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Introduction to Understanding Self

My name is Anuj Baronia. I am from a city called Pune which is in India. I started writing this first ever blog of mine and thought that let me take some time to just talk about who am I and why I feel I should be blogging.

It was my daughter who got this idea of blogging into my head. She said I had a nice way to communicate things using the writing or speaking mode and to have a bigger outreach I should try blogging. So here I am…with my first ever blog.

The story of my life has been a journey full of ups and downs and so is everybody’s I guess, but few come up with the thought to write about it and put it in the public domain. Most people prefer to hush hush everything about themselves because of the fear of being ridiculed or criticized…lets say, fear of the unknown. It is my opinion that the more we talk about it, people connect our issues with their own issues and in the ongoing discussions give their perspective to our issues based upon their understanding and circumstances. This not only gives us a wider scope of viewing things differently but also helps us to improve our own perspective too.

I am an engineer…a civil engineer…and that too a very good one…I am also holding a MBA-Marketing degree in post graduation…and currently also trying to pursue my PHD in the field of training. I am also a corporate trainer in behavioural techniques and do personal coaching to troubled individuals in helping them achieve work life balance. Ironically with all the degrees that I have amassed I have very rarely got an opportunity to work in those fields where I have specialized except now when I have got into coaching and training which is a very satisfying experience of my life.

I have started my blogging journey with the profound thought of exploring my self and writing and sharing my experiences to help people improve their journey of life and understand their life better. I hope this journey turns out to be as exciting as I feel now at the beginning. As I move on in this journey I will keep adding my posts giving them sequential numbering for various topics so that they would be easy for my readers to connect. My next post would be numbered 1. followed by the topic and so on. Hope it gives an ease of reading to everyone.

To end this short blog, I would like to give my thought for the day: “Life is to be lived every moment at a time and to me made fruitful. Let us all be positive despite all the happenings and events which try to pull us down. Keep smiling always”

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Welcome to My New Blog

Blogging With Anuj

Be Yourself… Everyone else is already taken. Be Yourself…

Be yourself; Everyone else is already taken.

— Oscar Wilde.

Hi Friends,

As I proceed on this exciting journey of the blogging world, I shall be sharing my thoughts on various topics related to my life’s experiences which formulated my beliefs and thoughts on the most crucial topic UNDERSTANDING SELF. As I proceed I shall be adding posts in sequence and the links are available and indexed as below so that readers can follow the posts in a sequential manner.

TOPICS:

Chapter 3. TIME MANAGEMENT

Hi Everyone. Thanks for your continued support to my blogs. Its your support which helps me continue on this journey. Well in my previous posts I first gave an insight to Understanding self, followed by do we understand ourself and then I wrote a little bit about human nature and benefits of being reflective over reactive . Today I will talk about time management, a topic which we often are finding difficulties dealing with irrespective of the age group we belong to.

Time is a resource and that too a depleting one. Everyday that passes we find we have lived one more day and have one less day on this planet. So the question is DO WE HAVE TIME TO LOOSE? There is so much to be done and so little time available. In this short span of time GOD has granted us,each of us goes through different phases in our life. There are life’s milestones like growing up from babies to childhood, learning new things, formulation of our beliefs, studies, attaining puberty, turning into an adult, making friends, working, marriage, children, owning up responsibilities, retirement, following the growth of our children, and the cycle continues from this generation to the next generation. Have we ever at any stage of life said that NOW I HAVE LOTS OF TIME AND NOTHING TO DO? Eventually by the time we are actually in a position to say something similar its time to say good bye to this planet.

I can say that I am yet to meet a person who says I have time. Every one whether it is a small child or a college going young boy or girl or a working adult. Everyone has paucity of TIME. I remember a famous poem written by William Wordsworth and I quote the beginning lines of the poem QUOTE” What is this life if full of care? We have no time to stand and stare.” UNQUOTE. Ti\his poem was written in the early 19th century and I read it in school say some three decades back, but these words aptly describe life on our planet today. We have truly become a machine generation doing the same repetitive things daily getting bored by monotony and forgetting that we are alive and kicking too. Ever wonder why?

In my first article I had said I will give examples and narratives from my life to explain my viewpoints. This incident from my life dates almost 10 years back. By then I was a very high flying officer in my Company, who people referred to as the “BHISHMA” of sales and marketing. For those who are not well versed with Hindu mythology the name “BHISHMA” is given to a man who is the most knowledgeable and experienced and to whom everyone goes for advice. So coming back to the episode from my life…I was the “BHISHMA” of sales and at the peak of my career. My Company’s CEO used to tell people that I am the best he has, and coming from the highest authority of my company it was indeed a great honour…well I really thought so at that time. I was working approx 14-16 hours a day travelling all across to achieve targets and outperforming in almost all the fields. I did not have time for family, children, parents, relatives, friends and most important of them all…I DID NOT HAVE TIME FOR MYSELF.

I do not remember my children’s childhood. I would leave home when they were sleeping and return late by when they had slept. “I WAS WORKING HARD”… something I used to tell myself as a consolation. Till one day an incident took place under my jurisdiction and I had to take very hard line measures against an erring political leader of that area and in the bloodbath that followed, the people in my organisation suddenly felt that I needed a change in attitude and as a result of their inability to handle political pressure, they transferred me to a very unimportant position far away to the deepest south of India. “THE BEST HAD OVERNIGHT BECOME WORST”. I was punished instead of being rewarded for good work. People I had trusted had changed. No one was interested in asking their problems to me any more and people started making excuses of being busy to avoid me. It was like a punch in the face and then reality struck in.

All these days while I was working for my salary and for getting accolades from people who did not take a minute to turn their backs on me when situation changed. And for this I sacrificed myself, my family, my relatives, my friends and not to forget my peace of mind. I asked myself was it worth it? And then reality became crystal clear. There is an old saying we should never put all our eggs in one basket. Then why do we put all our time in just working and sacrifice everything else? It was this period of exile which taught me the importance of my family, friends, children, parents and everything I had so long neglected in my life. These relations were my true earnings of my life and not what I had done for so long.

I was at a point of going into depression and on one such day my younger sister called me once and reminded me of the amount of reading I would do when I was in school and college. She reminded me of my love for music and took pains to courier me the songs I loved in a pen drive and also some of my favourite authors’ books. I now seemed to have a lot of time at hand and grateful to her I took back to the books and music which I had forgotten since college. Being the optimist that I have always been I turned the negative phase of my life into an opportunity. I took up certification courses, started spending time with my kids, and suddenly life was smiling all over again. I became a Corporate coach and started taking up Corporate Training assignments for various MNCs and used all the experience I had gained over the years to help people improve their skills in other industries. Most important of all I WAS HAPPY.

Well coming out of my life’s story I now wish to draw attention of my readers to the question that arises out of all this. What are we really running after? Is it money, fame, acknowledgement in eyes of others, love, care, affection or is it that we really do not know what actually is it that we want and we are just passing our time on this planet doing whatever comes to us? I personally think money, power, fame acknowledgement of achievements are very fickle desires that are generated by worldly passions. No one has ever taken any thing of it with him when he/she passes away from this world. Then what really is it that we are longing for? Why is it that most of us find that though we are surrounded by hundreds of men/women daily, in reality we are all lonely inside?

There can be lot of theories talking about this but I will put it very simply and in an easy to understand manner. We feel we are all lonely inside because be DO NOT UNDERSTAND OURSELVES. We do not know what is the purpose of our existence in this world. While a majority of the population just lives, works and passes away into oblivion, some of us have the courage to ask such questions as to WHY are we born in the first place. My simple answer to the above complicated question would be to be HAPPY. We are lonely because WE DO NOT SPEND TIME WITH OURSELVES. What every human being is running after is the pursuit for being happy. Happiness cannot have a measuring scale as it would be different for everyone and is unique to everyone. So that’s what we are all after. SEARCH TO BE HAPPY. But where is the TIME for all that. We are all so busy that we never have time for ourself to be happy.

I would like to propose a very simple theory of HAPPINESS as a function of TIME. We all have 24 hours in a day. Out of these 24 hours, 8 hours (theoretically speaking) we are working, 8 hours sleeping and the balance 8 hours is the time that we have to spend qualitatively. Theoretically speaking these 16 hours (8 hours awake and 8 hours sleeping) are ours and we should have the ability to chose how we want to spend these 8 hours. Some would like to meet old friends, some would like to spend it with their children, their spouses, their parents, or some would like to read, play, listen to music, or learn something new. The point being in a day we work for 33% of the time and the balance 67% is ours. What most of us do is allow the 33% time to eat into our 67% time meaning the stresses of work and office life is allowed to continue into the other 67% time resulting in unhappiness. If we carry out work stresses home then we have spoilt our 67% time which could have been spent constructively. Then we say that we don’t have time. The people who say that they do not have time are the people falling under this group who let 33% of their lives dominate the balance 67%. You could have gone out for a dinner, or attend the programme at your kids school or catch up with old friends, make new friends but instead you chose to sulk around at home because your boss said something that hurt you. As a result you were stressed for the balance period of the day and ended up being more stressed at work the next day too causing a cyclic effect. Ask yourself was it worth it? Wouldn’t it have been better had we allowed 67% of our life to dominate the 33%. Had we dropped the stress of work place and just been happy in the evening, we could have rejuvenated ourself and that would have ensured that the next day at office was a better day.

From our childhood to adulthood in the process of growing up we only end up complicating our lives. Weren’t we happy when we were children and when we had no ego. Its while growing up we collect this vice called EGO and complicate and mess up our lives. Then to un-complicate it we go to temples, holy places, do meditation etc and say we are searching for peace. Ask yourself a question did you have to search for peace when you were a child? Did we have divides between humanities then? Could we make friends easily and every one was a best friend? Then why today we create enemies, fight with friends and alienate them? Why do we look at everyone with different lenses…skin color, caste, creed, gender etc? Why can’t we all be HUMANS First? It is money, power, lust, desires, jealousy, possessiveness etc. (all of which was missing when we were children) which has actually made us forget how to be happy and hence the never ending pursuit of peace of mind.

As a closing statement to this post I would like to wish all my readers to be HAPPY and try to find time for yourself first. Lets us all drop our egos and if we try to see things from our children’s lenses, we will be able to find the path to our happiness. Our primary question is still not answered completely. The question was “What is the purpose of our existence? I can’t say that I have a perfect answer to this question and through this blogging journey I will share more insights and maybe by the end of my journey here I will be able to come up with an all convincing answer. Till then let us all be HAPPY and spread a SMILE to atleast one person everyday. Thanks for spending time on reading this blog. I wish you all the very best in your lives. God Bless you all.

Chapter 2. REACTIVE Vs REFLECTIVE

Good Morning from India. It is a bright pleasant morning here and people are moving to work. I wish all my readers a Happy day and hope everyone finds enough happiness to keep smiling.

Yesterday we were talking about understanding ME and MY STRENGTHS. Introspection will help us understand our personality better. We had also discussed how introspection will help us understand our strengths and help us with a better approach while responding to various stimuli received from the environment.

Today we shall discuss another important point which helps us build our personality. If we think deeply we would find that most of us are by default set into what can be called as the reactive mode. Let me explain what I mean…Whenever someone proposes something which is not in our comfort zone the default reaction is to say “NO”…”IT CANNOT BE DONE”…”IT IS IMPOSSIBLE”…”I GUARANTEE YOU THAT IT CANNOT BE DONE”…etc. We do not take a pause and promptly respond with a negative. Could you think of a reason why so?? It is because of the inertia of moving from a known environment to an unknown environment. We feel that the unknown may bring loads of problems to us and would cause additional burden. Hence the negative reaction. This is what I mean by REACTIVE mode.

Now for a change let us switch over from a REACTIVE to a REFLECTIVE mode. By reflective mode I mean accepting the suggestion from others and taking a pause to ponder upon the thought presented by the others. Maybe the pause will make us respect the thought given by the others and give us different perspective. Instead of a blatant “NO” now we are thinking that maybe there are valid reasons to the proposition. May be it could work? Maybe it is the need of the hour and we must change too?  Do you think bringing about a small change in our attitude could help us improve our relationship with others. Saying a blunt “NO” often hurts others. Whereas changing the approach would bring in more positivity and thought provocation.

Bringing about just a small change in our attitude from a reactive mode to a reflective mode would help us radically in improving not just our relationships with others but also help us understand the subject better. Most of the problems we face in this world are due to communication issues. We communicate something based on our understanding of the issue and our circumstances while the one who receives the communication does so based upon his understanding of the issue and his circumstances. He then reacts basis his understanding and circumstances and we receive it again basis our understanding and circumstances. In this entire 2-way journey communication changes itself 4 times and gives rise to a totally wrong interpretation of what we wanted to communicate in the first place. 80% of our problems arise due to problems in communication as mentioned above.

Let us try and bring about a small change in the way we speak and the way we hear. One of my bosses in my earlier working years used to give me a very beautiful example. He used to say God has given us One Mouth and Two Ears and not the other way round. Hence we should use them in the same proportion…meaning talk less and listen more. In my subsequent blogs, I shall be taking up the issues of listening vs hearing and a lot of other communication issues. But for now let us remember the golden words of my boss…’use them in proportion’.

Empathizing with others is probably the only way to sort out such communication issues as once we move from a reactive to reflective mode we are listening and willing to try and understand the other person.

Just think if we can get rid of 80% of our problems won’t life be much happier and easier? Wont we be filled with positive energy and look forward to communicating with others better. So I feel it is time that we stop saying the impromptu “NO” and switch over to taking the golden pause. Whether it is our work life where our boss gives us an instruction and we promptly say “NO” or it be our personal life where our super boss at Home…The WIFE gives us an instruction and we say “NO”, making about just a slight change from “NO” to “Maybe” can solve a majority of our problems. So Let’s just make a start…

I leave you all to ponder upon these thoughts with a funny photo of how communication of convenience changes the entire meaning of what is communicated.

Hope you all have enjoyed reading this article. Do write in your thoughts. Thank you for your time and do share it with others if you liked it. HAVE A POSITIVE WEEKEND AND KEEP SMILING ALWAYS

Chapter 1. Do We REALLY Understand Ourselves??

After my brief introduction, I begin this discussion, with some hard hitting thoughts. The question that I have often pondered is, whether we really understand ourselves? A question, the answer to which, I personally believe that every soul in this planet is searching for.

How do we undertake this journey to try and understand ourself is the most important point where most people come to a dead end and abandon the effort. These are the people who end up being one amongst the crowd not knowing why they exist. To begin with, lets ponder a bit about ourselves and think for the reasons what make us different from others? The whole world is full of billions of human beings. So let us first try and identify our unique differentiating trait which will be the starting point of this journey. Some may feel that we do not have any such trait but let me simplify it a bit further. I wish to make a statement that NO TWO HUMAN BEINGS ARE SAME. We may have similar looks (as in identical twins), similar builds, similar personalities but still we will find that no two persons react to the same situation in a similar manner. What is it that differentiates these reactions? Isn’t it the first testimonial that people are different?

Having said so let us now introspect and try to identify the few traits that we feel will make us different from others. They could be anything from physical appearance, physical parameters, intelligence, emotions etc. To make it a little bit simpler let us tabulate all our traits under different heads like Appearance, Parameters, Intelligence, Emotions and any other group head that you may think of. Example Under Heading Appearance, traits could be good looking, handsome, beautiful, petite, ordinary looks, pleasing etc. Similarly under Visual Parameters we could have traits like tall, short, fat, thin, muscular, beautiful eyes, curvy figure etc. etc. Like wise if we can make a table of various human traits we could identify our unique traits by combining a few of them. For example I could be a tall man with above average intelligence and a very soft heart which cannot hurt others. Having done so we could also see the number of permutations and combinations that could be had by combining all elements of our table which brings me back to the initial point that no two people are same.

Now that we have started making an attempt to understanding ourselves a bit. Having said so we are in the process of understanding ourself. And the first step in that direction is taken. Now we have some brief thought about what is our differentiating trait. One must never mistake the fact that what we perceive as our strength or most preferred trait may be seen as a negative trait by some one else. But that discussion is for now being parked, as we shall initially limit our discussion to self and not move to interpersonal relationships which is a much bigger gamut to discuss and I shall do so in course of time.

Now let us look back to our discussion. Why did I ask us to try and identify our traits. Some may say we have grown with it from our childhood and hence we know it. Here it is important to understand that despite we knowing everything about ourself there are some personality traits which get dominant basis certain circumstantial inputs. Lets take my personal example. My dominant trait is to care for people and not hurt anyone. Till a few years back if someone started criticizing my approach or accused me of wrong doing. the feeling of empathy would get diminished and was replaced by offensive arrogance which was obviously a defence mechanism for me. Now having complete knowledge of this behaviour, I have tried to control those negative emotions and be more balanced in my approach towards criticism or praise. This happens to be the primary reason as to why we should try and understand not just the self which is dominant in me under normal circumstances but also the self which dominates under adverse or favourable circumstances.

The short gist of this discussion is an attempt to sensitize the readers to the importance of trying and understanding the self as the first step to attaining peace of mind. In my subsequent blogs I shall dig deeper into the finer aspects of behavioural improvements that can be created in our personality if we take time and understand how we behave to the inputs from our environment. But for now let us take the first step to understand “Me and My Strengths”.

Do keep writing in your comments or arguments for further discussions if any. I can also be connected directly on anujbaronia@gmail.com.

So long then…Thank you for spending time on my blog. Be Positive and Keep Smiling…

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