MindYourBusyNess: November 2009

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DECISION BY DEFAULT





I have two operating systems loaded on my PC. At the time of booting, it flashes a message to choose between either of these. If I do not make any choice within a set time, it selects a predefined one. This is also known as choosing the default.

The process of default is not limited to computers. We also use many default choices in our day to day lives.

For example, if someone doesn’t answer your question, it is fair to decide on his/her behalf, one of these –

• He/she agrees to your proposal
• He/she has got nothing to say
• He/she is not interested in you /your views
• He/she is a deaf person

The concerned person may be still in the decision making mode evaluating various options or his/her mind may be focused on something different. But due to delay in the process, a decision is taken on his/her behalf by the other party. This decision may not be the decision which the concerned person wanted to take.
Therefore the indecision or taking no decision is also a decision but the control passes to the other party .Now the decisions are taken on the convenience or default programming of the other party. And all connected actions are based on these decisions.

Some people think that by delaying a decision, they can get some time to evaluate other options. If this is the case, it is better to communicate the concerned parties that the decision is likely to be delayed so that default decisions are not activated. But the delay should be for reasonable time. No one will wait very long unless you are the final authority on the subject. There may be other things linked to it and the life has to carry on anyway.

Apart from passive default decisions, there can be also active decisions. This is when we take decisions regardless of reality. Such universal decision taken for all situations are our default decisions. Because of these decisions, we take certain aspects for granted and do not apply our mind for analysis.

To give some example –
• A will never want to spend any money regardless of the needs.
• B will always help others regardless his own condition.
• C will always criticize & blame others even without knowing the circumstances/facts.

Our default decisions are deep routed in our sub conscious mind and others label us according to these. In fact, to some extent, your default decisions become your identity. Others often decide about ‘what type of person are you’ on the experience and knowledge of your default decisions.

If you feel that your image is not as you wish to project, there may need to reprogram some of your default decisions. It is not very difficult. All you need to do is ‘examine honestly all your recent decisions on the particular aspect and see if these were balanced decisions on the face of reality’.
If the decisions were one sided, then take a commitment that you will consider the facts before deciding on these aspects. Everything else will fall in place.

A CLASS BY ITSELF




When we talk of computer, normally we think of a PC or laptop.
There is another variant of computer which is called a server. (Heard of a mail server, FTP server or domain name server?).
The hardware of a server is not different from an ordinary PC.
But a server machine is much costlier than a PC of similar composition.
What is the difference in these two classes of computers?
The answer lies in two processes through which these machines are designed-
1. Quality control- Server machines go through strict quality control checks.
2. Redundancy-
There is some amount of redundancy incorporated so that backup mechanism is activated at the time a failure to minimize damage.

Because of these two processes servers are more reliable than PC and hence these command a higher price in the market. Of course, there role is different. While PC does the day to day jobs, server provides its services to other servers/PCs on the role it has been configured. Functionally they do the same type of job. Depending upon the requirements; these two machines can be interchanged for their roles.

In fact, the same analogy is applicable to human being also.
Like a PC, most of ordinary people are busy in mundane jobs.
But some extraordinary persons are a ‘class by themselves’. Their names may be Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa or some other name in your locality. The difference is that these people have configured themselves to serve in their chosen field to all other fellow human beings.
They do quality work and they keep on working in any circumstances by using their innovative backup schemes. But they do same type of work as an ordinary person will do- eating, walking, talking playing etc. Yet they have a status of celebrity.

Any one can achieve this position by 3 simple steps-

1. Configure (take an honest commitment) yourself for service of peoples in your area of influence. Choose an area which you like most.
2. Be quality conscious in your work whatever you do.
3. Plan of backup schemes for all type of contingencies and don’t stop your work.

We all crave to become an extra ordinary person, a V.I.P, a celebrity. But how many of us think of these steps?

COMPETETION WITH SELF




Think of competition and the mind goes to –

• Beating others
• Out performing others
• Scoring better than all others
• Getting results faster and better than others

The mere thought gives you the feeling of painful efforts and fighting with unknown enemies.

Competition is also a very common scapegoat for any failure. We blame ‘tough competition’ or ‘increasing competition’ to hide our incompetence. The fear of competition is so heavy that some of us do not even try things which are within reach and easily achievable.

The process of competition can be turned into pleasant one if we shift our focus from-

“I will beat all others to become number one in my field.”

To-

“I will perform this time better than I performed last time on my chosen field/area. I will work on goals and deadlines defined by myself.”

The key to changed outlook is realistic goal setting and honest judgment of performance.

Consider the following advantages-

Working with known- In place of worrying about unknown competitors and estimating their capabilities, you work on yourself. And you know (at least) yourself better. So the process becomes easy and manageable and you enjoy doing it.

Control over goals & deadlines- You are the best judge of your capabilities, your environment and your limitations. So you can decide realistic goals and time frames to achieve these. These entities are not imposed on you from outside.

Constant improvement- It is a never ending process. Once you achieve a goal you ‘raise the bar’ a little more.

Win-Win situation – you are the only person involved in this process. You can not loose even if you don’t achieve your goal. In this case you will achieve less than expected results but still you are a gainer. Moreover, you will get a realization that either the goal was not realistic to achieve or the efforts were not enough. Here again you gain insight from your realization for better results next time.

No, it is not so easy to reprogram your mind, yet it is possible. The problems are-

1. Being honest with self - Having a candid self dialogue is the first hurdle. Our mind assume things with are less painful and thus we befool ourselves to avoid pain. Afterwards, we take our assumptions for granted. It requires lot of courage to be honest with self. you have to clearly define for yourself-
(a) What area you want to improve
(b) Where do you stand now in this area
(c) Where do you want to reach
(d) Time frame to achieve your goal
2. Assessment of performance- Since I am the most favorite person for me, I lower the standards while assessing the performance of mine. So beware of this and have impartial judgment system/yardsticks.
3. Leaving comfort zone- We remain happy in our created comfort zone. So common experience is that we make resolutions but do not act on these. The process goes on; we repent on not achieving and make fresh resolutions. So after setting your goal(s) ,you have to accept it as a commitment and a project (not given by your boss or client this time)

So, if the above mentioned approach appeals you, give it a try. Don’t worry about ‘where you will reach’ following it. You will reach where you want to reach rather than reach a place which is dictated by market forces.

TIME WASTERS



We all have same amount of time at our disposal (24 hours in a day, not a second less or more), still there are some people who are always short of time.

Are you one of them?

Do you repent the wasteful activity you have performed last minute /hour /day /week / month or year?

Time is a great resource available to all of us.
But some of us are not able to use it effectively.

Are there some time wasting activities which we can avoid to manage our time better?

The key for answer to this question lies in our outlook and attitude rather than ‘activity’ itself.
Any activity by itself is not wasteful. It is just a judgment to that act, a label given by us which makes it wasteful or useful.

Suggested below are some reasons/factors which forces us to label some of our actions as time wasters-

Lack of planning – A weak plan or ‘no plan at all’ is a major factor which results in lower satisfaction on realization that it could have been planned in a better way. If you are not paying enough attention to planning part of your schedule, focus on it now.

Lack of faith/confidence – Often we do things for which we are not convinced fully from our hearts. We do these activities just because we go with the crowd /accepted norms. More efforts in such a situation will not give better results. What is required is an analysis of reality and a bit of self-talk to find out what are your real interest /goal / purpose.

Pessimist outlook- You may consider some activity very difficult. But after you have done it, it seems very easy. It is at this point that people with pessimist frame of mind conclude that the time is wasted in that activity. It should be realized here that you became prey to overestimation – an error in judgment. The time in such situation again can be utilized better if you learn and improve the method of your making judgment.

Clarity of purpose - Often we find an activity wasteful (after doing it), when we find some better alternative to that. It normally happens when we have vaguely defined /undefined purpose or commitment. When the goal is clearly defined and it is in focus you do the best actions possible at any point of time. You do not repent later because you do your best at all points of time.

After writing all this, I feel I must take some other theme to write; otherwise this activity itself will become a time waster.

IS COMFORT ZONE A PLACE TO STAY?

Image -courtesy www.freedigitalphotos.net

There are two extreme of people in this world-

Easy going- They value security than anything else. They do things which will make them comfortable. There life is normally dull, boring, monotonous and predictable. They create and live in their own world and hence cut off from a large part of reality.

Entrepreneur- They are restless people ready to take on new ventures. They take risk and open another front if they loose on one. They are willing to explore and taste the life with its uncertainties. Their lives are adventures and unpredictable.

In fact a common person is a mixed of these two extreme. On some issues, we tend to play safe while on others we become entrepreneur. Depending upon mood and situation also we change our role.

However each one of us is naturally biased towards one of these extremes. We all have our comfort zones. We leave our comfort zones sometimes on compulsions and sometimes on pure entrepreneur instincts.

If given the choice, will you stay in your comfort zone?

The obvious answer to this question seems to be “Yes, why not”.

But my views on this are different.

I feel we must be aware of our comfort zone and also the risks involved in our profession /job /life /community /society /lifestyle etc.

For routine issues, staying in our comfort zone is recommended but we should also plan adventures attempts on issues which are of special interest to us. We should analyze the amount of risk we can take and accordingly select the entrepreneur venture.
Life is for living to its fullest. I have read a quote about ship which I feel is also applicable to ‘life’-
‘A ship is most safe in its harbor
…..But that’s not the place for which it is designed

Image -courtesy www.freedigitalphotos.net