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A Journey from confusion to clarity: Uncovering your core

‘A cluttered mind leaves no space for a peaceful heart.’

One day a stoic samurai comes to a Zen master who is deep in meditation and asks him a question: “What is the difference between heaven and hell?” The master replies: “Why should I respond to a stupid, slobby, unintelligent person like you? You are below my dignity. Get out of my sight.”

The samurai felt deeply humiliated and removed his sharp shining sword to sever the monk’s head and the monk in that instance looked straight into the eyes of the samurai and said in a gentle calm tone: “that’s hell.”
The samurai understood within seconds what the monk was trying to say. He joined his hands and bowed down to the monk with tears in his eyes, feeling gratitude for teaching him a valuable lesson. The monk held his palms into his own with compassion and love and looked at the samurai and said: “that’s Heaven.”

In today’s super complex world, one can probably get away and even excel at making meaning out of your environment. This includes solving complex business challenges, finding 1000 ways to make sales happen and so on. What’s probably the most difficult to figure out is how to understand your own self. Here are 4 allies who could be your companions in the journey to figuring out your core. Some of these might shock you, but a certain shock value is worth it. Isn’t it?

1. Ignorance :

A buddy who can always keep you grounded. The best thing to know is to not know. Think about yourself as not knowing anything and being curious to know everything. When someone asks, have you read a particular book? And even if you have read it a million times you could still say, “I did, but I’d like to hear your views.”

Think about the value of doing this.

a. Makes you more curious.
b. Makes you interested in knowing people and knowing more about them.
c. Makes you stay humble and hungry.
d. Makes you use your own knowledge wisely and relevantly.

2. Arrogance :

SHOCKED! Arrogance in my eyes is not about superiority towards others. Arrogance here is that fine balance between being cocky enough to know you can pull something off, certain enough to know you can make it work and are capable of doing so and yet open enough to allow room for others’ inputs, ideas, and suggestions. If people see you being timid with your own plans or ideas, they could destroy the seed even before it is planted. Arrogance in your intent differs from being arrogant towards people to belittle them.

3. Confusion :

A man’s best friend. It keeps you anxious enough not to rest and persevering enough not to be in your comfort zone. Only in a state of confusion would you dare to ask questions. Only in a state of confusion would you want clarity on your dreams. It is only in a state of confusion that you would bring the best of your ideas to the table, to make them worth. Confusion is like a roller-coaster ride. You do not know whether to be afraid or to enjoy it and give in. You can be a bit of both and allow both to be right. Afraid enough to ensure safety and let go enough to experience the moment.

4. Uncertainty :

It’s OK to not know all answers and still have the right questions. It is OK to not know all the risks and yet be willing to take one. It’s OK to not have a definitive plan and yet start the journey towards it. These three forms of OKness have been the engines of innovation for every company or individual. Look around you. Look at the risk takers. Look at the disruptors. Look at the leaders. One thing they are certain about is their passion and vision, and they bring like-minded people into that space with them. Those who stick around for the vision to become reality know it is uncertain, and they accept it.

Having said that, let’s deep dive into our own core, awaken our allies, and bring them to the forefront. Partner with them to develop awareness and craft. You need to have faith in them to guide you and competence in you to mold them.

Meanwhile, experiment with living your life your way and discover the core of what makes you…you! Wishing you a happy rollercoaster ride!

Prof Vikas Agarwal – Naman HR

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