By Ravi Jaiswal, a student of PGP in Development Leadership at ISDM:
In our day-to-day lives, we spend half our time scrolling through Facebook. Suddenly, there’s an inspirational video that flashes up and we feel motivated and inspired. The next day onwards, we start acting towards our goals.
However, after a few days, we feel demotivated and get back to our previous routine. These cycles keep happening throughout our lives. We are conditioned to react all the time – and this is what we do after seeing any inspirational video or message which ultimately lead us nowhere.
To build a structure, there is a need to dig deep and lay the foundation. The same rule can be applied in life. You have to dig deep down into yourself – thoughts, behaviour, prejudice to build a foundation of values, etc.
But, what are these values? How will they help us grow?
Our values are the foundations that drive us. Our values inform our thoughts, words and actions. They influence our decision-making, leadership styles and relationships. These values develop into a pattern of behaviour. These values can change or develop through time, based on the socialisation we go through in life. It is important that our actions are aligned to our values. If this is not the case in some situations, we need to make sure that we are at least conscious of them.
Here, I would like to share with you a story which reflects how my values helped me build a relationship.
I believe that I stand for care, compassion and respect for myself and for others.
It was a chilly December evening in New Delhi. I was running late. I needed to urgently use the washroom. As I stepped out of the metro train at Lajpat Nagar, I ran towards the public toilet. I stepped out and started running, since I was in a hurry. A man who was sitting outside the public toilet to collect charges for using the toilet asked me to pay. I argued that the use of the urinal should not be chargeable. As I kept running down the steps hurriedly, he kept shouting expletives behind me.
After a while, I became uncomfortable. I started asking myself if my action was aligned to my values. Did I listen to the man who was trying to explain something to me? I had just reacted and ran away. Perhaps, this led the man to become angry. Perhaps, that anger would result in a reaction towards the next person he would come in contact with.
After completing my work, I drummed up some courage and went back to that person. I apologised and gave him the money that I owed him. He said “Bhaiya, dikhne me acche dikh rahe ho. Phir bhi bhaag gaye bina paisa diye. Aisa aapko nahi karna chahiye. Hum apne gaav se yahan kamaane aaye hai. Mujhe bhi aap maaf karo kyuki mene bhi aapko bohot gaali di (Brother, even though you are well-dressed, you ran away without paying. You shouldn’t have done this. I have come here from my village to earn. Please forgive me too, because I shouted a lot of expletives at you.”)
I replied, “I think I would have reacted the same way you did.” “Can I give you a hug?”, I asked? With a big smile, he stood up and gave me a hug. That was a very joyous moment for me. I had built a connection with another human being. It had reduced the anger in him, which might have resulted in a negative action towards another person in his surroundings.
Our values help us grow and develop. They also create a society where each one takes cares of the other – as a whole. When we use our values to make decisions, we make a deliberate choice to focus on what is important to us. When values are shared, they build up an internal cohesion in the society.
Featured image used for representative purposes only.