Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Parenthood - Life's powerful change agent

It's wonderful how parenthood can change our perception of life.

I remember myself being very aggressive and angry in my early twenties (interestingly, not so much during my teens). Now when I look at myself, I see a much more mellowed down person who sees people differently - especially when I look at young parents and small kids of my son's age.

It's really a wonderful realization that life brings upon us - that perceptions change based on how you look at people, things and situations.

We lower our defensive gaurd and start emphathizing the same people, things and situations which otherwise would have seemed insignificant or maybe even irritating.
Just extend this concept further more and it can do wonders for you in terms of handling people and situations in a more positive way.

For example, driving used to be a stressful experience for me and I can feel my blood pressure shooting through the roof for the irresponsible, impatient and chaotic driving. But nowadays, for example, when a young biker cuts across my car irresponsibly, I try to visualize him as my family member - as my brother or my grownup son - and boy it completely changes the way you react to this situation. I feel sympathetic and maybe even feel worried for the person instead of my usual self where I grip the steering even harder and imagining revenge on him on ways which may seem psychotic.

This concept of seeing a complete stranger as one of your kith may sound crazy. It's hard.. Very hard.. But not impossible. Once you start seeing the benefits of this and with practice, it becomes second natured behavior. 

Now, you can apply this in an office setting as well to become a more understanding boss and/or colleague. 

Initially, being understanding with colleagues was conflicting for a performance and task oriented person such as me. I thought softening the image of folks reporting to me would affect my ability to get things done. But then it dawned to me that the same perception-change approach cab be useful here too, with a slightly different way of thinking. 

If you imagine that it's your responsibility to make your colleagues better than what they are now and take them to a different level than where they are now, it not just makes you look at them in a more emphathic and understanding way, but also at times be tough with them - just like how you would be with your son when he refuses to take food or study, because you know it's good for them though they don't seem it that way right now.

Well, coming back to the topic of parenthood,  I am thankful to life for having given me this experience and perception.