The Self-shift

by Asit Ghosh

What are your thoughts. Pause a while and take stocks of your thoughts. How many of your thoughts are original? Do you realize that most, if not all, your thoughts are influenced by the circumstances that you have been through in the past?

As for me, I spent my childhood under a highly controlled surrounding. I can authentically say, my parents and teachers unwittingly trained me how to inherit their thoughts more than teaching any other lesson. Sounds strange? But, it’s true. Not only in my case, if you ponder carefully, you may be alarmed to discover how you too have been an unfortunate victim of a world-wide thought-scam.

This thought-scam closely shadows the money-scam. Recently, I came to know of the fact that the whole world is secretly influenced by only a handful of rich people. If you blink on this statement, I shall invite your attention to the three below-referred YouTube videos:

Look, our thoughts are influenced by our circumstances and the reality about our circumstances reflects the wealth which tend to define them. Africa looks to be Africa primarily because of the wealth that country possesses. India is perceived as India because of its financial scenario. United States is what that country is, because people’s perception is primarily influenced on account of the wealth it possesses. If it is true, then it will not be difficult to imagine how the environment in the surroundings influence the thoughts of the people who thrive there. This seems to be a plausible analogy for you to believe that we are indeed victims of a thought-scam. This thought- scam happens to be in the core of all kinds of scams – financial, political, health etc. and therefore influenced the world-thoughts.

Coming back to my rearing up. As a victim of inherited thoughts, I went to study in schools, colleges, universities and then worked under the supervision of managers of organizations where I was employed. I belonged to the culture of abiding rules, norms and systems. I, therefore, struggled to be a so-called good-boy by trying to presenting myself as one who’s quite akin to harboring the thoughts that were sanctioned by a host of exalted category people in the society and also those defined in the books of law and other codes of conduct.

I cannot deny the fact that I was left with no option or opportunity to imagine there was any scope or authority for me to exercise a few independent thoughts of mine own. Simply speaking, I never learnt to think my thoughts.

After a long spell in education and work-places, I managed to land myself in the training world. Yes, in the face of it, I thought for the first time I had chosen a thought or idea of my own. My father, who was a robust bureaucrat was angry for I resigned from the cozy post of a Locally Engaged Officer in the British High Commission and jumped into a career of uncertainty. This kind of adventure was unimaginable to my siblings, other family-members and friends.

Although, joining the training career was my original thought, yet I was still bound by a few more norms and conditions. In course of my training for trainer program, I was asked to prescribe norms for my students to follow. I accepted this and sternly applied the training norms upon my huge band of trainees. Many of them said, I was good at my job because I had the knack, confidence and zeal to influence the thoughts of my trainees. Soon I came to realize, my strictness was the key to my success. So, I kept exercising this trait with more and more zeal and enthusiasm until one day when everything crushed down. My huge alumni comprising thousands of my training-beneficiaries abandoned me not being able to endure my strict ways any longer. It was however ironical, I was admired by the same people on account of my firm, uncompromising and strict ways. My efforts to convince them, I  was only a  benevolent dictator made little sense to them any longer.

In spite of this predicament, I hardly realized there could be any other way of meaningfully helping people to change other than my proven ways of dealing with them. Well, I won’t be naïve to declare that leniency was the only tool for personal development and as trainers we need not be strict. No that’s not true at all. I do have enough examples at hand to rely on the concept of ‘freedom through regimentation’. However, I do admit that my own learning was not complete until I was exposed to another new-age personal development methodology that came my way some 10 years ago.

This new system was COACHING.

I confess, I was so much obsessed with my erstwhile expertise of applying my tough training (I had since named my company Tuff Trak) methods. In fact, I failed to accept the roly-poly method of coaching. It appeared rather dry and dull to me initially. I refuted, reacted, argued against it in every opportunity. However, there was an undercurrent which came to surface sooner than I expected.

I came in contact with some path breaking literatures that inspired me to explore the newer ways of personal development. The most profound among these were books by Eckhart Tolle – Power of Now & New Earth, by David Hawkins – Power vs. Force, by Bruce Lipton – Biology of Belief, by Wayne Dyers – You will see it when you believe it, by Hugh Prather – Note to self, by Abraham (through Esther Hicks) – Ask and it is given, by Joe Vitale – Zero Limit and by Helen Schucman – A Course in Miracle. In addition, I came in contact with another divine mentor Mabel Katz and took a revolutionary certification course under the legendary doyen Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Lens. I had little doubt my life was about to take a new turn. Now I was ready to look at my Coaching License once again with a discerningly positive view.

Coaching is different from training, teaching, consulting etc. in one significant way – it begins on the premise every individual is not only distinct and unique but they themselves are the real and appropriate sources of ideas and strategies to address their own needs, aspirations and challenges.  The coach is only skilled to stimulate these typical responses from the clients.

I have very carefully defined the attitudes and characteristics of the right coach by my own designed acronym JOTLEI. The six letters in that acronym aptly explains the three don’ts and three do’s for a coach.

Three don’ts for a coach:

    1. Judgmental: Judgmental behavior contravenes the coaching process because it disallows spontaneous response of the client and conditions their responses at the outset. Unless the client believes that they have the capability to draw the real ideas that fulfil their own quests they can be misdirected in coaching. On the contrary, if the client is inspired to determine their own ideas and those are tested by themselves, they will be more responsible and accountable for implementing them.
    2. Opinionate: Personal opinion of the coach is most irrelevant in the context of coaching. What’s more important is what the client thinks and feels. It requires enough patience, trust, determination and focus on the part of a coach to get the apt and effective response from the clients.
    3. Teaching: Tendency to teach and advise happens to be a common characteristic of most people. But, not for a coach. The coach requires enough restrain from the temptation of teaching and advising their clients. Mentoring is allowed but that too needs to be reserved for supporting a potential idea of the client. I generally seek the concurrence of my client before I mentor them.

Three do’s for a coach:

  1. Listen: A bad listener is a bad coach. The best coaching process is often characterized by least talking by a coach. I love saying, I love coaching because it’s a lazy man’s profession – you just got to sit down and listen. As you listen, you help your clients resolve most of their issues. No extremes however. You do speak but you speak only to get the right and relevant response that has a bearing on the client’s concern.
  2. Empathize: Some best moments in this wonderful profession of coaching are characterized by situations when you feel the coach, the coachee and the coaching environment are attuned. It’s just like a dynamic duet dance recital where two dancers, music, stage and audience all become one. This state is referred as flow state in psychology
  3. Inquiry: This is by far the most valuable element in coaching. Coaching is both a science and art. Science because, this system has deep roots in psychology and human behavior; art because, the best coach supersedes their less effective counterparts in their skills to ask the right question. I love saying, the secret of successful coaching consists in the art of inquiring to foster inquiry. It means, the questions which the coach ask must inspire the clients to go deep into their lives to inquire what happened and how so that they come up with solutions that bring out a wow response in them.

Finally, I must let you know, I would have benefited hundreds of my clients and the list is growing steadily. This most certainly gives me enough joy and satisfaction. However, this is not the end of the story. Do you want to know what has been my greatest bonus from my work? Well, I can most authentically say, by way of coaching of so many clients my own life has changed for the better. I’m enamored to see myself as much more poised, patient and intuitive human being. I can easily affirm, my belief in unlimited possibilities hidden within every human soul has been permanently restored. As my own level serenity has significantly enhanced I’m able to see every soul as potentially divine. I feel deeply inspired by one of the most illumined quotation by Dr Wayne Dyers:

“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual being having a human experience”.