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Take That First Step When 'Trapped'

19 December 2014 | Source: Economic Times

Life after HCL has given me more time to listen to many aspiring, ambitious minds who feel trapped in a situation in the wrong job, with a wrong company a wrong boss, in a wrong relationship or fee ling trapped for reasons they just don't understand.

Studies have revealed that very few people successfully out-manoeuvre these traps. Some people seem to have been born with the knack to take on any situation and convert it to their favour while most others like me have learned (and are still learning) it the hard way. Over the years and many rich experiences later, I have realised that there is definitely a ‘method to the madness’ though. And this ‘method’ can be deployed by anyone starting with the acceptance of three hard facts. One. that there is no instant trick to jump out of the traps or bad situations. Two. the only person who needs to have a lot of time and interest in helping you is YOU yourself.

And finally outsourcing your th in king to others and seeking advice can help, but that alone can never get you out of th a t feeling of being trapped. Once these fundamentals are clear, you can circumvent at least three most common traps through structured introspection and some simple interventions:

1. The indecision trap: The first step to getting out of any trap is actually the first step! Whenever I've felt trapped in life, which is quite often, I focus on creating options and take that important first step with a belief that the next steps will naturally manifest themselves. Life is like a painting which requires you to take decisions at every point, like the choice of fabric, colours, size, subject etc. Great artists make faster choices even though they are uncertain about the results. If you want to be successful you need to take decisions and make resolute choices rather than spending all the time thinking and feeling helpless. The faster you decide and the more decisions you take, a step at a time, the more successful you will be in life.

2. The comparison trap: This is one trap that has the capability of hijacking your energy and diluting your resolve. If you want to be valued, create more value rather than comparing yourself vis-a-vis the value created by others. If you want to be paid better, solve important problems rather than wasting your time comparing your compensation with others. You are running a solo race and how far you will get in life depends on what you will do with what you have and not what you wish you had.

So when someone talks about your strengths and weaknesses in an appraisal take it with a pinch of salt. There are people who have told me I was not fit to be in the information technology industry at the start of my career. I'm glad I laughed it off and kept walking my road.

3. The trap of the past: It is an unfortunate truth that more and more leaders are becoming irrelevant with every passing day because of their focus on old-world benchmarks. We must understand that the world of “management” is dying as people don't want to be “managed” anymore. The world of operations is dying because technology does a far better job at operations and does not even ask for a salary increase.

Thus if you are just managing, counting rather than creating, you are already obsolete. Nobody really cares about what you did in the past. They only care for what you can do in the future. So put your past in the past and work hard to stay relevant and stay in the present.

This is not a complete list of traps or their antidotes; these are just some catalysts to get your thinking journey started. Remember, the line from here to there is never straight; it is zig-zag, amaze where an answer is always waiting to be discovered if only you would take that first step forward, unafraid.