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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Change Your Routines

Thought for your day. Routines are good, but if they are not regularly re-evaluated, they could end up becoming more harmful than helpful. In order to experience success in any area of your life, one must put rituals into place in order to work towards it. However, if the focus ever slips off from the principle that you are following to merely fulfilling those rituals on a daily basis, you are in jeopardy of losing the success that you had. As one of my favourite quotes goes, “The definition of stupidity is doing the same thing again and again and expecting different results!” Have a great Tuesday!

PS: If you feel like you can improve in this area and you’d like personal or business coaching, please drop me a mail at directkoaching@gmail.com or here on my FB page and I’d be happy to help you!

“The difference between a rut and a grave is the depth!” – Author Unknown

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Heroes, Hooligans, and History-Makers

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Heroes, Hooligans, and History-Makers

~ By Thirumur David Kiran

 

It’s been a week since the passing away of one of the greatest men of the 20th Century.

Muhammad Ali (formerly Cassius Clay) was a boxer—and a great one as well. Yet, he was so much more than that. He was an icon, a motivator, a fighter, a rebel, and even a saviour to some. He was more than just the poster boy for a golden generation of heavyweight fighters—he was the poster boy for revolution, for making a difference, for standing up for what one believes is right. He didn’t just talk about holding to one’s beliefs; he showed that resolution when he gave up his title, his career, and some of his prime boxing years for a cause that he deemed right. He was an inspiration, a motivation, and a man who changed the world.

Today is his funeral and in the past week, countless tributes, obituaries, and statements have been written in honor of the great man. Trillions of alphabets have been spun into billions of words across millions of documents posted on all forms of electronic media—each with the intention of appreciating the passing legend. I personally have read dozens of them over the past week, as Muhammad Ali was a man that I personally looked up to and admired.

One article in particular caught my eye. It was written by Mike Costello of the BBC and was titled: “The Kid Who Lost a Bike and Found a Calling.” [1]

If you know me, you will know that I am intrigued with back story. I think that we tend to look upon and admire the end results of the journey of success, yet fail to study the genesis of the success idea and the journey that was travelled in order to bring it about. We obsess over the outward manifestations of success without seeing all the work that went on behind it. As one of my favorite quotes state:

“Champions do not become champions when they win the event, but in the hours, weeks, months and years they spend preparing for it. The victorious performance itself is merely the demonstration of their championship character” – Alan T. Armstrong

I enjoy tracing that journey. Moreover, I am intrigued by what kick-started a successful career. I like to call them “genesis stories.” I always want to know how a success got started. I want to know what made a man what he is. I find—more often than not—that each story has a very interesting beginning. Muhammad Ali’s was no different.

Here is his genesis story: On a cold a windy evening in the downtown area of Louisville, Kentucky, a 12-year-old boy and his friends were scouring stalls inside the Home Exhibition Center. There was a big exhibition going on and they were hoping that they’d score some free popcorn or candy from a generous stall owner or two.

The year was 1954 and the streets weren’t always the safest on this part of town. When the boy emerged from the center, he found to his horror that his bike had been stolen. Anger and frustration came over him like a cloud and he began muttering curses and intended threats towards the unknown hooligan who had taken his prized possession. Oh, how he would hurt him when he found him!

A police officer happened to be walking by at the moment and overheard the boy muttering about how he was going to “whup” the thief who had taken his bicycle. The officer, Joe E. Martin, remarked to the lad, “Sonny, perhaps you’d better learn how to punch before you take on the thief.” He extended the invitation to young Cassius to come to the Columbia Training Center, where he was boxing instructor. The boy showed up the very next day. And the rest is history.

joeMartinToday, as Muhammad Ali’s body makes its final journey to its place of rest, I wanted to take a few minutes to reflect not just on the man, the myth, and the legend, but to give credit to the man who made him what he was.

I cannot imagine a world that hadn’t been touched by Muhammad Ali. Our culture would not be the same without his contribution on it. Not only would fans have missed out on the breathtaking entertainment that he provided through his boxing skills and his theatric personality, but the world would have missed out on his standing up for the truth and his fight for the right. The world would be a lesser place had he not graced it.

This is why I feel it only fair to make this tribute not just to the great Ali, but to Joe Martin as well.

It was Joe Martin who directed him toward the passion that made him great. It was Joe Martin who first gave him the skills that he needed to become “the greatest.” It was Joe Martin who saw beyond the angry young boy in the streets of Louisville who was fixing for a fight and saw a man who could take his fight to the world and make it a better place.

Yes, the world would be a lesser place without Muhammad Ali. And we have Joe Martin to thank for that.

In my profession as a leadership speaker and motivator, I do a lot of teacher training. As schools get ready to kick off the new school year, it is my job to inspire and motivate the teachers and equip them with the tools that they need for the big job that they have ahead. The school year in India is kicking off next Monday, and so I have spent this week with a number of teachers in group settings.

One of the things that I try to help most teachers realize is how important their job is. If any of you are teachers or have been teachers before, you will know how easy it is to get burnt out on your job. Every day, you come face to face with 40 children who are all unique in character and mood swings. Every day, you have to try to convince them to learn. And it is a struggle. Some days, you don’t even want to do it.

I’ll never forget the joke that my father used to tell us about the boy lying in his bed, refusing to go to school. His mother came to the room to try to convince him, but he said: “Mom, I don’t want to go to school. Everybody hates me there. The students hate me, the teachers hate me, the cleaning staff hates me—even the canteen chef hates me! Please don’t make me go.” To which the mother replies, “Son, you have to go! You are the principal!”

As a teacher, sometimes it is easy to compare with those who have more glamorous jobs or are in roles where they receive more recognition and/or publicity. And we in society take on the same view. When we speak of heroes, teachers almost never come to mind. Politicians, actors, scientists, CEOs, founders of big organizations, sport stars—these are all the first names on our lips when the word hero pops into our head. I throw out this question every time to the teachers that I speak to and receive the same answers.

But then I present this reality to them: Every politician, actor, scientist, CEO, founder, and sport star, was—once upon a time—a child in a classroom. Before they became a success, there was a genesis story that made them that way. And more often than not, that genesis story started with a teacher or a mentor—someone who saw past who they were to what they could become.

They say that a teacher affects history; you can never tell where their influence stops. I wholeheartedly agree to that. I tell my teachers, “If you ever want to change the world, please stay right where you are!” There is no need to go out and try to make a difference—the difference is being made every day in their classroom. So what if they are not politicians, actors, scientists, CEOs, founders, or sport stars? The kids in their class will be all that one day and more!

I hold teachers in the highest regard. I save my choicest praise for the ones who help to groom little minds into the future of our planet. They are the ones who shape the destiny of our society and our world.

And so today as the world celebrates Muhammad Ali, I want to also celebrate Joe Martin—the man who gave the world Muhammad Ali. And I want to celebrate all of you wonderful teachers out there—the men and women who are giving us the hope of our future.

May you never see your job as insignificant. May you never see yourself as “just a teacher.” May you never see your job as anything less than it is: a platform to change the world from. You are making a difference. You are changing the world. You are making history. You are heroes! And we are forever grateful to you!

 

[1] http://www.bbc.com/sport/boxing/21533990

 

You are Important!

Thought for your Day: No role is unimportant; no person is insignificant, nothing happens without a reason. Destiny has placed you where you are so you can make your own unique difference in this world. Play your part with pride!

“In life, whatever part you have been given, whether large or small, glamorous or plain, give it all you’ve got. The part that you play is not unimportant. Destiny has put you in that place to complete the harmony. The symphony would be incomplete without your part!” – Thirumur David Kiran

Symphony Incomplete Without You (Mine)

Struggle = Progress

“If there is no struggle, there is no progress.” – Frederick Douglass

 

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