What’s The Colors Of Your Rainbow?

My 7 year old daughter had been spending her past few nights, busied with her colored marker pens and papers. Every once in a while, she will come up to me and asks, “Dad, what would you like me to draw now?” I will candidly play along and asked her to draw whole list of things like unicorns, cheeseburgers and clowns. She will gleefully accept the challenge and spend her next few minutes uninterrupted doodling away. When she was done, she will proudly approach me to show off her masterpieces, awaiting my nods of approval or smiles.

Last night was no different. She plonked herself beside me on the sofa with her tools, tapped away on her iPad, and quietly drew. At one moment, she turned to me and whispered shyly, “Dad, how do I spell rainbow? I want to draw a rainbow.” I spelled verbally to her as her dainty fingers typed away, spelling on the Google search box. She clicked on a random picture of a rainbow, and began staring at it. I then noticed that she took a quick glance at her colored marker pens. It was amusing to note her raised eyebrow though.

A few moments later, she nudged me on my shoulder and exclaimed,”Dad, I have my rainbow already. See!” I took a quick look at the picture she held out in front of me. I noted that she got the colors and arrangement of the colors right. But something stood out. Awkwardly.

“I notice that your rainbow has an extra color in it. Pink is not a color on a rainbow right? Didn’t you see on the picture? There is no pink.”

She took a quick look at the displayed picture of the rainbow on her iPad and then to her drawn picture. She nodded and took away the paper I was holding. “That’s the rainbow on the iPad. This is my rainbow, and I want pink, my favorite color on my rainbow.”

I chuckled in delight at her assertion. She was right of course. It was her rainbow, and she can color them in any way she wished.

Taking Ownership

How often have we lacked the conviction to own our own work? Or lay claim to the creative spark we input into processes or outcomes?

More often than not, as adults, we had learned to the idea that conforming is safe. That sticking to the status quo is so much better than trying to just a be little different.

Hence lies the problem. When we want to stay safe or remain status quo, we are in fact just painting the same rainbow as everyone else. The lack of creative effort and ownership on our part, makes the output be just another run off the mill product.

At a time and generation where differentiation is not just a novelty,but in fact a necessity, this conformity can be a weakness. Yes, drawing the same rainbow, will make you fit in for awhile. Then what happens? Will you be earmarked for progression in your organization? Will people remember you?

The simple yet meaningful lesson that I learned from my 7 year old last night was that, people should start drawing their own versions of a rainbow. You should too.

Why You Should Always Act On Your Self Interest

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There is a difference between selfishness and being self interested. The former means that you are perhaps taking away, or withholding something back. Where else the latter means that you are aware of the resources available around you and work towards maximizing that.

Understanding self interest is the key to understanding motivation.

Self interest is knowing that you deserve happiness. Selfishness is robbing people of their happiness and inflicting pain, just to get that happiness.

You may have been stuck at some facets of your lives, because people told you that your wanting of being promoted, married, loved and happier were not in line with the norm. They probably told you that you were being a self indulgent jerk/bitch for expressing those desire. And because you somehow allowed those opinions to sink deep in your cognitive processes, you allowed compromises to happen.

You said things like,

“It’s okay, my time will come…”

“He/she deserves it more than me…”

“God is fair. My happiness will come soon…”

And then you breeze through life not fulfilling your absolute potential. All because someone insinuated that you are being selfish.

But here’s my take on why I believe that you must align your interests in serving your best self. Being self interested.

  • Everyone acts on their self interests. Even wanting somebody else to be happy is an exercise in acting on your self interest. Because you know that when you see someone is happier because of you, you feel happier too.
  • No one will want to admit selfishness. Everybody will paint themselves as a victim of circumstances when they are pushed to a corner. Selfishness is the other flip side of making choices.
  • Self interests are compelling. People will be moved an inspired if your intentions and actions are aligned with your self interests first, and at the same time appealing to their self interest too.

So how can you start being more self interested?

Do things differently…

  • Quit thinking that people share your beliefs and values system about reciprocity in relationships.
  • Decide that you are no longer gonna be people serving. Quit being at the end of people’s criticisms and judgments
  • Selfish people are selfish people. Stop expecting them to change.
  • Engage proactively so that you can own the outcomes. Avoiding engagements is not optimal.
  • See your self interests objectively and be rational about it.
  • Honor your emotions and self worth.
  • Assertiveness is a key social skill to learn and apply. If you cannot be assertive about what you want, you will never get what you want.
  • End relationships with lazy and selfish people. They are chronically dysfunctional. You will not be productive with baggage.
  • Develop strategies of engagement from selfish people if you are expecting personal attacks.
  • Be consistent and grounded to your beliefs and principles.