|Sir Najmul Hasan of IBA. Photo taken for NIC card in 1972-72
This is 1985, my first semester of MBA at IBA and the course was Organizational Behavior. Mr Najmul Hasan in the very first class emphasized that he would be focusing on psychology, which is his favorite subject and the subject in which he did his masters from USA. I was coming from the electronic engineering background where the focus is on scientific observations in areas far removed from understanding people. I found this course by Najmul Hasan sb a refreshing perspective on the world of reality, and our perceptions resulting in our behaviors. The course gave me the opportunity to observe applications of psychology concepts. I would try to apply the concepts being learned to the characters of hundreds of fiction and literature books that I had read and loved. To me analyzing the psychology of these characters and their behavior that I often hated or loved, using the course concepts, became a scintillating experience. I then started applying the concepts to the people whom I would meet and would try to connect the observations with the theories of psychology. The book and its concepts are with me to this day, because I had been actively analyzing the situations that I encountered in my subsequent interactions and readings with many of the concepts that I learned from this course, including the concept which helps in measuring the extent of our success in life.
Mr Najmul Hasan had a reputation for being a hard task master and students were afraid of being penalized for not remembering minute details. Despite the apprehension of my class fellows, I have understood by the end of second hourly (monthly exam) that I would not only pass the course but would also score an A! It was true that he wanted students to master the intricate details and to answer questions which tested fine differentiation of concepts, which I tried to do. But more importantly, I realized early on that he actually had a single point agenda from this course. The agenda was to make the students understand the concept related to “measuring the extent of their success in life”. I could predict from the frequency with which he emphasized this concept that if I master this concept, and can demonstrate its application in different situations, he would be happy to give me a good grade. His agenda was for us to understand the full import of the following concept:
“The extent to which our perception matches the reality, determines the extent to which we will succeed in our life”.
This concept emphasizes that reality is too complex. The picture of reality that we hold in our mind is called the perception. This perception is an incomplete and often an inaccurate representation of what exists in the real world. Success is a function of our perception matching the reality because our perceptions determine our behavior and are actions. If perceptions are imprecise and inaccurate our actions would trigger inappropriate responses to the challenges we face. Hence greater the match between reality and perception, greater the chance of our actions being appropriate and directed effectively to meet our goals of life, and hence greater the chances of our success.
Having understood this concept and the emphasis he was putting on it, I made sure that in answer to each question I will link the answer of the question to this central concept. I did that and I think this was the major determinant of my scoring an A in the course. There were a couple of other students who scored an A, but for that they had to put an extra ordinary amount of more time and effort than me (this is my perception!).
- See how this experience led to the tips for survival in a university.: Top 10 Reasons Why Students Fail in Semester System- Survival Guide
- See also: Dr Wahab and IBA of 1980s and 1990s
I also learned from this course that 5 to 7 is the maximum number of concepts that can be held sensibly in our mind simultaneously together. My presentations and teaching about presentations to students continually emphasize minimalism. Hence our talks should not try to make more than 5-7 points, there should not be more than 5 lines in a slide, and no more than 5 words on a line.
- See also: Abuse of Presentation Slides in Classrooms: Ban Powerpoint Presentations
- See also: Conference Marketing and Promotion-Where is the “conference” in a conference!
There were several other concepts from the book “Introduction of Psychology” by Morgan and King that I learned from this course and have been applying them since. These include:
- Comparison level of alternatives in our relationships.
- Group psychology and crimes committed by crowds.
- Source and sink in group dynamics.
- Emotions and Moods.
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