You come home after the exam. The glum look on your face says it all. It did not go well. On the way home, you did hear the smarty kid of the class talk about how one of the questions was really tough, and you get an idea. The picture you create at home:  exam was too tough, we were asked questions on topics we were not told to prepare for, the time was too less, half the people could not even attempt all the questions and even the smartest kid in the class mentioned that the question(s) were tough. – Sounds Familiar?

You have just got the pink slip at work. Feeling miserable, you need to tide over the same, as wife’s birthday is coming up. The three month severance means you have enough time to look for another job, etc. But what do you say about it when you reach home. Oh, the company had not been doing well, it was fudging data for quarter numbers, etc. You anyway were not comfortable working in an unethical organisation. You have already spent 3 years in the company and outlived the stay. You are better off in some other company and there are plenty of jobs for the taking. Sounds familiar?

On a small altercation that happened last week, your best friend (female) has stopped talking to you since then. She is not picking your calls or responding to your messages. You overheard from a third person (no prizes for guessing your gender in this case!! 😉 ) that she has made some plans for the coming weekend with another female, whom you have disliked for a while. You start thinking, “I am glad my eyes have opened. I had my doubts on her ever since she did not share from where she had been shopping of late. She thinks too much of her kids and cannot stop praising them all the time. I am glad I am saved from hearing all that bakwaas.”

Well, three different people, three different use cases. One common point: You were NOT at fault.

That is something that one should consider changing. And what I am suggesting is directly opposite of that. YOU are at fault:

  • You did not study hard enough. Your mind was distracted when you were practicing. You did not time yourself well enough. You did not take practice tests seriously enough. You did not talk to your friends to reconfirm the syllabus. You You You
  • Your mind was clearly not on the job. You had been spending time in the office hours looking at job opportunities outside. You were giving interviews in name of business meetings. You were openly making fun of senior managers and assumed that the word would not go around. You You You.
  • You have been holding back information from your friend. You have been talking abt her behind her back. You have also not included your friend in ALL your plans. You You You.

By now, you will be like “Whats wrong with Hetal? Why the hell should I take the blame, when I am not at fault??”

BECAUSE, it will ensure that the focus is on YOU, rather than the exam, the job or your friend. You will look WITHIN rather than looking out.

  • You will be able to fine tune your approach for the next exam. You will review your study practice and identify faults. You will talk to friends who did well and ask for tips. You will review the syllabus that you had missed out (and if there is a chance to give the same exam, make sure u are covering it). You will leave “no stone unturned”, in terms of improvisation.
  • You will look at your performance in the last three years. You will then see the projects that you did NOT take up. The opportunity for a role change that you declined as you did not want to move to a different location. The competing product that you had ignored and the company lost a few deals to. The casual attitude you had in canteen and how u got involved in needless gossip.
  • You will try and find ways to be a better ‘friend’ in general, not just with this particular person. You will be more open about your thoughts. You will be nicer when u share something negative with your friend. You will inform her of a plan, even if it does not involve her, if you know she would feel bad knowing from a third person.

None of us are perfect. And honestly, hope we have little bit of imperfection in us, till just about the time when we are to die. So we will always be motivated to work on that 0.1% that we are short of. That 0.1% can define the reason for our living, our existence. And that 0.1% is so minute, that we will never be able to measure it, so we will continue to believe we are imperfect, so whatever makes sense to us, as being our shortcoming, we just work on the same.

I remember this awesome story which is often retold about Japan. Whenever there is a car accident, which itself is a rarity, the two drivers come out and keep bowing to each other. One bystander asked, what are they bowing and saying. “The first one says, I am sorry, it’s my fault.” The other person replies “No No, I am sorry it’s my fault”.!!

We are on a platform which is all about positivity and in light of this positivity, I took liberty of advocating this approach: Do not try and find faults in others or the eco-system, EVEN WHEN IT IS GLARINGLY OBVIOUS. Just take the blame on oneself.  That will ensure we will always be humble, modest about our achievements and willing to learn. And trust me, when the fault is with the other person and you take the blame, the look on the other person’s face is to die for.

I know, its easier said than done. But once we don the role of a lifelong learner, our ability to learn from life will be the maximum.

Have a Gorgeous Sunday.

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Hetal Sonpal

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