How will we think out of the box when we were brought up in a herd


How will we think out of the box when we were brought up in a herd

think out of the box

Every individual is gifted, one way or another.

The strange part is that while growing up, ( at least until few years or a decade ago) most of us were told to be like those around us. In schools, at homes, colleges, most of us have heard the phrases, ‘look at their way of dressing, see how they connect, listen to how your friends speak with each other, see how much your friends are scoring in their exams, everyone around you is so social, look at what others are planning in terms of career, look at what people of your age are doing’, the list is endless and at times it even continues into adulthood.

Why do we as a society have this constant need of validation and approval from and or to be like each other?

But now, that is slowly changing isn’t it?

Cultures across the globe are coming together, people are meeting peers at work, connecting and listening to how the world has shrunk into one global village and so on and so forth.

Schools and colleges, condos and apartments now have people from not only different communities, but cultures and countries too living and growing together as one.

So we are learning (even though very slowly, I might add) that each individual is unique and every single one of us has a quality that makes us stand out.

So the first thing we need to ensure is that we “STOP COMPARING” others lives with each other.

I was typing this post during my travel today and I noticed that I was passing through a mall. So on my way between one meeting to another, I thought of stopping by for a quick bite as it was already lunch time. I entered the mall and was waiting for my order to get ready, I contiuned typing this post. And I noticed something very strange.

A massive group of school kids (almost 100 of them, without the slightest exaggeration) suddenly swarmed inside the food court area of the dining section. These kids are at the most five or six years old. Soon enough, they were quickly followed by a group of teachers, help-aids etc who were assiting the kids to be seated. Then the food was ordered and there were scores of plates of junk food being served which had three items ranging from french fries to fried noodles and the healthiest item these kids were eating was butter dripping ‘pav bhaji’. It looked like an assembly line, a sad display of assembly line of future robots!

The teachers concerns were seemingly about the fact that they needed to be responsible for such a huge group of kids and they were gravely outnumbered. Their appraisal probably depended on how “safely” they brought the kids back. On similar lines, the assisting team members / help-aids were watching from the corner of their eyes if any of the teachers expected them to interfere and they didn’t. Probably, their ratings were dependent on how the teachers finally scored them.

Through all of their concern of job appraisals, I was wondering how many of these kids found the food to be too spicy or oily or not to their liking or may be were even allergic to few items in the menu. I remember opting out of most social trips be it in school or college because I was allergic to most of the stuff that was usually served at parties or such social gatherings, because, well, if you are in a group, you can’t afford to be different. You have to be like everyone else!

For eg, in this case, my guess is that it was a “bulk order”, and so it must have been easier and cheaper for the school to order those three items. May be they even checked with all the kids, may be it was the parent’s decision to finalize the menu…. but the strange part was, I did not even once observe any teacher or assiting team members asking any of the kids if the food was to their liking or if everything was ok. Probably because the kids feedback do not affect their job appraials. And that is definitely not ok!

So, as much as we would love to keep saying to ourselves that we are unique and we need to be that way, it needs to start right from the foundation of things. We need to understand the unique needs of kids right from that stage of growing up.

It’s the foundation which decides and defines who we become.

For eg. Did you know that today there are education sites that integrate AI as part of the student learning process. As in, if you were to do a course, then based on how you performed in that course, the site would suggest you courses not similar to the course, but based on how you fared in different aspects or topics within the course. Wow! That is wonderful, so a kid who is good at math, can learn more data or number related courses, another kid who is good in communication can do courses accordinly.

What is the worse that could happen if you end up learning things that you are good at? Nothing. You would be fabulous at your work too. Why? Simply because, today anyway, unless you reach a certain level of growth in your work and career, you are not handled more responsibilities or multiple work. Rather, how about you map professionals basedon their interests, skill sets and then give them work. They would not only be amazing, but also love doing their jobs.

I really love what I do and I can honestly say, I haven’t worked a single day since March 2010 because I enjoy what I am doing, so it never feels like work.

I remember reading in one of Toby Robbins books, “We need to get out of the box zone”, he said. We sleep in a box, get up looking at our mobiles phone which is a box, go to work in a box, we work sitting inside a cubicle box, we eat from a box, we live in a box and finally, we end up in a box too.

The irony of the whole thing is that, throughout this journey we are then expected to think out of the box.

Meanwhile, my tomato soup with croutons which was in a round bowl (thank god!) was completely cold.

It’s high time, let’s get out of the herd mentality, help others to do so too so that each one of us does what we love doing.

Each one of us has been given a lovely dream to accomplish. It can be personal goals, simply put happiness, professional goals, business goals, super exceptional goals, and so on. Don’t worry if others are not able to understand it or see your dream, they are not meant to. Its your dream, it was given to you…. so make it happen!

Have a resourceful week ahead.

Be Well

Ananth V

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