They say that biases is what has helped us make our civilisation exist through all caveman time and till now! But I am intrigued, have some of these biases been inherited – rather passed on! My thought was confirmed with this incident.
So, it all started with my daughter’s drama show on the weekend. Prior to the 12 minute show, the parents were briefed – in other words, their expectations were set right! (Just to say that all parents think or have unrealistic expectations (or biases!) about what their 4 or 5 year old can do!)
Our Orientation facilitator helped us, as parents understand and navigate through one of the biggest biases.
P stands for PARTICIPATION and not perfection – Our facilitator helped us to see the immense courage it needs for our little ones to stand in front of 60 people and be confident. Given the stress that we go through as adults while presenting something to our own teams, we were empathetic enough (and clapped too much which became a distraction!).
However, it forces me to think we indirectly pass the idea to our kids that if they do something, the result has to be perfect. It can’t be something that a child can try (even though they may lose interest in the following 15 mins from having made that decision!)
You might ask, ‘Why is this important? Aren’t we allowing mediocrity if we don’t have a drive for perfection?’
I am comparing ‘doing one perfect thing’ versus ‘having experiences that explore all the talents that lie in a person’s genetic make-up’. Compared to the former, the latter ideology allows our kids to not have to do something or give up on something only because they cannot do it ‘well’. This has robbed them of an opportunity to try something (even if it’s just for the heck of it).
Forward the picture to 20 years from now – We have a generation that will only do something that they are super perfect at! I’d say that’s a disaster in the making. Let’s encourage our kids to be brave and participate, to explore irrespective of what the result maybe.
‘Mamma, am I special?’
If you are a parent who is asked this question, I don’t want to assume your response. But a safe guess is that we say ‘YES’ to keep the little one confident and filled with pride.
But I am beginning to wonder if my response is only partially true.
A wise person once said, ask ‘Why’ enough number of times, to know why you think the way you think. Here’s my rant to understand why I think my kid is special :
Why? ‘Cause there is no one like her in the world.
Why is there none like her? ‘Cause she has a set of traits that none else has.
What makes me think that there is no one with her traits? ‘Cause there is no-one who would display those traits exactly like her.
Why is that so? ‘Cause no 2 people’s lives are ever lived out the exact same way
Why? ‘cause they decide differently.
By that logic, I am forced to conclude : Our choices make us unique. And so, all human beings are unique and special.
So, to answer my daughter’s question, my response should be,’Yes, you are special. And so are all of the others around you.’
Transporting these 2 biases to the Workplace : My observation of the learned biases is that it has turned us into scared and fearful people
Fear 1 : Of failure and lack of acceptance, if we did things differently.
– Making the new joiner in funky pants and retro hairdo, the lead, while you are on vacation
– Training and hiring more transgenders into your team (They are high on loyalty, by the way!)
– Being the leader and the symbol of ‘Alpha-Male’, taking up the cause for women and organising training sessions to improve their chances to grow within the organisation.
– Leaving that well-paying job to start a old-age care giver service (much needed service that needs technology intervention, I’d say).
Let us not be scared – Let us try different things, talk to different people and learn from it all.
Fear 2 : Of accepting the difference because we don’t know how to handle them
At a recent training programme, a participant commented “I don’t care who walks into our office in chappals, he/she is not worthy of my attention.” A fellow colleague quickly stated “Are u sure? What if the guy/gal has a start-up?”
Let’s give the guy/gal ‘in chappals’ at least a chance – A chance to speak, to ideate, to share – and give ourselves a chance to learn. Its a start!
Everybody says ‘India is the largest democracy’ – If you think about it, that’s true only because of our diversity! Let’s celebrate our diversity, at home and at work.
And it all starts with you and me!