Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Why Life Skills Still Aren’t Important to Indian Society?

What is mindfulness?
Shouldn’t we know how to regulate stress?
Won't confidence matter in life!
Shouldn't we understand the psychology of motivation for things we do!
Isn't thinking an important concept to be taught?
Isn't most of our misery around our behaviour, beliefs and relationships around us!
Isn't Self-acceptance and self-balance an important aspect of building ourselves.
Shouldn't we learn money management right from when we are adolescents.

Why are these skills aren’t important to Indian Society?
While there is a hue and cry on Artificial Intelligence across industry, what makes human as a 'human' is his behaviour, human characteristics such as critical and creative thinking, emotions, relationships, decision making skills, presentability, communication to the context, social skills, contemplation and many more.
More than anything, most important dynamic factor for all above is - human mind can perceive, imagine and enhance skills substantially and consistently with conscious effort.
But, why do we still feel that mental health isn’t a great challenge and problem sounds to be a problem when things are not as expected. Problem is a problem only when it hits places of concern such as academics, reputation, & social norms.
Majority of adults including working professionals and parents seal themselves from learning post graduation or during work life unless it is corporate sponsorship or credentials oriented. We don’t consider learning as an investment for life. Learning needs dedication, and as we grow older, learning and devoting time becomes a last priority and regrettably we cascade the same mentality to the generations down.
From a personal experience standpoint, I have had parents approaching me expecting instantaneous results – arrogance, social media addiction, stressed out, can’t concentrate, gets irritated easily, friend circle is bad, habits are getting worse etc.  But most importantly alarm rings aloud only when all these are affecting their academics, grades and CGPA’s. Rest all gets snoozed.  
Well, this truth extends as insecurity in leadership, inferiority complex in speaking up, lacks self-confidence and consistency, or finds too challenging to take decisions when it comes to working professionals.
Why Indian society is still ignorant about life skills, mental health, behavioural building, personality and habits and many more.

Reason#1: We still don’t believe that personality building needs training
Personality just gets built as how we up bring each individual. We do understand there are parameters around it, but seldom we think that it can be trained and want to invest on personality building which is an outcome of our psychology - mind, thinking and feeling-fundamental brick for overall being and identity. Beauty of this is – it just can start anytime. It only demands your time, perseverance, thought and conscious effort in implementing changes you want to instil.

Reason #2: We think we know it all
There is nothing to be learnt on how to regulate emotions – we know how it works. We never learnt any while we grew up and aren’t we good enough to be leading lives.
Of course! We are leading lives, but each generation carries its own challenges and today’s world needs much more hand holding, attention and guiding than any other. These subjects are much more complex and abstract and lies beyond advices and experience sharing.  Emotional Intelligence is a science which encompasses self-introspection, deep learning, step wise mentoring and transforming into a habit and habit becomes a behaviour.

Reason #3: We aren’t able to relate to the results instantaneously

With growth of instant age, expectation on moving things at a fast pace is demanding which also has influenced the way we connect and convey results. Instantaneous gratification or immediate outcomes aren’t practical in self-building process. Growth involves its own ratio and time and it is neither a destination to have arrived nor a rank to have accomplished. It’s for life. And life is a long process, we can learn at any juncture, but we use it for life long. That’s life skills.

Reason #4: We still don’t believe careers are made complementing our personality
We have many speaking on various other professions to be chosen, but none want to explore to be first in the list. Earning is important, but earning is just a by-product too. Various professions earn more as an individual excels. And being excellence demands motivation, passion & purpose. But, many of us are doomed out of this truth. We need careers explored, experimented, well placed, steady promotions, security and titles to flaunt around with onsite opportunities.   Intrinsic motivation, how satisfied & happy an individual is, takes a last seat. Probably this is the same reason why we have less than 35% engaged employees in various domains inhibiting us from being ourselves, loving what we do, and ascending with what we can really thrive for.

Reason #5: We still don’t believe in emotional intelligence
EI is a buzzword since more than a decade. I see EI for leaders, first time managers, leads, senior executives and specialists etc.  And the EI workshops are for 3 days to one week and we expect the world to change. How I wish EI could be taught and effectively implemented in a week.
We still lack basic awareness on what emotional intelligence can do for us. IQ is valued more than EQ. But the hard truth is – EQ holds all your keys. You can regulate any of your quotient if your EQ is in place.

Reason #6: We are unaware that relationships build on social skills and we can acquire conflict resolution skills
Relationships are an important part of our lives. Social skills and conflict resolution are never taught to us in any sense. We imbibe it observing others or we develop it on priorities and pressures. But, social intelligence is a beautiful life skill to embed and to connect ourselves with outer world.
Be it perception we build, living in real or virtual world, developing relationships across borders and all places we go, conflict is a part of life and how do we deal with it is more dealt on suggestions, advices, influences, oppressions or extortions. It does impact our peace of mind. But, we don’t value this piece because we are unacquainted with ourselves which extend itself for being ignorant about others presence and identity too.

Tell a man there are 300 billion stars in the universe and he'll believe you. Tell him a bench has a wet paint on it and he'll have to touch it to be sure.

That’s the state of our life skills awareness.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Pupils Make Pals Meet!

Have you ever thought of defining the term EXPERIENCE??

Well, I always thought EXPERIENCE is what happens to you.  Be it learning, outcome of life, challenges, practical scenarios of being, events you encounter etc.

Have you ever thought of CREATING EXPERIENCE!
Yes! I mean CREATE. i.e build, craft, foster, conceive, make it happen.

Please note, let me be clear, I don’t mean EXPERIENCE in the context of business or customers.

There are very few in life who can CREATE EXPERIENCE for NO GAIN. And there are very few blessed ones like me who receive such experiences, live those moments with those episodes befitting a cherishable memory, heralding to another exciting story of my life.

At receiving end – if one feels blessed, at other end the one who bestows it stands at an altitude – probably like angels who work behind you – just to ensure to bring an ARDENT SMILE on your face.

This is a sensational and an incredible experience and story of my life – Part 2 - “Pupils make pals meet”.

Hold your breath – and read through, what does it take to create experience:

It was in 2004 that I wrote my last letter to my pen pal. One of the most unique and remarkable experience of my life. 
(Refer: http://dwellingreflections.blogspot.in/2012/09/pen-pal.html)

Years have passed by, and I treasure his gifted books and letters and read through when I can squeeze time. Few very close friends have heard about him. An unknown face with an enlivening tale. Attempts to search have been staggering and sporadic.

It was on December 2nd 2017 that few of my students of other program attended a module of Life Skills – on THINKING & COGNITION.
Post the session, at home – they wanted to glance at my home library. Amidst of it, came a large greeting card – another exclusive hand made one’s from my CoreEL team, which got an exclamation of WOW!
Well, I said, this is one of them, and I carry some exceptional reminiscences and showed them a five feet folded white sheet elucidating my personality which was fifteen years old.  They were stunned looking at its details and niceties.  Yet again! I had to narrate the story behind it.

It was that day again, I narrated about my unknown pen pal and my students were super curious to know more about him.  They probed me in all angles, and enquired to extract all known facts, but I had very less information which was valid for more than a decade now. The day’s excitement ended and we moved on respectively to our own dwellings and lanes.

December 11th 2017 – Post a counselling session at 9:45pm,  I came out of the room to discover four of my students sitting and waiting for me for more than two hours which was little unexpected late in the night.  They handed over a piece of paper and said to solve a puzzle. I went literally speechless, and tried little harder to solve. The puzzle led me to my library of books, where I found another colored piece of paper with another puzzle, which then directed me to kitchen. Yes! They made me play ‘treasure hunt’ 😊. 
To add to the stratum, my search was getting video recorded ‘live’. 😊 
From kitchen came to living room, then to my musical instrument, then on to dining hall, which at last led to outside home to hunt for a POST.  

Coming out of the main door – I saw a big red colored wrapped box with a small black opening like a POST BOX.  There seemed to be surprise implanting hundreds of thoughts in my mind. A gift, a letter, something to play, or some books or a show piece…lot of speculations and assumptions.

I unsealed it carefully to find an enfolded brown mid sized envelope – with a 2017 Diary. I opened the envelope to see a folded A4 size sheet of two pages, two cadbury diary milk chocolates, a pack of sketch pens. 
I opened the sheets -------------------------------------------------------------------------.

I just read first three lines, there surged my tears of joy & ecstasy. I just could not hold myself from hugging my adorable student.  


Yes! The letter which was in my hand was dated 10th December 2017 written by my pen pal after a span of nearly 13.5 years. His handwriting was as legible, flawless and neat even after so many years.  

How! From where! How did that happen! – Is an invigorating story they had made it happen.   

Call it a risk, an attempt, a venture or a luck – be it any, they had unearthed the presence of my pen pal nearly 350kms away from Bangalore.  Three of my students had ventured out with sheer confidence to give it a try with all the clues they had collated. Travelling through cold night of December from Bangalore, waiting early in the morning before sun rise in an unknown desolated bus stop, exploring to villages like strangers, enquiring with new set of people, travelling back again with some hint of unacquainted address to another district of Karnataka, waiting in a medical care unit for untiring three hours – at last they sat in front of Dr. BS Manjunath – my good old pen pal introducing themselves as my students.

The first paragraph of the letter read – that even to this day such students or more precisely called DISCIPLES exist. And I felt so delighted and jubilant to be calling them as MINE. I proudly say ‘They belong to me’.

Unknown pen pal has no more a mask, unidentified friend is no more in some corner of this earth.
If these three little angels of mine would not have discovered him – Probably I would not have known him at all. I would not have been in a position to recognise even if he was right in front of me.

Blessed souls on earth are few, and I am definitely one among them – to have experienced the showering of affection, warmth and care just for a SMILE on my face in return.

Those little adorable angels are Supriya, Shubhanka and Raghu.

Their current punch line is ‘Impossible is only untried’.