What was the "wisest" advice given to you before you went for that crucial job interview?
I remember one well meaning friend asking me,
"Think hard, would you hire yourself?"
Another one quipped,
"Try and think like the interviewer. What does he/she want? What are they looking for in an employee?"
As if it wasn't enough that my blank mind had forgotten what and who I was, like a cruel joke, I now had the added burden of imagining who and what my interviewer(s) was(were)! If they didn't know who they were and what they wanted, did they have any business interviewing me in the first place?
Such sane questions occurred to me only after the mind numbing experience of being grilled over a slow fire, glad that my anatomy was not any the worse for the ordeal.
I'd heard of the saying that one has to be cruel to be kind, and I decided whether my well meaning friends had been one or the other only after the outcome of the interviews.
I digress, hugely. Let me try and get to the point I'm trying to make (and at the moment I'm thinking just like plain old me, not like any of my readers, I swear!).
Vishwanathan Anand claims it, job seekers swear by it, and many other successful people vouch for it...being two, or sometimes more than two, people.
Perfect case for schizophrenia, you say?
Wait a minute. Vishwanathan Anand, our very own Chess hero, claims he always thinks what his opponent will be upto. Not that his opponent doesn't do the same.
Look all around you. The people who know other people better than they know themselves always seem to have the upper hand. Which is why the majority of human beings are happily engaged in this engaging sport!
I no longer find those American movies that have control of all the people of the world as their core theme, stupid. That is what everyone around is engaged in, after all!
Doesn't the lawyer think of what his opponent must be up to? Ditto for the politician, the marketing person, the advertiser, the maidservant.....the list is endless...Seems like everyone is trying to second guess everyone else, and trying to know them better than they know themselves! Insane!!
Well, its often been said that there is a thin line between sanity and madness.
Many celebrities claim that well controlled madness has helped them achieve fame and success.
The only differene between such people and those locked up in asylums being that on account of their amazing abilities, their 'strange' behaviour is explained away as 'eccentric'.
I cite some of my observations of one such 'strange' behaviour--thinking like two, or maybe more, people, and its consequences....
In the days of instructive teaching, in my sepia tinted memories, I can almost hear my teachers saying (with advancing age, they appear, horror of horrors, en masse in my mind's eye, instead of individually, all mouthing the same words!)
"Think like the examiner. Imagine him/her surrounded by mounds of answer sheets. Imagine if he/she has had a fight with his/her spouse. Your different answers will only irritate him/her. So, just write as I'm telling you to. Believe me, I have been teaching board classes for 10/20/30 etc. years."
So, at such a young age, I and many others like me, were already thinking like two. Sounds similar to 'eating for two" when you're expecting a baby, but with comparatively less than happy outcomes.
After school, you feel you have left thinking like two behind for good, when you discover the gory truth.
Two is the minimum you think like. You have to think like the boss (that's if you've gone past thinking like your interviewers), the boy/girl-friend (oh yes!), the prospective in laws, the customers, the neighbours, your domestic help ......
Strangely, a little bit of sanity returns when one gets married. After a certain period of time(different for different individuals) if you're married, you have at least two or three people less to think like-namely, your spouse(sometimes the activity ceases within hours of tying the knot!), your in laws, and for a brief period, your children.
Of course, the hiatus is short lived, as, once your children become teenagers, your sole preoccupation in your waking hours as well as when you're asleep, is to think like them, and try and pre-empt and second guess their every decision, failing miserably at most times, but like an obsessively compulsive (or compulsively obsessive-take your pick) person, going on trying till they are well past that dreadful period. The fact that your own parents never succeeded in this herculean task doesn't occur to you at all.
After a certain period of time, when you are exhausted thinking like everyone around, you realise that you were so busy thinking like so many other people, you've forgotten to think like yourself, almost completely. Mid Life Crises! (I wonder who comes up with such scary names for life's simple processes?).
So you now spend the rest of your life attending Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Art of Living Sessions, wondering aloud, "Who am I?" !! Round robin, but still thinking like two!
All that hoopla just because God gave you a brain so you could think for yourself like yourself, but you taxed it heavily by thinking like others. All that time and money wasted on shrinks, gurus, and retreats, when all you have to do is stop and say, "From today onwards, I'm only going to think like me, for me", and hey! Presto! The crises is gone!