The power of NUDGE: A disruptive tool for Leaders & Parents

nudge

Each leader wants performance. Each parent desires excellence. Every leader repetitively clamors in front of his/her team to achieve and exceed targets. Each parent advises and instructs his/her children on anything and everything, every-day.

The methods used to encourage and motivate, to explain and elaborate, to scare and threaten are all loud, concrete and direct, in the workplace and at home.

These loud messages create an impact for a limited duration.

These concrete instructions cause repulsion & defiance.

These direct orders enforce compliance & hinder creativity.

If we replace this loud motivation, concrete communication and direct enforcement with the positive, periodic power of NUDGE, we can enrich ourselves as Leaders and Parents.

What is Nudge?

A nudge is a gentle push. It is a quiet touch to slowly stimulate the receiver. It is subtle encouragement.

Nudge is continuous like a soothing background score unlike a catchy three minute number.

A nudge is sophisticated and strategic, absolutely an anathema (?) to nagging.

Leaders/Parents need to have three qualities to apply the power of Nudge on their teams/children.

PATIENCE: Nudging doesn’t offer ‘quick fix’ or ‘makeshift’ solutions. It offers change at the grass root level for which patience is a prerequisite. Nudge modifies behavior gradually.

One of your subordinates is essentially late in the mornings. A simple sentence by the boss “I will have coffee with you at 9 everyday till we finish this new project” will nudge him to come on time. However, the boss would need a great deal of patience to have a morning coffee with the late comer.

When a parent wants the child to read a specific book, he/she should casually mention the book. Next day, he/she could mention one really interesting but short piece from the book (without conveying to the child that he/she should read the book).

Next day, underline a few lines and leave it on his table as if you were reading it.  E-Mail a summary of the book after a few days to a few friends and include your child too.

BALANCE: Nudging is facilitating and enabling people towards making good choices. To promote healthy eating habits, parents can excitedly fill the refrigerator with fresh fruits and vegetables. Not only this, they can say things like, “I will have strawberries for desert” and do it too.

It requires equanimity on the part of leaders when they make their technologies & software’s available openly for all.

GITHUB is one such coding platform available for everyone to post their programs and others can freely add techniques to improve them. Microsoft created a technology called .NET, a proprietary closed source platform for developing software for banks and insurance companies. In 2014, Microsoft made it open source on GITHUB and more people started working on it in next six months for free than those who had worked on it inside the company.

It requires courage to make things freely available but this nudge is globally beneficial.

DISCIPLINE: Any leader or parent, who aspires to ‘nudge’ team members/consumers/children needs to be disciplined.

An overweight parent cannot nudge a child by gifting him exercise gear.

A short tempered leader cannot improve team cohesion by organizing a ‘Humor hour’ every Friday.

Nudging is not about words, it is a “call to action” which is open, free & facilitating.

It can be used continuously and creatively at every level from home to community to business to governments.

Nudge at ‘Home” – My parents have always been early risers. I was forced to wake up early as a child and then, it was career and family that made a morning alarm mandatory.

After turning solopreneur, I started taking it a little too easy and slept to glory on weekends.

I visited my parents recently. My dad woke me up at eight. “We are having our second cup of tea. Here is your first”. He handed me my cup.

It was terribly cold but he had already watered his plants (200 in number) and he was getting ready to go to work. (He still practices as a Doctor at 73).

What a nudge it was.

I can’t even think of sleeping till late now.

Nudge at ‘Community Level’Prof. Anil Gupta’s Shodhyatras in rural areas of India, bring about amazing innovations to the fore.

His Honey Bee Network mobilizes social and ethical capital through conferences, competitions and continuous support to lakhs of creative minds.

His festival of Innovation, has succeed in nudging more than 5000 school children to solve problems creatively, leading to major innovations like a new modified walker to be used on stairs, an inclined drinking water pipe. What an amazing ‘social nudge’ it is.

Nudge at “Corporate Level’ – Many companies associate a charity initiative with the purchase of a specific product (Rs. 1 would go to XYZ Foundation on your purchase).

Electricity companies share area- specific energy efficiency data with their consumers. When they are told that people in their area consumed 15% less electricity as compared to residents of other suburbs, they are nudged to use energy efficiently, further reducing the energy consumption in coming months.

A “destiny health plan” has been promoted by insurance companies in some states of USA which helps them win ‘Vitality Bucks” on hitting the gym or working out in a health club. It nudges consumers to adopt a healthier lifestyle.

Nudge at “Government Level’ – UK Government formed a ‘Nudge Unit’ in 2010. US Government used it too. There are many schemes which could nudge people for opting wrong ways.

“NUDGE FOR GOOD” is what we need.

References

1.     “Grassroots Innovation: Minds on The Margin Are Not Marginal Minds” by Anil Kumar Gupta

2.     “Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations” by Thomas L. Friedman

3.     “Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth and Happiness” by Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein

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I am an Author, Entrepreneur, Motivational Speaker, Parenting expert based in Mumbai. Having written Bestsellers like Don’t Raise Your Children, Raise Yourself (Amazon Bestseller), Why Women Are What They Are, Come On! Get Set Go

I am running Life Lemonade which offers unique Training Programs on Life Transformation, High Performance Leadership, Women Issues and Parenting.

Connect with me on Linkedin, Twitter @drswatilodha Facebook

Also read my best articles here!

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She Died While She Was Alive

Being Alive

 

This is be the one line epitaph I intend to have engraved on every heart when I say my final good bye.

The dictionary meaning of the word “Life’ revolves around:

  1. The condition of being alive.
  2. The period for which an organism exists.
  3. The feeling of vitality, energy and growth.

If one mechanically wants to go through the drudgery of ticking the boxes, you can certainly tick on (b), but you might need to check the coordinates of your event called life before ticking on (a) and (c).

From an ailing bed ridden man to a high flying CEO, all of us certainly exist for a period called life. We exist till we breathe. It gives us immense satisfaction, though unconscious, that we are a part of an ever surprising saga called life.

Do we actually flex our mental muscles to find out other signs of being alive apart from breathing and being there?

The condition of being alive assumes that we are mindful of what is happening inside and outside us.

Do we think about how efficiently our bones, muscles, glands, cells and viscera work every second unless we feel a pain somewhere?

We only pay attention to the wondrous working of our body when it gives us some discomfort. Till then, we use it day in and day out without being ‘alert’ or ‘mindful’.

We create an eternity of urgency around our mundane lives giving a childish impression to ourselves of being very busy in something of real importance. We run through the alleys of our occupied brain at a high speed without having any time to find out what occupies the crevices of the brain.

Our insecurities keep us glued to a life which might be more close to ‘mere existence’ than ‘energy or vitality’ of any kind.

Fear of losing what we have, fear of being judged, ridiculed or written off, and fear of failure keeps us bonded to an existence which doesn’t let us grow or evolve.

The repetitive boredom can erode our mental, emotional faculties if we don’t make an attempt to recharge and reignite our batteries.

I don’t mind being unhappy or sad because feeling unhappy is better than feeling nothing.

I think about ninety year old Mahashweta Devi, the legendary author and activist who lived a vital life till her last breath. She survived her two divorces and fought indecisive, often hopeless battles for tribals. Taking all setbacks in her stride, she never stopped persisting. Then, my thought goes towards those millennials who write a suicide note and say good bye. We are failing as a society, as a community to propagate liveliness of life.

We must choose life for life, not for being a happy life or sad life.

It is a crime to be living a day without feeling kicked about it. It is alright to feel depressed or useless as long as it pushes us to stay alive to make it better.

As an individual, I owe it to myself to be mindful of each day I live. I intend to feel varied emotions every hour. I choose to feel alive.

As a parent, I owe it to my children to make them understand the difference between ‘living life’ and ‘leading life’. I want them to feel the tangy taste of failure and bitter taste of anger along with sweet/savoury taste of happiness. I wish to refine their taste buds to enjoy all tastes of life. I wish them to wait and yearn for different tastes each day rather than safely stick to one taste that they like.

Being alive everyday means loving life every day in whatever form it chooses to surprise us. Being alive every day is a challenge to die for.

Choose it now.

A Suicide Hotbed Called India

Suicide HotbedMy latest article on http://www.indianmomsconnect.com published on 14th June, 2016

Over 100,000 Indians commit suicide every year. One third of them are below twenty years of age.

India tops the world in teen suicides. Every 90 minutes, a teen tries to commit suicide in India and every six hours, one succeeds. While the global teen suicide rate is 14.5 per 100,000, a 2004 study by the Christian Medical College (CMC), Vellore reported 148 for girls and 58 for boys in India. These are statistics from years before 2010. The current numbers will certainly frighten us further. Social media has turned our attention to suicide notes left by these helpless, frustrated, hopeless, angry, unhappy, defeated children who are not mere statistics but a ‘bloom-worthy life cut short’. An open letter written by D.M. of Kota district  in Rajasthan to parents of IIT aspirants is the tip of the iceberg.

Each teen suicide slaps us hard on our social faces, our self-assured over confident rigid parenting skills, our academic success obsessed mind-sets.

The number of teen suicides is alarming for sure. Each suicide leaves behind a wound which remains painful and unhealed always. Each teen suicide slaps us hard on our social faces, our self-assured over confident rigid parenting skills, our academic success obsessed mind-sets. Each suicide is a reminder of our collective failure as elders, seniors, guides, mentors, social leaders and parents. We have collectively achieved this feat of making India a teen suicide hotbed.

How do we manage to push the very people we claim to love to the wall? Why do we feel a sudden shock after the suicide if we knew the perpetrator closely? Why can’t we see it coming? Do we believe that suicide, like cancer happens to others only? What has made our country a suicide hotbed? I am merely listing my thoughts as reasons when there could be many others.

We Expect A Lot From Others

Sania admitted with surprise that people messaged and behaved as if they had won something in five years.

Sania and Martina won 41 matches in a row and then lost a few championships. After that, they won Italian Open recently. Sania admitted with surprise that people messaged and behaved as if they had won something in five years. They already have three Grand Slam double titles to their name for this year. Our expectations are soaring before the Fourth and the Final Grand Slam of the year. Correspondents are already asking them about the Fourth Grand Slam prospects.

For Indians, love means expectations. If we love someone, we expect a great deal from him/her.

Apart from love and expectations, our children are juggling with information overload, multi-media interference and an ocean of options.

Wrong seeds are sown from the very beginning when our parents shout out their expectations from us pertaining to our academic performance, duty towards family members. We grew up balancing love and expectation in our two hands. We knew that if we fail to fulfill the expectations, our share of love would reduce and it made us unwanted and guilty. So most of us kept a balance. In this digital age, this balance has become a juggling act. Apart from love and expectations, our children are juggling with information overload, multi-media interference and an ocean of options.

Despite of so many options available to carve a professional life, we still sow the same seeds of expectations in our children’s mind. As these seeds germinate, they come in contact with other options, through lot of information from varied sources. The mental agony faced by the child is muted by expecting obedience from them. The more they languish under expectations, the more they strive to talk to others for a way out. They are further silenced as parents provide them with more facilities in the form of tuition’s, electronic gadgets and some emotional monologues.

It is a pressure that has been building slowly with no way to release it.

For us, B and C grades happen to other children, not to ours. A child who feels pressurized by expectations doesn’t start feeling it overnight. It is a pressure that has been building slowly with no way to release it. An observant parent, a considerate elder or a like-minded friend could have helped in releasing the pressure. We need to find out ways to communicate with our children who feel that they can’t handle it on their own. We need to listen to them rather than read their letters after they leave us clueless and shattered. We need to observe them closely – their body language, their sleeping patterns, their tone on phone (if they are away). Are we losing our alertness as parents? Are we losing our emotional connect with them?

We Compare A Lot

As a nation, we love to compare and criticize. It could well be our national game. This comparison damages the psyche of children in two ways. First, they feel that their parents, elders don’t love them enough. It gets indelibly etched on their hearts if they are compared with others continuously. Secondly, they always try to measure up to someone else and fail to develop self-awareness. This causes lot of frustration when other friends/siblings perform better. A self-confident child would neither compare himself/herself nor get influenced by such comparisons.

In each exam/competition, we ask our children, “How much did your friend get?” “What is the rank of the friend you spend most of your time with?” 

Wrong seeds are again sown much early. In each exam/competition, we ask our children, “How much did your friend get?” “What is the rank of the friend you spend most of your time with?” If we clearly state that we are only concerned with their performance and their improvement, we are saving our children from futile pressure. A child who is compared simmers with anger. He/she feels unwanted and unloved. We need to convey this message clearly, repetitively to our children that they can depend on us, come what may. We need to tell them that we are their permanent safety nets. Are we tuning our own children out? Are we taking too many things for granted?

We Are Not Changing Enough

We realize that our lifestyles, our life concerns are changing every day. Have we realized that our parenting actions are not completely in sync with these changes? Rather than telling our children to value their class performances, we need to tell them to ‘value life’. Our children are not developing the skills required to face this changing world because we are not emphasizing enough on ‘coping skills’ and ‘self-awareness’.

When we ourselves feel bogged down by pressure and can’t handle it well, how do we teach our children to handle pressure?

Technology has gate-crashed into our lives so subtly but completely that it has overpowered our day to day existence. With our professional & personal responsibilities, we have Wi-Fi responsibilities towards social media sites, online shopping platforms and 24×7 phone calls. Technology has sucked our attentiveness and mindfulness making us more stressed. Media channels further fuel the negativity by propagative life threatening instances as staple daily dosage. When we ourselves feel bogged down by pressure and can’t handle it well, how do we teach our children to handle pressure? Don’t think that I am encouraging a laid back, zero achievement childhood. I am not expounding that parents should mollycoddle and indulge the children and society should treat them with a kid’s glove. I am proposing three things to curb this # suicide menace which is trending and hence is being portrayed as a solution, not a problem.

1.It is not what you teach, it is what you emphasize, said basketball coach Don Mayer. Teaching once is not enough. State an important lesson, emphasize, repeat, and repeat again.  “Pressure is a privilege “– Let us teach our children to thrive under pressure by facing it and losing without guilt and shame. “Failure is sweet” – Let us make them strong enough to face failure. Let us celebrate failure with them so that they can confide their fears in us openly, not through letters saying “I am sure you will understand”. Emphasize on right lessons since birth to prepare them for bigger battles of life. We emphasize on smaller conquests and never talk about the bigger picture.

2. Observe them silently, closely, passionately, regularly, honestly. Silently, because we can listen to the heartful truth in silence. Closely, because there is more distance between two rooms sometimes than between cities. Passionately, because Parenting can be a pain and you might slip when you need to hang on the most. Regularly , because our children change faster than the next IOS software. Honestly, because you might be tempted to deny seeing the real child as compared to your “dream child”. This observation followed by clear communication will give you enough idea about the aspirations of your child so that you know which direction is his/her calling.

Encourage them to excel in the area of their interest. Don’t let them be careless and shoddy as a life approach. Mentor them to be an excellent homemaker or an amazing storyteller. You give birth to a life, not to a package ticking all the standard boxes.

3. Imagine a garden with different plants, shrubs, trees growing in it. Gardeners take care of all these plants, shrubs and trees by nurturing them, giving manure, water as per the need of each of them. Despite all the care, some of them don’t grow as quickly as others, some even wilt away for no reason. Can a gardener change a mango tree into a guava tree or can a gardener expect a jasmine shrub to grow straight like a coconut tree?

Parents are like gardeners who should nurture the gifts called children with unconditional love, silent observation, unending encouragement and strategic guidance.

My book “Don’t Raise Your Children, Raise Yourself (Amazon Bestseller) talks about ‘crescendo presence’ of parents in the lives of children. This presence is a mind-full presence that observes children and helps them align well with future expectations.

If maximum number of suicides in India happen due to family problems, if maximum number of teens commit suicide due to pressure, we need to push our ‘call to action’ button. Let us login to ourselves to grow old with our children, not their memories. Please add your thoughts about reasons behind more teen suicides in India in the comment section.

References:

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/teen+suicides/1/7170.html

Moon Parenting is all about Balance

swati new3.jpg
We love extremes.Extreme thoughts and extreme behavior are sensational.That is why, Tiger Parenting is widely discussed and Serenity Parenting also proclaims its increasing relevance.
Tiger Parenting is all about persistent effort on the part of parent to derive excellence (read Perfection) out of the child while Serenity Parenting is all about serenity on the part of the parent as they can’t influence their children in the long run.Parents who believe in Serenity Parenting accept that the lives of their children are shaped by their genes and not by involvement of their parents.

I believe that we need more balance in our lives than to get enamored by these extremes.

Moon Parenting is all about balance.The Moon stays up in the sky because it is in a stable orbit around the earth.The Moon is pulled towards the Earth by Earth’s gravity, but because it is so far away and is moving so fast around the Earth, it will never fall down.If the Moon were moving any slower,gravity would pull it down since the Moon is traveling at the right speed and right distance, it survives beautifully.
Moon Parenting strikes a balance between the internal temperament of the child and the external parenting style,giving equal importance to both.
Moon means Patience,Discipline and Balance.
Patient parents, disciplined parents and balanced parents are Moon Parents…

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I am an Author, Entrepreneur, Motivational Speaker, Parenting expert based in Mumbai. Having written Bestsellers like Don’t Raise Your Children, Raise Yourself (Amazon Bestseller), Why Women Are What They Are, Come On! Get Set Go

 I am running Life Lemonade which offers unique Training Programs on Life Transformation, High Performance Leadership, Women Issues and Parenting.

Connect with me on Linkedin, Twitter @drswatilodha Facebook

Also read my best articles here!

I can thrive for two months on a compliment.

Emoji.pngI did not say it. Mark Twain did.

When he said it, he must have believed in it because compliments were gems – rare and gleaming.

Compliments were not emojis – omnipresent

We compliment and get complimented with the same speed as Virat scores his IPL runs. Art of Complimenting has lost its charm when we dole them out like popcorn.

My parents always believed that their parents never appreciated or complimented them which was the right way. They never expected a pat on their backs from their parents who considered it a sure road to failure for their children.

I remember arguing with my parents on many occasions that it was unfair that they found faults but never appreciated anything. I would give an arm and a leg to receive a compliment from my Mom.

I would give up everything but will never receive a compliment from my mother in law. Her iconic compliment that I have received on cooking a dish is “This is not bad”. It has never reached “good” and it never will.

I remember the joy of counting number of “Good” and “Excellent” mentioned in our notebooks. That was two decades ago. In my daughter’s school, her report cards are full of praise and criticism if any, lurks on periphery ambushed in positive words.

If you read all the twelve zodiac signs’ daily forecast for a week, you will get the same feeling as you get after reading the analytical report cards of all children of a class.

Compliments encourage us and brighten our mood but Mr. Twain would have revoked his statement after looking at our smartphones laden with virtual and verbal appreciation.

Let us compliment sparingly or apologise to Mr. Twain. I can’t survive on these raining emojis even for a minute.

What do you think?

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I am an Author, Entrepreneur, Motivational Speaker, Parenting expert based in Mumbai. Having written Bestsellers like Don’t Raise Your Children, Raise Yourself (Amazon Bestseller), Why Women Are What They Are, Come On! Get Set Go

I am running Life Lemonade which offers unique Training Programs on Life Transformation, High Performance Leadership, Women Issues and Parenting.

Connect with me on Linkedin, Twitter @drswatilodha Facebook

Also read my best articles here!

Technology for MOMs – Create your Digital Presence

Technology for Moms.jpgNothing has helped woman more in last decade than this great enabler called technology. Nothing has opened more frontiers for women in last few years than a magical opening through a tap or a click.

Men could always go out any time, reach out to new set of acquaintances and friends, communicate informally and reap benefits of all such associations while women would be fulfilling their domestic responsibilities full time or after office hours.

Even working women would get to meet a particular set of colleagues only and be a part of some coffee break gossip.

Not anymore.

Technology is the greatest leveller if used judiciously.

It is the greatest gift for every woman, especially mothers.

If you want to ask why, read on:

  • Confidence booster: When young mothers are busy changing diapers, their world shrinks to the cries and sleep patterns of the baby. As they spend more time with the baby, they begin to feel out of touch with the rest of the world.

Not anymore.

The digital world is at their fingertips and keeps them aware and involved. They don’t feel that the whole world has said good bye to them and moved on while they were singing lullabies. It gives so much of confidence to be in the thick of things and not feel ‘written off’.

  •  Opportunity Giver: When mothers are busy raising their toddlers, they want to keep their ‘individuality fire’ burning. It used to be full of guilt pangs in office or frustrated siestas at home. First one to three years of young mothers can be utilised through online courses to learn new interests or expand the existing interests. Visit Udacity/Coursera/EDX and explore a new world of opportunities.

  • Unifier: Business opportunities through networking online have infused women with new freedom.

Blogging, selling products, forming groups online, teaching through webinars are some of the working options which engage women completely and offer satisfaction. Online shopping if used judiciously can save a lot of unproductive time.

While I rave about a positive tryst with technology, I cannot forget the unnecessary use of social networking sites which has become an addiction, a lifestyle menace.

Dear Moms, use technology not to forward recycled, overused and futile messages but to improve your lives.

Use technology not to post innumerable pictures and click ‘react’ button but to create your digital presence.

I will talk about creating your digital presence in the next post.

 

 

 

 

Technology for MOMs – Learn to Post a Review on Amazon

Amazon.jpg

Technology has become our bestie these days. We use our phones, our laptops not only to connect with people but to conduct our businesses. This post is for all women who are scared of learning how to use simple technologies to connect better, to earn better.

Today, this post will teach you how to Post a review on Amazon as a customer. If you buy a Smartphone or a Body Lotion or a Book, post your experience in the form of a review.

Your review helps others to make informed choices and gradually you become a reputed reviewer.

This is what you need to do.

 

  • Please make an amazon account by visiting amazon.com

If you already have an amazon account (you will surely have one if you have ordered something from Amazon), please log in.

 

  • In the uppermost horizontal empty space mention the name of the product that you want to review.

 

  • It will take you to the product page. After the product details, you see a tab called ‘’Write a Product Review’’. On clicking, you will see five stars. Give the number of stars you want to give to the product and as soon as you are done. A box for writing the review will open.

 

  • Write in the box and you can insert the product link too.

 

  • Write a headline of the review in the next box and submit.

 

 

  • The top right space will show your name as Amazon Customer. You might change it to your name by clicking the ‘Change” button.

 

  • Logout after receiving ‘Thanks for your review’.

You will get a thank you mail from Amazon in your inbox for writing your customer review.

LEARN A NEW TECHNOLOGY THING EVERY DAY AND BE PROUD OF YOURSELF.

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I am an Author, Entrepreneur, Motivational Speaker, Parenting expert based in Mumbai. Having written Bestsellers like Don’t Raise Your Children, Raise Yourself (Amazon Bestseller), Why Women Are What They Are, Come On! Get Set Go

I am running Life Lemonade which offers unique Training Programs on Life Transformation, High Performance Leadership, Women Issues and Parenting.

Connect with me on Linkedin, Twitter @drswatilodha Facebook

Also read my best articles here!