Vulnerability

With every batch of students you teach, you learn atleast one new thing about the human species in general and the way our mind works in a classroom, in pursuit of learning. What works with a certain group might totally backfire with another; what seems important to one might seem completely trivial to another. As a facilitator, you have already learnt your first lesson : 

There are many different ways to do the same thing, without compromising on its efficacy. 

On certain days, the best of preparation does not work. It probably will have nothing to do with you, though. Maybe some of them did not eat any breakfast or one of them is going through a divorce or yet another is expecting a baby. You cannot ignore these ‘givens’ – one must find a way around to make it work, and it does not. That is when you learn, 

Frustration is good for creativity. 

Not many days ago, I met a student who made me question afresh something we all feel is ‘necessary’ for success : Self-confidence. This student is the antithesis of a self-confident person. In hand-me-down clothes and cheap slippers, I wonder how he holds his own in a city like Bangalore, where glitz and show rule. He has a timid smile and oily hair. He does not speak unless asked. He works well in a group and exposes his vulnerability like it were the Pulitzer prize. When he writes, the work is largely error free. He blends into the class, not drawing attention to himself. Yet, I am sure his presence would sorely be missed if he were to cut class tomorrow. From time to time, as I looked at him today in class, his shy smile put me at ease. He was in that moment : learning, thinking. being happy. 

On my way home, I thought a lot about it. Perhaps we make a big deal of the “Fake it till you make it” concept of self-confidence. I am not questioning the need for a healthy and positive evaluation of the self, but the need to exhibit it. The emphasis on the external aspects of self-esteem and the undue stress we lay upon “selling ourselves”.

I think it is okay to be vulnerable. It is okay to not be a part of the ‘cool’ crowd. Not everyone is a show-stealer in the typical sense. 

Some, like the student above, steal the show with their vulnerability. 

Allow yourself some healthy self-doubt. It is good for your soul. 

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One thought on “Vulnerability

  1. Pingback: Lessons of the past decade. | At The Heart of The Mind

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