The Game of Interactions…
Volume 6 Issue 2 News & Resources | February 2013
I always believe in the human touch, i.e. referring to the act of the heart, rather than the physique, in making changes and transformation. The stories and triumph of victors over seemingly insurmountable foes are in abundance and, certainly, there are powerful lessons for all of us, minnows. Once there was this author/thinker who said that we must not just be “high tech”, but, most importantly, also “high touch”. Yes, trying to be “high touch” may easily be said than done. The basic tenet is that we must never forget the human aspect in whatever we do, be it rigid technology development, or the perplexing and, mostly long-winded, software programming, as an example. Of course, most of the time it just does not seem possible, and the two things are just too incongruent. But, in this lie the challenge and the enigmatic power of the human mind, to find solutions, and of the human heart, to bear the difficulties. “Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can’t ride you unless your back is bent” These are the words of Martin Luther King, Jr – the American civil right hero, and his words, although, implied the willingness to bear the brunt of physical sacrifice, would never be possible without a willing and determined heart. Vincit qui se vincit!
I also realized right from the very beginning that one’s survival in life (also in academia) will depend much on the networking via interactions with other colleagues (and academics). Most often than not, the outcome of the interactions would not be as anticipated, or as expected. One cannot deny the existence of multiple unknown parameters in human dealings. We may see the physical presence, but the ulterior motives and unseen feelings will forever be hidden. We just need to learn to go with the flow. The outcome of the interactions would be managed as it comes. The most important rule is to be sincere and truthful in our intentions, which will translate into our actions. Honesty is always the best policy. And, I sincerely believe in interacting, we must be sincere and honest. As much as we want to gain the most, we should also appreciate the universality of that same feeling in most humans. “The feeling is mutual” as they say. We should avoid being selfish and manipulative. We should aim for the goodness in men, and the betterment of all. Yes, interactions among equal are natural and common, the only problem arises when one interact with the assumingly less fortunate subjects. This is where the opportunity to abuse and being manipulative show itself. Of course, it can also work in the other direction, where those of the seemingly lower status start to prop or do anything in order to get things they desire. Yes, the “ampu-ing” in action. We interact for a purpose. Let us ensure that the purpose is straight and not peppered with unsavory intents.
I would advise young academics to consider the modes and approaches they adopt when they interact. The importance of networking must not be underestimated, especially in the small and closely-knit academic circle in Malaysia. What more if your area of interest is so specialized that only few brave souls are willing to be part of it, i.e. the more pertinent for proper interactions be conducted. One would need only one “interesting” incidence, due to lapse of judgment, to be remembered forever. The interactions in the academic world are aplenty. We interact with student, other academics, office administrators, parents, shop-keepers, school’s children etc. The list is never-ending. We just need to make sure we capitalize on these linkages and bring good to all. This is a bit utopian aim, but we need ideals so that we know we are always guided. Sometimes the opportunities to interact would need to be planned. In some other circumstances, the opportunities would knock on your doors. We just need to practice the way we interact and handle others. Though mistakes are unavoidable, we must always learn from the blunders and hope the “mishaps” are just minor hiccup in our way to become the perfect persona. Yes, we must always aim for the best, since alternatively, is to opt for failure. And remember, human interaction is just unavoidable.
In doing R&D work, we now need to interact with our tools, be it hardware or software. One good point is that our subjects have no feelings (or opinions – if I may say so), and they would just blurt out the same things we put in. Rubbish in, rubbish out. The onus is now on us to determine or shape of the outcome. Our subjects also follow very established rules and strict behaviors. We just need to appreciate them, and now, for the first time, we just might be able to truly estimate the possible outcome. Although, saying that, in life, hardware also breaks-down, and software also crashed. Oh, the impossible art of trying to control nature. Of course, the unknown parameters are lesser, and we can even extract the model of the systems and processes. This is the beauty of working with inanimate object, i.e. we can always repeat and restate the approach and proposed solutions, without having to endure the possibility of broken relationships and unforgiving friends. Alas, the world would not be interesting then. We cannot survive unless we interact with others, occasionally. Yes, my point is that interactions are around us, and we just need to learn to handle them.
As a research group, we have been interacting with many other research groups, around the globe. We have gained a lot from the linkages and networking. There are so many instances that would not have been possible without these symbiotic and positive interactions. So that people would be nice to us, we must initiate by showing that we can be nice to people. The law of attraction is at work here. Research group would not be able to address every research problems. Via the linkages, we learn from each other and hopefully we also learn to respect one another. Finally, Napolean Hill once said:
“It is literally true that you can succeed best and quickest by helping others to succeed”
Let us interact!