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Emperor's New Clothes

Updated on September 24, 2009

Self Confidence


We all know the story of Emperor's New Clothes written by Danish writer Hans Christian Anderson in 1837. Here is the link for reference of the story:

I read the story in 1967 as part of my school syllabus. When I read it at that time it was interesting simply because swindlers pretended in weaving clothes without any materials on the loom in making new clothes for an emperor.

Now I realized that the story is not about the clothes. It is about the psychology of incompetent people in the world. The writer wrote the story over 171 years back. The story is still applicable now. Over a hundred seventy one years there have been many changes and developments in the world, but human behavior and mentality have not changed completely from what was there before 171 years back.

The story talked about the people, who do not have self confidence. Interesting part is that the bureaucratic people try to hide their incompetency and frightened to tell the truth, in order to save their name, fame and job. They pretend understanding whatever ‘other' says that linked to higher level and those who have support from higher level even if a "fact" is not true. This thing is happening everywhere, regardless of a country and a place. It is applicable every organization regardless of big or small, regardless of a local, a national or an international organization.

In other words there is oppression and suppression every organization which directly affecting moral and performance of the people working in an organization. There is fear and intimidation even in big organizations; people cannot work with free mind. People cannot express freely. As a result there is no full use of staff capacity and the skill. A staff is always having fear from upward, downward and sideward like pressure of water but invisible. Water has pressure everywhere - upward, downward and sideward, but invisible. OK, upward pressure is from the top, incompetent supervisor(s). The downward pressure is from support staff that gets ‘invisible' support from higher level(s). One cannot handle such staff. Such staff would be pampered by invisible forces. This is downward pressure. Sideward pressure is from the peers, staff of equal ranks who also get ‘invisible support from ups".

One may say that there are rules and regulations to prevent harassment and intimidation to staff in organizations. The answer is very simple. Yes but the rule and regulations are just like tusk of an elephant. An elephant has inside teeth to chew! The tusk is just to show outsiders!!!!! These things are happening even in respectable organization(S) in the world.

In the story the emperor has pressure from down that his staff would think him unfit to be emperor if he says he could not see the new clothes. The story elaborated how an emperor does not have self confidence that he is not a fool.


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    • NarayanKrishna profile image

      NarayanKrishna 8 years ago from The country of Mount Everest

      Dear Bbudoyono, very correct. This is the problem in this present world that incompetents are rising to the top even in international well-known organizations.

    • Bbudoyono profile image

      Bbudoyono 8 years ago

      Exactly! That's what I see in my country. Bad, incompetent people rise to the top in bureaucracy. They are good at pleasing their bosses. That's the only reason for their promotion. consequently the organization is incompetent too.

    • NarayanKrishna profile image

      NarayanKrishna 8 years ago from The country of Mount Everest

      So the person will no longer get upward? I have heard the opposite way that incompetents raise more than the competent ones. Because incompetents do not need to do any work except to polish the boss.

    • Chef Jeff profile image

      Chef Jeff 8 years ago from Universe, Milky Way, Outer Arm, Sol, Earth, Western Hemisphere, North America, Illinois, Chicago.

      We also have an informal "law" called Murphy's Law, which states that people will rise in an organization to the level of incompetence. In other words, people will usually rise to a point where they no longer know what to do or how to get things done.

      We often see that in business as well as politics.


      Chef Jeff