Archive for July, 2009

get up and get going -11


“Kapoor, I’ve got wonderful news to share with you. Puri had been fired early this morning. He had been called to the managing director’s chambers at 9.00 in the morning and handed over the pink slip.   I have just been given this good news from my boss about Puri, whose second in command spoke to my boss   instantly after Puri had   come out of the top office”, shouted Chawla on the phone lines . He sounded very jubilant on the telephone lines. .

Puri  was our super sales manager who had been hired  a year ago  to steer the company safely out of the de-growth vortex that had set in into the system  due to poor handling of the team by the earlier manager( who currently has been acting as number two to Puri) ). He’d possibly played this match to put down the new incumbent and regain his lost glory. That he had tried this was the most well known fact all over the company but no one expected it to happen so soon.   It was also known to the managing director that the entire team of the company was tied for most of the time in war games of one up- man ship. Even though the company had missed the last two quarters’ targets, he somehow believed that either of the fighting group will have the talent to pull the company up and show some improvement.

The team also believed that they had a far better capability and the talent pool than any other organization in the trade yet…..somewhere they had failed to click.

Such a situation is common to most of the organizations with people getting scared of losing their jobs and losing their sense of balance and team spirit.

How bad can that further become? I wonder. Certainly not life threatening, but definitely many careers will be put on the scaffolds given the current scenario of mistrust prevailing amongst the top positions of the not so enlightened business organizations..

In our pervious write up we had spoken about the distribution of power created by the lightening of the spark. We had spoken about the empowerment of all those that we come in contact with to become catalysts in our realization of the great dreams .We, when looking at such situations however get convinced that it is very difficult for all of us to share the illusory powers that we get to wield due to our being in particular chair or position.

The process of spreading    empowerment amongst other fellow beings is not an easy task. The world plagued by the uncertainties of recessionary trends and the scare of losing jobs and   earnings for the day, is facing tremendous competition between the peers, the boss and the subordinate, the organization and its executives handling it.  We have in all manners   left behind the spirit of hand holding. The race is on to outdo each other in pleasing every boss that happens to be one or two levels above and then pull down the same B—– through the   back biting, letting down in tasks allotted and with the hope to, catch the next promotion ladder. Office politics has become a dirty arena of ensuring that it is the neighbor perched on the adjoining table, or sitting in the next cabin that must go first. We also tend to believe that his going most probably could save our physical self even though my soul may go to hell.

The process of empowering others involves sensitivity. It involves being more social, more acceptable and more yielding in our approach to each other .However in the race to ensure self gratification, who thinks of a neighbor, a subordinate or a team member.

Individuals have been trained to look for support and dependence right from childhood when they are taught to walk by clutching on to the finger offered as an aid .As grown ups too we obviously welcome such extended fingers and it is seldom that we will bite the finger that helps us stand up on our two feet. It is this gratitude that earns us the social acceptability and in turn extends the spark of empowerment to the dependent.

A selfless share of power with the attitude of making others share their grievances and grief, and fears and apprehensions can earn many a smiles back to us for our own happiness. We can imagine the positivity that spreads around when there is a smile observed on every face sitting in the room, we occupy to dispense our daily tasks.

Physically every man after a certain age can take care of his own needs, but it is cerebrally that he needs external interaction and stimulant to grow. Let us make it our task to give everyone who we come across the same stimulant. This process has our own selfish interest involved into it. Do we also not need the same stimulant from some other source? If so why not get the same back from our own people by developing good healthy human relationships, understanding levels and a sense of camaraderie.In the next write up we will focus on as to what is it that can make us not only good leaders but  also good companions and human beings to help each one of us get up and get going.

Get up and get going -10

We have had very encouraging comments on the post of the last week and I must thank each one of you for helping me take the discussions further.

But some of our friends have posed very valid questions too.  Their question reads “it’s true that the spark is needed but some times the ignition just fails to work. One knows it’s needed but one doesn’t know how to ignite the inner fire and this is the situation faced by so many. Self motivation is rare to find; so many extraneous forces make it impossible

I had asked the transporter friend the same thing, many years ago and will quote his response verbatim for every ones benefit and deduction. Here is what he had said, “even the vehicle does not know that it has been built with so much of inherent strength. Left on its own it will never ever start; forget covering the milestones in its life time. Its power needs to be revved   up with a positive catalystic interaction with the external forces. While it is true that the engine and ignition system of the vehicle are the internal parts of the vehicle you need the external powerful fuel to add power to the innate muscle”.

Human Life is run on similar doctrine. We have all been empowered with the self-righteous soul and the smart thinking power that can make the massive great seas, sky touching mountains and the vast desserts looked dwarfed in our presence. But all this will happen when this great soul of ours is empowered with a strong and steely willpower. While some may make the positive use of the willpower and achieve the glorious heights, some of us succumb to the weaker momentary negatives and give up to the unhelpful forces of our lives.

The positive impact can come into our life by any mean and at any stage of our life. It can be a solemn oath to prove to your self that you can do any thing. It could also be sometimes to show it back to the people who matter the most in our life or it could even be due to the pessimistic abrasions that you would have had in life due to heartbreaking or shocking experiences. By deciding that we have to demonstrate it in any which way, we have taken the first step of empowering our self. It could though still be a long journey to the wish fulfillment.

But mere empowering of the self may not be enough to win the race to the objective. We need to give power along with to all those mechanism and people too who would become influential and supportive in our reaching the future goals in our life. This is like what my transporter friend had advised, “The spark so generated by the turning of the ignition key creates potential power in the fuel that activates the engine and all its pistons start functioning. The automotive force generated in the engine passes on the activity to the main bearing attached to the shaft driving the wheels and the vehicle picks up speed depending on whether it is a front wheel drive or a rear wheel drive “.

In the similar fashion we need to pass on the energy of empowerment to all our week and strong links in our life to make sure all these contribute to the greater cause of our life which is that of attaining our magnificent heights.   Mahatma Gandhi would not have been a mahatma had the people he met in life, not been empowered by him with the thoughts and preaching of Satya- Agraha and non violence.  Lord Jesus Christ became a leader of men and women because he had empowered all of his followers and faithful by spreading the empowerment of love and the power of forgiving amongst mankind.

We need to understand a simple mathematical equation that, all zeroes written behind the figure of numerical one do not have any numerical values whereas if we start writing these zeroes after   we have written the power of one they all become powerful as the figure of one has now passed on all its powers to the zeroes appearing in front of it”. (Mathematicians pl. excuses me for this layman’s definition). The task is to make all the zeroes of our life make contributors to our getting up and get going .

Get up and get going -9

The secret of success lives within us . It is not outside  us . It is not even with some management guru, motivational speaker or soft skill expert. All the enthusiasm, the inspiration and the stimulation has to be inbuilt and power driven from within to get ahead in life.  I remember the saying that the horse can simply be led to the water; it is the horses’ thirst that will make him drink water (sorry for the pun and changing the famous quote little bit). Similarly humans have to have an unquenchable craving to do well in whatever sphere we are into, in whatever circumstances we find ourselves into, this hunger to act upon and improve must always keep all of us on the edges all the time.

I am reminded of a small debate that took place almost three decades ago in a meeting with one of my not very literate clients.  But it had left an indelible mark on my consciousness. During my job with one of the automotive parts manufacturing companies I used to call upon the transporters for promoting my company’s products. One of the  highly successful transporters, a burly north Indian  gentleman   (who could hardly  read or write his own name) whom  I had gone to meet during my market visit , casually asked me if I knew ‘ what made a vehicle run on the road”.

My first natural quick answer to this kind of query was of course the same that you have thought of. I said enthusiastically, “why fuel of course. I mean diesel or petrol as the case may be”.

“No”, he mockingly replied.

“Then it is the driver that drives the vehicle”, I blurted out again in a hurry.

“You are only partially correct, but still you have not answered my question, while it is true that you need a driver to drive the vehicle it is not the driver who makes the vehicle run on the road”.

“Well if you want me to count the parts of the automobile that are all involved in the transmission then possibly I will have to include the engine and the tyres too.  Of course how foolish I have been that I never thought of tyres. Even when I work for a tyre company. The vehicle definitely runs on tyres. See if you have a flat tyre you cannot run, so obviously you must be referring to tyres only. That is why I am here to discuss one of our new introductions”, I was very happy that the gentleman would possibly be impressed with my intelligence and the good mood that he had displayed  could fetch me some business in return.

“I think we could go on counting all parts of a  vehicle ,still you will not be able to point out the answer that I had been expecting from you. While all the other parts and systems of the vehicle hold equal importance; it is the speck of the small spark that is generated with the turn of an ignition key that makes the vehicle move. When this spark is not created in any system nothing moves. You have to have the small little fire within your heart also to move the convoy of your life smoothly. Just as vehicle’s movement comes to a standstill if there is no spark within the engine, the same way human life too becomes meaningless if a man does not have some kind of spark in his heart, be it to run his  business or to work in a job”.

‘How clearly you have explained to me in simple words, what my literate mind could not even guess. I do agree with you that it is the spark within that makes everything move. The life itself draws its force from the round of pious fire we look at every morning from the east of the skies. We should all have the same fire within us. The speck of fire so caused will keep us constantly energetic powerful and potent, always eager to   put in pour best and keep the cycles of life moving in whatever situation we may be in”.

“In fact tougher the situation brighter should be the spark within us  so that the rough weathers can be beaten with our own internal energy”, said the trucker to me.

The words spoken by the simple trucker  were so powerful that even after the long  gap  of  so many years , these expressions  beckon me to look for some spark within, get up and get going again towards  my  dream and  the  destination.

Get up and get going -8

The farmer on one of his morning walks had come across a small baby eagle.  The baby was   hungry, unfed and uncared for lying in a ditch on the road side. The farmer took pity on the small frail bird and brought him home to be reared   along with the other hens and roosters he had been keeping in his poultry farm. He instructed one of the servants looking after the farm to take good care of the new entrant.     “You must feed it the same food that you give to other hens and fowls so that it does not feel and think differently from the other birds in the coop”, the farmer had told the care taker.  As the time passed by the young baby eagle   started growing in age and physic on account of the easy availability of undemandingly obtained food at the pen. Soon the baby eagle virtually started believing that it was also the bird of the same breed that others belonged to in the enclosure of hens and roosters.

It so happened that one of the village elders, who had heard about an eagle being reared along with the chicks, had tried to caution the poultry farmer,   “son you are unnecessary keeping the baby eagle trapped with other birds. You must let it fly back as it belongs to the sky. It is one of those birds that can fly across the mountains. In its flight it can make the mountains feel dwarfed in its presence. It is a bird that can go up to the Sun and look into its eyes to talk to talk to the ball of fire. Please release this eagle forthwith and let it fly”, the village elder told him.

“But Sir, we do not have any eagle in our midst. I have all the chickens in my farm and their task is to lay eggs. Even the one bird you are referring to is also a hen and soon it will start laying eggs for me”.

“If you do not believe me you can talk to the bird yourself. Even the bird will tell you that it is no eagle”, the poultry farmer told the village elder very arrogantly.

The village elder finding the farmer non responsive and arrogant tried talking to the baby eagle. “Come on you dear little birdie. You should know that you are an eagle, which can fly high into the skies. You can cross all boundaries and look down upon the earth from the heights of your reach. Please leave the pen meant for hens and chickens and fly back to the heights of the blue skies”. But to farmers’ delight and to the surprise of the village elder, the baby eagle did not come out of the coop. It looked lazily at the village elder and told him, “How can I fly. I am but only a chicken, and chickens do not fly. My task is to lay eggs when I am ready to do so’‘, it looked disdainfully at the old man who had been disturbing  him from his daily slumber and went back to the enclosure built for warmth and  comfort. The poultry farmer too laughed mockingly at the village elder, “see sir I had told you we do not have any eagle here’.

“Perhaps someday I may have to show the actual heights to this bird to remind and awaken the powers of flying in him”, the village elder muttered to himself as he walked away from the poultry farm.

A few months had elapsed when the same village elder happened to visit the farmer’s house on some mission again. He noticed that the baby eagle had now grown into a full grown fowl of its kind yet it did not recognize its own powers of flying.  It pained to see a life worth while being wasted away like this. He avowed to himself to get the bird freed from the captivity. “I see son you still have the eagle living with the hens and roosters. It has grown fully now. You should let it go. It can take its own care. Let him go and fly back to the skies’, he pleaded to the farmer.

Perhaps you are not realizing sir that the bird is not aware of its own breed now. The bird thinks that it is only a chicken and it has lost all powers of flying. Even if I release him now it will die of hunger, or it will end up a morsel to the dogs. So let him stay back here only , happy with other hens and chickens of my farm house’, the farmer looked with a deep sense of pride at the eagle as if he was enjoying the fact that he made the bird change its mind and physic both.

“Please, you will allow me to take this bird to the roof top. I will try to just make him familiar of the height. It is possible that the altitude of the roof top may make him regain his lost touch with flying prowess “, the elder pleaded to the farmer.

The farmer who by now had been convinced of his own magical powers to turn an eagle into a chicken told the elder, “you may take him to any heights sir; this bird is no more an eagle’.  And look how correct he had been proved. The heights of the roof tops failed to impress upon the eagle that it was a bird meant to fly high in the skies.

The village elder still had not given up his hopes on this. He made another request to the farmer, “I think the elevation of the roof was a little too less to convince the bird of its flying powers. A mountain summit could awaken the soaring faculty in him and I could cajole him to reach the pinnacles”.

You may take him to the peak of the Everest. It is obvious this bird had been converted by me into a domesticated poultry bird. Perhaps someday it will lay some eggs just like other birds of the cage”, the farmer said.

The village elder took the eagle to the highest point of the small hillock situated outside the village. He made the bird look upon the snow clad mount visible at a distance, the    Sun shining through its glory thousands of miles away, and the blue azure skies above.  “Come on son take the first step. Just spread your wings. Take the first flight. Go get into the skies and fly very very high. You must make these mountain tops feel small with your dexterity to reach the heights. Go and look into the eyes of the sun and look down upon the bliss of ignorance and unawareness. Be aware of your own strengths and make the best use of the faculty of flying given to you by lord the almighty’.

To the utter astonishment of the poultry farmer the eagle spread its wings. It thought “there is no harm in giving it a try, if the old man is insisting so much. Who knows I may be able to?”

The bird who was being encouraged by the elder now took the first flight, “come on son I know you can do it. Just fly a little bit. The rest will come automatically to you”, the village elder carried on motivating and bucking up the eagle. The eagle that had gone much above into the skies   called out from there, “is this what you call flying. I will soon be back after looking into eyes of the Sun.  Maybe I will also look at other stars and meteors before I return”. The eagle fluttered its wings merrily and flew into the blue skies away from the captivity of ignorance and also away from the lack of belief into its own special faculty. While each one of us can draw our own meaning from this story, a fact common to us all will apply that many a times we underestimate our own strengths and powers, but once we begin trusting in ourselves , skies too will leave way for us to forge ahead towards our mission and destination definitely predetermined by us and us alone. .

For those of us who believe that we have grown too old or that we have lost the youthful dynamism because of age, my suggestion is we should ask the Sun how ancient it is. In spite of its having been in the skies for billions of years it still shines bright every morning. We must try to borrow this from the stars above and remain young in our thinking.

Get up and Get going -7

A few of my friends while reacting to my suggestions expressed by me in my   different writings   that one should explore the possibility of finding avocation into new yet somehow a profession which could be related to our hobby or likings, have voiced their reservations on taking to a profession that is different from the one they had been working into for so many years.  I agree with them that we may find the same difficult if not impossible on account of recession/ lack of opportunities available in the existing field as well as the new area that we may propose to enter into. However many a times we give up the effort before even giving it a genuine try.  The general response from all of us for any fresh career move into the untried, unexplored and unchartered waters will be:

1. It is totally new.

2. I do not want to risk it.

3. I do not have the skills for it.

3. I have gone too old for this kind of skills up gradation.

4. Look at my age, do you expect me to take up learning again..

5. What will people say?

Yes we all agree that it is difficult to adapt to the change after having lived with a particular life style and thinking process. But it is not impossible. A man’s analytical and logical part of the thinking process has an inbuilt faculty that is always eager to learn the new and unexplored; provided we are able to challenge and awaken that faculty in each one of us and make use of the same at the appropriate time. We have always had some inherent ability and some of the skillfulness that we possess have been learnt by us out of our experiences in life, be it on the job, during the course of our study, on account of the training or at the time of the rearing of the family, man has always been learning all through his life.

The power of learning does not diminish when we grow up in number of years; on the contrary experiences earned with the passing of the age help us learn things faster. Or do we end up losing our interest in our mental development and intellectual growth because we find enough reasons to justify the kind of life that we have got used to. We do not want to create any kind of flutter or disturbance or dissonance in the easy life style that we have conveniently selected for ourselves. This reminds me of the story of a baby eagle and a poultry farmer, which I would love to share with all in my next write up.