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Your definitions define you

Update: 2022-07-08 06:30 IST
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All along our life we encounter complex people, situations and challenges. Many struggle to deal with these speed breakers with whatever resources they can find. Surprisingly, despite facing similar challenges over and over again, many continue to struggle all along their life trying to deal with them.

In contrary, there are those who seem to easily deal with complex situations, people, issues and other challenges even at first encounter. These individuals seem to master the art of managing complexities overtime and manage their life's challenges with effortless ease and enviable strength.

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There many factors at play with both categories of individuals, in reference to how they deal with their everyday challenges. However, one key factor which stands out and differentiates them is 'How they define'.

I strongly believe 'Your Definitions Define you'. All decisions you make are through your belief filter. Each of us have strongly founded set of beliefs about everything that envelopes us. These beliefs are usually phrases like 'Life is a fantastic journey' or 'Life is a drag'. You can imagine how these two individuals approach their lives with such contrasting beliefs.

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Beliefs like these are so powerful that they drive most choices, decisions and resolutions you make every day. Though broadly, that is how they have 'defined' life and there will be distinct difference in everything they do in their lives. Definitions have substantial impact on actions, and there by results.

It is not easy to measure the impact of definitions in your life unless you go through a huge obstacle or failure. Success is a bad teacher, but failure forces learning. Encountering a life

stalling negative event or a massive failure will make you suddenly realise, how to redefine many aspects of life. Definitions of 'Trust', 'Love', 'Loyalty', 'Success', 'Power', 'Friendship', 'Business', 'Professionalism', 'Communication', 'Commitment', 'Money' and 'Life' can be challenged and subsequently go through massive correction.

I wish to highlight three unsuspecting trends which drive many to mis-define critical aspects in their life. Serious interpersonal conflicts, unruly decisions, financial mess, social disharmony, reputation disasters are just few outcomes of mis-defining critical aspects of one's life.

Defining critical aspects of your life can actually help set a standard framework of operation and expectations. It will potentially help you and all those who deal with you regularly.

For example, defining 'Life' sets one up with clear expectations, experiences and outcomes, if one defines it. Defining Business, Profit, Leadership can differentiate you and your business from clutter in the market. Professional branding is one such initiative to differentiate you from scores of other similar players in a market. Defining Love, Friendship, Relationships, Happiness, Loyalty can bring you closer to your actual expectations and outcomes.

All across our life, we will mostly face, experience and resolve similar, but different types and degrees of issues, situations, people and challenges. Taking time to define most of what we encounter, helps build a framework to successfully operate and deal with them again in future.

Too busy to define

When would you sit and reflect on definitions which are driving your life? Mostly never, if not brought down to your knees. Unfortunately, that's human nature. It is tough times, which make you stop and reflect on your operational process. However, my advice is to do it when you are at the top. You might not have to go down to your knees to compulsively reflect in distress.

Define everything that is important to you, as early as possible in your life. Experiences might alter your definitions over a period, but you are better placed than not having defined at all.

Sheer ignorance

Ignorant are generally over-confident. It's out of sheer ignorance that many mis-define critical aspects of life. Misdefinitions are quite expensive for you and those you immediately influence. Especially, if you are in senior roles or leadership positions and mis-define key aspects of work or life, it will directly impact the bottom line of your organization. That's how big businesses, even those listed on S&P 500 go bankrupt over a period of time.

If you are a parent or a teacher, and have built wrong definitions with limited knowledge, you would end up impacting your children negatively by passing on those wrong definitions.

For a reference, if Quality, Profit, Professionalism, Service, Customer, Ethics, Integrity, Performance are ill-defined or mis-defined, what do you expect from teams in your organization?

Criminal breach

There are nations which conveniently mis-define Democracy, Equality, Secularism, Freedom, Rights, Elections, History, Privacy, Fairness, Competence, Loyalty, Transparency, Ethics and even Justice. There is a growing list of nations, who have failed and fallen in just last two decades, as a point of reference. Definitions are extremely critical for early-stage humans, businesses, societies, and nations to build a stable, sustainable operational framework and manage complex challenges. Manipulated, convenient, twisted definitions can ruin individuals, families, businesses, societies and even nations.

(The Author is a Harvard Business School certified organisational strategist and a global expert in Emotional Intelligence)

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