Don’t believe them!
They will tell you that this world is a market place. And that everyone out here is a brand. And that you should always carry and present yourself as a brand. And that you must never disclose your weakness – it would tarnish your brand value. And that….And that…
What they won’t tell you is – there are serious repercussions of trying to be someone who you are actually not. That the satisfaction of letting things off our head and heart is immense. They won’t tell you that it’s okay to fail or commit mistakes & learn from them in personal or professional lives. That it’s okay to just be yourself , your natural self with all your merits and demerits. If someone is not okay with this, it is their problem, not yours!
We live in an achievement-based society. Social norms set the standards of success and failure. Those who conform to these norms are accorded high social status, and become a member of reference group. However, all this has a latent dysfunction. Life has multiple aspects and dimensions. Success in one of these aspects leads to a sense of entitlement. This pseudo sense of superiority leads us to believe that if we are not able to find a solution to a problem in some other aspect of life, no one else can. This false consciousness eclipses our ability to recognise others’ capability. There is a fairly good chance that a person A can be good at academics, and person B is a master of life skills. Why do we end up NOT recognising this fact?
An IAS officer committed suicide in 2018. He was a brilliant student and he got under 15 rank in the Civil Services. Could this serious tragedy be averted had he taken help from his peers who might not have cleared civil services? There is a fair chance that they (those who could not clear Civil Services) are among the best survival strategist given their experience of handling repeated failures. Why do we think that our image as an elite would be affected if we share something that might sound silly? Why should we always carry the burden of a professional post even in our personal space? If that’s what society expects from us – it is okay to give preference to our own attitudes, belief and lifestyle. It is not always good to live a life that others expect from us.
There was another news of death of Shankar Sir (founder of Shankar IAS). Some newspapers reported about his suicide – debating this would be an injustice to him. He is a perfect example of rags-to-riches story. Had I been in his place, I would talk my issues out to anyone and everyone I would come across. I would shout it out on Social media.I would try and understand the importance of my sustained existence on this planet. I would try and not let my business success prevent me from seeking help from people who might not be a so called success story. The fact is, just because their area of expertise is not documented in the domain list of success, it does not mean they are not successful. The sooner we realise it, the better! Isn’t this realisation an important aspect of inclusiveness – the buzzword these days?
Moreover, you just cannot credit yourself for your successes if SOCIAL LUCK theory is to be believed. According to this theory you just happened to have access to the right resources, at the right place, at the right time. Other people with this perfect alignment of externalities would have equal chance of success. Same holds for failure as well. Do not over punish yourself for your failures. In short, do not let your success or failure eclipse your world view. The world around you is best viewed with naked eyes!
The range of options we have today – in education, jobs, partner selection, dressing, transport etc. it is not abnormal if we are confused, or we end up going haywire, or we do some blunder if you call it. Discussing our issues with our peers, not just the ‘successful ones’, can be a huge saviour. I was in a fix about how to upgrade this website. Whether it would be a good idea to seek contribution from audience. I discussed it with few people, and eventually launched the donation drive. Yes, I sought help!
Every individual’s sense of self worth is shaped by two parameters – what the world thinks about him AND what he thinks about himself. Do not let the world view overpower your own appreciation of yourself. This is where we can learn from people of Bihar. What was once an international seat of learning (Nalanda), home to the first republic (Lichhavi) on planet earth is now seen with contempt and hatred. But, people are still fighting all odds and prejudices with a hope to restore its past glory. They never think about taking extreme steps. So, whenever you find yourself in a trouble…
from the right person/institution.
Until next time,