Over the past few days, I had the pleasure of reading interviews of two highly accomplished and successful individuals and leaders in their own right. While both interviews had an ample sprinkling of tips for self-development and leadership, I was surprised at how both celebrities admitted, publicly, a negative quality about themselves. This “acceptance of facts” is what made me take notice of their statements and analyze the reason for such admission.
The interview of S.D. Shibulal appeared in the New York Times online edition and can be accessed here: http://www.espncricinfo.com/blogs/content/story/739917.html
The second interview of Sanjay Manjrekar appeared in ESPN CricInfo and can be accessed here: http://kayleadershipacademy.com/Manjrekar
S.D. Shibulal, CEO Infosys Ltd.
The first interview had a plain title of “Write it down and follow through” and gave one the impression that the interview had some guidance based on Shibulal’s experiences.
And that is exactly what the interview contained. Shibulal has gone ahead and provided a bunch of very effective tips for leaders to develop their own selves and also on how to lead others.
Amongst those, Shibulal provides a solid vote of confidence for the use of a checklist. Check out this post on the checklist as an effective tool for organizing your activities.
An accomplished international batsman and now a commentator, Sanjay Manjrekar’s interview had a very catchy title of “I don’t think I was as gifted as people thought I was”.
The interview contains some very honest, candid and deeply-analyzed responses to questions on technique and performance.
For me, Sanjay Manjrekar exemplified “over-preparation”. For a batsman Sanjay had one of the best techniques and an unshakeable focus when he batted.
He makes a statement about “leaving the scene” and being “young” at some other profession. I thought this was profound. People always talk about change being refreshing and how one should develop other skills and take up different challenges. In Sanjay’s case it was switching over from playing cricket, to a commentator’s role.
By the “young at some other profession”, Sanjay has given a highly relative meaning to youth. Not measuring youth in absolute age terms, it is the mindset when you take up a new profession or activity that you are fresh and young at the beginning. That’s when you are eager to learn new things, pick up things faster and put in solid performances. This is because you are not stale in this new vocation, but have embraced it from within.
I believe this is a very important quality for re-inventing oneself. Whether it is learning a new skill or language, taking up a different project or switching over to a career, being young in it provides an unmatched energy boost.
Acceptance of facts
In the interviews, both gentlemen admitted a personal fact which (a) shows them in slightly poorer light and (b) they may not have admitted earlier.
While Shibulal spoke about “inventing” an answer and being caught out, Sanjay admitted that he may not have been as gifted as people thought.
This “acceptance of facts” is an indication that the person has reached a high level of self-actualization. Acceptance of one’s own attributes, of people around oneself and of facts is listed on the highest level of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (see image).
You can read more about acceptance of facts here:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acceptance
An advanced self-development quality
The admissions by the two accomplished individuals provide an example of a rare self-development quality, that of acceptance of facts.
You can measure your own evolution as a leader or as an accomplished individual by how easily or how unconditionally you accept facts about the elements around you.