The sudden death of my husband on 24th March left me shocked, drained, empty, and disbelieving – and myriad other emotions. The standard responses of you have to move ahead, be strong, you have a child to care for – seem empty and insensitive, and yet I know they are true. I knew however, that I had to forge ahead professionally and personally. My husband Nitish, provided me with the support, love and care I needed to do well professionally – even when I decided to work from home as a freelance writer.
Now I am a single parent – I went back to writing after 3 days of his death, in an attempt to block out all the confusion and gut wrenching pain. I continue to pursue my writing work with intensity and passion – as my clients will confirm. I have refused to relocate because I understand the difficulties of replacing the ‘infrastructure’ around me – clients, some friends, my daughter’s friends and her life, doctors and vets, and many other such supporting aspects.
Going back to work gave me the stability of a routine, and it felt a bit secure. It felt like a ‘break’ from the pain, the mind numbing torment, and the emptiness I felt. Of course, simple things like taking care of self – eating right, sleeping enough – were neglected, and, continues at times. I knew I needed something to keep me busier – people to speak with since I no longer had my love to share things. I have had to start dressing well again – at the cost of being judged by several nosy folk and prying eyes. I know in my heart I am doing the right thing – my daughter needs a stable home, a caring mum, and we both need an extremely safe future.
I refuse to get writing assignments based on sympathy – clients and businesses are not sympathetic anyway if you do not perform. I am now working hard at a new business too, learning more, and keeping my head high. Tears have not stopped flowing – I cry even because my daughter lost a loving father – it is unfair to her to grow up without him. With everything, that has happened and is happening, my adrenalin is pumping and I am unbelievably strong, thanks to my daughter, and whatever I hope to achieve for her.
What is it about writing that catches the fancy and imagination of so many?
For me writing is a plethora of things – freedom, creativity, financial gains, penning my thoughts and moods by way of a piece and also being able to capture the essences of the subject being ‘spoken’ about. It’s often not easy especially when the mood is downbeat and melancholic. Writing is toughest then.
What is most fascinating for me when I write is being alone – not lonely – alone. Together with and yet mysteriously aloof from all the things that surround me – I am detached. It’s possible for me to see and understand a lot more – something that cannot be strung together in words.
There are times when my mind shuts out the surroundings, blocks out the sounds and I feel in complete union and honesty with the words that flow through and out of me. I am guilty of feeling inexplicable annoyance for anything / anyone able to disrupt this ‘trance’ – of course it is my fault for not focusing enough.
Writing – it’s exciting. There are so many words and countless ways that they can be used together differently and have the power to elicit a range of emotions. As someone who writes, these limitless possibilities enthral me, intrigue and keep me humble. Writing – it’s uplifting – Cathartic even and I hope that I will and can continue stringing words together until it’s time to bid goodbye…
Values are defined as acceptable standards or behaviours, through the adherence of which one can stand out from the crowd. Each person holds something important to them – something will always have more significance than another aspect of one’s life. Some value people, others value material goods or objects and yet others hold thoughts and ideas in high esteem. It all really depends on what ‘seems’ important and each person has a different view. However, irrespective of what is considered a value, the fact about values is that they create harmony, unity and an all-encompassing oneness by the people that hold on to a set of values. Values transcend boundaries and bring like-minded people together allowing them to fulfil their personal and societal goals with a lot more ease, than if they tried to achieve something individually. It is true that values shape each individual and when a number of such individuals come together they are able to produce a ubiquitous effect of the value they consider important and critical to their individuality.
For society too, and in work life, it is becoming crucial to have shared values and certain guiding principles that will veer the behaviour of people towards a common goal and good. The inculcation of values must start at the most basic level – that is from the formative years of individuals – at schools. Children are extremely impressionable and will grow up to believe and practice whatever they are taught in their early years. Families, schools and the society must function as one cohesive unit to ensure that the children learn and adhere to values and the education system has a major role to play to maintain the consistency of thought, words and actions.
Shape the Children’s Young Minds:
The values that children are taught will shape their outlook, approach and overall behaviour towards themselves, their families and others. The more positive values children learn, the more disciplined and balanced they will be. They will make better and more informed choices and will grow up to be responsible citizens ready to face the challenges of life. As children start attending school, they spend a substantial number of hours away from home and begin to experience different scenarios, mind-sets and of course, values. Schools and the education system therefore, can and should have a powerful influence on the kind of values the children imbibe. The education system and the educators must remain aware of how their demeanour and display of values will affect the children and constantly endeavour to exhibit positive behaviour and values. Reinforcement of positive values is not only good education but lets the children know that things like integrity, honesty, trustworthiness and being conscientious should be non-negotiable. They grow up to be confident and self-reliant with enhanced ability to know right from wrong, stand up in the face of opposition and help those weaker than themselves. These strong behaviours make for happy individuals who are capable to affecting positive changes and who will never be influenced by trends, consumerism and the pressures applied by their peers. They will hold their ground, make their own decisions and would become positive and influential leaders.
The Education System can help:
We know that values cannot be separated from an individual and are an essential part of the personality. Education too is crucial and must have for every child and for the education system to claim that it is genuinely developing the children for the future it must strongly incorporate the dissemination of values. With technology, new-fangled ideas and changes in thinking becoming the norm, no doubt some of it is for the better, the role of values takes on an even more serious connotation. Just like teaching and learning are considered a continuous process, values too can never be treated as learnt with no improvements required. In fact, the current education system must adhere to values as a scientific process that requires constant learning, observation and analysis. The values must be so deeply entrenched that no amount of negative pressure and influence should be able to shake them. The adherence of values in and through the current education system is taking on even more significance. Given that technology and digitization has shrunk the world, people are becoming more independent and inter-dependent and unless there are a set of shared values it will become increasingly harder to live in peace and unity. The education system touches every aspect of a child’s life and therefore a curriculum that revolves around creating awareness not just about knowledge of the subjects but also how to develop one’s morality and personality is of more value.
The adherence of values starts with a child’s family but continues when the child steps out and enters school. The education system must be able to support the positive value system that the children have learnt hitherto. The role of the educators and the system as a whole is to show the children that values are not just meant to be spoken about but must be part of their very being for their development as smart and focused individuals.
The School Environment is Vital:
Children emulate what they see and when they begin schooling they spend a significant amount of time watching their teachers and elders. To better the current education system it would great for children to learn values and respect. By building an environment where positive values are the culture and norm the children will have clarity of thought and will not need to grapple with issues that they may have been unsure about. For example – schools now teach that bursting crackers on Diwali is wrong. There is no ambiguity – it is wrong for many reasons and children are even seen carrying out rallies trying to educate the elders in society about the harmfulness of bursting crackers. The adherence to such values helps children develop their minds and brain and be able to think independently of ‘popular beliefs’. The children of today are much smarter and seem to have a better grip on a number of issues – thanks to the easy access of information. However, there is a downside to this flow of information too – a lot of subjects that they should know and deal with later in life are also made available. It is here that the current education system must stand its ground and adhere to values to keep children from straying.
A sound education system, entrenched in positive values will be able to present the information in a more useable and friendly manner providing the pros and cons of each set of data. The current education system has now, much to the relief of parents, started sex education, which previously was a taboo subject. However, with the balanced views and proper education on what would constitute morality and what breaches the lines, children are growing up already understanding the dangers of trusting strangers and letting themselves loose. The education system starts with the infants – these little ones are taught basic values of honesty, not stealing, keeping their surroundings clean and maintaining personal hygiene. As they grow these values are continually built on by teaching the serious effects of non-adherence to them. When schools and the education system becomes a key partner with parents and society in building positive values, it will be hard for children to pick up wrong behaviours and behave contrary to the good being instilled. It is a lot easier to shape young minds than trying to change a negative that may have become part of the child’s personality. Educators have learned how to recognize negative behaviour and would be able to identify them if the child has imbibed them due to such conduct by an elder at home, which they may not even be aware of.
The teaching of values is an on-going, relentless and never-ending pursuit and hence teachers, families and the school curriculum must all work together as a cohesive unit to spread positive values in the children. The teaching of values must be as systematic and structured as the learning of any other subject or discipline, if the children are to see their significance and consider them vital for life. It is heartening to see children taking on the responsibility to change a number of things that are not right with society today. It may sound simple, but the issue of cleanliness for example on a countrywide level is no ‘child’s play’. The amount of debris and trash on the roads is acquiring scary proportions and children are getting actively involved in using their education to do away with this menace and nuisance. It is heartening to see that schools have been able to instil the value of ‘clean surroundings’ in the children but this is just the beginning. While there may be a lot to be desired from the current education system, it is good to notice this change and it would be beneficial to all if the adherence to values continues to remain a focal point.
Are you resting on your laurels as a company completely ‘secure’ that you have accomplished enough and don’t need to create or innovate to remain successful? Well, you couldn’t be more wrong. This thought process could have worked in the past when the number of products and companies were limited and simply tweaking the products and offerings sufficed to stay ahead. However, the market has changed significantly. It is the age of globalization and digitization and without innovation and sustainable creativity even survival would be only a dream.
The resources available to us are limited but the emergence of new technology and a spurt in new companies with varied products and services have increased the pressure on the resources. Given these factors, it has become imperative to think creatively and innovatively in order to improve efficiency, cut costs, increase productivity and encourage sustainability. Customer expectations have also changed – the customer of today is smart, tech-savvy and knows where to find the information they need. They are unwilling to settle for less or anything but the best. These new demands from and expectations of customers have also led to the innovation drive, as companies strive to gain market share, profits and veer customers away from competition and retain their existing customer base.
The major benefit of innovation for companies is that they would be able to ensure that their products and offerings stand head and shoulder above the crowd. Price wars are self-defeating and hence the only other way is to provide ingenious products that cannot be found elsewhere, services that no one else provide and top class customer service to match. While companies continue to strive to provide to customers what they continually expect, another great benchmark would be to observe and learn from competition. They could be doing something right and by doing it better, not only do companies prove their mettle in the realm of innovation but also are able to provide customized and personalized products and services that would have many takers in the market. Taking innovation few steps forward, companies can also create products before anyone else in the market does. In the words of Steve Jobs – “It’s really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” This is a highly innovative way of thinking and spelt success for his company.
Innovation is the key to advancement. An innovative mind-set does not only serve a company but individuals, the society and the world at large. Innovation focuses on improvement and as a result raises the standard and quality of living and provides opportunities to all to better their lives. Breakthroughs and successes are achieved with a mind-set of innovation, as people think of better ways to do things with reduced costs, minimal labour and efficient processes. With an innovative thought process, people discover opportunities that they did not know existed either currently or in the future. It is no wonder then that companies are increasingly including innovation as part of their overall business strategy and encouraging their employees and other business partners to all think beyond what is immediately apparent.
Innovation becomes a benchmark – people begin to regard you as a leader thereby enhancing your reputation and leading to greater success. This is true in both one’s professional and personal life.
“Self-confidence is the first requisite to great undertakings.” – Samuel Johnson
The quote above encompasses the essence of self-confidence and why it is so important for everyone. A lack of self-confidence puts people in a loop of failures and fears and such people seem to be stuck in a rut. Self-confidence is required in every realm of our life – even a young child needs to have it in order to take the first step in to the outside world when starting school. In adult life too, if you appear hesitant, nervous and overly rueful, people find it hard to work with you and you come across as being someone who will be incapable of taking decisions or doing anything independently. Conversely, people who appear sure of themselves, who seem to have answers and can take responsibility of things if and when they go wrong, are people who are respected and known to possess self-confidence.
It is said that you inspire in others what you are inside. So if you are a person who has self-confidence, your whole demeanour will reflect this and you will be able to inspire confidence in all those you meet and also garner their respect leading to your success. It is true that some people seem more confident than others even as kids but the good news is that this quality can be learned, built and sustained with the right techniques. Every effort made to gain and build on self-confidence is worth it. By my understanding, there are many reasons why each person must cultivate self-confidence.
- Self-confidence gives a person a great deal of happiness and allows the person to have a sense of joy and pleasure in whatever they do and undertake. They are sure of what the outcomes will be since they are controlling their actions.
- Having a sense of control, packs a punch. It allows a person to have a greater sense of worth for oneself. You learn to value yourself more and trust in your abilities. This in turn raises your self-esteem and lends a healthy pride to who you are as a person.
- Self-confidence rids you of nagging feelings of self-doubt. People who constantly ‘second guess’ themselves constantly feel stressed out and find themselves unable to achieve as much as they would like to or need to.
- Self-confidence is liberating and gives one a sense of freedom in the knowledge that they are strong and powerful. Challenges and problems don’t make them go weak and feel debilitated but rather spur them on to achieve greater heights. Such a person is naturally rid of useless fears and anxieties – the kind that riles and afflicts people who have low self-worth and confidence.
- People with a high level of self-confidence are also more comfortable socially. They are able to adapt to any kind of societal pressures and remain unaffected by the unreasonableness of others. This keeps them peaceful and in control.
- When the mind is without fear, the natural instinct becomes one of motivation and boosted energy. Self-confident people find it easier to achieve their goals and are more energized to help others achieve theirs too.
- People with self-confidence are more fun to be around. They are relaxed and are often the problem-solvers and the life of any gathering. Those around learn to respect and value such people.
- People with high self-confidence are able to sleep and have a better quality of life. It is a natural outcome of this trait.
BUILD self-confidence by recognizing your strengths and capabilities and also your shortcomings. Be aware of your words and body language and make improvements as your go along. Accept that failure is a part of life and that perfection is a myth. Strive to do your best – the outcomes will happen. Trust yourself more and don’t be afraid to make decisions and also take help when required. With clarity of mind, you will move ahead in life and develop self-confidence as time goes by.