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Do you usually find it difficult to concentrate on the task at hand? Do you find your mind invariably straying to some happy moment in the past, a pleasant song you've recently heard, or a movie you've seen, or a book you've read etc? Well, most of us do, so don't worry.Â
For most people, concentration doesn't come naturally. (That includes me.Â )
That's why today I've decided to share a few tips and tricks with you to make this age old art of concentration easy for you.
Remove the clutter:Â Put away all those papers that are now lying in a jumble on you desk. When you look at your desk and find it in a complete mess, this sends a negative signal to your mind-obviously a cluttered desk is not a welcoming view.
But as soon as you've managed to get it uncluttered and tidy again, you'll find the view itself provides you with some amount of positive boost-it's like your desks telling you, "It's time to work.", and isÂ callingÂ you by giving you that clean look!
Keep disturbances out:Â This includes locking the door of your room if possible, switching off the cell phone, and taking measures to prevent any other disturbance that you might foresee.
Now many people have told me, they're just too busy to keep their cell phones off while trying to concentrate. If this is the case with you, keep your phone in the silent mode. This will make sure you later get to know who called you during this period, so that you can call them back.
Keep distractions out:Â You've already made sure that others can't disturb you. But what about yourself? So keep out distractions as far as possible to prevent your mind from straying. This will include turning off the computer (gasps? Read on.), so that you're not able to surf the web, turning off the television, the radio, the music system etc. etc.
Now what if you're workingÂ atÂ the computer, which I guess is often the case with many of you? Then you'll have to exert some control over yourself. Don't worry; I've made that easy too-see the next point.
Use the '5-minute strategy':Â This is a strategy you can use to get rid of virtually any bad habit that you want to give up. In relation to concentration, you can use this to stop yourself from surfing the web, chatting, leaving your work to watch TV, calling a friend and other such distraction.
Whenever you feel the urge to, say, surf the web, tell yourself, "I'll surf the web after 5 minutes." Not surfing the web for the entire period while you're working at the computer is difficult. But 5 minutes is easy, isn't it?
Now after 5 minutes, chances are you'll forget about the urge you felt. Even if you haven't, all you have to do is to tell yourself not to give in to your urge for just 5 more minutes.
Now I think you've got it-you have to repeat this process till the urge goes, which usually happens after one such 5 minute period only, and two at the maximum.
Now you can use this same strategy to make yourself do your work.
If you think you're going to have to work for an hour, it will feel overwhelming. So again, tell yourself, "For the next 5 minutes I'm going to do ___ (your task)." This will work exactly like before. And after two or three (It's a little more in this caseÂ ) such periods, your concentration will come naturally.
Take a break:Â Yes, finally-the fun part!. Our concentration wears off after every 1 to 2 hours. So rather than trying hard to pull back your concentration when you feel it slipping, take a break every once in a while-a rule of thumb is 5 minutes after working for an hour, or 10 minutes after 2 hours-whichever suits you. During these periods our mind rejuvenates itself. So when you go back to work after any such break, it becomes a lot easier for you to concentrate.
So next time you find it difficult to concentrate, try these simple techniques. I've used them, so I know-they're bound to produce results!
We all get angry at times and it's perfectly normal. But some of us have a tendency to lose control over ourselves when we get really angry, and this is a serious problem. If you have an anger problem, people will think you're very strong, formidable and dangerous. But the irony is that, it's you who's the true victim, not the people you are taking it out on.Â
Being someone who had an acute anger problem and is now completely cured, I can tell you, there's no need to feel like you're born like that and there's no solution to this problem. There indeed are many, and they work.Â
A)Â Setting the ground:Â The following are the ways in which you should prepare yourself.Â
1 . Identify your problem: You have to first be able to identify that your anger is different from normal. Possible symptoms of anger problem include getting angry frequently, for relatively trivial reasons, getting violent or shouting madly when angry, and most importantly feeling out of control and deep down, helpless, when angry.Â
2.Â Be willing to solve it: This is a crucial step with which I struggled the most, like the majority. They feel (as did I) that their anger is justified, and the people with who they are angry should "pay for what they have done." Problem arises in changing this mindset because, this is often true. It is an unjust world, everything will not be fair and square, and more often than not, your anger will indeed be right.' But always remind yourself, every single one of us in this whole wide world has faced various kinds of unfair treatment in his or her life. This thought should help you to want to be less angry, as it always did, in my case.Â
3.Â Get help from friends and family: Now that you know you have a problem and want to solve it, explain this to your friends, family or partner-the people most affected by your anger problem. Tell them to try to control their own tendency to talk back when you start saying mad things to them, and to try to soothe you instead by saying something kind. Thankfully I was able to explain my problem to my partner, who have since then always said something like "I love you!", whenever I began to get angry with him. This went a long way in solving my problem (and saved our relationship too!).Â
B)Â In the battlefield:Â These are a few strategies you can follow to keep you cool if something that makes you angry does happen.Â
4.Â Distract yourself: When you feel the first signs of your anger rising, do everything you can to move away' from the situation. This might mean physically going away, or if it is not possible (your boss is shouting at you), moving your focus away from the present situation, so that mentally you're somewhere else. For this you can try the following.Â
a)Â Do the old deep-breathing thing'. I too thought something as simple as that couldn't work, but it does. Draw a breath for 10 seconds, hold it for 5 seconds, and then take 10 seconds to release it. Do this as many times as you like.Â
b)Â Think of something nice (how about Harry Potter?).Â
c)Â Call your opponent a name in your mind and imagine them to be really that (try visualizing a 'dirtbag' shouting at you.), so that you feel amused.Â
In my experience I've found that counting from 1 to 10 doesn't work, unless it is accompanied by deep breathing.Â
C)Â After the war:Â At times, even after the situation has eased, you might have found yourself unable to relax. This happens especially in the unfortunate event of your having been unable to calm yourself using the above techniques, at the difficult moment. Don't worry. You can still fix it.Â
5. Calm yourself:Â These are a few things you can do in this regard.Â
a)Â Keep a REALLY GOOD book of jokes in your bag. I promise you'll feel better if you spend just 5 minutes reading this. But remember, the book has to be really good, (thankfully, it was in my case) otherwise, besides feeling angry for other reasons, you'll invariably start feeling angry with the author!Â
b)Â Tell yourself, "I'm not angry. No. I'm NOT angry." Say this to yourself in a soothing way, as if you're talking to a child.Â
D) Taking a long-term view:Â The subtitle says it all. These are the long term strategies that you can adopt to cure your problem.Â
6. Develop reading habit: Become a member of a good library. Go there and read for at least 45minutes/1 hour, everyday if possible. Even if you can't make it a part of your daily routine, make sure you go to the library on the days when something goes wrong'. Read good books, preferably non-fiction. This way, you'll get to know about a whole lot of new things, which will give you a deep sense of satisfaction. Remember, the author is a great man, far greater than the people around you, so unlike them, he'll never make you angry. He'll only enlighten you with the knowledge of the world.Â
7. Start learning something new: This works wonders, because the enthusiasm of a learner who has just started learning something is probably even more powerful than anger. This works especially when you've tried everything else and they are not working. With me this had happened only once, when I started learning French. I started that very moment with online courses, and it worked literally like magic, making me forget my anger completely within half an hour. (Salut! I'm still learning!)Â
I personally used and benefited from each of the strategies that I've shared with you here. So I strongly hope they'll work for you too. For more such tips and personal help on anger-management and other self-help topics visitÂ www.changeyourlifenow.co.nrÂ .Â
If you want to ask me something I'll be very happy to help you out with it. Until then, happy anger-managing!Â
Change your life now! Success is your birth right.
As most of us know, in today's world, it's no longer our IQ that determines how successful we are in various walks of life, but our EQ, or emotional intelligence-the ability to manage the emotions of one's self, of others, and of groups. People who possess certain traits like assiduity, goal-orientation, communication skills, inter-personal skills and most importantly, the ability to handle stress and failure are surely the ones who are the most likely to succeed-both in their professional and personal life. Studies have shown that one of the most important of these traits is resilience-the ability to successfully overcome setbacks and traumas, so that they do not affect ones life at any later stage.Â
Failures, setbacks, catastrophes and trauma constitute an essential part of life's journey. So being unable to work through such episodes is tantamount to accepting defeat early on in the game of life. This is the reason for the great importance attached to resilience as an essential trait for survival and success.Â
Though biology does play a role in determining how resilient a person is, it is possible to learn to be resilient. The following are some ways of building resilience into one's personality.Â
A positive outlookÂ : Resilient people have their own way of looking at a situation which helps them interpret any situation in a new light. In trying times, where others see only a problem, they see an opportunity to learn and grow. And a fact that should help anyone have a more positive view of difficult circumstances is that, once you have successfully dealt with the problem, you emerge even stronger than before, because this time you know you've already successfully tackled something difficult .Â
The Ability to Tolerate Pain and Distressing EmotionsÂ : Some people can cope with emotional pain and anxiety better than others, and this may have a biological component. But the good news is that, through patience and perseverance anyone can significantly increase their own resilience. The best way to do so is to constantly remind yourself of your need to succeed, which will always give you an extra leg-up in tackling the obstacles that you 're encountering in your path.Â
A Meaningful System of SupportÂ : Even if someone is innately resilient, it will be extremely difficult, if not impossible for them to tackle every problem all alone. So reaching out to friends and family and opening up to them is essential for coping with setbacks.Â
AÂ WideÂ RangeÂ of Interests:Â Finally, people who divide their energy among various activities, and have found multiple meanings to their existence can naturally fall back on some other sphere of their lives when they suffer setbacks in one. This also gives them the necessary sense of support and fulfillment that difficult times tend to drain out. For example if in addition to your professional life, if you also value your role as a parent, and, say, are involved in some social work in your community which gives you a sense of satisfaction, then you'll be able to fall back on these other spheres of your life when you face difficulties at work.Â
My experience tells me, all the methods and techniques for attaining resilience work best only if you have the strongest desire to reach your goal. If you do, then that desire becomes a huge driving force behind everything you do. That desire makes you tell yourself, "Whatever happens, I won't let anything keep me from reaching my goal." And it is this belief that forces you to find ways around and through the walls you hit.Â
Our topic for today is one of the most talked about ones in the whole self-help field. So we all know something about it. Some of us know a LOT.Â
Whatever the case, I'm sure every one of us has at least heard of the basic lesson that all of this discussion preaches-"Thou shalt not give up", even if the path to success is punctuated with regular failures.Â
So we all know, failures form a nasty but unavoidable part of life, which must be overcome to reach the peak of success.Â
Now, let me ask you, have you put this bit of wisdom to use?Â
Oh yes, you have. It was only because you knew that you must not pay attention to your failures, that you could get your act together once again after failing that test/losing that job/getting negative feedback from your boss/being jilted by your partnerÂ
That's really encouraging.Â
But the memory hurts, doesn't it?Â
What if that happens to you again? ("Don't you try to put me in a negative state of mind!"Â )Â
Or something else goes wrong tomorrow? ("Haven't I already been through enough?")Â
I know many of you will wince at the prospect.Â
For most of us, the more we fail, the less prepared and able we become to face and successfully tackle the next failure.Â
But cruel as it may sound to youÂ at the moment, failures will come again.Â
You of course know the story of Thomas Edison failing 5000 times before he successfully invented the light bulb. You remember it as an inspiring story regularly cited in self-help literature. Can you rememberÂ exactly whatÂ he had said when the young reporter asked him about how he could continue to try when he had failed SO MANY times? He said, "Young man, I have not failed 5,000 timesÂ . I have successfully discovered 5,000 ways that do not workÂ and I do not need to try them again."Â
Look at the HUGE number-5000!!Â
That's more than the number of times the rest of us haveÂ tried-let alone failed to do- anything put together. Now do you think he could have gone on and on and on, if he'd regarded failure as a nasty but unavoidable' part of life? Read carefully what he said. Did he say, "I went on trying cause I couldn't let my failures come in my way to success."?Â
Did he say, "I knew failures can't be completely avoided in life and hence you've to ignore them and plough on if you are to succeed."?Â
True, he didn't let his failures slow him down. (As you rightly know you shouldn't.)Â
But he looked at them, not as failures, but as achievements! He saw every failed attempt of his as another step towards success. For him every one of them was a crucial learning opportunity-every one of them taught him yet another way which wouldn't work and which wouldn't have to be tried again.Â
This subtle but decisive difference in the way we look at our failures decides how successfully we'll be able to deal with our future failures, and hence how successful we'd be eventually.Â
Come to think of it, will you be able to endure even the prospect of spending your life with someone who you perceive as a threatening bully? Someone who makes you cry and makes you feel miserable? Now imagine youÂ areÂ married to that person, and there are no divorce lawyers!! So what do you do when you can't change the world? You change yourself. Since you can't change your partner, the only thing you can do is changeÂ yourÂ attitude towards them. If you continue to view them as a bully and to be afraid of them, every day you'll wake up with a little less energy to plough on.Â
This is what happens when we view a failure as an intensely negative experience. We're all married to failure and are going to remain so for the rest of our lives. There's no one-absolutely NO ONE-who's never failed. Oh yes, there's always that nice foolproof recipe for not failing-not trying. Go on adding two and three for the rest of your life and there you are! You've completely eliminated the slightest chance of failure. But since that is not what most of us aspire to do, we have to face failure, and we've to do it on a regular basis. So as long as we continue to have a negative attitude towards failure, we keep sapping our own energy. We make it more difficult for ourselves to tackle and exploit the next failure successfully. (Sounding weird? Read on.)Â
Failures are not only unavoidable, but also essential to success. Every failure teaches us something, without which we'd never be able to embark on the next step to success. In this way, every failure gets us nearer to perfection. So a failure is essentially an opportunity and can be put to practical use, if only we have the right mindset to treat it as such.Â
Enough talking. Now it's time for some action. I want you to act NOW.Â
ï‚· Think of you most recent failure/setback.
ï‚· Analyze it. Find outÂ whyÂ it happened.
ï‚· Tell yourself why it will not happen again (i.e. what will you change in your approach next time so that this doesn't repeat.)
ï‚· Click on the comments' link and let me know the results of the first three steps.IMPORTANT: The last step is NOT optional.Â
I'll meet you again soon with a lot of fun+learning stuff. Bye till then, and meanwhile happy learning!