SOS INDIVIDUAL ASSIGNMENT
“PERFECTION is never completely achieved by anyone in this world, but if you keep chasing perfection somewhere on the way you can chase Excellence”-Unknown. This quote that I had come across in my childhood has stayed with me till date and the quest to be perfect in anything and everything that I do has made me who I am today. By setting high standards for myself and others around me I was able to achieve the desired results but at the cost of strained professional & personal relationships and excessive micromanagement. Initially I was quite apprehensive and afraid of failure and strived to perfect everything that I did resulting into a wastage of lot of time and energy and controlling myself and the people around me.
When I look back, I realize that I have been overthinking and overanalysing things which ought to be associated with the Perfectionist and Overcontrolling mental model. With time I have learnt to accept the unknown, let things take time and stopped micro managing things.
a) Describe the situation(s) where it is/was manifesting its power over you and the consequences it has/had on your life.
Everything was going perfect and according to the plan. I cleared my Chartered Accountancy in the 1st attempt, got a high paying job at a Big 4 accounting firm and left it prepare for my MBA entrance exams. I started preparing for CAT setting high standards for myself with the grit and determination to make it to IIM Ahmedabad. I was striving for success and was deeply involved in attaining the best results. I consistently scored better marks than my peers in the mocks and classes which made me proud and beam with joy. I started thinking that I could control the outcomes as they were a direct result of my hardwork and effort. I felt that any error on my part would be a crime and I wasted too much time on topics and subjects which could have been easily avoided.
When the CAT results came out and I couldn’t score enough to even make it to SPJIMR, I started doubting my intelligence and looked down upon people who would give meaningful insights. Being obsessed with outcome and ignoring the reality made me frustrated and disappointed. It took a toll on my health, strained relationships with people close to me and I ended up losing few close friends due to my harshness and rigidity.
b) Explain how you are managing/managed the subjectivity caused by this limiting mental model (use the concepts and the framework of objectivity discussed in class)
Subjectivity is nothing but acting irrationally and getting influenced by your emotions, moods, feelings, etc. It tends to affect our behaviours and we become emotionally unstable. Using the ABC Model of Subjectivity, the activating event was the failure to score good marks in CAT entrance exam which led to the belief that I’ll not be able to get admission in any good colleges anywhere in the country let alone in Mumbai. I started overthinking as to how my family would react to this dreaded news. The consequence was that I was worried and started overthinking, didn’t step out of the house or talk to anyone and wanted to be left alone in my own dismay and sorrow.
Managing subjectivity was necessary and using the 2-step model of Dama & Shama, I was able to manage my emotions rationally and started thinking objectively. I started responding rather than reacting, paused for a moment and became aware of what is happening around controlling the flow of thoughts. Using Shama, I realized that I was overgeneralizing things and let it dictate my emotions based on a single event which made me sad and cranky. I became too pessimistic and started catastrophising events. After talking to a good friend of mine who sat me down and made me understand that it is ok to make mistakes now and learn from them, that I realized that I was wasting too much time and energy on cribbing rather than focussing and directing it towards self-improvement. I started taking stock of the situation at hand rather than reacting impulsively and made some smart decisions.
c) Elaborate on the importance of abhyasa in the framework of objectivity and relate it to the situation you have described in question (a)
As Kim Collins said, “Strive for continuous improvement, instead of perfection”, it made me realize that the best way to move forward and away from perfectionism is acceptance and not denying and suppress our emotions. It is about managing our non-adaptive emotions and make objective decisions. After I realized that I didn’t score well, I looked at all the possible opportunities that lay before me and realized that it was not the end of the road. I doubled up my efforts in preparing for XAT and ended up scoring marks way past my expectations. It was then when I realized that meditating, thinking rationally, taking advice of people with experience and letting go of the need to control all events have eventually made me a more calmer and better person. Failure was no longer a fear but rather another obstacle that needed to be tackled to reach the destination. The distance was small but the journey was worth leaps and bounds.
d) Evaluate how much your ways of behaving / thinking / feeling have changed, for a past experience, or how you could you manage things differently, for a recent situation.
Being the finance head of SPRINT 2018, the biggest sports fest of the country requires working in teams to achieve the desired outcome. Initially my perfectionism attitude didn’t bore any results and I quickly realized that I had to bring about a change in my behaviour and the way I deal with people to make SPRINT a success. The negative (perfectionist) and positive (optimalist) form of perfectionism started making more sense. I started looking at failure as a natural and learnt to accept painful emotions and move on. Set goals that were within the attainable standards and started having a Good Enough Approach. Became more grateful and accepting and stopped micro-managing things. Delegating control was much easier now and accepting both negative and positive emotions as a part of life made every situation looked so full of opportunities. Over the period of 1 and half year, I have accepted reality the way it is and ought to be and changed my behaviour for good and have become more compassionate.