How to Charm Your Way Through Life

Charismatic people are those who have the ability to inspire and influence others. Such people often have an aura of magnetism surrounding them.

However, Charisma is not a magical power and can be acquired by anyone who wishes to. Following are the suggestions which can help you build up the charismatic factor in you.

Find Ease in Yourself
In order to feel charismatic, you need not incorporate any artificial swagger or machismo. You just have to feel comfortable in your own skin and emphasize your real self with others as well.

No Bargain
While trying to maintain their self-assertion, people often come across as aggressive. This, however, does not mean that you hide your individuality. You should find the ability to draw a line between assertion and aggression.

Accept Your Flaws
Charismatic people never fail to compliment someone or embrace their own weaknesses. Similarly, you should never shy away from admitting your mistakes. It not only increases your charm quotient but also makes you a better person.

Be Full of Life
Contrary to the pre-conceived notion that charming people have to be intelligent or witty, it is the good-humouredness of a person that can more hearts. So, don’t try too hard to be too scholarly; just go ahead and have fun with the people around you.

Be Aware of Yourself
The key to becoming a charming person is to know yourself and your beliefs as it reflects in personality. A person who is unsure of himself fails to strike a positive impact on others. Discover yourself and let the light of your self-awareness shine upon others too.

Practice Makes Perfect
Being charismatic is a skill which which everyone can learn. You cannot expect to wake up one morning as the most charismatic individual on the planet just because you desired so. It has to be built over time and with precision. After all, nothing comes easy in life.

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How to Get Over with Negative Thoughts

Our thoughts are the doorway of our emotions. “I’m completely stuck in this” – if such thoughts crop up in your mind quite often, it’s time to give a serious thought to the things going wrong. A possible reason can be the responsibility of playing of several roles in life.

Many times we experienceinsomnia, mood swings, emotional turmoil and uneasiness while carrying out various duties in our lives. This can further make you passive on many fronts in life.

We then lose all our positive energy and become the storehouse of negative energy.

Here are a few tips of regaining the lost positive energy in life:

Take Out Time for Yourself: Try and do a division of your heavy workload. Make a list of tasks which can be split into smaller chunks. If there are some tasks which you carry out regularly but at the back of your head you realise they aren’t really important, give them up. Try and learn the art of time management. Make attempts to strike a balance between your personal and family life.

Bad Times would Eventually Go Away: Downbeat circumstances can become a cause of sorrow. But bear this in your mind that this time would eventually be over. Try and see if any benefits can be extracted from such harsh times. This would promote optimism in you.

Good Company: Try and avoid the company of people whose favourite pastime is exploring negativities in others. This can only aggravate your problem.

Think Positive: Don’t let thoughts like: “I’m trapped”, “things are never going to change” etc. cloud your head. Easier said than done but you can at least give it a try.

At your Workplace: If you’re finding it difficult to handle things in your office, do not hesitate in walking up to your boss and discussing things with him. These days many companies provide counseling to their employees.

Leisure Activities: Though clichéd but activites like watching movies, listening to music, gossiping, travelling can actually help you overcome negativities in your life.

Getaways: If you’re stuck in the din and bustle of your city life, it’s time to go for a nonchalant break. Plan getaways to hills, jungles, beaches et al (there’s no point going to just another city for that would not help you escape from the usual uproar). You would feel rejuvenated and. Some personal experience here. I recently went for holidaying in the Corbett jungles. After coming back I felt refreshed and more optimistic.

Eat Healthy: Eating healthy food is a key to not just remain physically fit but also to attain good mental health. 

“If it is to be, it is up to me!”

A set of ten two-letter words to help from a new you


Have you heard of the rather unique funeral held in an office in New York some years ago? As employees of the firm came in to work one Monday morning, they were greeted by a solemn notice at the entrance: “The person responsible for inhibiting your growth died yesterday. The body has been placed in the cafeteria, till 2 pm today.”

Sad to think a colleague had passed away, and curious who the person might be, the employees trooped into the cafeteria to pay their last respects. A crowd of company staff had gathered inside. ‘Who is this chap who has been hindering our growth?’ each wondered, as they walked up to the coffin to take a dekko. One by one, as each person took a look inside the coffin, there was shocked silence – and a look of disbelief.

Inside the coffin was a mirror. And below it was a placard on which was written: “There’s only one person who can set limits to your growth. And that’s YOU.” Now that’s a message we would all do well to remember.

When we find ourselves falling short of the success we think we deserve, we often blame our bosses, our employers, the industry, or the current favourite – the recession! Everyone and everything, in fact, except ourselves. For things to change in your life, you don’t need to change your job, or your company or your town. You only need to change yourself. Start now. Adopt a new philosophy for your life. Tell yourself the magic phrase: “If it is to be, it is up to me!” It’s not often that you can get a set of ten two-letter words to form one whole sentence. And no ordinary sentence but one, which has the power to become a life-changing philosophy for you, for me and for all of us: “If it is to be, it is up to me!” Just say it to yourself, believe in it, and see the difference.

The power to change our lives and chart our future lies within each of us. Resist the temptation to blame others for your plight. When you blame other people, you take away your inherent power to change. You weaken yourself. But by taking responsibility, you empower yourself to change your fortunes. And that one act – taking responsibility for yourself – is really what separates winners from losers.

Have you ever seen sailing boats wander into the sea? They all take off from one place, around the same time, and yet reach different shores. Why is that? The winds are the same. The water currents too are the same for all the boats. Yet, they reach different destinations, because, where the boat will reach is determined not by the direction of the wind, but by the set of the sails.

Our lives are like that too. So stop blaming the winds of your company policy or the currents of the economy. Stop worrying that you did not go to a premier B-School, or that you grew up in a non-English-speaking home. Take charge of your life. Change your mindset and get your thinking right. To reach your goals, it’s important to set your sails properly. For things to get better, you need to get better. Need new skills? Invest in training yourself don’t wait for your employer to do it. I find it puzzling that while young people spend money on trendy new clothes, and on new cellphones and on the monthly visit to the beauty salon, they want the company to spend money on training them, on making them better employees, smarter people. ‘Training myself is not my responsibility’ seems to be the general dictum!

For things to change, we must change our beliefs, and our mindsets. Do yourself a favour. Stick this ten-word aphorism on your bathroom mirror: “If it is to be, it is up to me!” And wake up to a new you.


Is “Chalta Hai” your defining motto?

Most young people have similar goals. They want to be loved, healthy, happy, and successful. And rich! And here’s the problem

WANT to go somewhere but don’t know the way? Simple. Just punch in your destination on one of those websites that offer maps and – bingo – you will get directions on how to get there. Unfortunately, that’s not the case with your goals in life. Those websites don’t offer roadmaps to get to your goals!

Most young people have similar goals. They want to be loved, healthy, happy, and successful. And rich! And here’s the problem. As we set off on the journey towards our goals, two paths emerge ahead of us. One looks like a fast and easy road – full of short cuts. It’s the path of least resistance. And the other is a long hard road, often strewn with obstacles. And – no prizes for guessing – most of us take the easy way out!

And that becomes a habit. We look for short cuts all the time. We compromise. We don’t push ourselves to succeed; we merely set ourselves the objective of not failing. We don’t play to win. We just want to avoid losing.

And so we love tips like “If you study these three sections, you can get 35 marks”. Or ‘if you attend classes twice a week, you won’t be in the black list.” Unfortunately, this attitude pervades our life and becomes a habit. We stop striving for the greatness that we are all capable of. “Chalta Hai” becomes our defining motto. And as someone rightly said, ‘Good is the enemy of Great’.

There once lived a sculptor in a small town. He was working on a huge idol of a Goddess that he was making for the local temple, when a young man walked into his workshop. As the young man marveled at the idol, he suddenly noticed another idol, almost identical, lying on the ground. “Do you need two of these?” he asked. “No,” came the reply. “We only need one. But the first one got damaged in the finishing stages. Hence I am doing it again.”

The young man looked closely at the idol on the ground. It looked perfect. He could not see any signs of damage. “Where is the flaw?” he asked. “Look carefully,” said the sculptor, “and you will notice a scratch under the left eye.” “Wait a minute!” said the young man. “Where will this idol be installed?”

The sculptor explained that it would be on a platform fifteen feet high inside the temple. And the young man quickly retorted, “At that distance, who will know there is a scratch beneath the eye?” The sculptor smiled and said, “I will.”

Now that’s a good reminder of what excellence is all about. It comes from inside, not from outside. And it’s an attitude. One we would all do well to inculcate.

Commit to doing your best at all times. Don’t compromise, ever. Whatever you do, give off hundred percent. Aim to be the best at whatever you do. And do that not because someone else tells you to do it – but because YOU want to.

And make sure you always, always do the right thing. Don’t tell yourself it’s okay, no one will notice. Remember, someone is watching all the time. And that someone is you. Your character is defined not by how you behave when you know others are watching – but by what you do when no one is looking.

If you create an idol with a scratch and think no one will notice, you will soon find another scratch appearing in your work and then another. And you will spend a lot of time and effort hiding those scratches, covering up, hoping no one notices. And instead of becoming a master sculptor, you become a patch-up artist. And your life – instead of becoming a masterpiece – becomes just another flawed piece of work. And in either case, what makes the difference is not the skill. It’s always your attitude.

Get the sculptor’s attitude. Commit to excellence. And make your life a masterpiece.

Prakash Iyer is MD, Kimberly-Clark and Executive Coach.


You Must Have Winning Habbit…

How Yusuf Pathan, Tiger Pataudi, Hokaito Zhimomi did it


Not everyone can become an India player but that should not stop you from trying or make your achievements any less significant.

THE Cricket World Cup is here! And cricket fever is everywhere. Sport is a terrific metaphor for life, and there are several useful lessons that cricket can throw up for all of us. Here then are three lessons from cricket for the larger game of life.

1. It’s not what happens to you that matters: it’s what you do about it that counts. He was a prince. Educated at Oxford. Handsome. And a terrific cricketer to boot. At 20 years of age, Tiger Pataudi had the world at his feet. Suddenly, disaster struck. In a tragic car accident, Tiger lost his right eye. Imagine! His world came crashing down.

He recalls trying to pour tea from a pot into a cup – and spilling it all over. What chance would he have of ever holding a bat again? After all, keen eyesight was seen as an essential ingredient for success. Would that be the end of his cricketing career?

Tiger may have lost an eye, but instead of focusing on what he had lost, he chose to focus on what he still had: the determination to succeed, the willingness to work hard – and the mindset of a winner. And of course, one good eye. For Tiger, losing an eye was only one more challenge to be overcome on the long road to success.

Tiger went on to play with distinction for India, became India’s youngest captain – and remains one of the greatest names in Indian cricket. Setbacks are inevitable but how you respond defines your achievements. Next time adversity strikes don’t wallow in self-pity. Be a Tiger!

2. Run your own race: Don’t compare yourself with others; just aim to be the best you can be. Have you heard of Hokaito Zhimomi? Probably not. He is a cricketing hero, the greatest cricketer his State has produced. Idolised by fans , he is an inspiration to young players in his homeland. His claim to fame? In 2008, he became the first cricketer from Nagaland to make it to the big league when he was selected to play for the Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL. It doesn’t matter that he’s never played for India. He is a hero in his own right. A village lad who worked his way to the top and became an inspiration for sportsmen in the region.

Not everyone can become an India player. Or become CEO. But that should not stop you from trying or make your achievements any less significant. Run your own race. Don’t compare yourself with others. Doing well in class is important. You don’t have to come first. Being a successful manager is big. You don’t have to be CEO. Just as being Zhimomi is a big deal. Not everyone can be a Tendulkar!

3. An extra 30 minutes of effort every day can change your life! Until a few months back, Yusuf Pathan was just another big-hitting T-20 sensation with a not-so-successful limited overs track record. Pathan’s career had seen ups and downs. And then suddenly in the last few months, he seems to have changed gears, winning games from seemingly hopeless situations. He is a changed man now, and undoubtedly one of the most exciting prospects in the World Cup. How did the transformation happen? How did Yusuf do it?

In an interview with a newspaper, Pathan explained the secret: “I would always bat for that extra 30-40 minutes after others would leave and that would allow me some undivided attention in which I could pick the coach’s brains.” Easy does it. Just an extra 30 minutes. That’s all it takes. Hard work has its rewards. Just think. What can those 30 minutes do to your career? Make sure you spend an extra 30 minutes every day, getting better. Do the Pathan thing. And see the difference!

Yusuf’s mantra: Batting for an extra 30-40 minutes after practice, gets you the coach’s undivided attention.

Prakash Iyer is MD, Kimberly-Clark, and executive coach. He has recently authored a book titled ‘The Habit of Winning’.


Mastermind success! You can, if you think you can

Prakash Iyer says it is a only mental block that prevents one from achieving any goal.

Have you heard of Roger Bannister? He was the first athlete to run the mile in less than four minutes.

In doing so, he not only broke the four-minute barrier, but also taught us all a valuable lesson.

Back in the 1950’s, the world record – 4 minutes 1.4 seconds – was held by Sweden’s Ginder Haegg. The record stood for several years since it was set in 1945. Athletes, experts and the world were convinced that it was impossible to run a mile in less than four minutes. Some even argued that the human body was biologically incapable of running the mile in less than four minutes!

And then, on 6th May, 1954, Roger Bannister did the impossible. He broke the four minute barrier, finishing the race in 3 minutes, 59.4 seconds.

His rival – Charles Landy – had thrice run the mile in less than 4 minutes 2 seconds without breaching the 4 minute mark. The four minute barrier was “like a wall”, Landy had said. But guess what? Just 56 days after Bannister’s feat, Landy ran the mile in 3 minutes 57.9 seconds. And by 1957, 16 athletes around the world ran the mile in under 4 minutes. The 4 minute mental barrier was truly shattered!

What really happened? Did coaches get smarter and teach the athletes new techniques? Did running shoes get more sophisticated? Did bodies suddenly get stronger? No. The 4 minute barrier it turned out was not a physiological one – just a mental one! As Roger Bannister explained later, it seemed illogical that you could run a mile in 4 minutes and a bit, but not break 4 minutes. His mind refused to accept that barrier. That made all the difference.

Once that mental barrier was broken by Bannister, everyone believed it could be done! And once the belief changed, the rest was easy.

It’s important to understand that our achievements in life are limited not by what we can do, but by what we think we can do. More than ability, it’s our attitude that makes the difference. As Henry Ford said, “If you think you can, you can. And if you think you can’t, you are right”.

You will probably find your mind constantly grappling with two competing thoughts: ‘I can’t!’ and ‘I can!’ How do you ensure the ‘I can’ wins? How can we break our mental barrier of ‘I can’t’?

There was a man in Alaska who had a black dog and a white dog. His dog fights attracted large crowds. Every week people would bet on which dog would win. Sometimes the black dog won, and sometimes the white one. One lady noticed that no matter which dog won, the owner always bet on the right dog, and won each week. When the man retired the two dogs, the lady asked him the secret.

“Simple,” said the man. “I always bet on the dog I had been feeding all week.”

So whether ‘I can’t’ wins in your mind or ‘I can’, depends on which thought you are feeding!

Feed the ‘I can’ dog in your mind. The thought you feed, grows! Focus on your strengths, and they will grow. Or keep thinking of your weaknesses and your fears. And unfortunately they’ll grow too.

You won’t always find a Bannister to break your mental barrier. You need to do it yourself. Once you start feeding the ‘I can’ thought, you will achieve more than you ever thought was possible!

Obstacles helped these men earn mega success

Learning to cope with failures is the first and most crucial step towards success.

AT age 10, Julio was a little Spanish boy with a dream. He wanted to play football for his favourite club – Real Madrid! He played all day, practised hard and became a very good goalkeeper.

By the time he was 20, the childhood dream was beginning to come true. He was signed up to play for Real Madrid. And most football pundits were predicting that young Julio would soon become Spain’s No.1 goalkeeper.

One evening in 1963, Julio and his friends set out in a car for a night of fun. It turned out to be a night of horror, as the car they were travelling in met with a terrible accident. And young Julio – soon-to-be star goalkeeper of Real Madrid and Spain – found himself in hospital, paralysed from the waist downwards. Doctors were unsure if he’d ever be able to walk again. They were pretty sure he would never play football again.

The road to recovery was long and painful. Julio spent the night thinking about what might have been. His mind was filled with sorrow, anger, regret. To lessen the pain, he took to writing songs and poems at night, with a tear in his eye and a pen in his hand. And to increase the dexterity in his hand, a nurse gave him a guitar. He had never touched a guitar in his life! But soon Julio began strumming the guitar and also singing the songs that he had been writing.

After being bed-ridden for 18 months, Julio gradually picked up the pieces of his life. Five years after the accident, Julio entered a singing competition – and won the first prize – singing a song called “Life goes on the same!”

He never played football again. But with a guitar in hand and a song on his lips, Julio Iglesias went on to become one of the top ten singers in the history of music, selling over 300 million albums. Just imagine. If not for that accident, Julio Iglesias would have probably been just another goalkeeper in Europe!

What happened to Julio that evening in 1963 could happen to any of us. A setback or an accident – or failure – can often appear to be the end of the road. But it seldom is. When one door shuts, usually another one opens. It’s just that we get so busy staring at the closed door and banging our head against it that we fail to spot the other door opening. Learning to cope with failure is often the first – and most critical step – towards success.

Never let failure impact your sense of self-belief. You are a star, with unique talents. Didn’t clear the entrance exam to engineering college? Maybe you weren’t meant to be an engineer. That’s all.

Even Albert Einstein didn’t clear the entrance exam to join a polytechnic. But he didn’t do too badly, did he? Maybe there is a better, brighter career waiting for you. The trick is to move on and like Julio, tell yourself that “Life goes on the same”.

Several years ago, a bright little boy in a government school in Kerala had a dream. He wanted to be a doctor. He did well in school, and everybody was convinced that this little boy would someday become a fine doctor. He wrote the entrance exam – but failed to make the cut! He was devastated.

His parents were shocked. He went on to do a BSc then a Masters degree, worked with an IT firm – and later went on to found Infosys. His name? Kris Gopalakrishnan, CEO, Infosys. Just imagine. Had Kris not failed the medical entrance, he may have been in some little town in Kerala today, prescribing antibiotics for a runny nose or a nagging flu. Imagine!

Good lesson to learn from Julio. And from Kris. When one door shuts, another one opens. Just believe in yourself. Next time you are faced with a failure or a setback, look out for the other door. Push it open. And go find your place in the sun!

Prakash Iyer is MD, Kimberly-Clark, and executive coach.