Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Learnings from a workshop on self-management

Frederic took a workshop on self-management (actually covered a wide spectrum of things) at Swaraj University with Khojis from 2012 batch in April 2013. You can check out his website: http://selfawarenessforchange.com/
As a participant, some of my biggest personal takeaways from it were: (Disclaimer: my own interpretations can vary widely from other participants' and Frederic's)

1. With regard to strengths and weaknesses, it emerged that the same sets of values drove our behaviour during both times; and depending on the external circumstances, one time it came out as strength, the other time it manifested as a weakness.

Example: Persistence really brought me success at a particular time in my life; but the same persistence also caused me harm at another time. And the external factors might just as well have turned either way.

An understanding from this was : we actually don't have strengths or weaknesses. They are merely times when our values are being manifested in balance, or out of balance. And this applies not just to ourselves, but everywhere: So it brings into question the whole battle between good and evil : What if there are no evil people, but simply people acting out of balance in specific situations?

What if every "evil" person has the capability to manifest their core values in a more balanced way, and even the other way around?

Looking through history, we see strong, dearly loved public heroes turning into ruthless dictators after some years in power...
we see agents of "evil institutions" suddenly having a change of heart and turning whistleblower or walking a different path...
we see people making decisions at work that negatively impact the world, but being wonderful and caring parents and spouses at home.

What if, by running behind an assumed "evil" and labeling and punishing and trying to destroy it, we've been barking up the wrong tree?

2. There is a mind, an identity that makes us that is beyond the brain. The brain's role is to interpret, calculate, plan etc and give advice on the next course of action. There are many voices inside us also giving us advice : love, desire, fear etc... in any situation, all of these voices may have different perspectives and will demand opposing things. The identity has to listen to all these voices, and take a decision. We go wrong when we listen to only one voice and not the others. There are limits to what our senses can interpret, to how much our brain can plan and predict; so to listen to only the brain all the time may not be a wise option.

3. There are things in our life that are within our circle of control. There are things that are outside our circle of control. And then there are things that fall somewhere in between: in the zone of influence, where our influence is present but not total. Many of our sufferings come from trying to drag those things into our circle and trying to control what is not completely within our control. And many of our missed opportunities happen because we assumed something was totally outside our circle of control when it was actually in the zone of influence. Identifying what lies where can save us a lot of trouble as well as open new avenues.

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