Before I explain what objectivity in life is, I would like to start my article with 3 questions.
- How often do I overreact to situations?
- How often do I take things personally when they really were not meant that way?
- How often do I judge people unfairly based simply on the way they look?
Other day, I was in the city and was walking down the street for a meeting. I saw someone at the traffic signal and was looking at me. My first impression was, why he is looking at me funny? Have you ever passed someone on the street and wondered why he or she looked at you funny? In this case, we see what we decide is a funny look and exclaim that it is. In most cases, the person was just pensive, thinking about something other than you and just happened to be looking in your direction.
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In our life, there is a dire need for humanity to break through its herd instinct and start thinking originally. To put in your effort to overcome the environmental influence of the past and learn to reflect, contemplate afresh. Get over your passive, impulsive behaviour. Apply your intellect to overpower your emotional attachment, involvement in the affairs of the world both material and spiritual. At every turn of life let reason and judgement guide all your activities. Do not sell your personality to elders, preachers or authorities. You don’t have to accept tradition because it is handed down through generations. Not follow past practices or for that matter anything just because it is spoken of or written about by several people over and over again. Instead, carefully examine and analyse the truth of life. And whatever admits your logic and reason accept it and live by it. That spells objectivity in life.
When you begin to live objectively your mind remains peaceful and happy in and through the fluctuations of the external world. Whatever happens in the outer world doesn’t disturb your inner composure.
Thoedore Tilton drives home this idea succinctly in his poem “Even This Shall Pass Away”. The poem portrays the Kind of Persia living with perfect mental composure in all walks of life. Objective and detached, he remains equanimous through the best and the worst of experiences. He understands that the world is ever in a flux of change. It goes through profit and loss, heat and cold, joy and sorrow, honour and dishonour – and endless chain of opposites. None of them stays indefinitely. Each pass away yielding to the opposite.
The world is thus undulated with ups and downs. When your intellect is not developed enough you ride on its surface. And your mind is lacerated by undulations. You suffer from their knocks and shocks. All creatures, except humans, live on the surface of the world. They lack the intellect ability to rise above it. Consequently, they are affected by its ruggedness. So, do the humans who don’t use the intellect. They merely enjoy, cherish the brighter side of the world. And suffer, even perish in its darker side. They have not developed the intellect sufficiently to rise above the mundane challenges and remain unaffected by them.
However, a human being alone is designed to free himself from the influence of the changes occurring in the world. Stand firm like a lighthouse as the waves of challenges kiss its feet and recede. He can develop a powerful intellect to rise well above the onslaughts of the rigorous world. While others lacking intellectual power and strength are like neglected boats tossed about by the waves.
Objectivity is seeing and accepting things as they are without projecting your fears, mental models, and past experiences, and responding thoughtfully and deliberately to the people, challenges and opportunities in your life.
Describe a situation in your personal life where you were less than objective. Jot down your answers to the following questions:
• What is the objective reality of what happened?
• What were my assumptions? What did I think was happening?
• What was my response?
• Looking back, what could have been a more appropriate response?
• What did it cost me?
Then repeat this exercise for a situation in your professional life, something that happened at work.
Once you begin to think of situations where you can benefit from more objectivity, the next step is to understand our inherent subjectivity and our capacity to be more objective.
You can achieve that state when your intellect soars high and maintains perfect objectivity in life. You then command enduring peace and happiness.