Sunday, October 30, 2011


For the average person, the word STROKE immediately conjures up a terrible image of a heart attack that leads to death. For the less panicky, depending on their favorite game the work STROKE can have a much more favorable image being seen vividly. The word instantly brings to mind some exquisite backhand down the line stroke or a forehand cross court stroke for tennis buffs and for the cricket enthusiast the same word could trigger images of an array of strokes executed by batsmen over the years. The golf enthusiast won’t be far behind either with some exciting and vivid imagination of his/her dream stroke. However, today we shall focus attention on a less well known but widely accepted and exceptionally useful concept of a psychological stroke which in effect could be seen as Stimulus Transferred Regularly Often Kindles Encouragement.

Broadly there are two types of stokes that one is generally aware of; the positive stroke and the negative stroke. However in real life a large number of people go around without getting any stroke. These are the unfortunate people who end up getting No Strokes and live a lonely life, walk around like lost sheep, lack self pride, feel insignificant and victimized and perceive the world to be against them. With this background we can attempt to understand how the concept of STROKEs has both relevance and utility to each one of us in our everyday life. In fact a better understanding of the topic would enable us to enrich our own life and positively impact the lives of the many people around us. 

While negative strokes ( like getting slapped, shouted at, insulted, blamed etc.) are seen as the most avoidable type of stroke, the subtle reality is that getting No Strokes is perhaps the worst emotional and psychological trauma for a human being especially since we are the most evolved social animal. To appreciate this it is essential that we need to understand what a no stroke situation is. Imagine a prisoner kept in an isolation cell. This is normally done to the most dangerous and violent criminal and the idea is the break the prisoner down since as a social animal he/ she need the company of other human beings. While none of us may experience this kind of isolation, imagine the plight of a machine operator working an 8 hour shift or a bus driver seated all alone in the driver’s seat without the benefit of frequent human interaction. Some may have had the experiences of forcibly being isolated when suffering from chicken pox and apart from the suffering from the illness, the loneliness and forced rejection by others may have worsened the trauma. 

When subjected to no strokes, the human tendency is to seek some stroke even if it is a negative stroke. An understanding of this reality can perhaps explain why last benchers in class are often disruptive, naughty and mischievous. This also could provide a clue to why bus a driver keeps blowing the horn or revs the engine of the bus whilst at a traffic signal provoking angry stares and possibly shouts and abuses from others around. 

Ideally every one craves  positive strokes. A smile is the simplest, cheapest and most effective positive stroke. A pat on the back, a word of praise and appreciation are other common means of extending a positive stroke. Positive strokes are of two types. When the stroke is freely given without any expectation it could be called a positive unconditional stroke whereas a positive stroke given with an expectation is a positive conditional stroke. An example of the latter would be a parent offering a reward for doing well in exams or a person obliging another in the hope of getting a return favor latter. Obviously the best possible stroke is a POSITIVE UNCONDITIONAL STROKE for that is when Stimulus Transferred Regularly Often Kindles Encouragement.

Action Points:
  1. Over the next 1 week make a list of the different people with whom you had a chance to interact and who gave you strokes and classify the same into negative, positive unconditional , positive conditional and no strokes. For the same list of people and situations outline what kind of strokes you gave or times when you didn’t give any stroke. Examine your emotions for each recording.
  2. What kind of strokes would you normally give to the following people
  • A widower who is considered a crank neighbor by others
  • Your boss or school/ college principal whom you meet on the road suddenly
  • Your former girlfriend/ boy friend who you unexpectedly meet at a party
  • The person at the check out counter who is slow, confused and obviously not well trained in his./ her job
  • A key team member who did not turn up for a match because of an emergency that occurred about which you are not convinced.
  • The person who scored first place by one mark over you.
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Sunday, October 16, 2011


Every single culture is made richer by it is unique bond with music and dance. Dance as an art form is means to express emotions and the grace and movement that is integral to dance also outlines  history, culture and  tradition. Through dance, one can get over one’s inhibitions, give vent to ones expressions, relax and cheer up and surprisingly in the rhythm and vigor of the activity one can also Discover Amazing New Cheerful Energy

What is common to all dance forms are the following facts
-          Every dance form invariably is a celebration
-          There is rhythm, grace, movement and timing that binds the performance
-           Involvement and enjoyment are essential requirements to heighten the quality of the performance
While the sense of rhythm, grace and movement are individual specific, learning the art is a prerequisite if one wants to get fully involved and immersed in the beauty of the dance. Unfortunately many are inhibited by the fear that one has no natural talent or ability to shake a leg.  Equally damning is the reluctance to be patient, the inability to keep rehearsing to attain mastery and getting cocooned and being wary of experimenting to evolve. The beauty of dance lies in its inspiring ability to capture moods, emotions, expressions and interest of both performer and audience. 

The uniqueness of dance lies  in :

Its ability to keep a person grounded. Every dance form has some norms, movements and steps which are by and large predefined. It is therefore essential that anyone attempting dancing be well aware of the movements, the beat and the style if one has to gracefully execute the dance. Whether a person learns the dance form formally or by sheer observation and practice is immaterial but the discipline and rigor of the activity makes the person realize the importance and value of form and structure that holds the movements together and gives it the finesse to make it visually appealing.

The freedom it gives to express one’s creativity. While form and structure ensure that there is uniformity and conformity that makes the dance rhythmic and coordinated, the grace, style and improvisation that an individual brings to the dance floor is completely a function of ones personal style, creative outpouring and personal preference and passion. That is the reason why we tend to appreciate some people as natural dancers while others would be clinical in execution but the soul would be missing.

It allows one the to experience the exhilaration of being liberated. The joy of dancing often usurps the ground rules of form and substance. This is evident in the way little kids exude in the joy of sheer spontaneous movement when listening to catchy tunes and dynamic beats of music. The little child in us also comes out when we too join in the fun and frolic when we cannot resist the lure of the gaiety, the rhythm, the mood and the beat  and spontaneously sway to the exhilarating emotions that overcome us.

In no other art form would many indulge in a public display of their inadequate abilities so spontaneously and that is when they DANCE and Discover Amazing New Cheerful Energy

Action Points:
  1. If you had to learn dancing which form of dancing would you love to learn? What is it that you love about that dance style? Have you made any efforts to learn that dance?  Outline a plan of action to learn that dance form.
  2. Outline the various types of dance forms that you have seen or heard of.  Attempt to see some of those dances that you may never have witnessed, let alone participated in. To help you get going here are a couple of dance forms that are listed for you to focus on and you can add to that list.
-          Indian classical dances – Mohiniattam, Kuchipudi,
-          Western classical dances – Tap dancing, tango,
-          Indian folk dances –  Cheraw Dance, Koli Dance,

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You are also invited to visit our inspirational and motivational blog