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Ash. Spiritual. Happy in my own way. Writes Random Stuff. Ice Cream. Night owl. Ice Cream, again.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Of Raised Voices and Intimidating Persona.




The other day while I had to wait for almost half an hour to board a bus to get back home, I noticed a dog and a cow facing each other as though they were gearing up for a big fight. The dog kept barking every now and then and the cow stood there unfazed by all the tantrums thrown by the dog. I sensed that the cow wanted to move in one direction but the dog kept blocking the way, with all that it could muster.


Later that evening, when I was travelling, I heard the person next to me shout instructions to the person at the other end of the phone. I presumed he was a Team lead, he kept reinforcing the fact that some deadline had to be met and that they should consider working during the weekends if they were unable to complete the task within the stipulated time. The team were to keep everything ready before the lead got back from his impending two day vacation. What an inspiring leader!

It was then that the picture of the Cow and the Dog facing each other flashed vividly in my mind and I realized,

Just because you raise your voice,it doesn't mean that you are more powerful and that the other person would have to necessarily budge and listen to you

Just because you seem more powerful (authority) than others, that doesn't give you the right to take advantage of others.

Bullying does not necessarily refer to using means of force to intimidate people or harassing them. Wikipedia says it's even a "common push factor" and it is this factor which I'm writing about.

Some people are either afraid to say 'No' to others or  are in the perpetual need to please everyone. They are the ones who are handpicked by the bullies to get their work done. I would not blame the bullies. They are ruthless, we all know that. I am concerned about the people who are being bullied. Did you know that the choice is actually yours? Whether or not you choose to be bullied? Doesn't make sense? Let me elaborate.

Do you know how a lion hunts for its prey among a herd? It observes them for a while from a distance, shortlists one  and attacks. This is how bullying works too. The bully observes people and then choose their 'target'. And how they choose, depends entirely on how we portray ourselves. If we allow ourselves to be seen as a weak person or someone who allows others to take decisions for us, we would be a very easy target. 

Once the bullying starts, there is no point complaining, since it is just the result of our actions. I have seen and witnessed so many of such instances happening on a daily basis. I can list numerous incidents but I'm sure everyone has come across at least one such incident. To think of it, what people do as a favour, as a means of lending a helping hand to others, is sometimes misconstrued as a sign of weakness.But, weakness is when you do not draw a firm and clear line between what you would do to help others and what you would have to do for others under compulsion.

If you want to avoid being in such situations, learn to say No, learn to be firm and learn to draw a very clear line.After all, it is Your Choice.



54 comments:

  1. There is a saying barking dogs seldom bite, I Also ffound in ny job experience that while others are shouting and what not if you are calm but firm it makes a difference..

    Power is not in muscles of urban arms it's in the brain.. I have learnt a lot in my line of work.

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    1. And I am first.. fastest comment u got.. he he he he

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    2. I am so proud to have you comment on my Blog, just minutes after I posted this. Thank you Bikram :-)

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    3. And Bang on Bikram. Power is not in showing your muscles or raising your voice. Wonderfully expressed :-). It is very easy to loose one's temper, but the challenge lies in staying calm!

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  2. There is a saying barking dogs seldom bite, I Also ffound in ny job experience that while others are shouting and what not if you are calm but firm it makes a difference..

    Power is not in muscles of urban arms it's in the brain.. I have learnt a lot in my line of work.

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  3. Absolutely agree. Shouting and bullying others can never be the permanent solution to get work done from others. Inspire them to lend a helping hand. Bullying may work in the short-term, but when the bullied puts the foot down and stands firm, the former can't face the wrath. Nice analogy Ashwini :)

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    1. Thank you Anand :-)

      Yes, one would never know when the bubble would burst and how intimidating it can be for the Bully, to face the wrath of the one he bullied!

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  4. If barking could produce results then every dog would have its day everyday:)

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  5. Good One! I appreciate your thought process and the way you connect things to life and its
    situations

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    1. Thank you Bharathi. When your mind is frantically trying to distract itself, this is what happens, I guess :-)

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  6. Very relevant post on life in most companies today :( interesting read!

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  7. Nice post, Ashwini, containing a lesson for both- the bully and the bullied. Being pliant and pliable does many a time invite never ending trouble.But then, judging the situation, might is right has also to be kept in mind.

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    1. Thank you Sir.
      When you say might is right, yes it is always the survival of the fittest, but shouldn't that be done by aiming to excel, rather than aiming to put others down?

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  8. I agree. Speaking up is important especially with adults. Many find it difficult to open their mouths in front of elders or power figures. It is also a challenging situation when kids are involved.

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    1. Thank you Rachna :-)
      Yes, challenging though it may seem, one has to learn to speak up!

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  9. I agree. Speaking up is important especially with adults. Many find it difficult to open their mouths in front of elders or power figures. It is also a challenging situation when kids are involved.

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  10. Very well observed. Sometimes, we get moral lesson from around us. You have a great observation for things. :)

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    1. Thank you Saru :-), I would rather say these kind of things seem to happen around me all the time :-), Life doesn't seem to miss out an opportunity to teach us a lesson :-)

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  11. spot on diagnosis...bullies always pick someone weak and non-intimidating to harass...so the fault lies in the one getting bullied Equally. on the other hand i have sometimes seen some bullies who picked up on un-assuming looking people get the crap kicked out of them by the sudden soft type turning hard..it happens...

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    1. Yes Doctor, I've witnessed such incidents too and I find myself trying hard not to cheer loudly and attract attention! We always have a choice in whatever happens, to us.

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  12. Ashwini.. you have written about a very important and pressing topic in a very simple and elegant but very effective way. I have seen so many such situations and I have been in a few of them too. I too have had problems in say “No” in my work which has sometimes worked against me. And you are absolutely right when you say that we have to learn to say “No”. And there are lots of vultures out there to pounce on you to get their work done and it always helps to be on your guard. Nice post and very well written.

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    1. Thank you for the wonderful comment Raj. :-)
      Yes, as Dhirubhai Ambani said, "If you are not going to work to build your dreams, someone else is going to make sure you work to build theirs!"

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  13. I loved this one Ashwini. You have stated what needs to be understood by us -- whether we are the aggressor or the victim. Power does not mean voice power and authority does not mean being authoritarian. And yes, finally we have the choice in our hands whether to be bullied or not.

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    1. Thank you Zephyr :-)
      The power always, lies with us :-)

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  14. Kudos to your power of observation. Quite rightly said, "Barking dogs (and people) seldom bite" and there is no need to feel overpowered by them. Even when one is angry, the volumes become high. Even at that time, being quiet is sometimes an option.

    You are our resident philosopher :-)

    Joy always,
    Susan

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    1. Thank you Susan :-)
      Being quiet is sometimes an option, and he who can stay calm amidst chaos, would definitely emerge the winner!

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  17. @ashwini : great post
    It takes lot of guts to say 'no' as u hav to think about ur grades and everything
    But always it's better to say no than bearing a"bow" :)
    Well written :)

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  18. Bang on, Ash! This is definitely a "need-of-the-hour" post. You are right about the victims, who allow themselves to be bullied, instead of standing up to the bully. It all depends upon what we chose and how we say a big "NO" to bullying.

    You have illustrated the point through effective and real life anecdotes :)A great blog post, as always :) Keep blogging! :)

    PS: I was occupied with my exams and so, I couldn't read your recent blog posts! Will read them soon :)

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Sowmya :-)

      I have always been inspired to write by what happens in everyone's life. Thank you!

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  19. Wonderful and a thoughtful post Ashwini. And I believe more kids should read this post because their minds are influenced more by bullying than adults. I loved the Lion's analogy. Infact I have one more analogy related to how Lion chooses his attack (read it somewhere recently) -

    "A group went for a safari. They heard the roar of a lion. All of them started running.. One guy began tightening his shoe-lace. One of the group members asked him - why are you wasting time on this. RUN! He said - I just have to ensure I am not the last in the race. I just have to be faster than one of you to survive" :)

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    1. Thank you Binu :-)

      I read about the analogy somewhere and realized that it fits in exactly :-)
      And Yes, I read that one too, you need not necessarily be the first one to survive, you just need to be better than the worst!

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  20. So much depends on upbringing. Aggressive bullying is neither good for the bully nor the bullied. It leads to frustration and anger. Best to teach kids other, more assertive ways of expressing their anger. Both parents and teachers need to be vigilant.

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    1. A very valid point. Yes, it all depends on the upbringing. And teachers and parents have a very valid role to play! Well said.

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  21. I may be the only dissenting voice here but I cannot say that the person who is bullied is equally to blame. You may be right about adults (even then, when one is financially helpless and dependent on the bully, what does one do?) but in case of kids, how do does some one really expect a kid to know how to stand up against the bully all by himself/ herself?

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    1. Roshni, A very valid point indeed.
      For adults, well I was referring to what normally happens at work. Let's not talk about financially dependent people. It's complicated!

      And as for kids, as someone mentioned, Parents and Teachers have an important part to play. They should teach them not to bully others, at the same time keep some elder informed whether something/someone is bothering them!

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  22. Indeed a nice post! I am also from the SEO background and love to enjoy reading fresh posts on this subject. I would like to thank you for writing this post and now I am your regular reader as I have subscribed your blog in my RSS reader.

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  23. A very impressive post, Ash. More so because what inspired to write about this issue and I admire the way you have related those instances to bullying. Yes, bullying is a very serious issue and you are bang on when you say, we are indirectly responsible for being bullied. Learning to say "No' isn't difficult but we have to cultivate that habit within and only then we can fight out this menace. Really nice observations. Kudos to you. :)

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    1. Thank you Akshay :-)

      Your comments made my day :-)

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  24. Very well put Ashwini. Bullying is a common problem and has deeper repercussions on the mind. Learning to say no and that too effectively is important. First time here and loved it :) Keep writing well.

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    1. Thank You ;-) Welcome to my Blog. Glad that you liked it :-)

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  25. What a post Ashwini. and wonderfully coorelated. Barking dogs seldom bite. That is so very true. And you know the world doesn't take people who yell and shout too seriously. I loved this post!

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  26. Everything you said bullies trapping the others and overpowering them, are fact. In fact I have witnessed the same thing for 2 years which happened to my friend during my PG college days. Right from the professors to classmates to the girl he proposed, everyone used him as much as possible. Now that he is working in IT firm, sadly the same is still happening. I must say its the not fault of those who ask him to do things. Its my friend's mistake only. He could simply refuse to do at some point. But he never does that..

    Anyways.. Well written..

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  27. The choice is yours, how true! Sometimes it does become difficult for us to stand up for ourselves but if we make an effort, we surely can and we should. Loved this inspirational post Ashwini, the analogies you gave were very apt.

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  28. Being a bully is difficult as well. If a person is bullied, they may sulk for sometime but will gradually forget it and move on in life. But if you can understand the motivations behind bullying, you'll realize that they'll never be happy whatever the outcome of their actions. If they fail, they'll be angry. If they succeed, they'll want more. Either way, its a bitter experience being a bully.

    Next time you observe a bully, do not just go by their external smiles/laughter/confidence.

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