One of my more favourite verses of the Quran is when it commands us to speak and act justly even if it be against your community, your parents, even yourself. The exact verse is:
4:135 O you who believe! Be maintainers of justice, bearers of witness of Allah’s sake, though it may be against your ownselves or parents or near relatives; if he be rich or poor, Allah is nearer to them both in compassion; therefore do not follow (your ) low desires, lest you deviate; and if you swerve or turn aside, then surely Allah is aware of what you do.
Pretty common sense when you come to think of it. But very difficult to live by. How many times we protect our loved ones for wrongs that they have done. As parents we protect our children for their mistakes, instead of letting them face the music. Or as a Manager or Fellow employee protect another fellow employee. We give in to our “low desires” rather than striving for and sticking to higher ideals of living that we’ve been destined for.
I’m posting the below video not to air my political views, but simply to share my awe in how he is not afraid to speak up for what he believes is right inspite of the seemingly overwhelming opposition. Furthermore this video is also an epitome of the Silent Majority syndrome. Observe how vociferous the minority of the audience gets when what they hear is not to their liking; but as soon as the speaker responds at 1:14 the crowd explodes in applause. The same thing happens towards the end, the crowd responds in an overwhelmingly positive manner. The question is, why was the crowd silent till that time? Why did they wait for the Norman Finklestein to air his frank views on the Holocaust to then offer their support? It’s the same reason why I don’t standup for the corruption and injustice that I see today. It’s so much more comfortable to sit and watch instead. And give support when only when everyone else is doing so.
Take a stand for greatness.Like many important things in life, creating a wow experience begins with making a commitment. You must resolve in your own heart that you will not sell-out or settle. This isn’t necessary for every project, of course. But when you decide that the dream warrants it, you have to take a stand and play full-out.
Connect with the original vision.King Solomon once said, “Without vision the people perish” (see Proverbs 29:18 KJV). This is also true for wow. Before it exists, it is only an idea. The only place it exists is inside your head. Sometimes, you just have to close your eyes and once again become present to what it is that you are trying to create.
Remind yourself what is at stake.I have found that the best way to do this is to ask, “Why is this so important?” When I was writing my first book, I had a list of seven reasons why I needed to write the book. I reviewed it every morning before I began writing. It gave the project an almost epic significance, but it kept me going when I wanted to quit.
Listen to your heart.Most of us have spent a lifetime ignoring—or even suppressing—our intuition. I don’t know if this is a product of modern rationalism or American pragmatism. Regardless, I believe intuition is “the map to buried treasure.” It is not infallible but neither is our reason. And, it can point us in the right direction. We need to pay attention to this inner voice.
Speak up.This is he crucial step. You must give voice to your heart and go on the record. If you don’t, who will? You may be the original dream’s last best chance of staying alive. Most people will happily give in, give up, and move on. Most people have more to do than they can get done, so they are reluctant to go through one more iteration to get it right? But if they don’t, they will never get to wow! This is why you can’t afford to remain silent.
Be stubborn.This is perhaps the toughest part of all. We all want to be liked. We don’t want to be “high-maintenance” or unreasonable. But think back on your own history. Aren’t the people you respect the most also the ones who demanded the most from you? You may not have fully appreciated it at the time, but, looking back, their stubborn refusal to settle is what made the difference.
Look, mediocrity is natural. You don’t have to do anything to drift there. It just happens. But if you want to create truly wow experiences, then it is going to require courage. Are you willing to be brave?
“More often than not, we remain silent when we should speak up. However, there are times when you should remain silent. Here are a few:
• If the problem is small, won’t happen again, and you know the other person already feels bad, you probably don’t need to say anything.
• If the problem doesn’t have a significant impact, don’t say anything.
• If you’re part of a leadership team and you’re the only one who cares about a certain issue—or is at least willing to confront it—take preparatory steps. Talk toyour peers. If you’re still the “Lone Ranger,” tell your team that you are about to set a new standard (give them a warning), then do it.”
Ofcourse, the bigger problem faced by corporate world today is keeping silent when one should be speaking up. That’s precisely what the brilliant books Crucial Confrontations and Crucial Conversations, deal with; ie how to speak up effectively when faced with situations that involve broken agreements, poor performance, or any scenario which involves high stakes, strong emotions combined with differences of opinions.