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The True Professional Human Being

3rd, September 2009

The Scottish philosopher, David Hume, wrote: 'How do I know what I think until I hear what I say?' The true simplicity is that when you crystallize your thoughts, you actually confirm how you feel. The biggest hurdle to becoming the person you are capable of being is to stop heeding the opinions of others and instead, really listen to the person who knows you best. You.

Self-respect is our greatest treasure yet too often we leave it buried deep inside simply by choosing to not do what we are really capable of. We must make the choices that build our self-respect. In doing so we make a difference in our own life and the lives of others.

And we must respect ourselves first before judging others. Too often we are quick to evaluate another yet never take the time to evaluate ourselves. Our perceptions, true or false, create prejudices that distort our thinking, dictate our expectations and how we respond to others.

We perceive only that which we have been conditioned to expect to see and anything that does not fit in with our preconceived expectations is discarded or even ridiculed.

Too often energy and time is spent on why something might not happen instead of utilizing that same energy to ensure a positive outcome. For example, it seems to be part of a national obsession to point our weaknesses rather than to build on our strengths.

At school the tendency is teaching you 'how to get by' rather than 'how to get on' - effectively to create good all rounders. From this rationale stems the popular notion that if you fix a weakness in an individual, the individual will become stronger; if you fix a weakness in a company, the business will become stronger.

Sadly the assumption is false. Fixing weaknesses only puts a person or business at average. Excellence can only be achieved by developing and focusing on strengths and managing weaknesses, not through their elimination.

We need to change our approach to how we direct and manage our companies. There is an urgent need for creative management thinking to meet and overcome the increasing challenge presented by turbulent economies. A new kind of player is required.

Business today needs people who value instinct and intuition as well as analysis and rationality, who can be tough yet tender, focused yet friendly, people who can cope with these necessary paradoxes and lead their companies in the right direction every time.

Lucius Seneca said 2 Millennia ago: ‘It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that they are difficult.’ We must commit ourselves to accepting that no matter what adversity, changes, circumstances or conditions we encounter it is the decisions we make in responding to these events that control us and not the events themselves.

It is our responsibility to constantly improve ourselves and moreover to influence others by our example. An example that in itself exemplifies a character essential to our country's growth.

The new player in the emerging economy will be the one who has all the crucial ingredients for successful growth. That player will have the belief and understanding to develop and empower others towards a common mission with a spirit of shared commitment. One that has decided to make a difference. That player will be the true professional human being.