Category Archives: Success
Over the years, as early as when I could clearly understand the language of humans; I have been rather fascinated by the notion of control. That urge to want to direct the path/course of movement or progression of a thing or person or whatever the case maybe. You can either be on the receiving end of the brunt of control or on the exerting end. There are billions of people who fervently support the idea of control; some have even gone to make huge thriving careers from teaching people how to be in control. As much as I would like to subscribe to the idea that there are people who are in control of everything, and some who go the extra mile to forcefully exert this control on people and things ( hence the term “control freak”), I have to know: are those people really in control?
Every year a ton of people are admitted into business schools with the aim of mastering CONTROL. Firstly, in business and then in other facets of life. Some of them emerge with success others maybe not so much, but really who can truly say that they are in control of everything around them? The human body for one has a natural process which resumes work at birth and is retired at death. We age regardless of how much money we own and put towards fads that pummel us with vain hope of being young forever. But the really wise ones know that this is absolutely ridiculous. It has always been my personal belief that the Plastic Surgery Industry will completely collapse if all the “control freaks” suddenly all died. Think about it, which type of woman is more likely to want to go under the knife to pull together the loose skin around her abdominal area? I will tell you who she isn’t. She isn’t the confident woman who understanding the biology of child bearing and knows that the expansion of the abdominal is a natural occurring incident in child bearing which cannot be stopped. It is the overly controlling woman who wants to cajole her body into looking like it has never been through the joyful ordeal of child bearing.
Some might argue that such a woman is driven mostly by Low Self-esteem. As tempting as that suggestion might be, I think not completely. I think being over controlling breeds Low Self-esteem when the individual in question is met with the harsh reality that some things are just out of their scope of control.
Humans are born with varying degrees of control, which explains why even the meekest of individuals can at least direct where the steps taken by the feet leads him to. If there is anything to be learned from the lives of wealth and successful people who have gained for themselves, for the most part, the luxuries of life which everyone clamors for is that control isn’t really the purpose of life. I watched an interview of Tom Ford the designer where he talked about the making of his movie “The Single Man”. He had just left Gucci when he was struck by this feeling of emptiness. He began to think about his life, where he had been and where he was headed and then it dawned on him that he was having a mid-life crisis. I believe he defined mid-life crisis as “placing a ladder on a wall, climbing it to the top only to get to the peak and realize that you had the ladder on the wrong wall the whole time” or something like that. Tom Ford had been in “control” of everything as he said, raising from the bottom to becoming the Creative Director at Gucci one of the biggest brands in the fashion business. But was it enough? Upon leaving the job, he was quick to realize how fleeting it all was. He realized that even though he had manage to control and steer his life and career in the path it went, he could not shake the way he was feeling. It’s like youth. Youth is beautiful, it is sexy it is hypnotizing, it is strong, but ultimately it is fleeting. And as much as we try to control its tenor, it eventually fades and withers-off.
We as a people are not in control of everything as most have deluded themselves into thinking. We are in control of few things, but for the most part we are left to chance as a being. For example, you choose to eat a loaf of bread (In our control), and then our digestive system takes over and begins to extract what it needs from the bread and tossing the unwanted ones out (Out of our control). We cannot control what the digestive system picks up or what it throws away. All we want to achieve is the feeling of being fed and how this is done internally shouldn’t really bother us.
I think that as an individual, the ultimate purpose is to apply the utmost wisdom and care in making the decisions in our control and hoping optimistically that the rest will go as we have occasioned in our minds. It is the reason why the religious pray.
Towards the end of the Interview, Tom Ford continued to emphasize a certain point. “Nothing, nothing lasts, that the beauty of it all” was what he said and I could not agree with him more. If we can be patient enough to let ourselves comprehend the point that Nothing Lasts, then we can see how pointless it is to try and control everything.
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Que Sera Sera.”
To everyone who just wrote a paper or two in the just concluded ACCA (Association Of Chartered Certified Accountants) December examination session, I wish you guys all the best and hope that all those months of studying and attending long boring lectures pays-off good. The ACCA syllabus is usually so broad that studying for an examination ensures that your social life and even your personal life are crushed to the barest minimum during the time being. ACCA is like a jealous girlfriend that consumes all your attention with no recourse, she makes sure you don’t have time for your friends let alone other girls. Which is why during this brief period while she is back at her parents’ house (Aka…while papers are being graded) you should do yourself a world of good by tearing things up. Go clubbing, catch up on the TV shows you missed, essentially everything you would normally not have time for while studying.
As tough as the ACCA examination can be to deal with, one thing or should I say one set of people that are even tougher to deal with are those people who always want to compare notes immediately after the examination. Usually when the invigilator gives the instruction for everyone to leave the hall, you will spot them as the ones who are quicker than most to make their way through the rows. They are the ones who seem like they are almost running towards the door, you would think they are rushing for another paper or something, unfortunately they aren’t. Why are they rushing? They want to go out early enough to trap people and cajole them into talking about the paper. One time I saw a guy waiting anxiously at the door, he looked like an artiste at the Grammys waiting to be called up the stage for an award. Immediately he saw these two guys, apparently he must have known them previously; he yanked them off the crowd to the corner, and the first question was “guys…how did you solve the number 4 section B question?” when I go further out of the hall, I encounter further small and large groups of people all doing the same thing, talking about an examination that already ended. And I wonder to myself, are these people masochists?
At this point I am sure you would be wondering what exactly my point is. My point is that I believe it to be the most foolish act of self-inflicted deprecation to linger around the examination hall discussing about something to which you no longer have the power to impact any change on. Think about this way, you leave the examination hall and immediately join a group of people who are discussing the examination and then you find out from all these talking that you have missed eight of the ten questions you had to answer. How depressing is that? Why not leave the examination, go home have fun for about a month and a half (ACCA timing) without thinking about if the balance sheet you prepared balanced or not? When it comes to examination result, I like to apply the “delayed gratification” psychology in reverse. Delayed gratification involves depriving one’s own self of small immediate gains in hope of greater gains in the future by being patient.
A research done by American psychologist, Walter Mischel, buttresses this point. In an experiment by Walter and his colleagues at Stanford University, they presented four-year-olds with a marshmallow and told the children that they had two options: (A.) ring a bell at any point to summon the experimenter and eat the marshmallow, or (B) wait until the experimenter returned about 15 minutes later, and earn two marshmallows. The results were quite revealing and educative. Mischel found that children were able to wait longer if they used certain “cool” distraction techniques (covering their eyes, hiding under the desk, singing songs, or imagining pretzels instead of the marshmallow in front of them), or if they changed the way they thought about the marshmallow (focusing on its similarity to a cotton ball, rather than on its gooey, delectable taste). The children, who waited longer, when re-evaluated as teenagers and adults, demonstrated a striking array of advantages over their peers. As teenagers, they had higher SAT scores, social competence, self-assuredness and self-worth, and were rated as their parents as more mature, better able to cope with stress, more likely to plan ahead, and more likely to use reason. They were less likely to have conduct disorders or high levels of impulsivity, aggressiveness and hyperactivity. As adults, the high delayers were less likely to have drug problems or other addictive behaviors, get divorced, or get overweight. Each minute that a preschooler was able to delay gratification translated to a .2% reduction in Body Mass Index 30 years later.
Applying “delayed gratification” in reverse to the examination context; it would be more like “delayed mortification”. It’s very simple, going ahead to discuss an already completed examination and finding out that you have failed woefully will make your grief period start earlier than it should, and thus last longer. Because when the results do come out, and now you have factual evidence of your failure, the sadness, depression, anger etc will stretch out further. My advice is, if you finish an examination you should just leave immediately no matter how well or bad you think you have performed. If you are in fact dragged into one of those potentially self-deprecating conversations, try and limit the length of your responses and never give definite ones. Just say things like “it was ok”, “I am hopeful” things like that. This is because if you don’t it can go two ways. The first way is that, you did in fact do very well on the examination and by talking about your answers you make a couple of people sad about their own performance, you might even draw upon yourself some level of hatred for this. The second way is that you did not perform well and by talking with those who have done quite well you feel quite sad and filled with despair. Your self-confidence is majorly battered. So why not delay this impending period of gloom and just have fun for the time being, do the things that make you the most happy, who knows by so doing you might actually be preparing yourself better for the fall. Plus its Christmas, who wants to spoil the holiday spirit by thinking about failure all thru, that’s just insane.
Again I wish everyone around the world who wrote examinations of any kind, not just ACCA, success, and if you do not pass, well the world goes on. After all Abraham Lincoln lost Eight!!!! elections before becoming President of USA. Perseverance is Key.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS PEOPLE.
Simple Advice: If you encounter those overtly insistent one just say to them “Shhhh….Quiet Please, It’s Over Already.”