Posts Tagged ‘moods’

As the Paradigm Shifts #N: Noticing

by Rosie Kuhn on July 20, 2011

Noticing is the most powerful tool for cultivating awareness and for bringing valuable spiritual concepts to the workplace. Most importantly though, is having the intention to notice, in order to notice whether you are noticing or not.

Notice, for a moment, what is occurring within your work environment. Notice the lighting, the sounds, the smells and what the space looks like to you. As you are noticing, notice what senses you are using to notice. Is it just your hearing, sight, smell and your touch? What other senses are engaged through noticing? What’s happening inside your body, what emotions or sensations are present in this moment. Notice sensations, such as hunger, fatigue, stress, anxiety, worry, guilt, anger or aggravation. Notice where are you putting your attention. Notice if you are avoiding, distracting and delaying and what it is or who it is that you are avoiding, distracting yourself from or what specifically you are delaying. Notice, too what it takes to be you in this moment as you notice and bring awareness to your reality.

Lot Going On!

There is a lot going on, isn’t there? By bringing attention to your reality you are able to get clear about what it is that you are creating. By gaining clarity you are then able to notice what choices you are making and the results and consequences that ensue. What’s the quality of experience you are having in this moment? Is this the quality of being you’re wanting to have throughout your day?

Bringing spirituality to the work place is an inside job. It starts with noticing how you be who you be, then deciding whether this is a reflection of the environment you wish to create. Ask yourself this question: Do you really want to be the change you wish to see? If so, what needs to shift within you, then begin to notice how you, yourself is in alignment with that you wish to create. You can only change what you are conscious of, and you can only become conscious by cultivating awareness through noticing.

On a Similar Note

My sweetie and I were playing Backgammon the other night, which we do on a regular basis. This particular evening we noticed that when rolling the dice, there were a phenomenal number of doubles. The odds were against us for rolling as many doubles as we did. Something was being brought to our attention – we couldn’t help but notice it! We played six games and all of them were filled with vast amounts of doubles.

After Backgammon we decided to play some cribbage. Again, we couldn’t help but notice that Todd’s hand or mine had consistently held three of a kind – again, way beyond the odds of it happening. There was no logical or rational reasoning. We had to go outside our current paradigm to understand the phenomenon that was undeniable.

Our world is full of events like this and they are occurring far more often than ever before. We are being asked to look and notice what was once inaccessible to us. The cultivation of consciousness comes when at first we least expect it. Now more than ever we have an opportunity to witness a paradigm shift right before our eyes, at work, at home – everywhere. There is no doubt that this phenomenon is world wide – Universe wide.

Each generation that has gone before us has facilitated a greater and greater degree of consciousness. Many of you have heard, I’m sure that we are standing at the precipice of a paradigm shift. We are generating this shift and at the same time it is being foisted upon us by cosmic activity far beyond our wildest imagination – at least for most of us. Cosmologists – scientists who study the cosmos, totally understand what is causing such a rift in our world. It all makes sense to them.

There’s two ways one can respond when considering this unfoldment of the Universe. We either allow ourselves to be scared out of our wits and bury our heads in the sand, or we watch the extraordinary evolution of our time with fascination and curiosity. Some call it the time of the apocalypse, when we will be paying for the sins of our fathers and their fathers before them. Some call it the end times, but perhaps it is the end of the concept of sin and fear and war and sickness. Perhaps if we take on a practice of noticing we can begin to see the many opportunities to participate in this shift – cultivating awareness that will bring about a different way of being human; shifting from a fear-based paradigm to one based on our essence of being – love, kindness, compassion and creativity; one that inspires each of us to empower others to live into their fullest potential – no holds barred!

How to create your own good moods?

by Vijay Peduru on March 30, 2011

Whenever we meet certain people, they trigger a mood within us. Same with objects, places, smells and a lot of other things in our life.   Anxiety, flow, joy, fear, exhaustion… different moods are triggered. We human beings are hijacked by our surrounding emotions. When we watch a movie, we laugh, we get tensed, bite our nails etc i.e we get deeply involved in the movie and allow the same emotions to be in us as the actors. If you look at these situations the common thing is we allow emotions to be triggered in us.

Is there a way where we can choose our emotions?

Just like we choose to enter any room in our house, we  can choose our moods ourselves instead of getting triggered. We humans have the amazing capacity and ability to think before we respond but most of us are not aware of this. How do we use this in our everyday life?

  1. Be aware that there is always a mood that is triggered in you, in any situation. All of us have this – it is one of the things that comes along with being human.
  2. Decide our mood before-hand: We can choose our mood prior to our encountering something, like beginning of the day or beginning of an interaction. In the morning, we can say to our self that today I choose to be optimistic, happy etc. When we encounter any situation or person the default emotion/mood is triggered, but we can stop it and remind ourselves about the choice we made and immediately choose the mood we desire.
  3. Consistent Practice: The difference between a Pro and an amateur is the pro practices his skill everyday rain or shine.  If we treat this habit like a game and practice it daily, it will eventually become a habit.  It will initially be difficult, so, we can try this for an hour or so every day and slowly increase it for a day, then week.. months and then years, until this practice becomes second nature to us.

This is a key skill that entrepreneurs stand to benefit from. Why? Well, lets just say that entrepreneurs have their share of “Situations” to deal with that might trigger the default moods.

Get Out of the Forest, Onto the Hill

by Guy Ralfe on October 14, 2009

Tallest Tree in the forestHimanshu wrote on the blinding effects of Task Orientation earlier and it led me to think a little further regarding this on Projects. I have just been immersed into a project that has been running for a few months in a European office. Like everywhere in the world, it feels like they too are trying to achieve more with less resources and still expecting consistent satisfactory results.

Entering afresh in to the project mix and not having being part of the stories that the project team have been living in up to that point, I came on board with a different perspective on the project, entirely. However, it became apparent to me very quickly that the project situation was dire after only a few hours of orientation. The reasons for my assessment aren’t relevant to this article but what I found fascinating was how people were waking up every day and just kept trudging on. When I challenged the project decisions the response was mostly met with “I am glad you see that, I have tried to …<insert concern>… with no success/response/ownership” etc. While I assessed that the poor situation I saw in the project could be resolved – those in the project had resigned themselves to the situation and saw no opportunity to change the course.

I don’t want to appear critical, but rather sympathetic to this situation as I know exactly what it is like to be in the trenches – to be battling along, working harder and harder every day just to hope you are going to power through this mountain, out the other side… only to be met by another mountain and the disaster repeats itself.  I am sure this T-Shirt is sold out!

The paradox here is that from the outside there were issues, but none that couldn’t be addressed. For those deep in the project, that have traveled the project road over the last few months, there was just a mess around them and to them, it was  a case of survival. They did not see any opportunity to challenge how they got to where they were and continued living in the mess until they could get out the other side – OR what was probably thought but never spoken, that the project just dies and the mess goes away with it! The paradox is that we are not talking about two similar projects, these are two views of the exact same project.

It is only human to get into this situation and to try and power our way through. We have been brought up in a tradition that is deeply rooted in the virtue called “hard work” where we are taught that hard work and hard work alone is enough to be successful. This might have been true in the industrial revolution where productivity was a direct measure of the output of the power driven machines but today, with the advent and accessibility of computers, productivity is as much a measure of “knowledge” as it is of “hard work”.

What happens on projects is that we become attached to the strongest story at any time and we interpret that as a reality from which we build up perceived truths about what can and can’t be done. These truths build up on top of each other and become like walls that start to channel our thoughts into a narrow passage of possibilities (like blinkers on a horse) when in reality all the possibilities still exist (everything was a possibility as a new project team member).

This was once described to me like this:

“when you are in the forest it is impossible to see which tree is the tallest, but from the hill overlooking the forest it is easy to spot the tallest tree”.

In today’s knowledge age we need to manage ourselves to make sure we survey the landscape from the hill and not from within the forest – this is not just for projects but everything that we direct our energies towards. We have to constantly notice our “vantage point” and rigorously challenge the perceived truths we create for ourselves that limit our opportunities.


I would like to acknowledge Steen Andersen who has had to take me out of the forest more than once, thanks – you can’t believe how clear it is from up here on the hill!

Ask For Help And Free Your Mind

by Robert Driscoll on August 27, 2009

create ideasEvery writer I know has trouble writing.” ~Joseph Heller

Recently, like many writers, I was having a hard time coming up with new concepts to write about.  I was struggling and at first I didn’t want my colleagues to know and, more importantly, I did not want to let down ActiveGarage by not being able to contribute.

As luck would have it, our Active Mentor, Rajesh Setty, happened to be in town and I was fortunate enough to sit down with him for a couple of hours before he flew home.  The first hour of our “meeting” was your typical get together with common questions and just plain catching up.  As we continued with our conversation, I finally mentioned to Rajesh that I had been struggling recently with finding new material to write about.  I had the infamous “writers block” and I wondered how I got this so early on in to my journey with ActiveGarage.  With so much information available to us at our fingertips how could this possibly be happening?

The next hour of our conversation was about what I could write about.  We were tinkering with new ideas.  He was helping me get out of my rut.  With his help, I was thinking again all because I reached out for help.

While most of us find it hard to ask for help because of our fear that others might see it as a sign of weakness, once you become comfortable asking, it can be very empowering and liberating.  As psychologist Dr. Deborah Serani states, “Asking for help creates an atmosphere of empowerment. It communicates to others that, while you may not have the answers, you are willing to find them and make things better.”

So how do you ask for help?

  1. Recognize and identify the problem.
  2. Look within your network of help on who to go to. This step can be the hardest because so many people don’t like admitting to others that they have a problem to begin with.
  3. When you reach out for help, be direct (and polite of course).  Tell the person you are reaching out to the problem you are experiencing.  No one likes to deal with a passive-aggressive plea for help.
  4. Be clear in your request for help. It’s important for the person you are asking for help to understand not only what your breakdown is, but what your desired end result should be.  This is easier said than done, but very important.

Think of how you feel when a friend reaches out to you for help and you’re able to assist.  Great, right?  Well, it’s never too late to reciprocate and ask for help.

UpbeatAt a recent barbecue a typical social situation permeated where the women spent time together talking about fashion trends and must have accessories and the men huddled together to discuss the goings on of corporate America and sport. While as a social gathering it was a great time and everyone enjoyed themselves it reminded me of some wise words I had read in Rajesh Setty’s book Upbeat.

The chapter in the book that came flooding back was what Rajesh calls the Trap. He describes this trap as the daily conversations we are in that have absolutely no bearing on our daily lives, rajesh-jul2009-01 yet, we get engrossed in them, unknowingly, as the media bombards us with the “drama” of these sensational stories. These stories then become the background that controls our moods and permeates all our engagements with others in social and business settings. Take, for example, (as pointed out in Upbeat), how many of your interactions start with ‘How is the market treating you?’ or ‘The Economy is very bad…’ You get the point.

Rajesh wrote the book about his learnings from starting his first company in late 2000, right at the start of the dot-com recession and it is very opportune that he has published this work for the current market that we are ‘told’ we are in today. While the book can fall under the broad business book literature, Upbeat is far more focused on the individual and exposes the flaws in the thoughts and actions adopted by the average person in the marketplace. What I liked so much about the book is that it was extremely simple to read, immensely practical and filled with actionable items that help change your thoughts and actions immediately.

There are so many things that we do automatically because we see so many other people doing them, that we never stop and question why we do them or what the consequences are of acting in such a way. Rajesh has taken the time to include in the book a ‘How to’ section which takes the guess work out of some of these less often thought of questions. One that I particularly liked was in the Tenacity and Discipline section – ‘What Assets are you building that will pay back in the long term? If there are no assets that you are developing , it will only be “YOU” that will have to work for you. There will be absolutely no leverage and this will hurt you.’

Upbeat is filled with great thought provoking insights and self assessments, and is easy and quick to read. I have given a number of my friends copies of Upbeat, so it goes without saying, I think this is an essential read for anyone wanting to distinguish themselves from the pack and to start acting for their future.

You can pick up your own copy of UPBEAT by going to Amazon. You can also follow Rajesh on Twitter @UpbeatNow or read his current posts on his blog Life Beyond Code. Raj also maintains a Q&A called (rightly so) TH!NKsulting.

Here is a four part video where Rajesh discusses Upbeat with Steve Piazzale

Photo Credit: Craig Williams

Part 1 (9:39 min)

Part 2 (7:46 min)

Part 3 (4:56 min)

Part 4 (6:22 min)

I would also like to thank Rajesh on behalf of the Active Garage team, who, without Rajesh’s help and vision, would not be where they are today.

Win one of the five copies of Upbeat

This is the 50th blog post for ActiveGarage… and the fact that Active Garage was started just 3 months ago calls for a celebration! To commemorate this milestone, we are giving away five copies of Upbeat. If you want to win one, all you have to do is to share your own Upbeat story in the comment box. Here’s some help to get you started: Through your story, answer two simple questions “What are you doing to stay upbeat when the odds seem to be against you? and What do you think others should do stay upbeat?

Go ahead and share your story. Make it inspiring. You might just make someone’s day and win a copy of Upbeat.

ProjectPlanningWhen we constitute a project we set out the desired project outcome – these are deliverables or key success factors (KSF). Why are these so important and for whom?

As covered in an earlier post of mine Project Management – Planning or Marketing? Projects are undertaken to implement some change – normally to deal with a threat or an opportunity. Projects have a definite start and an end – however the course between these points is an adventure in discoveries of capabilities and possibilities.

We initiate projects by declaring, at the beginning, what the desired outcome the project should produce, however we do not know the exact path to produce this expected outcome! These outcomes are the expectations of the project sponsors. This is a measure of the ‘willingness’ of the sponsors to undertake the project risk to capitalize on the threat or opportunity.

As we journey through the project life cycle we make discoveries of the unknowns – these unknowns invariably force us to change the course (both favorably and unfavorably) to achieve our declared KSF or change the KSF themselves, or worse quit the project.

Think of the project as a ride in a rental car from the airport to a client meeting in the country using your GPS. You plug in the address and the GPS provides an ‘expected’ arrival time at your destination 15 minutes prior to your meeting. You set off and shortly after joining the freeway you see a detour sign taking you off the freeway. At this point the GPS recalculates the routing down some secondary roads projecting your arrival at the scheduled start of the meeting. You do not have insight into the length of the detour but the traffic is backed up now. So an assessment is made to follow the GPS and reroute down the country roads. You drive through open country for over an hour still with an expected arrival time at the start of your meeting, when you come upon a flooding river that has submerged the bridge ahead. At this point you are only 10 minutes from your destination but the next river crossing means retracing your route back to the detour and following the freeway round, a 2 hour minimum duration. Most would give up on their meeting, but just before calling to cancel a heavy truck comes from the opposite side and crosses the submerged river and it appears the water is only 4-5 inches deep. You look at your economy rental – what do you do?

This is the situation the project sponsors find themselves in when they have to evaluate new unforeseen situations. If the driver has years of off-road experience they might make the assessment they can cross and it is worth the risk to attend the meeting. If not they will call to cancel and rearrange the meeting or do it via conference call from the side of the river. The expectation is still the same but the background by which the assessment is made is what differentiates the outcome.

Things to consider when evaluating the ‘detours’ of your project:

Background – What does this project now mean to the future of the sponsors? Are they an off-roader and the KSF are still looking achievable?

Value – What are the feasible limits of the project? A project will not be constituted for the sake of achieving the bare minimum. Look to understand at what point the project loses effectiveness from a cost, time, resource or quality point of view.

Situation – Does the threat or opportunity still exist or has it changed since initiation? Do they have a truck at the client site? Or can you conference call in?

When these unknowns present themselves they are reported back through project board meetings – but in effect all we are doing is performing expectation management. Expectations about what the project can and will produce, at what cost, by what date etc. These expectations are evaluated by the project board against their criteria for initiating the project, the current situation and a perceived value.

Manage the outcomes relative to the expectations of the project board and you can steer a project to success!

Why just TGIF? Why not TGIM?

by Himanshu Jhamb on July 20, 2009

tgimEver wonder why you feel all peppy and refreshed to ‘live and let go’ on Friday evenings and tired and weary on Sunday nights?

How come you never see a facebook status that says “Oh god! Not a Friday again!” or why we don’t have an acronym or a food chain called TGIM?

Here’s a hint: Its got something to do with your thoughts about your immediate future. We, as humans, do not live in our past (though our thinking is surely shaped by our past), neither do we live in the present (which we ought to!); instead, we live in our immediate future… and that’s what shapes our thoughts and feelings.

I’d like to share a story of my childhood, to put things in perspective. I grew up in India and consider myself very fortunate to have lived with my grandparents through my childhood. At that time (this is about 3 decades ago), there used to be many electricity cuts during the hot Delhi summer nights (read 90+ degrees Fahrenheit) and we used to come outside on the front yard with folding beds (something like folding chairs – only, they are beds, instead) hoping for some refreshing breeze. My grandmother, seeing the suffering me and my younger sister were going through, invented a game which she claimed would bring the breeze! Here’s how:

In her own words:

If you keep on naming cities in India that end with the name “pur” – like Jaipur and Udaipur, and keep going, you’ll feel the breeze blow.

I bet you’re thinking: How could this work? Well… it did! Or it least we felt it did! So, what really happened? My grandmother somehow knew that our suffering would be taken care of if we are engaged in a story that helps us think that we can create a better immediate future (the breeze blowing), for us.

Now, apply this to whatever it is you do for a living… you might be an entrepreneur, a business owner or an employee… ask yourself, what story are you in about the future possibilities you see for yourself? Do you see how you can get that ‘cool breeze’ to blow or do you just see it as a mundane task and wait for TGIF!

If you answer this questions honestly, you just might invent 6 more acronyms other than TGIF… or at least take action to move towards creating them!

How much does your IQ matter?

by Vijay Peduru on July 17, 2009

eq_iceberg… apparently not that much! according to Daniel Goleman in his best selling book “Emotional Intelligence“; in which he says that success is 80% Emotional Intelligence (EQ) and 20% Intelligence Quotient (IQ).

Our success in life and business for the most part, depends on how we manage ourselves and our emotions rather than how much IQ we have… and how we manage our emotions depends upon our emotional stamina!

Think about it – When we are happy and joyful, we think clearly and solutions to our problems seem to flow effortlessly. When we are angry or upset , our whole mind and body is tensed and our thinking is clouded and we make weak choices for the future that we are trying to create.

For most people, coming out of bad emotions may take somewhere from five minutes to a few hours… some take days and some even longer! That makes sense, since each one of us is shaped differently through our experiences in the world. The problem is: Our life is wasted during the time we wobble in those bad emotions. To be highly effective most of the time, we have to learn to build our emotional stamina.

So, how does one build emotional stamina? I have a 2-step process that I’d like to share with you:

1.Become Aware of the emotions : When an emotion strikes us , we become one with it. Our whole mind is filled with that emotion and our body reacts accordingly. When we are angry, our mind is filled with the emotion we call “anger” and our body shakes. When we are happy, our mind is filled with the emotion we call “happiness” and our body is relaxed. With the knowledge that the posture our body automatically assumes is a result of the emotion we are “in”, we can begin our journey towards awareness towards our emotions. We begin with taking notice of our body… not do anything, just watch! For example, any stress in the body, contortions in our facial expression, clenching of teeth – all are tell tale signs of brewing anger. Give it a shot with this simple exercise (you can do sitting in the comfort of your home): Watch your emotions when you watch a movie. As soon as you feel you’re getting “into” the movie, pause it and reflect on your emotions. You will notice the different emotions that are produced in your body.

2.Handle the Emotions to work for you, not against you: Once we become aware of our emotions, then slowly, we can learn to change them. To change them, we have to know what emotions we need to change them to. When we are dejected, we can start being optimistic by remembering a quote or by starting to read an inspirational book. Like any other habit, this takes a while to master, but once mastered it increases our effectiveness in our business and in all other areas of our life.

Now that we know about the “EQ”, here’s an idea on how to use it: Once you become aware of your emotions and learn how to handle them to be in your favor, you can start noticing the emotions in others including your team members and can even change their emotions, so that not only you, you can even help your team be highly effective!

So, the next time someone tells you about how it is all about the IQ, gently remind them of the bigger chunk of the iceberg that floats under the water… hidden from common sight… called the EQ!

About the Author:


I wish that real life can be like reel life, where the hero just takes care of the villain and for a break just takes care of the lead actress every now and then. In real life, when you bootstrap a business, your family needs to be taken care of along with your business. If you are young and single, you don’t have to worry, but if you are like me, married and with two kids, family needs to be taken care of.

What if you get all the money in the world, but you lose your family? A true entrepreneur makes a difference in the world… but even in this case, charity begins at home first. So, the question is: How do you manage your family while taking care of your startup?

Here are some things to consider:

1. Notice and Manage Your Moods: If you throw a tennis ball at the wall, it will bounce back with the same force back at you. It is the same with your moods. Your moods affect you and the people around you. If you are angry, the people around you become grumpy. You say something to your wife angrily and she replies back angrily. Her only intent is to hurt you, since you hurt her. The same applies with kids. They may suppress it if they are young, but the natural reaction to strike back angrily is there.

So, the first step is to be calm in every situation. How can we be calm? I use a technique called the “1 second delayed response” All living beings including humans act by instincts. If something happens to us, we respond back immediately for e.g. If someone pinches us, we respond back with a shout or a hit immediately, but we as humans have one thing which no other species on earth has.. the ability to think. So, when something happens to us, before we respond, we can think… Just before you respond, think that you want to be joyful and calm. If you hold that thought for 1 second and focus on just that, your response will change. This whole thing about being calm and about managing moods is to make sure that we can think and act effectively most of the time in our life. If you are angry and upset , you would not be able to think and act effectively and this will affect your startup.

2. Spend quality time with your family everyday: We need to take a break from our activity to get our creative juices flowing. Even Winston Churchill used to engage in paintings when he was at war. Help your kids with their homework and you may discover something new. I discovered that I loved Math. I didn’t like math from my childhood, but I found that Math helps me think a lot and it was fun. You can also read to them for 15-20 minutes a day. Just to be with the kids wholeheartedly calms you down a lot.

3. Accept Failures With Grace: Children are drilled in school not to make mistakes, but that doesn’t apply for life and entrepreneurship. In Entrepreneurship, making mistakes is part of the game. It is good you teach kids this habit, before they enter school, so it is ingrained in them. Hey, they can break some things, it is fine.. the things are replaceable, but a habit developed for a lifetime is priceless.

4. Act Consistently: Don’t worry about teaching good manners and habits. If you force it, they won’t listen to you. So, what should you do, Easy.. You act the way, you want them to act. Remember, if you change, your kids change. I always remember this quote

Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.” – James Baldwin

Once you master the above four qualities, apply the same to your startup. After all, the startup is your child, too… isn’t it? Replace family with your team. If you are thinking of starting a startup, first start and practice in your family, then it will be way easier when you start a startup.

About the Author: