Have you ever had this feeling of something missing in your life ?. in spite of having a flourishing career, satisfying job and strong relationship.
Have you ever felt that your brain power is not fully utilized ? in spite of feeling damn good at your accomplishments each day.
Have you ever felt the need to go back to school and update yourself ? in spite of having the best degrees and certificates to your credit.
Are you always doubting if you are leveraging your full potential ? There are powers inside of you which, if you could discover and use, would make of you everything you ever dreamed or imagined you could become.” – Orison Swett Marsden
You are not alone. It’s a question that haunts each one of us often. A question that pushes us to do something different. Visualize a different reality, take risks and shoot for those Big Hairy Audacious Goals. It is also a question that makes people become impulsive, irrational and do some of the most foolish things possible.
A mind reader who doesn’t know his own mind and needs constant inspiration to keep it going. A maths genius, a supercomputer performing complex calculations that ignores obvious and basic errors. A futurist, who can churn out of the box solutions to improve quality of life but willfully ignores long term risk with his own life. Prejudiced and Opinionated, yet a member of the most cooperative being on the whole ecosystem.
While smart and stupid are relative, judgemental and hindsight conclusions, they give us abstractions to talk about the dichotomy of the human capability and fallibility of human condition. We have potential for extremes. We exhibit those day in and out without being conscious of it.
We are a product of our behaviour in any given situation. Every behavior of us gives us a new experience, helps develop a habit and opens up a perspective that shapes us. In each situation we have to make decision selecting from several choices in front of us. These decisions define who we are as we evolve. If we are intrinsically motivated, we normally ignore environmental perceptions of us. If we are extrinsically motivated we care a lot about our environmental perceptions.
Emotional Intelligence is that aspect of your decision making that helps you take well rounded decisions that helps you maximize your potential without harming the environment and people in it. It is easier said than done. Almost everyone wants to and believes that they are taking decisions that are win-win. In reality it is a delusion. Recognising our delusions is the first step to doing better.
Brian Tracy, the well recognized personal success trainer with more than 60 books to his credit has an interesting formula for achieving human potential.
He says that
Human Potential = IA [In Born Attributes] + AA [Acquired Attributes] X A [Attitude]
While this is oversimplified and abstracted, it has a lot of truth. Human potential is expressed by our hard and soft abilities that we put to effective use. There is another interesting formula by behavioral scientist B J Fogg where in he says
Human Behavior = M [Motivation] X A [Abilities] X T [Trigger]
Reality is that human potential is exhibited through behavior and blossoms when there is sufficient motivation and trigger to support our abilities.
Why are studying all this ?
Potential is expressed at the cognitive level through emotional intelligence and implemented at the physical level through behaviour. Recall our earlier discussion on emotional intelligence and how it helps us taken well rounded decisions.
As a Product Manager you constantly make decisions. You need to collaborate with customers, support team, business stakeholders, designers, developers, subject matter experts, and other Product Managers in order to arrive at decisions that are better.
While it is a huge time saver, collaborating with others is also painful. Involving other people in the decision making process can be fruitful and painless only when we are internally geared to benefit from others’ expertise and experience. We should also be ready and open to evaluate different angles that we might be unaware.
Do note that disparate opinions can often lead to confusion, bottlenecks and gridlocks that also put us under pressure to give up sound judgement for arriving at compromises which in turn lead to mediocre and suboptimal output.
The discipline of emotional intelligence helps us anchor this facilitative process for the larger goal of the organization and gives us clarity, directs us to be empathetic, considerative yet assertive as we make decisions.
Last updated Sep. 1, 2018
MOHAMMED ABUBUCKER ALATHICK
Program Director – Product Management
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