Self-induced Conditioning Camp: Ideal Ignition Key Essay
Paper type: Essay
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It is said that life is what we make it right where we are and with what we have. While everyone dreams of an ideal life, not everyone considers the significance of the personal skills that can help to convert the dream to a reality – likewise, assertiveness and the ability to manage stress and time. High skills in these areas are essential to form a balanced approach towards the outer world with a controlled mind. The mind itself is a treasure and that is what we have in our hand to create a beautiful life.
It is the inner strength of mind that puts one ahead of others, and for that matter it is extremely important learn the above skills. There is no dearth of available knowledge to learn any subject belonging to any profession, but one needs to be powerful from inside to make the most of knowledge and other skills. Thus, the above skills can be considered as primary skills to condition the mind for success.
And the good news is, these skills can be learned through self-induced training. This idea has propelled me to choose this topic, as I too dream and I want to unearth my dream by preparing its way to reality.
One is known by the company one keeps – we know this phrase, but seldom we delve deep into that phrase to find out what the word ‘company’ truly means – where it points towards one’s bevioural processes – yes, we are accompanied by our attitude – all the time, day in and day out, and it is our attitude that determines our journey of life. This idea has encouraged me to pick up topics that deal with essential elements of right and positive attitude, like assertiveness, stress management and time management. In my view, these are the areas one needs to develop to build a rock-solid foundation within oneself, from where one can take off towards any direction. Thus I would like to explore the nuances of these three essential skills with the help of literature review, before creating a self-appraisal inventory or the list of personal objectives that I wish to monitor regularly.
…. I speak my words with authority and firm conviction. My words shape and sustain my life. I speak abundance of all good things into existence. My life is in the power of my tongue. It is done to me according to my faith and my words…
Being assertive means standing up for one’s own right instead of compromising with the situation, or in other words, to maintain one’s forthrightness. One is considered assertive when one can communicate what one “really wants in a clear fashion, respecting self rights and feelings besides the rights and feelings of others”[i].
However, it is easier said than done, because it takes a level of courage and self-confidence to speak from heart. To attain that courage and self-confidence one primarily needs to be honest at the core of heart, where all its intentions are clear and direct to the point. To be assertive, one needs to have a greater understanding of its ideal nature, as a wrong perception of assertiveness can resort to aggressiveness, which is a completely different and rather derogatory behaviour. While assertiveness aims to protect one’s own right without violating others, aggressiveness violates others’ rights to establish one’s right over other. Therefore, proper knowledge of what constitutes assertiveness is required before one starts practicing it.
In spite of knowing the necessity of being assertive, most of the humans fail to rise to its rank for various reasons like shame or fear of displeasing or hurting others. In these situations, the humans shift their emphasis from the context to the person concerned, and eventually end up by providing false response. It is then understood, how the interpretation of such false responses could create a false channel of communication among humans. This possible state of affairs highlights the importance of assertiveness, which can truly be instrumental in avoiding all the hazards associated with miscommunication. Again, however, it is not easy to be freed from self-pride that insists on projecting an honourable image and from prejudice of being liked by everyone. While the later proves to be a trap of false self-esteem, the later makes one vulnerable to others’ commands. In any case, “unassertiveness is something like secretly cheating one’s own self”, before it befools the outer world and makes way for unwanted problems[ii].
Visible Traits of Assertiveness
Understandably, some of the above said traits need clarification, because apparently they may not seem to be closely associated with assertiveness – such as rationality of thinking or seeking win-win situation for all. A little more observation, however would clear any doubts. Rationality lies at the core of assertiveness – because anyone who would want to speak her mind, she would definitely think deep before representing her mind.
On the other hand, “win-win” situation too refers to the greater quality of assertiveness, where it carries goodwill for everyone in general through honesty in approach and attitude. As for example, an assertive person doesn’t find it tough to say ‘no’ or ‘yes’ even if that carries the possibility of annoying someone – such a person does so because his/her behavioural foundation is guided by honesty, sincerity and sense of responsibility. This commands integrity of mind, which one can acquire through constantly practicing assertiveness that eventually metamorphoses into habit, and who doesn’t know that habit makes a person?
Towards Developing Assertiveness
As assertiveness stems from the inner condition before producing external action, which can be defined as a product of body-mind coordination, it requires conditioning of both mind and body language. Firstly one needs to form a clear perception about the utility value of assertiveness from individual and collective angles, which in turn generate a belief-system within the person. Secondly one needs to develop and consciously apply certain body languages and ways of communication to convey that belief to the outer world. As for example, “assertive people generally stand upright but in a relaxed manner, looking people calmly in the eyes, with open hands”[iv]. Now if someone consciously practices this trait, then it is bound to become a part of one’s mannerism.
Effective communication is another prime element towards achieving assertiveness, where the guiding elements of would be knowledge, feelings and needs of the person – assertiveness commands clarity in these areas. Understandably, all these require study and practice of appropriate language and expression.
Practicing and mastering these traits requires constant effort. In some cases, one might even find it too tough to change the behavioural pattern or to establish the faith on assertiveness. In such cases expert counselling could come in handy.
Some might raise questions against overemphasizing assertiveness and might opine that diplomacy and assertiveness don’t go hand in hand. While it is true that for greater interest one might find it justified to compromise with the situation, yet that calculation pales before the virtue of assertiveness, which builds and presents each human as an epitome of honesty and integrity, bubbling with self-confidence and ready to deliver for the society. In fact, assertive people “tend to have fewer conflicts in their dealings with others, which translates into much less stress in their lives”, says Elizabeth Scott, M.S., while emphasizing the role of assertiveness as a stress-buster[v]. This observation of a doctor is fairly significant, as no one can deny that stress is the fountainhead of crises in human life.