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Possibility Thinking – A sine qua non

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I would like to start my blog with a famous story of two salesmen who were sent to Africa by a shoe manufacturing company. Both reach Africa to explore the market opportunities. Surprisingly, both present divergent perspectives on their market research findings, when they speak to their managers.While one excitedly looked at the opportunities the continent offered for developing the shoe business, the other one cribbed about the lack of opportunities, as no one wore shoes! For him, it was impossible to sell an unknown product to such customers. So here, one saw possibility while the other didn’t.

  • ‘Possibility thinking’ goes beyond ‘Positive Thinking’.

Whenever we hit the end of the road, we generally say, “I am stuck, what do I do now, to get out of this situation?” We begin to feel like victims. However, if we use possibility thinking, the same situation can have innumerable solutions.

HOW?

Possibility thinking is a simple practice – which I call ‘Walking Talking’ meditation. We need to prime our brain to use possibility thinking every moment e.g. when watching a TV show, I look at those aspects of the show which I can correlate to my outer world and question myself, how can this correlation help me improve my overall quality of life or to solve a problem that I face every now and then.

  • How possibility thinking benefited my friend?

Not only do I use possibility thinking extensively in my own life, but I also influence my family and friends to apply it at all times. Though, the concept is so simple to use, very few use it. It can be used as a self coaching tool and also an effective instrument for leaders to help their peers and juniors to break out of the rut.But for doing that we need to have a good amount of knowledge to connect the dots to culminate the random thoughts into possibility thinking.  This way, it becomes our new way of life.

My dear friend who is an educationist was once narrating an incident about her mobile data possibility thinking story. Her usual internet usage is restricted to wi-fi which is easily available in her office and home. But on few occasions, when she couldn’t book a cab, she realized that it was important for her to have at least a basic mobile data pack. On enquiry, her telecom service provider offered her the cheapest Rs. 150 data plan which in her case was of no use.

She wanted a data plan which offered her flexibility and convenience of using it whenever she needed. With this question in mind, she went to the store.To her surprise, after little resistance, the customer care eventually offered her a reshuffle plan which allowed her to use internet only when she needed it. Though some part of her data plan still remains unutilized, but she is happy. She had found a possibility!

  • Seasoned professionals also forget this simple practice:

On the professional front, I met a Senior Human Resource professional of a leading MNC in Mumbai. She was really frustrated with her new junior who was taking undue credit for work done by her. My coaching session started with me asking a very basic question, “What actions have you taken to resolve this issue?”

As she was going through an emotional turmoil, her thinking had become foggy. She had got into victim mode! She had not thought of any possible steps to resolve the issue. I then asked her, “Do you send status updates of the work you are doing to your boss?” I never expected the answer to be in negative, especially from a seasoned human resource professional like her. As she was not updating her boss regularly about her contributions; her boss obviously ignored her work in the organisation.

  • Task master to a friend:

A senior auditor who works with one of my clients was labelled as a fault finder by his colleagues. After my session on possibility thinking; instead of finding faults he actually teamed up with procurement team to find alternate fruit vendors to save on the organisational expenditure on procuring and servicing fruits to employees. He initiated this just to test the efficiency of the concept, but both he and the organisation were eventually benefited because of this exercise. People see him differently now – A fault finder converted to a solution provider.

In a nutshell, we can say, “Possibility thinking is a tool which when effectively inculcated in our day today life will definitely help us to get out of the rut and think creatively.  We will always feel motivated and thus see enhancement in our overall quality of life.”

By  Dr.Niloufar Aga

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Personal Leadership: Using my strengths to achieve peak performance

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In the corporate world the word “Personal Leadership” is a new lingo to use. Personal leadership is growing the leader within YOU. When you practice personal leadership traits, you lead from inside out. Therefore, I thought of penning down some real life practices of an Icon who rewrote the game of boxing, which earned him the name of “The Greatest”.

Muhammad Ali  was crowned “Sportsman of the Century” by Sports Illustrated and “Sports Personality of the Century” by the BBC. Ali began training when he was just 12 years old and at the age of 22, he already had won the world heavyweight championship in 1964. Ali remains the only three-time lineal World Heavyweight Champion.

Ali’s golden principle for personal leadership: Identify-Attain Mastery-Reinvent

  • Identifying your personal boxing style:

Corporate world is a world of cut throat competition and it is a world where you need to know what you are good at. What is your strength, your own boxing style and how to use this strength repeatedly in your battles?

Ali did it very efficiently in his entire professional career; he had an unorthodox boxing style for a heavyweight, his catchphrase “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee,” won him many laurels. Ali relied early in his career on his superior hand speed, superb reflexes and constant movement, dancing and circling opponents, lashing out with quick unpredictable angles. His footwork was so strong that it was extremely difficult for opponents to cut down the ring and corner Ali against the ropes. You too identify your personal style and fight your battle in your own way.

  • Attain Mastery

Today the world is looking for a combination of “Jack of all trades and Master of ONE”. It is very important to grow and attain self-mastery or signature style.

Darrell Foster, who trained Will Smith for the movie Ali, said: “Ali’s signature punches were the left jab and the overhand right. But there were at least six different ways Ali used to jab. Most popularly known as ‘snake lick,’ – a jab like a cobra striking and rapid-fire jab – three to five jabs in succession rapidly fired at opponents’ eyes to create a blur in his face.” He attained mastery in his style and pinned his opponents. Hence, it is important to focus and strengthen your strength to attain mastery.

  • Reinvent your style

Reinvent your style and use it again to be relevant. Ali became a different fighter after the three and half year layoff. This physical change led to the “rope-a-dope” strategy, where Ali would lie back on the ropes, cover up to protect himself and conserve energy, and tempt opponents to punch themselves out. Of his later career, Arthur Mercante said: “Ali knew all the tricks. He was the best fighter I ever saw in terms of clinching. Most guys are just in there fighting, but Ali had a sense of everything that was happening, almost as though he was sitting at ringside analyzing the fight while he fought it.” This helped him stay on the top of his league throughout.

Now, introspect what is your personal style? Are you focusing and strengthening enough, because Personal Leadership is not a training it’s a trait that has to be acquired and used over a period of time to attain mastery.

By Sharat Paul

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