“With Great Powers Comes Great Responsibility”——– Spiderman

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“He who learn to fly one day must first learn to stand and walk and run….”

——– Friedrich Nietzsche

Accept Responsibility

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“Responsibilities gravitate to the person who can shoulder them”

 —— Elbert Hubbard

When people accept additional responsibility they are actually giving themselves a promotion. Responsible behaviour is to accept accountability. That presents maturity.

Acceptance of responsibility is a reflection of our attitude and the environment we operate in. Most people are quick to take credit for what goes right but very few would readily accept responsibility when things go wrong. A person who does not accept responsibility is not absolved from being responsible. Your objective is to cultivate responsible behaviour.

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Stop the Blame Game

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Avoid phrases such as:

  • everyone else does it.
  • or no one does it, or
  • it is all your fault.

People who do not accept responsibility shift the blame to their parents, teachers and genes. God, fate, luck or the stars. Responsible behaviour should be inculcated right from childhood. It cannot be taught without a certain degree of obedience.

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Obedience does not mean mindless obedience or absolute obedience which would always be counterproductive.

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OR

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Johnny said, “Mama, Jimmy broke the window.” Mama asked,”How did he do it?” Johnny replied, “I threw a stone at him and he ducked”.

Privileges

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People who use their privileges without accepting responsibility usually end up losing their privileges. Responsibility involves thoughtful action.

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Pettiness Causes Us to Ignore Our Responsibilities

Think about it. Petty minds are busy passing the buck rather than doing what needs to be done.

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Social Responsibility 

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 Ancient Indian wisdom teaches us that our first responsibility is to the community, second to our family and third to our ourselves. When this hierarchy is reversed, a society starts degenerating. Social responsibility ought to be the moral obligation of every citizen. Responsibility and freedom go hand in hand. A sign of a good citizen is that he is willing to pull his own weight.

“The price of greatness is responsibility.”

—— Winston Churchill

Societies are not destroyed so much by activities of rascals but by inactivity of good people. What a paradox!

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If good people can tolerate destruction by being inactive, how can they be good? The question is, are they discharging their social responsibility?

“For evil to flourish, good people have to do nothing and evil shall flourish.”

—– Edmund Burke

Adapted from “You Can Win” by Shiv Khera.

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What is the Difference Between an Argument and a Discussion?

“Argument”: Oxford Dictionary

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  • An exchange of diverging or opposite views, typically a heated or angry one;  e.g  I’ve had an argument with my father:heated arguments over public spending.
  • A reason or set of reasons given in support of an idea, action or theory;e.g There was a strong argument for submitting a formal appeal.

“Discussion”: Oxford Dictionary

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  • The action or process of talking about something in order to reach a decision or to exchange ideas.                              eg. The committee acts as a forum for discussion: EC directive is currently under discussion.
  • A conversation or debate about a specific topic. eg. discussions about environmental improvement.
  • A detailed treatment of a topic in speech or writing.

An argument throws heat into discussion

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A discussion throws light.

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  • One stems from ego and a closed mind whereas the other comes from an open mind.
  • An argument is an exchange of ignorance whereas a discussion is an exchange of knowledge.
  • An argument is an expression of temper whereas a discussion is an expression of logic.
  • An argument tries to prove who is right whereas a discussion tries to prove what is right.

It is not worthwhile to reason with a prejudiced mind; it wasn’t reasoned into him/her so you cannot reason it out. A narrow mind and a big mouth usually lead to pointless arguments.

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In order to discuss, let the other person state his/her side of the case without interruption. Let him blow his steam. Don’t try to prove him wrong on every point. Never let him/her drag you to his/her level. Treat them with courtesy and respect; it will confuse them.

Regardless of the cause the best way to diffuse the situation is to:

  1. Give a patient hearing.
  2. Not fight back or retaliate — that will confuse the other person because he was expecting a fight.
  3. Not expecting an apology. For some people, apologizing is difficult even if they have made a huge mistake.

Discussion entails not only saying the right thing at the right time but also leaving unsaid what need not be said.

Children should be taught the art of speaking up but not talking back. As adults we should learn the art of disagreeing without being disagreeable.

The way a person handles an argument reflects their upbringing.

” I learned a long time ago never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty and besides, the pig likes it.”

Cyrus Ching                                        

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 Steps to Opening a Discussion.

  1. Be open minded.
  2. Don’t be dragged into an argument.
  3. Don’t interrupt.
  4. Listen to the other person’s point of view before giving your own.
  5. Ask questions to clarify. That will also set the other person thinking.
  6. Be enthusiastic in convincing, not forceful.
  7. Be willing to yield.
  8. Be flexible on petty things but not on principles.
  9. Don’t make it a prestige issue.
  10. Give your opponent a graceful way to withdraw without hurting his pride. Rejection is hurtful.
  11. Use soft words but hard arguments rather than hard words and soft arguments.

It is impossible to defeat an ignorant man in an argument. His strong and bitter words only indicate a weak cause.

During a discussion, it may be good idea to use phrases such as:

  • It appears to me…..
  • I may be wrong….

Another way to defuse an arguments is by showing ignorance and asking questions such as:

  • Why do you feel that way?
  • Can you explain a little?
  • Can you be more specific?

If nothing works, it may be worthwhile to politely, gently and with courtesy, agree to disagree.

Adapted from ‘You Can Win’ by Shiv Khera.

Get Behind People’s Eyeballs

“When you were born, you cried while the world rejoiced.

Live your life in such a way that when you die, the world cries while you rejoice”

Ancient Sanskrit Saying

One of the deepest of all human hungers is the need to be understood, cherished and honoured. Yet, in the fast paced days we live in, too many people believe that listening involves nothing more than waiting for the other person to stop talking. And to make matters worse, while that person is speaking, we are all too often using that time to formulate our own response, rather than empathizing with the point being made.

Taking the time to truly understand another’s point of view shows that you value what he has to say and care about him as a person. When you start “getting people’s eyeballs” of the person who is speaking and try to see the world from his perspective, you will connect with him deeply and build high-trust relationships that last.

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We have two ears and one mouth for a reason: to listen twice as much as we speak. And having the courtesy to be a better listener has another advantage: since you are not doing all the talking you are doing all the learning, gaining access to information you would have missed had you been engaged in the usual monologue.

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Adapted from Robin Sharma’s “Who Will Cry When You Die?”