An uncertain future can be faced only by managing self
The key challenge of the contemporary time is to manage self. At a time when the whole society is facing uncertainty, old certainties of family, gender, work, finances, class and culture somehow don’t work. Many of the guiding traditions of the past too stop working. And hence, it can be said that we are living in an age of uncertainty and also in the age of re-evaluation, as we seek to find new strategies for the future. As the external environment changes fast and becomes more complex and contradictory, the importance of self-management increases, because it is hardly possible to manage the external environment.
Hence, the emphasis has now shifted towards managing our inner environment to harness inner resources. The challenge is to redefine, reinvent and reorient for the future. Success at managing ourselves will determine how we survive and prosper in the coming days.
Worldwide, there is a vast amount of literature available on the subject of management, much of which is written or based on experience, churning and observance of human behaviour. However, there are certain formulas that have universal applicability and can be applied while managing self, business and industry as they are of general nature. One of these generally applicable formulae is that there would often or always be some events over which you do not have a personal hold but your attitudes towards them are your own creation and therefore, it lies in your own hands, to have the right type of attitude. For example, there may be a sudden natural calamity or a communal riot or a change in government's policy on trade and commerce that affects you adversely. It is neither a thing of your own creation nor of your own choosing. Even if you had willed it otherwise, you could not have changed this event. So, take it as a fact of life and bear with it. In short, your attitude should be of acceptance of the fact that it has happened and then you should try to find the remedy instead of feeling deeply upset or shaken and losing the mood to face the challenge. In fact, one should take such a problem as an opportunity to apply one’s skills, use their talents, presence of mind and resourcefulness and come out victorious and have the satisfaction of having achieved something in the face of heavy odds. Remember! Change is the name of the game and we must learn how to handle it effectively, because there is little margin for error. One must realise that the cost of not managing change is very high. Hence, those who don't manage change successfully, are very likely to become redundant, not just in terms of their work, but also in terms of their meaningful participation in society.
Many people have talked about transition in their lives and how what worked in the past just does not seem working anymore. This can happen in the form of a crisis or a series of crises. Those who pass through this phase, sometimes judge themselves harshly. Yet this is the process of transition. We have to let go of the old. Once we understand how transition takes place, we can make sense of it. ‘There is benefit in everything’ – this understanding is required in order to live effectively and happily in the 21st Century. We need to live with this positive approach that whatever is happening around, is actually happening to help me learn and grow. There is a significance in upheaval, as it leads to new systems, new practices and new methods, to make us more effective. These fundamental principles help us to manage self effortlessly and with great effectiveness, while being a part of transition.
(The author is a spiritual educator)