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Being the Best Version of You: By Julie Nkirote; DGM Bank Examinations

Days before the world would come to terms with the reality of a pandemic, a video clip of a woman spitting on buttons of a lift to deliberately contaminate them was circulating on social media. This perhaps lend credence to claims of some people contaminating handles of parked cars, during which unsuspecting motorists were cautioned on the need to sanitize after touching them. Worse still, there were more reports of tens of other people spitting on elevator buttons, and on other people, and even in public transport.

What amazes me about these weird actions is not the intent to infect other people with the virus, but the very act of dumbfoundingly and unnecessarily putting a strain on the already strained healthcare resources for managing the disease.

Granted, Covid-19 was and still is a terrifying phenomenon, that traumatizes those infected. We may however never know what truly triggered these startling actions. Even though many perpetrators of such heinous acts were later arrested, the experience will forever be etched in the minds of those who fell victim. Which then begs the question: “Is it possible to always be in your best element present the best version of yourself to the world, regardless of what is going on beneath the surface?”

There is no straightforward answer to this, but the few thoughts below

A Childlike Demeanor

We are the best version of ourselves as children, before the conditioning of society takes over our lives. Children live life to the fullest, they love whole heartedly, they cry their little souls out when they hurt and then move on swiftly, they trust, and play and scream, and get giddy with excitement at the most ridiculous little things. Children possess an innate confidence that they have a place in the universe, and that their needs will be met at the right time. They are also bold, curious and ask the strangest of questions with no qualms. Is it not amazing that most children believe that they are superheroes or princesses, and that there is magic all around in this fairy-tale called life? And this is why the Bible states that the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these [children].

Even though we all lose this prototype as we grow older, it is never too late to remember who we truly are.

Don’t fear Failure or Success

The fear of failure is paralyzing, and the fear of success is stupefying. Fear is needless, but every day, it takes over great minds, and kills brilliant ideas before they see the light. Ideas are buried either because of the fear that they will not materialize or the ‘idea holder’ feels unworthy of the imminent success. Whatever the case, there is choice behind every action or inaction, and uncertainty too is a choice, and a feeble one at that. Any form of fear stifles the best version of ourselves. We owe it to ourselves to be free to rise beyond anything we ever thought possible, in all areas of our lives.

Every time I encounter a funeral procession, I try to imagine what could have been on the mind of the deceased before passing on What were their thoughts about the life they had lived? Did they have any regrets?

Be your own competitor

This concept is often controversial, being that we are alumni of an education system that fosters competition inside and outside the classroom, as well as a society that rates success by either the size or number of possessions.

It is needless to compete because the universe is kind enough to offer plenty for each one of us. All we need to do is to ensure that we are always at the right place, at the right time and the rest will fall into place. The ultimate desire for every person alive is abundance, success, love, good health, happiness, etc. It is possible to achieve victory at every moment of every day, by basking in the simplicity and gifts of life, in gratitude. Competing only with oneself means learning lessons from every experience in life, and accepting to create an unstoppable inner power that propels you beyond every limit. 

Master yourself

I am sure you have come across such phrases like ‘self-awareness’ and ‘emotional intelligence’.

According to an article published in the Harvard Business Review, January 2018, titled “What Self-Awareness Really Is (And how to cultivate it), “Self-awareness is not one truth. It is a delicate balance of two distinct, even competing, viewpoints”. The Article goes on to state that when we see ourselves clearly, we are more confident and more creative. We make sounder decisions, build stronger relationships, and communicate more effectively. We are less likely to lie, cheat, and steal. We are better workers who get more promotions. And we are more-effective leaders with more-satisfied employees and more-profitable companies.

Self-mastery is widely misunderstood as a straightforward practice; it is however a difficult, painful and sometimes self-deprecatory process that is often compared to the shedding of an outer layer, so as to reveal the authentic self. The best version of self.

In conclusion, we do not attain the best version of ourselves by climbing the corporate, social or economic ladder, or by attaining the highest academic qualifications possible. But the best version of us can open doors to the best life ever.