Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Humility & Your Audience

March marks a new month and another chance to take a stab at executing another priority sabha. As a warm-up, let's see what's cooking for our upcoming presentation on humility in kishore-kishori sabha.

Step 1: Start with the simple statement. Think of who will be sitting in sabha before developing this. Here are a few examples.
  • Humility is the absence of ego.
  • Insulting others is an insult to Shriji Maharaj Himself.
  • Humility opens the path to Akshardham.
  • Humility means not being affected by praises and insults.
  • Swamishri defines humility; trying to understand him means we can understand humility.
Step 2: Shake up your presentation start. Again think of who will be in sabha, then choose how to grab those people's attention.
  • Beethoven - While he may be revered as a genius of classical music, it may not be noted that he he lost his ability to hear. In fact, after he composed the Ninth Symphony, he could hear not the thunderous applause of the audience in the hall. He wept thinking he had failed but was shocked after a friend turned him around to see the audience's reaction. Being deaf to praise makes us sad; being deaf to praise and insult makes us steadfast.
  • No. 1: Then & Now - An article in a recent issue of ESPN Insider featured profiles of football players who ranked No. 1 (as noted by Superprep Magazine) over the past 25 years. Note that a significant number of them are giving back to the community; amidst the fanfare and glory, they realized that it wasn't so genuine after all.
  • Humble Leadership - The book, Good to Great, lists several characteristics of companies that broke out of being good and became great. The first quality was a leader that was humble. Similarly in book Tribal Leadership, the authors state that the highest level of a tribe is one in which humility is central.
NOTE: These first two steps are critical. We have had some questions from readers that are similar regarding how to choose these two. They mention that their sabha audience is varied and it is difficult to complete these two steps that will click with everyone one. Here are some thoughts.
  1. Aim small (and don't sweat it). Choose a subset of people - those with whom you want to connect and who will get the most out of the message - and tailor to them; here's a post on this topic. In Satsang, our topics are such that they are applicable to everyone. The message is important to everyone. Also, a sticky talk will leave others with a message. However, the subgroup to whom we wish to connect will really resonate with this message; this may engender personal change. In short, don't sweat it.
  2. But aim big (and don't sweat it). Go with broad appeal, and use story telling techniques to engage people with whom the message may not resonate completely. A good story will grab everyone's attention, and Sabha.ology has had many post on the art of storytelling like this one. Pick a story and practice it so that you can say it at your dinner table and everyone is interested. In short - don't sweat it.
  3. Remember what works for you (and don't sweat it). Let's visualize listening to our own talk. What example would really get us engaged? Use that one. Excitement is viral; if we are excited about the examples and the message, it will show and everyone else will be as well. A great example is Hans Roslin at TED. He talks about population statistics, yet he is so excited about it that we cannot help but get excited about it AND remember the message he is trying to convey.
Step 3: Connect with concrete and credible examples. The syllabus itself contains several prasangs, so let's see how they connect with the fourth simple statement, "Humility means not being affected by praises and insults."
  • Shaquille O'Neal - Though an accomplished athlete, Shaq stepped out of the spotlight to attend Syracuse University. At some point or another he acknowledged that while he may be well versed in basketball, he had to humble himself to another to seek the knowledge of broadcast journalism. Of course, there probably were those who encouraged him and others who mocked him. Listening to the former may have elevated his energy, but the latter would have crushed him and his ability to pursue his dreams. He had to focus on his ambition, and humility helped him by insulating him from the view of others.
  • Mutual Blessings - As we mentioned earlier, Swamishri is the hallmark of humility. If he let himself be carried away by the praises of others, would he be able to offer the genuine support he does to satisfy haribhakto and P. Santo? He can only offer this guarantee because he chooses to insulate himself from the praises and insults of others. His humility thus shines true and enables him to focus on pleasing us consistently.
  • Closing the Distance with Humility - God & Sant are waiting for us to approach them, and we can only approach them if we maintain composure in praise and insult. What would happen if we do not? Our ego would cause us to oscillate away from our goal: to approach God & Sant. Hence, humility offers us this steadfastness to attain the proximity of God & Sant - the inner wisdom in Swamishri's comments.
In summary, let's remember that while the presentation itself is on humility, we can put it in action with how we go about presenting it. Let's take heed of the target audience's interests, plan accordingly, and execute with the humble intentions of bringing them closer to Maharaj & Swami. With the opportunity to present, we could not ask for anymore. 

No comments:

Post a Comment