Inherent Tendencies July 11


                                                                                    Dr. Ashutosh Karnatak


When we go out  in the sun in a mid summer afternoon, we prepare ourselves to face scorching heat waves . Why? Because we feel inside us that we are going to encounter that. Similarly, when we travel to Himalayas we have a feeling of cold. In a similar manner, when we visit a garden full of flowers, we have romantic feeling. A number of such feelings are inside us. They exist primarily on account of our previous experiences and the subsequently built inherent tendencies for objects like Sun, Hills, Flowers. The worldly objects and people are perceived by our mind through the organs of sense i.e. organs of touch, taste, smell, sight and hearing.


These tendencies are innate from the childhood itself and one cannot ignore the important role played by our environment, education and parental attitude in this. To give an illustration, we all know that since childhood we are brought with the environment along with a threat or fear of things which are forbidden. Our parents and elders said,” Don’t do this”, “Don’t do that”. Often these parental dictates are more in negative than positive (in psychological terms, more of ‘Critical Parent’ than ‘Nurturing Parent’).  More often than not, the little child inside us had to face a spoken interruption when doing something .This is the point when tendencies start developing. Whenever a child thinks of  climbing on the table slightly higher  than his own reach , his mother would invariably always scold him  and prevent him from doing so, not because the table may fall and he may get hurt – but out of the fear that her child may get hurt. What was needed here was a calculated risk of experimentation by the child himself for some kind of achievement. But, here the conflict lies between the mother’s emotion and the child’s effort which the latter wished to achieve. In all probability, mother’s wish prevails. Consequently, as a tendency of the mother to protect her child and the habitual instinct developed inside the child during the years that follow, this emotional engagement would result in  the child getting averse to taking risk.


It is the seed of tendencies which germinates subconsciously inside us and develops like an amoeba, which has multiple branches.

 Once upon a time frog and a scorpion were to cross a river . The frog could swim across but the scorpion was not having the skill set to cross the river. Hence, he requested the frog to help him and take him on its back so that he could also cross the river. The frog expressed his fear that the scorpion would bite him on the way. The scorpion, however, confirmed him that he would not do the same as he is also interested to cross the river. The frog thought that since the scorpion is also keen to cross over, so he may not bite him, and thus agreed to take him on the back. While they travelled half the way the frog experienced a bite on his back. He told the scorpion, “Look you have bitten me ultimately”. The scorpion said,” What could I do? It is my natural tendency and despite my knowing this, my tail could not stop and I am sorry for the same”. 

Moral of the story is, the frog forgot to take into account the natural tendency of the scorpion and got victimised for the same.


There is another parallel story which displays tendency but in the positive sense.

 A monk along with his disciple was crossing the river. Here again a scorpion wanted to cross the river. The monk took him on the shoulder and started crossing the river, despite the opposition from his disciple. The scorpion started biting him and used to fell down in the river and, every time the scorpion fell into the river,  the monk took  it out and kept it on his shoulder. The monk’s disciple asked him the reason why he was picking up the scorpion again and again despite facing its bites. The monk uttered to his disciples that “The scorpion has its tendency to bite, but my tendency is to tolerate and help others. So, I can not leave my tendency”.  One day when I was going to Gurgaon, we were stuck in the traffic. I asked my driver to take a U –turn and go back and take alternate route. When I was telling him this, it occurred to my mind that he will try to proceed with the original route and will not accede to the alternate one suggested by me. To my surprise, the same thing happened. The driver persuaded me for following the original route. It is the inherent tendency of the drivers as most drivers have the impression that their own route selection is the most appropriate. 

So, we see how tendencies affect our behaviour---good or bad. It is everybody’s experience in the practical life also that, in a person, the ultimate hidden tendency comes up when a desired situation arise. It becomes very difficult to control the tendency--- particularly a negative one. Someone may  argue that one can improve upon ,but it is my experience of 30 years in public life that one can improve upon the positive qualities like helping others – one can enhance this positive attribute, but one can not leave criticising others, despite deliberately trying to  control. One glaring example of the negative tendency is the slip of one’s tongue– one will criticize somehow and somewhere.


In our professional life these inherent tendencies plays an important role. You may have observed that our most of the time our behaviour is driven by our tendencies and it contributes to our branding in the society i.e in family or workplace. Some of the examples are:


Ø      That person is very simple

Ø      That person is very clever

Ø      That person is corrupt, he does leave any body.

Ø      That person is careless

Ø      That person is knowledgeable

Ø      That person is helpful.

Ø      Etc etc


So our inherent tendencies have major impact in our life, which most of the person does not consider for any correction /improvement. It is also correct that everyone likes to have association with good persons irrespective of the fact how bad ( in the perspective of the society) , they are .


There are a few simple solutions to this problem. The following is required to be followed in day to day life:


1)     Try to identify your inherent tendencies:

In day to day life, we encounter many people. For example at home,  the  life partner, children, neighbour and at work, the  boss, peer group, subordinates etc. Our efficiency is determined by the dexterity with which we deal with them. In day to day management it is very essential to know and understand the inherent tendencies of the individual and act accordingly. It would help a lot. Generally we do not take this part into account. If some one is clever and you are dealing with him, you will find that, after some time, he has left the imprint of his cleverness on you. So, start trying to see from the other person’s viewpoint, which is the correct adult behaviour, as opposed to an infant. EMPATHY is the keyword.


2)     Inherent tendencies are the result of one’s environment:

It is told that Americans are easy to negotiate whereas Russians are very tough in negotiation .One must know the environment of the person with which he is dealing with .It is true that inherent tendencies seldom change. The reason is that is either by birth or by baptism from the childhood from the family or from the society. It is told that the person is known by the society he keeps. The thoughts picked up from the childhood bear deep marks in the mind of the individual. Thus, it is always better to know about the environment of the individual in which he has been brought up.


3)     Work on strengths:

Every person has some strengths and weaknesses. It is told that strengths should be exploited and weakness to be improved upon. It has been seen that it becomes very difficult to improve upon after one attains the age of 25 years, as by the time one reaches this age, the inherent tendencies are already reinforced into the sub-conscious mind .It is the mind which is the dormant site and all the memories, experiences etc are stored there which dominate and determine our day to day behaviour through the conscious mind. 


4)     Try to improve upon good attributes :

As explained above, it is very difficult to improve upon the weaknesses of the individual after attaining adulthood, barring a few who have open mind and want to improve upon. It has been observed when people are sent for professional trainings, they come back and do the work in the same routine manner as they were doing earlier. It has been noticed that there is no significant improvement upon their professional as well as personal behaviour.  They should take advantages of these trainings and try to inculcate good attributes.


Readers are requested to apply above in day to day life and experience results. After sometime you will find change in the life as most of the issues which looked serious before become trivial as the behaviour of the person is based on his tendencies .

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