So far in this series, we have introduced what setting personal standards is, how our personal standards are antecedent to our long-run successes, the scope of choices on which we should set our standards as well as the spheres of control for setting our standards. We will conclude the series today by taking up some of the specific ways we can set our standards and the features of standards we set for ourselves.
Setting standards on the factors we have direct control on: Obviously the first space within which we can begin to set our standards is the ‘Z’ sphere in which we have ‘total’ control. Specific dimensions within this sphere that we should set standards for ourselves include:
- Nigeria offers concession on $1.3bn China-funded hydro power plant
- Bauchi gov threatens to dethrone monarchs aiding insecurity
· How we educate ourselves: It is said that the person who doesn’t know where they are going can take any road! To be able to set standards on various facets of our lives, therefore, means we need to educate ourselves. It is about technical skills that we should acquire and keep improving about our professions. It is also about moral and ethical knowledge in understanding those things that are right and those that are wrong as well as those that help or hurt us.
· How we take care of our health: Health is defined by the World Health Organisation, WHO, as ‘…a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.’ This requires that we first know what our current health situation is, understand and do what will keep us healthy; avoid what hurts our health and generally remain alert to all three.
· Be clear on who and what we should be: We need to set standards on who we want to be to ourselves as well as what we should be to others. This is about trying to be the best we can be to ourselves and then projecting that to others as well.
· How do we invest our time? After our life and our health, I would say the next most important resource we have is our time. It is one variable in our lives that is truly independent. Consequently, we need to choose how we invest it in only what is right, good, useful and valuable to us and others.
· What should we engage in and with whom? We need to consciously choose what we engage in, such as how we earn our livelihoods. For instance, all the activities we engage in and what we invest and spend our resources should be honourable and defensible. Similarly, we should be alert to those we engage with and in what ways we engage with them.
· Self-application: We have to set standards on how we apply ourselves in everything we do. We must be thoughtful, reflective, committed, and diligent. Whatever we take on we need to be serious about them and put in our best.
· Congruence, transparency, honesty and integrity: For our own sanity, safety and honour, we need to be congruent, transparent, honest, and sincere in our thoughts, speech and actions. We need to say what we mean. We need to do what we promise to do.
Other issues we have to consciously think about include how we treat others with respect, positively critiquing ourselves, congratulating ourselves and being grateful to God for our His blessings, which includes our mental and emotional capacities as well as the efforts we are able to put in what we do and the results we get, etc.
Setting our standards on the factors we have indirect control on: As we mentioned last week, indirect control of factors is about us doing what we can rightly and legitimately do to move others and what they do from the sections entirely outside of our control sphere (section ‘X’) to the space within our control sphere (section ‘Y’). Some of the ways we can achieve that are:
· Enlightenment: We all grew up from being babies that could not do anything for ourselves into teenage and senior adulthood. We learnt many things along the timeline. Some were deliberately taught to us in our homes and schools whilst we picked up others on the streets – from the good and optimum to the bad and hurtful. Consequently, some people just don’t know any better than you see them do. But we can help them think and do better by re-teaching and re-guiding them. Re-teaching and re-guiding them should not be merely technical. Rather, our heart should also be involved for the best effect.
· Encouragement: Sometimes, people actually know the good and right things to do but may just not do them for several possible reasons. In such situations, we will need to try to understand their inhibitions and help them through encouragement and suasion.
· Providing support: Yet, some other times, people know the right things to do and also want to do them but do not necessarily have control of doing them. This may, for instance, be as a result of the unavailability of certain required resources. Supporting them by providing the required resources can make it possible for them to do what needs to be done.
· Correction: Have you ever noticed that our people that will be rowdy at our international airports will generally be orderly in other foreign airports? The environment we live and operate in and the people we associate with impact us as we also impact the environment and the people. By refusing to do and accept from others what is wrong and by doing what is right and expecting the same from others, we can go a long way in establishing our standards and positively enhancing the standards of others.
Features of personal standards: There are three major features of our personal standards we need to be aware of:
· Some components of our standards should be timeless. This means they should never change with time. These include our resolve to always tell the truth and generally be upright and law-abiding.
· Some components of our standards should change with time. This may include the ways we do our work with the support of new technologies.
· Learning is continuous. We must be open to always improving on our standards.
Setting our standards is about building a great personal way of life on the right philosophies and best practices. They not only define us, but they shape what we can do and how we should do them. Equally importantly, our way of life teaches others either the good that we are or spread our bad in the society. The benefits are to our credit and the bad are equally our responsibility. Next week we will take up Building Organisational Culture.