The good thing about being human is you are part of a tribe. Always (Unless you decide to free yourself from the clutches of worldly living by retiring to a secluded forest) The not-so-good thing is that being so tribal exerts a centripetal force on your being.
What does that mean?
Image Credit: Unsplash.com/ Benedicto de Jesus
We live in a world of bell curves and percentiles where every aspect of our existence is unendingly compared to the average. Your career, station in life, values, your positions on major issues – all of it is examined in relation to a central point. Well-meaning folks will remind you to never stray from this “average” so that you can fit in and continue to draw from the community well. The moment you start moving towards the peripheries, eyebrows will be raised.
I found this question reverberating in my head during the conversation. The setting was a meeting with a group of my close friends and their spouses. Though our careers and destinies have taken us in different directions, the occasional opportunity presents itself for regrouping and reliving old times. As is the norm, after the usual frolic, peppered with anecdotes narrated umpteen times to the same magnitude of laughter, and strands of discussions that would seem like pure nonsense to a rank outsider, the mood takes on a philosophical overtone. That’s when the real essence starts to flow. Musings on career, marriage and life purpose take over.
I hear a lot of advice, sermons and the like. Everyone has an opinion. Everyone has suggestions.
Image Credit: Unsplash.com/ Anna Demianenko
Some folks taste a little bit of success, and develop ‘frog-in-a-well’ syndrome. They grow the delusion of grandiosity – that they know it all. They live in their own little fiefdom without much exposure or knowledge of bigger and better ways out there. They deprive themselves of mental enrichment, and would like others to follow suit.
Then there are those who have suddenly discovered a forgiving platform that gives the opportunity to publish and broadcast their thoughts – social media. It’s a great tool when the information is good and useful, it’s a harmful tool when the broadcaster’s thoughts are dumb and bull.
For a learner, these are tough times. The moot question is….who should you learn from?
Ever since humans moved out of caves and started settling and building civilizations, more and more professions have evolved to serve the needs created by advancements and aspirations. Did you know that most of the professions we know today are only about a 100 years old?
Image Credit: Unsplash.com/Michal Parzuchowski
Till about the first half of the 20th century, Generalist was King. The person who had the widest range of competencies and most number of skills had the ‘guru’ status. They held all the key positions, they had the respect of the world. They ruled.
Time and again I have found myself saying (to others and myself), “see this as a thing that builds a skill within you.” That is whenever one comes across a personal or professional challenge, an inner or outer strife (with yourself or someone else), a conflict or a discomfort-causing activity. Its all about life skills.
Image Credit: Quino Al/ UnSplash.com
Coming to think of it, we must all adopt this mindset – that life is one big, long skill development program. An apprenticeship with a practical curriculum wherein we are constantly exposed to new opportunities to develop newer skills.