It was the summer of 2008 and I was recently promoted to class 6. Though there is nothing much special in getting promoted to class 6 than any other class but one small thing. For most of those small little boys, it’s the first time they get to wear full trousers to school all around the year. Generally, in most of the school around North India, male students wear some grey/navy blue/white shorts till class 5. But once they get into the next class, the uniform changes and they get to wear that full warm trousers to school.
I wouldn’t deny, it’s a special feeling. First time, you start feeling that you are not small anymore. You have a feeling that maybe now people will start giving value to your thoughts. Or maybe it’s the time to have some opinions. Maybe it’s the time to think something big. For most of the students, it’s also the start of the adolescent phase. So, that special feeling gets amplified with those unusual changes going around with your mind and body. I don’t know why but it’s something I always remember and that special feeling stays in my mind.
But never mind. So in class 6, our school organised a workshop where an external speaker came. He took a session around an hour talking about various things related to career, the things to take care of in the adolescence and other stuff. Frankly, I don’t remember most of it. I don’t remember from where the external speaker came from, what was his name or what all he talked about apart from one small thing he did during that session. It’s something that I took with myself for the rest of the my life. Something that I tried in numerous number of situations and it just works like magic. Though this doesn’t ensure success in any form, it makes sure that you are a reasonable competitor for that trophy you crave. Stay with me, while I remember, visualise and enjoy the whole scene in my mind and take you through it.
Around 200 students were sitting on the floor in a big hall. All students with their uniforms. Uniforms which made the each child look equal and were composed of just two formal colours: Navy Blue and White. The speaker was in front of the stage speaking in an impeccable style making sure that crowd of 200 maintained pin drop silence and listened to him by choice and not by force. Maybe he just knew what will catch the attention of these not so small but un-matured minds.
In between the session, he called one of the students in front of the stage and made some changes to the school uniform. He slipped the tie from its proper position and put it a bit towards the right and pushed it downwards. He made some adjustments to the student’s hair and made them look messy. He adjusted the belt towards the right and made sure it was quite distant from the position it was supposed to be. He asked the students, which one version of the student looked more respectable. Which one version you would like to give respect to? Of course, all the students said in not so synchronous chorus: “The first one”.
Then he spoke a little about how important it is to wear your uniform properly. How just properly wearing your uniform translates to getting respect from the unknown. How just “respecting” your uniform gets others to “respect” you. Then he said and I quote:
“If you cannot respect your uniform that means you cannot respect yourself. And if you cannot respect yourself, you have no right to expect respect from others.”
This is the line that got stuck in my mind for years to come by. With time, I realised that it is not just the case with uniform but every other thing I interact with and need to accomplish literally anything in my life. In general, what I call is “the office”.
“Your office” in nothing but the things and people you interact with, collaborate with and combine abilities to achieve something. Just consider these small examples:
- During the time I was in school and used to study, my office was my table, chair, books and the stationary like pens, pencils etc.
- While playing a sport, your office is the playing equipment you use, the ground/court where you are playing and your fellow players.
- In your job, your office is the company, your coworkers, the machines, everything you interact with to excel at your job.
Why I am telling you this? Because respecting your office does wonders! Literally, it has some magical power. It doesn’t ensure a win. It doesn’t ensure success but somehow it will place you as a powerful human being who is capable of something. Someone who is not worth nothing and someone who deserves to be respected. It gives the strength and feeling of being capable; something that is in dearth in the modern day challenges of life.
When I used to study in school, I made sure my table and chair were always neat and clean. The book pages had to be kept clean. All my pens were properly placed in the pen stand and all pencils properly sharpened. Doing these things never increased my knowledge or my chances of getting better marks in the next exam, but these things made me feel good whenever I sat down to study. They made me feel “capable”; capable of grasping knowledge and learning. Just in other words:
“I respected my office, and hence in a way, I respected myself. As a result, my office respected me back. And that made all the difference!”
You keep your football neat and clean and your sports jersey in top shape. You have a healthy friendship with the fellow players. There’s no way you would not feel good, respected and able when you get out to play that sport. Once you feel you are a person who can play football and play it well, half of the match is already won.
I have heard this, so many versions of the same thing, just applied to different specific contexts. For example, for all the bosses around there, they say:
“Take care of your employees and they will take care of your clients.”
It appears to be the same thing. When you are leading a team, your office is your workplace, your machines and most importantly, your staff. If you respect those, they will respect you back, and you already know that you are on the right path to success.
The time I learned how to drive a two wheeler, the instructor made me always clean my vehicle first and bring it in a shining and good shape before starting the class. That was his version of making me respect the office.
Most of the toppers around my school and college life seemed to follow something similar. They respected the things they interacted with during their study. They paid proper attention in lectures. They wrote their notes in good handwriting and in a proper manner. They came to classes on time and respected the teacher. No wonder, they produced the right results.
Now, what’s your office in your daily life? It’s just your body, your family and friends, and your environment. Give ample respect to these and watch your life improve. Take care of your body. Give it the respect it deserves. Eat healthy and work out. If anyone of us has ever tried this even for a week, you know the feeling that you get. What you feel you can accomplish increases by many folds and you know that it makes all the difference. Respect your family and friends. Give them your time. Give them the care and respect they deserve. No more happiness and satisfaction can be there than what is experienced on getting love from your closed ones. The last one is your environment and you already know all about that.
To conclude, there is nothing better in life than to feel respected. Because then only you feel capable. And once you feel capable, anything and everything is possible!!