Sunday, August 31, 2008

Away till early Oct'08 - Azara Feroz Sayed

Blog offline for Ramzaan Sabbath

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Where there is no God, then everything is permitted - Azara Feroz Sayed

Came across this interesting article in today's 'The Bulletin', Local newspaper in Philadelphia

We are constantly reminded about the destructive consequences of religion - intolerance, hatred, division, inquisitions, persecutions of "heretics," holy wars. Though far from the whole story, they are, nevertheless, true. There have been many awful consequences of religion.

What one almost never hears described are the deleterious consequences of secularism - the terrible developments that have accompanied the breakdown of traditional religion and belief in God. For every thousand students who learn about the Spanish Inquisition and the Salem Witch Trials, maybe two learn to associate Gulag, Auschwitz, The Cultural Revolution and the Cambodian genocide with secular regimes and ideologies.

For all the problems associated with belief in God, the death of God leads to far more of them.

So, while it is not possible to prove (or disprove) God's existence, what is provable is what happens when people stop believing in God.

1. Without God there is no good and evil; there are only subjective opinions that we then label "good" and "evil." This does not mean that an atheist cannot be a good person. Nor does it mean that all those who believe in God are good; there are good atheists and there are bad believers in God. It simply means that unless there is a moral authority that transcends humans from which emanates an objective right and wrong, "right" and "wrong" no more objectively exist than do "beautiful" and "ugly."

2. Without God, there is no objective meaning to life. We are all merely random creations of natural selection whose existence has no more intrinsic purpose or meaning than that of a pebble equally randomly produced.

3. Life is ultimately a tragic fare if there is no God. We live, we suffer, we die - some horrifically, many prematurely - and there is only oblivion afterward.

4. Human beings need instruction manuals. This is as true for acting morally and wisely as it is for properly flying an airplane. One's heart is often no better a guide to what is right and wrong than it is to the right and wrong way to fly an airplane. The post-religious secular world claims to need no manual; the heart and reason are sufficient guides to leading a good life and to making a good world.

5. If there is no God, the kindest and most innocent victims of torture and murder have no better a fate after death than do the most cruel torturers and mass murderers. Only if there is a good God do Mother Teresa and Adolf Hitler have different fates.

6. With the death of Judeo-Christian values in the West, many Westerners believe in little. That is why secular Western Europe has been unwilling and therefore unable to confront evil, whether it was Communism during the Cold War or Islamic totalitarians in its midst today.

7. Without God, people in the West often become less, not more, rational. It was largely the secular, not the religious, who believed in the utterly irrational doctrine of Marxism.

It was largely the secular, not the religious, who believed that men's and women's natures are basically the same, that perceived differences between the sexes are all socially induced. Religious people in Judeo-Christian countries largely confine their irrational beliefs to religious beliefs (theology), while the secular, without religion to enable the non-rational to express itself, end up applying their irrational beliefs to society, where such irrationalities do immense harm.

8. If there is no God, the human being has no free will. He is a robot, whose every action is dictated by genes and environment. Only if one posits human creation by a Creator that transcends genes and environment who implanted the ability to transcend genes and environment can humans have free -will.

9. If there is no God, humans and "other" animals are of equal value. Only if one posits that humans, not animals, are created in the image of God do humans have any greater intrinsic sanctity than baboons. This explains the movement among the secularized elite to equate humans and animals.

10. Without God, there is little to inspire people to create inspiring art. That is why contemporary art galleries and museums are filled with "art" that celebrates the scatological, the ugly and the shocking. Compare this art to Michelangelo's art in the Sistine chapel. The latter elevates the viewer - because Michelangelo believed in something higher than himself and higher than all men.

11. Without God nothing is holy. This is definitional. Holiness emanates from a belief in the holy. This explains, for example, the far more widespread acceptance of public cursing in secular society than in religious society. To the religious, there is holy speech and profane speech. In much of secular society the very notion of profane speech is mocked.

12. Without God, humanist hubris is almost inevitable. If there is nothing higher than man, no Supreme Being, man becomes the supreme being.

13. Without God, there are no inalienable human rights. Evolution confers no rights. Molecules confer no rights. Energy has no moral concerns. That is why America's Founders wrote in the Declaration of Independence that we are endowed "by our Creator" with certain inalienable rights. Rights depend upon a moral source, a rights giver.

14. "Without God," Dostoevsky famously wrote, "everything is permitted." There has been plenty of evil committed by believers in God, but the widespread cruelties and the sheer number of innocents murdered by secular regimes - specifically Nazi, Fascist and Communist regimes - dwarfs the evil done in the name of religion.

As noted at the beginning, none of this proves, or even necessarily argues for, God's existence. It makes the case for the necessity, not the existence, of God. "Which God?" the secularist will ask. The God of Israel, the God of America's founders, "the Holy God who is made holy by justice" (Isaiah), the God of the Ten Commandments, the God who demands love of neighbor, the God who endows all human beings with certain inalienable rights, the God who is cited on the Liberty Bell because he is the author of liberty.

Dennis Prager hosts a nationally syndicated radio talk show and is a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Be a Woman Not a Nice Girl - Azara Feroz Sayed

This post is based on the book "Nice Girls don't get the Corner Office - 101 Unconscious mistakes that women make that sabotage their careers" by Dr Lois Frankel.

It is a good and fast read. Thanks to the very efficient organization of the book - even those who are fighting for time can get to it in couple of hours. The first chapter has questions to identify the 'Nice Girl' like behaviours that we might be indulging in due to lack of knowledge - holding us back professionally. Using the score in one of the seven areas (see below) - we can move to the chapter where we have scored less and within that chapter too we can skip those items from the 101s that we are comfortable with. I would recommend using this approach incase you are short of time. The stories and the guidelines provided for each of the 101s are insightful so a quick review of all would be good.

My score was high in Play and Act - while I was answering the questions - I was grinning at some of the questions - These were some of the Qs that I was doing well due to Feroz's constant push.

The "Nice Girl" beliefs related to work that help us be a "good worker" are not good enough to move up the ladder and would hit a plateau because of those is the message I could get from the book. I consider time spent in discussing personal stuff, politics etc as waste of time which was good while I was a team member but certainly not helpful in building relationships and growing in the career - Dr. Lois requests to waste time!

I intend to write down sometime soon (before I return the book) the action items for each of the 101s that I found interesting.

Do enjoy some of the Videos that I found where Dr Lois talks about
Importance of Brand Building

Talking about football is not wast of time - it is building relationships

Every time you open your mouth its a presentation

Dr Lois interview in Today

Being professional is not acting like a man or aggresively - its about stepping into full adult woman from Nice Girl
1. How You Play the Game
Unfortunately, women are not as trained to participate in competitive sports. It is only recently that women started making their marks in this field. Thus, most women do not know the rules of the game of business. They simply do not know how to play it—and more importantly, how to win it. Some of the common mistakes women commit as they play the game of business are:
1. Pretending it isn't a game
2. Playing the game safely and within bounds
3. Working hard
4. Doing the work of others
5. Working without a break
6. Being Naive
7. Pinching Company Pennies
8. Waiting to be given what you want
9. Avoiding office politics
10. Being the conscience
11. Protecting jerks
12. Holding your tongue
13. Failing to capitalize on relationships
14. Not understanding the needs of your constituents

2. How You Act
Being successful in the world of business is not only dependent on your knowledge of how to play it. It is also important to know how to act, professionally. Dr. Frankel enumerates some unlikely behaviors in the workplace that can be hard career busters.
1. Polling before making a decision
2. Needing to be liked
3. Not needing to be liked
4. Not asking questions for fear of sounding stupid
5. Acting like a man
6. Telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth (so help you God)
7. Sharing too much personal information
8. Being overly concerned with offending others
9. Denying the importance of money
10. Flirting
11. Acquiescing to bullies
12. Decorating your office like your living room
13. Feeding others
14. Offering a limp handshake
15. Being financially insecure
16. Helping

3. How You Think
Changing the way you think can greatly impact a change in your career. Note the beliefs and thought patterns you learn early in girlhood that you need to reconsider and then eventually forget. Some of these are:
1. Making miracles
2. Taking full responsibility
3. Obediently following instructions
4. Viewing men in authority as father figures
5. Limiting your possibilities
6. Ignoring the quid pro quo
7. Skipping meetings
8. Putting work ahead of your personal life
9. Letting people waste your time
10. Prematurely abandoning your career goals
11. Ignoring the importance of network relationships
12. Refusing perks
13. Making up negative stories
14. Striving for perfection.

4. How You Brand and Market Yourself
Marketing oneself is as important as marketing a specific brand. Think of yourself as a brand that’s needs to be marketed effectively. Alongside these come some important points that women need to particularly remember. The following are some mistakes to avoid in marketing yourself:
1. Failing to define your brand
2. Minimizing your work or position
3. Using only your nickname or first name
4. Waiting to be noticed
5. Refusing high-profile assignments
6. Being modest
7. Staying in your safety zone
8. Giving away your ideas
9. Working in stereotypical roles or departments
10. Ignoring feedback
11. Being invisible

5. How You Sound
Put special attention to your choice words, tone of voice, speed of speech and thought organization process. These usually matter more than the content of your speech. An articulately delivered speech will help you be branded as knowledgeable, confident and competent. Remember, how you sound comprises 90% of your credibility. Take note of these common mistakes:
1. Couching statements as questions
2. Using preambles
3. Explaining
4. Asking permission
5. Apologizing
6. Using minimizing words
7. Using qualifiers
8. Not answering the question
9. Talking too fast
10. The inability to speak the language of your business
11. Using nonwords
12. Using touchy-feely language
13. Sandwich-effect
14. Speaking softly
15. Speaking at a higher-than-natural pitch
16. Trailing voice mails
17. Failing to pause or reflect before responding

6. How You Look
There is this common notion that “the best and the brightest are rewarded with promotions and choice assignments.” This is entirely wrong. Those who are competent enough, sound and look good are the ones who move forward in their careers. Statistically, research shows that 55% of your credibility comes from how you look; 38% from how you sound; and, only 7% from what you actually say. Carry yourself properly by avoiding these mistakes:
1. Smiling inappropriately
2. Taking up too little space
3. Using gestures inconsistent with your message
4. Being over- or underanimated
5. Tilting your head
5. Wearing inappropriate makeup
6. Wearing the wrong hairstyle
7. Dressing inappropriately
8. Sitting on your foot
9. Grooming in public
10. Sitting in meetings with your hands under the table
11. Wearing your reading glasses around your neck
12. Accessorizing too much
13. Failing to maintain eye contact

7. How You Respond
It is important to know how to respond to the ways others treat you. And some of the common pitfalls women do as a response to a certain gesture are as follows:
1. Internalizing messages
2. Believing others know more than you
3. Taking notes, getting coffee, and making copies
4. Tolerating inappropriate behavior
5. Exhibiting too much patience
6. Accepting dead-end assignments
7. Putting the needs of others before your own
8. Denying your power
9. Allowing yourself to be the scapegoat
10. Accepting fait accompli (irreversible or predetermined decisions)
11. Permitting others' mistakes to inconvenience you
12. Being the last to speak
13. Playing the gender card
14. Tolerating sexual harassment
15. Crying
Women need to be advocates for themselves by playing up their strengths - like being nurturing, accommodating and good listeners - while also adding complementary behaviors. "You don't have to be like a guy to get ahead in business, but you do have to be an adult woman," said Frankel.

One common mistake Frankel sees women make is couching statements as questions. By doing that, women hand over the power of decision-making to someone else, like the boss.Instead of using phrases like, "Would it be all right if . . .," she suggests saying, "I just want to let you know ..." or "I've got this great idea that I'd like to move forward with, and I want to give you the heads-up on it."

Women, who tend to react more quickly than men, need to instead take some time to think about how to best handle a situation, said Maureen McCormick, director of the learning and development unit in the human resources department at the University of Iowa.

Frankel's other suggestions for women include: - Don't explain ad nauseam. Women look for clues like "mmm hmm" and head nods to ensure that the message they're trying to convey is getting through. When women don't get that reinforcement, "We make our point, we make it again, and make it again," she said. "The more words you use, the more you soften a message."

Don't use minimizing words. If someone compliments you on a job well done, steer clear from saying, "It was nothing," or "I was really lucky." Instead say, "Thank you, I'm proud of what I achieved."

Do go to meetings. Women often think that poorly run meetings are a waste of time, and that they can skip them in lieu of doing more productive tasks, Frankel said. Instead, meetings should be seen as a place to network and build relationships that can benefit you in the future.

Don't apologize for other people's mistakes or misdirection. The boss gave you minimal instructions for a project. Once you've completed it, the boss says that it wasn't what he had in mind. Instead of saying, "I'm sorry," and minimizing your position, Frankel suggested, "Well, the instructions weren't clear to me. Tell me how you want it."

Do get involved in office politics. Replace the word "politics" with "relationships," Frankel said. "That's what politics is - it's about building a relationship before you need it."

Create the word on the street. A routine exercise we do in leadership classes is to ask participants to write a twenty-five-word vision statement of how they want to be described, then list the behaviors needed to get them there. You can do the same. Write down what you want others to be saying about you, then follow it up with specific actions to make it happen. In short, accept the responsibility of adulthood.

Ask for feedback. If you're worried that you are in some way acting inappropriately, ask a trusted friend or colleague for feed-back. Avoid asking a yes-no question (such as, “Did you think I was out of line?”). Try asking an open-ended question that will give you insight into how you are perceived (such as, “Tell me what I did in that meeting that helped me or hindered me from achieving my goals”).

Don't aim for perfection!!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Opposites Don't Attract - Azara Feroz Sayed

Thought about putting this down as I posted last time on building relationships - I remembered these words about the importance of building relationships from the book "Unlimited Power" by Anthony Robbins People are your most important resource. No matter what you want in your life, if you can develop rapport with people, you'll be able to fill their needs, and they will be able to fill yours. There is someone else who can help us accomplish our goals more quickly and easily by providing us their expertise and assistance.

Below site has the summary for 'Unlimited Power' - I used the contents from Chapter 13 ( The Magic of Rapport) for this post

If we remember a time when we met someone for the first time and we were completely in Sync. If we go back and try to think what it was about the person that made us feel so attuned to him/her. Chances are that both of us thought alike, or felt the same way about a movie, book, experience or had similar beliefs, or maybe our beliefs or background were same. The common-ness between two people creates instant bond - rapport!

According to Anthony Robbins, "Opposites attract", Like most things that are false has an element of truth. When people have enough in common, the elements of difference add excitement to things! I couldn't agree more when I think about my relationship with Feroz. As Anthony says, Feroz sees the world much the way I do and even adds to my perspective.

For "Opposite attract" to be true, we never think of the person we can't stand and say, "He thinks just like me". Anthony Robbins questions, "Why would we spend time with someone who disagrees with us on everything","Do people form clubs of people who are different from them" or "Why do most americans feel better about English than Iranians". Americans and English have the same religion, same justice system, same language etc. The problems results from the way the Americans and Iranians are different. When we have problems it is due to people focussing on "differences" rather than similiarity. The way to go from discord to harmony is to go from concentrating on differences to concentrating on similiarities.

One of the most important things we can do in interpersonal communications is to learn how to build excellent rapport. The basic premise of rapport is that people like people who are like themselves. The more two people have in common, the more likely they are to hit it off. Achieving rapport goes a long way towards establishing friendships, enhancing relationships, closing sales, and even getting along better with the in-laws.

Rapport is the ultimate tool for producing results with other people by building a bond instantly. Since we know that we get along well with people who are like us. We build rapport by discovering what the other person is like and changing ourselves to match them. This process is referred to in NLP as "mirroring" or "matching."

When rapport works, we feel totally in sync with the other person and the conversation flows effortlessly. Achieving excellent rapport is much more enjoyable than fidgeting awkwardly with hands in pockets, avoiding eye contact and talking about the weather. Rapport is about establishing an environment of trust and understanding, to respect and honor the other person’s world. This allows the person the freedom to fully express their ideas and feelings and know they’ll be respected and appreciated. Rapport creates the space for the person to feel listened and responded to, even when we dis-agree with what the other person says or does. Each person appreciates the other’s viewpoint and respects their model of the world. When we are in rapport with another person, we have the opportunity to enter their world and see things from their perspective, feel the way they do, get a better understanding of where they are coming from; and as a result, enhance the whole relationship. The magical bond that unites people and makes them feel like partners.

We know that only 7% of what is communicated between people is transmitted through words, 38% comes through the tone of voice, 55% of communication, the largest part, is the result of physiology (NLP Term for body language). We know that physiology - the facial expressions, the gestures, the quality and type of movements - of the person delivering a communication provides us more information than the words do by themselves. We laugh when Eddie Murphy talks - it not the words that matter as much as the delivery-his tonality and physiology-that makes you laugh. Arshad Warsi is one of Feroz's favourite in this regard since Munnabhai and for me it is Dilip Prabhavalkar who can't beat anyone.

Mirroring is about "discovering" these three aspects (words, tone, physiology) of other person's communication and mirroring them for building rapport. While the words are working on a person's conscious mind, the tonality and physiology are working on the unconscious. Their unconscious is where their brain is thinking, "Hey, this person's like me. (S)he must be okay." And because it's unconscious, it's even more effective. We're not aware of anything but the bond is formed.

Mirror favorite words or phrases or jargons used by the other person.

Mirror the tonality and phrasing, the pitch, how fast (s)he talks, what sort of pauses the person makes, the volume.

Mirror posture and breathing patterns, eye contact, body language, facial expressions, hand gestures, or other distinctive movements. Any aspect of physiology, from the way a person plants their feet to the way (s)he tilts their head.

As part of the "Mirroring" process, we need to understand the person's representation system and mirror the same in our response to their communication. is a very good article on representation systems . The example below is from the article. Many relationships have been affected due to communication failure due lack of understanding the representation system. A woman who said "My husband doesn't love me. He never brings me flowers, takes me to movies, or looks at me in that special way." Her husband replied, "What do you mean, not love her...Of course I do. I tell her I love her three or four times a day!"She felt loved when she was shown visually. He thought he was loving when he told her so auditorially. He was satisfied by hearing the words "I love you," and as we all do, assumed she did too. If he had listened to the words she used to determine which Representation System she was thinking in, he would have heard the visual words and realised his declarations of love were 'falling on deaf ears.' Then he could have adapted his language and behaviour to show her he loved her, and they both would have been satisfied.It is that simple -- to listen for the Representational words which indicate in what sense the person is thinking, and to adjust your communication style to match.

The below verbal clues can be used to understand the person's representation system
GENERIC - I understand you, I want to communicate something to you, Do you understand what I'm trying to communicate, I know that to be true, I'm not sure about that, I don't like what you're doing, Life is good
VISUAL - I see your point, I want you to take a look at this, Am I painting a clear picture, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that that is true, That is pretty hazy to me, I take a dim view of your perspective, My mental picture of life is sparkling and crystal clear
AUDITORY - I hear what you're saying, I want to make this loud and clear, Does what I'm saying sound right to you, That information is accurate word for word, That doesn't really ring a bell, That doesn't resonate with me at all, Life is in perfect harmony
KINESTHETIC - I feel that I'm in touch with what you're saying, I want you to get a grasp on this, Are you able to get a handle on this, That information isas solid as a rock, I'm not sure I'm following you, What it boils down is that what you're doesn't feel right to me, Life feels warm and wonderful

The person who is talking about "how this looks" to them (visual) will probably be breathing high in the chest, speaking rapidly with shallow breathing, might be pointing, and may have hunched shoulders and an extended neck, while auditory people will more resonant voices and their breathing will tend to be more even and deep, coming from the diaphragm or the whole chest, and will have balanced muscle tension, and may fold their arms, and tilt their heads slightly to one side. Kinesthestic people speak in a slow tempo, will take long pauses between words so they can get a feel for what they're saying in their low, deep tonalities. Much of their body movement will tend to indicate tactile or external kinesthetic accessing. They often have upturned palms with arms bent and relaxed with a solid posture with their heads sitting squarely on their shoulders.

In "mirroring", it is important to observe and understand the other person's representation system - for us to provide our response in the same representation system as used by the other person - to build rapport.

If we mirror everything about another person? People feel as though they've found their soul mate, someone who totally understands, who can read their deepest thoughts, who is just like them.

We don't have to mirror everything about a person to create a state of rapport. If we just start with the tone of voice or a similar facial expression, we can learn to build incredible rapport with anyone.

We need to look for things that we can morror as unabstrusively as possible. If we mirror a person who is asthamatic or terrible twitching - instead of achieving rapport, we will lead him to think we are mocking him.

Mirroring is a natural process of rapport. We already do it unconsciously - Mirroring provides us a way to build rapport anytime we wish, with anyone, even a stranger. When we are mirroring, we get the benefits of another person's feelings and experiences and thoughts.

If we are using rapport as a tactic to manipulate another person to our way of thinking, at some level they instinctively know it and they will not respond positively. However, if we have mastered the art of rapport and our intention is to hear and be heard, to achieve win-win solutions or create genuine friendships, we will become a powerful and trusted communicator.

An "mirroring" example that Anthony talks about in the book
Robbins was relaxing in Central Park, New York, and noticed a man sitting across from him. Without really thinking about it, Robbins began to subtly copy the man's behaviour. At first he sat in a similar way to the man, breathed the way he was breathing and swayed his head a little as he did. The other man was throwing breadcrumbs to the birds and Robbins did this as well. Before long the man came over to sit beside Robbins and struck up a conversation. Robbins continued to mirror the man's physical actions and his voice tone and phrases he used in speech. After a few minutes the man told Robbins that he seemed "very intelligent" and that he felt he knew him better than some people he'd known for 25 years.

As Anthony Robbins says, The meaning of our communication is the response we elicit and the responsibility of communication rests upon us. Rapport is the most accessible skill in the world not needing a book or course to learn. The only tools we need is close observation and flexibility to match other person's world. We are always communicating and interacting. Rapport is simply doing both in the most effective ways possible. We can use rapport at the grocery store, job, home, job interviews etc

The below article has exercises to practise building rapport

Monday, August 11, 2008

Make me feel Important - Azara Feroz Sayed

Came across this as a form of NLP model

As you walk around and interact with others tomorrow, hallucinate a big sign above their head that says: “Make Me Feel Important!”

Feroz tried to impress on me this by saying 'Even God expects us to make him feel important'. All our prayers begin with praising God and then asking him for blessing us with the things we desire. We mortals certainly need to feel important too to drive to action!

Make people feel important is the "good finder" that Zig Ziglar talks about.
Look for the good in others - you will find the good in others- Compliment the good that you see in others. In short, when dealing with people, give them lots of encouragement, but don't lie or mislead them by telling them they are doing well when they are not. Sincere Compliment is one of the most effective teaching and motivations methods in existence. Compliments may seem so much air, but like air we use to fill tires in our automobiles, they can really ease us along life's higway!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Wedding Anniversary - Azara Feroz Sayed

Tomorrow is our wedding anniversary! I couldn't help remembering our last wedding anniversary which we marked by 'watching our first film together in a theatre'.

We watched one of Feroz's favourite movies - Bourne Ultimatum. On our way back, we were fooling about what our 'code under duress' should be. Infact Bourne Identity happens to be the first movie we watched together. I was never into action films - Feroz converted me to a Bourne movies fan!

Feroz wouldn't mind spending money on the DVD to see it in leisure on the home projectorTV system. This allows him to irritate me by playing some of the dumb dialogues again and again! Moreoever I think one more reason is - this allows him to read the names of the people contributing to the film by pausing and going thru the list of names - I love to see him read the names with such fervour! I say to myself - if a person can be excited to know about people contributing to a movie - he will always find something to keep his heart & mind fresh with learning - Life will never be a drudgery for this person - Amen!

As I mentioned in the earlier post, 'The Secret', that Feroz is an embodiment of all the things that I said 'that is nice' in my heart - I would admire the few people waiting after the movie was over to read the names and thank (token of thanks) the many people contributing to the making of the movie. I don't know how it all happened - was it law of attraction as definded in the 'The Secret' or something else! Whatever it is - God has been very kind to get Me and Feroz - two complete strangers - together! Pray his blessings continue on us for the rest of our lives - Amen!

Anniversaries always make us reflect on our life and for me, my life with Feroz transformed me from mediocre person - playing it safe - not wanting much from life - to a individual taking risks, making decisions - to enjoy the many things that life has to offer! And equally important, kindling in me the desire for sharing with others the importance of taking decisions - to enjoy life to the fullest!!

Pray Me and Feroz grow in each other's love for the rest of our lives!!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Suzuki Learning Philosophy - Azara Feroz Sayed

I read about Schinichi Suzuki in Zig Zilgar's See You at the Top book. Though there are many programs in Japan using Suzuki's style for learning especially music. There is a school in Atlanta following Professor Suzuki's style of learning.

Schinichi Suzuki is an unusual japanese scientist who performs what many people consider to be one of the miracles of our time. He takes babies a few weeks old and starts playing beautiful, recorded music next to their beds. He plays the same tune many times and after about thirty days he repeats the procedure with another recording. He continues this process until the infant is about two years old. At that time, he starts about three months of music lessons for mother, with the two-year-old as an observer. Next he puts a minature violin in the hands of the child, who begins to get the feel of the instrument while learning bow movements. This first lesson lasts only two or three minutes. From there they gradually build up to an hour. By the time the child is old enough to learn that the violin is supposed to be difficult to play, he has already mastered it and is having fun in the process. Professor Suzuki conducted a concert with some 1,500 of these japanese children performing. Average age of the children was about seven and they played the classics-Chopin, Beethoven, Vivaldi etc. Significantly, Suzuki emphasizes that the vast majority of these children had no "natural" misucal talent. However, he believes every child has talent that can be developed by following the same procedure we use in teaching children to speak. A baby is around older people who constantly talk, so the first step is "exposure". Next, the baby tries to talk, which is "imitation". Friends and relatives brag on the baby, which gives "encouragement" and motivates the baby to try again. This is the process of "repitition". Then the baby starts adding words and tying them together into phrases or sentences. This procedure is "refinement". At age three or four, the child has quiet a vocabulary and still can't read a word. Professor Suzuki maintains that virtually anything can be learnt by the same method.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Reticular Activating System - Azara Feroz Sayed

The excitement for knowing about NLP was created by the many references to the NLP material in Tony Robins books.
Below are some interesting ideas on "Why goal setting/visualizing/empowering beliefs and values are important". We need to provide information to our brain - to know what to focus on - to know what to filter in and what not to filter out - what is important and what is mundane - to avoid losing the crucial information being filtered out by the brain. Goal Setting/ Visualization/ Empowering Beliefs and Values provide the focus and direction necessary for our mind to know what is important/"moral". The ideas below are from "NLP for Dummies" book by Romilla Ready and Kate Burton.

Interesting ideas about our Unconscious Mind
1. We know that Conscious mind is that part of the mind which has awareness of things around and within us at any given point of time. The conscious mind is the short-term memory which can hold thoughts from minutes to hours. The rest of our memory is unconscious or subconscious mind.
2. We also know that Conscious mind excels at logic, analysis, processing sequentially etc while unconscious is better at creativity, strong memory, intuition, emotion etc
3. Our unconscious can't process negatives making it very important to have positive goals. It interprets everything we think as a positive thought so if we think, "I don't want to be poor", our unconscious mind focuses on 'poor' and because it doesn't processes negative, the thought becomes, "I want to be poor". Being poor then becomes the goal in your unconscious mind and like a yound child, desperate to please, it helps to behave in a way that will keep us poor!
4. Our unconscious mind needs direction - what next to work on, necessitating meditation to connect the conscious and unconscious mind
5. Unconscious mind stores all our experiences, including all the repressed memories (unresolved negative emotions), which are presented to us for examination to release trapped emotions - e.g. childhood memories of hurt being presented in our mid life etc - the timing for surfacing the trapped emotions to us by the unconscious is a surprise!
6. Unconscious mind needs to be fed with new experiences all the time. Lest it gets busy with unconstructive addictions, we can engage it in activities which will keep us mentally fit like reading, puzzles etc which cause our brain cells to grow more physical dendrites (branches of brain cell)
7. Unconscious behaves like a highly moral being. Our unconscious mind will keep us on the straight and narrow path of whatever morality it has learnt (our beliefs - our version of truth - not necessarily the "truth") - by enforcing its morality on us - even if society judges that morality wrong. A terrorist will kill and destroy without qualms because his moral code teaches him to be a freedom fighter. He is made to believe by the unconscious that he is actually being a moral person in fighting against a criminal society. On the other hand, if our unconscious mind decides that we need to be punished for some of our actions, which doesn't fits its moral code - even though there are no specific social laws for those - we will be wrecked with guilt and exihibit behaviour to punish ourselves. This necessiates feeding the right content to our unconscious to build the right moral code of conduct for our unconscious - a good self image, goals. At the same time it is important to understand and work with guilt emotions presented to us by the unconscious.

Reticular Activating System (RAS)
There are approximatey 2 billion pieces of data comin in throught our five senses every second. Only miniscule of the information we receive through our five senses is filtered and lodged in the brain. Our antenna RAS recieves the information that is of interest to us. The information filtering critirea for RAS is
1. If the information is important to our survival. For e.g. if we are jay walking and in a day dream, we will be alerted to traffic bearing down on us
2. If the information has novelty value. When we decorate our house, we start noticing the changes we made but slowly we start ignoring those changes as the novelty value reduces.
3. If the information has high emotional content. A mother will be alert when the baby's breathing changes but will sleep throught husband's snoring.
4. If the information is above RAS's threshold of observation. Anything below this threshold is mundane, routine. Novelty value (visualizing goals everyday), our empowering beliefs (believing "I am lucky and an oppurtunity will come by soon" helps us see oppurtunities and achieve goals) and values determine RAS's threshold of observation - determines the information captured and not filtered out and lost.

Goal setting/Visualizing/Empowering Beliefs and Values help us set the right focus for RAS which in turns provides us the info needed to achieve success. Is RAS the reason for the success of "Law of Attraction" (refer earlier post "The Secret") has examples of RAS specifically for the sales person is the tip wherein if a customer says "not interested" they mean to say "not interested at this time"

This article links the ideas mentioned in "Luck Factor" to RAS - apart from importance of action - the people with Midas touch know what to focus on - putting the RAS to work View the short video by James Ray which introduces how our beliefs and RAS are connected is a 9 part posting on how the working of subconsciou with lot and lot of examples
- How we perceive the world based on "our version of truth" our beliefs and how our beliefs in turn influence the filtering mechanism of RAS
- The blindspots created by our mind (missing on counting 'F' is a very good example of this) . Count Fs in
read article for answer. How many other such blind spots would be stopping us from achieving success by not focussing on the right things (by not having goals). Our RAS would be junking stuff that would be important to us.
- The thermostat of our mind that measures every experience and kicks on the heater or cooler based on the picture or "beliefs" or "our version of truth" that we have set as thresholds. If we "know" that we are not good in math, then if we do well on a math exam, we will suffer anxiety because doing well is "not like us." Our Censor then will correct for the error of success and we will do poorly on the next exam. We can program our subconscious by changing the pictures or "beliefs" or "our version of truth". Tony Robins refers beliefs as lies as they can be changed.
- Each time we come upon an experience, our conscious mind perceives, associates, evaluates, and decides what to do. If we perceive something slithering in the grass and we hear a rattle. We associate that with our experience and memory--a rattlesnake. We evaluate it. This is not good. A rattlesnake can bite and poison us and so we decide to run away.
- Subconcious mind is the repository of habits(e.g. driving or typing in auto mode without thinking about driving or typing) , attitudes (e.g. our continous like or dislike of something) created based on our beliefs or "our version of truths" and values
- The blind spots are created by our subconscious mind to reject information that doesn't fits "in our version of truth" i.e. when we declare "My keys are nowhere to be found." Immediately, our Censor builds a blindspot against our actually seeing the keys. Why? Because we would appear foolish (insane) after having made our statement. So then someone else finds them (in an obvious place where we had looked several times). The knowledge of blindspots applies when we judge others too. We judge others based on "our version of truth" - ignoring all their talents and good work they are doing.
- Subconscious minds will help us solve problems by providing the necessary drive, creativity - which is what we do when we set our goals - we give our subconscious mind a problem to work on
- You don't get what you want in life; you get what you picture i.e. we get what we focus on. When we learn to ride a bicycle as a child we learn a simple fact very quickly. If there is a rock in the road, we don't focus on it. If we do, we end of hitting it. The harder we try to avoid the rock, the more we are drawn to it. To avoid the rock, rather than focusing on the rock we focus on the path around the rock. This is why in disaster training, airplane pilots do not practice crashes, they practice recoveries.

Some interesting facts
- Women have thicker corpus collosum than men, which enables them to multi task better

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