How Do you Judge Your Own Performance?

How Do you Judge Your Own Performance?

“And the second question was ‘How do you judge your own performance?’” I told Lulu, my parrot. I was referring to the interview of Suhas Joshi in Rang Pandhari in which she was asked three questions at the end. Lulu and I had discussed the third question – ‘After this long career as a stage artist what did you gain as a human being?’

Lulu did not answer; he continued to nibble at blackberries.

“Hello, did you hear me? The second question was ‘How do you judge your own performance?’”

“Don’t tell me what she said. Answer that question to me now.” Parrots can be a bit brusque, I thought. They talk, screech and squawk, they do not sing like a Koel.

Suhas Joshi

“She said that she moved from a feeling of inferiority to a feeling of inadequacy and it was a long journey. People around her used to point out what was not done right rather than taking a balanced view of what she did right and where improvements were required.”

“This is so common. I guess it is more common among the typical middle-class families; they place great emphasis on perfection.”

“If a school going boy or girl scores ninety-five marks in mathematics, they will point out that he or she lost five marks to ‘silly mistakes’. Appreciation does not come easily to them. They unknowingly give inferiority complex to their children.”

“So true.”

“I have a friend who tells his wife ‘I will tell you only if you do not get a dish right. Till then presume you have prepared the food well. Ha,ha!”

“That’s a typical Indian husband’s way. They step in only to point out faults and attack self-esteem of another person. Inferiority is another name for low self-esteem, inadequacy is a different matter. It means ‘unequal to the purpose.’ Feelings of inferiority interfere in the performance. Suhas Joshi was right when she said that it was a long personal journey moving from a feeling of inferiority to a feeling of inadequacy.”

“Timothy Gallwey puts it beautifully. Performance = Potential minus Interference!”

“And we come back to the question how do you judge or assess your own performance?”

“I guess it is easy to judge somebody else’s performance than one’s own. When it comes to judging their own, people seek feedback.”

“True. It is customary for the audience to give a good applause at the end of the play. Does that mean everybody has performed well in a play, and all the time? Feedback serves limited purpose.”

“Hmmm…. “

“The best way to judge one’s performance is to ask what was done to one’s satisfaction and what did not meet one’s standards.”

“That’s what Suhas Joshi said. In each stage performance, she said, there are certain things you do well.”

“And you are also left with the feeling that certain things could have been better handled. Identify what ‘interference’ hindered your performance.”

“But it is a team work and the performance of others affects yours, isn’t it true?”

“That’s true. The question is what view you take of it. You can blame them for failing to raise their performance. Or you can think about how you could have influenced them to raise it.”

“That’s difficult, Lulu.”

Lulu, my parrot. Pic Courtesy Greg Hill on Unsplash

“I know it is difficult or may even be impossible in some cases! But thinking that way helps you keep the locus of change within yourself. How you think is important if you have to be in charge of your own development.”

“Such reflections remind me of the puzzle. A mechanical frog was placed at the center of a circle with a radius of one hundred feet. The frog was programmed to jump to half of the distance between him and the periphery. The question is how many jumps he must take to get out of the circle. And the answer is….”

“Never! Because half the distance between him and the periphery will always remain, however small. That is what happens to those who constantly ask themselves the two searching questions: what was done to one’s satisfaction and what did not meet one’s standards.”

“And they are like that proverbial frog – improving and yet imperfect!”

“You got it!”

“But don’t you think, Lulu, that it applies to discreet performance like acting in a play rather than playing a role in an organization?”

“You are intelligent, my friend. And intelligent guys like to distinguish between the situations to prove that the rule does not apply to them. Why? You do not wish to do hard thinking and face your own standards?”

“That’s tough, Lulu.”

“Not tough, it just takes long time to learn the practice of constant introspection! And yes, the practice of candid conversation with self.”

Lulu pushed my mobile to me for a selfie.

Vivek S Patwardhan

“What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.” **** “Aroehan: Creating Dream Villages in Mokhada by 2025: “No Malnutrition Deaths, No Child ‘Out of School’, Reduction in migration by 50%.”