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None among us is truly complete
15 Jun 2009, 0445 hrs IST, MARGUERITE THEOPHIL, ET Bureau
It takes a wise person to understand that even the most skillful, knowing or intelligentamong us always has scope for improvement.Once, another teacher in the time of Confucius confronted him angrily: “What kind of asage are you? You say Yen Hui excels you in straightforwardness, Tuan Tzu is better atclarifying things, Chung Yu is braver, and Chuang Sun is more dignified than you. If allthis indeed is true, why do they still remain your disciples?”Confucius calmly responded: “Well, Yen Hui does know best how to be straightforward,but not how to be flexible. Tuan Tzu knows how to clarify things, but is quite unable togive a simple yes or no. As for fearless Chung Yu, he cannot tell when to be cautious.And while Chuang Sun knows how to be dignified, he fails at being unassuming.”Working with students or managers on any test that helps find out more about their stylesor approaches, we emphasise again and again this teaches only just a bit more aboutthemselves. As human beings, we are million-faceted, and each ‘test’ can only revealone of these facets, or part of it. A serious error after doing such work is assuming that Inow know all about myself or about others around me.A widely used cognitive psychological tool, the Johari Window, reveals four ‘regions’:Traits of the participant which he/she and others are both aware of — the open area or arena. What is unknown by the person about him/ herself but which others know — theblind area, or blindspot. What the person knows about him/herself but others do not —hidden area, or facade. Aspects unknown both by the person him/herself and others —unknown area or the unknown self.With proper guidance, such insights can provide a framework for personal growth andhealthy interpersonal interaction. We are invited to integrate our learnings and manifestthem in changed behaviour and approaches.Many parts of what emerges when learning about oneself can come as a real surprise.Yet the advantage is that we see more clearly how we are perceived, and importantly —learn about the existence of many things we don’t know about ourselves. And this is whyeach of us needs an honest and compassionate friend, partner, coach or therapist —and more importantly — why every coach or therapist also needs an honest andcompassionate friend, partner, coach or therapist!Every one of us is a work in progress; some more ‘finished’ than others, it is true, yetnone among us truly complete.
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