famous in the neighborhood, where people would gather to see the boy's brilliant performances against older children and teenagers. Zico was not physically strong. A combination of hard work, determination and discipline helped him become an athlete. During a River match, Zico scored 9 goals and caught the attention of radio reporter Celso Garcia, who asked Zico's father to take him to a trial at Flamengo. And that proved to be his path towards becoming one of the most admired players in the history of the sport.

If you dig deeper into the life history of achievers, you will find that ‘Hard Work’ has always been an essential ingredient of their success recipe. They were able to carve their own path more because of their ‘work-hard-attitude’. I think if someone had told them to drop this attitude for a multitude of reasons, they would have outright rejected their plea. Because every achiever knows that doing the best at this moment puts him/ her in the best place for the next moment. To paraphrase Diego Maradona, “I wanted to be the world champion when I was just eight and my dream knew no bounds. You have to chase your dream and prepare properly to achieve it. Talent is important, but you must toil hard to translate it into success. Sometimes you need a kick to get the best out of yourself. Fortunately, I always had that extra rush of adrenaline for the biggest stage.”

Of late, I came across an interesting theory called ‘Locus of Control’. The locus of control is the most extensively studied personality dimension. It means whether people believe that they are in control of events or events control them.  Individuals with internal locus of control believe that they can control and shape the events in their life with their own actions whereas individuals with external locus of control believe that events occur purely by chance and they are at the mercy of destiny, luck or other people which are beyond their control. People with internal locus of control are found to be hard working and they seek opportunities for advancement. They leave no stone unturned and make more and more efforts. I would rather call them ‘Men on Mission’. They exude confidence, wear expressions of laser focus and they separate themselves from the pack. All the struggle they undergo cannot dampen their spirits. And they are far better prepared to combat difficult situations whenever they arise.  
People with internal locus of control are found to be hard working and
they seek opportunities for advancement.
So, here is the catch. ‘Doing’ is more important than ‘just wishing’ or ‘mere dreaming’. I shake my head in disbelief and feel completely put off whenever I see people shirking their work, showing up late, shunning their responsibilities or just cowering in the corner. Life is a hard taskmaster. So bingo, problem solved! Ditto for such unprepared souls; Success either shows up very late for them or just shirks them altogether. And in that case, there should be no room for self pity and there is definitely no need to be filmy about it. I believe sometimes it takes one incident to galvanise people. The Story of Juliet Wu Shihong explains the same ‘tale of toil’. She succeeded to be one of China’s first-generation professional managers by working her way up the ranks from a cleaner, a nurse, a marketing executive, through self-education and learning on the job. She had been the general manager for the world’s most famous multinational IT groups’ Chinese branches (Microsoft 1985-1998; IBM 1998-1999).

When Wu started off in a big company working from the lowest ranks, her daily job was to pour tea and sweep floors. Once, because she forgot her staff pass, the company’s guard stopped her at the door and denied her entry. She explained to the guard that she was indeed one of the company’s employees, and that she had merely left the building for a short while to purchase office supplies. Despite her pleas, the guard still did not allow her to enter. As she stood at the gate, she watched as those of similar age to her, but smartly dressed in business attire walking through without having to show their passes. She asked the guard, “Why are these people allowed through without producing a pass?” The guard dismissed her coldly nonetheless.
That was the turning point for Wu – she felt great shame. She looked at herself, dressed in shabby clothes and pushing a dirty push cart. Looking back at those dressed in smart attire, her heart felt a deep ache from the sudden realization of the sorrow and grief from being discriminated. From that moment, she vowed never to allow herself to be shamed like this again, and to become world-famous. Since then, she used every opportunity to enrich herself. Wu did not possess strong academic qualifications, and was revered as the ‘Queen of Part-timers’. Every day, she was the first to arrive at work, and the last one to leave. She made every second count, spending her time learning the ropes. Her efforts soon paid off; she was made a sales representative, and quickly progressed to being the regional general manager of this multinational company in China. Subsequently, she assumed the position of GM of IBM China. 
It’s not very uncommon to be in a situation when things don’t go the way we would have liked. Our enthusiasm dwindles and we are tempted to cut corners. Here, I feel your head nodding. Distractions, Interruptions and unexpected obstacles pop up and rob us of our focus. But that’s an acid test of our real character. In the face of all this fluff and flash, some of us do fall prey to what situations throw our way. Even talented sportspersons fall by the wayside and their career takes a nosedive when they succumb to distractions. On the other hand, some of us hype up our motivation, fuel ourselves to re-board the resolution train, and keep digging the flags into each peak as we pass by our goals. 

I am a die-hard fan of old Hindi movie songs too. Let me narrate an incident from the same arena. Once Kishore Kumar and Asha Bhosle, veteran Indian film playback singers went for a duet recording early in their careers — the sound recordist rejected both of them because they didn't have 'good' voices. Kishore Kumar was very dejected. He joked they should become street singers since they couldn't make it into cinema. Asha ji consoled him. They both worked with renewed vigour, putting their best efforts into their profession and the rest is history. In Asha Ji’s own words, “As a professional, I put my best foot forward and give my 100% to a song, whether I personally like it or not. I've completed 70 years in Indian cinema. I believe I have given everything I could to the arts — perhaps that's why I've been around for so long. Work is worship — and there's no substitute for hard work.”

This very sentiment of ‘Work is Worship’ has been pictured vividly in movie ‘Bhag Milkha Bhag’. If you remember the plot of this slice-of-life-movie, you will instantly come to terms with the same notion that ‘Success is not always about greatness; it’s about consistency and hard work. Consistent, hard work gains success and greatness will come.’ ‘The Flying Sikh’ in the movie didn't know anything about athletics before he started running in the army. But once he found his passion, he didn't settle for anything less than excellence. After coming back from the 1956 Melbourne Games, he pledged to himself that he would not rest till he had matched the Olympic record. He worked non-stop in his pursuit for excellence. Buckets used to fill up with sweat, blood flowed from his nose and urine; He was on the death bed many times but he kept pushing himself.

No doubt, work is the key to success, and hard work can help you accomplish anything. The message is quite simple and straight,

“Study while others are sleeping; work while others are wandering; prepare while others are playing; and do while others are dreaming.”

If you like this blog post and wish to share your experiences/ remarks/ views on 'Work Hard Attitude' with Gaurav Misra, you are most welcome. Write to him at Like him on by Gaurav Misra. Follow him on Twitter@pdpbygm. 

Tuesday, 30 September 2014


I think doubting one’s caliber could be the greatest blunder on earth.

How many times, we ourselves pose a question mark over our own abilities and shy away from our crown of success. I have seen so many people who just don’t believe their potential and crib over the ‘limited version of their lives’. If you don't believe in yourself, how do you expect anyone else to believe in you? The present blog post is about deleting your doubts (read self doubts) and realizing your true potential.

“If we start believing that we can’t lose, it will surely happen.” 

~ Andres Iniesta

For a few days, I have been trying really hard to select the theme for my next blog post. And then, I chanced upon a news item regarding a Norwegian trio travelling to 19 countries in 24 hours and setting new world record. According to the news, this Norwegian trio has set a new world record for the most countries travelled in a day. The new record was set by Gunnar Garfors, 39, Tay-young  Pak, 42, and Oyvind Djupvik, 38, after they made it to 19 countries in just 24 hours, surpassing the previous record of 17 countries. And then suddenly, a thought crossed my mind and I felt a kind of revelation to have my most sought after next-blog-theme. If this team of new world record holders had doubts in their potential to break the previous record, it would have been next to impossible for them to even imagine their unbelievable feat. Yes, the present blog post is about deleting your doubts (read self doubts) and realizing your true potential. How many times, we ourselves pose a question mark over our own abilities and shy away from our crown of success. I have seen so many people who just don’t believe their potential and crib over the ‘limited version of their lives’. I think doubting one’s caliber could be the greatest blunder on earth. If you don't believe in yourself, how do you expect anyone else to believe in you?

Such stories which depict one’s journey from self-doubt to success are in plenty. And whenever I sit back and contemplate over my experiences with others, I also feel myself surrounded with such discoveries made by simple people around me. I still remember one of my students who make me feel proud even today. And her case-in-point is really a piece of inspiration to all (and quite heart-warming to me as well). As far back as I can remember, initially, she was a girl of low self esteem (due to her personal challenges) and with a self doubting tendency (again due to her professional dilemmas). But in spite of all the adversities, the best part was that she was very hard working and ambitious (that she occasionally discussed her career goals with me) and she never gave up. She attended a few PDP sessions and some extra classes during my short stint as a professional trainer. And to my surprise, I sensed a great transformation in her overall personality (largely because of her passion and dedication to uplift herself). Exactly after one year, I received a message from an unknown number. As per the content over my mobile screen, one of my students was selected by a reputed firm for a decent profile. And this really brought a big smile on my face. And I was more delighted to know the name of the proud sender. Yes, she was the same student (who at one point of time was a big time victim of her own self made self doubt). 
Let's get back to the business. I get completely floored by the people who never give up in the face of their piles of doubts and don’t take long to get back on track. Having doubts is normal and what matters most is how you respond to it. If your doubts start dominating you and your actions, your destination seems nowhere near. We get so deluded by our ‘self made’ doubts that we keep falling into the same pit of fear and that’s sufficient to go into steep decline. And over a period of time, it becomes almost impossible to keep a handle on our anxieties. Truth be told, the real world is a harder place with fewer buffers. And to start your journey with doubts in your mind is a great recipe for a greater mess. Is it not possible to have an extra ounce of confidence that could outweigh your load of doubts? Is it not in your powers to realize an additional sense of belief that could surpass your feeling of distrust? Well, it’s quite possible. And this confidence and self belief push you towards great discoveries about yourself.

Cousins was not willing to
surrender so easily.
Recently, I read one of the most remarkable stories of confidence and self belief and that gave me enough food for thought. This real life story can tear down all your self-doubts (be it your personal or professional ones). What if your doctors tell you with all evidences that you have no more time to live? I think most of us would be panicked at the very thought of not being able to survive. And when you have enough facts to prove that you really have a few days left and soon you have to depart. And that’s the moment to say goodbye to all your near and dear ones. Well, I don’t want to sound melodramatic, but the truth is that it really demands a mountain size faith to go against the medically approved declarations. Well, this is what exactly happened in case of Norman Cousins (author of fifteen best selling books) who was told by medical experts that he had a very short time to live due to serious health problems). Cousins was not willing to surrender so easily. He researched all possible methods for staying alive. And adopted a combination of Vitamin C, positive thinking, joy, humor, faith...and hope. Twenty years later he was still alive. In his own words, “I was absolutely confident that I was going to make it. I knew that confidence was essential.”

Sweeping your doubts under the rug or instantly waving the white flag is not cool. You can initiate something new and you can feel clouds of doubt in your head. Sometimes it feels like there is nowhere to hide from self doubt. Though you may have a long laundry list of your own justifications for your doubts; remember, it’s a battle of you against yourself. With all the guts and the grit, remind yourself that ‘You Are Going to Make It’. Keep your chin up, muster enough courage and don’t lose your confidence. You know every bit of confidence matters and it snowballs with time. The fact of the matter is that results are never guaranteed but efforts are always in one’s control. But you have to ensure that you do not fall as an easy pray to your doubts ever again. Mind you, you are better off without your doubts and you can certainly do well without them. To put it bluntly, sometimes you may fall or you may completely fail, but do not loose your grip over your confidence and never let your self belief go, no matter what. And if you do that, I can vouch you will be able to find sunshine even in the hurricane. You better doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith in yourself.

“Doubt is normal for everyone, but successful people recognize doubt as just fuel to prove their own self wrong. Doubt is what holds people back and makes them regret when someone else does something very similar to what they dreamed about. You just have to let go of doubt and challenge yourself to be as great as you know you can be.”
~ Anonymous

If you like this blog post and wish to share your experiences/ remarks/ views on 'self doubts' with me, you are most welcome. Write to me at Like on by Gaurav Misra. Follow on Twitter@pdpbygm.

Saturday, 16 August 2014


This blog post is an extension to my previous blog on ‘Anger Management’. I acknowledge that managing anger is not a one-size-fits-all strategy. Still there are some ways to select so that we keep ourselves away from boiling over into destructive behavior.

“Anyone can become angry — that is so easy. But to become angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way — that is not so easy.”
~ Aristotle

This blog post is an extension to my previous blog on ‘Anger Management’. I acknowledge that managing anger is not a one-size-fits-all strategy. Still there are some ways to select so that we keep ourselves away from boiling over into destructive behavior. In my earlier blog, I tried to give you a glimpse on how one can manage one’s anger (I suggested a handful of tips and those were the practices if followed wisely, can hugely slash our chances of developing into an ‘Angry Ogre’). To recap, on top of them was watching out for reasons of stress or depression (if any) and rooting them out of one’s system. The other approach was to keeping the most visited end of an angry situation in mind so that they could be well avoided in times of any friction. Sometimes giving oneself a short-break is advisable (This time-out technique works as an ideal distraction to calm down). And then taking things easy is also another way of keeping your cool in those rough moments. Here I will be digging the topic a little more in detail and share some other ways to find your peace with your anger.

Explain Your Anger: Yes, it’s true that giving yourself a break (during the heated arguments) sometimes seems the much needed way out. But it’s not like ‘be all and end all’. This method works best when after finding your calm, you also voice your concern with your source of anger (be it your friend or be it your partner), when both of you are in positive frame of mind. This approach is about having an open dialogue. In other words, it is to allow the barriers of your heart and soul to fall. Sweeping the matter under the carpet can seem viable for a while, but it surely doesn’t guarantee a happy formula to sort things out. The issue is never resolved, and a strange bitterness lingers. The absolute solution lies not in venting it out harshly (which happens in most of the cases) but trying to have an exchange of opinions with cool heads. Many a time, an all new perspective of a problem surfaces after having a ‘cool-conversation’ with the ones who did cause us upset our balance in the first place. In other words, sometimes anger is often a result of misperceiving the person in case. And your share of perception must also come to the light to others only then there are chances of getting the junk clear off your head. 

Every expectation fulfilled is one big fairy tale.
Set Your Expectations Right: Expectations never die nor do they subside. We often turn into an ‘Incredible Hulk’ when things don’t happen the way we want them to, and believe that they ‘should’, happen. If we don’t have our way, it causes anger and there is just no escaping it. Also, then we find someone to ‘blame’ and ‘punish’ because they have not had our way. To paraphrase Erza Bayda, “When life is not the way we want it, we react. If we have expectations, we expect them to be met. If we have requirements, we require them to be met. If we have strong desires, we will not be satisfied unless they are fulfilled. Though life is neutral, with no bias toward fitting our pictures of how it should be, we continue to believe that life should go the way we want. And when it doesn’t, the result is often anger, in one form or another. We express it internally through ruminating or wallowing; we express it externally through blame. Anger is simply our conditioned response to life when it doesn’t match our pictures.” In the light of this notion (which is undoubtedly true), it’s sensible to have realistic expectations with people around. And this is also quite irrational to behave as a tantrum-throwing child when not entertained as expected. Sometimes it’s better to bid adieu to your ‘deep fried expectations’ otherwise it’s a typical ‘wild-goose-chase’. Remember, ‘every expectation fulfilled’ is one big fairy tale.

Can You Put Your Feet in The Shoes of Others?: Well, that’s called ‘empathy’ in simple words. And that’s entirely different from ‘sympathy’ (And I strongly recommend you to find the difference between these two, if they seem synonym to each other by their face value). When you empathize with a person (who is irritating and is your source of anger quite often), you actually try to put your feet in his/ her shoes. What I mean to say is that you make an attempt to understand the reason of his/ her disposition positively. This way of ‘optimistically perceiving anger’ is called ‘reappraisal’ by Jens Blechert, research head, Stanford University. For example, if my friend has had a bad day or he has not been feeling very good about something for quite some time, or he is just not in his ‘happy-state-of-mind’, chances are I could be the ‘scapegoat’ while confronting him and he could lash out at me. His frustrations may be passed down to me (also because in his heart of heart, he knows I am his friend and he expects at least me to understand him) and here if I start judging him and blaming him that he is not behaving himself, an emotional outburst is round the corner. And it’s true that many a time couples fight not because they were angry with each other, but because one of them failed to ‘read the other’s anger’ positively. 
This is no wise to start a negative competition called ‘War of Words’.
Watch Your Words: Words are powerful. That’s the reason why it’s preferable staying silent sometimes whenever in provoking predicament. This is no wise to start a negative competition called ‘War of Words’. We hiss fire, spit spleen and communicate with a roar to offload the negative feelings inside. But mind you, once arrows dipped in harsh criticism are thrown at others, they cannot be called back. And in 99.99% cases, we repent and feel guilty for doing so. It seems as if anger comes like a storm and possesses us. We regret later and vow not to be angry again. And before we know it, it becomes a vicious circle. The reason is quite simple and straightforward. When we listen to somebody, completely, attentively, then we are listening not only to the words, but also to the feeling of what is being conveyed. And angry words always carry unkind feelings along with them. At the receiver’s end, decoding of these words results in magnified version of this ‘unintended unkindness’. And then, if you hope him being super-extra-kind to you, you are certainly living in a fool’s paradise. (Pardon me for my selection of words, if they hurt; but believe me I am not angry. But you know words are powerful).

Do You Remember the Dirty Past?: Sometimes you want to rewind life and start all over again. And the major problem when you’re angry is that you cognitive skills become impaired, and your intellect gets clouded. In such a state of mental fatigue and emotional burnout, consequences look insignificant and you can actually process less information. It makes you more prejudiced about others and your analytical skills go for a toss. This often leads you doing things that you wouldn’t do in normal circumstances and will cause you regret your actions when you look back. If you envisage those unpleasant memories already in advance associated with your unmanaged anger (when you did something wrongful and repented later on), you instantly get clues and realize not to repeat the same dirty past. This method is just opposite to visioning something positive. When you visualize ‘happy things’ in your future, you experience ‘feel-good-factor’ and you become encouraged and feel upbeat. Likewise when you go into your past and remember those ‘unhappy things’ (which occurred at the heat of the moment), you receive warning signals and that helps you bounce back to you ‘normal state of being’.      

Burn anger, before anger burns you.
Know the Health Hazards: Well, I’m not making this up; various studies have shown that anger can actually up your risk of health hazards. This is backed by research that the moment (when something crashes and) you act hothead and start snapping at the smallest of things, certain glands in your body get activated and they flood the body with stress hormones. It causes a kick in adrenaline and cortisol. Your brain shunts blood away from the gut and towards the muscles, in preparation for physical exertion. Your body temperature rises, your skin perspires, your face reddens, your voice rises to a higher pitch, your heart beats speed up and your breathing becomes faster. The constant flood of stress chemicals causes harm to many different systems of the body. As a result, your unmanaged anger causes you headache, digestion problems, abdominal pain, insomnia, anxiety, depression, disturbed sleep, tiredness, hypertension, ulcers, high blood pressure, skin problems and what not. In fact, the list is endless. Better, then, burn anger, before anger burns you!

To sum up, I must say that anger is undoubtedly a self-defeating and self-destructive emotion. Most of the time, it’s not a matter of chance, but a matter of choice. Well these ways and means (revealed in the present as well as in the previous blog) to be anger-free could sound like a good mix. But the bottom line is that it is not individuals or situations that cause anger, it is our own reaction or response to individuals and situations that determines whether we will be angry or otherwise. So, develop a strong will to control anger and moreover, have a readiness to change for better. Because,

“If you aren’t ready to change, the intervention probably won’t take hold.”

~ Jerry Deffenbacher

If you like this blog post and wish to share your experiences/ remarks/ views with me, you are most welcome. Write to me at Like on by Gaurav Misra. Follow on Twitter@pdpbygm.