As part of my work, when I was speaking to a few Principals of schools, after I had finished a session with a student of the school, I was asked this question:- You were only speaking of “Strengths“, what about “Weaknesses“? When I told them that “weakness” is only a perspective and should not be focussed upon, they retorted back: “But that is most important, Ok, call it “Areas of Improvement”, but that is what will be needed to assign different tasks to them and make them capable.”

Let us see an example: What happens when we see a Progress Report or any mark sheet with the following marks:-

English: 90
Social Studies:85
Maths: 55
Science: 45

Where does your attention go, especially in a Parents teacher meeting? Obviously, towards Maths and Science. The teacher naturally tells that ” You need to improve in Maths and Science“. The parents immediately think of starting tuition and coaching in those subjects for the child.

Halt for a moment and Think! What has gone through this child’s mind at this moment? Will this child feel excited or interested in learning Maths and Science? You must be thinking that what else is the way ahead? Objective is that the child needs to improve in maths and science, right?

Vedic Psychology inspired from the Upanishads and BhagwadGita explains this very beautifully. What if this child is motivated and inspired to study these subjects on his/ her own in a subtler manner? How do we motivate this child?

Any human being lives and dreams of a successful and happy future: Building a strong and worthy identity and achieving something great so that they can be recognized and known as someone great. This is the most natural “hope” of any human being. Can we focus on this statement for a while?

Now, instead of talking about maths and science, if we focussed on the top marks of the same student, i.e English and Social Studies and show the possibility that with this strength, this child can become a great Social Services professional in United Nations or World Bank, or one of the most successful IAS officers who will be making policy decisions for the entire nation, how will this child feel? Of course, this alone is not sufficient, we need to understand the child’s nature and personality and bring out all the inherent strengths and state it to the child. yes, the child should hear and ingest all these strengths and it should also be genuine, which can be obtained using scientific tools of psychometrics, which are validated to Indian norms.

Unfortunately, “words of strengths” are in scant supply in today’s appraisal system right from schools, colleges or even work places. The focus always has been “prescription” for “improvement areas” because this is the “Western” or “American” philosophy of marketing products. First, show weaknesses and then sell the product. Vedic Psychology is the opposite, it focuses on self-awareness and bringing out all strengths because words of strength are beautiful and send a positive message deep inside the mind of any person. This builds the self-esteem of the person and helps the person unleash the unlimited potential that each person has naturally. Every person is unique and we should strive to ignite that fire in their belly to achieve the greatest with their own strengths.

Now having ignited some interest in this child, we tell the child, that, see, if you have to become the best in the world, it is necessary to go through this education system and do well in it, so that you can get into the best college and gain admission there. You may not enjoy maths and Science, but to get there, you still have to score well, why don’t you give it your best shot? What are the chances that this child will start serious preparation with self-motivation, as compared to being forced to study mathematics and science just to score marks?

“Sve Sve karmanayabhirathah Samsidhdhim labhate narah” this verse in para 45 of BhagwadGita says that if every human being did his work as per their own nature and strengths, they would achieve immense success in life. Strengths are there in everyone, and therefore if we focus only on strengths, and align it to what we have to do in our lives, the chances are that we will be able to overcome all our “so called weaknesses” as we will find success as we move ahead and small achievements motivate us to move ahead and keep on being productive and happy as well as fulfilled in whatever we are doing. The chances are high that in such a scenario, the person excels and achieves much greater heights than just “earning more money” or “getting high position of power”.

Our scriptures have always taught one to immerse within yourself and identify your unique nature and strengths and live your life as per your own strengths and build your universe based on those strengths. The problem arises when the system forces you to conform to a standard system, which confuses a child and parents. When we see nature around us and not even two Gulmohar trees grow similarly, then isn’t it wrong to expect our youth to be a “standardized package” of performance?

Unless, we all take a pledge to change our minds, especially those people employed in schools and colleges, to move from a “Areas of improvement” model to “Strength Based” model of education, I am afraid, our country Bharat” will still remain a slave to many foreign powers. If we build energy in all our youth using these strengths with a passion and conviction that each one of them have the possibility of achieving greatness in their respective areas and be happy and fulfilled in their lives, the chances of being the Number 1 country in the world is very high.

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Mera Bharat Mahaan“!!

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