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27 Mar

Deadlines – Friend Or Foe?

“Deadlines are a budget for your time” said Scott H. Young in one of his articles.

Whether you are working in the corporate sector or are a student, you will face deadlines.

These days, there seem to be deadlines galore – a deadline to submit a report, a deadline to submit an assessment, a deadline to complete a project for the kids, a deadline to get in shape for the next tropical vacation, and the list goes on.

The one thing that I have noticed (through personal experience) is that deadlines are not necessarily a bad thing.

Deadlines can make us more productive.

Yes, you heard me right – deadlines can make us more productive. Let me explain to you why I believe in that.

Have you ever been too busy?

If you have, then you would know what it feels like to operate under pressure.

Working toward a deadline can make you operate under more pressure.

However, working toward a deadline can also make you more productive.

Let me share an example with you. I had a coaching client (approximately 4 years ago) who always seemed to struggle with getting things done.

She had impressive formal education, and was in a respectable role (career wise).

This lady had a habit of “putting things off for another day”.

Have you ever felt like that or done that?

In every coaching session that we had, she would come up with a list of things that she wanted to accomplish. However, she never completed those tasks.

My suggestion to her was very simple – give yourself a deadline.

She hesitated and was unsure about it.

I suggested that she implement a deadline for just one task that she had been putting off for weeks, and observe the result that she would get.

After some convincing, she agreed. Surprisingly to her, the task was completed! Why? There was a deadline.

My suggestion to anyone is to give themselves deadlines on anything that they wish to complete.

As the old adage goes – “A dream with a deadline is a goal. Anything else is merely a wish”.

Here are 3 simple suggestions on how to use deadlines:

  1. Give yourself a deadline (even) for smaller tasks – being a corporate speaker/trainer and an anti-bullying campaigner at the same time is very challenging for me. How do I juggle the two roles with my family life, fitness, volunteer work, and hobbies? I give myself a deadline to get the smallest tasks completed. Please do the same thing. If you have to complete a small task, give yourself a deadline. The bottom line is that it will get done, and you can then focus on bigger tasks. Some small tasks could be very important. Give them a deadline, and get them done!
  2. Give yourself a deadline even if you feel that you’re not that busy – what I tend to do is give myself deadlines even if I feel that I am not that busy on a particular day. Why? It will ensure that whatever I am doing at the time will be done efficiently, and I can then look for other important things to do. Deadlines are not only for busy people. Anyone can use deadlines even if they feel that they are not busy. The goal of a deadline is to help you in getting tasks done, regardless of how “not so busy” you may feel.
  3. Give yourself a deadline within a deadline – if you are working on something big, chunk it down, and give yourself a deadline within a deadline. Let me share an example with you. My anti-bullying app (Beat Bullying With Confidence) required a privacy policy update on the Google Play Store. When our app developer asked us to send the privacy policy, I had no idea where to begin. Never had I written the privacy policy for an app. It seemed like a mammoth task. So, I chunked it down into 3 stages, and gave each stage a deadline. The 3 stages had to be completed within 24 hours, and the privacy policy had to be sent to our app developer within 48 hours. Once the 3 stages were completed, I was able to put it all together and send the privacy policy to our app developer. A deadline within a deadline can be a very effective tool in completing tasks that seem big and/or tedious.

It’s amazing how productive you can be when you are stretched for time.

In an article in Harvard Business Review, Dana Rousmaniere said “Deadlines are a done-for-you prioritization tool that tells you a given project is important to focus on since its deadline is earlier. Deadlines can also make it easier to honestly assess your workload”.

Please utilise a deadline to your advantage.

Another point about deadlines is that you should reach out for help if you feel that you need to do so. It is said that two minds are better than one. Get input from trusted and reliable sources who can support you in getting tasks completed.

Quote: “Deadlines refine the mind. They remove variables like exotic materials and processes that take too long. The closer the deadline, the more likely you’ll start thinking way outside the box.” Adam Savage

Please ensure that your deadlines are realistic. False expectations will put unnecessary pressure on you.

I sincerely hope that I have given you a simple insight into how you can productively use deadlines in getting things done.

Influencing you to your excellence,

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27 Feb

Which Leadership Trait Is More Important?

One of the world’s foremost leadership experts, Dr Marshall Goldsmith (who is like a virtual mentor to me) once said “Personal contact matters — and matters greatly”.

When I was an Executive Coach, I came across many CEOs and MDs who were very emphatic on the personal touch.

Regardless of whether you are in a leadership role or not (in a professional capacity), you must have come across situations where you acted as a leader.

Leadership is a very wide and deep area, and it covers many aspects of human behaviour.
For the purpose of this article, let’s focus on how to use empathy and how not to use authority in a leadership role.

If you wish to test your leadership skills, please try being the leader of a group of children. That is why I take my hat off to primary school teachers.

With leadership, comes responsibility – a responsibility to lead by example.

Now, here is where some leaders make the mistake of thinking that they will lead better by using authority as a leadership tool.

Authority can be used and must be used at times eg.  when order needs to be restored. However, if an authoritarian approach is used on a daily basis, the subordinates of the leader will start to build resentment. That will not be productive for anyone – the leader, the subordinates, and certainly not the organisation.

Let me give you an example. There is a boxing gym where I have been training for many years.

Every now and then, a very authoritarian guy (who is very experienced), comes to the same boxing gym.

He is often asked by the trainer to help the new comers or the kids in learning the right footwork and punching techniques. Many a time, I have seen him talking down at the people that he is helping, and telling them about how long he has been doing boxing for. Raising his voice is something that he is never ashamed of doing.

Needless to say, people have often complained about his authoritarian behaviour.

A few years ago, my cousin asked me to join him at his mixed martial arts academy.

I now teach basic mixed martial arts to kids at that academy on Monday and Tuesday nights.

When I started teaching these kids, the first question that popped up  in my head was “Should I act like an authoritarian leader or an empathic leader?”

The answer to that question was very simple – empathy all the way!

Can you imagine how an 8 year old might feel, coming to their first mixed martial arts class? They would most likely be nervous and self conscious. Imagine if he/she was yelled at and told that they are “too soft” for this sport. What impact would that have on their self image?

The first thing I did was to think about the authoritarian guy at the boxing gym. Although he is not a popular figure at the boxing gym, I am extremely grateful for him.

Why? He taught me what not to do!

Through him, I realised something that I have shared with many CEOs, MDs, and mid-level managers – “Empathy outweighs authority in a leadership capacity”.

My simple suggestion to you when you are acting in a leadership capacity is to embrace empathy, and not abuse authority.

As Dr Marshall Goldsmith said “Personal contact matters — and matters greatly”.

That personal contact is amplified when it comes in the form of empathy.

Let’s break it down and see why empathy is so positively impactful.

Empathy allows you to be more human because you are putting yourself in the shoes of the other person, and seeing things from their perspective.

Empathy has the potential to be reciprocated. Two weekends ago, I delivered a speech at a regional leader’s conference. One of my suggestions was – “When helping your subordinates solve a problem, use empathy. If they disagree with your suggestion, say something along the lines of “I can see where you are coming from.”  That will prove to your subordinates that you are putting yourself in their shoes. If they are being unreasonable, ask “Can you see where I am coming from?””

In a leadership capacity, if you show empathy, it is more likely to be given back to you.

Authority will not be reciprocated. In most cases, it does not have the potential to be reciprocated.

That is why abusing authority in a leadership capacity can be very dangerous!

Now, here is my little disclaimer – please use empathy within your limits and the limits of your leadership. Some people can take advantage of your empathic nature. You need to discern when it is wise to stop projecting empathy toward someone.

Try this exercise the next time you are in helping someone solve a problem or you are caught up in conflict resolution:

  • Ask the other party to fully explain why they want, what they want.
  • Put yourself in their shoes and see things from their perspective.
  • Tell the other party where you stand and what you can/cannot do.
  • Ask them to “Put yourself in my shoes and see where I am coming from”.

Quote: “What empathy really means is being able to understand the needs of others. It means that you’re aware of their feelings and how it impacts their perception. It doesn’t mean you have to agree with how they see things; rather, being empathetic means that you’re willing and able to appreciate what the other person is going through.” Tanveer Naseer

I sincerely hope that I have given you a simple insight on how to use empathy when you are acting in a leadership capacity.

Influencing you to your excellence,

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27 Dec

How To Deal With Exposure To Negativity.

In the previous article (titled Worrying – The Truth About It), we discussed the negativity that we are exposed to on a daily basis.

To be precise, I suggested “Switch off from the media – the Black Eyed Peas said “Wrong information always shown by the media. Negative images is the main criteria.” Regardless of how positive or optimistic you are, your mindset will become what you feed it.”

After receiving feedback from more than a dozen readers about how they resonated with that suggestion, I decided to elaborate on how to productively handle daily exposure to negativity.

In an article on Mindfulness, by Kerry Song, she mentioned:
“British psychologist, Dr. Graham Davey, told the Huffington Post that exposure to negative and violent media could actually have long-lasting psychological effects. In fact, Davey maintains that “viewing negative news means that you’re likely to see your own personal worries as more threatening and severe, and when you do start worrying about them, you’re more likely to find your worry difficult to control and more distressing than it would normally be.””

Sadly, negative news is more popular and it gets more attention.

How do we productively deal with constant exposure to negativity?

Here are 3 suggestions:

  1. Proactively engage yourself with happy stories – there is no shortage of happy stories out there. It’s just that we are more exposed to the negative ones. Let me share an example with you. As a speaker and writer in the Animal Rights movement, I often get contacted by people who are disturbed by the amount of animal cruelty in the world. One lady contacted me via email after watching a video clip about how leather is made. She saw cows being forced to walk for hundreds or kilometres, being beaten, and then being slaughtered without stunning. She was absolutely fuming and cried afterward. My first suggestion to her was to watch a happy story about an animal rescue, which she did. That made her happy and restored some faith in humanity.  She did research and found a charity that rescues cows from the leather industry, and was relieved to see many cows living a happy life after being rescued. My second suggestion was to turn that anger into a productive force – do something to help these poor cows. She donated money to that charity that rescues cows from the leather industry, she shared that video clip with her family/friends, and promised to never buy leather products again. Her commitment to me was to watch happy animal rescue stories each day for the next 30 days. She felt more empowered (instead of angered), and used that empowerment to help more animals. Please purposefully engage yourself with happy stories.

    2. Focus on what you can control – while you or I might not be able to bring world peace in the next 24 hours, there are many other things that we can do to make society a more liveable place. If you start constantly worrying about the state of affairs between certain nations, or the spike in crime rates in a particular city, or the number of kids dying each day through starvation, your focus will bring more negativity into your mental and emotional states. That will not be productive. Do something that is productive. If you are concerned about world hunger, then maybe you could volunteer at a soup kitchen that feeds the homeless in your city. The point is – you always have the liberty to do something even though it might seem like it is on a small scale.  Whenever you are exposed to negativity in the media, remind yourself that there are certain things that are beyond your control, and that you are better off in choosing to focus on things that you can do.

    3. Become more self-aware – learn to recognise your emotions as they surface, and what they are triggered by. If you get very angry and say “I hate humans” every time you see a violation of human rights on TV, you know that anger (in this case) was a by-product of your exposure to a violation of human rights. The trigger and the effect are clear. Whenever you are exposed to similar stories in the future, quickly remind yourself that you are about to get very angry. Then, put a strategy in place to overcome that anger. It could be as simple as getting up and going for a short walk, taking a few deep breaths, or looking at a picture of something that will make you smile (a photo of your children, your dog, or your cat). The more self-aware you are, the lesser the impacts of negativity in the media will be on you. Please remember, humans have a negativity bias (this has been proven over and over again). Hence, it is your duty to feed yourself less negativity, and more happy stories.

    My call to action for you is:

  • Every day, make a conscious effort to expose yourself to happy stories.
  • Share those happy stories with people around you. The world needs more happiness.

Quote: “There are a lot of pros and cons about media; it’s just how you choose to handle it and how you have to be prepared for the negatives as well.”  Aubrey Peeples

The choice to deal with constant exposure to negativity is in your hands. You can allow it to sadden you and anger you, or you can choose to focus on the good things that are happening in the world, and use that as a driving force to do more good yourself.

Influencing you towards your excellence,

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28 Nov

Worrying – The Truth About It

Unless you are a Zen monk who has mastered the art of total thought control, you would be inclined to worry at times.

According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, worry is defined as:
“To think about problems or fears: to feel or show fear and concern because you think that something bad has happened or could happen.”

Here’s something that we all would know – some people worry more than others.

I had a Life Coaching client whose sense of feeling “normal” was when he had something to worry about.

If things were going well for him, he would subconsciously look for things to worry about. Once he found something to worry about, he would feel like he was back in his “zone”.

This former client of mine reminds me of a quote by Tony Robbins:

“We’re not wired for happiness; we are wired for anxiety. We are wired for what’s wrong. We are wired for survival, which means our brain is constantly looking for anything that could hurt us. This serves us well when we’re crossing a busy intersection, but it does not serve us if we permanently live in that emotional state, always fearing what danger might lurk around the corner. The good news is you get to choose which emotions you want to experience the most.”

While most of us (especially in Western Society) have worried about things in the past, and will worry about things in the future, there are certain things that you can control when it comes to worrying.

Here is a 5 step process to handle worrying in a productive manner:

  1. Acknowledge it – if you are worrying about something, then please acknowledge the fact that you are worried. Just like everything else on earth, “Don’t worry, be happy” is easier said than done. Acknowledging it is the first step. Living in denial or trying to fight it off will be of little or no use. Pretending that you are not worried will not help either. Acknowledging the fact that you are worried will put you in a far better position (mentally, emotionally, and physically) to handle the cause of the worry.
  2. Be solution oriented – instead of worrying about the problem, shift your attention to the solution. Focus on the solution, not the problem. Yes, sometimes you have to focus on the problem in order to come up with a solution. That said, the solution is more important than the problem. When you focus on the solution, you will be more likely to feel that you are in control. With more control of the situation comes less worry. If the situation is totally out of your control, then acceptance will be the most productive way to handle it. In an article in Psychology Today, Professor Graham C.L. Davey said “There is good evidence that in most people worrying is associated with a problem-focused coping style (that is, a willingness to approach and deal with problems), and it’s also associated with an information seeking coping style.” You can use worrying as something that will prompt you to take action toward a solution. Make a plan of action steps that you will take in order to overcome the problem. Then execute!
  3. Switch off from the media – the Black Eyed Peas said “Wrong information always shown by the media. Negative images is the main criteria.” Regardless of how positive or optimistic you are, your mindset will become what you feed it. If you are constantly bombarding your mindset with negativity from the media, guess what? You will most likely start to feel negative. In 2007, a friend of mine who was also a very devout student of personal development gave me an exercise. He said “Watch the 6:00 pm news for a week, and have a look at the top 5 stories in the news each day. I will bet my bottom dollar that they will all be something negative – people getting killed, someone getting robbed, a war, terrorism, or animal cruelty”. After a week of watching the nightly news, I only had one thing to say to him – “You were spot on!” Now, I am not suggesting that you completely cut yourself off from what’s happening in the world. All that I am suggesting is that you guard your mind from being bombarded by negativity. Constant exposure to negativity will not help you overcome being worried.
  4. Give yourself a reality check – sometimes we tend to blow things out of proportion. Ask yourself “Is the problem really that big of a deal that I have to worry about it?” Look back at things in the past that made you worry. How did they turn out? Learn from those experiences. You could also ask yourself “On a scale of 1 to 10, how big is this problem?” Then, go back to step 2, and focus on the solution.
  5. Get support – a load that is shared will become a lighter load to carry. Whether you get someone to help you solve the problem or someone to act as a sounding board, you will most likely feel lighter afterward. Sometimes, just by sharing the problem, you will automatically feel less worried. The beauty about sharing your feelings is that others might give you their input which may change your perspective on the whole issue. And a change of perspective could just be the thing that you need. Reaching out for support doesn’t mean that you are weak. It means that you wish to remain strong.

There you have it! 5 steps to take if you feel that you are consumed with worry.
To put things in perspective, have a look at the quote below:

Quote: “60% of what you worry about will never actualise, 20% of what you worry about is in the past. 10% of what you worry about won’t impact you even if it came true. 10% of what you worry about may impact you but won’t kill you”.  Victor Antonio

I sincerely hope that I have given you something of value and that you will use these 5 steps the next time you feel the effects of worry.

Influencing you towards your excellence,

Ron Prasad (Author, Speaker, Personal Development Coach)

PS: To order my book, please go to www.WelcomeToYourLifeBook.com. For $19.95, you get the book, thousands of dollars in bonus gifts from some of the best personal development experts in the world (such as Bob Proctor, Marci Shimoff, Dr Joe Rubino), and you get to give back to the community by supporting my charity!  I appreciate your support.

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27 Oct

What Do You Refuse to Accept?

As an anti-bullying campaigner, I often speak to kids (and adults alike), who tell me about the challenges they face when they are getting bullied.

This article is not about bullying. Instead, let’s focus on something simple that is available to humans – the ability to choose.

We can either choose to accept something or refuse something.

Let me share a story with you. About four months ago, I received an email from a lady whose daughter was getting bullied at school. This child was 11 years young at the time.

Without going too much into detail about what the child was going through at school (due to respect for her privacy), I can share with you some of the things that worked for her in her quest to overcome bullying.
One of the things that I suggested to her was what I called “The Morning Mirror Work”.

My suggestion to her was to look in the mirror every morning and repeat – “I refuse to accept what the bullies say about me. I refuse to accept what they think about me. I refuse to accept their negativity. Instead, I choose to own my uniqueness. I choose to see the talents and abilities in me. I choose to give myself more love/positivity/care”.

Now, some people might think that simply saying these words won’t change her circumstances.

Yes, I agree with that. However, by simply saying these words, it will change the way that she thinks (which will change the way she feels. And then, change the way she acts).

The reason for sharing this story with you was to illustrate the realisation of the liberty that we have when it comes to choosing what we accept and what we refuse.

When I was delivering coaching sessions for staff in the corporate sector, I came across a young woman who had chosen to accept some of the belittling comments that certain people around them were making to her.

She had excelled academically, and somehow could not replicate that excellence in the workplace.

Her family continued to tell her that she was in the wrong vocation. They felt that she would be better suited to another industry, instead of being a white collar professional in the corporate sector.

Neither of her parents were in the corporate sector, and wished that she did something that would serve society better. Her dad wanted her to be a nurse, and her mum wanted her to be a teacher.

Every time she would tell her parents about the challenges in meeting her professional goals in the corporate sector, they would reply with comments along the lines of “See, we told you that you were not made for this job.”

She loved what she did, and wanted to excel in her current role.

When we broke it down, it was clear that she had been carrying what her family was projecting onto her.

What did we do? We worked out a way to emotionally and mentally release her from owning what her parents were projecting onto her.

I asked her to make a comprehensive list of why she wants to stay in her current role.

Followed by, another comprehensive list of why she must excel in her current role.

Finally, I asked her to make this her daily mantra – “I refuse to accept that I will not excel in this role. I refuse to accept the negativity that others project upon me. I choose to achieve my goals in this role. I am worthy of being here. I make a positive impact on this organisation and its stakeholders. I am by far the best fit for this role. No one can fill this role better than me. No one!”

I am currently reading a book that was published in 1959. It is called The Magic Of Thinking Big, by Dr David J. Schwartz.

In that book, the author talks about a car salesman who would make cold calls to prospects for two hours daily.

His phone calls were always productive on Mondays because they had a sales meeting every Monday morning.

In that meeting, the sales manager would give his subordinates a pep talk and pump them up.

For the remainder of the week, his cold calls were not as productive.

He then decided to go inside a car every morning and give himself a pep talk in which he would say “I’m a good car salesman and I’m going to be the best. I give good deals. The people that I am phoning need good cars and I will give it to them”.

His productivity increased.

In an article titled “The Choice Is Yours”, the late Dr Susan Jeffers said “When we focus on what’s wrong, when we let our fear of it take away our power, we lose any chance of making a change for the better.”

My call to action for you is this – Every day, make a mental list of:

  • Whom I will listen to, and whom I won’t.
  • What I will say to myself, and what I won’t.
  • What I will do today, and what I won’t.


Quote: “There is no-one else in the world who can do what you do the way you do it. It’s time to tell the world why that matters.” Mike Lipkin

The choice to refuse to accept, or agree to accept the words (and meanings attached to those words) that go into your ears is all yours. I sincerely hope that you choose them sagely.

Inspiring you towards your excellence,

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27 Sep

Is Winning Everything?

In this day and age, “winning” seems to be overemphasised in almost every part of our lives.

Think about it – in sports, it’s all about winning. In sales, it’s all about winning the sale.

Is winning everything?

The legendary Vince Lombardi once said “Winning is not everything. It’s the only thing”.

That quote seems to be taken the wrong way in some cases.

Sure, for a very accomplished sports coach like him, he had to focus on winning.

Some people take that quote as saying that you must win at any cost. Hence, they can resort to doing unethical things in order to win. We see examples of this whenever an elite athlete is tested positive for banned substances.

In an article in the Huffington Post, Cathy Byrd said “Sometimes the greater lesson lies in falling down and getting back up again with a smile on your face”.

I remember watching the Olympic games a few weeks ago (Rio 2016). A hurdler from Haiti, by the name of Jeffrey Julmis hit the first hurdle in a men’s 110 metre hurdles heat. He fell to the ground, got up, and slowly finished the race. The crowd gave him a bigger applause than they gave to the winner of that race!

Cathy Byrd’s above mentioned quote perfectly sums up the scenario that Jeffrey Julmis was in.

I used to get disappointed when I didn’t win or place in speech contests. Let me share an example with you.

In November, 2011, I was in a speech contest. There were 6 contests, and I drew the first speaker’s spot. As soon as I started speaking, a massive storm hit. The rain made a deafening sound, and people at the back of the room could barely hear me.

As soon as my speech finished, the storm had passed. The remaining 5 speakers had no background noise.

I came third in that contest and was devastated.  People were coming up to me and telling me how much they loved the message in my speech, and they wanted me to win. Yet, some of the judges could barely hear me due to the heavy rain.

Upon getting home that night, I decided to quit competing. What a mistake that would’ve been.

The next morning, I changed my decision and decided to work harder. If it rained heavily again, perhaps, I will tell the chairperson that the background noise is too distracting.

The focus shifted on the impact that the message of the speech made, and away from where I finished on the podium.

In the final year of high school, I was in the state division final of the 400 metres and 800 metres race in athletics. During the 400 metres race, I was leading all the way, and fell to the ground only inches away from the finishing line. Thankfully, I dragged my body across the line but the boy was who behind me beat me to the finishing line. I came second.

That day, I felt like I was so close to being a winner. It was all there for me, and it got taken away from me at the last minute. The boy who won the race, offered me his hand and helped me to get up. It was such a humble display of sportsmanship that the crowd cheered and clapped as he lifted me up. That to me, was worth more than winning.

We often hear quotes like “Do you remember who came second at this particular Olympics event? Neither do I. No one remembers the runner up. We only remember winners.”

These types of quotes only focus on what others think, feel, or do, while totally ignoring the person in question ie. the person who came second.

Can you imagine the growth and development that the second place getter would have experienced in achieving what he/she achieved?

Winning is a very sound goal to have in mind. That said, it should not become everything that matters to you.

When everything depends on winning, that is when your attitude can become dangerous.

Dangerous in the sense that you can become tunnel visioned and only focus on one thing, while totally ignoring everything good that is happening and will happen even if you don’t win.

I teach kids at a mixed martial arts academy. Some of their parents take their kids to a competition with the attitude of “If my child doesn’t win today, it is the trainer’s fault”.

Then they will argue with the trainer and threaten to take their son/daughter to another academy or gym.

I often ask these parents “What would it mean to your child if you acknowledge and express gratitude towards everything that your child has achieved so far?”

That definitely gives them something to think about.

There should be as much celebration in growth and development as there is in winning.

The next time you are competing in something or are working hard to win something, please remind yourself of the following:

  • What can I do with what I have if I don’t win?
  • What will I gain as a result of this effort?
  • What will I become as a result of this effort?
  • What will I be telling people around me, about me as a result of my attitude/response if I don’t win?

Quote: “Don’t worry your life away waiting for the elusive prize at journey’s end. The journey is the prize.”
Marsha Mercan

Be prepared to win, work hard to win, and expect the best (whatever that might be).

Inspiring you towards your excellence,

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27 Aug

The One Step To Overpower The Fear Of Failure

Have you ever wanted to do something that seemed important to you, but you didn’t go ahead because you were gripped by the fear of failure?

If so, you are not alone. The fear of failure is a crippling force that affects almost every single human being.


In an article in Forbes, Vanessa Loder wrote “When we go outside of our comfort zone, we feel scared.”

She hit the nail on the head by using the word “scared”. That is the reason why the fear of failure grips so many of us when we wish to take giant leaps in our personal lives or professional lives.

Now, if you are expecting an article that will tell you to “Think positive” or “Believe that you can do anything you want”, then please be warned that this article won’t tell you to do that!

Instead, this article will give you one simple tip on how to overpower the fear of failure.

As simple as it sounds, the simple tip is this – tell yourself profusely that failure (in most cases) is better than inaction!

That’s it. There you have it.

Let me tell you a true story.

Three years ago, my best friend from high school and I started an anti-bulllying charity called Beat Bullying With Confidence Foundation (https://www.facebook.com/BeatBullyingWithConfidence and www.beatbullyingwithconfidence.com)

Initially, we were very concerned about how it will work out and if we will be able to make an impact on people who are being victimised through bullying (especially kids at schools).

We thought about it hard, we made a plan with projections, and we both put thousands of dollars from our pockets into the charity.

Fast forward three years, and is our anti-bullying campaign the mega success that we would’ve liked it to be? No!

There are other anti-bullying charities that have more reach than us, more funding than us, and more media coverage than us.

Did we work hard in the last three years? You bet we did!

To date, we have not received any government or corporate funding, we have not had any major media coverage, and we surely haven’t gone national or international.

There were times when we thought about throwing the towel and walking away. We didn’t.

The point that I am driving home is this – even though we haven’t become hugely popular and haven’t been on national/international speaking tours, our work is making an impact.

When we get emails from parents, saying “We love your anti-bullying app that our daughter downloaded. The exercises in the app are helping her re-gain her self respect”, we know that we did the right thing by starting this charity and releasing an anti-bullying app (which you can download for free by going to your app store or play store. Do a search for Beat Bullying With Confidence).

If you are to overpower the fear of failure, please remind yourself that failure (in most cases) is far better than inaction.

When I was a Life Coach, one of the biggest challenges that my clients (be it corporate executives or university students) faced was procrastination.

Inaction, in my opinion compliments the fear of failure. If you are gripped by the fear of failure, inaction will be like a very good friend to you.

The simplest way to kill inaction and conquer the fear of failure is to do something!

Once again, remind yourself that you are better off by giving it a go, than by being gripped by the fear of failure, and embracing inaction in the process.

Make a list of why you should give it a go. Your list could look like this:

  • What will I learn through this experience if I decided to go ahead and take action?
  • What will I learn about myself?
  • How will I develop and grow?
  • How can I get others to support me in this?
  • What is the opportunity cost?

Just by reminding yourself that failure (in most cases) is far better than inaction, you will be more empowered, encouraged, and excited to take action.

Think about this for a moment – if people didn’t overpower the fear of failure, what would life be like for you and me right now? How many inventions would have never taken place?
Mediocrity would’ve had a higher presence in society today.

Quote: “Failure is another stepping stone to greatness”. Oprah Winfrey

Please think of the fear of failure as a boom gate on your road to achievement. Just because the boom gate is down, it doesn’t mean that you will be stuck in that spot for ever. Once the boom gate goes up, you have full liberty to move right ahead.

Acknowledge the fear of failure, and then overpower it by reminding yourself that failure (in most cases) if far better than inaction. Then, inaction will be replaced by positive action.

I hope I have given you a simple insight into how you can overpower the fear of failure, and become proactive in achieving what you were put on earth to do!

Inspiring you towards your excellence,
Ron Prasad (Author, Speaker, Personal Development Coach)

PS: To order my book, please go to www.WelcomeToYourLifeBook.com. For $19.95, you get the book, thousands of dollars in bonus gifts from some of the best personal development experts in the world (such as Bob Proctor, Marci Shimoff, Dr Joe Rubino), and you get to give back to the community by supporting my charity!  I appreciate your support.

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27 Jul

Embracing Opportunities vs Being Overcautious

Many years ago, I read a quote by the legendary Jim Rohn who said “If you are not willing to risk the unusual, you will have to settle for the ordinary.”

That is so pertinent to almost anyone alive today.

What is a risk anyway? It is the exposure to the unknown. It is being vulnerable to loss. It is a gamble.

What is the opposite of risk? The opposite of taking a risk is called certainty.

Please think about the following questions for a moment:

  • Are you mostly taking risks in life?
  • Are you mostly looking for certainty in life?
  • Are you balancing the two out generally in life?

In my first book, I wrote about this in detail. When I worked as a financial adviser, I used to do an investment risk profile of my clients before investing their money.

I wish that people did a risk profile for their lives and then asked themselves:

  • Am I taking too many risks in life?
  • Am I playing it too safe in life and looking for certainty?

Followed by:

  • Are my results in life what I really want?
  • Are my results in life due to me taking too many risks?
  • Are my results in life due to me playing it too safe?

What responses did you get?

Do you feel like making changes in your thought patterns after responding to the questions above?

In a recent article of his, Tony Robbins stated “We’re not wired for happiness; we are wired for anxiety. We are wired for what’s wrong. We are wired for survival, which means our brain is constantly looking for anything that could hurt us.”

Yes, you can safely say that human beings have “playing it safe” hard wired in them.
The one thing that I learnt in my financial planning career was this – generally speaking, higher risks meant higher rewards.

Once again, I said “generally speaking” ie. not always.

You have to use your own discretion and take into account how you can take calculated risks.

In an article in Forbes, Margie Warrell stated “Fear regret more than failure – history has shown that we fail far more from timidity than we do from over daring.”

Neither Tony, nor Margie, nor Ron is suggesting that you should risk it all and take a gamble at every turn in life.

What this article is striving to achieve is to get you out of your comfort zone and to embrace opportunities.

Here are five steps that you can take in order to overcome playing it safe most of the time:

  1. Ask yourself “What’s the absolute worst thing that could happen?” – This question will bring to the forefront of your mind the worst case scenario. Nothing could be worse than that! If the worst case scenario doesn’t scare you to death, then you should be encouraged to take action and have faith in things turning out in your favour. Why? Because nothing worse could happen.
  2. Ask yourself “What will I still gain or learn in the worst case scenario?” – The response to this question will make you focus on the positives if you found yourself in the worst case scenario. For example, you could’ve gained an invaluable experience or a lifelong lesson. Always look for something that will support you in being productive in the future.
  3. Do the best you can with the best you have – If you left no stone unturned and did everything in your power to ensure a favourable outcome, then you should hold your head high at the end. Despite the outcome (favourable or unfavourable), you can tap yourself on the shoulder for doing what you did. The world is full of people who do not execute. You have put yourself in an elite league by taking action. Find pride and solace in that.
  4. Look at the opportunity cost – What will happen if you didn’t take action? Sure, you could still be in your comfort zone and be playing it safe. As Jim Rohn put it “You will settle for the ordinary”. Make a list of all possible opportunity cost scenarios. I read a few months ago that Mark Zuckerberg invited five of his fellow university students to explore a business opportunity. Only two of them came to the meeting. Guess what? They both are billionaires now! Can you imagine the opportunity cost for the other three university students who decided not to attend the meeting?
  5. Review the regular risks you take subconsciously – I clearly remember this – When I was a kid, my dad and one of his closest friends were talking about taking risks in their career. My dad’s friend (who was more like an uncle to me) said to my dad “Every day we take risks. We leave home in the morning, and there is a risk of being bitten by a dog, of being involved in a car crash, or of being struck by lightning”. The point of illustrating that was to show that we do take risks daily without realising. When you review these risks, you might become less risk averse when it comes to embracing opportunities that life presents to you.

The point of this article is not to get you to blindly take risks and be exposed to higher losses or danger.

All I am saying is that you should explore embracing opportunities by using the above mentioned five steps, and then decide on a course of action. Life rewards those who take action!

Quote: “The walls we build around us to keep sadness out also keeps out the joy”. Jim Rohn

I hope I have given you a simple insight into embracing opportunities instead of being overcautious.

Inspiring you towards your excellence,
Ron Prasad (Author, Speaker, Personal Development Coach)

PS: I have just launched a series of personal development videos called Welcome To Your Life. Here is Episode 10 (How To Say “No” Respectfully) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_Vu9jyXIMc

PPS: To order my book, please go to www.WelcomeToYourLifeBook.com. For $19.95, you get the book, thousands of dollars in bonus gifts from some of the best personal development experts in the world (such as Bob Proctor, Marci Shimoff, Dr Joe Rubino), and you get to give back to the community by supporting my charity!  I appreciate your support.

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27 Jun

How To Adjust Your Focus.

Regardless of how good or how tough things get in life, the one thing that is always in your control is your focus.

Where your focus goes is entirely up to you.

In a previous edition of Ideal Insights, I spoke about “Adjusting your focus” when it comes to going through a negative experience in life.

In this edition, let’s discuss how to adjust your focus when it comes to what you wish to achieve in your life.

Where your focus goes will be critical in whether you make it or whether you break it.

There are two types of people in the world:

  1. Those who focus on the outcome.
  2. Those who focus on the process.

Let me tell you a story, which I told to a group of Year 9 students when I delivered a presentation (on Life Skills and Bullying) at their school last week.

When I was at high school, I used to be a track athlete.

Our sports teacher would take us (athletes) to the football oval at the school for training, twice a week from 3:30 pm to 4:30 pm.

If you have ever lived in a colder part of the world, you will realise that during winter, it gets pretty cold at around 4:00 pm.

Melbourne (Australia) is known for its cold wintry winds.

Do you have any idea how many times, I stood in the middle of that football oval (with the cold wind blowing in my face), asking myself one question – “Why am I doing this?”

I would think about my friends and what they would be doing at the time – sitting next to a heater, sipping on hot chocolate, and watching Skippy The Bush Kangaroo.

I absolutely hated training, and thought about quitting many, many times. On training days, my mood would change and I would start to feel down as soon as lunch time came. I knew that I was only hours away from training in the cold conditions.

You see, my focus was on the process, not on the outcome.

My focus changed when I started winning (trophies, medals, and certificates).

Then, my focus turned towards the outcome, and turned away from the process.

After winning at athletics events, I would come back to school with a trophy in my hand, and my friends would marvel at the trophy. I would then think about how I would rather be training in the cold than be sitting next to a heater and watching TV at home.

Once I started winning, my focus became fixed on the outcome. I realised that in order to get to the outcome, I needed to go through the process.

During my speech at the school, I described how I was feeling during training (cold, moody, and unhappy), while standing on the right of the stage.

When I described how I was feeling after winning (ecstatic, joyful, and proud) I moved to the left of the stage.

I stood there and said “When you focus on this (pointing to the left of the stage), that (pointing to the right of the stage), will not matter much.

Please take an inventory of where your focus is in life at the moment.

Which type of person are you most of the time:

  1. The one who focuses on the outcome?
  2. The one who focuses on the process?

If you focus on the process, you may get side tracked and dis-encouraged.

Please don’t get me wrong here. I am not insinuating that you should totally ignore the process. You have to go through the process and you have to validate your feelings.

The point is this – don’t let your attention get fixed on the process.

Let’s just say that you are on a mission to get in better shape. You may need to lose weight or put on weight.

The process might include eating accordingly, exercising accordingly, and being disciplined with other choices in life.

If you think about the exercise regime that you must stick to, you may feel like quitting.

What you can do is create acceptance about the fact that you must stick to the exercise regime, in order to get the body you want.

When you are exercising, and things get hard, focus on the outcome. Picture yourself in the body you want. That should be motivating enough.

As you evaluate your progress, realise that you are one step closer to the outcome, and that the exercise regime (the process) is one of the main reasons for that progress.

Yes, I realise that this is easier said than done. Believe me, I am a fitness fanatic and I still dread training when my friend (a former professional boxer) calls me to join him for a boxfit  session.

The main point that I emphasise in this article is this – you have the liberty to control your focus instead of letting your focus control your mentality, your emotions, and your actions.

Quote: “Focus goes where energy flows”. Tony Robbins

I hope I have given you a simple insight into adjusting your focus in order to be more productive in life.

Inspiring you towards your excellence,


PS: I have just launched a series of personal development videos called Welcome To Your Life. Here is Episode 8 (How To Enhance Personal Growth) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xrXFQ-EB4Rc

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27 May

How To Give Productive Feedback.

Has anyone ever told you how to do something that you’ve already done, and they came across as very critical?

Well, they might call it constructive criticism. Personally, I think that “constructive” and “criticism” is a bit of an oxymoron. They don’t go well together.

The goal of giving feedback is to make sure that the receiver feels, encouraged, empowered, and excited.

Negativity should be kept out of giving feedback.

So, here are 7 keys to giving productive feedback:

1. Observe your language patterns – the words that you use while providing feedback carry a lot of weight. Avoid using generic words of positivity such as “good, fantastic, marvellous, excellent, and brilliant”. Instead, use words that are more descriptive. Words such as “effective, appropriate, timely, clear, insightful, useful, and thorough”.  Using descriptive words, and avoiding vague words provides clarity to the receiver of the feedback. Also, avoid using words that are emotive, especially when providing suggestions on how to do things better. Emotive words will not work for everyone, and your emotions may not be felt by the receiver of the feedback. Instead of being emotional, be logical. Be as specific as you can.

2. Ask questions – sometimes we jump to a conclusion about why the person did what they did. Instead of doing that, ask questions to gain clarity on why the person did what they did. If you wish to give someone feedback that will make them feel empowered, encouraged, and excited, then work with them to understand why they did what they did. And, while asking the question(s), ask in a way that shows that you are seeking clarity, instead of putting them down. For example, a manager is giving feedback to his/her subordinate on a report that they did. Instead of asking “Why the hell are you using different colours and different fonts on the last page?”, the manager could ask “Please tell me, what is the reason for using different colours and different fonts on the last page?”

3. Listen – giving feedback without listening may not be very effective. In a one-on-one scenario, it is advisable to give a piece of feedback, and ask the receiver of the feedback for their input. At times, that person may become defensive. Your goal is to make sure that you clearly explain your role – helping that person to improve. Ask for clarity while giving feedback. Two questions that I ask are 1.) “Does that make sense?” 2.) “Can you see where I am going with this?”

4. Avoid overload – sometimes, less is more. Your goal is not for the person to walk away, feeling overwhelmed. Be clear on the number of points that you wish to discuss with the person. Stick to that number, and give the feedback in chunks of ‘digestible’ information. As a coach, mentor, and staff trainer, my goal is to keep the number of points to a level that the person will be able to comprehend, and not feel overwhelmed by. Determine what the most important thing in your feedback is, and mostly focus on that.

5. Show and tell – yes, don’t just tell them what to do, show them how to do it (whenever possible). Leading by example is something that I have always been very emphatic on. If you can show the person how it could be done, they will be in a better position to do it next time. When I joined Toastmasters International many years ago, I loved how they demonstrated the “points for improvement”.

6. Show respect and protect self-esteem – uphold respect for the person and for what they did, even if you didn’t like what they did. Remember, the goal of providing feedback is to make sure that the receiver feels, encouraged, empowered, and excited. Feedback has the power to make people, and feedback has the power to break people. Showing respect and protecting self esteem is especially important when providing feedback to children. Show respect with your voice, your choice of words, and your body language.

7. Finish with a positive – this is a big one. End the feedback with something that will make the person feel valued. That way, they will be more likely to take on board the suggestions that you have provided to them. Also, this step will make them more receptive to feedback from you in the future. If the person has made an error, focus on the solution, not the problem. As feedback expert John Hattie said “Errors need to be welcomed: The exposure to errors in a safe environment can lead to higher performance.” The person must feel the praise as much as they feel the suggestions.

Quote: “Feedback when given well should not alienate the receiver of the feedback, but should motivate them to perform better.” – M.O., Manager”

These are just some basic suggestions that will help you in improving on providing productive feedback. There are many other steps and methods to providing productive feedback, which you could research and utilise.

I hope I have given you a simple insight into giving productive feedback.

Inspiring you towards your excellence,

Ron Prasad (Author & Speaker)

PS: I have just launched a series of personal development videos called Welcome To Your Life. Here is Episode 8 (How To Enhance Personal Growth) –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xrXFQ-EB4Rc

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