By Clifford Sawhney January 2001 Thanks to an enlightened mindset, the bottom line is not the sole criterion that fires corporate thinking New Age Mantras for Success•Choose your vocation wisely. Follow your swadharma, your inherent nature. Choose a field of activity that fires your passion and is compatible with your nature. You will achieve a higher degree of recognition and success than you would in some other field. And the best part is that you will get paid for something you love doing! • The mind-not matter-matters. Ideas make the world go round. Realizing this truth, even a hardware and appliances giant like Sony is gearing up to diversify into service-related fields. It was not the steam engine that changed the world, but the idea that steam could be used to power the engine. Practical ideas power change. • Foster team spirit. Control the Ego. The ego has a tendency to place one apart from the rest of the world. It encourages a self-centered, egotistical attitude that is detrimental to the common good. Such a person feels: “Only I can do a good job.” Life is a game where teamwork counts. Learn to delegate work. You are not the sole cog in the wheel. Nor are you indispensable. The graveyards are full of people who thought they were indispensable. • Praise counts. When somebody does a good job, say so. Learn to be stingy in your criticism, generous in praise. However, the praise must be well deserved and genuine. As Dada J.P. Vaswani said, sex and money are not the most important things in a person’s life. Praise and recognition are. Human beings thrive on these and redouble their efforts. • Take responsibility. Success has many mothers, failure none. If things go wrong, stand by your team. Do not duck responsibility or apportion blame. Take the blow squarely on your chin. Your staff and peers will respect you for it. And back you to the hilt in future. • Share the credit. When the cash counter starts jingling, remember the role of every single player. Don’t exult, ”I did it!” Say, ”We did it!” Be humble in success and you will sow the seeds of repeated success. • Remember—your team is human. Do not expect every employee to consistently keep up with the scorching pace that you set. We all have different levels of tolerance. Genghis Khan once sacked his most accomplished general. When queried about this strange act, the Mongol chieftain’s answer was enlightening. He was the best, the great Khan admitted. While on the march, he was oblivious to thirst, hunger or pain. But he did not realize that the 10,000 men under his command felt the pangs of hunger. Definitely the best general, he wasn’t the best leader of men. • Welcome competition. Dvaita—duality—is the law of nature. Happiness-sorrow, success-failure, pleasure-pain are an inseparable part of life. If you fear competition, the negative emotion will sap your energy. Instead, regard your competitors as pacesetters. This positive thought will keep you on your toes and improve the quality of your product/service. • Integrity counts. The means to the goal must be as upright as the goal. To quote Swami Vivekananda, one of the greatest lessons I have learnt in my life is to pay as much attention to the means of work as to its end.;”Success achieved through dubious means comes minus peace of mind.” • Stay focussed. There are times when your ideas or goals may be tossed around in a storm of opposition. Stay calm. Focussed. Practice meditation. This will take you to a higher level of consciousness and tap the enormous power of your Inner Self. It will teach you the power of silence when surrounded by motivated criticism. And enhance your self-belief. • Cross the Pain Barrier. In an ultra-competitive ambiance, you will find the ante is upped at frequent intervals. The only way to survive and thrive is to go the extra mile—despite the pain in your legs. Cross the pain barrier repeatedly and you will soon be oblivious to pain. You’re then on the highway to super-success. • Learn to have fun. There’s no better way to recharge one’s cells than to take a break. Or have fun while on the task. One man who embodied this spirit was Rusi Modi, who’d spent the greater part of his career with the Tatas. For all the hard work that he put in, Modi made it a point to take his Sabbatical regularly. Make work fun. It works! The land that spawned the world’s oldest civilization was seemingly at the crossroads in mid-1991. Narasimha Rao and Manmohan Singh had just opened the floodgates to liberalization and foreign direct investment and the cold winds of change were slowly chilling the bones of traditional industrialists. ‘Indian business is doomed!’ ‘The MNCs will take over Indian industry.’ ‘We must have a level playing field!’ That was the shrill chorus of the Bombay Club and other puritans, who feared the cutthroat Coke and Pepsi culture would inundate India. In short, a materialistic West would make short shrift of the spiritual East. A decade down the line, many of those fears seem clearly unfounded. No doubt the ante has been upped and some Indian businesses have gone down under. And a few dubious business practices are today accepted as part and parcel of the trade. For instance, certain foreign banks with a slick image discreetly employ musclemen to recover loans from recalcitrant debtors. An untenable practice barely a decade ago. On the other hand, there is a clear crosscurrent based on Indian ethos and eastern spiritual values that’s quietly pervading boardrooms across the globe. The grit and gumption of Oriental nations is creating a strong undercurrent that’s holding back western domination of markets. Japan led the way. Now it is the turn of China and India.Indian IT personnel are fanning out to all corners of the globe, further popularizing not just curries, chutneys and dosas, but yoga, meditation, Vipassana, ayurveda and other holistic Indian traditions. As materialism, consumerism and an I-centric mindset spread their tentacles through the Internet and satellite channels, the spiritual eastern response spearheaded by India is inculcating traditional values and work ethics. It’s precisely this receptive attitude to the Indian ethos that has made New Age guru Deepak Chopra such a phenomenal success ever since he began best-selling India to the West through his talks, tapes and books. As Chopra himself admits, whatever he says has already been said in our scriptures and ancient treatises. It’s just that we have ignored or forgotten this rich cultural heritage that’s a veritable landmine of wisdom relevant to all walks of life. In Creating Affluence, Chopra opens with the parable of Lakshmi and Saraswati, Hindu goddesses of wealth and learning respectively. If you pursue Lakshmi, she flees; but if you pursue Saraswati, a jealous Lakshmi will pursue you. Vedic Precepts Modern management are increasingly adopting Vedic precepts to stay in the race for market share. The Vedas are a systematic and formulated study of the science of life. Vedanta literally means the end (anta) of knowledge (ved). Says Anuj Bahl of Logic Control: ”Indian ethos is more vital to modern management than any other management theory for the simple reason that it takes in to account a ‘whole’ man rather than approaching man in a partial fashion as the other theories do. Each and every situation can be met with effectively if one takes time to reflect over it. Reflection with a tranquil mind helps in drawing out solutions from within. Such guidance from within helps a manager look at the perceived problem situation in a creative manner. It leads to a more coherent and complete understanding.” Advaita Vedanta (monism) advises us that we should determine our goals, identify our capabilities and focus our actions upon the goals. Vedanta identifies key areas where man suffers on various fronts due to the ignorance of various laws of life and nature. Such ignorance leads to a loss in physical and mental energies causing tremendous damage in the effective implementation of the decisions and actions of an individual. To comprehend how this loss occurs, we need to understand the basic human composition as described by Vedanta. The reality of a human being is Pure Consciousness, which is individualized by latent tendencies that give rise to the physical body, mind and intellect. The physical body consists of the organs of action and perception. These organs are directed by two instruments, the Mind and the Intellect. Western psychologists make the mistake of treating the two as one and the same. They are not. The similarity they share is that both are thought flows. But their functions are different and distinct. The mind is the feeler. It entertains likes and dislikes, impulses and feelings. It has the faculty to doubt. Stimuli through the five senses flow through the mind, leading to an integrated experience. It only moves in the realm of what is already known. The intellect is the thinker or contemplator within us. It is the seat of discrimination, judgment, reason and determination. It is the decision-making facility. Through reflection and contemplation, the intellect can discover what is presently unknown. Our actions occur on the impulse of the mind or by the judgment of the intellect or by a combination of both, the mind and the intellect. Each individual has different behavioral characteristics, which the Vedas attribute to certain inherent tendencies called vasanas. All our thoughts and desires arise from these tendencies, which go to form our individuality and personality. At the top of the pyramid is Pure Consciousness—an enlivening force that is within all of us. It i
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