Perhaps, by and large, almost all of us are unknown to our own selves; and some remain in that state, till eternity. We believe, whatever others say about us; we do this knowing well that not all that should be said, is ever said; and all that should not be said, is said vociferously. We get filtered opinion. It is marked mostly by niceties, all consider it worthwhile, to comment upon others, guardedly. Those who do bluntly offer opinion, do so, not because they seek improvement in the recipient of their barrage, but it is entirely to please their inherent element of seeking sadistic pleasures.
If one who is a far cry from the looks of George Clooney is told day in and day out, that he has striking resemblance; the tragedy of the human mind is the individual starts believing he is a cloned version of George Clooney! And for this precise reason, we have at work place the many Tom Cruise(s), Ranbir(s), Julia Roberts, Madhuri(s) and Aishwaria Rai(s)! So, what should be done to discover our true self, at least firstly to begin with say in “looks and style”? Always keep an imaginary mirror in your mind, that will keep telling you, with no hesitation, and with absolute truthfulness, that you aren’t “the most beautiful of them all”. This mirror of mind is different from the Mirror on the wall of the Queen! Don’t ever cheat yourself, thinking you are the best. Never beguile yourself that there is nobody human, who has the potential to do more, and better than your own self.
It is difficult, but many manage to hide themselves from their own-selves. And they think they do so with perfection. Consequently they appear as fools, who believe others do not know what they know about their own-selves. The ostrich when it hides its head in the sand knows it shall remain an ostrich, and will not be seen by others as ferocious as the lion or as beautiful as the Peacock. The wise knows himself; the fool all others.
How much talent is wasted around us because the talent and potential forces present within aren’t allowed to flourish, either by the individual himself or by the environment; hence such fail to have even a glimpse of what they can or are capable to achieve.
Many an occasion, the discovery of one’s potential will lead to strengthening of self-belief of how many possibilities exist on the canvass of life, that are available for taking. This can happen only if we allow ourselves not to decimate our potential or berate our own lack of action. We can, if we wish to recognise the divinely blessed strengths and move into demonstrating their presence within us, through action.
Managers and supervisors of people who look for external stimuli for initiating action, will most likely rest, eternally. Such make not only their own professional lives difficult, but also of those working around them. Their quest is, will someone or something provoke me please, for taking initiatives; I am not internally charged! Instead of being in the driving seat, most of us surrender the wheel of our vehicle of personal and professional life into the hands of others. We don’t discover ourselves; the individual skill, talent, ability and passion are consigned by surrender to others. Benjamin Franklin had rightly said, “observe all men; thyself most”.
Once a hurdle is surmounted, we begin to recognise and wake up the slumbering skills, divinely gifted to us. This can be a shocking discovery too! To achieve this status of self awareness, one must be freely and fully in command over him/ herself. In the process of self-discovery, show magnanimity to your failures, learn to forgive yourself and also to remain gracefully modest in giving recognition to your success.
Self confidence or the tools of self-discovery are not available on the shelf. They lie and reside inside you. Develop the art to discover those and execute them out of your deep insides, for utilisation of them in the pursuit of success. Begin by trusting yourself; learn this basic by watching a toddler, wishing to stand up and walk, without support; the number of falls doesn’t deter the pursuit of efforts. Accepting defeat in a particular venture is more of indulging in self pity, unless, the set back is seen as a stepping stone, to go for higher achievement with better preparedness. The manager must not wait for himself to be adjudged by his supervisor; he must continually indulge into self examination.
Each individual’s calling to success is dependent upon how the person responds to his/ her own sense of responsibility. Socrates had said, “Know thy self; know your strengths and your weaknesses; your relation to the universe; your potential; your spiritual heritage; your aims and purposes; keep taking stock of yourself.” A great quality to possess is to accept firstly own deficiencies and secondly to then act to fill the inadequacies.
Never let self doubt overtake your ambitions. Timidity of resolve has no place for those who are blessed with a mental attitude that they can be “do it” supervisors, against all odds… Always replace doubt with faith, self reliance and self confidence.
Inside all of us is that spring that keeps gushing forth and never dries up, ie our faith, belief and enthusiasm, to achieve success. Self trust is a heroic trait to possess; to discover our self. Alfred Tennyson wrote, “Self- reverence, self- knowledge, self control- these three things alone lead life to sovereign power”.
Self-discovery is far superior than submission to what others say about you. For any who does so, shall be perpetually robbed of his / her inner peace. Sincerity is a prerequisite for self -discovery. An untrue opinion about oneself is the worst of deception to indulge in. Those in self-control know that within them lies the power to do things and hence also possess the powers to not do, what shouldn’t be done.
In my interaction with young professionals, a significant gap I notice and point out to, is their lack of desire of knowledge. Most are not fond of reading books. Despite my emphasis to them, to go beyond reading just the materials relating to their respective vocation; I find the “fire” missing. They (youth) read nothing about history, bio/ auto-biographies, current affairs, geography, politics etc.
Consequently in professional conversations, I get to know that the port city of Hamburg is in France; New Zealand is a neighbouring country to Venezuela; Nepal is situated on the foot hills of Mt Kilimanjaro; Catherine the Great, was the second wife of Alfred the Great ! .... anything asked about literature, runs me down with uncontrollable laughter, that is followed by deep sense of regret and sadness, to see and witness, the progressive deterioration in the quality of education, since the beginning of the Dark Era of the late 70s.
Recently, my older brother was interviewing candidates for a career in banking, in a city of our beloved country; holding the CV (Resume), he asked the candidate, “looking at your Masters in English Literature, I am prompted to ask, amongst the classical writers, who is your favourite of them?” With a look of having seen the ghost, the aghast and shocked candidate said, “Is that what my CV says about my Masters?” As I write these lines, the newspaper headline laughingly stares at me, it is about pilots flying those “magnificent machines” with forged educational and professional certificates. Talk about self-discovery! The machines (aircraft) are certainly “magnificent”; otherwise how would they take-off with someone who has control of the throttle, but also has no knowledge of physics, aero-dynamics or sciences.
Seek influence and not power. Sit atop a summit to have a better view of life; living in the deep recess of a valley will give you no oversight of what lies behind the great hills. What is invisible to the manger who resides in the “corporate valley” (due to lack of self-discovery) is seen with clarity by those who discover themselves and are therefore perched higher on the corporate ladder.
All civilised managers learn very quickly in their careers the significance of having command over self-awareness. Assert and discover yourself. “Sink in thyself! There ask what ails thee, at that shrine!”
The writer is a banker and freelance columnist