Category Archives: Neuroscience of Behaviour

The Rise of Singapore – A Leadership Lesson from Lee Kuan Yew (part 1)

26 km in breadth and 50 km in length. Overall about 700 square km of land, Singapore, an island country that equals the
size of Pune city in India, has beaten enormous India, China, USA, Japan and Hong Kong in its per person productivity. Per Capita GDP (aka per person productivity) is an indicator of productivity, progress and prosperity of a nation. It is a parameter to compare relative economic performances of various countries. This means on an average a Singaporean citizen contributes more to the country’s GDP in comparison to the citizens of all the other countries mentioned above. Amazing! A country that got freedom only in 1965 how could turn around so majestically and astonishingly and become what it is today?

If converting this tiny traditional, religious conflict hit, poor fishermen village into a massive financial hub was a magic, then Lee Kuan Yew was certainly the magician. Magicians work hard and deploy killer strategies creating perfect illusions so did Lee. He had created perfect aspirations among citizens of Singapore. A population which is a mix of Chinese, Malays and Indians, following varied religions, needed to remain united and glued to the dream that Lee saw. Lee inspired them all to see a common dream – economic liberation.

Lee’s idea was very simple – invite investment and create jobs in the land which was otherwise deprived of natural resources. But then who would come to a land to do business where political vandalism, unskilled population and rioting publics take on the land for rides?

Let’s look at those tiny steps, the builder of the nation – Lee took in making the country prepared to take lead on the stage of world economy.

Lee Kuan Yew contributed immensely in liberating this tiny island from British colonial rules in 1959. He had then lead the country to a merger with Malaysia in 1963 before breaking up with it in 1965 to from the independent state of Singapore.

What did he do to change the socio cultural, educational and political image of the land to attract MNCs from all over the world to come and set up industries in Singapore? Well that’s not a step by step composition of a musical extravaganza but a step by step advancement on a Warfield. A war that he strategically fought against with ill habits, traditional mindsets, communists within and neighboring enemies.

Continued as part 2 in my next blog.

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Buying Signals

Like those FBI interrogators interrogate suspects, a killer salesman stimulates, reads and interprets verbal and nonverbal signals from prospects. And think what, they do it all at a time simultaneously like those hard core pros. An effective sales talk is like a FORCE that affects a displacement or a movement in the state of the mind of the prospect. When a sales person interviews and proposes a prospect to make a buy, s/he facilitates a change in the mind set or belief of the prospect. This change in mental state is critical without which there is no buy. Thus this displacement must be facilitated with a lots of care, caution and observation. This changes affect the way a prospect uses to think before and after a sales call. During sales calls the knowledge of benefits of a new opportunity or product offerings stimulate those biological responses (changes) in the prospects mind and body. These changes may manifest in the form of various signals like vocal, non-vocal and body posture alterations. One needs to be alert and vigilant to catch those buying signals, right there in that moment. Buying signals – positive or negative must be caught in the radar system of the seller.

The salesmen if not well-versed with her/his sales talk, would falter in observing the subtle signals happening in the mind/body of the prospect. S/he would rather only concentrate very hard retrieving mugged up info. Deep engagement with internal retrieval system neurologically disconnects one from outer environment. Prospect may not express those changes verbally loudly every time. However through various vocal cues and changes in body postures, s/he gives visibly loud signals. Reading those signals/indications are extremely important and so is the importance of interpretation of those signals.

When we drive we refer to many traffic signals. Other than those Red, Yellow and Green signals most of them are very perplexing and need training to understand. Linguistic (vocal) expressions are like those Red, Yellow and Green signals. Interpretations are seemingly easy here. However, in the first place, catching a subtle signal in the posture or facial expression is tough and needs pin pointed observation skill. Leaving alone the toughness of assigning meanings to those signals in postures or facial expressions.

A salesmen is primarily engaged very tight to the detailing talk. At that point of concentration his pre frontal cortex part of the brain, (controls his working memory and executive function), is engaged full throttle to the task in hand. Task in hand is off course to not forget the minute product details and minding the polished executive behavior. At that point of time s/he retrieves information from her/his memory systems. These strong connections subdue our visual alertness making external observations meager. Leaving apart assigning meanings to them which require involving the cortex that’s already busy digging out memories from memory banks of the brain. For an instance imagine you are trying to recall some names and what do you do? You close your eyes, right. Disconnection from environmental realities by closing eyes help digging things right from darkness of memory wells. But not in a sales call. Involving both the cortex in reading signals and memory retrieval system to continue the detailing talk simultaneously is tough. However practicing the art of observation sharpens one’s observation skill and farther training and practice may enable one to do both with sufficient ease.

A salesmen shouldn’t be any less than an FBI agent. S/he must be trained on the art and science of reading and interpreting verbal and nonverbal buying signals and rejection signals. This is too important to ignore. Observation on this topic would guide and help the sales call reach destination more productively. Understanding the signals would help customize one’s sales talk according to the biological responses each of the product benefit or service or idea is evoking in the prospect’s mind and body. It will also help minimize derailments of the prospect from your laid sales track. Else s/he may board and off board during the call and you end up saying “thank you very much for your kind attention”! Watch the video on “Buying Signals” in YouTube to better interpret buying signals.

 https://youtu.be/JDBpgb1jQ2E

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The Neuroscience of Leading through POOR performance?

Have you ever thought why you feel happy and excited even with the thought of having a cup of coffee? Or why you feel happy with the thought of having a go flying in the evening with your best friends and champaign? Do you get tempted to just buzz in and savour some sweets at one go when passing by a mouth watering Sweets shop. Well in the language of psychology this behaviour is called as craving. Craving gives us ecstasy even with the thought of indulging into a habitual behaviour. Craving gives us the happiness before we indulge into the real or actual act of physically exposing our body to that particular stimulus. When for a substantial period of time we practice a particular behaviour be it smoking tobacco or drinking alcohol or getting up early in the morning and going for exercise or having certain type of food, we form particular habits. Craving drives our habits. Though drugs form dependence later on, at the initial phase any habit formation follow this Loop CUE, CRAVING, ROUTINE and REWARD.

We have discussed in our previous post that habit formation requires three basic ingredients namely a cue, a routine and a reward. But when you continue a certain behaviour for a long period of time the reward which initially comes at the end starts coming immediately after Cue. That means the happiness is already experienced before actual act. We understand from this discussion is that it is not only cue and a routine and a sense of the accomplishment associated happiness that helps us form various behaviours or habits, it is also the craving for that particular moment that solidifies those habits in us. Craving repeatedly invites us into the execution of our those behaviours. Examples: It is the THOUGHTS of endorphin rise and the happiness felt therefore after exercise is the motivation behind exercising. It is the preemptive FEELINGS of euphoria after taking a particular drug like caffeine or alcohol that creates a craving. Craving is FELT in thoughts and  is powerful to drive actions, when repeated in autopilot are called as HABITS.

Having understood how habits form and how they are persistently driven now the challenge is to understand how do we change habits.

Let’s take the example of Indian cricket team during Greg Chappell’s coaching period. It is known to everyone today that Greg Chappell as a coach almost destroyed a very well knit Indian cricket team. Out of many new habits good or bad, those were formed during this period of anarchy one we could discuss is when the players used to go to the net for practice. There were cues. The cues were the alarm clock in the morning, or the call from other colleagues, or all the habituation of the players since very long, of getting up early, putting the shoes and tracks and moving towards the field.

Now look at the changed routine during Greg’s time. Previously these same players used to look at each other as synergistic contributors. But under the coaching period of Greg Chappell these bunch of legends started looking at each other as  competitors. A competition to stay in the team by overpowering the other. People started focusing on individual records. Team went south. There always lurked the risk of loosing out from the team. Many legends were temporarily destroyed during that time like the Ganguly’s. These players started guessing every morning who’s from who’s camp! From the coach’s camp or from the captain’s camp. Whom they could trust sharing their feelings and whom to not. There were massive ideological differences between the captain and the coach. All these gradually divided the team into fragments of nonperforming individuals. This was the CHANGED routine from the previous base line routine that took away the element of CRAVING for team performance from each players psyche. Though the reward for habit formation was high: only to remain fit and retain post in the team that too just to hang on there.

The changed ROUTINE changed the performance of the team India. They lost their chances in the qualifiers during the World Cup in 2007. After a lot of brawl between the coach and the captain the board took a decision to Fire the coach under media pressure and even public pressure. A new coach Gary Kirsten took over. He got a team which was no more a team but a bunch of devastated, demoralised, dissociated individual players.

Gary’s primary goal was to built trust and respect for talent in each of the morally down legends of the team. Don’t forget the likes of Sachin, Saurav, Dravid, Laksman, Jahir Khan, Harbhajan all were a part of that team. There was no dearth of talent or potential. There was a need to change the habits of the team members. Habits those developed in those years of highly polarised political environment were mistrust, nonperformance, low self esteem, procrastination, passing the buck, instability, indiscipline and shaken beliefs on the entire system. Goals were invisible, misty and murky.

Through many scientific research by that time it was well established that when you try to change performance of people you don’t alter the CUE neither alter the REWARD but alter the ROUTINE leg of the Habit loop. Particularly this formula is very popular  among the coaches who coached big football teams or cricket teams or any other teams who play international standard games. Sporting psychology explains it better.

So what did Gary Kirsten do?

He did not change the cues or the rewards. They all remained the very same. Kirsten only targeted Routines of the team. He established himself as an enabler and not a destroyer. He established that he was not an administrator but a facilitator. He restored TRUST among team players and recreated that respect for each other’s capabilities. He became a dependable bridge to communicate between team and board. He respected talent in the team. He set fitness and performance as the only  yardsticks in being in the team not mere age or previous performance. Team players started looking at each other as performance partners and not competitors. A lot of synergy flew in immediately with the trust flying in. This lens of looking at their own performance had put the focus back on self performance rather than the external environment. Threat was abolished. Practice sessions became fun. Gary himself became the CHEER LEADER of the Team India. Soon came back CRAVING to go out there in the field and perform for the team. Self esteem was restored. This Gary’s team ended up winning the mighty World Cup in 2011.

So what do the leaders who almost always COACH, should do in getting the performance back on the track out of ruckus? Well research recommend that they should not try and CHANGE the performance by trying to change everything at a time. They may rather only change the HABITS of their people. In the habit loop of CUE, CRAVING, ROUTINE and REWARDS change only the ROUTINE, HABIT will change as an effect! Positive Performance will just follow as the outcome.

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This article is written by Rajesh Bhattacharjee,  a Harvard  Extension School Alumnus,  Psychology. He is a technical Coach and a Leadership trainer.

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Images courtesy : Google images 

 

Which of the socks you put first, left or right?

Which side of your face you start with while making your shave every morning? After taking a shower which pattern you follow in wiping your body with the towel? Is there a left first or right first kind of a pattern when you brush your teeth? How do you light your cigarettes , lighter in left or right hand? After entering the grocery mall every month for your monthly picks which corner of the mall you start with? What time your sleep breaks in the morning everyday? How do you sort and put your clothes into washing machine daily? How do you put those masalas in the mixer grinder machine everyday while cooking? Which of the sock you put first, left or right? You put on your trouser or shirt first while grooming yourself for the office? How you park your car in the garage every evening? What road you take for your morning walk every morning? How do you travel to your work place every day? How you tie your Tie knots? How do you indulge yourself into physical exercise everyday? How do you practice music on a particular part of the day – everyday? How do you develop a particular eating HABIT and a routine lifestyle?

Do you really even pay much attention while performing all these daily tasks on a routine basis?

These endless list of repetitive daily activities make our day, everyday! After attaining a particular age and mastery in accomplishing such tasks we don’t really engage our brain much in making those mundane decision in performing through these activities. Rather these activities are performed in individualistic formats repeatedly everyday on autopilot. If you recall or observe how you perform a particular task every day you may not be surprised when you find that there is a repeated pattern of your actions in accomplishing such day to day tasks.

These are our habits. Habit formation is an ancient neuro biological process or tactics of our brain that enables brain to conserve energy and concentrate on a decision making process that is more important at that particular time putting routine works on autopilot. Brain at that time rather engages on doing something more worthy when you are on autopilot. Remember synchronising your speech while driving to office or recalling lines of a song while cooking? It has been scientifically now observed and documented that habits manifest even without interacting with memory.

The person I am going to talk about here is one of the most famous patients in the history of medical advances. EP as he was popularly known as was Eugene Pauly. He was a patient who had lost his memory to viral encephalitis as the infection damaged his hippocampus, a part of the brain that stores information as memory. Every 30-40 seconds he used to get a complete cleaning of his memory slate. He failed completely to store any new learning as memory. Every 30-40 seconds he would introduce himself to his attending doctors. Have multiple meals, ask repeated questions to his wife though been answered several times. Looking at his growing body weight his team of doctor researchers advised his wife to take him for morning walk everyday. After a while his wife noticed that Eugene goes for morning walk alone and not only that he even comes back home sits on his chair and switches on the TV. He does them unconscious and without being aware that he was doing it. Almost instantaneously he used to forget everything about the entire episode of going out and walking and coming back home. This incident surprised the researchers and made them curious enough to understand that habits can be develop without help from memory. And ultimately led to the discovery that if memory lies in the hippocampus habits are stored in a different location in the brain called basal ganglia. They are formed out of repeated practice of a particular task over and over again. Doctors asked Eugene to draw his morning walk route map or tell the address of his house which he could never answer. Confirming habits are independent of memory.

This has led to the understanding that habit has a loop for it’s formation. It needs a cue to start a routine to follow and after all a reward to enjoy the outcome and motivate repetition of the action. Let’s think about Eugene. His cue for morning walk was looking at the outer world, routine was following the same routes, passing by the same trees, taking the same curves every day. His motivation was bringing some souvenirs for his wife like some fresh flowers.
Let’s think about brushing teeth everyday. Cue: bad smell. Routine: toothpaste and brush on display everyday and the actual act of brushing. Reward: Beautiful Shiny smile that adds to Confidence. This habit loop is universal and is followed in every single habit formation. Though Eugene had forgotten essentially all memories about his recent past he exhibited those habits like getting up from bed in the morning and going to the washroom and flushing the toilet after use. However he could never tell someone where in his house was the washroom.

Habits are our universal accompany. We don’t take birth with but we make them in our lifestyle. We compose them with effort, conscious or subconscious. We have our own sleeping habits, eating habits exercising habits addictive habits and cognitive habits. Cognitive habits are nothing but the way we think about incidences and people around us.

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This article is written by Rajesh Bhattacharjee, a Harvard Alumnus, Psychology. He is currently a technical Coach and a Leadership trainer. You may reach him at himadree@mindcockpit.com

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picture courtesy Google images

How Habits Put Our Brain on Autopilot

One of the important activities of the brain is converting certain day to day activities into habits. Brain does this to save or conserve energy in doing mundane or routine works of day to day life. How the habits form? Habits form through continuous practice and learning.  But there is something beyond this layman understanding. And in particular when we learn or practice a particular thing repeatedly for a prolonged period of time that information gets stored at a specific location in the brain to form habits. Question here is why we repeat certain behaviour and not certain others.

Since a long period of time neuroscientists and behavioural scientists and the psychologists have researched to understand where exactly the habits or the information about habits are stored in the brain. Initially it was thought that information about habits were stored in the same area where memory is stored. However certain dramatic studies in the field of neuroscience and cognitive psychology have revealed that long term memory and habits are not stored in a common place in the brain. For that matter hippocampus, one of the ancient most internal structures of the brain, is the area where memory is stored. In various medical studies with patients who lost their hippocampus either in accidents or to viral encephalitis where observed doing well with their old habits though their recent memory was erased along with damaged hippocampus. Also it was found that they even retained their ability to forming new habits.

This had posted a big question in front of the neuroscientists that if the hippocampus was gone then where did the habit formation happened in the brain. In this quest of finding this highly specialised zone scientists found out that it is the basal ganglia where information about habits get stored. It was further confirmed through many experiments on mice where they have confirmed that with damaged basal ganglia mice failed to form new habits.

It is our habits those put us on autopilot in performing many day to day activities in our life without even thinking about them. Habits save the activities of the brain to perform ‘repeat works’ and allow it to concentrate pinpointed on what is important at that point of time. Brain engages then into all kinds of complex decision-making activities of life without thinking much about routine works of life. Examples could be taking your car out or putting it back into the garaged or brushing teeth every morning or going to the kitchen and opening the door of the refrigerator finding something to eat getting up early morning and going for Yoga and many other such activities. Habits good or bad are stored there in the basal ganglia. Bad habits like not getting up early in the morning, not going for physical exercise, drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes et cetera are also formed with the same effort that we put in to develop good habits. And therefore changing our habit whether good or bad is very challenging and tough. It takes a good deal of effort to do that or achieve a change from the current.

So the point of discussion here is to help children develop good habits.  So good habits like getting up early in the morning, saying good morning to parents, studying regularly at a particular time in the day, getting involved in to physical activities, developing good hand writings, eating healthy food, sleeping at a particular time or maintaining a sleep cycle, learning music, washing hands, keeping house and belongings clean, being courteous to others, respecting others and being empathetic to others, being helpful and many more are the habits those may be formed during early childhood. Through continuous practice these good habits may be ingrained into the basal ganglia.

The mantra is arranging for a Cue – following a Routine- and realising the Rewards for adopting a particular behaviour which would be converted into a habit through repetition of the behaviour. Cues are the triggers for adopting a particular behaviour. Routine is the continuous repetition of the behaviour within the same environment.  And Reward is the benefits or enjoyment out of the behaviour. We as parents need to just make sure that this sequential pathway is provided per every habit to our children. And so parental leadership is about living those habits  those we would like our words to adopt. It is tapping the power of silence. Teachers, leaders are you already practicing this model? Behaviours are formed early in the age specially from eight months of age in the mothers womb to about three and a half four years. so providing the right atmosphere for expression of behaviour in the early age is very very crucial. However any such behaviour when repeated regularly, routinely over a period of substantial amount of time, that behaviour turns into habit. And this can be developed at any age.

Habit is the Bass Guitar, only loud enough to feel in a song. But immensely enhancing the performance of our life.

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This article is written by Rajesh Bhattacharjee, a Harvard Alumnus on Psychology. He is a technical coach and a leadership trainer. You may contact him at himadree@mindcockpit.com

Leaders of Small Things – 1

Limbic system is the area in our brain where sits our emotions. Prefrontal cortex is the region where sits our operating memories. Behavior and ability to make decisions also sit in there.  Hippocampus is the area in our brain where sits our long term memories. Alas!  There is no zone in our brain called as Leadocampus where would sit our neurons for leadership behaviour.

So there are no born leaders. Leadership is a skill learnt. If you agree to this proceed reading the rest else you may press the back button and eject out of this cockpit.

Challenging personal early environment situations were the architectural blueprints of many unforgettable leadership sagas of the world.

Mahatma Gandhi or Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose or Martin Luther King or Nelson Mandela or Barak Obama or Narendra Modi, one thing that strings them together is the socio political challenges they faced in their early life periods. They were all common men but made to uncommon leaders – by themselves. They were all me too individuals who delt with common crisis uncommonly.

They took either the assertive,  or the aggressive or arrogant or audacious ways to handling issues of injustice and inequality.  Where a major chunk of people would normally keep mum frightened of poorer consequences if  raised voice, these people have travelled and played around with more number of wins to their records than

 Presenting a testimonial epic. Completing his studies in England he joined a contractual job for an year in South Africa. It was early 1893. At that period racism was at its pick in SA.  Rights of human was divided unequally between so called whites and Indians. A law called as racial segregation rule was in act. June 7, 1983 this young short heighted lightly built man when boarded a first class compartment of a train was pushed down on ground at Pietermaritzburg. Defeated but not perished this young man raised up and moved mountains without a single incidence of violence later on in his life. He forced the SA government to bring legislation and amend a few keeping in mind the rights of the Indian labours there. That was the beginning.  Rest we know him as MAHATMA GANDHI.

Leaders aren’t born as leaders but are being crafted to one by their very own thoughts and initial experimentations with truth. They become addicted to causes. They gain faith on themselves when they believe that the cause for their actions are defined and unalterable.

They give power to people and get it back even without asking for it when needed. They create followers not slaves.

Later on when Gandhi moved to India and fought for its freedom British government had put him in jail many occasions. But every time had to release him due to follower pressure.

True Leaders don’t focus on creating followers, instead followers give birth to Leadership. Before Big Leaders were big they were leaders of small things.

The whole brain is involved in cushioning the leadership attributes and not any particular compartment of the brain.  Through thoughts,  actions, experience and learnings  leadership neuro connections are born all across the brain and a leader is made to be.

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This article is written by Rajesh Bhattacharjee, a Harvard Alumnus on Psychology. He is a technical coach and a leadership trainer. You may contact him at himadree@mindcockpit.com

Passion, Patience, Perseverance and leadership

A fine morning a mother opened a baby food tin to prepare a serving for her 6 month old baby. To her shocking surprise she found a dead butterfly in the sealed tin. She screamed and screamed well. The news became viral in local newspapers within no time. Manufacturer denied any responsibility doubting pretention of the incidence and also questioning evidence for the insect been found in a sealed tin. No snag was found whatsoever in the quality control procedures following consequential investigations. However the sales of this particular brand nosedived in 6 adjacent states of India. Within next few months almost all the distributors denied to keep any stock owing to very low demand from end users in the region.

The brand died. 2 years later the manufacturer launched a new team and a new sales manager joined the company in that region. In charge of those 6 states this new guy was not aware of this two years old story. He approached distributors to book orders along with his teammates. But then everyone denied placing any order for the particular brand. He came back to local office and asked the branch manager about the matter. The branch manager then made him aware of this 2 years old story and sincerely advised him not to focus on this brand but on other products of the division. That very night the manager spoke to the national sales head. Even the he echoed the same and advised him not to focus on baby food range and build other brands in the region. Manufacturer was convinced that the baby food range was a “DEAD BRAND” in those states.

But this sales manager who’s a local guy from the region asked himself a question “how come I do not know anything of such a big incidence?”.

Next very day he announced to the national sales head “Boss we are going to make the baby food range a big one in my region”. NSH was in denial but surprised. This manager decided but. He started exhibiting a lot of passion to make the baby food range a big one. Slowly and passion and patiencegradually the passion exhibited by the manager infected everyone in the team. Everywhere he went he showcased an urgency to establish this infant food range.  The entire team started meeting pediatricians of the region and exposed the brand to them as many times as possible.  Pediatricians would ask questions about the incident but every individual had one answer- with a big honest smile they would say “Doctor that was our past, let’s try the present”. No denial, no altercation, no apology but pure assertion. Data presented, evidence of quality presented, continuing medical educational programs arranged in small groups, chemist shop displays been made, etc. But most important of all – the team presented bagful of confidence and passion for the brand to the potential patrons. Emotional and rational appeals were made to the trend setters. The entire team had projected a huge degree of patience and perseverance along with passion towards reaching the Moms (through doctor’s and chemist’s endorsement) with the benefits of the brand.

Slowly, very slowly a few of the prescribers started endorsing the brand while advising mothers on breast milk substitutes. Demand reached chemists and subsequently to the distributors. Few tins, about a 100 a month, started moving in 6 states, here and there. But for the manager these 100 tins were not less than a thousand, psychologically.

1 year of passionate display of eager had shown the team success. A year later the team clocked a sales of about 800 tins a month. Which by the end of next year touched 8 thousands tins a month. That was in 2003. Today the brand is a household baby food brand and can be found in every chemist shop in those 6 states. Not only that the brand is now available even in grocery shops and supermarkets. It’s a mega brand for the manufacturer too. One man’s passion changed complexion of a story.

No earth shattering marketing strategies but pure passion of sales team revived a brand, against all odds. Later on the manager investigated by interviewing the older sales representatives about the debacle. He could find that the butterfly news affected the failure is not tryingpsyche of those older sales people more than anybody else in the market. Whereas, ignorance of the incidence helped the new team and the manager to believe that – this news was hyped out of proportion by the local sales team more so within the organization than in the out. They were tired and clueless attending doctor queries. They gave up first before the mothers stopped feeding the brand or doctors stopped endorsing it. They believed that was the end of the brand and asserted that it would be a big waste trying to revive it. They tried to face the heat but only burnt their fingers. They all failed to rise from the ashes as they lack resilience killed by fear.

The take home of the case is that it’s the degree of passion and the resultant determination of a sales team that either mars or Builds BRANDS across industries. At the same time a leader has to be a sublime character who keeps away from snatching credit rather is generous in giving it away. A leader who is verbally silent and loud in action, steers team through exhibited behavior. People follow him as the moon follows the earth. It’s natural. They don’t focus on the development of this force, it occurs naturally to them. A leader’s relentless conviction to possibilities clears off cloud from the mind of followers. They start believing on the possibilities. They then together make possibilities come real.

A leader’s constructive thoughts thus are the biggest assets of an organization, pessimism – the liabilities. A good orator may win psyche of common men and become a minister. But to become a true leader one needs to win the hearts of followers. And there it takes a leader’s ACTIONS.  Effective leadership is about exhibiting passion and acting on it. This action galvanises inspiration to achieve the unachievables. Passion, Patience and Perseverance move mountains.

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This article is written by Rajesh Bhattacharjee, a Harvard Alumnus on Psychology. He is a technical coach and a leadership trainer. You may contact him at himadree@mindcockpit.com

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The Net Worth of Life – 3

‘I can do, I should do, I will do and I must do’. These were the writings writings on the wallon the walls of higher secondary exam aspirant Chandresh Bhutani’s one room home. He had glued previous year’s HS toppers names on the wall and pasted his photograph too with 96% marks.

Ratilal, his father, just lost his job as a diamond polisher due to economic downturn, borrowed money to facilitate his education. His mother had started a tiffin service to fuel the household expenses. Chandresh appeared in HS final. The results were announced and he scored a 94.43% and stood second in the state board. He said ‘My family and I had to suffer a lot and I hope to change all of it even for others’. Chandresh kept the end in the mind ‘an escape from the poverty’ through education. His success came as writings on the wall.

Usain Bolt imagines standing ovation of crowed, during his practice Usain Boltsessions in empty stadiums. He travels from the success to the efforts. This approach makes his real success look effortless. He remains stress-free, focused, happy and ecstatic through his preparations. That enables him to go off like a nuclear reactor on those ‘D’-days of events.

One very apt example could be when we learnt bicycling in our childhood. We never focused at and so were never scared of the risk of falling down and fracturing our bones. Rather we carried an image in our mind of ‘riding a bicycle and going to school’. We learnt it, as if effortlessly. This approach makes small people achieve big things and live larger than life status. This success to effort approach certainly increases one’s net worth of life.

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This article is written by Rajesh Bhattacharjee, a Harvard Alumnus on Psychology. He is a technical coach and a leadership trainer. You may contact him at himadree@mindcockpit.com

Images are taken from Google Images

Copyright of the content is with www.mindcockpit.com

Behavior is the colourful embroidery on canvas of life

Nature gives us the body and the brain, nurture gives us the mind and behavior. We are the products of our genes and our environment. We are the builders of our own phenotypes.

Since J Mark Baldwin there had been plenty of research in the field to prospectively look upon the environmental influences on phenotypeconstruction of our mind. The generic genetic template called as Genome comes from our parents but we shape these genes through our own life experience. Our early life interaction with environment thus plays a very crucial role in shaping our behavior. A study published in Behavior Genetics, Vol 34, No 4, July 2004 has evaluated influences of genetics and environment on social cognitive skills and conduct problems in children. To be able to get most reliable data they did this trial on a number of twins.

Conduct problems manifest in children through aggressive behavior, lack of empathy statisticsand low frustration tolerance. Poor social cognitiveskill is one’s inability to interpret social cues of others. Most often this is followed by an inappropriate behavioral response. So poor cognitive skill manifests in children as externalizing disorder. What they have found in the study was that – though conduct problems and cognitive skills are affected by both genetics and environmental influences, cognitive skill is significantly influenced by environmental influences. Even among twins different brought up atmosphere nurtured different behavioral attributes.

When we talk about those environmental influences we consider – changing family structure due to divorces and separations, military job, punitive parenting, domestic violence, toxic neighborhood or war conditions, severe neglect, stereotype threat, toxic stress at school etc.

How can you measure if your child or student or subject has any of these  behavioural issues ?

For poor cognitive skill – observe for the followings:

childTo what extent a child has difficulty with social situations for example lacking an understanding about others feelings, unaware of social behaviors those are acceptable, fails to understand body language, hurts or offends people with their behavior unknowingly.

For conduct problems- observe for the followings:

conduct problemOften has hot tempers and throws tantrum, generally obedient, usually keeps requests of adults but frequently fights with other children, bullies other children, lies, cheats, steals from school or home.

What is more bothering is that children with conduct problems have poor performance on test of social cognitive skill. Remedy? Well let’s check our own behavior, quality of our relationships, our social values and the environment that we provide or create for our children, the atmosphere at schools or playgrounds. All these have profound contribution to the  design in the embroidery.

Silently but surely the progenies of the world are getting trained at home, in schools and on play grounds. The parents, teachers and trainers, are the influencers. We are the environment that we are talking about.

During the very early phase of our life (from the last trimester of pregnancy to about 4 years of age) such environmental triggers design behavioral embroideries on our inherited genes. Genes express the way the environment is around. Our behavior is shaped accordingly in tune with the triggers.

Teachers, parents, trainers who are guides by the sides, free the genomic interplay to go and experiment with the unseen and make discoveries. This sets the genes free for fearless expressions.

On the other hand, Teachers, parents, trainers who are sages on the stages, they shout “follow the guidelines and do it as I say”. This approach boxes individuals and their innovations with aggression and frustration in the same cage. This puts the genes under stress and suffocation.

What do you give to your child, fearless expressions or stressful suffocations? THINK!

caring the genes

Behavior is embroidery on the genomic cloth that we wear. Parents, Teachers and Trainers are the craftsmen. 

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If you find this read informative drop a comment and share with parents, teachers, trainers, baby sitters.

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Images taken from Google Images.

For more information on this subject you may visit following sites:

http://humannature.com

Evolutionary Psychology

http://psychneuro.wordpress.com/2010/09/21/nature-vs-nurture

www.medicalhomeportal.org/link/4431

Behavior Genetics

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Coming out of Psychology of Stigma

26th February 2001, I got a promotion and was made a team leader. I was selected from a herd of 40 aspiring candidates. I was the youngest in age and experience. I’d every reasons to be happy and proud. Very next day they put me in Induction training without announcing my package. They didn’t even give me the offer letter. A fear stopped me from asking for it. I had labeled the incident in my mind “It’s OK”!

On the 15th day after completion of induction formalities the National Sales Manager handed over the appointment letter. I was completely shocked looking at the package they offered. I asked something he told many things and I said “I am OK”. However during unhappy imagesKIW8C6KKmy next 3 years stay with that organization, believe me; I was never OK from within. A strong feeling of deprivation and unjust kept startling me throughout. That ‘OK’ stuff had badly affected my productivity for next 3 long years. Soon I realized that “I am OK” was an attitude that resisted my resilience, courage, assertiveness and flexibility. ‘OK’ was an opportunity killer. There were elements of false assurance and compromise deeply rooted in “I am OK”.

Today at 40 I realize that a feeling of “I am not OK” is the first step towards rejecting the mundane and striving for better. It’s a mantra for a caterpillar to butterfly journey. It’s the beginning of any internal change towards self-reliance. It’s the stepping stone for excellence. It’s a medium through which I publish my mental states fearlessly on the canvas of other’s mind. It’s a rebellion I nourish within my own self.

2007, my son came to our life. There also came a sense of discomfort with my son’s birth. An unknown worry stirred up my life. Soon I identified my unstable financial conditions as responsible for those insecure feelings. My comfort of being in the same territory and same hierarchy for 6 long years started giving me pain. I decided to come out and try something better and newer. I moved to a bigger city with my 3 months old infant and my wife – in every sense alone. That was a prudent decision we cherish about today in the family. “I am not OK” feeling had seen me a better job with a bigger employer and provided a greater sense of stability .

“What else” is an exploring attitude that is embedded in our genes. This is how the nature has designed us. In me this ability got attenuated as I grew up through a lot of forced conditionings. My somewhat toxic childhood environment disallowed them express. To quick fix – I always said “I am OK”. Today I strive to substitute my “OK” attitude with “what else”. I challenge every status quo if I imagesA3VG7PGSessentially don’t agree upon. For me life is an exploration outing. Why stop at one finding. After all how long can one suppress nature? Suppressing my curiosities was like pressing a running water pipe to stop the flow. More forcefully I tried more I got wet. My initial ‘failed ventures’ conditioned me to ignore. But my ignorance today inspires me to explore.

My mindset is the fuel for the rocket that I am. It wants to go any distance. Challenge is – in giving it the right direction. I am regaining control of my mindcockpit. Wishes, whims and robotic controls are just flashed out. I strive for excellence.

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Images from Google Images.

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