Feedback …

Feedback & Criticism is awesome, but often hard to swallow. Yesterday, i had an interesting altercation which resulted in providing great insights.

It started as always with “you are wrong“, “No, you are wrong“. The switch happened when I admitted that I didn’t understand their point of view – “You know… I think I don’t understand, can you show me how you would do it better“. Slowly emotions dropped and we had a more logical discussion.

There are quite a few great feedback structures, but I think the key is to keep emotions out – well everything other than compassion perhaps.

When it’s going… Not so well!

When I am lost, when I am frustrated, when I am about to give up, when sleep doesn’t help…

I try to make it fun. If I am going down, I must as well have fun 🙂

Often i just need energy to turn the situation around, and when I have fun I often start finding pride in the work and that makes a huge difference to energy levels! Here is to finding more ways to have fun!

To be a Better Listener – Respond, don’t react…

From Inc – lovely article on listening

Respond, don’t react. I love this mantra and keep it top of mind, especially when I know I’m about to hear bad news or something that could upset me. It’s perfectly normal to want to spout out the first thing that hits your mind, but in most cases you’re better off to take a second to digest the content of what you’ve just heard.

“Listening is being able to be changed by the other person.”Alan Alda

Sometimes this means saying, “I heard you but I need time to think about my response”. That’s cool, as long as you don’t let too much time-lapse. Or, respond in the moment and then come back if after further thought you have additional comments to add. Both actions show the person 1) you heard them 2) you wanted to be thoughtful in your reply and 3) you take what was said seriously.

The Kite and the String

A lovely story I read today:

A Father is flying a kite. His son is watching him carefully.After some time son says, Dad because of the string the kite is not able to go any further higher.

Hearing this, the father smiles and breaks the string.The kite goes higher after breaking of the thread and then shortly after that it comes and falls on the ground.The child is very dejected and sad.

The father sits next to him and calmly explains ” Son, in life we reach a certain level of prosperity and then we feel that there are certain things in our life that are not letting us grow any further like Home, Family, Culture Friendship etc. We feel we want to be free from those strings which we believe are stopping us from going higher.

But, remember son. Going higher is easier than staying at the higher level. Friends, family and morals are the things that will help us stay stable at the high heights that we have achieved. If we try to break away from those strings our condition will be similar to the kite.”

Waiting – getting over the frustration

I get frustrated when I wait for someone – I get stuck in a negative state. Maybe I have more to lose in such situations and I’ve tried to find ways to get comfortable with waiting.

  1. Wait in a comfortable place: I try not to wait for anyone at a bus stop, outdoor area or market! Rather wait for them at a more comfortable place – say a cafe. So the plan is never – “Let’s meet by that road corner and walk over to my favourite cafe”  but its rather “Meet at my favourite cafe, call if you are lost”.
  2. Have something to do: I carry a notebook and some 10-15 min task that I can complete. Switching my mental state from “can’t believe he is making me wait” to “oh yay, 10 mins to do XYZ” helps. Or play a game 😛
  3. Prepare for a grand opening:  Most late-comers will start with “Sorry I am late”. That means you can also plan your response and shape the rest of the meeting, here are some curve balls to give you an idea.
    • To surprise – “That’s ok, you must have run over and its a hot day. Here’s a lemon aid to cool down”
    • Get a free meal – “Thats ok, the least I could do is wait, you are going to pay after all!”
    • For sarcasm lovers “Oh I love waiting for you”

I think the big lesson is to move from thinking of the waiting time as an annoying experience to celebrating the extra “me time”.

Do you have other tips?

Understanding Solitude

I’ve been trying to get a better understanding of solitude and what it means to me. My grandfather seems to have an explanation that I buy into:
Solitude: for some this is a comfort zone. for others it is a nightmare, a state which one will try to run away from. if one (with sanity) enjoys solitude it is a God given gift. Discoveries and revelations of truth have occurred to explorers and seers mostly in solitude.
Multitude – if it is the correct antonym – in contrast gives knocks making the person to act and react. Multitude creates puzzles and questions while solitude gives solutions and answers.
To my mind, one has to enjoy both states. In multitude one is the Victim / Hero of contemporary circumstances. In solitude one is the master of himself. The self within the self is activated.
His explanation hit home. I’ve been confused for long with the concept of energy and how one gets recharged – belief is that introverts recharge in solitude and extroverts recharge in company. But I seem to gain energy in both scenarios and this always confused me – am I an introvert or extrovert?
But grandpa’s explanation seems to make more sense,whether I gain energy from solitude depends on my state of mind and phase of life I am in. If Life has plateaued a bit, then I am probably looking for more ideas (and perhaps more problems). In such scenarios I might get energy from multitude or from being around more people. On the contrary, if I am facing loads of problems all day then I look for answers in solitude.
I guess it really is about the balance…