Soon after I landed in Kerala on joining the Indian Police Service (IPS), my batchmates and I did a courtesy call on an officer of the rank Additional Director General of Police – the second-highest rank in the IPS.
Naturally, as rookies, our rank of Assistant Superintendents of Police (ASP) was the junior-most in service. So given the hierarchical nature of the job, we were appropriately deferential. But one of us probably went a bit overboard in showing way too much deference.
So the senior officer, who was a bit embarrassed said, “Come on guys, what’s the matter? Why are you so uncomfortable?”
My friend said, “Sir, you are an ADGP and we are just ASPs.”
The senior officer said, “What’s the big deal? One day, you will also become an ADGP.”
Clearly, being an ADGP does not mean you are more successful or accomplished than an ASP. Or for that matter, in whatever job you are, someone 20 years senior is not necessarily more or less sucessful than a fresher – it is just a different snapshot in time.
And this is not just about age or seniority, but it holds in any area of your life.
Often we berate ourselves for not being good enough or successful enough – we want to accomplish more, be more, and know more – it is understandable.
However, life is a journey. As long as you keep moving forward, you will achieve more and be more. But it does not mean you are doing something wrong today or that you are any less – it is just a different snapshot in time.
Today, you might just be an ‘ASP’ – it makes no difference. Just moving forward – that is the only thing you control, and that is all that matters.