Culled from THE PUNCH 02/01/2014/P.21
Within the first one week of the year; folks will come up with their resolutions for the year. This could be written or remain as thoughts but certainly this ritual is repeated yearly, whether in a religious house, shrine, beer parlour or in the bedroom. What is very certain is that these resolutions are not only peculiar to individuals but applicable to corporate organisations and even governments as they allocate resources to actualize their resolutions.
Resolution, in basic English language, evokes about five meanings that are very instructive namely; decision,
solution, promise, determination and a clear picture.
Paradoxically, as popular as the practice of New Year resolution can be; there is equally the cynicism that goes
with it. Most folks will readily assure you that their resolutions will fizzle by the third month of the year just as governments talk of 30 per cent budget implementation in November of a year.
(They even tried saying 3rd month of the year, i would say they 2nd week of January).
Our failure to live by our resolutions emanate from mental laziness. Even at the national level, our economic experts rationalise our economic failures on the premise that our brilliant economic resolutions fail because of poor implementation strategies.
While I am not a management expert, I strongly presume that effective implementation strategies constitute the nucleus of any resolution whether at individual or national level.
Our new year and other resolutions fail because they are at best-wishful thinking, some- ‘brainwaves’, or at best, some esoteric ideology that are not contextually thought through or just frank paranoia at times. The central meaning of resolution around which the other ones hang is that of promising oneself to do something which prescribes that the self must be appraised.
The rigorous process of arriving at a definitive diagnosis remains the responsibility of an intelligent clinician by juggling data obtained from history taking, clinical observation and laboratory. Once the diagnosis is missed; no clinical resolution implemented will be effective. Resolutions are expected to be relevant and practical action plans intelligently designed to remedy deficits elicited through objective appraisal of data.
In this context; a 360 degree feedback from our relationships provides the data. The challenge of articulating an effective resolution rests on the courage to identify and confront our bad attitudes without injuring our self-esteem.
Defense mechanisms which are mostly unconscious psychological strategies protect us from coming face to face with our real selves. The human resource industry in the past few years has been parading psychometric instruments for self-diagnosis without a robust contextual appraisal of feedback from vital relationships. We can only do an effective self-appraisal as we harvest and objectively engage the many feedback emanating from our relationships.
Beyond psychometric assessment; our varied relationships with our spouse, siblings, children, colleagues and even community provide the substrate that can facilitate a fund of data that will be useful in self-diagnosis.
However, this may not come directly but could be excavated from previous arguments, quarrels, business failures, relationship failures even financial misfortunes. Most of us do not realize what life is all about until more than half of it is gone, which explains the psychological distress of midlife, because it is the critical period that life itself compels us to do a compulsory self-appraisal and the crisis occurs when a workable remedial resolution is not obtainable.
In human resource development seminars; It is discovered that an average Nigerian finds it extremely difficult owning up to defective attitudes as they rationalize them as part of their personality characteristics.
No personality is bad but there are bad attitudes that require modification through intelligent resolutions. Our bad attitudes emanate from the environment while our innocent personality only acts as the substrate. Personality once formed cannot change because the characteristics are enduring but attitude can be continuously modified.
There are obvious impediments to self-diagnosis in our culture essentially because we do not have a contemplative habit; we are very noisy as a people and this stifles our capacity for reflective introspection.
Feedback from our relationship networks may not always be sincere because our culture forbids spontaneity and sincere feedback. Superstitions, taboos and myths exist that stifle these pathways that could provide useful data for self-diagnosis. Corruption thrives in our country despite articulate and strong resolutions to combat it because we have fundamental cultural software that feeds it.
Our civil service and academic institutions are bereft of objective appraisal because of nepotism. A critical and objective engagement of our significant others are almost impossible which has been carried over into our contemporary religion. Our ‘prosperous’ jet flying general overseers find it difficult to define ill-gotten wealth, hence, they have lost their voice against corruption. Everyone has become self-defensive and self-conceited and as such our resolutions are merely empty chatters explaining the reason for epidemic mediocrity in all the facets of our lives.