I have always found it interesting how children get fond of passing the buck each time something wrong happens in the course of their endeavors. If a glass breaks, the five year old firstborn says it was the three year old sister who suggested that they play with glasses. You almost want to ask the firstborn to confirm whether he has a brain of his own. You even tell him to shake his head for you to confirm whether he is still sane. You wonder whether influence should be flowing from three year old to five year old or vice versa. Nonetheless, children will always be children – mentioning the other in order to dodge the rod.
It becomes a subject of concern when adults begin to behave like these children; when they (adults) act in a way to avoid making their own decisions. When adults behave like they do not have a mind of their own, it should worry everyone around. Could you be that person who takes action only when instructed, directed or ordered by someone else? Are you that employee who only does what has been communicated from ‘above’? When last did you inject an idea at your workplace; an idea as simple as switching off one bulb when there is sufficient natural light? Do you just switch on all the lights from morning to evening because an order to do otherwise has not been given?
Are you that business person who has to wait for others to lead the way for you to follow? You only begin to open your shop early when you realize your business neighbors are opening early. The danger here is that you may not know why you do what you do and customers will always tell when you lack originality. I once saw a petrol station that had been doing so well collapse when another one opened right opposite it. The new petrol station came with additional new and free services such as windscreen cleaning and engine snap-check which saw customers warm up to it and disappear from the old station one after the other. This saw the old station copy and paste the same services but customers did not respond as expected.
A lot of people are not their own persons, they take actions based on other people’s thinking; they have to be thought for. A number of reasons lead to this sad state but key among them is laziness. People just do not want to think! They do not want to engage their minds into developing new ways of doing things; they sit and wait for others to do the thinking for them. A lot more others fear the unknown. ‘What if my initiative doesn’t find favor in the eyes of others?’ They then opt for the path of least resistance, finding comfort in the fact that if things fail to work, they have somewhere to point a finger. Others do not take initiative because they are afraid their decision might offend others. These are the people who work hard to achieve the most unachievable thing – pleasing everyone. They have to evaluate a decision a million times to test whether it will offend anyone. They are caught up with time and end up acting on already existing decisions.
On whose mind are you operating? When will you ever be original? This world tends to favor those who are proactive and swift; even the early adopters of technology and innovation reap more than their counterparts who wait to adopt the already tested. You cannot sail through life triumphantly without making and implementing your own decisions at certain stages. It is good to operate within set rules while acknowledging that the room for creativity and proactivity is always available. However detailed your employer’s policy document might be, it will not robe you of the right to decide when to switch off the AC or the lights when you deem fit.
Get out there and implement that idea. Do not allow others to always think for you; they have no idea what you want. Read self-help books to activate and enhance your mental performance. Learn to interrogate every decision pushed your way in order to understand why you should do as directed. Where you feel the decision is not right, give your contribution and/or suggestion. You might be the voice of reason at that moment. Being your own person does not mean that you should never implement other people’s decisions; rather, you should understand why you are implementing them. When you have a genuine mind and stand of your own that can blend well with your world, YOU CAN DO BETTER!
Personal Development Coach, Motivational Speaker and Author
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