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Knowing but not Knowing

How many things that we know but do not follow? How many things we do not know that we don’t know? And how many things that we feel we know, but don’t?

Interesting questions? Isn’t it? Well, all of us can make our own lists if we are interested in growing ourselves into more competent, professional human beings. I will focus on the first and last questions in this article.

How many things that we know but do not follow? – If you start with this one, you will be surprised at the enormity of this. Let us take just a couple of examples. Exercise is good for health and junk food is bad. Almost everyone will agree with this. How many people follow this? Maybe 25%, maybe less. All managers know that they should treat their employees well to let them work at their highest level. How many do that? Again, maybe 25% or lower.

How many things that we feel we know, but don’t? This is the one, on which I will go in detail and since LinkedIn is a professional site, I would confine myself to our working life only.

If you surf the net, you will be astounded by the volume of people claiming to be experts in community building, teaching how to lead a team treating people with dignity to make them more efficient, etc. And they mean it. They are not lying, when they are making this claim. They feel it in their bones.

Let us shift our focus a bit now to a parallel reality, before coming back on this topic again. Almost all of us have a family, and the family will have members. I hope you agree with me on my assumption that our family is a community, it is a team, however small, it might be.

I am a 60-plus man, but I keep on meeting youngsters from 20s to 30s, and even 40s. Most of them are very gung-ho about what they are doing, and how they are trying to help the world become a better place to live in. But something is lacking, when I see their background and their reality. I will give you two examples – one a male in his 30s. Let us name him, Vishal, and another female in her 20s, say Rani.

Vishal is an MBA from a reputed Mumbai management school and belongs to a good family. He has got a good network due to his studies in prestigious schools and colleges, and his father’s status as a retired government officer. He is in community building, and quite active on this website, but has not found his feet firmly in the ground till now. He builds community online and is quite well known and admired for his expertise among his followers. However, his community excludes his family. He is hardly on talking terms with his father. His sister is well settled, so there is a sort of complex in him to mix around too much with her. He is still unmarried due to his not feeling fully settled. I have no idea if he has a girlfriend. I am surprised to see the contradiction in his community-building efforts online and a complete disconnect with the same in his personal life offline.

Rani is from mass communication and is living alone in Bangalore in a job with a renowned NGO. She is bright and extrovert. She is in her early 20s. Mother is a senior management lady in the private sector, earning well and settled. Rani comes to Mumbai on holidays to spend time with family. During her last visit, we happened to meet and I asked her what she sees herself as. She replied that she is a people person and she likes to help people to grow. Here again, Rani is not very friendly to her mother and sister, though both independently seem nice people. Again here, I find a disconnect between what she says and what she displays in her close relationship.

I also observed a very interesting phenomenon recently. In my talks with friends across the spectrum, I found that parents are not happy with their grown-up children, whether the children are staying with them or not. I also find that sometimes, the same parents have their parents staying with them or at their native place. If grandparents are healthy, there is no problem. However, if the grandparents are not keeping good health, the same parents very strongly feel that they can look after their parents 24X7. They feel that if they meet the medical needs and daily needs of their parents, it is enough. The same parents, who looked after their children 24X7 when kids were young, are not ready to look after their parents 24X7, even if they are old and weak. Again, there is a disconnect somewhere. The same parents are ready to give chances to help and improve their seniors, peers, and juniors in the organizations but are not ready to do similar acts in their house.

Why does a person behave differently with people in the workplace and in their home place? Why things that he knows he should do with everyone, is confined to the workplace and not at homeplace?

Can we explore together? Do you have any comments? Let us walk together to solve this big problem in our society.

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