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How to change your habits with Action Inquiry

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Ranjan De Silva’s Reflective Process

Joseph tends to get angry when his wife Judy asks him too many questions? He notices this tendency and realizes that his response hurts Judy. But this thought does not come to his mind when he is angry. He feels this is not helpful for their relationship, which has been deteriorating gradually.

You may have faced similar situations with family, friends, colleagues or anyone else you have regular interactions or you may know others who are facing similar challenges. Have you ever wondered why it has been sometimes very difficult to change a habit?

While I have been using techniques of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) and Transactional Analysis (TA) to help myself and those who come for my guidance, to change habits, I was fascinated by the power and potential of Action Inquiry in achieving real and lasting change.

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Universal Energy Sync – For Success and Happiness

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Image captured by me at the Ashridge Business School in January 2017

This image is the sunrise at the ‘Ashridge Business School’ captured earlier this month during my quarterly stay there. I consider this my spiritual home that nourishes my soul as I pursue my doctoral studies. This is a place that helps me grow towards my fullest potential, giving me real inner happiness during the process.

 Perhaps you are one of those people who is always tasting success and living happily. Perhaps you are one who observes others in this way of living. Perhaps you are one who is searching for the ‘how’ to achieve such a state of life. This blog is designed to discuss how such a state of life can be achieved.

While there could be millions of ways of making sense of success and happiness, my personal belief is that success comes from improving in areas that are purposeful to me. I am refereeing to action that is driven by a higher purpose as I keep on my quest to make sense of what that higher purpose is. Happiness is what I experience when I am in the process of improving in areas important to me.

What is important to me is my purpose that helps me to be of service to the world and thereby helping me to provide a comfortable and purposeful life for my family and me. This requires me to improve my spirituality that gives me peace of mind, and improves my brain, which helps me learn and teach, improve my body, which helps me act effectively and efficiently, improve my relationships, which provides the love to live purposefully, improve my emotions to be in joy, improve my finances to help fund my purpose and improve the use of my time choosing to do purposeful work.
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Preparing for a fruitful 2017

2016 is almost over and I hope you made good progress during the year. Some of us would say it was an awesome year, some would say it was an average year and some others would say it was not a good year!  The best we can do is to use the learning from 2016 so that we can make 2017 a better one.

I am pleased to present a simple four-step process to help you prepare for a fruitful 2017.

Step 1: Let’s start by doing this simple reflective exercise to take the resources from 2016 for a better 2017. Answer the following question in writing or in an artful form such as a picture, poem, collage, structure etc.

  1. What were my biggest successes in 2016? What did I learn from it?
  2. What were my biggest failures in 2016? What did I learn from it?
  3. Who am I grateful for 2016?  (Those who helped me and was tough on me)

Once the above is done, allow some time for the energy and learnings to settle in before starting the preparation for 2017.
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Understanding and Dealing with Misunderstandings

blogLet me use the words of the ‘Cookie Thief’ poem by Valerie Cox, I recite at trainings and the ‘ladder of inference’ developed by Coghlan & Brannick (2014, p.31) to attempt to figure out why we have misunderstandings. I will interrupt the poem and use the seven steps of the ‘ladder of inference’ model during the interludes in this attempt.

 A woman was waiting at an airport one night, with several long hours before her flight. She hunted for a book in the airport shops, bought a bag of cookies and found a place to drop.

 She was engrossed in her book but happened to see, that the man sitting beside her, as bold as could be. . .grabbed a cookie or two from the bag in between, which she tried to ignore to avoid a scene. Read the rest of this page »

Intelligence: Is it a Window in to our Purpose?

My previous blog titled ‘why try to be a banana when you are a peach’ attempted to discuss the idea that we are unique and for me living purposefully is trying to discover if I am a Peach or a banana or something else and trying to live as one. I also feel that having a glimpse of what might be purpose would help make choices on how to live and we can get confirmation if those are congruent with purpose through bodily signals. I believe it is a life long search, and that living our life inquiring what our purpose might be, could help us find happiness… what ever that might mean to each of us.

In this blog post I would like to discuss if an exploration in to multiple intelligences could help us in the pursuit of finding purpose in our life. Howard Gardner introduces the concept of multiple intelligences and suggests that each one of us may have some predominant intelligence in us. The list of intelligences he suggests are; bodily physical, verbal/linguistic, mathematical/logical, visual/spatial, musical, inter-personal and intra-personal. The following description might be helpful in starting to think about our predominant intelligence.

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Why try to be a Banana, when you are a Peach?

I could be the most delectable, the most delicious, the most wondrous peach in the world, and I could offer it to everybody.  But there are people who are allergic to peaches.  Then they may want me to be a banana.”  And so often we become a banana for other people who want peaches.  What a messy fruit salad.  Isn’t it all right to say to them, “I am so sorry I cannot be a banana? I would love to be a banana if I could for you, but I’m a peach.”  And you know what?  If you wait long enough, you’ll find a peach lover.  And then you can live your life as a peach, and you don’t have to live your life as a banana. All the lost energy it takes to be a banana, when you’re a peach!

 

This is a part of a poem I love, written by the author of ‘Love’ Leo Buscaglia. This poem, which I first heard from my teacher and now my business partner, Omar Khan about 20 years ago, has had an amazing impact on my life and the choices I make. This has helped me to continue to search for my God-given gift by asking the questions; what do I love to do? What am I good at? What is important to me? These reflections have led me to find a sense of my ‘purpose’ and I continue to ask myself questions to inquire if that is my purpose. Such inquiry has also changed the questions and I ask and the third question above has now changed to; for what or who am I in service of?

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How do we know what we know?

ways of knowingHave you ever thought about how you know what you know? When this question was first asked from me, the answers that came to my mind was; from books, from parents, from teachers, from the learned. But when confronted with the next question, so do you believe that all that you know was true, I felt yes, it must be true, if not these will not be thought to me by those who I respect as learned, honest and well-meaning. But when I thought deeper, I felt that what is true to them, does not have to be true to me, because they come from different backgrounds, eras, conditions, cultures, religion, and would be driven by different purposes etc. Therefore for us to claim that we know what we know requires a kind of self-validation. John Heron provides a theoretical framework that helps make sense of the way we know. He names it extended epistemology, which has four interwoven ways of knowing (Heron 1992, 1999): Read the rest of this page »

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