CHALLENGES OF KNOWING YOURSELF AND THE QUEST FOR HAPPINESS R. Priyadarshini (MBA FINAL year) [email protected] com Contact no. 9677216300 Dept. of Management Studies, University of Madras INTRODUCTION: “The world is so unhappy because it is ignorant of the true self. Man’s real nature is happiness. Happiness is inborn in the true self. Man’s search for happiness is an unconscious search for his true self. The true self is imperishable; therefore, when a man finds it, he finds a happiness which does not come to an end. ”
Mankind is united in conviction that happiness is a very desirable state. Every person, consciously or unconsciously, are motivated in all we do by our need for happiness. Being happy and peaceful is considered the ultimate aspect of a successful life, but it is really the most fundamental aspect of life. The level of happiness may vary from person to person, but what all people are aiming for is to feel happy. We chase money, health, growth, fame, power, property and relationships, not for their own sake but for the satisfaction they promise.
The creation of empires and civilizations, the discovery of continents, the waging of wars, the whole ebb and flow of history is a graphic portrait of man’s ceaseless quest for happiness. QUEST FOR HAPPINESS: The quest for happiness is endless and bounds no place and time. The level of man’s longing for happiness becomes higher and higher as the standard of living also increases. The first step towards happiness leads to another step, and then to another until a progression of steps is made transgressing the three dimensions of time – the past, the present, and the future.
Happiness is parallel to contentment based on dictionary. Man has never been content all his life. His success for having attained a particular end always paves way to the urge to meet a higher end. Epicurus, an Athenian philosopher, suggested that in order for man to achieve happiness, he should give up all the complexities of life, like wealth, desire, fame and power, and go back to basics when the things that only matter are those necessary for pure biological subsistence, friends, freedom and analyzed life. It is hard to persuade a common man to renounce life’s worldly pleasures.
If man will relinquish his desire to aspire for the better, progress will be hampered and everything will be doomed in complete stagnation. The nature of desire makes the acquisition of happiness impossible. Man desires, he obtains and get satisfied, then he desires something else and begin a new pursuit. This is a cycle to which every man is subjected. For every man to remain healthy, productive and sane, he must continue the never ending quest of happiness. KNOWING ONESELF: “Know thyself means this, that you get acquainted with what you know, and what you can do” Says meander.
When a person knows who they are, and clearly understands what they want, then they have a much better chance of discovering how to reach their own success, happiness and personal fulfillment. To be successful one need to deeply know what he really likes, what he genuinely does not like, what he is good at and what he is not good at. If these questions are answered about oneself and decisions are made then naturally success is followed by happiness. This fills everyone with much bliss, calmness and also improves people mindset, as well as their relationships and connections with others.
Knowing oneself will enable them to develop their full potential and be happy, contented and fulfilled. Whether their idea and understanding of success is fulfillment in business, friendship, love, sports, a blend of all these or another thing altogether, knowing oneself and working on change for the better will enable them to achieve their goals. Then indeed, when they reach their goals, they will turn out to be a much happier person. And that is real success in its truest sense. The only way to bring your best self to work and life is to know oneself well.
CHALLENGES IN KNOWING ONESELF: “Knowing the other and knowing oneself, in one hundred battles no danger. Not knowing the other and knowing oneself, one victory for one loss. Not knowing the other and not knowing oneself, in every battle certain defeat. ” Man tends to be blind to his own faults and weaknesses and so never fix the problems that keep him from greater success. He should begin by identifying the barriers. If one knows oneself, barriers can be overcome. Bror Carlson says, “A problem that is located and identified is already half solved.
By understanding the nature of the problem, we are well on the way to greater self-mastery and personal success. IGNORANCE: Seventy-five percent of the high school students who will enter the workforce have no idea what the term ‘inflation’ means. Sixty-six percent cannot tell you what profits are. And 55% of our young people have no understanding of what a ‘government budget deficit’ is. This is due to the lack of devoting time to gain knowledge though the person is very much capable. There are many internal and external causes for ignorance; Lack of self interest, motivation, and wrong assessment of oneself.
All these contribute towards internal causes and external causes are due to family pressure, lack of time management or even financial barriers. PERSONALITY TRAITS: Personality traits are fixed at a young age, Hence external factors like upbringing environment plays a major role in determining the personality. Since most organizational leaders are not on a rigorous program of self-mastery, they exhibit these same traits throughout their life. If one is strong on self-esteem and self-improvement, these traits would support the drive toward self-mastery. But other traits such as self-destruction, elf-indulgence and self-pity would have the opposite effect. It is beauty that captures your attention and personality which captures your heart. EGO DEFENSE MECHANISMS: “The nice thing about egotists is that they don’t talk about other people. ” Lucille S. Harper The Ego is subject to a number of self-deceptions preventing self-mastery. Sigmund Freud many years ago observed that the Ego is a fragile entity requiring protection from anxiety. Typically it manifests as some type of stressful emotional state such as fear, guilt, embarrassment, anger, frustration.
Even the little things in life can activate an Ego defense mechanism. A frown from a superior, criticism from the colleague, getting angry at the person who bumped into you is a few examples. Sadly, once these mechanisms are engaged, the mind does not properly process the information it receives. NEGATIVE SELF-TALK: Thoughts have a great impact on the emotions, feelings or states of mind that operate at any given moment of time. For example, the person who thinks, “I’m not happy,” typically feels that way. Studies say those who have emotional problems engage in negative self-talk about 50 percent of the time.
For some reason, few people admit that they talk to themselves or understand the critical nature of this internal dialogue. HABITUATION AND HABIT FORMATION: Habituated thinking patterns develop like certain streets in Boston. In the older parts of the city, the streets follow the paths used by long dead cows to get between barn and pasture. The issue here is that we tend to get “stuck” in a set of behaviors and patterns of thought that do not support our pursuit of worldly success or self-mastery. Habits start developing at a young age, and continue to build on them as a person become older.
Sometime negative habits are recognised, but the person may feel like they are a part of who they are, so they hold on to them. There are also some individuals who seem to be in denial and do not seem to recognize their negative habits at all. If one pay close attention to oneself as it relates to our everyday lives and our dealings with others, we will likely find habits that we need to change. HOMEOSTASIS: “The mind acts like a rubber band that when stretched, tends to snap back to the way it was. ” It’s hard to build new mental or behavioral habits–and extremely difficult to stop an old habit and substitute a new one.
This means that one-time bursts of motivation tend to produce little lasting effect. It’s safe to assume that new changes will be resisted by the motivational forces supporting the status quo (homeostasis). ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT: Many powerful leaders have immature Egos. Arrested development essentially means that Ego growth has stopped prematurely. There are many symptoms one can experience. One symptom of this immaturity is the leader who cannot control their emotions. Another is a boss who blames others while failing to look at their own personal contribution to the problem.
A third symptom is someone with high IQ but low emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is said to be a ladder comprising self awareness, self management, social awareness and relationship management at each level. EMOTIONS: The study found that 26% of new hires fail because they can’t accept feedback, 23% because they’re unable to understand and manage emotions, 17% because they lack the necessary motivation to excel, 15% because they have the wrong temperament for the job, and only 11% because they lack the necessary technical skills. This aspect deals with people who fail on managing their emotions.
There is another aspect to these emotions where on the journey of discovering the real self many fail to trust their emotions. These people have very high chances of failing at a job in the long run. At a particular point of time they lose their passion for the job and business. The intensity which they once had is lost. They do not think through their heart, hence in the long run they lose passion for what they work or do. Analysis and logic are part of decision making process but what ignites an individual to take action is said to be emotions. COGNITIVE DISSONANCE:
John Tierney, International Herald Tribune says that for half a century, social psychologists have been trying to figure out the human gift for rationalizing irrational behavior. Why did we evolve with brains that salute our shrewdness for buying the neon yellow car with bad gas mileage? Cognitive dissonance commonly operates as an unconscious mechanism and so it is difficult to detect. It is associated with buyers remorse and purchasers regret when it comes to making important purchases. More importantly, it provides insight into why man takes pride in his stupid decisions. OVERCOMING BARRIERS / CREATING A CHANGE:
Recognizing is the first step to making changes. Then an action plan is required to overcome these barriers. Each of these action plans are clearly explained as follows. • Being a creature of habit and automatic thinking is dangerous in a world of constant change. Identify the bad habits. Notice the patterns. Listening to the things other people say to about oneself. They may say the same negative things. These feedbacks can be used as a fuel to work on becoming a better person. A journal of the behaviors can be maintained that a person desire to change. Write down the efforts made and results obtained.
This would motivate the person to continue to work on changing other things. • By discovering oneself, personal interests and what the person is capable of ignorance can be eliminated. This self discovery can be followed by the following action plan. ? Expanding knowledge ? Killing ego ? Never say die attitude • Analyzing one’s personality over the entire lifetime is necessary to determine the personality trait they belong to. A common mistake people make is analyzing oneself based on the present and this can be down right misleading. In Myer Brigg’s a person may type himself according to his inferior function.
A normally calm person would see himself anxious and reactive under high degree of stress. This can be overcome by looking at oneself throughout his life and notice what it has in common. [pic] • Negative self talk can be overcome by developing positive thinking and attitude. The following action plan would overcome negative attitude overtime. ? Stop talking, start writing- Instead of talking about one’s problems write it down and make a note of the cause for the problem. ? Commit oneself to thinking about the life they actually want and start visualizing it. ? Savor each moment Exercise gratitude ? Do not waste time dwelling on the past ? Keep a sense of humor. ? Belief that can change one’s life • In order to overcome ego of oneself, the person must be brutally honest to himself, willingness to accept change. A self monitor must be installed in their mind that constantly analysis their activities. They can also ask their friends to monitor them and provide feedback. CONCLUSION: “I am what I am” To know oneself, will be an invitation as well as a challenge. It is an invitation to look deeply into oneself and to learn how gifted they are.
It is a challenge to make a personal decision to enhance these gifts and do something about the short comings. Love, understand and appreciate the real self rather than seeking for the ideal self and thus true happiness is obtained. True happiness is a spontaneous feeling of inner peace, joy and contentment which is the result of introspection a person turn within and establish contact with inner nature. REFERENCES: 1. “Twelve Psychological Barriers To Self-Actualization and Personal Success” By Murray Johannsen. 2. “Positive Thinking – Your 7 Step Action Plan By Jinger Jarrett 3. “Knowing yourself well” by Donna P. Lendzyk