Sunday, November 25, 2012

The level of self worth – try not to overestimate your importance

People for want of criteria of measurement, estimate their abilities and their success in comparison to their peers, and those around them. When it comes to an independent jury not of your peers, making this assessment, a completely different outcome could result, denting one’s pride. It is how one reacts to this that is important, as well as a mark of one’s character.

We always find ourselves in the company of our peers and are used to people being judgmental based on the same expected criteria and we are then comfortable or not about our abilities, success and position within this peer group. It is not often that we tread outside of this comfort zone. When we do, and sometimes we are judged very differently, we may even get the shock of our lives about ourselves; this, especially when it happens rarely or for the first time.

I was fortunate in being thrust into different environments early in life, first to go to school in Australia, having to turn overnight from being in a Sinhala stream into an English stream. That was quite a shock, but it allowed for a better assessment of self within a new environment. Whilst I was in the top of the class in Sri Lanka I was never anywhere near the top in my classes both when I was in Australia, and then in England. Granted the school I went to in England is now one of the top 5 secondary schools in the Country, and the standards were very high. In the year I left school, out of the whole A level class that went to Universities around England, 32 boys out of 64 got into Oxford or Cambridge Universities. Not me I might add.

I knew what good grades were, when my English teacher who had taught in the school for over 40 years had only ever given A grades less than 4 times. So his idea of good must have been very different from another’s

I write this because we in Sri Lanka at all levels of society appear, (I would greatly appreciate a comment to the contrary) to believe we are more capable than we really are. I get numerous jobs applications and send people on interviews. Clearly they do not get the job, because he or she is not the right fit for the job. However I am asked why, as they expect some kind of favoritism, when they are clearly not suitable for the task to which they apply. It has therefore become very important to deflate some of these people prior to their interviews to have realistic expectations.

This unrealistic level of expectation from people who are not capable or self confident is the dilemma of our society. They sometimes give an air of self confidence to others hiding a woeful sense of insecurity, and it is the latter that comes out in an interview, which I presume a seasoned interviewer can elicit and may even unfairly work against him or her.

There is much that can be written about this subject, but I want the reader to ponder, as it is a huge societal problem in Sri Lanka affecting people in all walks of life. I was pressed into writing this when today, one young man, called asking me why he was not included in some committee, as he felt he was immensely qualified and talented. I could not get it into me to tell him straight, that his claim was rejected outright due to his particular incompetence and lack of a clear vision, except for wanting to be recognized for seniority, something we do not have the luxury of rewarding for the particular task at hand. These are daily examples of making choices in the interests of ensuring the organizational goals succeed over personal desires and prejudices.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i believe someone commented about this decades ago to the effect that.... "the problem with sri lanka these days is that nobodies are trying to become somebodies" or in this case already think they are!! this is the problem of a market economy which causes new elites to rise or to have the desire to rise to have the things that the 'haves' have.

that was a bit harsh, as in reality everyone given the chance should be able to excel but the structures need to be put in place and that is where you come in