Monday, 13 May 2013

We must learn to discern praise and criticism

Praise and criticism are integral to our life. In order to grow and succeed in our life, we all need both appreciation and criticism in equal amounts. While appreciation is something that we eagerly look forward to, yearn for time and again and bask in its glory; criticism is something which we don't like let alone welcome it. In general, we see two different reactions and responses to praise and critique. Appreciation is welcomed, encouraged and propagated to the point of narcissism. Criticism is loathed, often discouraged and if at all accepted, it is done grudgingly.

Will such an attitude towards criticism help us in the long run? Obviously not. A person used to receiving appreciation alone and who expects to be showered with praises all the time is inviting defeat, failure and stagnation into his life. On the contrary, someone open to his/her own criticism by others is attracting positive changes, transformation, growth, strength and courage. If a person accepts criticism in the right spirit, he will end up becoming a person with a positive and bold attitude. Without a doubt, the latter succeeds and wins in life. The former is reduced to a life of weakness, ignorance, boredom and failure.

As people say, healthy criticism helps in the holistic development of a human being. However, in these days of cut-throat competition, envy, one-upmanship, criticism is seen as the best way to dent a persons's confidence and stall her progress. Be it in schools, colleges, offices, our interactions with people, we are constantly showered with scathing criticism. During such situations, the solution lies in understanding the different shades of criticism. A healthy critique of your work is something that pinpoints the faults, weaknesses and errors that you have unwittingly made without any damage to your self-image. Unhealthy criticism is the one that destroys your self-confidence, implants self-doubts and scuttles your development through literary forms of exaggerated level of satire, comedy and cynicism. The formula for success lies in accepting constructive criticism and ignoring destructive criticism.

For our own evolution, it is absolutely essential to praise and self-criticize ourselves, in reasonable amounts though. If we brag about ourselves overly, we end up becoming a boring narcissist and if we criticize ourselves unduly, we succeed in destroying our self-worth that can lead to disastrous consequences. Depression and suicide are a result of self-criticizing ourselves unreasonably.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

A welcome verdict

The much awaited verdict of Kudankulam N-power plant is finally out, a judgement that is bound to leave the protesters red in their faces. The Supreme Court justified its verdict by commenting that "we have to balance economic scientific benefits with that of minor radiological detriments". The justification to me sounds reasonable, balanced and sensible keeping in mind the larger interests of the country's economy. Economic development and progress is usually always achieved causing minor discomfort to the dwellers in that vicinity and environment at large.

The hundreds of MNCs and corporate houses that we see in our cities today would not have materialised without having caused minor inconveniences to the environment. The positive side is that many of us have reasonably secure jobs, decent lifestyles and  pretty decent incomes. Life which was once a struggle for most Indians has now become a wee bit comfortable.

Kudankulam kind of protests are not new. Haven't there been protests when India's economy was opened up for global companies to establish their bases? Heated debates raged over the pros and cons of economic globalization and liberalization. Today, the same voices that protested have fallen silent probably startled by the high number of job opportunities available and tangible changes and advancements witnessed in the lifestyle of an 'aam aadmi'.

The establishment and operation of the nuclear plant comes at a time when Tamil Nadu is witnessing a severe power crisis. When there is no other alternative but the nuclear plant to power woes, it is only sensible to allow its operation and ignore the disadvantages or inconveniences it is likely to cause. As the Supreme Court said 'benefits outweigh minor radiological detriments', the protesters must realize that their demonstrations are not worthy but on the contrary are acting as needless and major impediments for the state's economic growth and progress.

The opposition has lost its credibility and only comes across as an unreasonable, stubborn, smug and immature group of teenagers in the face of overwhelming reasons and evidence of the nuclear plant's adherence to safety and environmental norms as well as its effectiveness to solve Tamil Nadu's great power crisis.

Monday, 6 May 2013

Overcoming problems

It is only stating the obvious when I say that life is unpredictable and throws problems ranging from the silliest to the most complicated ones. However, without difficult situations in life can we ever grow, evolve, excel and even understand the meanings of triumph, strength and courage?

Surprisingly, problems when viewed positively can cease to exist as difficulties. Many successful people in their professional and personal lives have always welcomed challenging situations because they felt that without challenges life would be dull and would only lay a foundation for stagnation and ennui. Of course, this does not mean we need to create tough circumstances and embrace them at the first opportunity. It is only to say that we should not shy away from uncomfortable scenarios, rather face them with a brave and positive attitude.

To overcome an obstacle, on our part, we need to recognize it first. The moment we recognize we have a problem half of it is already solved. Second, it is extremely important we identify and categorize the problem as it would help us in arriving at a solution rather quickly. Third, we need to stop denying that a problem exists in the first place. Next, it is purely psycological and we need to internalise it. Qualities like courage, optimism, a balanced temperament, healthy attitude and positive demeanour are essential to cross hurdles.

Having said all this, it would only be wise not to sow seeds for obstacles and it is wiser still if we don't escape from them, rather take the right approach and required skills to fight them. The next time you encounter a problem have the belief that it is just an exam to test your talents and qualities that are not something beyond your reach but only lay dormant deep within you. You will be surprised at your own strength, courage, wherewithal and the hidden potential within you. A new you is born and you will be thrilled to discover that new you in you!