What is the Road Less Travelled

March 26, 2012 12:36 pm 1 comment

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Foreword By the Chief Secretary to the Government
In the Book “Taking The Road Less Travelled – A Journey of Self-Examination and Discovery” By YBhg. Dato’ Dr. Mohd Shahari Ahmad Jabar

What Is Road Less Travelled?

As I read the transcript of Dato’ Dr Shahari Ahmad Jabbar’s book, Rudyard Kipling’s (1865-1936) “If” came to mind. Arguably the most popular poet in England in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Kipling’s “If” was the most, if not one of the most famous poems in England. This poem is taught in schools and is even seen at the player’s entrance at the Wimbledon Court. The following is an excerpt of “If”.

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it…

The greatest step to progress lies in our abilities to conquer ourselves; in our abilities to imbue humility within us. Why humility? Because humility constantly kicks at our gut to remind us that we have so much more to do, so much more to learn, and yes we have most certainly not arrived no matter our age, our stature in society and our material achievements in life. We still have a lot more work to do, HUMILITY reminds.

The decision to adopt a value system is a manifestation of one’s experiences and exposure – the components that form our wisdom. Seasoned wisdom enables one to intrinsically and subconsciously select the environment they approve of, if not one they would tolerate. Our responses to events and incidents, problems and successes mirrors all that is within us. By and large it is a reflection of the environment a person is in, chooses to be in and approves to live in.

Dato’ Dr Shahari Ahmad Jabbar’s account of his journey in the public sector emphasise the fundamentals of “Do as you like done”. It really is that easy to lull ourselves to all that is familiar and comfortable. Isn’t it great to simply have something that doesn’t work well but is familiar nonetheless than something that works brilliantly but is different to us? Yet all that is familiar can breed contempt, can spawn stagnation and can indeed fester rot in us if we are not mindful.

Ultimately it is values that define a person’s success. Cultures do not travel. Traditions and rituals never move beyond a community that sees it proper. What is transportable, exportable, installable are values. Values transcend borders and boundaries. It can bridge differences and divergence when shared.

In my own quest to changing myself, first and foremost, as a bearer of all that CHANGE must represent in the public sector, I share a lot about what has to be the “Commandments” of the Public Service. They are not rocket science values, but values at the heart of every man on the street. Integrity, humility, sense of urgency, client management, collaboration, innovation, engagement, continually seeking useful knowledge, accepting complaints as a gift – – but to name a few.

As easy as these words sound it is not as easy to implement. The onus lies in us as leaders to ensure we create THE environment that permits these values to prosper and flourish. That environment lies not in preaching, rather in how we inspire through our own actions. It is embedded in how we deliver on our promises. It is entrusted in the correlation and consistency of our words and our actions.

Having seen many a journey in my 37 years in the public sector, I am certain today that true and lasting success lies in conquering oneself first and foremost. It lies in us doing the right thing especially when no one is watching. It lies in breaking our own mental blocks to change. For most, this is analogous to taking ‘the road less travelled’. Yet only when we can gather that courage to taking this road less travelled, can we cause genuine and meaningful impact in this world. Dato’ Dr. Shaari has movingly shared this in his writing!

(The book was officially launched by YBhg. Tan Sri Mohd Sidek bin Hj. Hassan on Monday, 26th March 2012 at INTAN Bukit Kiara)

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