Monday, May 30, 2011

Three Questions for High Productivity

1. Keep asking yourself, "What are my highest-value activities?" What are the things you do that contribute the greatest value to your work? 

2. Ask yourself, "Why am I in this role?" What exactly have you been hired to accomplish in terms of measurable results? 

3. And keep asking, "What is the most valuable use of my time right now?" This is the key question in time and personal management. You should ask and answer this question every hour of every day. Whatever your answer, you should be working on this task most of the time, if not all the time. 

Once you have thought through your work and decided on your most valuable task, you must discipline yourself to start it immediately and stay with it until it is complete.

When you concentrate single-mindedly on a single task, without diversion or distraction, you get it done far faster than if you start and stop and then come back to the task and pick it up again. You can reduce the amount of time you spend on a major task by as much as 80 percent simply by refusing to do anything else until that task is complete.

- From Focal Point by Brian Tracy 

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Ducks quack.. Eagles soar..

Years ago, writer and motivational speaker Wayne Dyer said, “There are two kinds of people in this world: ducks and eagles.” Ducks quack a lot and make all kinds of noise. Eagles go about their business and soar above the crowd. When a customer problem arises, you can tell a lot about an organization. This is usually when ducks and eagles appear.

Eagles flourish in organizations where the customer is the focus, while ducks multiply in places where boss pleasing and policy following carry the day. Let me give you an example.

I once tried to rent a car in Ithaca, NY. I planned to fly out of Syracuse, so I asked for a car from Syracuse in order to avoid the drop-off fee. The clerk located a car from Syracuse, but the $50 fee remained on my contract. “I can’t take it off, my computer won’t let me, and my boss would kill me,” she quacked. It took me twenty minutes to get this woman to remove the drop-off fee. What kind of organization do you think she works for?

From “The Heart Of a Leader” by Ken Blanchard Pg. 160

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Work for work's sake -Swami Vivekananda

Work for work's sake. There are some who are really the salt of the earth in every country and who work for work's sake, who do not care for name, or fame, or even to go to heaven. They work just because good will come of it. There are others who do good to the poor and help mankind from still higher motives, because they believe in doing good and love good. The motive for name and fame seldom brings immediate results, as a rule; they come to us when we are old and have almost done with life. If a man works without any selfish motive in view, does he not gain anything? Yes, he gains the highest. 

Unselfishness is more paying, only people have not the patience to practice it. It is more paying from the point of view of health also. Love, truth, and unselfishness are not merely moral figures of speech, but they form our highest ideal, because in them lies such a manifestation of power. In the first place, a man who can work for five days, or even for five minutes, without any selfish motive whatever, without thinking of future, of heaven, of punishment, or anything of the kind, has in him the capacity to become a powerful moral giant. It is hard to do it, but in the heart of our hearts we know its value, and the good it brings. It is the greatest manifestation of power — this tremendous restraint; self-restraint is a manifestation of greater power than all outgoing action. 

A carriage with four horses may rush down a hill unrestrained, or the coachman may curb the horses. Which is the greater manifestation of power, to let them go or to hold them? A cannonball flying through the air goes a long distance and falls. Another is cut short in its flight by striking against a wall, and the impact generates intense heat. All outgoing energy following a selfish motive is frittered away; it will not cause power to return to you; but if restrained, it will result in development of power. This self-control will tend to produce a mighty will, a character which makes a Christ or a Buddha. Foolish men do not know this secret; they nevertheless want to rule mankind. 

Even a fool may rule the whole world if he works and waits. Let him wait a few years, restrain that foolish idea of governing; and when that idea is wholly gone, he will be a power in the world. The majority of us cannot see beyond a few years, just as some animals cannot see beyond a few steps. Just a little narrow circle — that is our world. We have not the patience to look beyond, and thus become immoral and wicked. This is our weakness, our powerlessness. 

Even the lowest forms of work are not to be despised. Let the man, who knows no better, work for selfish ends, for name and fame; but everyone should always try to get towards higher and higher motives and to understand them. "To work we have the right, but not to the fruits thereof:" Leave the fruits alone. Why care for results? If you wish to help a man, never think what that man's attitude should be towards you. If you want to do a great or a good work, do not trouble to think what the result will be. 

There arises a difficult question in this ideal of work. Intense activity is necessary; we must always work. We cannot live a minute without work. What then becomes of rest? Here is one side of the life-struggle — work, in which we are whirled rapidly round. And here is the other — that of calm, retiring renunciation: everything is peaceful around, there is very little of noise and show, only nature with her animals and flowers and mountains. Neither of them is a perfect picture. A man used to solitude, if brought in contact with the surging whirlpool of the world, will be crushed by it; just as the fish that lives in the deep sea water, as soon as it is brought to the surface, breaks into pieces, deprived of the weight of water on it that had kept it together. Can a man who has been used to the turmoil and the rush of life live at ease if he comes to a quiet place? He suffers and perchance may lose his mind. The ideal man is he who, in the midst of the greatest silence and solitude, finds the intensest activity, and in the midst of the intensest activity finds the silence and solitude of the desert. He has learnt the secret of restraint, he has controlled himself. He goes through the streets of a big city with all its traffic, and his mind is as calm as if he were in a cave, where not a sound could reach him; and he is intensely working all the time. That is the ideal of Karma-Yoga, and if you have attained to that you have really learnt the secret of work.

From "KARMA IN ITS EFFECT ON CHARACTER" by Swami Vivekananda

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Just before communicating ANYTHING.. Read this..

Note: I don't have a valid information whether it happened really in Scorates life or just for reference story teller used his name. Leave the names, but the inner meaning of conversation is excellent & very true.

One day an acquaintance met the great philosopher Socrates and said, “Do you know what I just heard about your friend?”

“Hold on a minute,” Socrates replied.  

“Before you talk to me about my friend, it might be good idea to take a moment and filter what you’re going to say. That’s why I call it the triple filter test. 

The first filter is Truth. Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?”

“Well, no,” the man said, “actually I just heard about it and…”

“All right,” said Socrates.

“So you don’t really know if it’s true or not. Now, let’s try the second filter, the filter of Goodness. Is what you are about to tell me about my friend something good?”

“Umm, no, on the contrary…”

“So,” Socrates continued, “you want to tell me something bad about my friend, but you’re not certain it’s true. You may still pass the test though, because there’s one filter left—the filter of Usefulness. Is what you want to tell me about my friend going to be useful to me?”

“No, not really.”

“Well,” concluded Socrates, “if what you want to tell me is neither true, nor good, nor even useful, why tell it to me at all?”

This is called famous "Triple Filter Test" of communication.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

On Friday, I saw "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" in 3D effects. As usual Johny Depp tried his level best to give a great adventorous - action movie, but it didn't deliver top notch hit due to lack of main storyline.

In one line : It didn't live upto my expectations. Consoling by seeing earlier parts & eagerly waiting for better next part.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

TED Talk that I liked - Eli Pariser: Beware online "filter bubbles"

This video gives user how Internet is hijacked by many top tier companies. Very well explained in simple language.

Eli Pariser: Beware online "filter bubbles"

TED Talks As web companies strive to tailor their services (including news and search results) to our personal tastes, there's a dangerous unintended consequence: We get trapped in a "filter bubble" and don't get exposed to information that could challenge or broaden our worldview. Eli Pariser argue

Friday, May 20, 2011

6 Heart-Healthy Oils for Runners at Runner's World

If you stir-fry vegetables in canola oil and drizzle extra-virgin olive oil over salads, you're already loading up on healthy fats and antioxidants. "But just as runners experiment with different sports-nutrition products to optimize performance, we should experiment with different oils to optimize health and make food fun," says sports dietitian Dina Griffin, R.D. She explains eating a variety of oils—in moderation, of course—can help your body absorb fat-soluble vitamins and reduce the risk of developing heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure. These six standbys (and potential new favorites) contain an ideal mix of healthy fats while also providing a kick of flavor.

Light, buttery avocado oil is rich in monounsaturated fat. Studies show decreasing saturated and trans-fat intake while increasing monounsaturated fat intake can lower LDL, or so-called "bad cholesterol." It can also reduce the risk of heart disease and bone fractures, says sports dietitian Cassie Dimmick, R.D. She adds that the plentiful phytochemicals found in avocado oil may lessen UV-induced cellular damage—good news for runners who log their miles in the summer sun.


Avocado oil has the highest smoke point of any plant oil, making it ideal for high-heat cooking, but its mild flavor is just as delicious drizzled over finished dishes.

Read about other 5 more Healthy Oil from 6 Heart-Healthy Oils for Runners at Runner's World

Thursday, May 19, 2011

How People around You can Affect Your Dreams

It’s quite evident that life is not a destination but rather a journey. You just have to keep moving no matter what. You just have to keep moving until the very end. Your dream is your purpose for living but at times when a journey seems to lead to no where – when efforts seem to be of no use, you tend to loosen up. You need external factors. People to people influence can be of great help.  Your environment could act as your external factor – People around you, whether positive or negative, can help you achieve your dreams.

You already must have known that people tend to behave differently. So you necessarily do not have to blend everyone to fall in your line; why not spend sometime in theirs. They will surely be of great help to you.

While you travel through your journey, you meet people with different beliefs; if you give in to them, they can help build your world or help destroy it. So you got to know how to deal with them.
  • Those that Dream Bigger
There are no great limits to growth because there are no limits of man intelligence, imagination, and wonder – Ronald Reagan

Of course there is no limit to human imagination, but we see things differently. No one is all wise; so you just have to consider the fact that some people do see how great you can become. But they figured you aren’t living up to that life, so they want to give a spot light to make you see things you’ve always missed out; so that you can couple every left out ideas together and become a transformed being.
  •  Those that Believe in Your Dreams & Believe in you
Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice require sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tired exertions & passionate concern of dedicated individuals – Martin Lather King, Jr.

Life is full of challenges. You may want to consider giving up when life knocks you down repeatedly. At times giving up would seem the best option. It’s quite understandable if you loosen up – you are human and feeling is part of what makes you human.

Finding people that can help you get right back on track sounds more like a pretty good choice, and your loved ones can do that magic.

They know you are meant for greatness and they also know you’ve been through a lot already; so they want to help you out. They will help you live up to your dreams because they believe in you.
  • Those That  are Jealous of Your Dreams & Those That Do not Dream at all
Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things – Unknown

There is absolutely nothing you can do to make everyone like you - that spell doesn’t exist yet. And there is absolutely nothing you can do to stop people from criticizing you. It’s a free world – freedom of speech – freedom of life. But you can make their doubts your strength. Although attaining one goal won’t stop them from pointing others out, but you can choose to live your life and laugh at them because that’s what they do best. Every word they say is like a challenge to you. They will always want to challenge you because you, somehow always find a way to win.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Don't pretend.. Be the change..

Two young women, daughters of a friend of mine, came to me tearfully, complaining about their father's harshness and lack of understanding. They were afraid to open up with their parents for fear of the consequences. And yet they desperately needed their parents' love, understanding, and guidance.

I talked with the father and found that he was intellectually aware of what was happening. But while he admitted he had a temper problem, he refused to take responsibility for it and to honestly accept the fact that his emotional development level was low. It was more than his pride could swallow to take the first step toward change.

To relate effectively with a wife, a husband, children, friends, or working associates, we must learn to listen. And this requires emotional strength. Listening involves patience, openness, and the desire to understand -- highly developed qualities of character. It's so much easier to operate from a low emotional level and to give high-level advice.

Our level of development is fairly obvious with tennis or piano playing, where it is impossible to pretend. But it is not so obvious in the areas of character and emotional development. We can "pose" and "put on" for a stranger or an associate. We can pretend. And for a while we can get by with it -at least in public. We might even deceive ourselves. Yet I believe that most of us know the truth of what we really are inside; and I think many of those we live with and work with do as well.

-- Stephen Covey in "7 Habits of Highly Effective People"

Beware Of The Greatest Theif Of All Time - Your Doubt

Is there anything worse than doubt? Doubt destroys good ideas, action, endurance, persistence, even hard work. Doubt – the cause of mediocrity; the fall of man, the cause of buried ideas, the child of negative thoughts, the brother of fear, and the friend of failure. Shakespeare once said, “Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.”

We doubt that things might not turn out right and we so fail to try, and when we fail to try, we remain as we are: no movement, no progress. We all know that whatever situation we do not address, we remain the same.

True enough, only fools never have doubts; doubts are good when they can be controlled; they are good when they lead us to clear and keen evaluation of facts; they are useful when they can lead us to gather to a serious study of situation – this way they help to bring caution and wisdom. Frank Pierre says that “by facing the facts, you control your control the destiny to a great extent,” and a problem well stated is half solved. So if you face facts you will be able to detect areas where you are likely to have difficulties, and if these obstacles are well analyzed, then they are almost solved.

Oluwakemi Osubu

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Ant Story - About Rise and Fall of Organizations

The clock is running!! Make the most of today

These are age old statements about TIME, but still they are valid till end of the world.

Imagine there is a bank account that credits your account each morning with $86,400. It carries over no balance from day to day.
Every evening the bank deletes whatever part of the balance you failed to use during the day.
What would you do? Draw out every cent, of course!
Each of us has such a bank. It’s name is TIME.
Every morning, it credits you with 86,400 seconds.
Every night it writes off as lost, whatever of this you have failed to invest to a good purpose.
It carries over no balance. It allows no over draft. Each day it opens a new account for you. Each night it burns the remains of the day.
If you fail to use the day’s deposits, the loss is yours. There is no drawing against “tomorrow.”
You must live in the present on today’s deposits. Invest it so as to get from it the utmost in health, happiness and success!
The clock is running!! Make the most of today.

To realise the value of one year, ask a student who failed a grade.
To realise the value of one month, ask a mother who has given birth to a premature baby.
To realise the value of one week, ask the editor of a weekly newspaper.
To realise the value of one hour, ask the lovers who are waiting to meet.
To realise the value of one minute, ask a person who just missed a train.
To realise the value of one second, ask someone who just avoided an accident.
To realise the value of one millisecond, ask the person who won a silver medal at the olympics.

Treasure every moment that you have! And treasure it more because you shared it with someone special, special enough to spend your time with. And remember time waits for no one.
Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That’s why its called the present.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Thirukkural which I liked


Despise not men of modest bearing; Look not at form, but what men are:
For some there live, high functions sharing, Like linch-pin of the mighty car!

Mighty in word, of unforgetful mind, of fearless speech,
'Tis hard for hostile power such man to overreach.

With rising flood the rising lotus flower its stem unwinds;
The dignity of men is measured by their minds.

--- Thirukkural

Following are excellent web sites to get meaning of 1330 Thirukkural both in Tamil & English

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Story - Even if a snake is....

A big snake was living near a busy village road. It was biting many people who were moving around that area. So villagers got fear to walk on that road. One day, a saint visited the village. All village people requested him to do something to safeguard them from the snake. Saint directly went to the snake. As usual snake came near to him to bite.

Saint told to the snake "I have lot of blessings from Siva & I can do whatever I want. Don't force me to kill you with my powers. Hereafter you should not bite anyone. I am going now to other places and will be back after five days. This is my order. You should obey". Snake got fear on hearing Saint's words & it promised him the same.

After that people started normal use of that road & snake was not doing anything to them. It was just lying in its place. Few people started teasing it. Few threw stones on it & laughed at it. Even it got hurt also snake didn't do anything. In next few days, snake got hurt so badly & it was not able to move.

After his trip, on the way Saint visited snake place. It was so weak due to wounds and bleeding. Saint asked snake "What happened? Why are you like this?"

Snake told Saint "You told me not to do any harm to anyone. They threw stones on me all the time. I got hurt & not able to move. If I continue like this I may die soon."

Saint asked "I asked you not to bite anyone. I haven't asked you to lose the habit of hissing & pretend to be biting. If you would have done that, no one throw stone at you."

Snake understood what he said & started hissing and pretended to be biting.

Even one doesn't have some qualities, he pretend to have those whenever required. If not others will hurt you too easily.

“Even if a snake is not poisonous, it should pretend to be venomous.” - Chanakya quotes


People who do not succeed have one distinguishing trait in common. They know all the reasons for failure, and have what they believe to be air-tight alibis to explain away their own lack of achievement.

Some of these alibis are clever, and a few of them are justifiable by the facts. But alibis cannot be used for money. The world wants to know only one thing-HAVE YOU ACHIEVED SUCCESS?

A character analyst compiled a list of the most commonly used alibis. As you read the list, examine yourself carefully, and determine how many of these alibis, if any, are your own property.
  • IF I didn’t have a wife and family . . .
  • IF I had enough “pull” . . .
  • IF I had money . . .
  • IF I had a good education . . .
  • IF I could get a job . . .
  • IF I had good health . . .
  • IF I only had time . . .
  • IF times were better . . .
  • IF other people understood me . . .
  • IF conditions around me were only different . . .
  • IF I could live my life over again . . .
  • IF I did not fear what “THEY” would say . . .
  • IF I had been given a chance . . .
  • IF I now had a chance . . .
  • IF other people didn’t “have it in for me” . . .
  • IF nothing happens to stop me . . .
  • IF I were only younger . . .
  • IF I could only do what I want . . .
  • IF I had been born rich . . .
  • IF I could meet “the right people” . . .
  • IF I had the talent that some people have . . .
  • IF I dared assert myself . . .
  • IF I only had embraced past opportunities . . .
  • IF people didn’t get on my nerves . . .
  • IF I didn’t have to keep house and look after the children . . .
  • IF I could save some money . . .
  • IF the boss only appreciated me . . .
  • IF I only had somebody to help me . . .
  • IF my family understood me . . .
  • IF I lived in a big city . . .
  • IF I could just get started . . .
  • IF I were only free . . .
  • IF I had the personality of some people . . .
  • IF I were not so fat . . .
  • IF my talents were known . . .
  • IF I could just get a “break” . . .
  • IF I could only get out of debt . . .
  • IF I hadn’t failed . . .
  • IF I only knew how . . .
  • IF everybody didn’t oppose me . . .
  • IF I didn’t have so many worries . . .
  • IF I could marry the right person . . .
  • IF people weren’t so dumb . . .
  • IF my family were not so extravagant . . .
  • IF I were sure of myself . . .
  • IF luck were not against me . . .
  • IF I had not been born under the wrong star . . .
  • IF it were not true that “what is to be will be” . . .
  • IF I did not have to work so hard . . .
  • IF I hadn’t lost my money . . .
  • IF I lived in a different neighborhood . . .
  • IF I didn’t have a “past” . . .
  • IF I only had a business of my own . . .
  • IF other people would only listen to me . . .

IF - and this is the greatest of them all - I had the courage to see myself as I really am, I would find out what is wrong with me, and correct it, then I might have a chance to profit by my mistakes and learn something from the experience of others, for I know that there is something WRONG with me, or I would now be where I WOULD HAVE BEEN IF I had spent more time analyzing my weaknesses, and less time building alibis to cover them.

Building alibis with which to explain away failure is a national pastime. The habit is as old as the human race, and is fatal to success! Why do people cling to their pet alibis? The answer is obvious. They defend their alibis because THEY CREATE them! A man’s alibi is the child of his own imagination. It is human nature to defend one’s own brain-child.

Building alibis is a deeply rooted habit. Habits are difficult to break, especially when they provide justification for something we do. Plato had this truth in mind when he said, “The first and best victory is to conquer self. To be conquered by self is, of all things, the most shameful and vile.”

-- From Napolean Hill's 'Think and Grow Rich'

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Choose one - Valuable Feedback or Empty Emotions? - By T.T. Rangarajan

“Wise men speak because they have something to say. Fools because they have to say something.” - Plato
Several experiences in the recent past have caused one lingering thought in me: Does your opinion count? It is startling to realize how much of our energies are expended on aspects of life on which we have no bearing. We direct so much of our intelligence to offer our opinions on aspects of life, knowing very well, what we think of it makes no difference to it.

I was there in the Wankhede stadium watching the cricket world cup final. Once, the crowd knew Sreesanth was there in the playing eleven instead of Aswin there were countless opinions. When Dhoni was seen walking into the arena instead of Yuvraj there were endless opinions. Now, independent of all these opinions, Sreesanth was still there in the playing eleven and Dhoni still batted higher in the order. Did your opinion count?

A feedback is an opinion offered to people under such circumstances where you know you can influence a change. The captain can influence his team. His opinion matters. His opinion counts. He has the power to influence his team with his opinions. His opinions are his feedback. But, you are just a spectator. Your participation and involvement by screaming, clapping and shouting slogans can make a difference in pepping up a team's performance. But your personal opinions are just your opinions. They just get lost into thin air. It is not even heard. So, does your opinion count? No it doesn't!

Which actress should marry which celebrity, who should have long hair, why a succession plan was not done, which party should have alliance with whom, why did the brothers get separated on money matters, how should a player behave on the field, and the list is endless. In almost all of these matters, your opinion does not count.

Why can't you realise, by forming such opinions you throw yourself into unwanted emotional turmoil. When what is happening is not in concurrence with what you feel it should be, the only thing that happens is you are emotionally disturbed. Nothing else changes! When what you are disturbed for, except keeping you disturbed changes nothing else, then they are mere Empty Emotions.

There is a difference between being the player and being a spectator. There is a difference between being the participant and being an observer. There is a difference between a feedback and empty opinions. There are areas where your opinion counts, and areas where it changes nothing but leaving you disturbed.

You have the freedom to have an opinion, always. But the question is, does your opinion count? Mostly, it doesn't. Don't waste your energy. Focus on what you can influence.
Loving you,
T.T. Rangarajan
(Excited to be alive...)

Article From Frozen Thoughts May 2011 Editorial retrieved on 05/10/2011 (URL:

follow @ttrangarajan

Thursday, May 05, 2011

My View Point on Time Management

"Manage time? No one manages time! The best we can do is manage activities, but no one can manage time."

Evolution & Benefits

Answers that I understood after I properly assimilated all observations of nature & came up with following statements -

1. Time is a natural process - one revolution of earth is one day, so on..etc. Man has just found a way to streamline his activities to maximize the utilization of day time.

2. From day one, human race is fighting with the time in proving his superiority over other creatures

3. After that, human started racing against his old records and beat each record at least by 1 second (or even nanosecond) & show to the world he becomes better and better over a period

Now time management becomes integral part of life which requires specific skills to be developed to compete with other people in the world. Better time management leads
i) greater success ratio in career & personal life
ii) allows one to achieve more
iii) increase efficiency & effectiveness of an activity

Importance & Practice

 Current researches relates every particle in the universe to 'Time' in one or the other way. Either approachability, rotation, size, etc are compared in terms of time. So humans are no exception for this.

Mind build time sense by nature. My mind sets time for each activity & keeps on calculating lapsed time, remaining time, over time, in different angles based on critical nature of the task. Sense of urgency - increases my heart beat, makes me think faster than light, make me work faster than usual.

World is like a race ground - all are running. One who completes faster gets appreciation, praise, monetary benefits. The one runs slow gets blame, scold, no monetary benefits. Race is by nature. You cannot stop it or take rest. You have to run or at least walk to beat someone who walks slower than you, otherwise it is not possible for you to survive. Life is counted as number of years, days, hours, minutes you lived. Unless you develop time sense in you, it is very difficult to cope up with expectations.

Practice makes a man perfect - this statement is 100% true for time management. Time management requires practice in every aspect. So, how do I practice? Start in small steps.

1. Increase your daily active life at least 10 - 15 mins by waking up earlier than the time you wake up daily.
2. Don't be lenient on holidays. Wake up same time on Sunday too.
3. Follow a cyclic process - Set time goals, observe & take corrective actions for future.
4. Prioritize as much as possible. Force your prioritizing to broader level. Don't just put all of them in 1,2,3 levels. Have unique level for each of them. If you have 20 activities in hand, have 20 priority levels. This gives unambiguous execution order. But do remember #3, and modify the priority levels based on current situations.
5. Have good mental health - everyday perform activity that gives you happiness at least for 10 minutes like talking to your parents, spouse, watching comedy videos, reading books that you felt close to your heart, washing your car, cleaning home, playing with your kids or pets.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

An overdeveloped strength can become a weakness?

How often have you heard the expression that “an overdeveloped strength can become a weakness”? Although there is truth to this statement, there is also a deeper underlying dynamic.

Why do some strengths turn into weaknesses?

Usually because some Shadow Belief is operating. Leaders either shed light or cast a shadow on everything they do. The more conscious the self-awareness, the more light leaders bring. The more limited the self-understanding, the bigger the shadow a leader casts. Let’s say we have a Shadow Belief that “we only have value if we are doing and achieving.”

If we are  unaware of this Shadow Belief, our drive and determination will soon turn into workaholism and lack of  intimacy, with profound negative implications for our health and relationships. Let’s say we have intelligence and self-confidence as  strengths combined with a Shadow Belief that “we always have to be right.” Without sufficient awareness, our self-confidence will turn into arrogance, abrasiveness, and self-righteousness. Here are some other examples of how  shadows can potentially turn strengths into weaknesses.

STRENGTH             +             SHADOW BELIEF                                         = WEAKNESS

Energy                             “I can never give up.”                                           Mania
Charm                             “I must succeed no matter what.”                         Manipulation
Conscientiousness           “I can always do better.”                                      Compulsiveness
Focus                             “I must know every detail to feel comfortable.”     Rigidity/Lack of Trust
Courage                         “I must always achieve more.”                                Foolhardiness
Presence                         “I must always be seen as exceptional.”                Narcissism/Self-Focus

Since our shadows are often hidden successfully from our own view, how can we bring them to light? Over the years, we’ve developed seven clues to indicate if a shadow may be operating:
  • Shadow Clue One: If other people often give us feedback inconsistent with how we see ourselves, a shadow is present.
  • Shadow Clue Two: When we feel stuck or blocked with a real loss as to what to do next, a shadow is holding us back.
  • Shadow Clue Three: As strengths become counterproductive, some hidden dynamics need to surface.
  • Shadow Clue Four: When we are not open to new information, new learning, or other people’s views, a shadow is limiting us.
  • Shadow Clue Five: If we react to circumstances with emotional responses disproportionate to the situation, we are right over the target of a Shadow Belief.
  • Shadow Clue Six: When we find ourselves forcefully reacting to the limitations of others in a critical, judgmental way, we are often projecting our shadow onto others.
  • Shadow Clue Seven: If we often experience pain, trauma, or discomfort in our body, a shadow may be attempting to rise to the surface to seek reconciliation. Listen to the wisdom of your body as you look to uncover Shadow Beliefs.
From -  LEADERSHIP FROM THE INSIDE OUT Becoming a Leader for Life, by KEVIN CASHMAN, 2nd Edition, Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc. 2008