Are You a “Scaredy Cat?” Pt. 1

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– ­By Thirumur David Kiran

 

A few months back, I reached a pretty alarming conclusion: I don’t like risks.

Scratch that…I hate risks!

In fact, I’ll say it again. I HATE RISKS!

I once maintained that “hate” was a very strong word and should only be used for things such as “crimes against humanity” or “cats” (yes, I am a dog person). Yet I came to see that for me, risks fall under this category as well. Do we not do everything in our power to avoid the things that we hate? If this is the criterion, then it is safe to say that I really do hate risks, for I do everything possible to avoid them.

I’ve not been a risk-taker in the slightest! I fear to take risks because of the logical danger that it holds:

  • I am scared of boats for fear of falling into the water and drowning.
  • I am scared of heights for fear that I might fall.
  • I am scared of trying new things for fear of failure.
  • I am scared of reaching out for fear of rejection.
  • In short, I am scared of taking risks for the fact that there is risk involved.

I guess that makes me a scaredy cat!—And I don’t even like cats! (Apologies to the cat lovers out there)

And I am not alone in this.

As soon as this realization set in, I determined to test it. I asked some hypothetical risk scenario-based questions to a group of students at one of my talks the next day. From the answers that I received from the 200 students in that room I realized that I was not alone in my fear of risks.

But that’s not all. Studies have shown that while the average adolescent may be psychologically predisposed to doing risky things, our desire for stability and safety and knowledge of responsibility kick in once we lose our pimples and our initial facial stubble. The average adult human is perfectly happy to go through life without ever having to take a risk.

In short, we are all scaredy cats as well!

But stop for a minute and think about a world without risks. It would be a world without adventure, a world without success, a world without progress, a world without growth, a world without fun, a world without—dare I say it—purpose.

The paradox of life is that, as much as we don’t like risks, taking risks is what brings about progress and growth in our lives. It is also risk that brings us adventure and joy. In fact, scientists have proven that risk-taking in small doses is almost universally beneficial for your brain and mental health.

Risk-taking causes real changes in the brain, which might account for why risk-takers quickly seem to become adrenaline addicts. Major risks release adrenaline, which can lead to a quick rush, and dopamine, which causes intense feelings of pleasure.

Novel experiences can help to ward off depression and reinvigorate a stale relationship. Risk-taking is often a necessary prerequisite for starting a new business or launching a new career, and the excitement associated with uncertainty can be a powerful antidote to boredom and even depression. Because dopamine produces a natural high, risk-taking behaviors can help you get a positive mood and a new perspective without the risks associated with drug use. [1]

Could that by why, at times when you are in a comfortable position in your life, that you feel a bit stagnant and perhaps a bit bored? I know this is the case for me.

Come to think of it, the few times in my life that I have encountered and faced risk, I will admit that it was not of my own choosing. Rather, I was thrown headlong into it—sometimes even literally!

  • I can remember the time that my father stayed back from a performing trip to another city with our show troupe and I was forced to emcee the performance before a huge crowd for the first time in my life.
  • I can remember the time that my performing arts mentor broke his leg a few days before a big birthday party for a prestigious client that we were organizing and I had to fill in as the host in his absence.
  • I can remember when I was a management understudy and my company was organizing a large nation-wide conference. My overseer—and the main manager of the event—pulled out abruptly due to personal reasons and I had to suddenly step up and manage the event without any prior experience.
  • I can remember the time that I was assigned to take a group of teenagers white-water rafting down the Kennebec River and I stood on the bank, white as a sheet and frozen with fear.
  • I can even remember that I had to be cornered for my first kiss…

And the list goes on and on! Yet, looking at these events now from the wonderful vantage point of hindsight, I see that through every enforced risk came incredible reward!

  • From my first kiss stemmed my first real relationship that taught me much about life and love.
  • From being tossed on stage—unprepared and frightened—stemmed a career in public speaking that I relish today.
  • From my first forced event as a host stemmed a foray in event management that led to the founding of two companies and also helped to kick off an event culture in that city that many people have benefitted from and are continuing to do so.
  • From my first stuttering experience at managing a nation-wide conference stemmed another dozen conferences in India and other parts of the world, enabling me to impact hundreds of lives.
  • From sitting paralyzed with fear in an air-filled raft in a foaming and churning river stemmed one of the most memorable and incredible experiences of my life!

And the list can go on and on… All this from risks that I was pushed into!

Now this makes me wonder, how many things have I missed from risks that I have avoided? How many opportunities have I passed up because they looked risky?

A toddler makes faces at the delicious food in front of them because it has green leafy “thingies” on it. They may stick their tongue out and squirm in their seats and profess that it is “the worst food in the world” and that they “know they don’t like it because they’ve never tried it.” But just as the child never knows what he is missing till he overcomes his fear of vegetables, we will never know the joy and success that we are missing until we overcome our fear of taking risks.

Next week, I am going to go a bit deeper into this subject and expose some negative mindsets that we take towards risk. And then I am going to give you solutions that can help you overcome them. I am trying a few of them myself, and I am seeing positive results already.

See you all next week!

 

[1] http://content.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1869106,00.html

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The Two Falcons

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The Two Falcons

 

Once there was a king who received a gift of two magnificent falcons from Arabia. They were peregrine falcons, the most beautiful birds he had ever seen. He gave the precious birds to his head falconer to be trained.

Months passed and one day the head falconer informed the king that though one of the falcons was flying majestically, soaring high in the sky, the other bird had not moved from its branch since the day it had arrived.

The king summoned healers and sorcerers from all the land to tend to the falcon, but no one could make the bird fly. He presented the task to the member of his court, but the next day, the king saw through the palace window that the bird had still not moved from its perch. Having tried everything else, the king thought to himself, “Maybe I need someone more familiar with the countryside to understand the nature of this problem.” So he cried out to his court, “Go and get a farmer.”

beautiful-falcon-flying-wallpaper-1502In the morning, the king was thrilled to see the falcon soaring high above the palace gardens. He said to his court, “Bring me the doer of this miracle.”

The court quickly located the farmer, who came and stood before the king. The king asked him, “How did you make the falcon fly?”

With his head bowed, the farmer said to the king, ” It was very easy, your highness. I simply cut the branch where the bird was sitting.”

We are all made to fly — to realize our incredible potential as human beings. But instead of doing that, we sit on our branches, clinging to the things that are familiar to us. The possibilities are endless, but for most of us, they remain undiscovered. We conform to the familiar, the comfortable, the mundane. So for the most part, our lives are mediocre instead of exciting, thrilling and fulfilling.

So let us learn to destroy the branch of fear we cling to and free ourselves to the glory of flight.

 

If you are feeling like the falcon and would like help in “cutting the branch”, we are here to help you! You can sign up for our “Dream Coaching” here:

http://www.thirumurdavidkiran.com/dream-coaching/

Alternatively, you can choose to attend one of our “Be the Hero” Events and learn how to take control of your life and make it a successful one.

http://www.thirumurdavidkiran.com/be-the-hero-of-your-own-story/

 

 

Nepal Tour 2017 = Make a Difference Announcement

As you may know, I am going to be spending two weeks in April doing seminars and workshops in Kathmandu, Nepal. This will be my second speaking tour there, after November 2016.

Today, I wanted to announce one of my programs that I’ll be conducting there in Kathmandu. Titled “Make a Difference,” this two-day exclusive workshop will change your life and set you on the path towards becoming a leader and an achiever who stands out from the crowd, achieves their dreams, and leaves a legacy for others to follow.

This seminar includes brand new content that has never been used before, as well as some surprises that have been created exclusively for this learner group.

I’m excited for it and I know it’s going to be a wonderful time!

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“Reflecting on 2016” part 3: My Top Lessons Learned

(Note: For the next few days, I’ll be reflecting on 2016 and planning for 2017. You are welcome to join my thoughts and meditations. Have fun getting to know the “real me.”)

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Today I continue my reflecting on the year gone by. Today I want to talk about my lessons. Yesterday, I spoke about my disappointments. It was those disappointments that taught me the crucial lessons that I am going to share with you below. Often, we feel that it’s a bad thing to have disappointments now and then. But they are perfect springboards for lessons that can define our lives and help us on the road to success. So here are my lessons. Once again, these are in no particular order.

– I learned that sometimes things don’t always work out the way we planned. Sometimes, despite our best intentions and our meticulous planning, there are things outside of our control that come in the way of our plans. That’s just the way that life is. Although it’s frustrating, it helps to accept that some things are not going to pan out the way you thought. That doesn’t mean that you give up on them or “let them go” because they were “not meant to be.” Rather, it just means finding another way to go at them again. But I don’t have to feel bad because plans changed and things fell through. These obstacles are a part of life. Time to figure out how to overcome them.

– I’ve also learned that I need to be more realistic with my time and my planning. I tend to give myself less time in a particular endeavour than is necessary. Some things just take time to work out and I have to be prepared for that. A quote that I read last year that has become kind of like a mantra for me is this: “We overestimate what we can do in one year and underestimate what we can do in 10 years.” Maybe I didn’t get through that project this year. That doesn’t mean that I won’t see the results down the line. Don’t give up on something just because it takes time to see the result.

– I’ve also learned that I need to savor life along the way. I’ve learnt that life goes by too fast. I met my one-year-old niece last year in January and she was crawling and cooing about. I met her again in October and she was running around and talking up a storm. Amazing how much she’d changed in a short period of time! It’s more noticeable with babies, but each of us go through similar changes each year. Think about it. Your family has changed in January 2016. The environment has changed. Society has changed. The world has changed. Your friends have changed. YOU have changed. Your job may have changed. The things you did for fun this year are probably not going to be repeated again. Question is, did you stop to savor those changes along the way? That was my question to myself this New Year’s Eve. Did I enjoy each moment of the vacation with my family, or was I busy checking my phone because of important work waiting for me at home? Did I stop to hang out with my brother when he wanted to watch a movie and chill or was I busy trying to complete a rough draft of a training module. Did I stop to listen to the parrots chattering in the mango tree outside my house or did I close the window because it disturbed my conference call? Our family vacation was the first one together after nine years. Who knows when we’ll meet next? My brother has now moved to Spain to pursue a career in sports. Who knows when we’ll get the chance to hang out again? The mango tree outside our house was struck by lightening and collapsed during a storm. Now there are no more chattering parrots. It’s about time I learn not to be too busy making a life that I have no time to live.

– I’ve also learned the power of gratitude and of being grateful for everything that life sends my way. I may not have a perfect life, but I am blessed! That is good enough for me.

– I’ve also learned that everything I’ve “learned” this year I have spoken about or written about before or coached someone into. That in itself is a lesson for me. Sometimes, we need to stop and see whether we are “practising what we preach” and “living our sermons.” Knowing something, agreeing with something, and even teaching something isn’t a substitute for LIVING something. As a man that I’ve admired all my life once told me “Before you can pour out, you have to pour in.” I’ve got to take my own medicine once in a while and learn to live the things that I promote. Then my words become more than book knowledge, because I am living it through my own experiences.

– I’ve also learned that it is never too late to start again. And that is my goal for 2017…which I am going to talk about tomorrow! See you there!

 

The Courage of a Soldier

Success is not for the faint of heart. Success is not for the pretenders. Success is not for the dabblers. Success is for those who give it their all. Success is for those who genuinely throw themselves headlong at their intended goal. Success is for those who are courageous enough to buck the tide and stand firm in the face of all obstacles. Blessed, therefore, are they who seize upon their dream and do not let go until they see it become reality. It will truly be a hard fight, but the courage of a soldier is what wins the war! Have a wonderful Friday!

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Teamwork is Key!

Yesterday, I presented a business strategy to my board of directors. I was sure I had thought things out impeccably and had covered all the bases. However, one person saw a solution that would solve a particular problem within six months, whereas the solution I had for it would take twice that amount of time.

No one person has all the answers. Each one of us is smart, intelligent, intuitive, and blessed with an amazing super computer within our head. However, that doesn’t mean that we see the entire picture all the time. There are many variables that we may see or understand that can have mammoth affect on our plans. Each person processes information differently and each person sees things that others may or may not see, because of their various paradigms. So when it comes down to making decisions, never fail to get the help of others. Have a wonderful Wednesday!

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Take Time to Think

Thought for your Day: Be sure to take time out from your work to focus your efforts! I learnt the value of this last night when I was an hour early for a dinner appointment with no work on me to do. From that one hour sprang a business plan and direction for my next three months. Time outs are essential for leaders! Have a wonderful Tuesday!

“A minute of thinking is often more valuable than an hour of talk or unplanned work.” – John C. Maxwell

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