Friday, April 29, 2016

A-Z of Soft Skills: Y is for being a "Yes! Sayer"

image credit: nasongroup.co
Do note the exclamation after the word "Yes" and before the word "Sayer." That's not a typographical error. It is exactly what I want to say.

Be a Yes! sayer.

Many soft skills trainers and consultants want to teach you say "No." I agree that it's an important skill to learn. It is, however, easy to get the hang of saying "no" to things.

We humans are basically lazy and selfish beings and "no" suits us  wonderfully once we learn to get rid of the guilt and the desire to be "good" to  people so our image doesn't tarnish.

I say, unless you have a really good reason for saying no, say "Yes!"

Affirm life. Affirm life emphatically. Say Yes!
Accept what your life brings you. Accept it gratefully. Yes! 
Embrace new ideas. Don't let your knee-jerk "No" moment win. Say Yes! 
Surrender to the happiness of making someone's wishes come true. Say Yes! 
Feel the surge of power you when you try the undone. Say Yes! 
See insecurity and uncertainty disappear when you accept a challenge with a heartfelt Yes!


The author, Dr. Ranee Kaur Banerjee, is Managing Partner of Expressions@Work, a studio for the development of communication and soft skills.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

A-Z of Soft Skills: X is for Xenophilia

The word xenophilia is a combination of the Greek "xenos" (ξένος)  meaning unknown or foreign and "philia" (φιλία) meaning love or attraction. It thus means an affection for the foreign or unknown.

Xenophilia is the opposite of xenophobia, which is the fear or dislike of unknown or foreign people and objects (Indians steal American jobs; the Chinese make inferior products; Mexicans commit crimes)

It is easy to be afraid of the unknown or the foreign. It is normal to feel insecure around that which is not us or within the ambit of our experience and knowledge. Xenophobia is natural, normal, common. It adheres to the status quo--that which is as it is

It is a rarer feat to be the brave, open-minded and secure human being who is xenophilic--who welcomes the foreign with open arms, who is free from the fear of the unknown, who invites change, who accepts the otherness of the new-found foreign object or person. 

Of course, all attraction to that which is foreign, especially to foreign peoples, manners, or cultures need not always be a good thing. Just as a phobia is an irrational fear or hatred without any solid foundation and thus not desirable, a philia, too may be equally undesirable especially if it is blind and abnormal and irrational.

However, in this world that is more globalized, where our national boundaries are blurring slowly into oblivion given that physical space can no longer hold us in one place, loving the other is sure to serve us better in life than hating all that is not-us.

The author, Dr. Ranee Kaur Banerjee, is Managing Partner of Expressions@Work, a studio for the development of communication and soft skills.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

A-Z of Soft Skills: W is for Wonder, Wondering and Wonderment...

"Twinkle, twinkle little star,
How I wonder what you are.."


To wonder is to feel surprised amazement; to marvel or feel admiration in the face of something new or beautiful
Wondering is the desire to know, a feeling of intense curiosity, a speculative frame of mind, even the expression of doubt about something
Wonderment is a noun meaning a state of reverence or adoration.

When I look upon a star and wonder, it could be an amazed and admiring wonder at the magnificence of the star or it could be a curious and speculative wondering that is more scientifically inclined or it could be the awe-inspired wonderment of an acolyte experiencing a miracle.

I wonder which permutation of wonder is the most apt in this case...

As children, the sense of wonder is omnipresent in us. We experience our world in a state of surprise. We are curious about everything. We feel awed by much of what we experience. Our amazement is fascinating, thrilling, enthralling--and it opens us, hooks us, draws us to more surprises that thrill us, fascinate us, enthrall us...

Nurture your wonder, your wondering, your wonderment
Keep it safe. Grow it. Don't let it die. 
It will keep you willing and able to live and learn and change and be affected and be impressed and celebrate and be inspired. 

The author, Dr. Ranee Kaur Banerjee, is Managing Partner of Expressions@Work, a studio for the development of communication and soft skills.