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Courage to be hated!

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Being liked and loved is great for all of us! We all crave for affection and really like to be liked. However, in life, sometime somewhere someone is going to hate you. And not just someone but many someones will hate you. Doesn’t matter who you are. If it hasn’t happened until now, just watch out!

Is it wrong? Not always, as I think. Just because people have not liked what you have said or done doesn’t mean you are wrong. Or you have to change who you are or what you believe in.

Imagine what the world would be like if we all walked all the time to be liked and live by our society’s predefined standards. Nobody would be trying anything new but just walking in a manner that the society accepts him or her and doesn’t hate them. Had this been the right way there would have been neither Galileo, nor Wright Brothers; neither Jesus nor Buddha; neither Steve Jobs nor Jack Ma – nobody – absolutely nobody – and hence, nothing!
We all are humans and need connection and affection to grow and do well in life. However, does that mean one should forget his or her own judgement? Does that mean one should always follow the crowd? Or never do anything just because society looks down at it?

Just yesterday I had an interaction with my dad where he was explaining to me the significance of society, and of following that society. But even he could not justify his words when I brought in to talk on the system of ‘sati’ or killing girl child systems that the society had once followed. And the moment you or anyone stands against it many haters would stand against him or her. And that is when his or her personal judgement and values would play a role.
It is good to be a nice person and go by the existing doctrines. However, we are also individuals and have our own identity that might not match those of societies. So we have to draw the line. Everyone has to draw the line – when he would listen to others and when not; when he would permit himself to go after his desire to be liked and when not and when he would break the shackles of rules and when not.

Someone has aptly said, “Courage is not the absence of fear but the judgement that something is more important than fear.” So even if you have some fear about the world around you, courage means you can walk on in spite of any such fear.

Many teachers, philosophers, entrepreneurs, or whatever the profession have stood for themselves to bring significant contribution towards the society, and the humanity as a whole. It was only when they chose to walk out and go against the society that they were able to do whatever they did. They had the courage to be hated. They took the liberty to think and reflect. They stopped to do things society and everyone was doing just because everyone was doing. They paused – to reason out with themselves – and so did things everyone appreciates today.

Nevertheless, it all started back then when they had gathered the ‘courage to be hated’, and kept walking their path even when the world ridiculed them and hated them. So if you, me or anybody wants to do anything, they have to first ask themselves if they have that courage or not.

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Competency Mapping – The novel HR tool!

Human Resource Management works to bring the organisation and the employees together so that they both are able to achieve their goals and objectives. There was a time when there were less variety of job roles and very few types of skills were being used. It was mostly about skill based jobs. But, gradually we started using more variety of skills and various business processes demanded the use of specific higher order mental labour that were invisible to eyes and therefore difficult to manage.
Actually, David McLeland, a Psychologist, published a landmark article in the American Psychologist in the 1960 and stated that organisations must go for hiring based on competencies rather than test scores. And in 1973, he developed methods for predicting human performance for US Information Agency where the objective was to erase human biases of traditional intelligence and aptitude testing.
McLeland defined competency as “an underlying characteristic of an individual that is causally related to criterion referenced effective and superior performance in a job or a situation.”
Competencies usually have four characteristics that are:
Motives: Every action is based on what an individual thinks of most of the time. People with growth mindset like to set challenges and grow.
Self concept: A person understands about himself and how well does he take himself towards various challenges. A person with high self-concept would take failures as a challenge.
Skills: Developed ability to do certain activities, often with the help of existing knowledge.
Traits: Any individual’s frequent response to a situation. An individual who values strength is more likely to behave from the position of strength rather than feel demotivated and let outside events control him..
Knowledge: Memorised body of information that a person has. Eg Knowledge about the history of HR.
Competency Mapping: it is the process of finding out the competencies required for each job role within an organization, levels of these and finally using it for all different processes within the organisation.
A combination of all these together leads to what we call competencies or behaviours leading to effective performance of a task.
Why Competency mapping? The process gives the exact behavioural expectations for a position. Additionally, previous skill based models were not competencies but skills. This left great space for biases as there was no particular universal way to measure the skills. How do you know a person has good communication skill? Pronunciation or style or fluency or body language or something else?

But this new technique gave the HRs a better tool to hire, the line managers a better tool to measure performance, training managers a better way to find the gap and address it. Everyone has something to gain. Even the individuals themselves know exactly how to work and what behaviour to show.

Competency mapping serves a variety of purposes like giving better role clarity, succession planning, and clarity with growth path of individual employees. A document on the web indicates that competency mapping methods How competency mapping.
Steps in competency mapping:
1. Clarify the purpose of competency mapping within the organization. And choose the position for which competencies needs to be mapped. Once that is clear you can go ahead with the actual process.
2. Then Job Analysis for the position is done to find out the activities performed by individuals. Asking the position holder and seniors questions related to the job, or observing them are few of the many methods for Job Analysis. They can be asked about the competencies required to perform the job.
3. Responses of participants is carefully analysed and the inputs is converted into standard competencies.
4. With the results of job analysis, competency based job description is formed.
5. There are certain generic competencies required by all employees working within the organisation. And there also are the specific competencies for specific positions that might not be applicable to other positions.
6. Once the competencies are identified, rating has to be done as to what level of particular each competency is required for the particular role. This can be on scale of 1-5 or 1-3 or certain words like beginner, experienced and expert can be used in place of a rating scale.
7. Then this is used for various HR functions within the organisation.

Where we today are in need of multi-skill development, competency mapping is the process that helps to identify exact competencies, or better say visible behaviours required in key positions and thus do all HR processes accordingly. So you are no more guessing about a person’s skills but are very sure about the visible behaviours or competencies.

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Change your perspective – change your life!

If you change the way you look at things the things you look at change! – Wayne Dyer

Steven Covey, in his best-selling book, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, has shared a story about a man who walked and sat near the seat Covey was sitting on. Along with this man were his children who were behaving extremely loud and unruly. And this man was sitting as if completely unaware of the situation. For long, Steven held his calm and wanted the man to take control of his kids. Everyone else around was also getting irritated and impatient. So, finally, although agitated, the author politely told the man, “Sir, your children are really disturbing a lot of people. I wonder if you couldn’t control them a little more.” To this the man calmly informed everyone that he has just lost his wife and the children didn’t know how to react to the loss of their mother.

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Immediately the total atmosphere changed. Covey and everyone else there saw things differently and felt differently. Now the running around and shouting of children didn’t hurt anyone’s ears. All irritation got transformed into compassion and concern. In a moment they would even smile at the shouts of those little kids.

What had changed in the above story? Was it the way children were shouting? Or the environment people were sitting in? None of these! It was just the window or the glass through which the author and other people were looking at the situation that had changed – their perspective had changed!

Things are not what they are; they are what you think they are!

Have you ever used a kaleidoscope? Does the outside world changes while using the instrument? No! Use of a coloured glass makes the outside world, which remains the same, to appear colourful. Same is with perspective – choice of a different window – a different angle – to look at anything. However, it further does change how we feel and respond to the situation.

Also, we all have our own filters for the world. If you and I both were to walk along the same road in the same direction and at the same pace, we both will have a different experience. Because we individually filter the world differently, so notice different things and thus have different perspectives. And that is for almost every situation.

I used to consider Google and Facebook such great companies offering everything for free. I loved browsing the internet. However, a few days back I came across a trustworthy video revealing that these companies peek into our mails and anything we do, later passing on the information to other companies. Knowing this, I developed an intense loathing towards these companies and haven’t stopped but I suddenly minimised their usage. What changed? Just the perspective – the way I thought about, and felt about those companies. Everything else still remains the same.

A majority of situations in life have a similar story to tell. If somebody loses their job and becomes sad, it is just because of the glass they are using to see the situation and events. Change the glass and everything will change. Often when someone, a counsellor or a coach, takes a step to help such individuals, they only try to show a different way to look at the situation and hence the future. When the person who has lost the job or anything special reflects further, they are able to see it from different window – a different perspective. A person losing a job might see the opportunity to explore his own deeper interests, or a time to take care of his family, or something else. And the way he sees will make him think and feel in a certain manner that will in turn impact his behaviour, finally, his life!!

When there is a loss of life in family, it’s really difficult to move on knowing that somebody we loved is no more in this world. However, thinking of the illnesses he had been suffering here, the numerous tasks for which he needed help and how weak he might be feeling during those times, it appears better right? You might now be better able to accept the loss. Isn’t it about choosing a better perspective?

Almost every situation gives us this opportunity to change our glass and derive a more empowering perspective to move further. Getting or choosing a different perspective for anything is not something that can be done in a moment always, but it’s not impossible either.

Albert Einstein once said, “Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them”.

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Always a fresher never a failure!

I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life. –Steve Jobs

As Jobs mentioned in his quote above, experience brings its own ‘heaviness’ or pressure of “being right” or “can’t fail”. And this pressure, in turn, takes away the joy of trying out new things or new ways.

There is an interesting term in Zen Buddhism – Shoshin! It essentially means “the beginner’s mind”. The term says that no matter how much we may think we know, there is always more to learn, and so, why not be lifelong beginners?

When you think, “I know it all”, comes the thought of always being right. And, together comes the fear of doing wrong. It also has some linkage to our society as an adult always has the society’s perception of him in the back of his mind, and so doesn’t want to fail. However, a beginner is not ashamed of making mistakes as he or she is just a beginner and comes with an open mind to learn.

Peter Drinklage, Emmy Awards winner, and the famous character of the well-known TV series Game of Thrones, said, in a commencement address that he could never have become what he has if he would not have given himself the permission to fail. He had been an employee earlier for several years and was terrified to try something else and to fail. We all are! But finally the “dwarf actor” did step out as a beginner to try in television and rest is known to all.

Failure – is it that bad? That nobody is ready to meet it? None of the greatest legends of any field think so. In fact, failure comes out as a failure only if we don’t take anything from it. Else it is always a feedback – to learn something and restart just like a beginner – just like a fresher. Tony Robbins, one of the world’s top motivational gurus, says, “There is nothing called failure. There are only results.” Results to learn from.

And who is a learner? One who accepts himself as a beginner – who is ready to clean up his mind’s slate to write new alphabets.

Jobs started fresh from the scratch after he was thrown out of his own company. What if he would also to think, “I have already been at the top of my own company, I can’t work again with other starters?” “I am already having so many years of experience, how can I work again at the lowest level?” He would never have done what he is today remembered for.

Actually, only the person flying high has the risk of falling down. Or only the one who considers himself high above the ground will feel the risk of falling down. Else anyone, though a manager or a CEO, will rarely fall if they always consider themselves as beginner, on the ground and learning.

Being afraid of failing means being afraid of trying out, and creating new things. And trying out is the essence of joy and of creation. In fact, when you are no more afraid of failing you are no more afraid to live. And you will embrace all challenges of life with the thought that you will try and try. Because if results are not as you desired it’s not failure but just an outcome not same as what you had hoped for. You can always start fresh taking the learning from your previous attempt.

We might get disturbed being a beginner with the thought that we have already done/seen so many things. How can I fail? This is what spiritualists call as “ego”. And the moment such thought appears it can lead you towards your doom. Trying for perfection is just okay, however, not at the cost of learning from mistakes, or failures as they call.

So shake yourself up. This is not the end. There are still great heights for you to reach. You are still a beginner.

Interviews, Learning & Development

5 More Critical Insights into Learning & Development

Here is the long-awaited Part II of the interview – Critical Insights into Learning & Development with Abhipsa Mishra, L&T Infotech.

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1. Learning assessments, defining ROI on training, a little blurred? 

ROI on training is a little blurred. If after an 8-hour workshop, I don’t get a certificate and if the results are not immediately known, there appears to be no value in the training. The challenge is when there is no clarity. Secondly, learners (stakeholders) also get complacent and do not find the need for sharpening their skills. So there is an urgent need to figure out the programs that enhance skills and build a structure with concrete plans. A trainer might be convinced with DISC or MBTI-like certifications and be confident that they can assess a learner, but is the learner himself convinced enough about whether the assessment is crucial and relevant? We cannot ask everyone to go and take certifications. Self Awareness sessions which help build inner connections are critical for stakeholders in this fast-paced environment to evaluate themselves and understand their needs.

2. Contrary to the popular belief, engaging Millennials could be easier, technology helps

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Managing and engaging in the age of millennials is not a challenge and in fact, engaging millennials could be easier because they are open to changes and embrace it. Motivation is a factor for all generations and according to Adult Learning Principles, you can’t tie a person to a chair for more than 40 seconds. So how we can constantly innovate and bring in new ideas to engage learners is important.

So we are doing what it takes to engage all generations. For example, in HDFC Life, they have their own Facebook-like platforms to communicate with each other and get instant feedback. As things are evolving, people are interested in only tweet-like messages and information. That happens only when you are open to new platforms. That is the reason there is LMS. People may be cynical and have different views about LMS. There are few things that cannot be taught on LMS. But to a certain extent, to know certain things about your company or to take up a test, it actually helps.

There are things like gamification, robotics and other variable technologies coming up. The introduction of robotics or the virtual learning system in the learning periphery is trending. MOOCS is another hot topic.

And not just technology, there are other concepts as well. Mythology is another concept, where drawing inferences from mythology to business, like from ancient mythology, from Puranas to business, from Panchatantra to business and such are in place.

Such things are brought in to make it interesting and include all generations.

3. Engagement can be inferred incorrectly

Why do we need to engage employees? If work is boring or the training is boring, we need to engage people. But if we can make work interesting, you will look forward to work every day. But why a Googler, for example, is not required to be engaged, but why someone else needs that. It is about liking what you are doing. It is about making what you are doing for others interesting.

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Change is the answer to the question on next big thing in HR or L&D. There are companies investing and employing Robots and bringing in a huge change. Over a period, there could be massive layoffs. Because for a company, a one-time investment in a Robot would be equivalent to employing hundreds of people and training them. But no one knows if it will be a good sign or a bad sign. For all we know and already seen through the era of computers, replacing humans with Robots for routine work could bode well for us. There could be a lot of other jobs created as it happened when computers made its way.

5. Academic to Professional Excellence, a serious gap

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There is definitely a wide gap prevalent. According to Harvard Business School’s findings, only 5% of the current generation are below the threshold of average students compared to 25% in the previous generations. But are all who are getting good grades from good Business Schools becoming CEOs or at least in good positions.

For example, it is becoming increasingly difficult to pick out good software developers to average ones. There are no good Finance professionals or HR professionals placed through the system, unlike marketing streams. The reason being, the present education system doesn’t train people on life skills.

Why a Business School won’t prepare people with the required life skills, but a company has to invest in such programs. Why can’t schools promote Earn with Learn models, rather such programs are ridiculed in the society? Not even the top-tiered schools have been able to. Students don’t seem eligible for even summer internship programs these days. Maybe the mindset is there, but because of the rigid system of exams and exams and exams throughout their study period, there is little room or scope to include such programs.

For example, at one of the campus drives, I questioned a student on what would you like to become. I was surprised at the answer. He said “I want to become the CEO of the organization. Another one said I want to see myself in your position within 5 years. The reason it took me by surprise was goals differ for each individual. If one wants to become the CEO of an organization, he would rather be working on it and contributing to making his dream come true than attending such interviews. How can someone else want to be in my position, because it is my own goal and growth path? They don’t even have the capacity to think through. Students seem to have no clue about what to expect. They have either absolute questions which demand a yes or no answer or rhetorical questions, which cannot be answered.

So there is a serious gap and that needs to be addressed. 

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The Downsides of Sharing Your Goals With Others

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Remember the movie ‘Julie and Julia’ where Amy Adam’s character takes up the challenge to cook up all the recipes in Julia Child’s first cookbook? The fear of starting a task and not being able to complete it makes her share the goal online in the format of a daily blog. As she updates her progress every day, her followers grow, who keep her accountable for the next recipe. And eventually she achieves her goal. But what if she never had followers? What if nobody cared about what she was doing? And her blog was lost somewhere in the big void called the internet? Would she have been able to meet success?

We humans naturally are big time dreamers. We have a lot of dreams, ambitions and plans we would like to accomplish in life. In most of the cases, we also know what would be the steps in achieving them. But our biggest problem is to take that first step. We lack in putting our dreams into action. The disconnect between knowing what you should do and actually doing it is called Intention – Behavior Gap. Is there a way we can bridge this gap?

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In 2009, Peter Gollwitzer and some other researchers at NYU released a paper, called “When intentions go public does social reality widen the intention – behavior gap”. In the experiment conducted, they divided people into two groups, one who disclosed their goals to everyone and the other who kept their goals to themselves. After 45 minutes, the ones who had kept it a secret were more realistic about their achieving the goals, than their counterparts who had revealed their goals. The group which talked about their goals had given up working on the task just after 33 minutes, but still felt like they were nearing their goals.

When someone affirms our goal, we feel like we have actually taken a step towards the goal. It gives us some satisfaction and that’s called Social Reality. This is why we find so many blogs and vlogs where people announce their goals and document their journey in the hope of achieving them. But sometimes when we share our goals with everyone, we tend to deceive ourselves and others due to pressure and the fear of being judged as a failure. The expectation of others makes us talk what they want to listen rather than what we are actually doing.

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Another problem when it comes to involving others in our goals is that we often share the ultimate vision we have for ourselves.  We need to communicate the work we need to put in rather than the identity we want to achieve. For example, do not say I am going to sing like Elvis in 6 month’s time, rather tell them I am going to practice singing everyday for the next six months. Setting specific goals and thinking about contextual reminders is important. This sort of planning is also called Implementation Intentions.

So should we completely avoid sharing our dreams and goals with others? If you really have to disclose your goals to someone, make sure the person cares about your goals and takes them seriously, someone who would motivate you on a regular basis and keep you accountable. You could associate with someone who has a similar goal as yours or someone who would educate you on skills you need to know in terms of achieving your objective. There needs to be harmony among the people you choose to admit your goals to.

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So go ahead and plan your insane goals, but be wise when it comes to declaring them.

 

Interviews, Learning & Development

5 insights into Learning & Development that you need to know now

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Hema Markandan from Ripples Learning, in conversation with Abhipsa Mishra, L&T Infotech

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Abhipsa Mishra is a leadership coach, an author, and a blogger. She is passionate about learning. She has designed and delivered learning interventions in BFSI, Pharma, and IT sectors. Abhipsa incorporates storytelling in L&D. She is currently working as the Behavioral Competency Lead for L&T Infotech Ltd.  She loves traveling and exploring new places. She blogs about it in her page ‘Way wanderers’.  She is currently working on her book on Experiential Learning.

When I sat down with Abhipsa Mishra to talk about the changes and challenges in the field of Learning & Development, I hoped for deeper insights into this exciting domain of HR. L&D is arguably the most celebrated aspect of HR and a domain that attracts individuals who are not just looking for a job but often, responding to a deeper calling within themselves.  

The conversation with Abhipsa was deep and enriching to say the least. I have gleaned for our readers some of the best insights that I gathered from the discussion.  

Here is the first part of this two-part series 

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1. The concept of training is being revisited. It is now called Learning & Capacity Building

When a field is going through a transition, the first thing that changes is it’s vocabulary. 

The world of training has seen a transformation over the years. The bigger institutions and the corporate houses are already renaming and revisiting it. It is being referred to as Learning & Development and in some cases Capacity Building department. The recent trend we see is there is a shift from the training mode to the learning mode.

The essence is the learner. When it was referred to as training, it was more of a push from the organization’s end to up-skill an employee. But now the role is reversed and it is the employee who has to come forward and get upskilled as the competencies are mapped to the requirement. There are possibilities for IJPs in organizations. So learners here push for building their capacities and hence become the stakeholders of the companies.

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2. Different strokes for different folks is the new mantra (& not just for cricketers) 

Another transformation we hear about is the approach towards the delivery of training programs. Each trainer and the training delivery is different, like how cricketers play Cricket. There is as such no thumb rule to the style of delivery these days. There has been an influx of programs which are entirely new and refreshing.

For example, the concept of storytelling and incorporating it into the programs has gained immense appreciation among the training circles. Apparently, such concepts are quite interactive and engaging. Dramatics, Image consulting, Music and training by playing Harmonica or drum circles are other formats of delivery that’s finding their way into the training space. Every trainer has his/her own personality. Deriving management lessons from such concepts is becoming a phenomenon.

However, not all programs can be done differently. For a compliance workshop, storytelling is not the answer. So there is a need to constantly innovate and apply ideas according to the requirement.

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3. Training has a voice at the strategic table

Training is not just a support function anymore. Firstly, it very much is an investment and an ROI is mapped, as the function goes on to bridge the gap and meets the requirements of clients, customers, vendors, regulators and stakeholders (learners) alike.

Secondly, training helps in revisiting the mission of the company. At a fast paced world things are changing at breakneck speed. When it is easy to diverge from the goal originally set and focus on the urgent things, sensitizing and training people will help develop the skills required currently, and also prepare for the challenges that lie ahead. It definitely adds a lot of value to all involved and hence it earns itself a good position at the strategic table.

 

4. There is no trainer in the room. Only learners. 

A very common mistake is a trainer thinking he or she knows it all. There is no teacher-student relationship when it comes to training. There is nothing like one teacher and one learner, there are in fact two learners. Another common mistake or rather what a trainer should look out for is that no training program goes without a feedback session. The training should be measured on a continuous basis. Even after years of training, one will not be able to master the technique, because of the whirlwind of changes taking place in this world.

One needs to constantly discover and learn new techniques even for the most common behavioral training programs like Business Communication & Email Etiquette. Even if the sessions and the company you are working for remain the same, there is a new level of audience and requirements per se. Hence the style changes, the way you communicate changes, the approach changes.

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5. Anything that cannot be measured cannot be implemented.

We are still in the early stages of being able to effectively measure effectiveness of training.  Even if Behavioral training programs are difficult to measure, it is not completely impossible. Improving on the delivery and revisiting the content and customizing the program to fit the needs is equally important as having different models of programs. 

(Resultslab  is a solution from Ripples Learning which companies use, to help measure training effectiveness)

Watch this space for Part II – coming soon!

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Welcome to the CHRMP Blog

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A dialogue begins

We start this journey into sharing of ideas with a beautiful poem that reminds us that each one of us can soar to great heights, if we can be true to who we are.

Here is to a beautiful journey ahead!

The Albatross

Often, to amuse themselves, the men of a crew
Catch albatrosses, those vast seabirds
That indolently follow a ship
As it glides over the deep, briny sea.Scarcely have they placed them on the deck
Than these kings of the sky, clumsy, ashamed,
Pathetically let their great white wings
Drag beside them like oars.That winged voyager, how weak and gauche he is,
So beautiful before, now comic and ugly!
One man worries his beak with a stubby clay pipe;
Another limps, mimics the cripple who once flew!The poet resembles this prince of cloud and sky
Who frequents the tempest and laughs at the bowman;
When exiled on the earth, the butt of hoots and jeers,
His giant wings prevent him from walking.— Charles Baudelaire