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Personal Mastery for extraordinary impact

As human beings we are torn. We want more stuff, better relationships, richer experiences and to be known and appreciated and applauded. Our insecurities are legion and they hound us into frenetic activity as we try to quiet the shrieking, howling feverish monkey of our mind.

Dr. Rao's Featured Talks View all

You are not going anywhere!

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I am a public speaker and I frequently used the example of a hamster on a wheel to illustrate our tendency to get caught up in frantic activity while going nowhere.

Virtually everybody could relate to the example.

In fact, hamster-on-a-wheel has become shorthand for a meaningless life filled with unfulfilling action.

An alumnus of my program challenged me. “Professor Rao, the hamster isn’t trying to go somewhere. He is simply exercising and having a fun time.”

And there is a lesson here for you and me and everyone else.

We are going to die someday. Could be tomorrow, could be next week, could be decades from now.

For whatever reason – karma, destiny, happenstance – we are in our present predicament. We frequently feel that we are spinning helplessly because we want to get somewhere but are unable to. And a sense of futility arises.

Turn it around. Do the activity to the best of your ability but give up the attachment to any particular outcome.

The result you want may appear. Or it may not.

Focus on enjoying the activity and doing it to the best of your ability.

Your life will improve. You will be a hamster on the wheel that is having a rip-roaring time.

Peace!

We All Make the Same Mistake

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Srikumar Rao Blog

We rush through life desperately striving and achieving. We are on the go, on the run striving to be more productive. Time is a precious resource and we want to make sure that we fill each minute with sixty seconds worth of distance run.

But we just might be making a big mistake.

I elaborate on this in a 120 second video.

You Can’t Solve Internal Problems Through Outward Achievements

If this video resonated with you and you would like more in the same vein please click here!

When everything goes wrong and it's every day

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Every Day Tactics for Dealing With Stress

I am reading a moving, sad-funny-inspirational account of someone who hit rock-bottom and then bounced back. Of course, the depth that he reached does not compare to the really destitute in a third world country, but let that pass for now.

He was a 52-year-old attorney whose practice was floundering. 30 years after graduating from a prestigious Law School he had difficulty making ends meet. His clients were not paying what they owed. And they were not dream clients who were a pleasure to work with; he scrambled for work and took what he got.

He was forced to move to a dingy apartment where the air-conditioning barely worked and which felt like a sauna or a deep freeze depending on the season. His second wife lived in the house he moved out of and he could not afford the alimony or the child support. He could barely make payroll. One of his clients was suing him. It was a frivolous suit but he still had to hire an attorney to defend him and that was more cash out the door.

He met a wonderful woman whom he started to like and she broke off with him shortly before Christmas. He looked at his collections and disbursements and realized that, after subtracting rent, payroll and other expenses he had been working 60 plus hours a week for the whole year for nothing. He was also obese and unhealthy.

On a whim he started to do something that he had thought about for a long time but never implemented. His life began to change immediately. Within a year he experienced financial gain, weight loss, true friendship and inner peace.

Are you curious about what he did and whether this could work for you?

Read his account in 365 Thank Yous: The year a simple act of daily gratitude changed my life.

It is by John Kralik and published by Hyperion, 2010.

Each day he wrote a thoughtful, sincere Thank You note to someone who had affected him in some way. These were hand-written, not emails, and he put much care into the wording. They were heartfelt.

How his life turned around would be a spoiler so I will desist from sharing.

But I will say that the underlying theme is a core part of all my programs. When you start focusing on appreciating what others have done for you, there is a sharp decrease in lamentation about your own sorry state.

When you move from bemoaning your misfortune to recognizing the goodness of others you occupy a different emotional domain.

And, this is the key, the universe responds automatically and fast to accommodate the new persons you are becoming.

You cannot be depressed when you are being appreciative and expressing this sincerely.

We spend way too much time railing about the two or three things that we think are ‘wrong’ in our lives and ignore the 40 to 200 things that are pretty good about.

Flip this around. Before you go to bed, consciously feel grateful for the many good things in your life. This is not an intellectual exercise so you are not allowed to think gratitude. You actually have to feel it.

And then, when you wake up, do it again instead of immediately rushing out to the space of there-is-too-much-to-do-and-I-don’t-have-time-to-do-it-all.

See what a huge difference this will make in your life.

What do people really think of you?

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My capstone program – Creativity and Personal Mastery – gives you very powerful tools that will absolutely transform your life for the better. An early assignment, before we meet for the first time, calls for admitted participants to list what they would like to get from it.

A surprisingly large number say that they are concerned about what persons think of them. They would like to improve other’s perception of themselves.

Be honest now. Don’t you want to know what other’s think of you?

I know the answer to that. I know what others think of you. Trust me on this one.

And the answer is (drumroll please) they are NOT thinking of you!

We go through life all wrapped up in The-Movie-of-My-Life. We think everyone is watching this movie but they are actually watching The-Movie-of-Their-Life and in this movie you figure as a bit-player if you figure at all.           

Early in one class Clarice challenged me on a point in an article we were discussing. I politely set her straight but she insisted that she was correct. My teaching assistant brought up the article on the screen and, sure enough, she was off base. Her face turned red in embarrassment.

We moved on. Clarice stopped speaking altogether. We write a retrospective for the class and, in her retrospective, she mentioned that everyone noticed how ‘stupid’ she was and thought that she really did not belong.

Fortunately we had a celebratory party a week later and I asked a group of participants about the incident. Not one person remembered it. When I firmly jogged their memory by narrating full details, a few of them vaguely recalled it and none of them thought any worse of Clarice as a result.

Clarice retreated into a shell based on her worldview of how persons perceived her and this was constructed of whole cloth entirely between her ears!!

This is true of your life as well.

Here is a simple way you can test this. Recall an incident in your life – about a year or more ago – when you committed a faux pas. Perhaps you were maladroit in a social situation or bungled an important presentation or got drunk and made a fool of yourself.

Go to persons who were present and gently probe their recollections. I will wager that the majority doesn’t even recollect what you are talking about.

So cease lament. Drop this heavy load that you carry around with you every day. Stop worrying about what people think of you. They don’t think of you.

If you make a blooper and persons laugh? Celebrate this. You have made some people happier for an instant. Tomorrow they will sink back into their lives of quiet desperation and forget about you and what you did.

Your challenge is to not be quietly desperate yourself. And you will have taken an important step on this path when you stop thinking of what they are thinking of you!

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