Self Appraisal

Hello there!

I am founder of LAYWi (Life As You Want it / I designed and my team develop this internet platform for personal development and personal organisation. We had fair success but recently I have lost momentum and need to carry it forward!

So I am trying to gather my thoughts around three important attributes of personality which stands between me and my goals.

I would really appreciated feedback / comments on the way I think about these attributes and trying to resolve my approach.

Attribute 1: Ability – Possession of the means or skills to do something.
Big Claim – We are always capable of doing much more then we generally do!


  • Quite often we aren’t motivated enough (I am motivated)
  • Can’t see bigger picture or bigger picture is blur (I can see the bigger pictures too)
  • We did not started with end in mind and can’t be bothered  (I have end in mind too)


  • Build momentum via small wins (I lacked these smalls wins I believe in continuous manner)
  • Envision the journey from start to end (I have done this many times)
  • See the rewards clearly at end (I can see that)

Attribute 2: Motivation – Self drive or reason for behaving in particular manner or way!

Big Claim – Motivation determines what we do!


  • Other aspects or offering of life are more motivating which give instant pleasure
  • Superficial wins over deep rooted motivation (Limbic part of brain which control emotions wins against Frontal Lobe – logical part of brain)


  • Align one’s needs and wants (Seems I have both going in different directions for now)?
  • Get emotional attached to what you one’s want to achieve in life?

Attribute 3: Attitude – Settled way of thinking or feeling about something

Big Claim – Attitude determine how well we do it?


  • Is Attitude determination or discipline or dedication?
  • Or is Attitude  open minded but unwavering commitment ?


  • Still trying to figure out right attitude?

Thank you!!

As you Thinketh so shall it be!

The ancestor of every action is a thought ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

There is a plethora of books that subscribe to the notion of thinking positive as a first step towards success. Whether they be, by new age life coaches or ancient philosophers of the likes of Plato. And in recent years researchers have been working on finding out how brain perceives information and processes it.

Our brain is like the driver, and the body is the vehicle and destination is life. Our brain is constantly bombarded with information from all the five senses. This information is then processed by the brain, and our experiences are defined as good, bad or neutral. If an experience makes us happy, we tend to repeat it or otherwise avoid it. Hence it is somewhat possible to fool the brain.

If we constantly feedback clues that the task before us is doable and we have the skills to complete it, the brain will buy into the idea and provide its faculties toward its completion. All this may sound a little too farfetched.  But researchers have been studying a technique called mental imagery. Mental imagery suggests that you imagine something being done and your brain will buy into it and shape you experience in such a way. It’s all about feedback. More on Mental imagery..

Although the details are still somewhat elusive, the key to the success of mental imagery as a rehearsal technique is that most of the same neurological regions are invoked by mental practice as by real practice. Research led by Alvaro Pascual-Leone of Harvard Medical School has found that this is true even in individuals who do not have prior musical training. Pascual-Leone and his associates taught two groups of non-musicians a basic finger exercise on the piano keyboard; they then had one group practice in the ordinary way and the other practice in their minds, for two hours per day, five days in a row. At the end of the study, the mapping of the rehearsal pattern in the brains of participants from both groups had changed in the same ways. Essentially, the brain can only barely tell the difference; a strong mental simulation of motion is, neurologically speaking, an excellent substitute for the counterpart real motion. Data from a 2004 fMRI study conducted by a team of researchers in Germany corroborates this conclusion; while activation is indisputably stronger and a little more widespread during actual music performance, mental rehearsal covers most of the same basic ground. This finding adheres to a general pattern that imagining a given action or sensation is likely to be neurologically analogous to physically carrying out that action or experiencing that particular stimulus.

So, just by imagining, you can be on your way to whoever you want to be. A great way to practice this in real life is to write things down. Write down your goals, break them into smaller doable bits, imagine how would you do it; Make a detailed plan of how will you accomplish you task.

Any kind of life you want, you can start by imagining it and if you do that by writing everything down, you will be giving it a structure thereby solidifying your intentions. This improves your chances of achieving your goals, because half the work or sometimes more than half the work needed is already done!

Come to, it’s a web tool actually designed to help structure your life, so you can get the most out of it and live the life as you want it.

It has tools like project management; To-Do lists; self profiling and lot more of useful applications for everyday life.

Getting Things Done!

Getting Things Done (GTD)


Start with:

  • Capture all one needs to accomplish somewhere outside the brain
  • To discipline oneself to make decisions about these items as they are added to one’s workload as Do It, Defer It, Delegate It, Drop It.

Getting Control of Your Life: The Five Stages

If your day-to-day life is out of control, it’s almost impossible to think or plan effectively.

  • Collect
  • Process
  • Organize
  • Review
  • Do

Stage 1: In the Collection stage, the idea is to gather all the items that remain to be completed. There are three “collection success factors”:

  1. Every open loop must be in your collection system and out of your head.
  2. You must have as few collection buckets as you can get by with.
  3. You must empty them regularly.

Stage 2: In the Process stage, the bucket is emptied. Ask yourself:

  • What is it? Is it actionable?
  • If not, trash it, put it in a reference file.
  • If so, what’s the next action? The next action is defined as the next physical, visible activity that needs to be engaged in, in order to move the current reality toward completion.
  • Will next action take less than 2 minutes?
  • If yes, do it.
  • If no, delegate it or defer it.
  • If it will take longer than 2 minutes, consider it a project (defined as requiring more than one action step) and put it in your project plans which will be reviewed for actions.

Stage 3: In the Organize stage, book describes eight categories of reminders and materials: trash, incubation tools, reference storage, list of projects, storage or files for project plans and materials, a calendar, a list of reminders of next actions, and a list of reminders of things you’re waiting for.

Review of all one’s lists, preferably weekly, is critical for success.

Getting Projects Creatively Under Way: The Five Phases of Project Planning

Projects and tasks are two different things: track them separately. A major mistake that most people make when keeping track of things to do is conflating tasks and projects. This section is about “vertical” focus, the thought process behind successful project planning.


Five steps to accomplish most any task. These steps are:

  1. Defining purpose and principles – In defining purpose, one asks “why?” Answering this question provides the following benefits: it defines success, creates decision-making criteria, aligns resources, motivates, clarifies focus and expands options.
  2. Outcome visioning – A vision provides a picture of the final result.
  3. Brainstorming – Brainstorming identifies how one gets from here to there through the generation of lots of ideas and write them down. This idea of writing to spur thinking has been labeled as “distributed cognition”. Keys to effective brainstorming are: don’t judge, challenge, evaluate, or criticize; go for quantity, not quality; and put analysis and organization in the background.
  4. Organizing – Identify the significant pieces; sort by components, and priorities.
  5. Identifying next actions.

Stress-Free Productivity

1. Setting Up:

  • Time – Allocation time
  • Space – Your workspace
  • Tools – Tools you need to help you execute your projects / tasks.

2. Collection: Corralling Your “Stuff”

3. Processing: Getting “In” to Empty

Processing doesn’t mean getting all actions completed; it means deciding what to do with each of the items in the “in” box. When this phase is complete, one will have trashed unneeded items, completed any less-than-two-minute actions, delegated, put reminders in one’s organizer of actions one must complete, and identified any projects.

4. Reviewing: Keeping Your System Functional

To keep the system working, it is key that one continues to trust the system. Trust is maintained by keeping the system up-to-date. One needs to decide what to look at and when. Allen suggests the most frequent review will probably be of one’s daily calendar and daily tickler folder. After these, the next actions lists should be reviewed.

5. Doing: Making the Best Action Choices

Book gives three models for deciding what to do at a point in time, beyond his simple answer to trust one’s intuition.

  • The Four-Criteria Model for Choosing Actions in the Moment uses the

Criteria of context,
Time available,
Energy available, and
Priority to make decisions.

  • The Threefold Model for Evaluating Daily Work

Doing predefined work,
Doing work as it shows up,
Defining one’s work.

  • The Six-Level Model for Reviewing Your Own Work is presented in terms of altitude:

50,000 + feet: Life
40,000 feet: Three- to five-year visions
30,000 feet: One-to two-year goals
20,000 feet: Areas of responsibility
10,000 feet: Current projects
Runway: Current actions

Each of these levels should enhance and align with the levels above it. Priorities are driven from the top. However, without a sense of control over current projects and actions, trying to manage oneself from the top down can create frustration. Allen recommends starting at the bottom level, first ensuring all action lists are complete, and then working up the model.



GTD is productivity approach to help one’s

  • Prioritize important things in life over just to do things while separating things which can be safely ignored.
  • Frees up mental resources to concentrate of thing which have most far reaching affect on one’s life
  • Suggests a review system which monitor important action before they become urgent
  • Separate Projects and Tasks when it comes to execution.
  • Stresses on long term planning (top down) and aligning today’s actions to it (bottom up).

Tennis, Baseball and Life!

Imagine you go to a Tennis match but there is no big display scoreboard which tells you score continuously or even occasionally. Now imagine quality of enjoyment you would achieve while watching the match. Of course for most part you would be concentrating to catchup or remember or keeping score. That was you as an audience but now imagine yourself as player, how well would you be doing as a major part of brain is trying to continuously keep score, whether I am winning or loosing and whats the margin and prospects of turn around (for me as well as for opponent).

And guess what, most people live their life fitting in pretty well in above scenario, always trying to catchup since there isn’t a scoreboard for them to tell (guide) whether they are winning or loosing.

Another complication – life isn’t individual sport but team sport. So imagine, above scenario but replace Tennis with a team sport like baseball or cricket. Now you need to just not worry about scorecard but also about your team mates as well as opponents as a team. Now that is life. How often have you seen in life, a very success businessperson but a broken family for he just kept individual score and forgot about other team player or A family very loving and caring but having miserable time financially as they forgot to keep individual score like how well they are doing in career while being a nice team.

So well, we tried to come up with one such scorecard for life.



Define who’s on your team in your life. Define other factors which would determine your performance in life like health, education etc.

Day 4 - Pic 2

Scorecard A

Defining yourself would include:

  1. You
  2. Your profession
  3. Your Well-being
  4. Your relationships (remembering life is team sport is goals is happiness and not bargained success)
  5. Your financial status or security (for there is an Indian saying, that you can’t even pray to God on empty stomach).



Here you would define the factors which determine you performance in life, factors which could aid you and work against you. And above all you define what score is winning score for you, taking into consideration internal and external factors along with factors which could be controlled and which could not be.

Scorecard B:

  1. What you want from life and in life?
  2. What price you willing to pay?
  3. What takes priority and what takes a backseat?

Scorecard C:

  1. Define factor which would influence your performance in life (like in sports – ground, fans, opponents, playing experience, injuries, bench strength etc). Each area in Scorecard may have its own set of factors like Profession can depend on factors like communication skill, leadership skills, technical skills and so forth. Rate those Defining Factor on scale from 1 to 5.
  2. Also profile yourself for general areas – as to what are your strengths and what are your weaknesses.



This steps is all about execution but Step 1 and Step 2 gives full control on performance as one is aware of

  • Your needs (actual requirements) and wants (desires which may not be requirements)
  • Factor which play important roles and which do not.
  • Strengths and  Weaknesses along with opportunity and threats (from internal and external environment)
  • Sets the direction along with clearing indication if you winning or loosing in life

Execution is plain and simple hard-work with intelligence. Intelligence is generated as part of Step 1 and Step 2.

So now you have Scorecard which tells you:

  • Your team
  • Ability to play to your strengths while defending the weaknesses
  • previous experiences  under various circumstances
  • And most important tells you whether your winning or loosing
  • Efforts and areas of effort you would need to move from loosing to winning stage or keep the winning streak going.


We have one more important scenario in this analogy of Sports and Life –

Imagine no one maintains any history of previous matches like which is team is best and which is worst, which players or teams has strong batting average while which is better in other areas. Whats average of each players, which player has stronger performance in away games and who has in home games. Absence such statistics would make sports uninteresting as well as make performance go on downward spiral  in absence of any benchmark.

Luckily in sport the scorecard is computerized which keep scores (does all calculations) automatically and apply everything which is incremental properly, while coming up with amazing computation which make a lot of very reasonable prediction.

Same holds true in life too. Apply Step 1, Step 2 and Step 3 once (like on paper) would reap you some benefits but what you need is automatic scorecard.

So well, we designed that too – just visit to build you own scorecard which take automatic feeds from Step 1, Step 2 and Step 3.

Dashboard 3

The Power of Habit

Habits die hard is a very popular saying, and a very true one too. But what happens if these habits are what are stopping you from being happy, achieving your goal, you know you want it, but are stuck in a cycle of endless disarray. What do you do in that case?book cover

Recently Charles Duhigg wrote a book called “The power of Habits”. He diagnosed Habits, how powerfully they influence our lives, and if and how can they be altered or broken.  The book starts out with an examination of habit at an individual level; the minute details from neurology to its psychology are studied here. Second how organization strategized to influence habits of people around the globe to introduce new products. Third part talks about the ethnicity of habits.

How do habits work?

Have you noticed how when you first start out doing something new, its takes a lot of concentration and effort to get it done, like for the first time when you learned to back you car out, it took a lot of concentration to get it done, but after a while, it became so automatic you didn’t even have to think about it twice? That’s because after trying to do it repeatedly you brain stored the pattern and formed a habit!

Take another example, while learning a new language how you can’t form a sentence and you read bit by bit to make sense? And after a few days, suddenly you are making sentences, spotting new patterns in the language? Sound familiar?

That is because brain turns a sequence of actions into automatic routine also called chunking and it’s at the core of a habit. This happens due to an instinct to save effort. Our brain forms habits to conserve effort and become more efficient.the habit loop

But how does the brain form habits? Why are certain behavior habits and some of them not? Even when some of them started out the same. Let’s try and explore that..

Once a habit is formed, the brain associates certain cues with it, and when encountered with these cue, the brain kicks off the associated habit. It works in a three piece system. The brain spots the “cue”, and signal to produce the automatic behavior, then there is “routine”, which can be emotional, physical or mental and finally in the end of it there is “reward”, which helps brain figure out whether this loop is worth remembering or not.

That’s the loop of habit. CueàRoutineàReward.

With time, these habits become more and more automatic.

The only problem with habits is that, the part of the brain “basal ganglia” that stores habits can’t tell between good and bad, it only thinks about cues and rewards. It doesn’t think long term, only about forming patterns that bring back instant gratification. But now that the habit loop is familiar to you, you can spot it next time you fall into the habit you are trying to kick.


The craving mind

Before one can break into an old habit and create a new one, one must understand why habits die hard!

This is because when the sequence of CueàRoutineàReward is initiated, the routine is usually associated with set of behaviors that produce the reward.  Once a habit is formed, the brain automatically anticipates reward, and in absence of it, gets agitated and upset. All this happens at the subconscious level and hard to diagnose as well. But once you recognize a pattern, you can start working on it bit by bit. This is also one of the reason, alcoholics in the AA meeting, repeat they are alcoholics; it is a lot overriding an old habit of denying it.

The golden rule of habit change

The researchers behind this book studied many groups and successful organizations. One of them was AA, it’s a widely popular and successful therapy groups to help people overcome the addiction or habit! The AAs are not a group of professional, but ordinary people, getting together, what makes it so successful? The AAs use the golden rule of habit change. Alcoholics are encouraged to recognize their addiction, with their cues and routines.  Once their habit loop is recognized, instead of changing the habit, they override it with a newer routine.  For example if one turned to alcoholic to escape emotional distress or boredom, as soon as this person receives the cue to consume alcohol, he can instead turn to his meeting for the respective reward. And slowly, the habit is overridden with newer productive patterns.

The same process can be applied to any habit. Once you have recognized the pattern, just stay aware of the next time it is cued in, and then try to distract yourself with a newer, healthier habit.

Keystone habits

Charles Duhigg talks about keystones habit in this book. He has compared the start of a keystones habit to have the same effect as minor victories. Like minor victories can have a big effect on the perception of our abilities. It’s the same as that.

alcohol annoymous

Keystone habits are the ones that cue in most of the actions we take in our life. For example, Steve Jobs’ keystone habit could be his love for design, internal or external, and hence he created apple, lived a certain way. Keystone habit has the ability to inspire others, cue in the same habit in everyone who comes in contact with it.

The one way to change your life for better is to recognize your keystone habit, or call it your outlook on life, figure out why this behavior is being cued in. Override it with a newer routine. Habits do die hard, but believing in your ability to change can help you achieve your desired habits.


When willpower becomes automatic

Have you ever wondered why some days you have energy to go to the gym after work, come back shower, cook a healthy meal at home and then read some before you sleep. And on some days, you don’t even want get out of bed? And you thought you were a disciplined person.

Charles Duhigg explains that willpower is like a muscle, just like any other muscle of your body, one must work it out to get gain strength. On some days, when you have had a tough day at work, you come home, although, you haven’t done any work after that meeting, you still can’t find the willpower to go to the gym or resist that take out. You give in.

The book suggests you work your willpower out. For example, when your alarm goes off in the morning, wake up, don’t hit the snooze button. Don’t skip breakfast. Avoid the urge to eat donuts with your coffee. Don’t surf the net while you should be working. Doing anything you know you should have the will power to avoid. And eventually this will spill over into other areas of your life, where you will have better control over how you react to situations. It will become a habit.

The Power of a crisis

Charles Duhigg has put a positive spin on the situation of crisis in his book. He talks about how good organizations take these moments of crisis and turn them into opportunity to remake organizational habit.  Since crisis instills a sense of urgency. Same can be applied to people as well. Have you noticed how lessons during crisis almost always stay with you and change you as a person? So next time if you are ever stuck in a place of crisis, just face it. You will probably come out stronger. Avoiding a crisis will only build up stress?

Don’t let up this opportunity to make fundamental changes in the habits that you have. It’s also an opportunity to build a keystone habit.

The familiar

Have you noticed our big corporation know exactly the thing we want and what does it have to do with habit? That is because corporation spend large amount of money to study habits all demographics. Say, for example most pregnant women have the similar buying patterns. This science is called statistics; it’s a way of mathematical mind reading. OK, so what does it have to do with habit, well, these corporations have invested in large researched about what people like. And it turns out, people like familiar things. Our brain craves familiarity, because it’s just like a habit, brain has to expend less effort to make sense of the patterns!

So next time if you want to bring about a change in habit, start with familiar territory. For instance, in your pursuance to become fit, you take trial membership at the gym, start with exercises and machines you are familiar with, you brain will have to expend less effort, and slowly you’ll become habituated of coming to the gym.

How movements happen

There is always a person who wakes in the morning and decides to initiate a change. How does it all start? How does this person have the power to influence everyone else in the group? How do these others become a part of the group in the first place? The leader usually has what socialist call strong ties relationship with most people; it’s a brain trigger that influences the people to join in the group. The weak ties usually face peer pressure to comply with the strong ties, or they anticipate being an outcast.  These strong ties and weak ties behaviors are automated inside the brain, as we are social creatures, and it’s important for our survival to depend on others.

So, it pays to have stronger ties with people around us, our brain has to perceive less threat, process less information and works more efficiently.

Habits made easy

“All our life so far as it has definite form, is but a mass of habits –practical, emotional and intellectual – systematically design for our weal or woe, and bearing us irresistibly toward our destiny, whatever the later maybe”-William James.

Habit 1

Habits are affected by our perception of our world around from early on as toddlers, mostly we pick from our parents, some from friends and tweak these habits on as we grow old and learn some more. According to the Williams James quote our habits are make us what we are on this present day, happy or unhappy, fit or unfit. So a slight shift in a habit can bring about big change in our lives. As small as habit of getting up early in the morning or keeping a vision board can make us think differently thereby affecting our habits.

Now after reading about different aspects of habit according to Charles Duhigg’ book “The Power of Habit”, you should understand the psychology, neurology and sociology behind habits. Once you are aware of the cues, override the routine and reap rewards for a life as you want it.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen R. Covey

HabitThe 7 Habits of Highly Effective People provides a holistic, integrated approach towards personal and interpersonal effectiveness. Habits are patterns of behavior that involve three overlapping components: knowledge, desire, and skill. Because these three components are learned rather than inherited, our habits are our second nature, not our first. Thus, we are not our current habits. We can make or break our habits.

—Habit 2Before we can really understand the 7 Habits of highly effective people, we need to understand our own paradigms and how to make a Paradigm Shift. The word paradigm was originally a scientific term, and is more commonly used today to mean a model, theory, perception, assumption, or frame of reference.
—A simple way to understand paradigms is to see them as maps. Assume you wanted to arrive at a specific location in central Chicago. But suppose you were given the wrong map. Through a printing error, the map labeled Chicago was actually a map of Detroit. Can you imagine the frustration and ineffectiveness of trying to reach your destination?
—The more we are aware of our basic paradigms, maps, or assumptions, and the extent to which we have been influenced by our experiences, the more we can take responsibility for those paradigms, examine them, test them against reality, change them if necessary, and listen to others and be open to their perceptions, thereby getting a larger picture and a far more objective view.
—It becomes obvious that if we want to make relatively minor changes in our lives, we can focus on our attitudes and behaviors. But if we want to make significant quantum changes, we need to work on our basic paradigms – the way we view ourselves and the world around us.

Habit 1 – BE PROACTIVE: Vision

Be Proactive is about taking responsibility for your life. You can’t keep blaming everything on your parents or grandparents. Proactive people recognize that they are “response-able.” They don’t blame genetics, circumstances, conditions, or conditioning for their behavior. They know they choose their behavior. Reactive people,  on the other hand, are often affected by their physical environment. They find external sources to blame for their behavior. If the weather is good, they feel good. If it isn’t, it affects their attitude and performance, and they blame the weather. All of these external forces act as stimuli that we respond to. Between the stimulus and the response is your greatest power–you have the freedom to choose your response. one of the most important things you choose is what you say. Your language is a good indicator of how you see yourself. A proactive person uses proactive language–I can, I will, I prefer, etc. A reactive person uses reactive language–I can’t, I have to, if only. Reactive people believe they are not responsible for what they say and do–they have no choice.

I have the ability to choose my own response. I carry my own weather – whether it rains or shines makes no difference to me. By grounding my emotional life not on the moods or weaknesses of others, but upon my self-chosen values, my behavior is a product of my own conscious choices based on principles, rather than a product of my conditions, based on feelings. Focus time and energy on things I can control (circle of influence) in lieu of reacting to or worrying about conditions over which I have little or no control (circle of concern). In so doing, I become RESPONSE-ABLE.

  • I am responsible for my choices and have the freedom to choose.
  • I am responsible of my behavior and the choices I make.
  • I can expand my personal freedom and influence through being response-able.
  • Recognize reactive triggers, increase my circle of influence, become a transition person and exercise the four human endowments

Instead of reacting to or worrying about conditions over which they have little or no control, proactive people focus their time and energy on things they can control. The problems, challenges, and opportunities we face fall into two areas–Circle of Concern and Circle of Influence.

Proactive people focus their efforts on their Circle of Influence. They work on the things they can do something about: health, children, problems at work. Reactive people focus their efforts in the Circle of Concern–things over which they have little or no control: the national debt, terrorism, the weather. Gaining an awareness of the areas in which we expend our energies in is a giant step in becoming proactive.

Habit 2 – BEGIN WITH THE END IN MIND: The Habit Of Personal Leadership.

Habit 2 is based on imagination–the ability to envision in your mind what you cannot at present see with your eyes. It is based on the principle that all things are created twice. There is a mental (first) creation, and a physical (second) creation. The physical creation follows the mental, just as a building follows a blueprint. If you don’t make a conscious effort to visualize who you are and what you want in life, then you empower other people and circumstances to shape you and your life by default. It’s about connecting again with your own uniqueness and then defining the personal, moral, and ethical guidelines within which you can most happily express and fulfill it. Begin with the End in Mind means to begin each day, task, or project with a clear vision of your desired direction and destination, and then continue by flexing your proactive muscles to make things happen.

Without VISION, one diminishes. If I fail to develop my own SELF-AWARENESS and become responsible for first creations, I empower other people and circumstances to shape my life by default. Lead a life centered on the principles of QUALITY, patience, authenticity, WONDER, mindfulness, self-knowledge

  • Mental creation precedes physical creation.
  • I can choose my future and create a vision of it.
  • I will create results mentally before beginning any activity.

One of the best ways to incorporate Habit 2 into your life if to develop a Personal Mission Statement. It focuses on what you want to be and do. It is your plan for success. It reaffirms who you are, puts your goals in focus, and moves your ideas into the real world. Your mission statement makes you the leader of your own life. You create your own destiny and secure the future you envision.

Habit 3. PUT FIRST THINGS FIRST: The Habit Of Personal Management.

The key is to schedule my priorities, not to prioritize my schedule. Therefore, do the important things first – because where you are headed is more important than how fast you are going. SAY NO TO THE UNIMPORTANT, Remember that frustration is a function of our expectations, not our realizations. So trade crises for progress by focusing on things that are truly important. When I put first things first, I don’t just do things differently – I do DIFFERENT THINGS.Habit 5

  • Effectiveness requires balancing important relationships, roles, and activities.
  • Things, which matter most, should never be at the mercy of things, which matter least.
  • Focus on Quadrant II and plan weekly; implement daily, based on my mission.

Habit 1 says, “You’re in charge. You’re the creator.” Being proactive is about choice. Habit 2 is the first, or mental, creation. Beginning with the End in Mind is about vision. Habit 3 is the second creation, the physical creation. This habit is where Habits 1 and 2 come together. It happens day in and day out, moment-by-moment. It deals with many of the questions addressed in the field of time management. But that’s not all it’s about. Habit 3 is about life management as well–your purpose, values, roles, and priorities. What are “first things?” First things are those things you, personally, find of most worth. If you put first things first, you are organizing and managing time and events according to the personal priorities you established in Habit 2.

Habit 4. THINK WIN-WIN: The Habit Of Interpersonal Leadership, Relationships start here.

Most of us learn to base our self-worth on comparisons and competition. We think about succeeding in terms of someone else failing–that is, if I win, you lose; or if you win, I lose. Life becomes a zero-sum game. There is only so much pie to go around, and if you get a big piece, there is less for me; it’s not fair, and I’m going to make sure you don’t get anymore. We all play the game, but how much fun is it really?

Win-Win is a belief in the Third Alternative springing from an abundance mentality. It’s not your way or my way; it’s a better way; a higher way. Character is the foundation of win-win, which is comprised of integrity, ABUNDANCE mentality, and maturity. Win- Win is the attitude of seeking either mutual benefit or being able to say no deal. Life is best lived cooperatively, not competitively. Everyone I meet is my mirror, thus it is easier to be caring than hostile. My friends are all around me; I just haven’t met them all yet. Difficult people can be my greatest teachers for what I need most at that moment.

Many people think in terms of either/or: either you’re nice or you’re tough. Win-win requires that you be both. It is a balancing act between courage and consideration. To go for win-win, you not only have to be emphatic  but you also have to be confident. You not only have to be considerate and sensitive, you also have to be brave. To do that–to achieve that balance between courage and consideration–is the essence of real maturity and is fundamental to win-win. It is a character-based code for human interaction and collaboration.

Win-win sees life as a cooperative arena, not a competitive one. Win-win is a frame of mind and heart that constantly seeks mutual benefit in all human interactions. Win-win means agreements or solutions are mutually beneficial and satisfying. We both get to eat the pie, and it tastes pretty darn good!

A person or organization that approaches conflicts with a win-win attitude possesses three vital character traits:

1.Integrity: sticking with your true feelings, values, and commitments

2.Maturity: expressing your ideas and feelings with courage and consideration for the ideas and feelings of others

3.Abundance Mentality: believing there is plenty for everyone

Habit 5. SEEK FIRST TO UNDERSTAND, THEN TO BE UNDERSTOOD:  The Habit Of Communication, Relationships succeed here.

Communication is the most important skill in life. You spend years learning how to read and write, and years learning how to speak. but what about listening? What training have you had that enables you to listen so you really, deeply understand another human being? Probably none, right?

If you’re like most people, you probably seek first to be understood; you want to get your point across. And in doing so, you may ignore the other person completely, pretend that you’re listening, selectively hear only certain parts of the conversation or attentively focus on only the words being said, but miss the meaning entirely. So why does this happen? Because most people listen with the intent to reply, not to understand. You listen to yourself as you prepare in your mind what you are going to say, the questions you are going to ask, etc. You filter everything you hear through your life experiences, your frame of reference. You check what you hear against your autobiography and see how it measures up. And consequently, you decide prematurely what the other person means before he/she finishes communicating. Do any of the following sound familiar?

To fully, deeply understand another person is to listen with the eyes and the heart, which inspires openness and trust. Empathetic listening within the other’s frame of reference opens me to be influenced. The paradox is that in order to have influence, I must first be influenced. HUMBLE myself by acknowledging that I can be unenthusiastic, impulsive, undisciplined, pessimistic, and an impatient listener. Then strive to transform those same weaknesses into strengths. Always be loyal to the absent – always. Like food, less talk is actually more.

  • Diagnosis must precede prescription, and understanding comes through listening.
  • Assume I don’t fully understand and by listening first, I’ll be better understood.
  • Use empathetic listening… from the other’s frame of reference.

Because you so often listen autobiographically, you tend to respond in one of four ways:

Evaluating: You judge and then either agree or disagree.

Probing: You ask questions from your own frame of reference.

Advising: You give counsel, advice, and solutions to problems.

Interpreting: You analyze others’ motives and behaviors based on your own experiences.

Habit 6. SYNERGIZE: The Habit Of Creative Cooperation/Teamwork. Relationships flourish here.

So put it simply, synergy means, “Two heads are better than one.” Synergize is the habit of creative cooperation. It is teamwork, open-mindedness, and the adventure of finding new solutions to old problems. But it doesn’t just happen on its own. It’s a process, and through that process, people bring all their personal experience and expertise to the table. Together, they can produce far better results that they could individually. Synergy lets us discover jointly things we are much less likely to discover by ourselves. It is the idea that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. One plus one equals three, or six, or sixty–you name it.Habit 3

Synergy is the culmination of all the previous habits. Synergy uses differences to build unforeseen strengths. Left to our own experiences, we constantly suffer from insufficient data. Compromise, which seeks only an end, is 1+1=1½, whereas synergy, which seeks a new beginning, makes 1+1=3, 4, or more. This is done by realizing that people see the world not as it is, but as they are [conditioned to see it]. Be sensitive to others’ mental maps (paradigms), which have been constructed to this point in their life with their own experiences.

Use empathetic listening, from the other’s frame of reference.

  • The whole is more than the sum of its parts.
  • I value the differences in others and seek the Third Alternative (a cooperative solution reached in a win-win spirit that all parties feel good about).
  • Working together cooperatively takes time but produces better long-term results.
  • Use the synergy ground rules (win-win mentality; open mind; value differences) and apply habits 4

When people begin to interact together genuinely, and they’re open to each other’s influence, they begin to gain new insight. The capability of inventing new approaches is increased exponentially because of differences.

Valuing differences is what really drives synergy. Do you truly value the mental, emotional, and psychological differences among people? Or do you wish everyone would just agree with you so you could all get along? Many people mistake uniformity for unity; sameness for oneness. One word–boring! Differences should be seen as strengths, not weaknesses. They add zest to life.

Habit 7. SHARPEN THE SAW: The Habit Of Self-Renewal.

Habit 4

Sharpen the Saw means preserving and enhancing the greatest asset you have–you. It means having a balanced program for self-renewal in the four areas of your life: physical, social/emotional, mental, and spiritual. Here are some examples of activities:

  • Physical: Beneficial eating, exercising, and resting
  • Social/Emotional: Making social and meaningful connections with others
  • Mental: Learning, reading, writing, and teaching
  • Spiritual: Spending time in nature, expanding spiritual self through mediation, music, art, prayer, or service

Success has two sides: production capability (PC), and production (P). Without the renewal of PC, P begins to diminish, and eventually perishes. RECOGNIZE my strengths daily, reaching for new ones. REMEMBER what is important in life is learning, health, purpose, conformity to my own uniqueness, temperance, and inner peace. Learning will always return meaning and energy to my effort, so I’m never alone with a great book. Without this renewal, the body becomes weak, the mind mechanical, the emotions raw, the spirit insensitive, and the person selfish. Not a pretty picture, is it?

Production (results) requires the development of Production Capability (resources).  I will continuously improve and renew in the four dimensions of life.  Set and achieve goals for personal P/PC balance.

habit last

Write to right!

The biggest lie I tell myself is “I don’t need to write that down, I’ll remember”. – Everyone, Everywhere.

Communication through written down symbols is unique to human beings only, Cave men drew pictures on the wall to record their experiences, or carved statues to revere their Gods. The Egyptian Hieroglyphics are more popular example of early communication through written symbols among humans.  Then came the alphabets, later scripts and further advanced into languages when these alphabets were allotted unique sound each. Verbal communication may have become the primary way of communicating for the modern man but written down language is more long lasting and certainly is more valid.

Why Write?

You may have noticed that we seem to remember things more effectively when we have written them down. Have you ever wondered why does it happen? One of the reasons why written down word stays with us longer is because, when we write something down, our mind makes a reference in our brain to make sensible sentence. That’s the way our brain stored information, by creating a hook for any piece of information stored. When we are writing things down, unless narrated, we think and write, and hence written down words stay with us longer. Taking in information and deliberately retaining it by memorizing or writing it down also strengthens our brain muscles, just like what exercising does for your body. So if you are planning a change in your life, there is a better chance of you making it on the other side if you make a plan, write down why, how and whens of it, so you retain and stay motivated to achieve your goal.

Get things done!

The most common benefit of writing down or storing information is the fact that you don’t have to worry about forgetting anything ever. To-Do list, Diary keeping, Reminders, Post its, Calendars etc are all examples of inventions we created to record information for future use. Writing something down also shows you are serious about achieving a task. provides with all these feature under one login. And it has advanced features like setting a reminder to a particular item on the To-Do list. And its pops up on your personalized dashboard as soon as you login.

Write 2


Writing down also increases accountability. For an instance, if you are keeping accounts, you will know exactly where you spend and how much, and the next time when you are about to repeat the pattern, you would automatically be able to see your follies and curb the habit. You can keep a calorie diary or an Achievement diary of your daily or weekly goals met or anything you want. Go to for an elaborate project management tool which lets you manage a plan with project diaries, To-Do lists and evaluation tools. It also has financial profiling options, where you can calculate and record your net worth for any stretch of time.

Unknotting the nots!

Writing down also helps one think clearly. Say for example, you want to plan something, use project management tool, which lets you think and record why would you like to undertake this project, what objectives you plan to achieve,  how will you evaluate yourself,  time frame to achieve it or whether you are undertaking it right away or in the near future. With all the details sorted in your mind, you are more likely go ahead and see through the plan!

Or we all know the benefit of writing our feeling down in diary. Relieving your mind of all the load of information is also very beneficial; it helps you see through loop in the thinking pattern that you have been missing thus far. Unknotting you can-‘nots’ into can dos. is one website that serves all points mentioned in this blog. It’s a project management website with Self profiling; Visioning, SWOTing, Diarizing, making To-Do Lists and Checklists etc., and not only this it has an option to schedule, time an item or a project.

Read more blogs on for more information!

Life as you want it is just a click away.