The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem (Initial Take-aways)

I am reading a book called ‘The Six pillars of Self Esteem’, a best-selling book by renowned psychologist and self-esteem specialist Dr.Nathanial Branden. I purchased this book about 4 months back and started reading it, however because of the high level of diction and deep concepts, I shelved it for future reading. A few days back, I reattempted reading this book, and I must say that after reaching the 50th page, I realize how profound and effective his concepts and ideas are.

Listed below are some take away that I have had until now:

·         Raise you level of Consciousness:  Just because we ignore an issue that is affecting our physical, social, mental, economical or spiritual life, it doesn't mean that the issue disappears. Although at first, it might be difficult, we must strive and work towards increasing our levels of consciousness. Only if we are conscious about a particular issue can we take measures to solve the problem.For eg. At times, we have relationships that need working upon, and although we receive certain signals, we choose to neglect them or be oblivious to them. As a result, the relationship worsens and we come across unforeseen situations.

·         There are broadly, two types of beliefs and values: The first one consists of those beliefs and values that we truly and fully believe in. Invariably, these are values that we have learnt through personal experience or encounters. The second one consists of those that we ‘acquire’ through various influences in our lives such as religion, society, peers and family. Upon thinking and introspecting, at times, we might realize that we do not really have the values that have been, over time, indoctrinated in us. When this happens, we have a break through.

·         High self Esteem is not something one is necessarily born with. It is something that is developed over the years. Moreover, levels of self-esteem within an individual vary depending on the time of the day, month or even year. As opposed to common beliefs, self-esteem is not something that is beyond our control.drastic improvements in life.

With the help of certain exercises and techniques, one can gradually raise his/her level of self-esteem and see

·         In order to improve one’s self esteem, it is very important to understand what self-esteem is exactly. Self-esteem can be broken down into two aspects, one is self-efficacy and the other is self-respect.

o   Self-efficacy is the feeling or the conviction in your ability to get a job or project done irrespective of whether you have the exact skills to complete the task. It is the confidence one feels in the ability that he/she knows where to look for and who to consult with in order to learn the skills necessary that ultimately will lead in the completion of the given task. For eg. A CEO who has just taken up the role in an IT company, with an experience from an FMCG company, might find it very challenging if not impossible to drive the work force and run the company without a high level of self-efficacy. Using this quality, many individuals have taken company from loss to over flowing profits.

o   Self-Respect is the feeling of ‘yes, I deserve this’ and ‘I am worthy of it’. Without self – respect, a person may be a high achiever but still have a notion somewhere in his mind that he doesn’t deserve his awards or recognition. A lack of self-respect can at times cause a self-fulfilling prophesy and lead a person into a downward spiral, if corrective action is not taken.

·         Pride, unfortunately, has been given a very negative connotation by many religion and social institutions.
Pride, in reality, is very integral to healthy self-esteem. Pride doesn’t mean unnecessary showing off of one’s self or assets for others to look at and envy.Pride means ‘ I am confident because I HAVE DONE X,Y,Z’ and on the other hand Self efficacy means ‘ I CAN DO X,Y,Z’. So pride comes after the action has been taken and success has resulted and self-efficacy comes before taking action. In other words, pride reinforces confidence in one’s ability to do something and builds long lasting self- esteem.

o   You can be proud of your achievements at school or your work place
o   You can be proud of your parents for teaching you values that have molded you as an individual.
o   You can be proud of your kids for behaving well at school and setting examples for others to follow.

So these were some of the concepts that I have learnt from this revolutionary book and I wonder why I hadn’t read it before. This has definitely helped me rethink certain incidences in life, and has made me walk on the path of self-discovery and growth. In case you are wondering whether this book is really worth it, I suggest you read at least till page 40 till you begin to digest the concepts and idea presented properly; Once that is completed, you will automatically become eager and hungry to learn about factors that have been stopping you from becoming the individual you were meant to be.

The Mystical Truth: Nam Myoho Renge Kyo

They say that whatever you manifest or whenever you send signals to the universe, something or someone out there finds a way to reach out to you. You do not know how or in what form this happens, but when it just know.

As a person, i consider myself spiritual, in that i have a set of values which i believe in and stand for, and i also believe that there is some force out there that is invisible yet omnipresent and that guides the working of the universe.

For years, i was looking for a way or a path through which i could be spiritually fulfilled and seek inspiration and direction for my life. I was looking for something that would help quench my thirsty soul and help me reconnect with myself as an individual.

Buddhism was one pathway that i have always associated with. The values and beliefs, such as compassion and humility, that it preaches have always inspired me. However, certain factors such as the need for extended meditation, extreme austerity and probably the concept of enlightenment in future births were ideas which i didn't really connect with. In addition, the fact that Buddhism seemed like a very lonely path to tread kept me from practicing it.

And so it happened, my friend at Toastmasters introduced me to Soka Gakkai International (SGI), a lay buddhist movement that has around 12 million members around the world.

One reason why was i drawn to this association and practice is that it changed my view of Buddhism from something that was reserved only for the wise and learned having esoteric knowledge, to something that even a common man from any part of the world can practice and benefit from.

This practice is something that related to me because its not only deals with personal growth, but growth on a very macro scale, in other words, a 'Human Revolution'. I believe, especially living in a city like Mumbai, that people these days lead very fast paced lives, where there is no clear line between work life and home life, where the constant thought of achievement, peer pressure and recognition, leads to degradation of our lives both spiritually and health wise. The level of compassion and genuine camaraderie among strangers, i have noticed, has gone down. I don't really blame the general public. The times are changing and with the increase in population so is the competition; Ultimately its all about survival.

After reading essays and stories about the challenges faced by SGI members during the World War II and the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, i was convinced that if they could come out winning after such a blow, then any society could evolve and progress using the same formula, so to speak.

Simplicity, was also something that appealed to me.  The fact that the truth of the world or the greatest secret to awakening the deepest level of our existence, lies in just one sentence is almost magical.

'Nam Myoho Renge Kyo' is the japanese name for the Lotus Sutra and literally means 'I devote myself to the Lotus Sutra'. However, there are deeper levels of meanings attached to each element of the phrase.

According, to SGI and Nicheren Buddhism, by chanting the words 'Nam Myoho Renge Kyo' daily we awaken our true potential and ignite the fire within us to become what we have always planned to become.

Of course, it is no magical phrase that automatically serves you your dreams in a platter; It helps you tap your inner potential, helps you channelize your thoughts and send positive vibrations across the universe to attract people and things towards yourself.

I was introduced to Nichiren Buddhism and SGI quite recently, and every since i have felt a dramatic change in my overall confidence and resistance levels. I have met a few SGI members who regularly are in touch with me and are helping me learn, practice  and get the most out of my experience.

I have a long way to go spiritually, but the thing i like about Buddhism and about SGI is that it encourages members to ask questions and never accept things that have been preached blindly. Buddha himself said once that-

  • Do not accept anything on (mere) hearsay -- (i.e., thinking that thus have we heard it for a long time). 
  • Do not accept anything by mere tradition -- (i.e., thinking that it has thus been handed down through many generations). 
  • Do not accept anything on account of mere rumors -- (i.e., by believing what others say without any investigation). 
  • Do not accept anything just because it accords with your scriptures. Do not accept anything by mere suppositions. 
  • Do not accept anything by mere inference. 
  • Do not accept anything by merely considering the reasons. 
  • Do not accept anything merely because it agrees with your pre-conceived notions. 
  • Do not accept anything merely because it seems acceptable -- (i.e., thinking that as the speaker seems to be a good person his words should be accepted). 
  • Do not accept anything thinking that the ascetic is respected by us (therefore it is right to accept his word).  

All i can say is that my journey towards self discovery and fulfillment has just a lot faster...

** Thanks a lot for reading this article. If you have any queries or questions, feel free to comment below, and i will reply at the earliest. Thanks in advance :) **

I recently realized that i need a bicycle. A vehicle that i would use travel to the gym and cycle for recreational purposes around the area the live at. I thought it would be a fairly easy decision to make; How much thought and planning would a buying a cycle take right?

So i go online, and find so many variants displayed that i get confused. After this i come across a few articles about different types of cycles offered and how to choose your cycle. I learn that there are majorly 5 types of bikes in the market .

1) Road /Racing bikes
2) Mountain bikes or MTBs
3) Hybrid bikes
4) BMX
5) Cruisers

Now, as mentioned earliers, i am not going to use my cycle for long distances. My work place is across the city and riding my cycle all the way till there would train me for a cross country cycle rally and would mean of lot of time spent on travelling, something that i do not intend for. I was leaning more towards a hybrid, because i haven't and do not really intend to do a lot of off- roading on hills or mountains. I have been told the the extra thick tires on the MTBs add to the weight and the road resistance which ultimately means more effort per unit distance. Then again, some people have told me that given the roads that we have in Mumbai, especially during raining seasons, one would need nothing less than a mountain bike to travel safely and comfortably. 

If this is not confusing enough, i have read about so many company's offering bikes,each with their pros and cons. There seems to be no end to selection because the buyer, that is me, keeps having his budget increased, the more time he spends on cycle research. I suddenly feel the need for disc brakes, alloy structures, trigger shifting gears, dual rimmed tires and durable tires. 

In retrospect, decision making for a cycle purchase used to be much easier about 10 years back. The options were very few and the main manufactures were the likes of Atlas, Avon and Hercules. However these days, with the presence of International brands like Btwin, Bianchi, Scott, Schwinn, Firefox and with so many factors to consider, buying a cycle has become even more challenge than buying a car.

I have read so many articles, which speak about cyclists who after much research and thought, select Bike A only to get replies from other cyclists and experts about why Bike B, Bike C and Bike D would have been a better option. In a way, this is quite sad, at least for the guy who has spent a huge sum on his bicycle.

On the other hand, i have become quite fond of the Firefox cruiser bike that i read about online. It the classic non geared, upright posture comfort bike with just one objective- to just relax, ride and enjoy the time spent on the bike. This is a new release by Firefox and after much research, i have finally found a store that has it on display, so i am going to visit that place this afternoon.

I guess at the end of the day, no matter how many brands there are or how many features and benefits they may offer, one must realize that it is just a bike. Something that helps us get from one place to another, on two wheels. Of course, selection of the right bike is important, but once that is done, we must focus on the good times we have on the bike and not on 'Bike B' that is a better buy according to the so called 'Bike experts'.

The Secret Millionaire Blueprint (Week end seminar) -- Learnings and Take-aways:

I got to know about this seminar and about Arfeen Khan through a facebook ad. I just happened to come across the word 'Secret, Millionaire and Blueprint' and was enticed to click on the ad.
I then went onto the site to see the words, "Free" seminar.
After that i came across a picture of Arfeen Khans along with Bollywood Superstar Hrithik Roshan. Now, in the city of Mumbai, which promises everyone a fast life, full of riches and popularity (at least that is what people entering the city think), ads such as the one i saw is usually ignored and not taken seriously. The reasons for this are as follows:

1) Free: People, over the years, have grown to doubt the word 'Free'. Whenever you purchase something at the super market and you get something along free with it, the free gift is usually added to drive sales or is clubbed along to move old stock.

Another, thought that comes to mind when i read 'Free seminar' is that maybe the value addition might not be that great. This is because with the number of brands in the market, each vying for the customers attention, we tend to associate cost with value. In other words, higher priced products usually have better quality and benefit associated with it.

Finally, another reason why a person might avoid such an ad is because of the likeliness of a massively expensive product being heavily promoted at the venue.

However, for some reason i chose to keep an open mind and understand the reasons behind such a marketing pattern. I wanted to find out more about Arfeen Khan and the value that he promised to offer.

2) Bollywood star: Bollywood is associated with glitz, glamour , dreams and aspirations and sometimes people associate this with artificiality. This happened with my friend who was reluctant to attend this seminar.

However, upon checking more details about Arfeen Khan on his website, including topics that would be covered during this seminar i got excited and motivated.

1.The Secret psychology of wealth
2.The Five Major Financial Habits of Millionaires.
3.The Root Cause to all Financial Difficulties and How to Overcome it.

4.The Millionaire's Strategy Of Creating and Maintaining Wealth

To be frank, i have been listening and reading a lot of material by Tony Robbins over the years, most of which i read has helped me in a big way. However, i still had certain issues and concepts to re-learn. This forum , i felt, would be the perfect platform to understand certain concepts which were holding me back.

 The fact that Arfeen had been endorsed by the likes of Brian Tracy and Tony Robbins spurred my conviction about attending this seminar.

To say that i have learnt and experienced a lot would be an understatement. This event has reignited my journey towards personal mastery and development.

Key Take- aways:

1) Your body has many organs, cells and part which are like your employees working at You IncYou need to work effectively in building good relations with your employees. The best way to do so is to 'Get your employees alive and charged up every morning'

Rejoice, sing, dance so that the rest of the day remains action packed..

2) If you can't , you MUST

Life is about taking up challenges and doing something that you haven't before. The reason for this is not about what you achieve but how you transform and evolve as an individual.

So the next time you feel you can't do something. You know what to do!

3) Have a daily morning routine.
Routine with good habits sets a platform for a disciplined and fulfilling life.

Start with a wholesome breakfast..then exercise for a while...write down things that you need to focus on during that day...set off on your action packed daily journey

4) Always have an open mind. 
Never judge anything or anyone without giving it/them a fair chance. Don't make assumptions in a hurry at face value.

5)Always play life at level 10.

In other words, no matter what you are doing or what role you are playing. Give it your best shot and create real value, So that everyone in your presence benefit from the experience called 'You'.

6) Change your references, change your life

Incidences or things that happen to you have no meaning by themselves. It is only the meanings that you attach to them that ultimately have an effect on you.

By changing the meaning you give to an incident or by looking at things a slightly different way, we can use tragic incidences or set backs as learning platforms that will propel us forward on our journey.

Never let a bad experience hold you back from your goals;Change the meaning that you give it.

7)Don't just focus on setting goals. Goal setting on of the last parts in the process towards achievement.

First focus on more basic and essential attributes like your identity, beliefs and values. Once those are clear, everything will fall into place. In such a situation, you can see your goals very clearly and achieving results will be comparatively easier.

8)There is no failure, only feedback

9)Create an environment, to create your future

Your environment determines your experiences, your attitudes towards life and your general well being, so choose your environment wisely and according to the goals that you want to achieve.

10) Never jump to conclusions and never try to make amends on the surface level. First find the root cause and solve it.

11) In your pursuit towards your goal, there might be many set backs. Be smart and learn from your mistakes and if possible learn from those of others. Whenever your make a mistake, quickly regroup, learn and get to action once again.

Keep repeating the process till you achieve success!

These were some of the things that i learnt during this 'Free' seminar. So the next time that you come across something free, think twice; It might actually be a blessing in disguise!