I was reading Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar’s speech where he shared the 10 lessons in building true value in a post-truth world and wow, I was mesmerized by the similarity of thoughts. That motivated me to share 8 lessons that I have learnt in building true value in a post-truth world, on a personal level.
Lesson 1 – Development is about growth but not necessarily about equity
We are living in a capitalist society. In capitalism, who are the king? Not the bankers and billionaires, but the consumers. Customers make demand in accordance to their personal preferences. In the era of artificial intelligence, if robots are to replace human being and only the rich can own robots, where do you think the wealth will go to? To these rich consumers. Therefore development is about growth but not necessarily with equity.
In fact, I agree with the perspective offered by Wilham Ropke who said:
“The powers of the market economy is, so to speak, a ‘plebiscite de tous les jours’ where every monetary unit spent by the consumers represent a ballot, and where the procedures are endeavouring, by their advertising, , to give ‘election publicity’ to an infinite number of parties (ie the goods), the result is a market democracy which in its silent precision surpasses the most perfect political democracy.”
On personal level, I subscribe to the idea that there is no equity in personal development. Each of us have our own subjective preferences which ought to be respected and be allowed to develop ourselves in the way we had chosen to.
Lesson 2 – Do good out of love, for love is as love does
Our leadership, authority, service and sacrifice comes from this root, namely love. If we associate love with behavior and choice rather than with feelings, love becomes an act. I cannot control how I feel about other people but I can control of how I behave towards other people because it is a choice that I can make.
The qualities expounded in love, namely, patience, kindness, humility, respectfulness, selflessness, forgiveness, honesty and commitment are predicated in my choice of behavior that I am striving to develop, especially in today’s post truth world.
Lesson 3 – Drivers of development and the special sauce
The drivers of my personal growth come from having a direction that I want to go, followed by action to reach the destination. I believe that I would not reach my full potential unless I have mapped by personal growth. In the mapping process, a lot of questions were thrown to me which eventually helped me to find my direction.
While the drivers remain important in this ever-changing world, they are not sufficient. Just getting these two ingredients right need not lead to a thriving personal development. I need my own special sauce to perfect the recipe: Faith and passion. I would have moved on, if not for the special sauce.
Lesson 4 – Mindset is key
Against the backdrop of drivers of development, the key to building true value for myself is having the correct mindset. The truth of this statement must always be beyond reproach. In a post truth world where emotion seems to govern the truth, possessing a correct mindset charts the course of my life and growth so that I shall not being affected when emotion is trying to define the truth.
Mindset in a post truth world is akin to financial stability in economic growth. Mindset is powerful because it can affect the ecosystem of our mind and action. When our mindset becomes polluted, so does the value that we build.
Lesson 5 – People x Environment
The people whom we surround ourselves with makes or breaks us, so is the environment that we live in. Both people and environment have a major role to play in shaping our growth. It is important that we surround ourselves with people who brings out the best in us. I am blessed to have a mother who continuously encourage me to be my best version. My close friends constantly affirm and showed their faith in me. There has been no deficit of encouragement all this while.
I was working at my previous firm four years ago where my colleagues worked tirelessly to get up cases for trial. Living in that environment has indeed motivated me to be passionate in my work. Environment speaks volume about the external factors affecting one’s personal development. Though in a different line now, passion remains the norm, a relic of the days working in that previous firm.
Lesson 6 – People and Leadership
As the eldest child, I build my influence over my siblings through trust, stewardship, care, concern, service, humility and understanding, though I must add, it has been a great challenge, especially when you have hard headed siblings. Most of the time I would give them my thoughts and stand, I respect them enough to make their own decision. Ultimately, my siblings decide what is best for themselves. It is important not to overstep the boundary between influence and control.
Leaders have always existed since ancient times, but it takes different understanding to different people. Leadership is not about the leaders themselves, rather it is about the people led by the leaders and the relationship between the two.
Leadership is about trust, stewardship, care, concern, service, humility and understanding. It concerns the ability to engage, influence and care for the people where those people may ask themselves whether they are better off for being led by the leader.
Lesson 7 – Culture eats strategy for breakfast
This oft-quoted statement from Peter Drucker is true at the corporate level, but at personal level? Peter Drucker said this when he was partnering with Ford, stressing the importance of an alignment between a supporting culture and strategic changes made in the organization.
At personal level, I can come up with the best plan and strategy to achieve certain things but if I do not have the trust and support of my family members and people around me, whatever strategy I have could not be carried out successfully.
In an organization, culture is how people collaborate, make changes and getting the work done. It indicates a strong human element. Put simply, it represents people need to use appropriate tools to get things done. Tools alone would not function properly without people and without tools, human is not going to go far in their achievement, therefore, I need to choose the right strategy that fits my culture.
Lesson 8 – The Interconnectedness of Everything
What I did and experienced earlier and what happened to me today are connected. If we think that we can independently alter an element in our system and not expecting changes elsewhere, we have not fully understood the above theory.
Until now, I still marvel whenever I think about where I am now and things that I did in the past, such as the courses that I have studied, friends that I have made etc. Apparently, law and L&D did not seem to have connection. Yet, this is where I am now. In fact, my law degree and past experiences in legal practice have stood me in good stead in my current position.
As bits and pieces comes together from various corners of my life to form a more complete picture of my life’s puzzle, I begin to see and start to enjoy the interconnectedness of everything in my life. This is the faith that have worked well for me in this post-truth world.
Building true value in personal development is already a huge challenge. It is more so in a post truth world. We ought to be even more clearer of our position and our stand, otherwise, we will sway with the crowd and let emotion govern the mind. It is good to remind myself that what we hear in a post-truth world is an opinion, may not be fact and what we see is a perspective, may not be the truth.