Tag Archives: Self Improvement

Don’t Just Criticize

I’m not sure why – it might be natural and has something to do with the human makeup – but in relating to others, humans tend to be known for what they are against and not what they stand for or want to change.

Being known for only criticism tends to create uneasy relationships among people. Don’t get me wrong, I am not one those who believes people should be immune to criticism. Criticism has a role it plays which can help those its directed at at get better because after all humans are inherently not perfect but we become better when iron sharpens iron. But when people only offer criticism and are not known for offering solutions or ideas, then a problem exist!

Go ahead and offer criticisms, because as I said they have a key role they play, but make sure that is well balanced so that on the net your are known as someone who stands for something and not someone who is against something.

 

A Few Thoughts On Privilege

A video clip is currently making rounds on social media in which some kids – probably around high school – are told to line up at the start of what is probably a football field. For different statements which the instructor makes, if it applies to them, each kid is to take two steps forward. Statements ranging from parents still being married, to kids growing up with a father figure, and to having access to private education are made. Obviously, as with such an exercise, after a point some of the kids had a massive head start.

At a point, the instructor stops and tells those in the lead to turn around and look at their position and realize the head start they have in the game of life. He then goes on to say that their privilege is not because of their choices or anything they had a hand in – which is absolutely true. After some quick pep talk, the instructor instructs the kids to race towards the finish line. Obviously, those in lead won while those at the back lost.

The video clip then ends with a voice which says “if you didn’t learn anything from this activity, you are a fool.”

While I concede that the clip does contain some wisdom, I believe care must be taken in trying to apply its lessons to complexities of life. For one, such a setting is highly controlled and is at best a static snapshot of a point in life while the real world is dynamic with a lot of variables at play – both known and unknown. Furthermore, in analysis talking about privilege, little focus is put on the actions and values of those who  seem to have a head start in life. Finally, even if the exercise had good intentions, the wisdom conducting such among children should be questioned.

A fundamental fact of life is that values, preferences, and wants differ from person to person. Such affects peoples outlook on life and in many cases how they end up in life. Sure, some might have a massive head start, but its not a guarantee that they will have positive life outcomes. For example, some might be sent to the best prep schools in the world but if learning is not a priority, nothing can be done. On the other hand, some might be born on the wrong side of the tracks, but yet have a yearning to know all they can and make themselves better. Sure, their path might be rough and might take longer than it should, but for those who have grit, they will make and in some cases outshine those who had a massive head start.  I have seen too many examples – both up close and at a distance – of people who seemed to have it all but either blew it or can’t really account for themselves. On the other hand, I have seen kids who never had a massive head start in life and have gone on to do things which statistically speaking,  few in the world would ever do.

The wisdom of such an exercise among children should be questioned for a number of reasons. For one, many of these kids probably don’t have any coherent worldview and are just entering the stage in life were they begin asking questions. Many of those kids definitely left the field that day asking questions which they simply cant answer or handle. For the kids who did not seem to have a large head start, such an exercise is capable of undermining their self-confidence (after all, self confidence is the big thing in education today) and could send a wrong message which says that they are doomed at the game of life no matter how hard they try. Yes, there are many who come from backgrounds which might not be very privileged, but as a society, we make a mistake when we emphasize these things and never focus on how individuals can rise above their circumstances.

I know that this is a sensitive topic with a lot of complexities. But we owe it to ourselves to approach this topic with the most utmost wisdom possible if we truly seek the best solutions.

 

 

Being The Next __________

“I want to be the next Elon Musk”, “he might be the next Michael Jordan“, or “she is the next Beyonce in the making.” These are all statement in which people aspire to the reach the heights of excellence and fame these individuals personify and inspire millions to strive for. Such sentiments equally apply for virtually every famous or accomplish person on earth.

While nothing wrong exist with trying to emulate or figure out what famous and successful people did, it can be self defeating and counter productive.

For starters, everyone is unique with a different personality, aptitude level, skill set, life experiences, and background. All these factors – just a few among many which even these figures might not be fully aware of – contributed towards who they are and what they eventually achieved in life.

In obsessively trying to figure out how to become the next Einstein or Warren Buffet, people fail to take time to figure out who they truly are and what they are capable of. They fail to take a long pause and look at themselves on the inside so they can know their strengths and weaknesses.

Furthermore, in a sense, people limit themselves and the possibilities of what they can achieve. Rather than trying to be like some famous person and achieve what they have achieved, why not try and do even better or aspire for even greater heights? Many decades from now highly accomplished people will exist who would have achieved greater things than many we look up to today.  Why not aspire to be one of those people and use the figures of today as the baseline?

Don’t get me wrong, study what accomplished and successful people do. But in doing so, look general principles, patterns, and commonalities among them. Don’t study to emulate everything they do or to become who they are in personality. After studying general principles and patterns, think of how it can be applied to your life and situation.

In all you study, make sure that the study of trying to figure out who you are and what you are capable of always outweighs the study of others. Its in knowing who you are that your talent would be unleashed and you can possibly do things which today might be unheard of.

 

A Quick Reminder

“The world cares very little what you or I know, but it does care a great deal about what you or I do.”

– Booker T. Washington

The world does not really care what you know. All it cares about are the results you can produce and the value you can give it. Sure, people might be momentarily impressed with what you know. But in the long run if you are not able to use what you know to make other people and society better, it all does not matter and you will be quickly forgotten.
 
Sure, work to gain more knowledge and more skills. I do it and Ill advice everyone to do. Always working to make yourself better and of more value is part of the game of life. But use it as a means towards giving the world something and making adding value to the lives of others and the world.
 
Ill confess that for me this is a work-in-progress!