Thursday, November 27, 2008

“KISS”...Keep it Simple and Stupid...

Most often we see business deals or proposals simply flying out of our hands, just because we cared too much to explain all the complexities in the plan. Many of us have personal experience of the same happening and others must have seen it happening around them or read about it in the newspapers.
We all have some services to sell. And we all have accepted that every one of us is a born salesman. The only difference is that some people accomplish far more sales than others; they become millionaires. It has also been agreed that the total money being circulated in any market is more or less the same; when some people become rich naturally the others end up becoming poor.

There has always been a constant effort from the governments' part to protect the interests of the poor. Certain private organisations have also sought to alleviate poverty. Everyone truly wants poverty out of our as well as our loved ones' lives. But nothing anyone has done, has ever made it possible to eradicate poverty from our society. No matter how much money we take from the rich and give to the poor, as long as the rich have some wealth creating mechanism in their hands, the spent money simply returns to them.

If we sincerely want to help the poor, show them a wealth creating system. Only then, equality will be achieved. Now is the best time to think and act so. We all know, there is a global slowdown as well as an economic recession. But how many of us have really felt the pinch of it? Not many.
If the economy is perishing then it's for sure that the rich have lost money. Rich people and their services contribute to the economy, If the economy is hit then we can almost state that the rich are getting poorer. So if the poor have to close the gap, then this is the time to get into the system and narrow down the differences...

Just because the economy is crashing or people have reduced their purchases doesn't mean that we need to stop selling. If we stop selling, our family stops getting its daily bread. The best strategy to adopt is "selling more during tough times makes you rich faster."
The best tip that I received in the last 2 months from an economist is to "KISS - Keep It Simple and Stupid”. Keep the vouchers, pamphlets, description and presentation of the product you sell, simple and stupid. In these tough times, it gives off a better return than a complicated and sophisticated approach
I got this idea of "simple and stupid" when I chanced upon a college’s placement website. Let me tell you, the website was the most basic version. It was sold to the college by a team for the cost of a premium package version. When I asked the co-founder of the college, how come they bought this basic version at a higher price when a lot many features were missing, the response I got was "The web company never mentioned any features or addon packages in their brochures. All it said was they had websites to sell. Because we wanted one badly, we took it".
Had it been me selling the website, I would have taken the pain to educate the customer about the pros and cons of the different versions and simply ended up losing them. The golden rule is “If the customer is not willing to learn about the product, you do not elaborate on any advanced feature. It’s a safe bet that the customer will buy anyhow".
Now lets consider ourselves as a customer, do we buy things seeing the feature or the benefit? We shop for the benefit; the feature will create confusion in us. I went to an electronic store to buy a home theatre kit. I would have bought anything on a compromise of the price and quality. Fortunately the salesman was an engineer, he quickly added on additional features like "Dolby pro logic II', 'Quarter to quarter surround'. This made me revoke my decision to buy right then, I said I shall make a study and return.
Now that most companies are cutting down costs, this definitely improves the efficiency of the firm. But it also ensures the end product has only a marginal profit. Thus we have stricter competition and it’s almost certain that we will be thrown out of business if we don't make sales. One way to face the cost-cutting paradigm is to ensure that the end price of the product is a summation of the components. Here again it's the “simple and stupid” phenomena that’s working.

I got this idea when I visited an upholstery shop to get the cars seats done. They said “the total cost for the leather seat cover would amount up to 20,000. We can help you decide by providing a split up.”

1. Cost of material 15,000
2. Labour 2000
3. Adhesives, foam and fitting 3000

I made a deal with them saying I would get them the material, they can do the stitching and fitting. They agreed to it without any problems. Now the catch was that when I enquired about the price of leather, I realised it would cost me 16500 for the material alone. Since they had tie up with the agencies, they would get it at a lower price. And so I went back to them and accepted their price. For them they got their sales closed by showing the customer a split up of their service.
To make the most out of any tough situation, it is simple strategies like these that we need to concentrate on and get working…

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Super Conscious Mind...And it’s ability to switch states...

We human beings have a body, mind and soul. To control the soul is humanly impossible, but we have heard extraordinary stories of people performing superhuman activities by controlling their souls. Miracles can be performed by us, ordinary folks, too, not by gaining control of our soul, but through controlling our minds.

By controlling the mind, we can naturally control our body. Gaining control of the mind is similar to driving an automobile; we are attempting to control a machine 1000 times more powerful than ourselves.

Our mind has various states like love, emotion, anger, frustration, jealousy, greed, satisfaction etc. Broadly it can be classified into the assisting states and the hampering states. All emotions like love, enthusiasm, satisfaction, helping mentality, sharing, caring and affection comes in the assisting state while negative qualities like anger, frustration, greed and jealousy make up the hampering state. [Courtesy: Unlimited Power –Anthony Robbins]

According to the studies conducted by various researchers, the best human performance comes when our mind is in the assisting state. This is when we are at our best. We will do our work meticulously with a smile on our face because we’ll be loving it. Our relationship with others also tends to be cordial. But when we are in the hampering state – we lose control; we end up hating everything and everyone around us. Not only does the hampering state bring down our efficiency, we also pull down people associated with us.

We’ve learnt in physics that a molecule always tries to attain the lowest energy level possible. In the case of our mind, the hampering state of mind is the lowest energy level because it de-motivates a person to do work making him lethargic and thus in the least energy level possible, whereas the assisting state of mind is the highest energy level possible. Energy has to be spent not only to attain the state, but also to maintain it.

The greatest ability of our mind is that it can switch states i.e. our mind can transform from a state of frustration to love by putting in some creative energy. It can go from anger to affection with a slight addition of energy and also from enthusiasm to laziness by giving out energy. Here again our mind is in sync with the principles of physics. Just like an electron can switch from a lower energy state to a higher energy state by absorbing energy, our mind can also switch states.

We all know this; we have all gone through situations when we were totally frustrated with work or business and then took a quick holiday, enjoyed and later came back to work, rejuvenated.

In fact, the origin of these newsletters can be traced back to this very principle of switching states of mind. I needed to engage myself in activities that would bring my mind to an assisting state, to get rid of the frustration I was amassing due to my nature of work. I had to come out of that negative state because it was ruining my self-esteem and enthusiasm. I decided to gather immense energy by reading books and listening to audio programs that I would then redirect for a better cause. Now every time I am bored with work, I relax and write these articles and get back to work feeling a lot better!

Just like that, each one of us needs to find out ways to switch states. Since it’s only through an energy addition that you can bring yourself into an assisting state, you need to find out the tools for that. It can be some good music, a tête-à-tête with a friend, a touch from your loved one, a good book but, don’t misinterpret me; it cannot be a pack of cigarettes.

We all should put in an effort to bring ourselves into the assisting state, so that we’ll be helping ourselves as well as others. If we can achieve this, we become natural enthusiasts or putting it very simply, happy!!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Boldness of Character...Lets not live in fear...

If we look around and analyze, we find that most people succumb to fear. It’s quite natural that we do something when fear dominates us. We have been brought up that way, we cannot complain. Fear is something that freezes our mind. Neither will we be able to think sensibly nor react because of the dominance of fear in our lives.

If we look back to our childhood days, we’ll find that we were all made to do things out of fear. We must have heard more than a thousand threatening “NO”s from our parents even before we were 3 years old. But not every one of us has been brought up that way. Special thanks should be given to those parents who encouraged their kids to do things because they were motivated by it, rather than by inculcating fear in their young minds.

Sometime back I went to my aunt’s house. She had a boy who was almost 3 years old. I still remember what she said when he wanted to climb up the stairs to the first floor of the house; she said “Don’t do it! Or the ghost in the first floor will eat you”. The moment he heard it, he dropped the idea of climbing the stairs, because he was scared of “ghosts”. Just imagine how badly it must have affected his morale. Will it not harm the consciousness of a young boy?

The process of pouring in fear does not end there. All those who are elder than us, conspire to make us do or not do something, by frightening us. “Do this or else I am gonna beat you”. I still remember the teachers who told me “Do the homework or else you are going to stand out the entire day”, and I can recollect the days when I have actually stood outside too, because I was not motivated to do the homework. I’m sure many of you have had similar experiences, haven’t you?

All those homework or assignments never helped me clear any examinations. If someone asked me why I did them, the reply would’ve been “the teacher wants this on time”. The truth is that, if something has to beneficial, we need to put our heart and soul into it. We should be doing it, because we really want to do it.

Death is not the biggest fear we have; our biggest fear is taking the risk to be alive -- the risk to be alive and express what we really are.

We have atleast heard a billion refusals, rejections, NO’s in our entire life till date. This has somehow become a habit. We naturally tend to stop attempting things or doing things in a different way because of the fear of failure. We can’t be blamed, because it’s the society that gave us this habit.

We cannot stop attempting things or try to change the natural course of things. What we can do is to strengthen our minds so that the fear of failure will not overwhelm us. We need to strengthen our character so as to nullify the negative emotions that drive us away from our destination.

It’s a big crime to stop attempting things thinking of the failure. Lets all be motivated by success than failure. Even though we were brought up thinking of failures in our lives, let’s not be stuck with the past habits and ruin our lives.

Your life ahead is going to depend on how you react. Be bold, because you can’t live in fear…

Thursday, November 06, 2008

In pursuit of happiness...Always ask the golden question...

It has been very rightly said that life is a journey, not a destination - a journey in search of happiness. The greatest yearning of a human being is to attain the state of blissful joy. Man is perpetually trying hard to keep himself and people around him happy. Our lives would have no value if we had everything else but happiness. The topic of this week’s newsletter is not happiness, rather the question you need to ask yourselves to be happy; i.e. am I happy with what I’m doing right now? If not, will I be happy when I do what I love to do?

Each individual has a distinct character and taste. Some love to rack their brains, in pursuit of a discovery; some love to freak out at the pubs and discos; yet others may love to sit in front of their computer all day or toil in the field to become an Olympic champion. Even though happiness is spelt the same, the meaning is different for each of them.
If you continue doing what you where doing until now, will it make you happy?

We humans are behind any possible occupation; what motivates one may not necessarily motivate the other. I am pretty sure, if someone were to ask you “what is the number one thing you want out of life?” the answer would be happiness. Happiness as such is not defined. Over the years, we’ve found out many ways to be happy. Man has explored at least a thousand roads to happiness. If you’re still unhappy, the only possible reason could be that you’ve not found the road to excellence. If you’ve set foot on the road to excellence, will that not make you happy?
One who loves the research lab will find it hard to befriend the one who loves the discos; the person glued to the computer cannot adjust with an athlete. Same is the case with you. That is the reason as to why you have friends of the same wavelength, as yourselves. You need to be surrounded by people who enjoy the same things as you do, so that you can be happy. Always ask to yourselves “the thing I am doing right now, will it take me closer to my goals or further away from it”. The only way for you to be happy is to be on the path that will take you to your goal.

You’ll be tagged the highest earning individual only if you are practicing your number one earning skill. If you are doing anything else, it will be just mediocre. A carpenter is meant to carve furniture, a doctor to cure diseases, an engineer is an expert at constructing, and a plumber excels in pipe fittings. Even a doctor could fix pipes, but that wouldn’t make him happy as it’s not what he’s been carved out for.
If you haven’t discovered what your skill is, practicing which will make you happy, then ask yourselves “Do I love what I’m practicing; will it take me closer to my goals or further away from it?”