In this post I am going to share a different way of looking at the transition of world power and influence in the World with the passage of time. We all know that –
Goddess Durga is a symbol of Power Goddess Lakshmi symbolises Wealth Goddess Saraswati represents Knowledge
If we look back on the last few centuries, you will notice the following – From approximately 16th Century to some part of the 19th Century the European countries like Britain and France had sent their armies across the length and breadth of the world and had colonized a large number of countries. You can see the spread of the British and French empire from the visual below. These European countries would approach the other countries on the pretext of trade and later overpower them and make the host country their colony. That was the era of power : Durga. Focus was on : Land | Agriculture | Materials
After the World War 1 and until recently the world witnessed the dominance of USA as country and the influence of its dollar across the globe. Both in the World War 1 and World War 2 the US entered late into the war. Also the US was the main supplier of weapons and other goods to the Allies during both the wars. Most countries paid in gold making the U.S. the owner of the majority of the world’s gold by the end of the war. And depleted reserves of the other countries forced them to abandon the Gold standard for their currencies and instead adopt US Dollar as the new benchmark for regulating their currencies. this was known as The Bretton Woods Agreement. Thus, the U.S dollar was officially crowned as the world’s reserve currency. This was the era of wealth : Lakshmi. Focus was on : Money | Manufacturing | Industrialisation
After the era of dominance of power and wealth we are now transitioning to the era of the Knowledge Economy. The knowledge economy is based on the four pillars: education, innovation, information and communication technologies. It asserts that sustained investments on these pillars, will lead to sustained economic growth. With intellectual property fuelling the knowledge economy, the Asian countries have made huge strides in pharmaceuticals, health biotech, new materials, telecommunications, information technology, software, medical equipment and avionics. China has been the most prominent of the countries who are trying to capitalize on the knowledge economy in the last three decades and in the recent years India too is making good progress.
Starting from the last few decades, we are witnessing the Global power center shifting to the Asian countries which are high on creativity and innovation. And this is expected to continue for many more decades to come. This is the era of Knowledge : Saraswati. Focus is on : Creativity | Knowledge | Innovation.
When an individual sets a sight on any goal, his thoughts eventually reach a point where the question staring him in the face is “How do I reach there?”. If the goal is really challenging and ambitious, the person tries to check if there is a roadmap to get there. He may seek advise from his manager(s), mentors or even trainers. In such scenarios it is usually beneficial to carry out a SWOT (Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, Threats) analysis.
SWOT Analysis is a good starting point to understand where you are. It is like a the homing dot on GPS which can indicate your current position on the capability landscape. This you can use to chart a path to achieve your coveted goals. Using both your Goals as destination and SWOT analysts as your starting point, you can figure out the gap between where you are where you want to go. Knowing this gap is the first part to figuring our the roadmap to your goals.
People often underestimate the benefit of the SWOT analysis. Most often people glance at the strengths section, feel good about themselves momentarily and then move on to the other sections. After a quick glance through the Weakness, Opportunities and Threat sections, most often people conclude that the “weakness” section seems to be the only place where you can do something because both Opportunities and Threats are usually external and you may not be able to influence them.
So most people try and device strategies to improve on their Weakness. Also for a very long time we have been told to focus on improving our weak areas to be successful in life. Often in a corporate setup, when we request for or receive feedback the emphasis is more on the “areas of improvement” rather than what you are good at. However each of the 4 sections of SWOT analysis are important. Sometimes you may need help of a coach or mentor to help you understand how to apply these for your specific situation.
Playing to your Strengths Especially for the experienced folks, I want to draw your attention to your strengths. While you continue to put effort towards improving on your weak areas, you need to pay a greater attention to the strengths you already possess. By correctly recognizing your strengths and honing them you can improve your chances of success many fold. That is why you often hear the phrase, “play to your strengths”. However this phrase has become so cliched that no one ever takes time to understand what it really means and why is it so important.
“To play to your strengths” means – # Identify your top strengths (competencies that you are really good at) # Find out ways to leverage them for maximum growth # Also you may be able to uncover ways to use your strengths to over come your weakness
How do you find out what your strengths are ? Though you may know some of your strengths but a majority of the people only have a vague understanding of their overall strengths. Some people know they are very organized, while others may be good with getting things done. Some ace at relationships and others may be creative or problem solvers. Even though you may know one or two of your strengths you are still missing the 360 degree view of all your strengths, some of which may not be very obvious.
So how do we find out all our strengths? There are many tools available to help you carry out this evaluation in a more scientific manner such as MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator), DiSC, Gallup Strength Assessment etc. I have tried multiple such tests and while all have some merits but in my humble opinion the type of insights provided by Gallup Strength Finder Report are really unique and usable. This is a paid assessment. However it is not very expensive. You can consider this as an investment into you self-improvement journey. On the Gallup Site there are 2 versions – (1) Top 5 Clifton Strengths and (2) CliftonStrengths 34. My recommendation would be to take the CliftonStrengths 34 to get a detailed report of your 34 personality attributes in the order of dominance.
What do we do once we have the identified the strengths? First, spend some time to read and understand the report. # Underline the lines which resonate with you. # Identify habits or traits of your personality which correspond to these strengths. # Write down the opportunities where you can best utilize your strengths # Ask yourself – How can I use these strengths to achieve my goals?
With some serious brain storming, you will start getting the answers. And once you know what you are good at, your self confidence will get an immediate boost. And the icing on the cake is that unlike working on your weaknesses you don’t have to go through a painful process of change. Your strengths are already inherent within you. All you need to do is to identify them and start using them consciously. And find ways to leverage them for achieving your goals.
Maturity is when you stop trying to change people, and instead focus on changing yourself. Maturity is when you accept people for who they are. Maturity is when you understand that everyone is right in their own perspective.
Maturity is when you learn to “let go”. Maturity is when you are able to drop “expectations” from a relationship and give for the sake of giving. Maturity is when you understand that whatever you do, you do for your own peace.
Maturity is when you stop proving to the world how intelligent you are. Maturity is when you focus on positives in people. Maturity is when you do not seek approval from others. Maturity is when you stop comparing yourself with others.
Maturity is when you are at peace with yourself. Maturity is when you can differentiate between “need” and “want, and you can you can let go of your wants. Maturity is when you stop attaching “happiness” to material things.
You might have heard “Play to your strengths” pretty often – from self-help books to various motivational speeches to the pep talk given by senior leadership. In fact the phrase has been overused so much that we actually ignore the importance it carries. My humble attempt via this post is to help you understand what it really means and how to actually leverage it for your own success.
Most often we take our strengths for granted and lay a great emphasis on improving our weak areas. While it is not incorrect to try and improve the weak areas however by focusing only on the areas of improvement you are playing on back foot. This also lowers your confidence and puts you on a trajectory where you are feeding a lot of negatives to your mind.
Instead what one should actually do is to focus on your strengths – understand them and leverage them to the best possible extent. By focusing on your strengths you are focusing on positivity and it directly boosts your self-confidence. When you operate from a strength mindset, it is more easier to take steps to overcome your weak areas too.
So do spend some time and identify your strength areas – get help from friends or mentors or take some of the personality tests to identify them. Once you know them, dwell on them and learn to use them for your success.
At times we get overwhelmed by our own emotions. Sometimes it could be sheer frustration at other times it could be grief. It can be betrayal or even separation from a loved one. Emotional turmoil can mean different things for different people both in type and intensity. One of the most common reasons for emotional turmoil is the mismatch between expectations and reality. This could be in the form of a bad appraisal, betrayal of a friend, separation from a loved one, heated altercation with spouse or not being able to keep up with the daily grind when there is too much on your plate.
Whatever the reason might be, the important thing to understand is how you respond to adverse situations in your life. Observe what you do when you find yourself in one such situation and feel completely helpless?
Do you sulk and sulk till you get over it. Do you brood over it over a cup of coffee or over a smoke break. Do you just pull the blanket over your head and hit the bed to cut out the continuous chatter in your brain Or do you throw temper tantrums.
Some people weep and need to be left alone till they get over it. Some look for solace in a friend’s company. While some others subconsciously binge on chocolates and junk food. Some even go shopping to divert their mind.
Different people have different ways of dealing with emotional stress. At a very broad level – it is either FIGHT or FLIGHT.
Some things heal with time, some are bundled and pushed into a corner of your mind as you get busy with the things at hand till someone pulls the skeletons out of the closet once again. And in most cases you learn to live with the pain.
What if I tell you a that there is a way which will help you deal with your emotional stress in a better way. What If you could channelize your emotions in a positive way. It may also help you heal over a period of time. For the healing to happen we need to learn to manage our emotions.
If you want to learn about a healthier way to deal with your emotional stress watch this space for updates.
For a long time we have been told to focus on improving our weak areas to succeed in life. Also realise that at most times when we request for feedback we keep the good part aside and go after the areas of improvement.
However, we cannot be perfect so this strategy for success is an infinite loop in itself. And also it is a very time consuming process to clearly identify your weak areas and build enough competency to make any visible improvement.
A lot of experienced folks realise that they have less time in hand and the strategy of working on the weak areas is something which may not give them quick results. A better approach in the current scenario is to play to your strengths.
“To play to your strengths” means to first Identify your top strengths (competencies that you are really good at) and then leverage them for maximum growth in the shortest possible time. This means find/switch to opportunities/roles where you can best utilise your strengths. And the good news is that unlike working on your weaknesses you don’t have to go through a painful process of change. Your strengths are already inherent within you. All you need to do is to do some introspection and objectively identify your top strengths. Once done acknowledge them and start working on your strength areas and see the results.
Consider a drop of pure water falling from the sky. If it lands on flowers or leaves, it becomes a dew drop.If it falls on a hot surface, then it loses it’s identity and vanishes.If the same drop lands in an oyster, it gets converted into a pearl…
That is the power of a good mentor. The literal meaning of a mentor is someone who imparts wisdom to and shares knowledge with a less experienced colleague. A mentor is like a navigator who helps you steer your ship in the right direction even on uncharted waters and help you reach your destination. The true importance of a mentor is understood by those who have experienced it.
Apart from choosing the right mentor, to build a working mentor – mentee relationship, the primary ingredient required is mutual trust. And mutual trust is built by maintaining an environment of confidentiality. The relationship will be beneficial if both the mentor and the mentee are able to speak their mind and both feel that their view point is heard and respected.
A mentor plays an important role in your success. However, having a mentor does not mean that he will build a ladder for your growth. Instead, he will help you build on your strengths and overcome your weakness. You will still have to do all the hard work but instead of running around in circles and not reaching anywhere, the mentor will point you towards the direction you need to focus your efforts so that they yield results.