15 March 2018

The story of House Burgler turned Soldier....

As intelligent people, we are always trying to analyse our emotions and habits, then judging them to be good or bad, and then trying to improve ourselves by trying to get rid of the perceived bad habits or emotions. 

As per Taoist philosophy, there is nothing called 'Bad' habits or emotions. These are part of our inner nature, that which makes us a whole rather than the sum of our habits and traits. Most of the time, instead of trying to overcome a weakness, we should try to point it in a different direction where it can be useful.

This concept is illustrated in this Taoist Story...

In the state of Ch'u, a housebreaker became a soldier under the General Tzu-fa, a man known for utilizing the abilities of others to a remarkable degree.

A short while later, Ch'u was attacked by the army of the state of Ch'i. Tzu-fa's men went out to counter the attack, but were driven back three times. The Ch'u strategists exhausted their minds while the enemy forces grew stronger.

At that point, the housebreaker stepped forward and asked for a chance to work for the defence of Ch'u. The General granted his request.

That night, the housebreaker sneaked into the Ch'i camp, entered the general's tent, and removed the curtains from the bed. Tzu-fa sent these back the next morning by special envoy, with a note which explained that they had been found by some men who were out gathering firewood.

The following evening, the housebreaker removed the Ch'i general's pillow. The next morning, it was returned with a message like the first.

On the third night, the housebreaker removed the general's jade hairpin. It was returned the next morning.

That day, the Ch'i general called his officers together.

"One more night," he warned them, "and it will be my head!" The troops were ordered to break camp and return home.

So there is no such thing as an ability that is too useless, too crooked, or too small. It only depends on what you do with it. As Lao-tse pointed out, the bad can be raw material for the good.

The poem of Winnie the Pooh...

On Monday, when the sun is hot 

I wonder to myself a lot: 

“Now is it true, or is it not, 

“That what is which and which is what?” 

On Tuesday, when it hails and snows 

The feeling on me grows and grows 

That hardly anybody knows 

If those are these or these are those. 

On Wednesday, when the sky is blue, 

And I have nothing else to do, 

I sometimes wonder if it’s true 

That who is what and what is who. 

On Thursday, when it starts to freeze 

And hoar-frost twinkles on the trees, 

How very readily one sees 

That these are whose- but whose are these? 

On Friday- 

14 March 2018

The Vinegar Tasters: Essence of Chinese Philosophy

The Vinegar Tasters is a Chinese Allegorical composition that depicts three old men tasting Vinegar from a Vat. The first has a sour look on his face, the second wears a bitter expression and the third old man is smiling.

This allegory is used to explain the three Chinese philosophies, Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism. The three old men are K'ung Fu-tse (Confucius), Buddha and Lao-Tse, founder of Taoism and the vinegar they are sampling represents the essence of life.

To K'ung Fu-tse (kung FOOdsuh), life seemed rather sour. He believed that the present was out of step with the past, and that the government of man on earth was out of harmony with the Way of Heaven, the government of the universe. Therefore, he emphasized reverence for the Ancestors, as well as for the ancient rituals and ceremonies in which the emperor, as the Son of Heaven, acted as intermediary between limitless heaven and limited earth. Under Confucianism, the use of precisely measured court music, prescribed steps, actions, and phrases all added up to an extremely complex system of rituals, each used for a particular purpose at a particular time. 

To Buddha, the second figure in the painting, life on earth was bitter, filled with attachments and desires that led to suffering. The world was seen as a setter of traps, a generator of illusions, a  evolving wheel of pain for all creatures. In order to find peace, the Buddhist considered it necessary to transcend "the world of dust" and reach Nirvana, literally a state of "no wind.". The devout Buddhist often saw the way to Nirvana interrupted all the same by the bitter wind of everyday existence.

To Lao-tse (LAOdsuh), the harmony that naturally existed between heaven and earth from the very beginning could be found by anyone at any time As he stated in his Tao Te Ching (DAO DEH JEENG), the "Tao Virtue Book," earth was in essence a reflection of heaven, run by the same laws—not by the laws of men. These laws affected not only the spinning of distant planets, but the activities of the birds in the forest and the fish in the sea. According to Lao-tse, the more man interfered with the natural balance produced and governed by the universal laws, the further away the harmony retreated into the distance. The more forcing, the more trouble. Whether heavy or light, wet or dry, fast or slow, everything had its own nature already within it, which could not be violated without causing difficulties. When abstract and arbitrary rules were imposed from the outside, struggle was inevitable. Only then did life become sour.

What he saw operating behind everything in heaven and earth he called Tao (DAO), "the Way." A basic principle of Lao-tse's teaching was that this Way of the Universe could not be adequately described in words but its nature could be understood

The basic Taoism that we are concerned with here is simply a particular way of appreciating, learning from, and working with whatever happens in everyday life. From the Taoist point of view, the natural result of this harmonious way of living is happiness. 

Through working in harmony with life's circumstances, Taoist understanding changes what others may perceive as negative into something positive. From the Taoist point of view, sourness and bitterness come from the interfering and unappreciative mind. Life itself, when understood and utilized for what it is, is sweet. That is the message of The Vinegar Tasters.

13 March 2018

The Tao Way to handle negative habits and emotions....

Each one of us has some habits that we want to get rid of. We struggle with it through our lives and stress out ourselves trying desperately to remove it.

That may not be the right approach. The right approach may be to use the negative habits and emotions to our advantage, as this gem of a story from the book 'Tao of Pooh', beautifully demonstrates.

Sooner or later, we are bound to discover some things about ourselves that we don't like. But once we see they're there, we can decide what we want to do with them. Do we want to get rid of them completely, change them into other things, or use them in beneficial ways? The last two approaches are often especially Useful, since they avoid head on conflict, and therefore minimize struggle. Also, they allow those transformed characteristics to be added to the list of things we have that help us out In a similar manner, instead of struggling to erase what are referred to as negative emotions, we can learn to use them in positive ways. We could describe the principle like this: while pounding on the piano keys may produce noise, removing them doesn't exactly further the creation of music. The principles of Music and Living aren't all that different, we think.

So rather than work against ourselves, all we need to do in many cases is to point our weaknesses or pleasant tendencies in a different direction than we have been.

The following incident recorded by the Taoist Liu An can serve to illustrate:

In the state of Ch'u, a housebreaker became a soldier under the General Tzu-fa, a man known for utilizing the abilities of others to a remarkable degree. 

A short while later, Ch'u was attacked by the army of the state of Ch'i. Tzu-fa's men went out to counter the attack, but were driven back three times. The Ch'u strategists exhausted their minds while the enemy forces grew stronger.

At that point, the housebreaker stepped forward and asked for a chance to work for the defence of Ch'u. The General granted his request. 

That night, the housebreaker sneaked into the Ch'i camp, entered the general's tent, and removed the curtains from the bed. Tzu-fa sent these back the next morning by special envoy, with a note which explained that they had been found by some men who were out gathering firewood.

The following evening, the housebreaker removed the Ch'i general's pillow. The next morning, it was returned with a message like the first. 

On the third night, the housebreaker removed the general's jade hairpin. It was returned the next morning.

That day, the Ch'i general called his officers together.

"One more night," he warned them, "and it will be my head!" The troops were ordered to break camp 
and return home.

So there is no such thing as an ability that is too useless, too crooked, or too small. It only depends on what you do with it. As Lao-tse pointed out, the bad can be raw material for the good.

So quite often, the easiest way to get rid of a Minus is to change it into a Plus. Sometimes you will find that characteristics you try hard to eliminate eventually come back, anyway. But if you do the right things, they will come back in the right ways. And sometimes those very tendencies that you dislike the most can show up in the right way at the right time to save your life, somehow. If that's ever happened to you, you'll think twice before setting out to completely Unbounce yourself.

09 February 2018

Life Lessons from a Train Journey....

Gupta was my colleague when I was working in the Steel Plant. One day over a cup of coffee, he told me about this incident.

One night, he was travelling from his home town of Dharbanga in Bihar to Durgapur. At night when he woke up, he found that the train had had a breakdown and had stopped in a no man’s land. It was about midnight and was not clear when the breakdown had happened and when it will be attended to. There was no way of knowing where they were and how far they were from Durgapur. Gupta was supposed to attend duty the next day.

Since he was light on luggage and since it was unclear when they will attend to the breakdown, while other passengers decided to wait for the crew  to arrive, Gupta decided to walk along the railway track in the direction of Durgapur.

“I was not sure where I was and how far I was from Durgapur. I did not know how much time it will take for me to reach my destination”, Gupta told me while taking a sip.

“I was looking at lot of uncertainties. But I couldn’t sit idle. So I just started walking and continued walking. I took it step by step, walked one step at a time but continued walking”, Gupta continued his story.

“Eventually at around 2.00 AM I came across a railway station that was familiar. I knew that from there if I walked at a decent pace, I could reach Durgapur by early morning in time for the duty. So I walked for another 5 hours and reached Durgapur at about 6.30 AM and reached home by 7.30. I was able to reach office, albeit a bit late, at about 9.00 AM. All is well that ends well”, said Gupta

I was fascinated with this story. “What did you make out of that experience?”, I asked.

“My walk of over 7 hours can be divided into two phases. In phase one, the first three hours or so, I walked in the general direction of Durgapur, hardly knowing how far I will have walk and unsure if I will be able to attend duty the next day. In this phase, I had to cope with the  uncertainty and a lack of clarity in mind. Motivating myself to keep walking was tough in this phase. But I willed myself to take it one step at a time.”,  Gupta paused for a sip of Java brew.

“Phase two started when I knew where I was in relation to my destination. I knew the effort required and had clarity about when I will reach my destination. That was one load off my mind. But still I had to walk for about five hours, one step after another, without succumbing to tiredness or falling to the temptation to give up and wait for the morning for a bus to take me to Durgapur”

Gupta finished his story. You could say that he was proud of himself.

This happens many a time in life. Lots of times we are having to work, move forward in face of significant uncertainties. For a student in Class X in India, it could be the preparation for the exams falling two years later and the associated uncertainties regarding her future. For a project manager it could be a project that is embroiled in so many issues (believe me, they do exist) with end nowhere in sight. Or it could be that one is stuck in a lousy job from which there seems to be no escape.

For 10 years of my life, I worked in a steel plant, staying away from home, working in a job that was not aligned with my interest or my potential or to my goals and aspirations, but not having courage to quit...

If you can imagine that, you know what I am talking about.

It is at times like these that Gupta’s advice becomes relevant. It is important that we keep that fire burning, that hunger unsated and those steps uninterrupted.

Whatever happens, one should move forward. Yesterday is history, our life is going to be made over a series of tomorrows.

So look forward and keep up those steps one at a time....

08 February 2018

Life Lessons from X....

I am going to talk about a person I know. Let us call him X.

This story is not about X. X is just a referral in this story.

He was in a senior role in his company that he joined early in his career. Having graduated from a prestigious institute and done the post graduation in Management from one of the top 5 management institutes in the country, as far as his career was concerned, let us say that he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth.

He was definitely looking at occupying a very senior role in the company, probably even the CEO in the next 10 years.

Then something happened. He left the company. I don't know why. Then I lost touch.

The other day I was talking to a friend of mine about this gentleman. I asked him what happened to X.

"After he left the company", my friend said, "X co-founded a company. Soon he left that also. For a few years after that he took the role of 'Corporate Trainer'. Recently I heard that he has left that and taken up some other work"

This news got me thinking.

How is it possible that a highly qualified person, one of the elites in the country, lose his way like this? How does this happen? What are the lessons that we can learn from this?

First lesson is that it is very easy to lose control on your life. All it takes is one or two bad decisions, decisions taken mostly in isolation and probably in an emotionally charged state to derail the direction of our life. I remember taking multiple decisions in emotional state, decisions that I regretted in retrospect. It is very important that our decisions are taken in the right context of our overall life objective.

Second lesson is that in our life, it is important that we have a guiding beacon, a sort of light house as it were. It helps us stay rooted and helps us take correct decisions in case of any course corrections that will invariably happen, mostly around the middle age.

The beacon can be our goals or our values. For my dad, the life beacon was his strong set of values which guided every decision that he took. For many of us, the beacon could be our goals.

Goals can be of three types. If you are very fortunate, you could identify a single long-term goal at a relatively young age that can guides and shapes your entire life. It is like a fully constructed house and all the aspects of your life are well integrated throughout your life time.

Some of us do not have long-term goals. We have a set of medium term goals and we move from one medium term goal to another. In this case it is important that the medium term goals are consistent and move you forward and helps you tell a neat story.

In this case you are building your house of life as you go along.

Medium term goals are like Prefab structures that you assemble together to build a house. An inconsistent set of medium term goals will lead you to building a disjointed house with rooms here and there without them being inter-connected.

Mind you, each room may be beautiful and complete by themselves, but are not integrated to become a beautiful house. The life will be like a set of discrete events rather than a beautiful story.

Most of us have only short term goals. We move from one short term goal to another without them being consistent with each other and with the overall perspective to life. Inconsistent short-term goals are like bricks haphazardly lying all over the place. We invest a lot of our life effort in meeting these goals, but they were not guided by an overarching set of goals or values or objectives.

There is no house, there is only an ‘intent’ to build one.

But spare a thought for those who do not have any goals at all. They are potential beggars in the journey of life.

20 January 2018

Lessons from Sun God....

Yesterday morning, I went for my morning walk here in Dubai. The sun was just rising brilliantly. As I watched the sun come up, I couldn't help but think of some of the lessons that we can take from the Sun God....

First one is consistency. The sun rises every day, as regular as a clockwork. There is no 'I am not feeling well today's, no 'work life balance' issues, no 'I need a break's...Nada. Get up in the morning, every day, and show yourself to work... Phenomenal consistency.

Second lesson is spreading positivity. Not only Sun God is consistent, but his only job is to spread positivity and light to as large a number of people as possible. The objective is to make as many people (shall I say stakeholders?) happy.

Third lesson is perseverance. It is not that Sun God regularly succeeds in delivering light to the people. There are obstacles and challenges. There are clouds on the horizon that block sun god delivering output, sometimes for days together as in the case of monsoons. But Sun God never gives up. He is always trying to clear the dark clouds to deliver light and finally he manages to overcome the challenges and resume his job....

Consistency, positivity, perseverance....These are the holy grail of success. How many of us meet the above standard set by Sun God?

15 January 2018

Story of R, the super insurance sales person...

"Sir, I am now in Koramangala. Can I come and meet you at 2.30 instead of 2.00 PM as planned earlier?", R asks me over the phone.
I am impressed. I shouldn't be. R is a thorough professional, and communication is a major part of her repertoire.
"OK, I will wait for you", I tell her
The bell rings at 2.25 PM, she is there on schedule.
R works as an agent with a leading insurance company in Bangalore. She tells me that we had met for the first time in 2006 at my office in Bangalore, when I was working with TCS. I don't remember any of that. She keeps comprehensive information on each of her prospects and prepares thoroughly before each customer meeting.
We have been keeping in touch on and off for the last 10 years. Every year, without fail, she wishes me 'happy new year', earlier through SMS and now through Whatsapp. The other day, she called me.
"Sir, our company has launched a new product. I wanted to come and explain the same to you. Can you give me a convenient time?", she asked.
We planned to meet up at 2.00 PM the next day at my home and there she was...
After some initial discussion on the product, we got talking, general chitchat
"How did you get into this work? When did you start?", I ask
"I have been working as an insurance agent from 2001 onwards. I got this opportunity after completing my BSc. The company provided me with 20 days of training after which I had to clear an examination conducted by IRDAI (Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India). From then onwards I have been with this company, it is almost 16 years now", she beams a satisfied smile.
"How many customers do you have?", I enquire.
"Currently I have 486 customers. I add about 40 new customers in a year", she replies
That was an amazing number. I did a quick math. 480 customers in 16 years is 40 customers per year on an average. 
"How do you get paid?", I am curious about the financials of being an insurance agent.
"For new customers, I get about 20% of the premium paid as commission, this reduces to 10% in the second year and further to about 3% in the year 3 onward.", she replies
Assuming that each customer pays an annual premium of 50000 rupees per year, her income would work out to about 12 Lakhs per year. That was very impressive.
Perhaps she saw me doing the mental math. 
"Sir, it is not the money that makes me get up and go out for work everyday. Everyday, as I get up, I am grateful that god has given me opportunities to make people happy", she tells me.
This was new. First time an insurance agent is talking about making people happy as the benefit of their work. I ask her to elaborate.
"We add value when people are going through their most stressful and traumatic events in their lives. Let me give an example. There was a customer of ours, a school teacher by profession, who had taken a policy of 10 Lakhs with us. No one in his family knew about this. One year, we observed that his yearly premium was unpaid. We called up his number and it came unanswered. So we went to his home to enquire and found that he had passed away three months ago. So we helped the widow get the policy amount of 10 Lakhs. At that stressful time, when there is a lot of demand for money, when there are many unpaid bills to pay,  to see the happiness on the widow's face as we gave her a check of 10 Lakhs was priceless. These are the experiences that keep me going", she is so happy
R is lucky to have a higher purpose to look up to every day. How many of us have a similar purpose as we get up in the morning to go to office? 
R has a cleft upper lip. I ask her what she has done about it?
"Sir, ever since my childhood, I  have had four surgeries for this. In fact, I think that my father passed away because the fourth surgery did not go well", she says in a matter-of-fact manner.
I ask her to explain.
"As you can imagine, while growing up with a cleft lip, I did not have any friends in school. Everyone used to make fun of me. Every evening I will come home and my dad was my best friend. I will unload all my frustrations on him and he will pacify me. He was a goldsmith and we were not well off. But he strived hard to finance my four surgeries. My fourth surgery was just after I completed my 10th exam. After the surgery, the doctor told that it did not go well. I think it affected my father badly. He was already suffering from high BP. A few days after the failed surgery, one evening, as we were having dinner, he collapsed. We took him to hospital and found that there was a clot in his brain. Slowly he slipped into a coma. My family never allowed me to see my dad, my best friend. Finally I forcefully entered his room as he was lying in coma. I shouted 'Papa', 'Papa' in his ears, but he never responded. Within a day or two he passed away", she was narrating this story in a very objective manner. My eyes well up, I try to act it off...
"Must have been terrible, to see your best friend pass away", I make an inane comment.
"I am very courageous and a positive person. But I was not able to handle when one lady relative told me at my father's funeral that had it not been for me, my father would have been alive now. That hurt", she tells me.
I explain that some people can behave badly, there are so many examples. She knows. She has experienced it first hand.
I try to change to more positive topics. 
"What are the incentives given to the agents for meeting the target?", I ask.
"In addition to better commissions, we are also sent on company paid vacation to various countries", she answers
"Which all countries have you visited so far?"
"I have been to UK, UAE, Srilanka, China, Thailnd, Switzerland and Maldives", she replied
"All based on your achievements?", I was incredulous.
"Yes sir", she replies modestly
"You know, I am not going to give you any business", I tell her, "I do not like endowment plans. I only go for term plans and I am already insured"
"That is OK sir, I understand. But I also believe that no personal interactions can go waste. There is a purpose behind every personal interactions. I remember that I had gone to meet a customer, far outside Bangalore about a policy. He did not express any interest. Almost 10 months later, my company was planning to send people to China and I had to get a business of another 4 lakhs in the next 20 days to qualify for this trip. I did not know how I was going to achieve it. I had almost given up", she says
"One day I was sitting in my office and got a call from this customer. He asked me to reach his home in the next 45 minutes so that he can buy some policies. I expected a business of about a lakh from him. I and my colleague reached his home in 30 minutes and within 10 minutes of reaching his home, he took policy of one Lakh each for his three sons. I just netted a business of 3 Lakhs. I cajoled my family to buy some policies for the remaining Lakh and I was on my way to China.", she is very excited.
"In China, first we landed in Shanghai and we rode the fastest metro train from Pudong Airport to Shanghai City in 10 minutes.", her eyes lights up as she was telling me this. 
"Every interaction has a purpose", she repeats.
"Now I see that you are a 'senior advisor', what does this mean?", I ask
"Based on the business we do, we get different designations. I started as an executive and slowly climbed the ladder to reach this level. At one time, I was made an associate, but I found that I had to manage a team of 40 members. I found this draining. So I asked the company to move me back to advisory. I like moving around the city in my two wheeler and meeting customers. That is where I get the energy from.", she tells me.
I couldn't help but admire. Here was a lady, born with a facial deformity, facing all kinds of insults growing up for a deformity that would have defeated most of us, doing some work that she absolutely enjoys, getting everyday with a clear purpose to life, enjoying life, adding value to the universe....
It am seeing the plot of the movie 'Wonder' being enacted in real life.
In his LinkedIn post on his Ironman journey, Atul Tuli writes about how endurance athletes make great sales people. Endurance need not be shown only in physical activities. Getting up everyday with a purpose and doing a honest days work and adding value to the universe is in itself an 'Endurance Event'. Add to that a physical condition that would have defeated most of them, R is an 'Ironman' in my opinion....

01 January 2018

Thoughts on New Year 2018. How to achieve your new year resolutions?

Thoughts on New Year 2018....
Wishing all my friends and your family a very happy and peaceful 2018...
What about your new year resolutions? Were you able to complete the resolutions that you had set for yourself in the past.
The most common answer is no. Most of us are not able to complete the resolutions that we set for ourselves on 1st January of the year.
Have you ever wondered why we are not able to complete our resolutions?
There are three reasons for this.
One, we set resolutions without a goal.
Two, we confuse goals with resolutions.
Three, our goals and resolutions are not in sync.
Let me explain. Goals are what we want to achieve. To achieve those goals,we have to perform set of activities. Through our new year resolutions,we 'resolve' to perform those activities to achieve the goals.
Most of the time,we have resolutions without any goals. For example, we resolve to 'walk 30 minutes everyday'. This is a resolution to perform some activity. But what for? What is the goal that we are trying to achieve? How do we measure progress?
Sometimes, goals are stated as resolutions. A common new year resolution is the 'Weight Resolution'. The resolution is stated as 'My resolution is to weight 75 Kg by the end of the year'. This is a goal, not a resolution. To meet this goal, we have to resolve to perform some activities, which will be stated as resolutions, For example, one resolution will be 'I will walk 30 minutes everyday'. Another will be 'I will eat equivalent of 1500 Calories per day'
Note that the second resolution is also a goal, we have to breakup that into detailed day wise menu or the diet plan.
The resolution will be 'I will stick to the menu / diet plan'.
In short,
Goals are something that you want to 'ACHIEVE'
Resolutions are activities that you have to PERFORM to achieve the goals.
The third reason why we are not able to achieve our goals is that the goals and resolutions are not in sync with each other. In other words, we do not analyze if performing the resolution will lead us to the goal. For example, will 'walking 30 minutes everyday' , lead to our achieving the weight goal of 'weighing 75 KG by the end of the year'? If goals and resolutions are not in sync, sooner or later, we will give up on our resolutions and we will not achieve our goals.
When it happens, the natural response is to attribute laziness and lack of will power as the reasons for not sticking to resolution. All the while, the real reason for not sticking to the resolution could have been any of the three, vis. Resolutions without any goals, Goals masking as resolutions or Goals are not in sync with the resolutions.
Process is important. You have to set your goals correctly before you identify the activities that have to be performed to achieve the goals. Once these activities are identified, you will resolve to perform these in a time bound manner to achieve the goals.
Get the process right and you will perform the resolutions and achieve your goals....
A final thought. As per Brian Tracy (mentioned in his book 'Goals !') you are the only person in the world that can use the word 'I' in reference to yourself. That is a powerful responsibility. Whatever resolutions you set for yourself, please work hard to perform. Otherwise you will not be true to yourself.
Have a great year....

28 December 2017

Act and you become....

In the book Goals !!, author Brian Tracy spends a considerable time on how you behave determine what you become.
If you want to be rich, behave as if you are already rich.
If you want to be successful, act as if you are already successful. Meet with successful people, talk like you are already successful, think like successful, read what successful people read....
By acting the way you want to become, you signal your intentions to the subconscious. Society will see the way you act and they will give positive feedback that will make you successful.
Mr.Tracy, explains this with a powerful example of a manager at a car showroom. After he has carefully interviewed and then selected a new salesman, he would take the sales man to a Cadillac dealership and insist that he trade in his old car for a new Cadillac. Salesman would balk at the idea. He would be frightened of the cost of the car and the huge monthly payment involved. But the sales manager would insist that he by the Cadillac as a condition for employment.
What happens then?
First  the Sales man would drive the at home and his wife would almost have a heart attack when she saw that he had bought a new Cadillac. But after she had settled down, he would take her for a ride around the neighbourhood in the new car. The neighbours would see them driving in a new Cadillac as they drive past. He would park his car on the driveway. People would come and admire it. Gradually, imperceptibly, at a subconscious level, his attitude toward himself and his earning potential would begin to change.
Within a few days, he would begin to see himself as the kind of person who drove a Cadillac. He would see himself as a big money earner in his field, one of the top performers in his industry. And time after time, almost without fail, the salespeople in this organization became sales superstars. Their sales performance jumped and their earnings increased.
Soon the payments on the new Cadillac were of no concern because their incomes were much greater.

25 December 2017

Kenyan Engineer in Dubai

I met Eric when I was walking around Dubai Mall early morning one Friday.
I had gone to Dubai Mall at around 7.30 AM. At that time, the mall is just waking up. The housekeeping staff is just strolling in and one or two coffee shops are open. There is none of the hustle and bustle that you see if you come to the mall at say, 12 noon.
It is fun to walk around the mall at that time. It is fascinating to see the transition that the mall experiences every minute from 8 AM.
So, as I said, I was walking around the mall, and there I met Eric and we got chatting.
Eric is from Kenya. His full name is Eric Wilfred Ongwae. He is an Engineer working for a leading Air Conditioning Multinational in Kenya. He had come to Dubai to attend a product presentation.
His return flight was booked for 3.00 PM, he had some time in the morning and he wanted to see Dubai Mall.
When I told him that I was from India, his eyes lit up.
"I did my Engineering from India. Marathwada Institute of Technology, Aurangabad. I graduated in Mechanical Engineering", Eric told me.
"I love India. Aap kaise ho?", he threw in the mandatory Hindi phrase to prove his bonafides.
I told him I was good. How was he.?
Over a cup of coffee, Eric told me his story.
He did not need much prompting. He was keen to tell me his story of the Engineering College days.
"While studying engineering, I was also running my own business. Every weekend I will travel to Mumbai, buy clothes and watches from Crawford Market and sell the same in Aurangabad. I should confess that I used my black colour to mislead the customers. They thought that I was getting these from Kenya, I never bothered to correct them.", Eric said.
"I also earned money selling my Engineering Skills. I used to buy old, non-working refrigerators at about 1000 rupees. Most of them had problems with compressor or leaking pipes. I will repair the compressor or replace the pipes and hand over the working refrigerator to my friend Imran who was a painter. He will paint the fridge, make it look as good as new and we will sell the same in second hand market for about 10000 rupees. After all my costs, including the charges I paid to Imran, I used to make about 6000 rupees per refrigerator. I did a lot of business.", Eric continued.
"In addition, I also learned to repair Television sets. In my college and around, I was the go to person for any problems with TV. In fact I even manufactured remote for the TV which was unheard of  those days. I will repair the TV, make it remote compliant and hand over the repaired TV along with the remote to the owner.", Eric took a sip of coffee before continuing.
"I had a number of happy customers those days and I made a lot of money. In fact with the money I earned, I purchased an Enfield Bullet. I was the only person in the campus who had this bike. People thought that I had a rich dad in Kenya who was financing my lifestyle, that was not the case. My lifestyle was entirely financed by me".
"I spend a fabulous four years in India", said Eric.
It was a great story and Eric was a good story teller.
His story got me thinking.
The problem with Indian education system is that we do not teach children to monetize their knowledge. We do not demand that they go for part time work and earn money for themselves. Due to this, when they join Engineering college, they do not undergo a paradigm shift. Instead, Engineering is just another degree which they have to earn by studying the subject by rote, without ever thinking of the practical aspects of Engineering Education.
For students like Eric, Engineering education is where they learn to work with things. They look at  engineering as a qualification which deals with making things work. Perception is different. Indian students look at Engineering as just an extension of their studies, where as outsiders look at the practical aspects of studying engineering.
That is the reason why while Eric 'used his Engineering knowledge to repair TV and Fridge' while his Indian classmates must have whiled away their time sitting in front of their tables and studying 'Engineering' without ever realizing the practical aspects and the money making potential of what they were studying.
Eric story is fascinating and inspiring. Good job, Eric...

Skydiving in Dubai...

Did I tell you about my Skydiving in Dubai?
As usual, it was Kannan who broached the subject.
” ram, are you interested skydiving?”, he asked me one afternoon
Of course I was. Who is not interested in skydive? The tension, the nerves, and sheer thought of diving from 13000 feet above is exhilarating.
I told him I was interested.
” why don't you book a slot for Skydiving in Dubai marina? Slots are available from last week of November”, Kannan informed me
From my office on the 33rd floor of Du Tower, I used to regularly see people skydiving in Dubai. I wanted to do skydiving ever since.
But wanting to do skydiving is one thing, but booking a slot and committing to skydiving is another. Anybody can do the former, but the latter needed
Courage, which I did not have at that time.
This is a problem of seeding a thought in your mind. It refuses to go away until you take a decision or an action.
The next few days I went through a flurry of thoughts and emotions. On the one hand there was this opportunity. I was in Dubai, and this sport was available. For all I knew, if I miss this, I may not get this  opportunity soon. We were already end of November and I was leaving Dubai on the 7th of December. This meant that I had a small opportunity window. I was already 54 it's old and I would be much older, and probably more scared the next time such opportunity was available.
In addition, my birthday was  on December 1, and skydiving could be great gift that I gave myself.
But I was afraid to commit.
I tried to analyse my fears. What was afraid of?, I wondered. Was it the fear of heights? Was it the fear of jumping from a great height? Was I afraid that something untoward will happen?
None of the above was correct. Skydiving, especially tandem diving was a safe sport. There was no cause for fear.
I also thought about James Murray of Impractical Jokers, who, despite being terrified of skydiving, had to do it as a punishment. I also remembered that George H W Bush the ex president of USA, had done skydiving at the age of 92. Also there was this lady, who did Skydiving at Dubai Marina age of 103 years!!
If they can do it, I can easily do, I tried to convince myself.
It was a difficult task. Suddenly we were on first of December, my birthday, and slot not booked for skydiving.
The tension was unbearable. If it was not now, probably I will never be able to do it. But I was afraid of committing.
December 1 came and went and I had not committed.
December 2 came and went and I had not committed. December 3 came and went, not committed.
Finally, on 4th of December, I booked for skydiving at Dubai desert campus on the 5th of December, which was a Tuesday. The cost was 1700 AED.
I had a troubled sleep on the night of 4th of December. Having committed I was a little stressed out about going through with the Sky dive. Now there was no going back.
To reach the desert venue of Dubai skydive, you have to take a bus going to Fuqua and get down at Margam Interchange. From there you have to walk about a kilometre to reach the skydive venue. The bus to Fuqua are few and far between. Since I was given it time of 12 noon I wanted to reach the venue as soon as possible. So I took a bus leaving from Bur Dubai at 7:40 AM and reaching Margam Interchange 9 a.m. This would give me enough time to calm my nerves and settle down. I also felt that if I reach early I could finish the dive early return to my room. We were already on the 5th and since I was leaving Dubai on the 7th, I had a lot of work to complete.
I reached the venue at 9:30 AM. When I reached there, I was told that  due to heavy winds the dive will be delayed. Needless to say that added to the tension.
Finally, my name appeared on the notice board. I was going to do tandem dive with Pablo, an instructor with more than 16 years skydiving experience. Pablo had a lean and taut body, with a confident voice to match.
While tying my harness, Pablo gave me clear instructions.
"We will be diving from a height of 13000 feet. I will be tethered to you. At the time of jumping, you should take a banana position with your head and feet tilted with body arching backward. Total diving time will be 6 minutes of which the first minute will be a free fall. During this time you should be holding the harness very tightly. After a minute I will open the parachute and tap you on your shoulder. Once I tap you, you can free your hands and move them around. At that time you will also be able to control the parachute and move around. About a minute before we land I will again tap you and you have to hold your hardness tightly again. At the time of landing you should be in sitting position with your feet stretched straight in front of you”, Pablo could not have been more clearer.
To be more clear, Pablo illustrated the banana position as well as the landing position..
I was harnessed and was ready to go.
Before you start the skydive there is a video shoot.
"How you feeling?", the videographer asked.
"Feeling a bit nervous", I replied.
"That is normal", he tried to calm me, " any message for your friends and family?"
I looked at the camera and said, " I am feeling excited, I wish you could have joined me here."
And with that we were ready to board the plane.
The plane was small twin engine propeller aircraft with the capacity to hold about 20 people. As we walked towards the plane the photographer took a couple of snaps. I gave a broad smile reflecting confidence and breeziness. I gave a smart thumbs up and boarded the aircraft.
I could not help but notice that Pablo was enjoying every moment of it.
The plane started. This was it. This was the moment I have been dreading for the last one week. Now there was no turning back, I was going to HAVE to jump.
It looked to me that everyone in the flight were enjoying and smiling except me. Even I was smiling, but mine was a fake smile covering my nerves.
Photographer was sitting opposite. He was taking videos all the while.
"Nervous?", he queried.
"Not much", I replied, "Pablo is going to be with me. I trust him."
"Please take care of Pablo", said the Photographer.
What the....? !!!
While we were talking, Pablo was busy attaching his harness to mine.
I looked out. We were high about the ground. Down below I could see cars small as matchboxes. We should be about 10000 feet above ground, I guessed.
Almost as if he read my mind, Pablo said, " right now we are about 4000 feet above the ground. We will be touching 13000 feet in a minute"
What? Only 4000 feet? We are almost in the ionosphere..
Things were moving relentlessly and out of my control. I could only sit and feel nervous.
Before I could think we were at 13000 feet. The doors of the aircraft had opened and ahead of me one team just jumped out.
This was the moment of reckoning. Till  now I had a faint hope that I could opt out. Now it was not possible. I had burnt my bridges. Only way I could reach the ground was by jumping and hoping that everything will be fine.
With Pablo pushing me, we reached the door, I closed my eyes...
... and we jumped.
What first hit me was the cold wind. Even though I was wearing goggles to prevent wind from hitting my eyes, the wind hit my face so hard that my cheeks started dancing around. Pablo did not face any problem because he was wearing a helmet.
I opened my eyes.  The photographer is right in front of me taking my photos. I knew that I was not making a pretty picture, but what the heck? I was 12000 feet above the ground and was falling rapidly. This is not the time to think about my looks.
As Pablo had instructed, I was holding onto my harness like for dear life
After what seemed like an eternity of free fall, Pablo tapped my shoulder.
"You can free your hand now and enjoy", he said, “parachute is open”
I was no longer in a free fall. With the parachute opening, my fall had become must more gradual and controlled.
Photographer was still there, floating with me and clicking pictures. I gave him a thumbs up.
He took a few more snaps and before I knew, he was on a free fall.
Now he was here right in front of me and now he was a kilometre below me and falling fast!!!
I was feeling a bit dizzy. Pablo tried to calm me  down. He asked me to control the parachute.
"Parachute has two handles. If you press the right side down you will move to the right and if you press the left side down you will move to the left. This is how you navigate a parachute to land in the correct spot", Pablo  told me.
I tried it. The movement was making me more dizzy.
"Pablo, you take charge of the parachute", I told him, " let us land quickly"
He took charge and within a minute we had landed on the landing area.
Videographer was waiting there.
"How was it?", he asked me
"It was good. I felt a bit dizzy. Pablo was awesome", I replied.
I slowly walked back to the skydive building. I was feeling dizzy and wobbly. I went and lied down on a sofa to settle myself.
I must have lied down for about 30 minutes. Got up, collected my CD and was on my way.
While walking back to the bus stop I saw that the aircraft was starting with the next batch of divers. I kept looking as the aircraft was going up and up.
Finally when it was as small as a dot, I saw the first diver diving out of the aircraft.
Seeing that I just dived from that height was even more scarier than the actual dive itself.
Looking back see that there were three stages of fear. First stage was before commitment, it was more I fear of uncertainty and fear of change. Second stage was just before and during the execution. Here it was more of anticipation and nervousness. Third stage after the dive, more due to relief and later when the staggering magnitude of what I had done sunk in.
But what the heck? What if I was afraid?
I had just completed my first skydive, a perfect birthday gift to myself...
No one can take that away from me.

23 December 2017

Solution Orientation: The Traffic Cop at the junction.

In his book Goals !, author Brian Tracy says that while unsuccessful people has 'Problem Orientation',. the successful people have 'Solution Orientation'. The former will focus on Problem and blaming the person who caused the problem, while the latter asks the question 'How can I solve it?'.
I see this dichotomy play out quite regularly in our neighbourhood.
There is a junction near my apartment where there could be occasional pileups. As pileups go, this one is often caused by one or two recalcitrant drivers, most often Taxi drivers on a hurry. As is usual with Bangalore Traffic, in no time, the entire streets on either side are choc a bloc with traffic, honking, impatient drivers. It is very stressful.
Soon traffic cop will arrive and try to untangle the mess. I see two types of traffic cops. One type will focus on identifying the errant drivers and start arguing and blaming them. Soon the entire area is a sea of brawls with each side trying to prove their point. Needless to say, traffic is still piled up.
Other type is the professional cop who quickly assess the situation and focus on resolving the same. He will put all effort in untangling the mess. He will quickly identify the root cause and take steps to resolve this. Once the immediate flow is established and the traffic starts flowing smoothly (it takes 15 minutes for smooth flow to be established), then, and only then, he will start questioning and booking the errant drivers who will normally end up paying a stiff fine.
I find that the problem solving approach works better every time.
What do you think? How do you approach problem solving?

21 December 2017

Nine rules for becoming a success

In his book, 'The 12 Universal Laws of Success', Herbert Harris talks about the nine rules for becoming a success. These rules are:
1. Do not procrastinate: Do not wait for conditions to become right to become a success. Realize that procrastination is a state of mind and the same can be replaced with an action oriented state of mind
2. Do it now: Take the first step. There is always something that you can do move you closer to success
3. Stand up on your own two feet: Do not depend on anyone or anything for your success. They may be depending on you. Believe that you already have everything you need to get everything you want.
4. Do not fear failure: Failure proves that you are trying. Every opportunity for success also contains the possibility for failure.
5. Do not sell yourself cheaply: You are worth exactly what you say you are worth. Know your full potential and true value of your talents. Recognize that you have boundless capacity for health, wealth, happiness, love, success, prosperity and money
6. Develop the success habit of being goal oriented: Set realistic goals for yourself. Determine what must be done to achieve the goal. Persevere till you achieve your goals
7. Visualize your goals and believe you can attain them: See each goal clearly and in great detail in your mind's eye. Develop a sensory relation with your goal. Know how your goal looks, feels, smells, tastes and sounds. See yourself as though you have already attained your goal. Know that you will achieve your goals in a timely manner
8. Plan your work and work your plan: Analyze your goal. Write down all the action that must be performed to accomplish your goal. Make a schedule to achieve the plan. Execute the plan. When you execute the plan, universe will give you all the help required.
9. Do not quit: Winners never quit Be prepared to do whatever it takes for as long as it takes.

20 December 2017

Arranged Marriage....

Please note: I don't know if the incident described below did actually happen. While the story below is described from memory (it is almost 25 years since I heard this story) and in a humorous vein (since it ended well, supposedly), forced marriages at gun point (know as 'Pakadua Vivah') is a major social evil and can destroy people as the news item below shows.

Check here for the news item 'Bihar man forced to marry at gun point'

You all know that we have arranged marriage in India, right?

In arranged marriage, the families (Parents) of the boy and girl meet, match the Kundli's (horoscopes) of the boy and girl,  and decide to seal their alliance by getting their children married to each other. 

This could take different forms, like more modern in some part of the country where boy and girl has some voice in the decision to other parts where the boy and girl only meets at the marriage venue.

However, in some parts of Bihar, even families do not meet. In these places, the groom is kidnapped at gun point, gets married to a girl in the kidnapper's family and after that the family of groom is informed. The kidnapper will ensure that the social status of boy's family is equal to, if not better than that of his family.

Surprisingly, after the marriage, the families accept the situation and they live together harmoniously.
Crazy, I know, but that is India

The story I am about to narrate is the story of one such marriage, but with a twist.

This story was told by Kaushal, the same guy who told me the story of Student Discount.

Kaushal was my colleague in Durgapur Steel Plant. He is a very good story teller. Often, when we were relaxing by the pool in Durgapur Club, Kaushal will come up with his stories, most of them from his childhood in Bihar.

"Aneesh Pandey was my batch mate when we were doing Engineering in BIT Mesra", Kaushal reminisced

"Aneesh was in Chemical Branch and I was in Mechanical Branch. Tall, fair and handsome, Aneesh was very smart and popular in the college. In addition, he was the son of a rich and powerful landlord in North Bihar. It was obvious that this tall and smart boy is a prize catch for any girl in the area.", Kaushal continued

"One fine evening, when we were in the final year of Engineering, Aneesh was kidnapped by the men of a local landlord, who had a daughter to be married off. It was towards the evening and before anyone knew what was happening, he was caught, pushed into a van and the van had taken off. Right from in front of our college hostel", Kaushal paused to sip the beer.

"In the case of kidnapped marriages, everything moves very fast. Aneesh's marriage to the kidnapper's daughter was fixed for late evening of that day. In Bihar, marriages are solemnized in the night. Aneesh was taken to the kidnapper's home, had a bath and was asked to wear new dresses and was seated at the marriage hall"

"Aneesh was a smart guy", continued Kaushal, "he realized that he could not do anything. He knew that this kind of marriage was common in Bihar. So he went through the motions without any objections, but always keeping an observant eye".

"The entire family of the bride to be was there. There was the father of the bride, the original kidnapper, his younger brother, another stern looking man, their mother, a regal looking old lady, their wives, and the daughter of the brother. In addition, the sidekicks of the family, who kidnapped Aneesh, were also there. The men were holding on to their guns, ready for any untoward incidents that Aneesh could provoke", Kaushal took another sip of beer.

"The marriages in Bihar are solemnized when the groom applies 'Sindhoor' (Vermilion, also known as the Red Dot) on the forehead of the girl. This is called 'Maang mein Sindhoor Lagana' (apply Sindhoor on the Forehead) and is a big deal in India. Only husband's have the right to apply the Sindhoor on his wife's forehead.", Kaushal explained, of course I knew this before, buy hey, this is Kaushal's story, remember?

"Marriage ceremony started, pujas (Prayers) were all completed and the auspicious time came for Aneesh to apply Sindhoor on the girl's forehead. Aneesh was handed the Sindhoor. This was the crunch time, the climax. All eyes were on him", Kaushal paused

I could anticipate that something awesome was about to happen. I could barely contain my excitement.

"During the ceremony was in progress, Aneesh's observant eye had found that the daughter of the younger brother of the kidnapper was very beautiful and was also of marriageable age. Their eyes had made brief contact and Aneesh knew that she was also very interested in him", Kaushal took another sip of beer. 

I was getting frustrated with his beer sipping at crucial moments in the story, but beggars cannot be choosers, can they?

"So when it was time to apply Sindhoor, instead of applying it on the forehead of the kidnapper's daughter, he applied the Sindhoor on the forehead of her cousin, the daughter of the brother. It all happened so fast that no one had time to react", Kaushal continued.

"Then what happened?", I was curious as dickens

"The kidnapper was livid. He felt like a lioness that did all the work in killing the pray and watching the male lion taking the spoils. His sidekicks were livid. Everyone was angry except...."

"Except for the kidnapper's brother. By applying Sindhoor on his daughter's forehead, Aneesh had now become his son in law. It had become his responsibility to protect his son in law. Aneesh watched in amusement as the two brothers and their respective sidekicks almost came to blows with each other and were pointing their guns at each other. The kidnapper's sidekicks were even pointing guns at Aneesh. It was chaos everywhere", Kaushal smiled at the thought.

"Finally the grand mother of the girl intervened and said that since Sindhoor was applied, the daughter of the brother had officially become Aneesh's wife. This was god's wish and the family cannot have the curse of making the daughter a widow by on the day of her marriage."

"The pujas continued after all this commotion and the marriage was solemnized. Next day, Aneesh's family was informed. They also came and took part in the festivities and all of them went back to live their lives as if nothing has happened".

"It is now almost 12 years since the marriage and Aneesh and his wife are the proud parents of two smart children"

"All is well that ends well", Kaushal concluded.

Book Review: Goals!: Brian Tracy

The book 'Goals!' by Brian Tracy is an awesome book. If you are looking for success and do not know how to proceed, this is the book to read. Mr.Tracy presents a simple, powerful and effective system for setting and achieving goals. In this book Mr.Tracy discusses 21 steps / rules / strategies to follow to achieve great success. The author puts a lot of emphasis on clarity be it clarity of values, clarity of thought, clarity of goals, clarity of purpose and clarity on the approach to success. Clarity on what you want to achieve is the first step to success in any human endeavour.
The first steps in your path to success is for you to identify your core values. Author asks the readers to set positive core values like kindness, compassion etc. Invariably your actions will reflect your core values. If your goals and actions are in harmony with your core values, then progress happens.
As mentioned before, there are 21 steps to success. There is one chapter for each of these steps. Mr.Tracy explains each point with very relevant examples and provides us with specific actionable steps to be followed to meet the objectives outlined in the chapter.
This book is concept heavy. Concepts like 'Five year fantasy', 'Future Orientation', 'Idealization', 'Magic Wand Technique', 'Mindstorming', 'Momentum principle', 'Single Handling', 'Zero based thinking' etc are lucidly explained in the book.
In the introduction to the book, Mr.Tracy says that if there is one advice that he will give to anyone aspiring for success is to 'write down you goals, make plans to achieve them and work on it everyday till goals are attained'.
There is a lot of emphasis on writing in this book. For anything to impress in your subconscious, you have to write it down on a piece of paper. Be it values, goals, purpose, action plan or mindstorming, Mr.Tracy is fanatical when it comes to writing them down.
Two concepts impressed me. One was the ABCDE technique of prioritizing your tasks A category is the top priority followed by B. C Category is nice to have, D Category should be delegated and E Category should be eliminated.
Mindstorming technique where you write a question relating to your goals and answers with a minimum of 20 answers to the question is a very powerful creativity technique.
Finally, what should you do even before you start reading the chapter wise details of the book given below? Take a note book and write down hundred goals that you want to achieve in your lifetime. Once you complete the task, miracles start to happen.
That is the power of Goals !!

Read the chapter wise summary below.

Chapter 1: Unlock your potential
You become what you think about most of the time
Once you have a clear and specific goal, you will become an automatic goal seeking machine, much like a guided missile. Goal seeking mechanism is non-judgemental. If your goal is small you will reach your small goal. If your goal is big, you will reach the big goal. The size, scope and detail of the goal you choose is entirely up to you.
Reasons why people do not set goals.
1. they think goals are not important
2. They don't know how. Their goals are neither specific or clear. Most of the time, people have wishes, not goals.
3. They fear failure
4. They fear rejection and ridicule if they do not achieve their goals
Goals bring a sense of meaning and purpose to your life
One of the benefits of goal setting is that goals enable you to control the direction of change in your life. Goals ensure that the changes in your life are self-directed. By giving purpose to your life, goals allow you to be happy.
The starting point of goal attainment is desire. One must develop an intense, burning desire for your goals if you want to achieve them.
Success require only two things. One, you must know exactly what you want. Most people never make this decision. Two, you must determine the price you will have to pay to achieve this goal and get busy paying the price.
In life you have to pay the full price before you achieve success. Most people wait for success before they are ready to pay the price.
to unlock and unleash your full potential, you should make a habit of daily goal setting and achieving for the rest of your life. You should develop a laser like focus so that you arle always thinking and talking about what you want rather than what you don't want. You must become a goal seeking organism like a guided missile or a homing pigeon.
Chapter 2: Take Charge of your life
When you accept complete responsibility of your life, you transition from childhood to adulthood.
Greatest enemies of success and happiness are negative emotions of all kinds. They tire you out and take away all the happiness from life.
If you want to lead a happy life, one of the goals should be to free yourself from negative emotions.
The negative emotions of fear, self pity, envy, jealousy, inferiority complex and anger are mostly caused by four factors. Once you identify and remove these factors from your thinking, your negative emotions stop automatically and will be replaced with positive emotions of peace, love, joy and enthusiasm. The four factors are:
1. Justification: Justification comes from a sense of entitlement. Once you stop justifying, you become a more positive and effective person.
2. Rationalization. This is defined as 'giving a socially acceptable explanation for an otherwise socially unacceptable action'. You excuse the actions by giving an explanation that sounds good but which was not correct.
3. Hypersensitivity: You are overly bothered about what others will think about you. So you start living your life for other people and not for yourself.
4. Blaming: You blame others for all the bad thing that happened to you. This is the major negative factor. Once you stop blaming others, all the other factors disappear.
The solution to negative emotions is to accept responsibility. By freeing yourself from negative emotions by accepting complete responsibility, you begin to set and achieve goals in all areas of your life. Once you accept total responsibility, there is no limit on what you can be, do and have.
To keep your mind positive, refuse to criticize, complain bout or condemn other people for anything. Being angry with someone is to allow him or her to control your emotions from a distance.
You are where you are and what you are because of what you have done or failed to do. You are the architect of your destiny. As the architect of your destiny, you are free to make your own decisions. You are in charge.
You should consider yourself as the President of your own company. Just as a President will do, you have some responsibilities.
1. You are responsible for overall management of your personal strategy, including Setting goals, making plans, establishing measures and performing to get results.
2. You are responsible for outputs, the quality and quantity of the work you deliver
3. You are responsible for marketing strategy - self promotion and advancement, creating your image, and packaging yourself to be able to sell yourself for the best price
4. You are responsible for financial strategy, deciding exactly how much of your services you want to sell, how much you want to earn, how fast you want the income to grow, how much you want to save and invest etc
5. You are responsible for your people strategy and your relationships. Choose your friends and partners wisely.
6. You are responsible for personal research and development, personal training and learning. You need to identify the talents, skills, abilities and core competencies you will need to earn the kind of money you want to earn in the coming months and years.
The objective is to try and become a 'Growth Stock'.
Responsibility, control and happiness form the golden triangle
The starting point of goal setting is to realize that you have virtually unlimited potential to be, have or do anything you really want in life if you simple want it badly enough and are willing to work long enough and hard enough to achieve it.
The second part of goal setting is for you to accept complete responsibility for your life and for everything that happens to you with no blaming and no excuses
Chapter 3: Create your own future
Leaders always think about the future and where they are going and what they can do to get there. This is called 'Future Orientation';
As per research, 'Long time perspective' was the most important determinant for financial and personal success in life. It is define as the 'ability to think several years into the future while making decisions in the present.
In personal strategic planning you should begin with a long term view of your life as well. Practice 'Idealization' in everything you do. Create a 'Five Year Fantasy' by thinking about what your life will look like in five years if it were perfect in every aspect.
The biggest obstacle to goal setting is 'Self Limiting Beliefs'. By underestimating yourself, you set either no goals, or low goals that are far below your potential.
By combining idealization and future orientation, you cancel or neutralize this process of self-limitation.
Researchers analysed people who were delivering average results for many years and suddenly exploded into great success and accomplishment. They found that the 'take off point' was when they started engaging in what is called 'Blue Sky Thinking'. In this, you imagine that all things are possible for you, just like looking up into a clear blue sky. You project forward several years and imagine that your life is  perfect in every respect. Then you ask yourself this question: What would have to have happened to me to have created my perfect future.
Then you come back to present and ask, what I have to do now to achieve all my goals sometime in the future?
When practicing Idealization and Future Orientation, do not compromise on your dreams. Do not settle for smaller goals and half successes. Instead, 'dream big dreams'
Start with Business and Career. Imaging a perfect work life five years from today. Answer the following questions
1. What would it look like?
2. What would you be doing?
3. Where would you be doing it?
4. Who would you be working with? What level of responsibility would you have?
5. What kind of skills and abilities would you have?
6. What kind of goals would you be accomplishing?
7. What level of status would you have in your field?
Remember, 'We greatly overestimate what we can achieve in one year, but we greatly underestimate what we can accomplish in five years.'
Now idealize your perfect financial life.
1. How much would you be earning per year five years from today?
2. What sort of lifestyle would you have?
3. What kind of home would you live in?
4. What kind of car would you drive?
5. What kind of material luxuries would you be providing for you and your family?
6. How much would you have in bank?
7. How much would you be saving and investing each month and each year?
8. What would your net worth be five years from today?
Now idealize your perfect family life
1. If your family were perfect five years from now, what would it look like?
2. Who would you be with? Who would you no longer be with?
3. Where and how would you be living?
4. What kind of living standards would you have?
5. What kind of relationships would you have with the most important people in your life five years from now if everything were perfect in every respect?
When you fantasize your perfect future, keep asking 'How?'. Asking this repeatedly stimulates your creativity and triggers ideas to help you accomplish your goals.
Your health and fitness. Five years from now?
1. How would a perfect you look and feel?
2. What would be your ideal weight?
3. How much would you exercise each week?
4. What would be your overall level of health?
5. What changes would you have to start making today in your diet, exercise routines and health habits to enjoy superb physical health sometime in the future?
The primary attribute of high achievers is 'Action Orientation'. They take action
Your Ideal Personal Inventory. To achieve your full potential in five years,
1. What additional knowledge and skills would you have acquired five years from now?
2. In what areas would you be recognized as absolutely excellent in what you do?
3. What would you be doing each day in order to develop the knowledge and skills you need to be one of the top performers in your field sometime in the future?
Having answered all the above questions, it is time to get to work. Start by creating your perfect calendar from January 1 to December 31.
1. What would you like to do on weekends and vacations?
2. How much time would you like to take off each week, month and year?
3. Where would you like to go?
4. How would you organize your year if you had no limitations and complete control over you time?
With and exciting future vision, you will be highly motivated, enthusiastic and stimulated every day.
Remember, 'happiness  is the progressive realization of a worthy goal'. The clearer you are about your long term future, the more rapidly you will attract people and circumstances into your life to help make that future a reality. The greater clarity you have about who you are and what you want, the more you will achieve and the faster you will achieve in every area of your life.
Chapter 4: Clarify your values
Leaders know who they are, what they believe in and what they stand for. Most people are confused about their goals, values and ideals and as a result they go back and forth and accomplish very little.
Life is lived from inside out. The core of your personality is your values. They make you the person that you are.
Five levels of personality: Your personality is like a set of five concentric circles that radiate outward. The innermost core of the personality is the values. Values determine your beliefs. If you have positive values like love, compassion and generosity, you will believe that people in your world are deserving of these values and you will treat them accordingly.
Your beliefs determine your expectations. If you have positive values, you will believe yourself to be a good person and you will expect good things to happen to you. Expectation leads to attitude. Attitude is an outward manifestation of your values, beliefs and expectations. If you expect good things to happen to you, you will be positive and cheerful and positive oriented. You will have a positive mental attitude when dealing with other people and they will reciprocate with positive attitude.
Attitude lead to actions. Your actions will be determined by your values, beliefs and expectations. For example, if you expect to succeed in a task, you will persevere. The action of perseverance will lead to achievement and success.
This is why most of what will happen to you in life is determined by what is inside of you. A positive, optimistic, goal and future oriented person - on the inside - will enjoy a happy, successful and prosperous life on the outside, most of the time.
Your goal must be congruent with your values and your values must be congruent with your goals. This is why clarifying your values is often the starting point to high achievement and peak performance. Values clarification requires that you think through what is really important to you in life. You then organize your life around these values.
Any attempt to live on the outside in a manner that contradicts the values you hold on the inside will cause you stress, negativity, unhappiness, pessimism and even anger and frustration.
You have to continuously review your values. Values clarifications is something you do on a 'go forward' basis. You continually ask the question 'What are my values in this area?'
You have to trust yourself. Self-trust comes from listening to your intuition. You become great when you trust your intuition and are confident that you are being guided by a higher power.
You can identify your values by observing your actions, especially under pressure. Whenever you are forced to choose between one behaviour and another, you will act consistent with your values.
Values are organized in a hierarchy. You have a series of values, some of them very intense and important and some less important. You have to determine who you are and what you really want is to organize your values by priority.
There are some ways to determine your true values. One way is to look at your past behaviour under pressure. You can look for answers to questions like what raises your self-esteem, what makes you feel important, what makes you proud, what you have accomplished in the past that gives you greatest sense of satisfaction and pride
Another way to determine your values is to analyse your 'hearts desire'. What is it that, deep down in your heard, more than anything else, you would like to be, have or do in life? What do you want to be famous for? How would you like people to describe you when you are not there? How would you want your family and children to remember you? How would you like people to talk to them about you?
When you are looking at your past, remember, your past is not your future. You may have had bad experiences in the past but that will change if you try.
Another way to identify your values is to look at how you will behave towards others? What is the impression that you will leave with others about you after talking to them?
You can also look at how you evaluate yourself. What is your self image? What is your ideal behaviour? The more your behaviour is consistent with your ideal behaviour, the more you like and respect yourself and the happier you are. Your self - esteem improves. Your aim should be to deliberately and systematically create the circumstances that raise your self-esteem in everything you do. You should act and behave like and ideal you.
Next you analyze your beliefs. What do you believe with regard to your work and career? Does your values include integrity, hard work, dependability, creativity, cooperation, initiative, team work etc?
Does your values about your family include unconditional love, continuous encouragement, patience, forgiveness, generosity etc?
What about money and financial success? Do you think honesty, thrift, frugality, education, excellence and persistence? Do you believe grit is important? If your answer is yes to the above question, there is a very good chance that you will achieve your financial goals faster.
Coming to health, do you believe in self-discipline, self-mastery and self-control with regard to diet, exercise and rest? Do you set high standard for health and fitness?
If your beliefs are consistent with your values and your behaviour, you will experience happiness.
The most important value of all is integrity. Integrity means you follow through on your commitment. You do not commit loosely. The more you try to live life to meet your ideal, you will be living with integrity. The higher your level of integrity, the happier and more powerful you will feel..
Decide today to be a man or woman of honor. Resolve to tell the truth and to live in truth with yourself and others. Write down our values in each area of your life.
Once you take complete responsibility for your life, then idealize your perfect future and finally clarify your values, you are ready to set clear, specific goals in every area of your life.
Chapter 5: Determine your true goals.
There is a direct relationship between the level of clarity you have about who you are and what you want and virtually everything you accomplish in life. Successful people invest the time required to develop absolute clarity about themselves and what they really want. 
Intense desire is essential to overcoming obstacles and achieving great goals. For your desire to be intense enough, your goals must be purely personal. They must be goals that you really want for yourself.
One of the most important questions in goal setting is this: What do I really want to do with my life? If you could do or be or have anything at all in life, what would it be? In determine your goals, you start with general goals and then move to more specific goals. You start by asking the following questions.
1. What are your three most important goals right now in the area of:
       a. business and career
       b. financial goals 
       c. family and relationship
       d. health and fitness.
Next step is to identify your major worries. You ask the question 'What are my biggest worries or concerns in life right now?' Once you identify these worries, ask yourself:
1. What are the ideal solutions to each of these problems?
2. How could I eliminate these problems or worries immediately?
3. What is the fastest and most direct way to solve this problem? 
As per "Ockham's razor", the simplest and most direct solution, requiring the fewest number of steps, is usually the correct solution to any problem". Do not over-complicate your life. Always look for the fastest, direct and easiest way to solve your problems. For example, the Pareto Principle says that 20% of the activities in your life lead to 80% of the outcomes. Identify those 20% and do double of the same. After identifying the solution with the least number of steps, get going.
There are various ways to determine your true goals. In the 'magic wand' approach, you imagine that you have a magic wand that you can wave in any area of your life. When you wave the wand, your wishes will come true. So if you have a magic wand what will you wish for in various areas of your life. For example, what will you wish for regarding your skills and abilities? This approach helps you quickly identify your goals. 
Another approach is to imagine that you have 6 months to live. If you know you have only six months to live, how would you spend those months? Who would you spend your time with? Where would you go? What would you want to be remembered for? What would you do more or less of? 
When you ask these questions, what comes to the top of your mind will be your key goals in your life. 
Yet another approach is to make your dream list. One of the tried and tested approach is to make a list of at least 100 goals that you want to achieve in your lifetime. Once you finish writing this list, remarkable events will begin to happen in your life and your goals will start to be achieved at a rate that you cannot even imagine today. This seems to happen to all the people once they have written down at least one hundred goals.
What would you do if you have all the money in the world? What would you do more of? What would you do less of? This approach releases us from fear of change. You have all the money in the world, you can do whatever you want. What would you do?
Another question that sates the creativity is this. What have you always wanted to do but been afraid to attempt? 
Another question that could provide a clue to your goals is this. What do I most enjoy doing in each area of my life? If you could do just one thing all day long, what would it be? What gives you the greatest joy and satisfaction? 'Peak experiences' are those moments or times when an individual feels the happiest, most elated and most exhilarated. One of  your aims in life is to enjoy as many peak experiences as possible.
The process of asking yourself question about your goals in each part of your life begins to clarify your thinking and make you a more focused and better defined person. You move from a 'wandering generalist to a meaningful specific.
Most importantly you reach a point where you can determine your major definite purpose in life. This is the springboard of great achievement and extraordinary accomplishment.
Chapter 6: Decide on your major definite purpose
Since you become what you think about most of the time, a major definite purpose gives you a focus for every waking moment. The more you think about your major definite purpose and how to achieve it, the more you activate the Law of Attraction in your life. You begin to attract people, opportunities, ideas and resources that help you move more rapidly toward your goal and move your goal more rapidly towards you.
By the law of correspondence, your outer world of experience will correspond and harmonize with your inner world of goals. Your outer world will reflect your major purpose like a mirror.
A major definite purpose also activates your subconscious mine on your behalf. Any thought, plan or goal that you can clearly define in your conscious mind will immediately start to be brought into reality by your subconscious mind.
When you decide upon a major definite purpose, you increase your level of attentiveness and become increasingly sensitive to anything in your environment that can help you achieve that goal faster.
How do you define your major definite purpose? It can be defined as the one goal that is most important to you at the moment. It is the one goal that will help you achieve more of your other goals than anything else you can accomplish. It must have the following characteristics.
1. It must be something that your personally and intensely want
2. It must be clear and specific. You must be able to write it down with clarity
3. It must be measurable and quantifiable. Instead of 'I want to make lots of money', it must be more like 'I want to make $100000 per year by (a specific date)
4. It must both believable and achievable
5. It must have a reasonable probability of success. It must not be too hard that you will lose motivation.
6. Your major definite purpose must be in harmony with your other goals.
Keep your goals realistic and ensure that it is in your control. Do not fall into the habit of deciding on unrealistic or wild goals where you will be setting yourself to fail.
If you are sure to achieve your goal, what would that be? This is a goal that you cannot fail. Start working to achieve this goal. The achievement will ensure that you will be motivated to go for more difficult goals.
Try the ten goal exercise to identify your major definite purpose. Write down 10 goals that you would like to achieve in the foreseeable future. Once done, go through the list and identify the goal which will have the greatest positive impact on your life?
That will be your major definite purpose. Focus on that to the exclusion of all other goals.
Note down this goal on a sheet of paper and write down all the action items that you can do to achieve this goal. Once done, take action on at least one of the items. Keep thinking about your goal and ask yourself the question 'How can I achieve this goal?'
Your selection of the major definite purpose and the decision to persevere till it is achieved will change your life for the better. So start working on your major definite purpose.
Chapter 7: Analyze your beliefs
The most important mental law is the Law of Belief. This law states that whatever you believe with conviction becomes your reality. You do not believe what you see, you see what you believe.
You are not what you think you are, you are what you think.
The greatest revolution is the discovery that individuals, by changing their inner most attitudes of mind, can change the outer aspect of their lives.
All improvement in your life comes from changing your beliefs about yourself and your possibilities.
A set of beliefs that you hold lead to your self-concept. It precedes adn predicts your levels of performance and effectiveness in everything you do. Everything that you accomplish in your outer world is a result of your self-concept.
You could be holding self limiting beliefs. They put brakes on your potential for growth. Many people, because of their negative beliefs, most of which are wrong, falsely consider themselves to be limited in intelligence, talent, capability creativity or skill of some kind.
Let us look at the belief that you are not intelligent. What is intelligence? According to Dr.Howard Gardner, there are 10 different concepts of intelligence of which only two are measured. The ten intelligences are
1. Verbal: Measured
2. Mathematical: Measured
3. Visio - spacial: Art, Design etc: Not measured
4. Entrepreneurial: Starting Business or Startups: Not measured
5. Kinesthetic (Physical): Sports Participation and performance: Not measured
6. Musical: Not measured
7. Interpersonal: Getting along with people:  Not measured
8. Intrapersonal: Getting to know you in detail: Not measured
9. Intuitive: ability to sense the right thing to do or say: Not measured
10. Abstract Intelligence: Ability to understand the concepts of Hinduism: Not measured.
You many not be even aware that you are a genius when it comes to one or  two of the intelligences above. Your responsibility to yourself is to cast off the self limiting beliefs and accept that you are a talented person. You are engineered for success and designed for greatness.
All beliefs are learned. So you can unlearn the self-limiting beliefs
Imagine there is a 'Belief Store', where you can go and select the beliefs that you want. If you could choose only one belief in the store, choose this one: "I am destined to be a huge success in life". If you absolutely believe that you are destined to be a big success, you will walk, talk and act as if everything that happens to you in life is part of a great plan to make you success.
If you hold positive beliefs, any setback is temporary and is a learning opportunity.
As per the Law of Reversibility, if you act as if you were already the person you desire to be, with qualities and talents you desire to have, your actions will generate the feelings that go with them. If you want to be a dollar multi billionaire, act and talk like one. When you start to walk, talk, drss and behave like a multi billionaire, you soon begin to feel like a multi billionaire.
Your focus must be on creating the beliefs within yourself that are consistent with the great success you want to be in your outer world. You achieve this by challenging your self-limiting beliefs, rejecting them and acting as if they did not exist.
You also reinforce the development of new, life-enhancing beliefs by increasing your knowledge and skills in your field to the point you feel equal to any demand or challenge. Your aim is to reprogram your subconscious mind for success by creating the mental equivalent in everything you do or say.
You develop new beliefs by taking actions consistent with those beliefs. You act positive and optimistic and you will start to believe that you are a positive and optimistic person. You act as if you have a secret guarantee of success and only you know about it.
You are developing and shaping your character and personality by everything you do and say every day. Ensure that you do and say what is consistent with your self-ideal, the person that you aspire to be.
Decide to challenge and reject any self limiting beliefs. Every time you become aware of one, ask yourself this question, what if I am wrong? what if the opposite was true?
You have to keep your actions consistent with your beliefs. Your beliefs are always manifested in your words and actions. Make sure that everything you say or do from today is consistent with the beliefs that you want to have and the person that you want to become. In time, you will replace more and more of your self-limiting beliefs with life-enhancing beliefs. Over time you will completely reprogram yourself for success.
Chapter 8: Start at the beginning
Once you have decided upon your values, vision, mission, purpose and goals, the next step is for you to analyze your starting point. Exactly where are you today and how are you doing in each of the important areas of your life, in comparison to your goals?
Make a honest assessment of your current situation. Once you have baselined your current status, the next step is to practice 'zero based thinking'. You ask the question, 'Knowing what I now know, is there anything that I am doing today that I would not start again if I had to do it over? You cannot make progress in life if you are held back by decisions that you made in the past.
You have to apply zero based thinking to all areas of your life. Is there a relationship that you won't get into again? Is there any persons whom you are working with, with whom you do not want to be involved again? In the area of work and business, is there some job that you will not take up again?
When you practice zero based thinking, you undergo a lot of stress. There are many people who continue in a business or personal relationship, where the only correct decision is to get out of the relationship altogether. However, it takes a lot of courage to admit that you made mistake.
Look into your life and identify what is holding you back. Why are you not a multi billionaire? What is the major reason that you are not a multi billionaire? What are successful people doing differently from you?
In trying to identify your starting point, you must be prepared to start all over from scratch. You should be prepared to reinvent yourself. In reinventing yourself, stand back and think about starting your career over again today, knowing what you know now.
Your most valuable asset is your earning ability. It can be an appreciating asset (if you are continually updating your skills and knowledge) or a depreciating asset.
While reinventing yourself, see yourself as a 'Bundle of Resources' capable of doing many different things. You have a wide variety of skills, abilities, knowledge, talents and experience. There are many things you could do. Never lock yourself to a specific course of action.
While reinventing yourself, also take a deep look at yourself. What are the good habits that you have that are helping you and moving you toward your goals? What are the habits that are holding you back? What new habits you have to develop?
While analysing your starting point, you ask yourself four sets of questions.
1. Where am I now? The baseline. You collect data and information in this step
2. Where would I like to be in the future? Here you idealize and practice future orientation. You make a perfect vision for yourself if you were successful in all that you do.
3. How did I get to where I am today? What did I do right? What would I do differently? How did we achieve our greatest success?
4. What do I do now, to get from where I am to where I want to go? What should I be doing more or less of? What should I give up? What should I do that I am not doing today?
Taking the time to honestly evaluate yourself before you launch towards your goals will save you months and even years on your journey..It will dramatically improve the speed at which you achieve your goals.
Chapter 9: Measure your progress
As you set your goals and begin moving towards them, it is essential that you establish a series of benchmarks or measures that you van use to evaluate your progress, day by day and hour by hour. The more clear and specific the measures you set, the more accurate you will be in hitting your targets on schedule.
Your subconscious mind requires a 'Forcing System' composed of deadlines that you have imposed on yourself for task accomplishment and goal attainment. Without that it is easy for you to procrastinate.
The three keys to peak performance are commitment, completion and closure.
When you make a firm commitment to achieve a particular goal and you put aside all excuses, it is very much like stepping on the accelerator of your subconscious mind. You will be more creative, determined and focused than ever before.
The second ingredient of peak performance is Completion. There is a huge difference between doing 95% of a task and doing 100% of the task. It is very common for people to work very hard up to the 90% level and then slack off leading to delay in completion of the task. You must continually force yourself to resist the natural tendency to slack off and push through to completion.
Every time you complete a task, brain releases a small quantity of hormones called endorphins. This will give you a natural sense of elation and well being. Your job is to complete as many tasks as quickly to feel the 'high' of having completed them. You should develop a positive addition the elation resulting from 'endorphin rush'.
Identify key measures of progress in each of your goals. The act of measuring progress will improve the performance. One of the most helpful actions you take in your own career is to set benchmarks and create scorecards, measures and deadlines for every key task that you must complete on the way to one of your goals. In this way, you activate your subconscious forcing system.
The third ingredient of peak performance is Closure. Completion do not mean closure. For example, imagine that your goal is to prepare a document to be released to customer. Completion means that you have completed the document and shared with the customer. Closure means that you take feedback from the customer and regularly update the document till the customer accepts the document. An acceptance email from a customer leads to closure of the above task.
Break your long-term goals down into annual, monthly, weekly and even hourly goals. It is easier to complete hourly tasks rather than the humongous five year goal. Ever heard the saying, 'By the yard it's hard, but inch by inch, it is a cinch'?
If your five year goal is to increase your hourly rate, read 15 minutes everyday. If your long term goal is to reduce your weight, try to reduce 100 grams a day, you would have reduced 3 Kgs in a month. If you read a classic for 15 minutes each day, in 7 years, you would have read 100 of the best books ever written.
What gets measured, gets done. To progress in your goal, it is important to set measures and track them rigorously Your ability to set specific measures on your goals, keep an accurate record and track your performance each day will ensure that you will achieve your goals on schedule
Chapter 10: Remove the roadblocks
Many a time, while trying to achieve their goals, people give up even before they make the first try. The reason they give up is because of all the obstacles, difficulties, problems and roadblocks that invariably appear as soon as they decide to do something that they have never done before.
The fact is that successful people also fail many times, but they do not give up when faced with obstacles.
You should expect to fail many times before you achieve your goals. You should look up on failure as a price you pay on your road to success. Start thinking in terms of solutions rather than in terms of problems. Develop 'solution orientation'. Think about solutions most of the time. Always look for ways to get over, around and past the obstacles. When faced with a problem, always ask, 'How can I solve this?'
Problem solving is a skill that can be learned. The more you focus on solutions, the more and better solutions will appear. The better you get at solving a problem, faster you will get at solving the subsequent problems. Remember that you have the ability to solve any problem or to overcome any obstacle if you intensely desire the goal.
As per the 'Theory of Constraints' propounded by Eliyahu Goldrat, there is always one critical obstacle (Goldratt calls them bottlenecks)  that stand in way of achieving your goal. Your job is to identify that obstacle and resolve it. Once you do that another obstacle could become critical. By patiently resolving one critical obstacle at a time, you end up in completing your goal.
Remember, 80% of the obstacles that you face will be internal. It means that it is you who is the major roadblock in you achieving your goal. Two major internal obstacles are fear and doubt. The fear could be fear of failure, poverty, loss, embarrassment, rejection or ridicule that holds people back. Second internal obstacle is doubt. We doubt our own abilities. We compare ourselves unfavourably to others and think that others are somehow better or more competent than we are.
Fortunately both Fear and Doubt are learned emotions. They can be unlearned or replaced with more positive emotions like confidence and courage. You develop courage and confidence by developing your knowledge and skill. The more you learn, more confident you will become.
Fear and doubt can lead to what is known as 'Learned helplessness'. People with this feel that they are incapable of achieving their goals or improving their lives. The major refrain of learned helplessness is the phrase "I can't". This self limiting belief keeps them down.
The way to overcome learned helplessness is by setting small goals, making plans and working on them each day. In this way, you gradually develop greater courage and confidence like building up a muscle. As you become more confident in your abilities, you can set even bigger goals.
Another mental obstacle that one should over come is the 'Comfort Zone', the tendency to become complacent in their current situation. It stifles ambition and desire. The way to over come this is by setting big, challenging goals. You then break these into small, manageable goals and start achieving them one by one.
One of the most creative ways of overcoming obstacles is by continuously asking the question, 'What else is the problem'. Whatever the problem, define it in several different ways before you attempt to solve it. Beware of any problem that has only one definition, or only one solution.
Always ask 'What else could be the problem'. Most of the time, the obvious reason could be the wrong reason.
Assume that your problem statement is "I am not earning enough money", what else could be the problem?
"I am not adding value to be worth more money", what else could be the problem?
"I am not good enough", what else could be the problem?
"I do not use my time efficiently during the work day", what else is the problem?
"I spend my evening watching TV, my weekends socializing and I hardly read or learning anything that will help me do a better job"
Now you have found the real problem. You have a clear idea what you have to do differently.
Note that each of the above problem statements have a different solution. So if you do not identify the right problem, you will end up spending energy on the wrong problem without getting the expected result.
Once you identify the major obstacle, convert it into a positive goal. For example, you could now set a goal to continually upgrade my skills and abilities to be in the top 10% of money earners in my field.
You then make a list of steps needed to achieve that goal.
The exercise of identifying what is holding you back and then setting clear written goals to remove that obstacle puts you back in control of your life.
One your problem or obstacle is clear to you, ideas, opportunities and answers will come to you from various sources. You will begin to attract the kinds of resources that will help you overcome the obstacle or difficulty and move you more rapidly toward your goal.
By removing the major obstacle, you will often make more progress in a few months that most other people make in several years.
Chapter 11 become an expert in your field
In our economic system your income will be determined by three factors. First, what you do, second, how will you do it, and third, the difficulty of replacing you
One quality of the most successful people is that at a certain point in their careers they decided to commit to excellence. They decided to be the best at what they do. They decided to pay any price, make any sacrifice, and invest any amount of time on their goal to become very good in the chosen fields
Remember, none is better than you and no one is smarter than you. They are just better or smarter in different areas.
All business skills are learnable. You can learn anything you need to  achieve any goal that you set for yourself. There are no real limits on what you can accomplish, except for the limits that you place on your own mind. As the saying goes, to achieve something that you have never achieved before, you must become someone that you have never been before. Another similar saying is to have more, you must first be more. In most areas of life, it is more hard work and dedication then natural ability and talent that lead to excellence and great success.
You have to continually upgrade your skills. Your earnings ability can be an appreciating or a depreciating asset, depending upon whether or not you are upgrading it or simply allowing it to become obsolete.
You begin your journey to excellence by asking the question, what additional knowledge, skills and information will I need to lead my life in the months and years ahead?
Project yourself forward 3 to 5 years and imagine that you are one of the very best, highest paid people in your industry. What should have to have happened? What would you have to have done, learned, or accomplished to reach this point? What skills would you have had to master to lead your field?
It is almost inevitable that your career change continually as you grow and mature. You must be consistently looking down the road and thinking about the skills and competences you will need to earn the kind of money you want to earn in the years ahead.
Here is a question that you have to ask everyday. What one skill, if you developed and did it in an excellent fashion, would have the greatest positive impact on my career? This should become your Focal Point for personal and professional development. Write it down, set a deadline, make a plan, take action on plan and then do something everyday to get better in this particular skill.
One of the most important steps you take in your career is to identify what it is that you are really good at, or what you can become good at, and then put your whole heart into becoming excellent in that area.
One of our greatest goals in life is to identify and isolate the one or two skills that you can do better, and enjoy more than anything else, and then concentrate on becoming absolutely excellent in those areas.
The question is how do you identify and determine your special talents and what you are uniquely suited to do. There are eight ways to do that.
1, You will always be the best and happiest at something that you love to do. It brings out the very best in you and you get a tremendous amount of satisfaction And enjoyment when you are engaged in that particular work
2, You do it well. You to have a natural ability to perform in this area
3, This talent has been responsible for most of your success and happiness in life until now
4, It is something that was easy for you to learn and easy to do. In fact, it was so easy to learn that you actually forget when and how you learnt it
5, It holds your attention. It absorbs and fascinates you.
6, You love to learn about it and become better at it all your life.
7, When you do it time stands still. You can often work in you in your area of special talent for long periods without getting tired
8, you really admire and respect other people who are good at what you are most suited to do. You want to be like them and emulate them in every way.
If the above apply to anything that you have done or are doing now that is your heart's desire
Please remember, you might be only one skill away from doubling your productivity, performance, and income.
You may only need to bring up your skill level in one area for you to be able to use all your other skills at a higher level.
People with learned helplessness avoid areas where they are weak. That is not the correct approach. Whenever you start something new, you can expect to do it poorly. You might fail at first. This is a price that you pay to achieve excellence in your field. Persevere, never give up
Use magic wand technique. If you could have a magic wand and have any wish at all with regard to your talent and skills, what would you wish for?
Become a lifelong "do-it-to-yourself" project. Be prepared to invest one, two, three years to become absolutely excellent in a critical area.
The three plus one formula for mastering any skill is simple and it works every time. First, read in the skill area each day, even if only for 15 minutes to 30 minutes. Second, listen to educational audio programs on the subject in your car. Third, attend seminars and workshops on your subject. Fourth, practice what you learn at the earliest possible opportunity. Every time you hear a good idea, take action on it.
Remember, you can become an expert in any area if you work hard at it for a long time.
Chapter 12: Associate with the right people.
A key part of goal setting is for you to identify the people, groups, and organisations whose help you will required to achieve your goals.
There are 3 general categories of people who's help and cooperation you will need in the years ahead. They are one, your business Associates, two, your family and friends and three, the people in groups and organisations outside your business for social circle. You need to develop a strategy to work effectively each group.
When it comes to work, one of the best strategies that you can use to make a list of everything you believe that you have been hired to do. Answer the question why am I on the payroll? Write down everything that you can think of and get this list prioritised by your boss. Now start working on top priority items.
Two qualities that promotability are one, ability to set priorities and two, the ability to get work done quickly.
Remember that the priorities could change. It is important reprioritize regularly.
Some of the strategies to associate with the right people are:
One, create a reputation of dependability
Two, invest in relationship building
Three, network professionally
Four, make a list of top people your community. Understand their interests and communicate with them on their relevant areas interest
Five, interact with the right people. Associate with people that you look up to and would be proud to introduce to your friends. Almost every major change in your life will be associated with change in the people you live or work with.
Once you identify the right people to associate with, treat them with kindness,  respect and courtesy. Treat them like million dollar customer. By helping people you will build up a great reservoir of positive feeling towards you that will benefit you year after year.
Chapter 13: Make a plan of action.
Your ability to set goals and make plans for their accomplishment is the 'master skill' of success. No other skill will help you more in fulfilling your potential in achieving everything that you are able to accomplish.
The purpose of planning is to enable you to turn your major definite purpose into a planned, multitask project with specific steps - a beginning, middle and end - with clear deadlines and sub-headlines.
More than the plan itself, the process of arriving at a plan by thinking through each element  is important. Every minute spent in planning saves ten minutes in execution.
The 'Six P formula' for success is 'Proper Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance'. There are seven advantages to Proper Prior Planning
1. The planning process forces you to organize your thinking and identify all the key issues that must be dealt with if you are going to be successful
2. Thinking through helps you to plan your actions carefully before you begin.
3. A good plan enables you to identify flaws and errors that could prove fatal to your business
4. It enables you to identify weaknesses in your plan and make provisions to compensate for the same.
5. Planning enables you to identify strengths and potential opportunities that you can take advantages of to increase the likelihood of success
6. It enables you to focus on core activities required for success
7. It will save you time, money and energy by reducing confusion and mistakes and rework.
Planning is a discipline and a skill. It is both a habit and competence and can be learned.
When you create a plan, you have to follow the steps given below:
1. Identify the tasks required to reach your goal.
2. Organize them in priority
3. Organize them in sequence
4. Identify the limiting factor. This is the potential bottleneck that has to be addressed first.
5. Identify the time and resources required to complete each task. Modify the plan based on the outcome of this step.
6. Assemble your team start working on it
7. Review and revisit the plan regularly.
The main guideline in planning is to always think on paper. Be continually making lists and sublists of each step in the process. Keep updating and revisiting your plan.
Note that the act of planning improves and streamlines the entire process of goal achievement. Making a plan and executing that plan is the key to personal and business success. 
Chapter 14: Manage your time well
To achieve your goals, you must get your time under your control. A sense of control on time is possible only if you practice excellent time management skills. Time management, like any other skill is learnable. No matter how disorganized you have been in the past or how much you get caught up in low value activities, you can change and learn to manage your time well.
If one side of coin of success is your ability to set clear goals for yourself, the flip side of the same coin is the ability to get yourself organized and work on your most valuable tasks every minute of the day. To change or improve your life in any way, you have to make new choices and new decisions that are more in alignment with who you really are and what you really want.
The starting point of time management is for you to determine your goals in the order of priority and value. You need to be absolutely clear, at any given moment, exactly what is most important to you at that time.
What is intelligence? Intelligence is what Intelligence does. You are intelligent if you act intelligently. And an intelligent way of acting is anything that you do that is consistent with achieving the goals that you set for yourself.
Time management begins with goal clarity. You note down exactly what you want to accomplish in each area of your life.
The basic tool of time management is a list, organized by priority, and used as a constant tool for personal management. The fact is that you can't manage time; you can only manage yourself. That is why time management requires self-discipline, self-control and self-mastery.
You should plan your life with lists of long-term, medium-term and short-term goals and projects. You should plan every month, in advance, with a list of the things you want to accomplish during that month.
Use advance planning. Make weekly plans. Plan every week in advance, for the tasks to be completed in that upcoming week.
You should learn to separate urgent from the important. Urgent tasks are determined by external pressures and requirements. You must complete urgent tasks quickly so that you can focus on the next set of tasks, the important tasks.
Important tasks are those that can contribute the very most to your long-term future. These task will show results in future if action is taken now. These tasks should be in alignment with your goals. You should learn to value each task by 'Consequence'. A task is valuable or important if there are significant consequences attached to its completion or non-completion. Your aim in time management, is to spend more time doing more of the tasks that can have the greatest possible consequences on your life and work.
One way to identify the important tasks is to identify those 20% of tasks with 80% of value to yourself. While you must focus on these tasks and complete them quickly, you can procrastinate on the remaining 80% of tasks that add very low value.
A very smart way to prioritize your tasks is to use the ABCDE method. Review your list of tasks and assign any one of the values A,B,C,D or E to the task. An 'A' task is very important. It has serious consequence for non-completion. You should always do your 'A' tasks before anything else.
If you have more than one 'A' task, organize them by priority, as A-1, A-2, A-3 etc. Put entire focus on completing the A-1 task first before you go to the remaining tasks in the ascending order.
A 'B' task is something that you must do, but it has minimal consequence for non-completion. Focus on these tasks only after completing the 'A' tasks.
'C' task is nice to have. They do not have any consequence.
You should delegate the 'D' tasks and eliminate the 'E' tasks.
The rule is that you should first finish your 'A' tasks before you start on your 'B' tasks. You should finish your 'B' tasks before you start working on 'C' tasks.
Your ability to choose in terms of what you do first, what you do second and what you do not do at all determines your entire life. Choose wisely.
Single handling is one of the most powerful time and personal management techniques. As per this, once you have selected your A-1 task, you start on that task and stay on it with single-minded concentration until it is 100 percent complete. You discipline yourself to concentrate on the task without diversion or distraction.
Create blocks of 30, 60 or 90 minutes when you can work without interruption or pause on your most important tasks. These chunks are essential for the accomplishment of any large, important task.
One way to create long periods of work time is to rise early and work nonstop on a major task, project or proposal.
As you begin your day and regularly through the day, you ask yourself the following five questions.
1. Why am I on the payroll? What is it that I have been hired to accomplish? You must be very clear about what you are hired to do.
2. What are my highest value activities? These are the activitiwe3 that represent the highest and best use of your talents, skills, experience and abilities as they relate your life.
3. What are my key result areas?
4. What can I and only I do, that if done well will make a real difference to my company? Once you identify this, focus on this task with full concentration.
5. What is the most valuable use of my time, right now? All techniques and methods of goal setting, personal planning and time management are aimed at helping you to accurately answer this question.
When you discipline yourself to ask and answer this question repeatedly, and you are sure that whatever you are doing is the answer to this question, you will start to accomplish to and three times as much as people around you. You will become more productive and more successful.
Dedicate yourself to getting better and better at the few tasks that you do that account for most of your results.
You can become excellent at time management with daily practice. Make a list of your tasks every day, before you begin. Organize by priority and start working as per the rules discussed in this chapter. Each time you complete an important task, you will experience a burst of elation, enthusiasm and heightened self-esteem. You will feel energized and stronger.
Develop a sense of urgency, create a bias for action. Get started, get going and work fast. Discipline yourself to select your most important task, launch into it immediately, and stay with it till it is done.
These time management techniques are key to peak performance in every aspect of your life.
Chapter 15: Review your goals daily
There is a difference between 'Positive Thinking' and 'Positive Knowing'. Positive thinking, if not controlled and directed will turn into 'Positive Hoping', which will not help you in goal attainment. What you need is 'Positive Knowing'. You must absolutely know and believe in the depths of your being that you are going to be successful in achieving a particular goal.
One of the important mental laws is, whatever is impressed is expressed. Whatever you impress deeply into your subconscious mind will eventually be expressed in your external world. Your aim in mental programming is to impress your goals deeply into your subconscious mind so that they 'lock in' and take on a power of their own.
There is a power in writing and rewriting your goals every day. Take a notebook and on day one write a list of top 10 goals that you want to achieve Repeat the process on day 2 (without referring to your previous day's work). You might observe that your goals has been refined / changed as each day progresses. At the end of 30 days, your goals would have become clearer, sharper and crystallized.
Once you do this, your life will undergo amazing turns. You will start attracting people and resources to your life to help you to achieve your goals. You will progress  at a rapid rate.
To get the most out of this method, your goals must be written in positive, present and personal tenses. Your subconscious mind is only activated by affirmative statements phrased in the present tense. Therefore, you write down your goals as though you have already accomplished them. Instead of writing 'I will earn $50000 in 12 months', write 'I earn $50000 a year'.
Your goals must be positive. You should not use any negative words or phrases in your goal statement. Instead of saying 'I will lose 10 Kg of weight', say 'I weigh 70 Kg'.
The goals must be personal. Every goal must start with a the word 'I' followed by an action verb. Remember, you are the only person in the world who can use the word 'I' in relation to yourself. When your subconscious mind receives and order that starts with the word 'I', it is like the factory floor has received a production order from the Head Office and it goes to work on it immediately.
Begin each of your goals with phrases such as 'I weigh', 'I earn', 'I achieve', 'I win' etc.
To add power to your goals, set a deadline to each goal. For example you will write, 'I weigh 75 Kg by 30th April, 2018'
Once your subconscious mind accepts your goals as commands from your conscious mind, it will start to make all your words and actions fit a pattern consistent with those goals.
When you write down a goal, you activate a series of forces in the universe that often make the impossible possible.
You can multiply the effectiveness of this method with a couple of additional techniques. First, after you have written down your goal in the positive, personal , present tense, write down at least three actions that you could take immediately to achieve that goal, also in the present, positive and personal tense.
For example, your goal could be 'I earn $50000 over the next 12 months'. You could then write, under the goal, 1. I plan every day in advance 2, I start immediately on my most important tasks 3, I concentrate single-minded on my most important task until it is completed.
Write down your goal in index cards and regularly read it. As you read the goal to yourself, imagine the goal as if it were already a reality. Actually see yourself at the goal, enjoying the goal, feeling the pleasure of having achieved the goal.
Alternatively, as you read your goals, imagine specific steps that you can take immediately to achieve that goal. You should actually imagine yourself taking those steps. Then relax and go on to the next goal.
Ideally you should read your goals twice a day, one in the morning after you wake up and two, in the evening just before going to bed. As you do it, you will impress these goals more deeply into your subconscious mind. You will move from positive thinking to positive knowing. It is only a matter of time before you achieve those goals.
Chapter 16: Visualize your goals continually
When you begin to tap into and unleash the power of your subconscious and super conscious minds, you will often achieve more in a year or tw than most people achieve in a lifetime.
Your ability to visualize is perhaps the most powerful faculty that you possess. All improvements in your life begins with an improvement in your mental pictures. You are where you are and what you are today largely because of the mental pictures that you hold in your conscious mind at the present time. As you change your mental pictures on the inside, your world on the outside will begin to change to correspond to those pictures.
Visualization activates the law of attraction, which draws into your life the people, circumstances and resources that you need to achieve your goals. Visualization also activates the law of correspondence which says, 'As within, so without'. As you change your mental pictures on the inside, your world on the outside begins to change.
Successful people are those who visualize the kind of success they want to enjoy in advance. Prior to every new experiences, the successful person visualizes previous success experience that are similar to the upcoming event. A successful sales person will visualize the past successes, for example.
Unsuccessful people also use visualization, but to their detriment. Unsuccessful people, prior to a new event, recall, reflect upon and visualize their previous 'failure experiences'
Your goal should be to take complete control of the visualization process and be sure that your mind and mental images are focused continually on what you want to have and the person you want to be.
You control the molding and shaping of your own personality and character by the mental images that you dwell upon hour by hour and minute by minute. By changing your mental images, you change the way you think, feel and act. You change the way that you treat other people and the way they respond to you. You change your performance and your results.
The four parts of visualization are:
1. Frequency: How often do you visualize positive visions?
2. Duration: How long do your visualize. How long can you hold on to that mental picture of a successful you.
3. Vividness: There is a direct relationship between how clearly  you can see your desired goal or result in your mind and how quickly it comes into reality.
4. Intensity: What is the emotion that you attach to the visual image? Is your emotion intense enough?
Visualization is neutral. If you imagine negativity, you will get it. Visualization has all kinds of practical benefits like finding your perfect home, finding your perfect soulmate etc.
Make your life an ongoing process of positive visualization, continually imagining and 'visioneering' your ideal goals and your perfect future.
Chapter 17: Activate your superconscious mind
Superconscious mind is a universal power that you can access any time to achieve any goal that you really want as long as you desire it intensely. The law of Superconscious Activity, is this: Any thought, plan, goal or idea held continuously in the conscious mind must inevitably be brought into reality by the superconscious mind.
Superconscious mind works best when you are in a mental state of calm, confident, relaxed expectation. Your intuition is your contact with the superconscious mind. Your superconscious mind is stimulated by clear, written, specific goals, intensely desired, visualized regularly and constantly worked toward.
Whenever you relax, visualize and emotionalize a specific result that you intensely desire, you stimulate your superconscious mind into giving you ideas and energy for goal attainment.
Superconscious mind explains the phenomena of Serendipity and Synchronicity.
Serendipity is the process of making happy discoveries along the road of life. Whenever you have a clear goal that you desire intensely, happy unexpected events and experiences occur in your life, each of which help you achieve your goal. The interesting point is that if you look for something good in every situation, you will always find it. The very attitude of expecting good things to happen to you seems to trigger their occurrence over and over again.
The second phenomenon that you will experience regularly is called 'Synchronicity'. Totally unconnected events seem to happen in synchronization to help you reach your goal faster. There will be no direct cause and effect relationship between these separate events. They are disconnected in time and space..
There are two ways to stimulate3 your superconscious mind into action. The fires is for you to concentrate and work intensely on achieving your goal. When you work on some thing intensely, serendipitous and synchronous events will happen to let you reach your goal.
The second way to stimulate your superconscious mind is to relax completely and get your mind busy elsewhere. In other words, the harder that you 'Don't try', the faster your superconscious mind will work for you.
Note that these two approaches are opposite of each other. You should try both approaches on every goal.
Your superconscious mind will bring you the exact answer you nee, at exactly the right time for you. Therefore, when you receive a superconscious inspiration, you should take action immediately. Don't delay, The recommendations of superconscious mind comes as 'Time stamped information'. The very act of moving on a superconscious flash will trigger additional superconscious insights and inspirations that will help you.
The superconscious idea or solution has three qualities.
1. It is a complete answer to every aspect of your problem or given you everything you need to achieve your goal.
2. It will be a 'blinding flash' of the obvious. A superconscious inspiration will feel natural, easy and perfectly suitable for the situation.
3. Superconscious solution will give you a burst of happiness and excitement, even exhilaration.
Whenever you get a superconscious solution, it will be accompanied by the energy, enthusiasm and motivation you need to take action immediately.
When you make a regular habit of listening to your intuition and trusting your inner voice, you will probably never make another mistake. By tapping to your superconscious mind, you begin to bring your whole life into harmony with this great universal power.
By developing absolute clarity about your goals and by reviewing and visualizing them regularly, you can make this superconscious power to work for you consistently and predictably all the days of your life.
Chapter 18: Remain flexible at all times.
In these times of change, the most important quality that you can develop is flexibility. It can be defined as the willingness to change in the face of new information or circumstances.
Rapid change is happening all around. There are three factors that are driving change. First one is the explosion of information and knowledge in every area of our lives. To remain flexible you must be constantly open, alert to new ideas, information and knowledge that can help you in the achievement of your goals. Keep up the habit of reading and continuous learning.
Second factor driving change is the rapid growth and development of new technology. Be aware of the technological changes that are happening around you and that can impact your goal achievement. Learn to work over or around them. Be flexible to explore new technology.
The third element driving change and requiring greater flexibility is competition. Be flexible to react quickly to competitive developments.
Do not hesitate to say 'I was wrong', 'I made a mistake' or 'I changed my mind' based on the availability of new information.
Always be open to re-evaluating your goals and objectives in the light of new information, technology or competition. Resolve to recognize and embrace change whenever they occur. Your aim should be to be alert and aware of the change, to find it and then to take action in that new direction as quickly as possible.
Chapter 19: Unlock your inborn creativity
Your creativity is like a muscle. If you don't use it you lose it. Just like a muscle, if  you do not exercise your creativity and stretch it regularly, it becomes week and ineffective. Your ability to generate ideas must be constantly utilized to by kept in top condition.
Fortunately, at any time, you can begin tapping into your creativity and using it at a higher level. In order to build your mental muscles, you have to 'pump mental iron'. You have to stress and strain on your brain, concentrating all of your mental energy to generate ideas and solutions.
'Mindstorming' is the most powerful technique to improve your intelligence and increase your creativity. It is simple to implement and could have life changing benefits.
You begin the process by taking a paper and writing your goal in the form of a question at the top of the page. The question should be simple and specific.
Now start answering the question using the 'Three P Formula'. Your answers must be Personal, Positive and in Present tense. In other words your answers must be written as affirmations or instructions from your conscious mind to your subconscious mind.
You have to discipline yourself to generate at least 20 answers to each question. This is very important.
Once you have at least 20 answers, go back over your list and review your answers. Then select at least one action that you can take immediately to begin moving yourself more rapidly toward your goal or toward solving the problem.
You can multiply the effectiveness of this process by taking the best answer that you identified in the first list and writing it at the top of a fresh sheet of paper as a question. Then try to generate 20 answers to that question. This approach will have enormous potential to unleash your creativity.
Whatever answer you choose in the end, put it into action immediately. Do something, do anything. The faster you take action on this exercise, the greater and more continuous will be the flow of ideas as you go through the day.
To effectively solve any problem, you have to follow a  structured approach consisting of the following steps.
1. Define the problem clearly
2. Identify the possible causes for this problem. Keep asking the question, 'are there other causes?'
3. Identify the possible solutions. Keep asking the question, 'is there a better solution?'
4. Ask, what must the solution accomplish. What is the ultimate objective.
5. Assign specific responsibility or take responsibility to implement the solution
The two approaches, mindstorming and systematic approach to problem solving, give you a significant advantage in problem solving.
Always be sure to think on paper. Write things down. There is something that happens between the brain and the hand when you write. You get a greater sense of clarity and understanding with regard to the issues involved. You think and perceive better.
Do scenario planning. Identify the top three good things and worst things that could happen in the future that could directly impact you. With the answers thus obtained, do mindstorming to prepare for the challenges.
For every problem, develop more than one option. Create a 'Plan B' for every potential challenges that you could face.
Think Long-term. Add value continually. Always be looking for ways to use your creativity to add value by doing thins faster, better, cheaper or easier in some way. Find ways to make yourself more valuable everyday.
Chapter 20: Do something every day.
Successful people are intensely action oriented. Their actions are focused on adding value. In your life, you will always be compensated in direct proportion to the value of your contribution. If you want to increase the size of your rewards, you must increase the quality and quantity of your results.
Always ask for 'more responsibility' from everyone. Once you are given the same, work hard at it, complete it as fast as you can, then ask for more responsibility.
Remember, your success in life will be in direct proportion to what you do after you do what you are expected to do.
As per the momentum principle of success, it takes considerable energy to get yourself into motion and moving. But it takes much less energy to keep yourself moving.
Successful people plan their days and hours. There is a direct relationship between tight time planning and high income.
Mentally and physically, the faster you move, the more energy you have. The faster you move, the happier you are and the more creative and enthusiastic you become. Start quickly and let momentum principle carry you to completion.
Chapter 21: Persist until you succeed
The single most important quality for success is self discipline. Self-discipline means that you have the ability, within yourself, based on your strength of character and will power, to do what you should do, when you should do it, whether you feel like it or not.
Character is the ability to follow through on a resolution after the enthusiasm with which the resolution was made has passed. 
You need self-discipline in order:
To Set your goals and make plans for their accomplishment
To continually upgrade your plans based on new information
To  always concentrate on the most important task on hand
To invest in yourself everyday and to build yourself up personally and professionally
To delay gratification, 
To save your money
To keep your thoughts on your goals and dreams and keep off your doubts and fears
To respond positively and constructively in the face of every difficulty
The most important demonstration of your self-discipline is your level of persistence when the going gets tough. Each time you persist in the face of adversity and disappointment, you build up the habit of persistence. 
In his book, 'Pushing to the Front', author Orison Swett Marden (How this book came about is itself a story of persistence in action), states that "There are two essential requirements for success. The first is 'get-it-it-iveness' and the other is 'stick-to-it-iveness'. There is no failure for the man who realizes his power, who never know when he is beaten; there is no failure for the determined endeavour; the unconquerable will. There is no failure for the man who gets up every time he falls, who rebounds like a rubber ball, who persists when everyone else gives up, who pushes on when everyone else turns back."
An interesting paradox in life that you need to be aware of is that if you are an intelligent person, you do everything possible to organize your life in such a way that you minimize and avoid adversity and disappointment. The paradox is that it is impossible for us to evolve, grow and develop to our full potential unless we face adversity and learn from it. All of the great lessons of life come as a result of setbacks and temporary defeats, which we have done our utmost to avoid.
The way you respond to disappointment is usually an accurate predictor of how likely you are to achieve great success.
Your greatest successes almost invariable come one step beyond the point where everything inside of you says to quit. 
It is when things seem worst that you must not quit...