Who am I – Beyond the labels

July 30, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Posted in Blogroll, Out of my mind | 2 Comments

Till about a couple of years back, I used to visit my blog at random. But I realized that blogging helps me shape my ideas, insights and takeaways from different experiences better. So I resolved to add a new post every Monday and followed it religiously for last two years, even when I was on vacation. However, the regularity had somehow started to compromise the quality & originality of what I captured & shared. This led me to take a break for last 6-7 weeks and wait until there was a strong urge to share something really worthwhile. Today, I feel such an urge to share what follows.

There is a very popular Indian TV serial – Satyamev Jayate – which means truth will always prevail. In an episode a couple of weeks back, Justice Dharmadhikari was invited as one of the guests. He said that right from birth, label after label was attached to him, so much so that he now struggles to find his real self, hidden behind the labels. This comment led to the current chain of thought.

If we look at a typical resume, it mostly contains the labels. When and which family we were born in, where & what we studied, where we have worked so far and holding which positions and responsibilities, certifications collected and so on. It is useful but not really sufficient to know the person. When we want to start interacting with a person, or even when we are already interacting, what we really care for is to understand what drives him and what value he would add to our relationship. This information is missing so we have to make assumptions, put the person in pre-conceived boxes and project our experiences with other people in those boxes and extrapolate our conclusions. This is a time-consuming and error prone route. Won’t it be nice if the person can just make available such information directly to us? Let me give it a try.

I still distinctly remember the two terms in a book by J. Krishnamurti which I read in late seventies. These were “Transparently genuine” and “Choicelessly aware”; they had made a deep impression on me and ever since I have tried my best to put them in practice. Let me explain their relevance in present context.

Transparently genuine – Appear to others as we truly are. Normally, there are two sets of filters through which my reality reaches you and vice versa. I can clear the filter on my side by not pretending to be somebody other than who I really am. It makes me vulnerable but still it is really worth it. Unfortunately, I have no control over the filters you use to view me. But if we both decide to be transparently genuine, we would save so much of our time & efforts to figure out the person behind the mask and as a result make our relationship truly rich and really useful to each other.

Choicelessly aware – It helps to see the reality as it is; raw & authentic without any distortions. But it is very tough to do so because the moment we come across an unpleasant reality, our built-in defense mechanism springs into action and tries to protect us by creating a mist of a make-believe world. But this takes us farther away from reality till we are in for a shock. The main reason this happens is because we feel compelled to make a choice of what we do with the observed reality about how we should respond to it. If and when we learn to postpone this knee-jerk reaction and be aware of the reality without feeling any need to make an immediate choice, we are able to observe it very authentically. After the impulse to make a choice passes, we are able to take a much better decision. I have tried this over the years and it has really worked for me. When we interact with each other, you will rarely find me on the defensive. I am rather eager to grab the opportunity to learn something new, improve and grow in the process.

After having practiced these two concepts for many years, I recently came to the conclusion that rather than always thinking about “What is in it for me?” in every relationship, it is lot more rewarding to try to be a net producer, rather than a net consumer, of value in any interaction, big or small, one time or repetitive. And it invariably comes back; more we give, more we receive.

Just saw my watch and realized that it is time to see the last episode of Satyamev Jayate which will be aired in a few minutes. Be back soon…

I am now back. This last episode was about those people who went out of their way to help others, each in his own way. Watching their heroic efforts brought tears to my eyes. In comparison my value addition to my relationships seemed trivial, but at the same time it gave an assurance that I am on the right path.

Lastly, let me share what drives me in everything I do. For many years, I kept struggling to understand what really drives me. Then one day, I came across the online strength finder assessment by Gallup which is based on a huge research data of over a million persons. After around 30 minutes of answering different questions I got the report which identified my top 5 strengths out of 34 against which I was checked. The accompanying book told me that 4 out of the top 5 strengths were from the “Strategic” domain. When I looked up the meaning of “Strategic” in the book, I was startled to find that it had exactly zeroed on what I was searching for all these years. Here it is,

  • People with great Strategic Thinking strengths are the ones who keep us all focused on what could be
  • They are constantly absorbing and analyzing information and helping the team make better decisions
  • People with strength in this domain continually stretch our thinking for the future

Since then I have consciously tried to prefer those interactions which enable me to use my strengths to the fullest while trying to add more and more value to our relationships. This is the essence of me and the cornerstone of all my actions and interactions. Hope this helps.




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  1. I was just wondering why I am not able to see your blogs offlate. Your thought is correct and this blog has come nicely.

    On your first point, I agree fully. One can’t mask himself / herself for prolonged time; however it is possible to change oneness over a period of time; thru’ exposure, opportunities, coaching; etc. I have seen the completely transformed personalities in their professional and personal lives. So, If I know a person long back and if I find him different now, I should not prejudice and rather accept the reality.

  2. Thanks for sharing! Regards

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