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I HATE My Job – and the Solution!

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One of the blessings of what I do is that people share their deepest longings and darkest fears with me. I am the repository of many confidences and know the turmoil that lurks beneath many shiny ‘success’ stories.

One problem, in particular, bedevils many.

They toil in jobs that they mildly dislike, or feel disenchanted about and sometimes even hate. They would like to follow their ‘passion’ but feel stuck because ‘they need the income’ and can’t see how their ‘passion’ can provide this.

In my last blog – “What a Fool He Was. Or Was He?” – I spoke about someone who found a solution to this dilemma by walking away.

I also said that another solution is to really like – not ‘pretend like’ – what you actually do.

The question is how do you ‘like’ or even ‘love’ something that you have spent so much time decrying as something you are stuck in, something that you have to ‘endure’ because of some external consideration such as money or stability or security.

The way to do this is to change the way you think! Keep Reading

How to Deal With Fear and Anger After a Terrorist Attack

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The pictures are surreal even as the aftermath is gruesome. Three youths nonchalantly pushing airport luggage carts, calm and composed as they stare into middle distance.

And there are scenes of horrific destruction with dismembered bodies and weeping relatives after the suitcases on the carts exploded.

The incidents happen more frequently and countries that prided themselves as havens of tranquility find that the world outside cannot be kept out and intrudes noisily.

An elderly man, a war veteran, was choleric as he raged against ‘these beasts’ and bemoaned that he was too old to bear arms once again. When someone suggested that he feel compassion for all who had lost their lives including those who caused the mayhem, he foamed at the mouth. “I don’t want to feel compassion,” he screamed, “I want to (expletive deleted) them!”

He had a lot more to say about the ‘misguided’ idiots who refused to recognize the danger we were all in and wasted sympathy on terrorists. Many in earshot nodded in agreement.

We feel righteous. We have done nothing ‘wrong’, or at least nothing that calls for the level of wanton bloodletting that we witness. We need to stamp out this evil using overwhelming force if necessary. Keep Reading

What to do about the ‘beep’! How to let go of inner disturbance

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In my last post I described how we get upset when a motorist ‘beeps’ at us if we are slow to get moving when the light turns green.

Such a trivial event has the ability to disturb our equanimity.

What about more ‘serious’ events like your messy divorce proceeding, business reverses or career setbacks?

I am going to speak about an important step you can take to ‘let go’ of the inner disturbance that life produces so, so often.

Wanting to ‘let it go’ is not the same thing as being able to do so. I will say more about this in a future post.

So here is something that can help you.

Step 1: Examine your life as it is right now and make a list of all the things that disturb you with some predictability.

For example: you may are bothered by your daughter refusing to take college seriously and hanging out with a boyfriend you think unsuitable; or you get angry/depressed at how things are at work and feel your career has been derailed; or you have concerns about your relationship with your spouse and wonder if you should stay in your marriage; or whatever. Keep Reading

Letting go: It’s only a ‘beep’! But what a lesson it carries!!

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Alan Gassman, a prominent Florida attorney, took my capstone program Creativity and Personal Mastery a few years ago. Shortly thereafter he invited me to Tampa to meet some of his clients. He gave me a bunch of books that had an impact on him and among them was an inconspicuous paperback with a light blue cover. It was called ‘The Untethered Soul’ and was by someone called Michael Singer.

I gave many talks during that visit and an affable gentleman, who had asked some really good questions, came up to me afterward and asked me if I had read a book called ‘The Untethered Soul’. I assured him that I had not.

I came back to New York and discovered that I had two copies of ‘The Untethered Soul’ on my bookshelves. I buy lots of books and my wife is convinced that Amazon’s share price run-up is entirely due to my activity. Somehow, somewhere, something had made enough of an impression on me that I actually ordered the book. Twice.

I can recognize when the Universe is nudging me.

I read the book. It instantly made it to the ‘life-changing books’ section of my syllabus. I have since recommended it to many. Andre Vogtlin, an executive recruiter based in Basel who is also an alumnus of my program, called it ‘spiritual TNT’.  I concur.

‘The Untethered Soul’ is not a book to read. It is something that you have to let seep into you so that it permeates your entire being. When and if you do, a transformation will occur that cannot be described. It can only be experienced.

Two weeks ago I got on a plane to Gainesville, Florida. I just had to meet Michael Singer. Mickey, as he prefers to be called, had graciously agreed to a private meeting. Afterward he took me in his car to show me around the Temple property and we talked about many things and he acquiesced to remaining in touch.

He has a way of driving home the ridiculous predicaments we are all stuck in and the ridiculously easy way to get ourselves unstuck.

The paradox is that it is both supremely easy and exceptionally difficult at the same time.

Here is one of the game changers he threw out in his talk at the temple on the Sunday I visited.

You are driving and stopped at a red light when your smart phone vibrates. You take a quick glance at it and your brain registers that it is a message you have to respond to. Even as you do this there is beep from the car behind you. The light has changed.

You shake your head and move on. “Geez,” you think. “What’s with that guy? Where the hell does he think he’s going and who the hell does he think he is? People are so impatient these days.”

When he pulls up beside you at the next light you glare at him. He studiously avoids looking at you.

That beep bothered you. It threw you off your stride. It colored your day and made it a little worse.

It’s just a trivial beep. If you let that upset you, what will happen when you have to deal with your ex-husband or your contentious son or your irritated boss?

No wonder we are all stressed out and desperately seeking to meditate or be mindful or practice Yoga as a way to hold it all together.

There is an astonishingly simple way out. There is a brief moment, when you hear the beep when you can decide “Am I going to let this disturb me?”

You can decide that you will not let it disturb you and relax into the entity that hears the beep and watches you decide to let it go.

You can also decide not to let your irritated boss or your contentious son or your ex-husband disturb you.

This does not mean that you don’t do what you have to. It does mean that you do it from the knowledge that you are doing what you can in the best way that you can and you are at peace with the outcome, whatever it may be. It does not disturb your equanimity because you have decided that it will not.

It really is that simple.

It is ridiculously easy.

It is unbelievably hard.

There is one thing you can do, starting right away, that will help you practice letting go. I will tell you what it is in my next post.

If you are impatient and cannot wait, send an email to my trusty right hand person – Janelle Light – at Janelle.Light@theraoinstitute.com with the subject “I am impatient – please send it to me right away”.

Peace!

It’s Holiday Season – Don’t Make the Mistake I Made

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I made a bunch of phone calls this week but reached few of the persons I wanted to. Companies are slowing down and executives are more concerned with holiday plans than business.

My wife is in California visiting our daughter and I am holding the fort in New York looking after my mother-in-law who is the most good-natured and undemanding elder relative you can hope to find.

And I am also taking stock and acknowledging the many blessings in my life. And I am remembering my friend.

We had known each other for more than three decades and met socially many times in the early days.

Then he moved west and I moved east so geography intervened. I used to joke that New York was close to the largest toxic dump in the world – a dump called New Jersey. As a new resident of that state he did not agree.

We met for lunch two or three times a year. He would drive more than two-thirds of the way braving both river crossings. Sometimes the trip would take him two hours each way but he never complained or suggested that perhaps I could come closer to him the next time.

We had deep conversations. We discussed family and philosophy and business and where we were headed in our lives.

When I was passing through a turbulent phase in my life he found his own gentle way of supporting me. He was unfailingly encouraging and frequently gave me examples of how something I had told him made a big impact on his life. He was not lying, nor was he flattering. He was trying to get me to expand my thinking to reach more people. And reassuring me that I was OK.

We were supposed to meet one day but something intervened so I asked if we could re-schedule. He was leaving on an international trip so we agreed to meet on his return.

He emailed me when he got back and we scheduled but I canceled again. He sent me alternate dates but none of them worked for me. He called me to set something up in real time. I explained that several projects were coming to a head at the same time so could we meet in six months.

Of course he agreed readily. He emailed me again in a few months and I meant to reply but, somehow, it got lost in my in-box and I never replied.

He called me from Florida where he was vacationing and we had a brief conversation because I was interrupted by another call. We agreed to meet on his return.

I dropped the ball again.

I was in London on a business trip. I came across his old email and determined that we absolutely should get together. It had now been more than two years since our last meeting. 

The next day my wife called me. He had passed away peacefully and she wanted to know if I would be back for the funeral service.

Pancreatic cancer moves swiftly. He was pretty far gone when he called me from Florida. I keep wondering if he would have told me about it if I had not abruptly ended our call.

And I kick myself for not knowing, for not being there for him whereas he always made time for me when I needed it.

And he was gone before I could say goodbye or let him know how much I valued his friendship.

Life always encroaches. The ‘urgent’ rides roughshod over us and sidelines the ‘important.’

There is someone in your life who is important to you. You wish him – or her – well and love him dearly. But you have not made the phone call or sent him the email to let him know this.

You want to. You mean to. But something always intervenes and you resolve to do it ‘tomorrow.’

Sometimes tomorrow never comes.

So, reach out to that person TODAY. Draft and send that email. Make the phone call. Don’t set yourself up for unending regret. You will bring joy to his life.

And to yours.

Peace to you and yours.

Srikumar Rao