Self-development

Simplify your Work & Life Forever – The Only Choice that Matters

September 20 in Career, Clarity, Self-development, Success by Shweta HandaGupta No Comments

Work and life is often slave not to the really big decisions but to the small little choices that keep battering you every day, every moment. They keep eating into my bandwidth and, according to scientific research, mental capacity too.

Some decisions I eliminate from my life (inspired by Obama’s standard grey/blue suits), millions of micro decisions are left to my brain’s powerful, yet not fully reliable, autopilot mode and the big ones always manage to get the necessary attention they need. Yet there remain moments each day when I make choices, not always easy ones.

I recently found the answer to all my troubles (literally) in a status I’d put up on facebook three years ago. It has helped simplify my life so immensely that even at the risk of using a cliché that I so dislike I would call it a mantra, a hack, a shortcut to my dilemmas. And here it is.

The only choice that needs making is choosing between what you want NOW and what you want MOST. For every business decision that seems tricky, every time temptation crosses your path, every time you feel unfocussed, this question will put things into perspective like magic –  How does what I want NOW impact what I want MOST?

The NOW is tempting and will beckon you like a siren. A simple mental reminder of what you want MOST is sometimes all it takes to rewire the brain’s response. The vision of achieving what you want MOST can protect you from the lure of giving in to the NOW. The power of this choice is so amazing that every decision has become easier. From the business decision that will yield powerful long term results over the short-term foolishness to going to the gym instead of lolling about, it takes care of it all.

Here’s wishing you power, productivity, discipline, focus and crystal clear perspective as you focus on what you want most.

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6 Neuroscientifically Proven Habits to Enhance your Mental Powers

June 24 in Career, Leadership, Self-development, Success by Shweta HandaGupta No Comments

By Shweta Handa-Gupta

Now, more than ever, we need mental super powers as our brain struggles to be agile, to innovate, connect, focus, remember, learn, strategize, be present… Here is a list of the six most powerful habits that will help you supercharge your mental powers.

I. Reflect – In our execution driven busy lives, we often neglect to pause and reflect. Taking out time to reflect, to simply sit and think, helps us in multiple ways.
o Reflecting on our experiences allows us to draw lessons from them.
o Reflection on our learning helps create mental connections and moves them into our long-term memory where they are available as retrievable wisdom and generate powerful insights.
o Self-reflection or introspection leads to higher meta-cognitive accuracy or, in simple words, higher self-awareness. Higher meta-cognitive accuracy has been shown to increase grey matter in the anterior pre-frontal cortex (involved in problem-solving, exploring alternatives, planning, attentional resource allocation etc.).
Start by keeping aside 10 minutes a day to reflect on your experiences, key lessons and, most importantly, introspect. Writing down or journaling can further enhance the results.

II. Read – Reading is powerful brain exercise since it is a complex task that requires several regions of the brain to work together. In a study at Stanford University MRI mapping showed a noticeable rise in overall blood flow to the brain the moment participants began to read. To maximize the brain benefits of your reading try to get out of your comfort zone and expand your reading list to include unfamiliar topics.

III. Question – Curiosity is the cornerstone of genius ability for it keeps the mind in an active mode. Curiosity when expressed as constructive questioning makes your mind more observant and magnifies your learning from every experience. It also helps you be more flexible by diminishing the brain’s natural resistance to new and unknown ideas.
Staying curious is not easy since we naturally seek certainty. Doubt is an uncomfortable state and ‘knowing’ is always more comfortable. Next time you catch yourself slipping into the comfort zone, remember, recognizing that you don’t know is the first step to ‘knowing’.
Use questions not only to explore and understand the world around you but also question yourself. Question your long-held beliefs, behaviours and feelings to understand their origins and influence. You might be surprised.

IV. Stretch Your Mind – Play complex games and solve puzzles to keep exercising your mind. Remember, your mind, like the muscles in your body, will only develop when it is stretched to its limit. Continuously increase the difficulty levels of the game or puzzle to keep challenging your brain.
Also, reduce your use of simplifying devices such as the calculator, GPS etc. to only when it’s absolutely necessary.

V. Exercise – Scientists have linked physical exercise to brain health for long. Exercise releases a host of chemicals and hormones that help reduce stress, improve cognition and promote brain regeneration. Aerobic exercise stimulates the production of a protein known as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BNDF) that has been associated with preserving brain cells, improved memory function and neurogenesis (growth and adaption of new brain cells).
Simply, physical exercise helps generate both grey matter and white matter (white matter connects grey matter areas & carries nerve impulses between neurons). If you prefer weight or resistance training, remember to add a bit (10 minutes) of aerobic exercise to your routine to jumpstart your heart and sweat glands.

VI. Fantasize – Imagination exercises use a neural network that engages all four hemispheres of our mind.* Using your imagination, spinning stories and weaving fantasies strengthens neural connections, improves brain function and significantly enhances your capacity for original thought.
Interestingly, research has found that thinking about an activity triggers the same part of the brain used when we actually perform the activity. This means that you can use the power of imagination at any time to further enhance your brain development. (This does not mean that you substitute imagination for real practice!)
These habits will serve to super-power your Brain and none of them needs to occupy too much time in your schedule. Reflection, questioning and using your imagination can be integrated into your daily activities and performed at any moment during your day. Start small with reading, exercise and solving complex puzzles and build up as best you can.
Even as you practice all of these, do not compromise on your sleep. Sleep is consolidation and regeneration time for your brain and helps improve learning and memory. Sleep is also essential to creativity since it helps you form novel connections to seemingly unrelated ideas.

Wish you a contemplative, imaginative, curious, active and challenging day.

 *The logical left and creative right brain is a Myth! To know more about how most activities we perform in life need intricate integration of both hemispheres visit the QuadraBrain® Whole Brain Thinking tab here (www.quadrabrain.com/about-us/).

©2015 Shweta HandaGupta. All rights reserved

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Secret Formula To Create Your Own Good Luck

March 11 in Career, Coaching, Self-development, Success by Shweta HandaGupta 3 Comments

I’ve heard a lot of conversations about luck recently and have been reading a lot of comments about luck on professional networking forums. I thought I’ll share the secret formula to create your own Good Luck!! It works! So go out there and get lucky!!

Step 1 – Know your Goal. Setting your goals right and setting the right goals is the first step towards achieving them.

Step 2 – Visualize Its Achievement – Visualizing the achievement of your goal helps you in multiple ways. It motivates you to get started, helps you define outcomes and most of all imagining an action and doing it are integrated and engage the same neural pathways in our brain. Studies have shown that both require the same sensory and motor programs, so by imagining your actions, you are helping prepare your brain for the real thing!! Clearly imagine yourself having achieved your goal, think and feel it, observe what you are doing and what’s happening in your vision.

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5 Things that can make you Happy… Everyday!!

November 26 in Self-development, Success by Shweta HandaGupta No Comments

November 30, 2012 by Shweta Handa-Gupta

Take time out in the morning to plan your day. Then pick up the one thing you have to (but don’t really want to) do and get it done.  You’ll be surprised at how much lighter, more focussed and happier you feel all day. Not to mention the time you’ll save that you may have spent fretting about it, finding excuses to procrastinate and feeling guilty about not getting round to doing it.

Expect the best from every person you meet. It will show (whether you realize it or not!!) and people almost always live up to expectations – good or bad.

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The Entrepreneurship ‘ADVENTURE’

September 27 in Career, Leadership, Self-development, Success by Shweta HandaGupta No Comments

September 27, 2012 by Shweta Handa-Gupta

Entrepreneurship, the dream and new success mantra of professional graduates and existing CEOs alike. However, for every entrepreneur that succeeds, there is a larger number that don’t. So what does it take to become a successful entrepreneur? One thing that clearly emerged from my research in this area is that the skills necessary to run a business aren’t always the same skills that are needed to start one. I’ve met brilliant CEOs who grew and built businesses for others and were very good at what they did. But not all of them did as well when they decided to strike out on their own and I know of quite a few eminent examples who returned (wisely) back to running businesses for someone else.

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Why The Feedback Your Senior Leadership Is Getting May Not Be Good Enough!!

June 26 in Career, Coaching, Leadership, Self-development, Success by Shweta HandaGupta No Comments

June 26, 2012 by Shweta Handa-Gupta

Feedback is a common topic of discussion with most top leaders. Most are happy to get some unbiased straight talk about themselves but there are also those who are reluctant to question their self-concept.  However, when provided real examples, many embark on a self-realization journey.  In the Indian context, in fact in a lot of other places too, honest improvement feedback is rarely forthcoming for people who’ve reached a significantly high position. Juniors don’t want to offend you and seniors, if any, don’t really supervise your activities that closely.

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Dealing With Difficult People

March 1 in Career, Leadership, Self-development, Success by Shweta HandaGupta No Comments

March 1, 2012 by Shweta Handa-Gupta

“In the school of life, difficult people are the faculty. They teach us our most important lessons, the lessons that we would be most unlikely to learn on our own.”

~Mark I. Rosen

Dealing with difficult people is, perhaps, one of the biggest challenges of our lives – be it when establishing yourself at a new job, leading a team, managing a business or in our personal life.  Almost always a time consuming or emotionally draining prospect, it’s a common practice for us to avoid it till it becomes inevitable.

But when you are able to manage these situations, or more appropriately manage yourself and your responses in these situations, you can make life less stressful and also begin to build new possibilities.

The art of handling difficult people can be mastered by focussing on three aspects – the other person, the self and the response.

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Driving Personal Change in 2012

January 2 in Career, Coaching, Leadership, Self-development, Success by Shweta HandaGupta No Comments

January 2, 2012 by Shweta Handa-Gupta

New Year Resolutions!!! Just a cliché? Another ritual you go through knowing it won’t matter? Or something you do with full earnestness? (even if you aren’t always able to stick to them)

New Year is one of the few festivals that celebrates the passage of time, and makes us think of the year that presents itself before us. I like to use this opportunity to revisit my commitment to personal growth and set up a framework to ensure I utilize the New Year effectively to drive my goals.

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Coaching Mentoring for Excellence

December 7 in Career, Coaching, Leadership, Self-development, Success by Shweta HandaGupta 1 Comment

by Shweta HandaGupta

“Till you spread your wings, you will have no idea how far you can fly”

 Coaching and Mentoring are being increasingly recognized as important for the overall development of individuals. These terms are often used loosely and interchangeably but are very different from each other. While there are overlaps, each has its own value and it is important to understand which one we need before we embark on a mentoring or coaching relationship.

Mentoring is the download of knowledge, skills, information and perspective on a particular topic or area from a typically more senior/knowledgeable person to another and is useful in the following situations. If you are:

  • Seeking to learn from someone else’s existing knowledge or expertise
  • Seeking area/topic specific guidance
  • Seeking to learn and take guidance from someone successful.

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Finding Focus

October 10 in Career, Self-development, Success by Shweta HandaGupta No Comments

October 10, 2011 by Shweta Handa-Gupta

The key to success is to focus our conscious mind on things we desire not things we fear. ~Brian Tracy

Focus, Focus, Focus!! How often have you heard that said? Focus is the new mantra. But equally I hear people say ‘I can’t seem to focus!!’ The world seems to be competing with you for your attention all the time:). And this will just get more intense with the increasing proliferation of digital media.

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The Art of Communication

September 7 in Career, Leadership, Self-development, Success by Shweta HandaGupta No Comments

September 7, 2011 by Shweta Handa-Gupta

“The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn’t being said. “
Peter Drucker

Do you feel misunderstood? Are people just not ‘getting it’? Has it ever occurred to you that maybe you are not expressing it in a way that people can understand? The ability to be able to present our ideas in an unambiguous, easy to understand manner is important in every aspect of our lives.

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Stop Stressing, Start Living

June 9 in Career, Self-development, Success by Shweta HandaGupta No Comments

June 9, 2011 by Shweta Handa-Gupta

“Stress is not what happens to us. It’s our response TO what happens. And RESPONSE is something we can choose” ~Maureen Killoran

We all get stressed at some point in our lives, some more than others. In today’s uncertain and competitive times, stress tops the list as the cause of lifestyle related health issues. ‘The silent killer’, as stress has been called, is on the prowl and here is how you can protect yourself.

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Mastering The Time Management Myth

April 4 in Career, Leadership, Self-development, Success by Shweta HandaGupta No Comments

April 4, 2011 by Shweta Handa-Gupta

How often have you wished there was just half an hour more in the day? Is there so much to be done on your ever-growing to-do list that there’s no way you can get through all of it?!! Time, the one resource that most people wish they had more of, and the one resource that money can’t buy!! The first step is to understand that time is a finite resource and we can’t ‘manage’ time. What we can ‘manage’ is ourselves and our energy. Here are some tips to utilize this limited resource more effectively.

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Starting Smart – Make an Impact at your New Job

March 28 in Career, Self-development, Success by Shweta HandaGupta No Comments

March 28, 2011 by Shweta Handa-Gupta

Congratulations, you’ve taken your first step to success, you’ve landed that job. You obviously managed to impress people in the interview, that’s why you are here. So, are you asking yourself questions like – Will I fit in? How will my co-workers view me? Will I be able to live up to the expectations I set in the interview? (Let’s be honest, many of us oversell ourselves during the interview) Or are you confident that you are going to be amongst the best?

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Essentials of Personal Effectiveness for Success PART 2

January 27 in Career, Leadership, Self-development, Success by Shweta HandaGupta No Comments

January 27, 2011 by Shweta Handa-Gupta

* Bringing out the Best in You *

Thank you for your tremendous response to the first part of the Essentials of Personal Effectiveness series. Your stories have been an inspiration to me and I present here more information to help you increase personal effectiveness and remove barriers that may be holding you back.

I) Don’t stereotype your Critics – We often distort people whom we have conflicts with. Once we have built our mental image of the person, we begin to perceive his/her actions/incidents in a manner that would confirm the image we’ve built up. Colleagues whose agendas seem to oppose our own are not necessarily our enemies. Similarly, people who cannot see the point behind our brilliant ideas are not necessarily intellectually inferior :)

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Essentials of Personal Effectiveness for Success PART 1

January 6 in Career, Leadership, Self-development, Success by Shweta HandaGupta No Comments

January 6, 2011 by Shweta Handa-Gupta

* Bringing out the Best in You *

Ambition has always been one of the greatest drivers of growth for humankind. Which one of us does not aspire to get the most out of our abilities to achieve success? The desire for achievement can only be fulfilled if we first master ourselves and school the self to extract the talent that resides in us.

It is to this end that a study of the factors that enhance personal effectiveness was embarked on and the results follow. Below are some tips that will help you to most efficiently put your personal resources at work and remove the barriers that may be holding you back from reaping the fruits of your complete potential.

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Multi-Specialists – Winning the Specialist Vs Generalist Debate

December 23 in Career, Leadership, Self-development, Success by Shweta HandaGupta No Comments

by Shweta Handa-Gupta

Top Reasons Why Being A Multi-Specialist Pays

In this world of specialists is the Renaissance Man dead? Is Da Vinci – painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist and writer still relevant in the modern world? Generalists have often claimed him for their own especially in battles with specialists but I do not think Da Vinci was a generalist or even a specialist. He was multi-talented and definitely a multi-specialist.

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