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As we grow old our responses to, many situations become fixed and are set to “by-default” mode, i.e. mind instantaneously transmits the action to be taken by any part of our body. Similarly we adopt habits that are, unintentional but, religiously practiced and become our signature and one can easily and accurately guess our name by looking at the remnants.
Our habits leave a mark on others, some are so good that people rather then adopting them get envious and many of our bad habits invoke others to do the same and be our clone or do an imitation / gig behind our back.
I personally believe that if one fails to know what good qualities he needs to have, s/he must start stamping out his bad habits. I have not done much with my life, but have learnt a lot by holding myself back from the following.
1. Not being there / Ignoring to Socialize
I then used to think that it doesn’t matter if I am there or not, because someone else will be there to replace or the lead character will be so busy that we won’t even notice me but actually this act of mine adversely increased my popularity and if due to a change in my mood I used to show up at any event I only used to see question marks not people.
My sister, helped me out here, “Your presence makes great difference!!!” she further added, “Like you love playing cricket every Sunday, because that improves your game plus as new people come to join the game you become friends with them too similarly when you show presence at social events you end up making new contacts while you remain with oldies”.
Lesson learnt: If you ignore them they will forget you
2. Thinking, Thinking and Thinking again
Mohammad Navaid, a close friend, once inquired, “You know what your problem is?” and with laziness at its peak I moved my head from right shoulder to left and raised my eye brows to get my self an answer. Navaid said, “Stop thinking Dude!!!, you always think if that happens then this and if this happen then that… you end up wasting you energy on knowing probability of actions and reactions”.
To illustrate he discussed our different approach to playing chess where I think about what are the probabilities of next move, exhaust my brain on thinking about every possible move and next two moves ‘if it incurs that way’ but when the other player moves something different the process begins again with an ‘oh shit! I have to start thinking again’. While he plays with one approach, which is to pin the opponent’s king, he evaluates the move made by the opponent and focuses on what course of action is to be taken now to pin the king.
Later that night, I browsed my past experiences and realized that thinking before taking an action means making a plan, doing a research about potential pros n cons or hurdles and being an addictive thinker I am wasting my time and energy and when things don’t turn up as expected the solution is to say “OH SHIT” and start again.
Lesson Learnt: Thinking about the “if, then, else” of a situation makes me uselessly think and waste my time about a future event whose certainty depends on other variables. Thus stop thinking and start acting upon the scene.
3. Being skeptical / negative about the outcomes
I realized it very late in my life that the reason others are successful using the same idea as of mine with even less resources is just because of the reason that I got afraid and discouraged when ‘only’ looking at the negative perspectives. Many a times I used to withdraw, just because my sagacious analysis didn’t find one single ounce of adversity in it. So I was not at all happy with projects which had no risk involved while those with risk were not meant to be taken ….ha ha ha…
Looking back in to my past, the seed of this negativity started to develop with the statement: “Try for the best and prepare for the worst”. If I then knew to rephrase I would used “What do I need to get the desired results, because YES I CAN”.
This “YES I CAN” got better as I started motivating people around me, as I heard their worries and tried to sort and solve them out; I was/am habitually ending the conversation using one statement “Who has the solution to your problem?.... You have”. How ironic that tough, I was repeating it many times but I was not practicing it myself and when it occurred to me that I had the secret ingredient up my sleeve I was no longer ineffective in many modes of life.
For me, to avoid negative thoughts is still not easy, but when ever in dismay, I seek help from the Almighty. I just bow down to my lord and tell him about my believe that my Lord only you can fade my tensions, my honor / respect among people is just because of you bestowed me with certain capabilities, I am lost again and you are my F1 support button thus please help me put an end to the perplexities.
“What you sow in your mind, shall you reap” easily explains that the results one gets are because of his believes, perspectives and his interpretation of the surroundings.
Lesson Learnt: Row, row, row your boat… and don’t tell God how big the storm is, rather tell the storm how BIG your GOD is.
4. Closed System vs. Open System / Stuck to my own thoughts
As I write, I know, when it comes to my personal life I am still a closed system i.e. I don’t share what is going in my mind, what is bothering me, why my face is gloomy and yet I smile. Though not an effective and healthy practice but has helped me as it creates a mystery in mind of others as the woman inside them wants to know what is cooking .
The only person who ‘still has’ the privilege of listening and providing piece of advice on my personal issues is Mesum, a childhood friend cum brother, who knows what makes me SENTI and what makes Mental. I still remember waking him up at 23:00 hrs and taking him out on a walk, as we dragged our selves smoking he used to listen to me calmly and then he used to speak which often ended with a punch line that had my solution. I personally believe that if you have a friend, who with all his sincerity provides you new dimensions to look at the problem and renders a solution, I wouldn’t let any one ever know the cause of headache.
I am an open system, when it comes to my professional and social life, where I keep my friends and colleagues aware of what the developments are; what is in the pipe line and what is being delivered. Likewise as they share their observations and experience I tend to learn and adapt new patterns to apply in future.
For example, Mohammad Navaid once said, “the art to putting an egocentric away is, to provide the person what he wants but in bits and pieces (the scattered the better) and in return usurp all he doesn’t even want to offer”. The other technique that I learnt from Guru Navaid was to bear people whose prime existences make my taste bud go sour; the tip is to stay congenial but maintaining a distance and not to “think” about what their acts are up to.
The art is to learn new techniques and apply with customary amendments rather then morphing into the person who used it. My father, during my college life, repeatedly used to state, “The way you treat and behave in your friend circle can not be the same when you deal with you family”. I took my time to learn what my father meant then, lesson learnt with time with no damage done… I love you dad.
Lesson Learnt: Know all the verbs that can keep you happy.
5. Registering your Complains
When ever my social, personal or professional environment has tried to distort my focus and flow of sincerity I have raised my voice to let the surrounding know what I disagree to be the part of.
Even if this fails to shake the conscious of many people and to soothe their stumped brain they end up labeling me as meek or emotional fool, I don’t care as I believe it’s a good habit because it flushes out all the rage inside of me, I don’t sleep with anxiety plus others don’t take me for granted the next time.
The art is to act upon the scene.
Year 2005 November 23rd, It was my birthday, and I was beaten on the roadside because I informed the higher management about a schematic fraud and pilferage. Since anger and making hasty decision is a trait of being young, the next day I went to Saleem Sir, the Financial Controller of the company, and told him that I cannot work in such an environment and want to resign.
Saleem Sir, whom I give high value and respect for the reason that he crafted my career, heard the whole story and besides telling me that the higher management is looking in to the case he said one thing that made me take my decision to resign back.
Saleem Sir said, “Zaheer, you will find people, who suppress others every where. Learn to face them without any fear because they them selves are coward, but if you decide to leave this will make feel that they got successful in their mission, and there is no guarantee that the next organization you join has equal or worse people then here.”
He appreciated that at least I, a trainee then, had courage to come up to him and informed him about the situation which he was not aware of otherwise.
This practice got further polished, when my next employer awarded another colleague of mine an excellence award for the work that did. The awarded person was himself astonished that he was receiving an award for work done by me. I acted upon the scene and left the convention that very moment, my boss noted it and later to soothe my feeling told me that my contemporary was awarded as he needed a moral booster plus he has financial crisis etc the same was repeated the HR manager with different sub-clauses and my reply to both of them was, “If you would have asked me to surrender, I would have done it happily, but here I won the race and you state then the runner up is handicapped so we are awarding him… bullshit”
I purposely didn’t talk to any one for next couple of days; during the process I regret that disrespected Adil Sir for which I will remain apologetic all my life, but I made my point noticeable to majority. I believe that the guilt factor made them not to act in accordance to the “employee excellence award” scheme and I was awarded for conducting the training session for which someone was awarded already.
Receiving the award was not much of a merry moment, but the feeling that I have restrained many from considering me a door mat by making them know what I didn’t feel was right.
Lesson Learnt: When thing are being cooked bad, tell the cook
Every one nature / reactions / responses, evolves and adapts with reference to the changes in environment, what one need to do is to learn the art of knowing the traits that harm him and opting for a positive change.