Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Corporate Lessons from Mythology - 7

Corporate Lessons from Mahabharat
For Objective planning, leading and decision making in a corporate, we need to nourish a healthy mind. Emotional balance is the key.

Lord Krishna counsels Arjuna in the war – “Yudhyasya vigata jwara’ viz., ‘Fight without mental fever’. This is what we call us emotional balance in the modern day corporate parlance.

In Mahabharata, we come across a king by the name Yayati, who in order to revel in the endless enjoyment of flesh, exchanged his old age with the youth of his obliging youngest son for a thousand years. However, he found the pursuit of sensual enjoyments ultimately unsatisfying and came back to his son pleading him to take back his youth. This “Yayati syndrome” shows the conflict between externally directed acquisitions (extrinsic motivation) and inner value and conscience (intrinsic motivation). For example, an employee’s conscience might tell him to do an honest day’s work, yet the emotion may prompt him to relax. Moreover we long for things not because they are great in themselves, but because our greed exaggerates them and make them appear great.

I could tell you many, many stories of ‘excess greed’, but the point driven from these stories is that ‘Excess greed erodes your fortunes.’ I once read that the twenty richest Indians have as much wealth as the bottom three hundred million. We can recall F. Kennedy’s words here – “If a society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.” It is our duty to create wealth while human dignity is also enhanced. Mr. Narayana Murthy, Chairman of Infosys, stresses “Bringing the power of greed driven capitalism to the benefit of the masses is Compassionate Capitalism”.

This is more important for all of those who wear the crown of a CEO. Today, greedy behavior from corporate leaders has strengthened public conviction that free markets are tools for the rich to get richer at the expense of the welfare of the general public. The Economist says, ‘It is a market driven by conflicts of interest, swelled by covert deals and protected by successful lobbying.’ Consequently, a large majority of the developing world sees no legitimacy in a system in which they have been proven losers. We have to make the leaders in countries like India who are skeptical about capitalism appreciate its power in solving the problem of poverty.

Now, let me come to the most important question: How do we practice compassionate capitalism? Business leaders have to take the lead in regaining the trust of society. They have to conduct themselves more ethically and legally. The people at the vanguard of the capitalist movement have to make themselves, more acceptable to those left behind by shunning a vulgarly rich life. Compassionate capitalism is about putting community interest ahead of private interest in the short term and being a good corporate citizen. It is about civilized behavior and about long- term orientation. It is about making life better for the next generation. This is what civilized societies are about and history has shown that it is such civilized societies that have always

The basic dynamics of our mind is that it will not enjoy what it has but will always aim for the next big thing. If we live with discontent, we will always face some turbulence or the other. If you live with contentment, your mind will not wander like the wind but will find everlasting solace. Do you want to live with Contentment or Discontent?

You want to become like your neighbor, your neighbor wants to become like his neighbor and so on… Lord Buddha says, “Run and compete yourself.” We should stop comparing ourselves with others and live by comparing ourselves with our own self. This is one of the greed-breaking mechanisms.

Again, a person has to search for becoming more human than search for fame or money. When we have more of fame or wealth, we waste our time to protect them and it spoils our energy. Our strength drains and gets blunted. We need to have simplicity and not poverty. Today’s need is yesterday’s greed. Greed is not a sin. There is no chance to live without desire to-day. We should not borrow our desires from others. It should not be the endless enjoyment pursuits of yayati in the Mahabharat.

We can live our life like a “Post it Note. This self, sticking adhesive will not get glued to the paper to which it is struck. It can come out without leaving any traces.

We have to be attached like a ‘Post it Note’ as far as wealth maximization function but should get detached without leaving the traces of the glue as far as wealth distribution.

We should not be a “Fevicol”, but a “post it” sticker we should live like a ‘realized soul’ living in this world with detachment.

We advocate simplicity and not poverty, realization and not renunciation. The mind should be firmly under the control of the intellect.

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