Soar high!

Soar High

It has been more than 06 years since I first made a conscious effort to learn about the life style of eagles while I was developing a training module on leadership development. While accepting the fact that each animal/bird has a unique lifestyle, eagles display a unique behaviour that human beings can learn from especially with regard to personality and leadership development. Although substantial amount of literature was not available at that time, I never stopped searching for more information as I was so enthusiastic about learning about it. Surprisingly, all most all the leading business schools in the world and leadership development programs use the life style of eagles extensively to inspire their participants. As far as my interest is concerned I have divided the life style of an eagle into two major areas, personality and lifelong learning. I will only concentrate on the personality of an eagle in this posting as there are so many elements that we can learn and apply in our day to day life.

Focus – An average grown up eagle has a sharp eye sight and a focus. Its eye sight and focus is so sharp that an eagle can spot and focus on a prey even from a distance of 05 KMs. Once a prey is spotted an eagle can swoop down in one quick swift motion and claw/seize the prey. Eagles rarely lose its prey once it has been spotted.

Dealing with adversities – Eagles demonstrate a matured approach in tough times in day to day life and it is amazing as to how an eagle adjusts its approach to a specific situation. If there is a storm, an eagle can glide on a strong breeze. It would fest its wings and enjoys the storm and the challenges associated with it.

Impression Management – If you want to learn about image and impression management eagles are one of the ideal natural examples that can be cited. It is very clear that an eagle is very much a part of the bird population yet eagles do not mix with the other birds but it soars high on its own. I have no sufficient information to justify whether this is true when it comes to other birds. But eagles have their own standards which are by and large superior to the other birds.

Relationships – The mating behaviour of eagles is very fascinating especially female eagles, make a conscious effort in selecting its mating partner. Before mating a female eagle tests its partner. It picks up a twig, soars high into the sky and as the male follows, it flies around and suddenly drops the twig. Before the twig falls to the ground, the male swoops down and catches the twig in its beak and returns it to the female eagle. The female eagle once again flies around and drops the twig. The male eagle repeats its act. Only if the male eagle succeeds consistently, the female allows the mating to happen.

Developing Others – Eagles’ behaviour in parenting is commendable and of course should be benchmarked. Eagles continuously remind their eaglets that life is harsh out there and they have to be able to adjust accordingly in order to survive. Eagles teach eaglets the harsh reality eaglets have to deal with every day and how strong they should be. We take this for granted that these natural instincts are inherited in their DNA but actually it is very much part of their upbringing. Eagles lay eggs on a cliff or by the edge of a high peak by making a nest of grass entwined with thorns. When the eggs hatch, the weight of the eaglets makes it uncomfortable as the thorns start pricking. Then the female eagle pushes the eaglet out of the nest. As the eaglets are about to fall to the ground, the male eagle swoops down, picks them and brings them back to the nest. Meanwhile, the female removes the upper layer of grass so that the eaglets have to sit directly on the bed of thorns making the nest very uncomfortable. Eaglets are repeatedly pushed out of the nest till such time they are able to foresee the danger of falling and start using their wings. Slowly, they realize the purpose and use their wings and start flying. One amazing thing that I noticed is that eagles teach eaglets to take responsibilities early in their life.

As human beings ,how can we learn from the behaviour of eagles and what difference these behaviours can make in our day life if we are to apply the same in our life?

Have you spotted your goals and can you focus on your goals like an eagle? Can you swoop down on your target with such concentration so that you would never miss your goal? How often do we lose our focus due to so called externalities? Surprisingly, we become enthusiastic even justifying our failures.

Can we enjoy the adversities in our life and convert them into challenges? Can we enjoy the storms in our lives that can happen anytime and learn to glide through the storm higher than ever, enjoying it throughout thinking it is part and parcel of life?

Can you be a part of the crowd yet soar high on your strength? Can you be a part of the average yet be above the average? Do you look at other people and prefer to stay down or do you leave them down and soar high? Everybody has to make sure we all maintain a healthy level of self-esteem and it does not mean being arrogant or ego centric. We have to draw a line in our day to day life, not to be segregated from others but to ensure unnecessary people do not get into your life and disturb your equilibrium, your inner harmony.

Can we test before trust? Can we distinguish the difference between the genuine people and those who are pretending to be genuine? Can we use our own judgement to arrive at a conclusion rather than believing in what other people say? Imaging how much time we spend in buying a new pair of shoes or a pant. Why is that? Because we know it has to look good on us without making us look like a clown. Can we have the same approach in selecting our future partner that we are going to spend the rest of our life with? It is very important that we follow our heart when it comes to relationships but it does not mean that you have to decide blindly. Even your heart can be disciplined through a rational decision making process.

It is very important as a parent or as an adult that we teach our children to make use of their abilities. If you have to teach them the hard way, we must. Otherwise, they will never learn. The wisdom of nature is such that there is no better way to teach hard lessons. Can we learn from our mistakes instead of justifying what we have done? Can we learn from our difficulties instead of complaining about them? It is true we love our children and make them comfortable and be there whenever they need us. But it does not mean that you are going give in to all of their whims and fancies. Especially, we have to be careful as to how we behave in the presence our children. Because they spend their entire childhood with us as parents and they learn by observing us. If you complain about your children it is time to transform your behaviour.

Adversities are like divine surgeries. There is no use of resisting and complaining. They expect us to use our imagination, discover new knowledge territories, expand your experience portfolio and upgrade your skill set. Those who have faced the maximum difficulties in their early life are the ones who would have strived to grow not only physically but also spiritually. Psychical growth is inevitable but growing up mentally is optional. Most of us do not make that decision consciously and we take it for granted thinking that our mental growth is synchronized with our psychical growth.

Can you bring a similar commitment and discipline to strive for excellence in every aspect of your life for your own betterment?

Educated Citizens

There is no necessity to justify as to how important education is regardless of the context in which it is discussed. It has been proven on its own the value addition that both education per se and educated citizens in a country can do to make both the social and economical conditions better. All though the general perception that society has is that only individuals who are educated benefit, society also benefits immensely by having educated citizens. It is absolutely required to have a robust education system in a country with a long term vision to manage the human capital. And also it has been accepted and upheld by the constitutions of all most all the countries that every child who are at the age of schooling has to get the opportunity of being educated without any deprival due to their sex, cast and race. Most developed countries in the world have had invested heavily in their education systems initially to ensure the smooth supply of appropriate human capital in terms of the right knowledge, attitude and skills.

The entire world is at a critical stage in the social transformational process and right now we are in the so called knowledge era where knowledge is far more important than never before. Knowledgeable society could clone its success over the years and individuals as a part of the economy have taken a considerable amount of attention and interest in knowledge workers. In a journey of creating a common future for south Asian counties it is paramount to have a common understanding and approach to address the related issues as a network by learning from each other.

Although it is not sometime possible to quantify the benefits generated by the education and educated citizens in a country it can be categorized into three broader areas as mentioned below.

Social benefits

Educated citizens are more likely to get into high income jobs so that they can lead better healthy life filled with happy and leisure time. It has been proven by the researches carried out in this area that the quality of life and the life expectancy are more likely to go high in a society where there are educated individuals. And also in return they can indirectly contribute to reduce the public expenditure in the areas of health, social awareness, and food. It is also observed that healthier individuals as a result of being educated are more likely to have healthier children and likelihood of them continuing to educate their children is also very high. They also are less likely to have illegitimate birth and being victims of sexually transmitted deceases. Educated citizens are more likely to uphold the common social value and respect the norms of their cultures and as a result of that a society with law and order can be maintained.

The rapid changes in technology, the changing nature of work and the demographic changes also affect the society at large. In this context education should be able to produce citizens with interpersonal skills, who can work collaboratively in ethically and culturally diverse environments. Researches in the areas of interpersonal, psychological and broader behavioral qualities have shown that there is a less tendency towards authoritarianism, dogmatism, and ethnocentrisms and also growth in principled moral reasoning. And also in a society of educated citizens they are interested in current affairs and foreign politics according to the researches. And also education can make a huge impact on the personal behavior displayed by individuals and they tend to display traits such as active thinking, being proactive, assertive communication with a broad range of intellectual and academic skills. Educated citizens are more sensitive to the social issues and likely to get involved in activities that affect society and political structure and community services. Educated citizens could also be more productive and engaged citizens due to the fact that them believing in common values across racial and ethnic categories.

Economical benefits

As it was mentioned above still there is a tendency that people think that being educated is something personal and only individual can benefit out of it. And also there is a considerable amount of increase among youth in investing in higher studies both locally and internationally. Even though the both social and economical benefits are not easy to quantify due to its qualitative nature economic benefits of educated citizens are quite visible and easy to quantify as there is correlation between the education level of citizens and national production. When there is an uneducated workforce their employability is low and therefore, their value addition to the national economy of a country in terms of level of production is not considerable. High unemployment is not a healthy indicator in any economy and that would put more burdens onto the governments in terms of public expenditure. Research has shown that the educated citizens in many countries earn more that what an average citizen would earn by doing odd jobs. And also educated citizens tend to get into more value adding and white collar jobs according to their qualifications. When a country/economy has an educated workforce they could earn both locally and internationally and that will in return increase the national production of the economy. And also when a country has more educated and skilled workforce investors are willing to make huge investment in putting up new business and for us it is a crucial factor in attracting foreign direct investments being south Asian countries. Having a healthier and productive economy is in return gives the opportunity to any government to invest in the basic infrastructures so that country could be developed and dependency on the lending nations could be minimized. Educated citizens also can play a vital role in tax system in any country as they understand the rational behind it and making it a compelling reason to pay their tax promptly knowing that they can reap the benefits of it in terms of countries development.

Political benefits

Unlike the both social and economical benefits that can be generated by educated citizens political benefits of same is not easily quantifiable and also no comprehensive researches carried out. We being Asian countries have an emotional attachment with regard to political interest as politics in most of south Asian countries associated with power. Unlike other decisions, most of us take political decisions with no rational justification based on facts and figures but emotionally. Most of the people who have the voting power are not politically matured but inspired by the personalities of politicians based on our individual likes and dislikes. And also it has been seen throughout that we take politics personally that would encourage citizens to be more aggressive and violent. It is only a few individual is willing to express their political ideology liberally due to this nature of most of us. But we can have a hope that at least educated people in the future take the lead to transform this behavior into a beneficial affair. The time has come to educated people to get into politics as back office politicians in terms of developing policies and development plans for the countries development whilst letting the traditional politicians to play the front office role as front office politicians.