How Not To Be Affected By Mental Health Issues

Did you know?

People around the world are observing this week as Mental Health Awareness week.

What Is Mental Health?

According to mentalhealth.gov, “Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.

– Having a bad day at home

– Trouble with the kids

– Peers are creating a problem

– The manager is being .. well .. not helpful

Whatever the reason be, mental issues can affect us without we realising.

It’s not necessary to have a glitch in your brain, to be a diagnosed with mental issues.

People who put others under the bus, for their own greed, are suffering from mental health issues – they just don’t know it yet!

Only you have the power to stop such abuse, such situations!!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not asking you to get in to a fight.

But, SPEAK UP!! People don’t realise this but, “the most complex problems generally have the simplest solutions.”

Speak to a friend, a doctor, or someone whom you trust. Unload yourself of all the pain and sufferings.

We are humans, and we tend to make mistakes. Maybe, we don’t realise where we’re going wrong!

There is no shame in seeking help, no shame in accepting when you are wrong, and definitely no shame in learning to be healthy.

After all, it’s your health, your life, your well being – and it impacts everything around you!

When you really need it, it’s OK to be sad!

Emotions, as Google will tell you “a strong feeling deriving from one’s circumstances, mood, or relationships with others.” Or Wiki will say “is any relatively brief conscious experience characterized by intense mental activity and a high degree of pleasure or displeasure”. There are days when these emotions are high, and days when they are low.

Would it be alright, if you ask a person to behave exactly or more likely in a similar manner at all times, irrespective of the emotional state he/she is going through? My first reaction would be, maybe not! Then again, I can think of people who would preach or counsel about trying to keep emotions away at work.

Seldom, it is possible to separate emotions from work. In reality, people who preach this are no good at it themselves. What they’re good at is, be-fooling themselves and others in believing they can keep the matters of heart and mind on two different paths. Alright, let me not be so blunt. There might be around 1% (or more) of the population who are able to achieve that.

According to a survey result posted on BBC News, it was found that almost two fifths (38% of the 2,000 participants) had been treated negatively because of their problems.

Of those:

§ Nearly one in five (19%) lost their job

§ Over half (54%) lost contact with a loved one

§ And 55% stopped socialising or going out

Organisations/NGO are holding and proposing more events like Time to Change where they can help people. Sue Baker, director of such operation, said: “Progress is being made in improving attitudes and reducing discrimination in some key areas of life but too many of us are still being made to feel isolated, ashamed and worthless by other people’s reactions.

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart” ~ Helen Keller

“I don’t want to be at the mercy of my emotions. I want to use them, to enjoy them, and to dominate them.” ~ Oscar Wilde

Different emotions for different times, different surroundings, and all other factors which could impact us.

There are times when we all can become captives of our emotions and have no control over the situation. The best thing to remember is, we all need bit of support and love to overcome a situation. The more we show our support to others, the better we place ourselves to get it back when we need it the most. Nobody would like to be sad or let the work get affected. But if we know, we aren’t going to be let down by people around us or if we have people who understand one another emotionally, then we can be emotional.

It’s like a particle state, which once achieved would come back to its original state. Once we let our emotions take control of us, we would remain in that state for some time, but will come back to our normal selves eventually. If you’re really happy you can’t carry on laughing for long, and similarly when you’re sad you can’t keep crying forever. So it’s alright to not be in control of things, but only till a time when it’s not affecting you or people around you to a great extent and you know when to say enough and get up on your feet. When you really need it, it’s OK to be sad!

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What We Learn After Being Trumped

When it comes to politics or political affairs, I generally tend to take a more neutral stand. Why? Well, you know how politics is – the government in charge is always right and the opposition is always left (wrong). While from an outsider’s view, no one would be right. Holistically, it’s a group of morons arguing on issues which are not relevant only to divert the attention from the issues which need focus. The tricky bit is for the common man who gets twisted in between.

Often, people in politics are marred by controversies, allegations, and linked to all the bad things you could think of. Majority of times, these hold true. So it becomes very hard for a person like me, who acts on logic, reasoning, and educated decision. Then again, I’ve found myself witnessing situations which would defy all odds. Take for example the current political situation in the US. There was so much noise about the behaviour and policies which the elected president depicted. He was bold, rude, unethical, and what not? Yet, he managed to conjure the magic on people to cast vote for him.

There he is! Sitting in that oval office and making some of the most bizarre policies and carrying out orders, the repercussions for which could be unparalleled in times to come. What baffles me is reaction of people who are out on streets marching and protesting about the steps taken by the new president, in his words to protect the country. Surely, you knew this was coming! Then why in god’s name would you elect him in the first place. It’s only been a week since he has taken oath, and there are talks about impeachment doing the rounds. Seriously?! Like insanely seriously?! Don’t you have any other work than playing this election game? Can you spare the funds, the energy, the time, and everything which goes in to making fool of people; all over again?

It’s a new world for him and things have been bit hasty and bleary, but you ought to give the new president some chance, at least that’s what his party and supporters would tell. Or else take a stand and fight for your rights, well you can try as you will. Either ways, please wake up before it’s too late and start making some informed decisions. If you let these politicians get to you, play you, and manipulate you (mind you which they are awesome at) then you don’t get to complain. Moreover, you can’t win any war alone, so you need to learn to be selfless and caring and really mean what you stand for.

“Elections belong to the people. It’s their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

 

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While Samsung Was Folding

The thing with technology is, it keeps evolving. The pace at which it currently is, makes me wonder if it’s a good thing or bad?! On one hand there are things which seem so futuristic that you would want to grab one of them, while the lifecycle of these products is reducing at faster pace than even; and I’m afraid it will continue to do so.

While I’m preparing myself to invest in one product, which mind you doesn’t come cheap these days, I need to be thoughtful of the changes or upgrades which might happen to it sooner than I could expect. So, it’s something like I’m planning to buy iPhone 7 while the company is ready to launch a new version in 6-8 month time. Shelling out $800 for a product which will be upgraded in less than a year is not something I would appreciate, unless I don’t mind the upgrades and can make use of this product for next 2-3 years.

How do you react when you read about an upcoming product?

Around the world, there are expo happening with major companies showcasing what they have been working on and would be launching those products soon. During one such expo, if news article is to be believed, Samsung showcased a folding smartphone cum tablet. Like many others, my first reaction to it was, wow! I liked the way the product could be folded and how the system would detect the mobile or tablet mode. Moreover, the device could then be connected to Bluetooth keyboard and can be used with much more convenience. However, when I looked closely at the video I noticed something unusual and kept on thinking whether this would hold up for long.

When the device is folded or flattened out, there is a visible impact on the screen which made me wonder how long the screen could sustain the pressure before it wears and tears out. If you keep on changing the views then the joints would become loose, there would be impact along the fold, and there is a high chance the screen would crack. I’m sure the company would have thought about it, but the usage of device over prolonged period of time could not be replicated and nor could the different ways in which user would use the device.

It might be too early to comment on any of that, but for the sake of argument let me know what you think?

 

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Leadership as a Service (LaaS): The New _aaS

Long before I joined my peers at client site, there was this guy who had written a big mail complaining about the processes, management, and what not – or that’s how the story goes. Anyway, no one actually knew what happened or, perhaps, they were afraid to share the details, but it created room for assumptions, gossips, and a BAD name for the vendor organisation. How? Well … while he was leaving the (vendor) organisation he sent that mail to the clients instead. In spite repeated efforts to re-gain the trust and make thing better, the scar never disappeared. There was an evident shift in attitude, perception, and dealings by client.

Even if the person was not dealing with the clients directly, it would have been a matter of just sending the email. Of course, the person would not have got a job with either, but the damage was a multitude for the vendor organisation. It was a bad example set by the employee, however it was a bigger failure on part of the leadership – who created such circumstances where the person had to go to such extremes. In times like today: where we are selling software as a service (SaaS), IT as a service (ITaaS), or almost anything as a service (XaaS); should we not be promoting leadership as a service (LaaS)?

Every organisation has large number of people in leadership role, but not everyone is capable to lead: it’s not everyone’s cuppa. To be a good leader, one needs to be considerate of other’s needs before his own. To guide others to do the right thing, one must do the right thing. A great leader, who understands the philosophy and set of practices of the leadership, offering his service to others can be related to being a servant leader. Unlike traditional leaders, one at the top who exercised all the powers, servant leaders share powers with other, perform their duties while nurturing other leaders. After all, the servant leader is a servant first. He is paid like others and works under the same set of rules and policies which are applicable to other employees.

According to Skip Prichard, a servant leader should possess certain qualities or attributes which stands him out from any other manager or leader. A person offering Leadership as a Service, should be humble in nature and respectful to other, irrespective of career stage other are at. Only then can you be receptive to diverse opinions and think from a wider perception. Being mindful of other’s needs before his own, the servant leader should be able to encourage others, mentor them – to become better leaders, and create an environment of trust all around. Another way to develop the respect and trust is to involve others in decision making and convincing them on the best approach, rather than ordering them. Once this trust is developed, the person should (wherever possible) help others with personal life issues, apart from professional ones.

Leadership can be offered as a service while being in an official capacity, as a professional coach, an independent mentor, or any other way. However, the journey from just a leader to a great leader (or a servant leader) is a hard one – it takes lot of practice, self-control, and an act of selflessness. It’s like becoming a monk or a pope, giving back to the community. You may or may not earn a lot of money, but surely will be rewarded with loads of goodwill and following.

“If your actions create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, then, you are an excellent leader.” ~ Dolly Parton

 

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11 Management Lessons From Pablo Escobar

Amidst the chaos and the political unrest in the country, a child was born to a poor family; who was soon to become the most wanted person of the time – of course for all the wrong reasons. His was a life which could inspire you, whether you are with him or against him. And, series like Narcos (on Netflix) made sure people get to know the story (well, snippets actually) and never forget this man, who some (in his circle) regarded him as a legend, yet maniac – Pablo Escobar.

There were many factors which provided a cushion for his rise and everything he did. Be it the political environment, the social behaviour of the area, or the natural cover which could have been exploited and used to one’s advantage. Even then, you need someone daring and capable to take the risks and make best use of every resource and opportunity available. Personally, after watching the series, I was taken aback at the audacity and ruthlessness with which he acted and offered “Plata O Plomo” i.e. Silver or Lead to anyone who came in his way.

The DEA agent, Steve Murphy, at one point said, “The bad guys need to get lucky every time. The good guys just need to get lucky once.” He may have been a bad person, because of his illegal activities and un-humanitarian acts, but he did manage to run such a huge empire for so long. At times, his approach was way ahead of anyone’s imagination: it was just wizardly. He impacted so many lives, in good and bad ways, and forced one of the most powerful country like USA to change its policies.

As they say, everyone whom you come across has something to teach you, and in spite of all the wrong doings the man had some lessons which he unknowingly taught us.

  1. Be Bold – Even when he was a small timer and was making a name for himself (you may remember from the initial episodes), he walks up to the police office and tells him that he pays money to every police office in the town and he will be safe … even if he was bluffing, he had the boldness and confidence which would make you think twice before doubting him.
  2. Never Play All Your Cards or Give More Options – All the negotiations started with a Silver or Lead, if the person was too afraid then he would join him or would face the ugly side of it. Rarely, there were times when either of these did not work. And when this happened, you re-assess the situation and act accordingly.
  3. Outline Goals and Work on Them – Since an early age, Escobar wanted to be a rich man and had a goal of accumulating 100 million local currency by the time he was 22. He did manage to accumulate, perhaps more, by the time he was 26. Slipping up or delays are not under your control, but setting up goals and working towards them is. “Imagine you were born in a poor family, in a poor city, in a poor country, and by the time you were 28 years old, you have so much money you can’t even count it. What do you do? You make your dreams come true.” ~ Steve Murphy. Even if you don’t follow it, the importance of planning is unaccounted. Every unplanned or unthought-of action will find its way to come back and bite you when you least expected it.
  4. Tap Into Any Opportunity Early – Every opportunity comes knocking on your door once, we have heard that before and it might be true to some extent. To recognise the emergence of a potential and take the risk to grab it early, makes all the difference between 0 and 100.
  5. Hire People for Their Loyalty, Skills They Will Learn on the Way – Hire people with integrity, who share your vision, and have a desire to work and grow with you. Every person who brings information to you, manages your work, or advices you has a place and value. Never treat them badly. It’s hard to find dedicated people, so keeping them loyal to you would be less expensive when you train them once, rather than training new people every now and then. A great leader is able to identify the individual potential, trains him well, and keeps him close always. One needs to be transparent to people close to him.
  6. Keep Your Team Motivated and Well Rewarded – You only grow when you have people who would put themselves to protect you. But everything comes at a price, even loyalty. If you treat your peers, your subordinates, and people who work with you well, motivate them, and reward them accordingly you would never have to worry about your work or anything else. It’s not the product or machinery who creates wealth and grows business, it’s the people who are responsible for their bit. A single person can’t do it all by himself, and it would be the dumbest thing to think.
  7. Protect Your Family from Harm’s Way – No matter how ruthless you are, you always have a weak spot. Whether it’s your own family or your co-workers, they are all your responsibility. When the going gets tough, you don’t put your family under the bus. A great leader will ensure their safety at every cost. He will stand by his people and not run away to protect himself first. Moreover, he will not let the blame fall on any other person than himself.
  8. Know When to Back-Off and Live on Your Own Terms – Violence or intimidation will not always work. The 1% time when it doesn’t work will be more expensive and problematic than the 99% times it may way or may’ve worked. There are times when external pressure is too much and you are out of options. It’s not advisable to take the bull by the horns, at all times. A great leader knows when it’s time to take a step back and re-assess everything. This is not an act of defeat, this is for the welfare of everyone associated with you. Moreover, it gives you the much needed time to re-plan things, the way you want, with less pressure and distractions, rather than being held hostage to others’ demands.
  9. Never Make Unwanted Enemies, Just to Prove You Are More Powerful – Yes, you have the money, the power, and the people to get things done. Still, keep a tap on whom you are supporting or not supporting. There have been great examples of people who were led to their downfall by people whom they groomed or supported. A great leader does not go around sunk in his pride and arrogance to offend others. Respect, is hardly bought, and is earned through your deeds. Never underestimate others or offend someone to a level where they make it their sole mission to come after you.
  10. Never Give Up – I almost admired Pablo Escobar for the courage he had. At times, he knew his end was near but he never let his fear show up. Just when you thought he was done, he would conjure a trick and disappear to safety. His approach of taking the problem head-on and causing ripples all around had his rivals sweat their pants, for decades. No matter what the situation was, no matter his options, and no matter where he was caught up or what he was left with – he just never gave up!
  11. No One Is Invincible – The moment your position and power gets in to your head, the clock to your downfall starts ticking! Your actions impact others, and you don’t want to be at the other end of the stick when Newton’s third law kicks in hard.

“Geniuses are always branded as crazy.” ~ Pablo Escobar

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Tips For Managing Stress At Work

What happens when you over speed for a long time? The engine heats up and turns off. If you do a lot of multi-tasking on your computer, it hangs and eventually crashes. Similarly, there is a force which encapsulates you when you perform lot of things at the same time: stress! Research suggests that stress is like a silent killer which stalks you, consciously and unconsciously, and can have traumatizing effects on you.

Analysis of the data collected by various organisations shows around three quarter of global population suffer from symptoms related to stress, whether physical or psychological. Most of them find it hard to make their ends meet, and the enormous amount of work: which adds to their stress. Countries and organization, which invest a lot in health care program, spend nearly 300 billion annually on stress related health issues and employee time off work.

A Hungarian endocrinologist, Hans Selye, developed a theoretical model to explain the different stages in stress or how we respond to stress. He named this General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS), which breaks the whole process in to three stages; alarm, resistance, and exhaustion.

  • The first stage, alarm (also known as fight or flight response), where you become aware of the trouble coming your way. Your brain sends signal (alarm) to the whole body to stand guard. Two obvious response would be to prepare to fight or to stay low.
  • The next stage, resistance (or denial), where one tends to remain in a prolonged state of aggression or defence: protesting the fact that the he is the one in a really bad situation. “Is it really happening?” you wonder. “Why is this happening with you?” yells your voice inside.  Eventually, you are exhausted and you give up: the third and final stage.
  • The last stage usually involves learning to deal with stress or getting a nervous breakdown: either a reboot or crashing.

So how can you deal with it?

A bulk of your problems start when you fuddle your brain with information which you can easily capture on paper or on digital notepads and to-do lists. Apparently, listing your tasks down will help you to evaluate and prioritise your work. An archer can’t hit two or more arrows in the middle if he nocks all of them at the same time; he does it by taking one shot at a time. Leave the multi-tasking for computer systems and not for yourself. Like your tasks list, you can decide to prioritise or eliminate disruptions. Every phone call, chat ping, query, or email is an interruption and you have to realise that you are in control of it. It may sound hard initially, but you can set boundaries to everything you do. You are a human being and not a fictional super hero, so don’t shy away from seeking help or delegating. This will not make you less competitive, rather help you connect with others.

Whether an associate or a manager, the only way to connect more and create less trouble is by being sensible, yet practical: in short be respectful. What goes around, comes around. Think twice before you speak, if you spread good feelings those will be reciprocated. On the other hand, if you criticise or share bad emotions then you will get those back. Cultivate good relations all around: helps you stay positive and make your surroundings conducive to work better. You live to work or work to live: don’t forget to eat healthy (which rejuvenates your body) and sleep well (which relaxes your mind). Last but not the least, share time with loved ones and make time for your hobbies, perhaps over the weekend.

“The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.” ~ Sydney J. Harris

 

Author speaks: I’m not here to change the world; I intend to make an impact on one soul at a time. If you like my work, please press Like, or better yet put a Comment; perhaps a feedback. However, the best appreciation of my work will be to Share this with your friends and your social circles (FB, Twitter, LinkedIn, G+, and others).

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From Fad To Fade [Part II]: The “e” Which Matters

It’s all about perspective in this fast moving world. Think about The Sims, GTA, or Half Life, or any such interactive first person game. These are not just games people play: they live them. Sitting anywhere in this world, you just need a console and internet to be anywhere, talk to anyone, and do anything you like. Of course within the bounds of the game!

Sometimes I think, is this all because people are afraid to face reality? I wouldn’t dare to stroll around the town or walk in to a bar just to initiate a conversation with a stranger. Fear (of getting beaten up) would be the last thing on my mind. It’s the embarrassment I might face, or the reaction I might get from the other person which worries me. But, with a mask on (virtually), no one would know me. Moreover, the person on the other side will become playful too.

“The fact that all of this was happening in virtual space made no difference. Being virtually killed by virtual laser in virtual space is just as effective as the real thing, because you are as dead as you think you are.” ~ Douglas Adams, Mostly Harmless

Oh no! I’m not against the technology or the advancement. In fact, being associated with so many social platforms myself, I have seen the benefits of it. I have been able to communicate with friends whom I last spoke in high school. I have been able to see what others have been doing (status updates), and share with my friends what’s happening in my life too. The important dates are reminded to me, and I can create social events to be shared with a larger audience. Most of all, I have been able to create a (limited) global presence for myself with a scope beyond my imagination.

But… How long can one continue like that. Perhaps, forever! Maybe not! At some point you would need to fill the void which has been created. People will not know how I speak, how I walk, or what kind of person I am. It’s our body language, our daily interactions, our manners and cultural values, and all our subconscious actions which define us. And, I can’t run away from the fact that behind all the virtual medium I’m hiding the loneliness, the urge to be known.

The darkness, which has stemmed within, can only be cured by rambling under the sun, meeting new people (face-to-face) and speaking your heart out, for a change. The limited light emitted from ‘e’ medium will not lead you anywhere. The inclination towards material world is impermanent. What’s lasting is your senses, your true self. So, go out and meet people, make someone laugh and laugh with them, make a connection, create some spark. But, don’t spark the connection, the relation just by sitting behind electronic media.

 

As C.G. Jung has said, “The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.”

 

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From Fad To Fade [Part I] – Difference Is Just “e”

As far as I could remember, it was during summers. We had just finished the last lecture of the day. I and some of my friends were walking, under the parking shade to avoid the scorching sun, towards the local eatery to grab some evening snacks. Couple of them were talking about social networking site, Facebook or was it Orkut, I can’t remember now. Anyways, the discussion got me intrigued and I jumped in between to ask, “What’s that you guys are talking about?” My friend, almost awestruck as if I belonged to a bygone age, replied… “Haven’t you heard about it?” I felt so down and out of touch with what was happening around me. That very evening I went to my college’s computer lab and created my account on that site. I spent some time understanding the purpose and features of the site. Since then, I have been a member of most of the social networking sites, largely popular around the world.

Years later, I wanted some details and was searching my username, which I was sure I had stored somewhere on my laptop, but couldn’t find it for some time. All I could do was to skim across folders and files, only to find username for every other site than the one I was looking for. Overwhelmed with the data I ran down, I asked myself “Why did I join all those sites?

The prompt answer which I could think of was, “It was a fad during those days” And I didn’t want to be the odd one out amongst my friends. Naturally now, I have a lot of friends in my friend list. But, does that mean I am in contact with each and every one of them on regular basis? I suppose not! The networking site have merely served as a contact book to locate and add (long lost) people to a list which I can refer when needed, perhaps rarely or never. Not to forget the meaningless, well sometimes useful, updates which we share. The number of people commenting of liking the post became an obsession, to level where people started posting status updates varying from “I Just woke up”, to “Going for bath now”, to numerous obnoxious shares.

Nonetheless…The charm, which ones got me hooked to these site for hours together, was fading now. I was starting to realize… the difference between fad and fade was of ‘e’. You must be thinking, “What a fool! He must be really bad in English.” Well… It’s not the grammatical error I’m pointing to, it the mental closure which we have attained due to “e” or “electronic” or the virtual lives we live. We all have loads of friends in our list, but we never speak. We send out smileys over chats, but we have a straight face while doing it. A success or a birthday surprise visit to friend’s house to wish him well has been replaced with a text or picture message, let alone calling up. To peak it all, sitting over dining table people usually communicate with one another over phone (thanks to chat apps) or are busy tapping and swiping (mobile) screen.

So is this “e” thing a bad one?

Continue Reading – Part II

 

Author speaks: I’m not here to change the world; I intend to make an impact on one soul at a time. If you like my work, please press Like, or better yet put a Comment; perhaps a feedback. However, the best appreciation of my work will be to Share this with your friends and your social circles (FB, Twitter, LinkedIn, G+, and others).

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