Anupama writes a letter to her 18-year old daughter. Read what she has to say.
Since my childhood I have been struggling to understand the exact meaning of “survival of the fittest”. What is your understanding of the term?
While in school I read about how in the wild, the predator hunting their prey is the fittest which is why they survive. When I grew up, I could see in relationships, people using their selfish motives to win arguments, leaving behind those who did the most to sustain the respect of their relationship with full integrity.
As I moved in the corporate world, I faced multiple situations where inspite of having shown great results I was badly appraised, left out, not acknowledged for my work as compared to those who were actively involved in ego massages, sycophancy, and were not good performers. Every time there was a lesson to learn and I did learn something from each situation but I still came across similar situations which means that there was still something to learn which I couldn’t unearth.
Remembering the science lessons in school, looking at the experiences in relationships and corporates, my understanding of survival of the fittest was becoming stronger.
My value system somehow never appreciated this understanding or definition because I was never of the opinion to harm someone in order to have my share of happiness or victory. So “survival of the fittest” was a territory which I never wanted to get into because it was something which was totally opposite to my personality. I kept on facing some harsh realities in my professional arena, I could learn something every time but the trend seemed to follow. I started feeling that I was not “FIT” but on the contrary I always knew I was good and very much desired at various roles/ functions in the organisation and I could easily accomplish these roles…so, where was I going wrong?
Few days back, my dad and my nephew were getting ready for the evening walk when suddenly my dad announced the plan for the next day. My 5 year old nephew got excited to hear that next early morning, my dad and my nephew would have a football match. This small kid was so excited that his excitement added a lot of energy to the environment. To add to his excitement, my dad happily said to my nephew “I will do your goal” and the immediate response from a 5 year old kid was “I will defend my goal”. He could have reacted in many different ways but the response he gave was mind boggling.
All laughed at such a cute and enthusiastic conversation but I seriously contemplated about this response. I wondered why this never came to my mind. I was amazed to understand that even a small kid knows what his priority is to survive a match, then what took me so long to understand the simple meaning of “survival of the fittest”?
This small incidence erased all my doubts and made me feel lighter on one side but felt heavy emotionally of having wasted so much of my crucial time in succumbing to the situation where I could have just been a defender.
What I understood was that my values, my upbringing may not allow me to hurt someone or attack anyone to establish my strength in society or at my work place but I can at least have a priority set to protect myself first and not let anyone harm me.
I understood that I had never established a protection around myself which enabled anyone to enter my zone and gave them an opportunity to harm me. I had learnt so many lessons but what I was failing to learn was to set a priority of not letting anyone attack me. Keeping yourself safe and surviving is stronger than those who attack in anticipation and declare themselves as strongest.
A big lesson from a small mouth.
I am sure many of the readers would contemplate on this thought and would be able to relate to what “survival of the fittest” actually meant for them.
I am still a learner and loved this incident which happened to be a ray of sunshine that cleared the dark clouds from my sky.
Image via Pexels
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