Saturday, December 6, 2008
Friday, November 21, 2008
At an individual level -
We agreed on this. At an individual level, for ordinary people, its better to be grounded in reality and focus on improving financial security for self and family, first, and take up spiritual pursuits later. However, assuming a spiritual bent of mind does not have to wait for the financial security and can go hand in hand. In fact, in some cases that we came across as Reiki Masters, the spiritual bent of mind helped people get clarity of thought and aided in building up the financial security. Even when Swami Vivekananda was going to take up Sanyas, Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa is said to have asked him to provide for his parents and fulfill his worldly responsibilities. This also ties to another potential topic of future blog posts from me - swa-artha vs. swa-dharma .
At society level -
In some societies there is still a lot of economic downtroddeness. There are people who don't have access to proper economic opportunities. There are needy out there. These needy are not just poor people (sometimes, the so called 'poor', at least in India, have some of the best opportunities), it is also such people who might be part of non-poor families, mostly women, who might be looking out for opportunities for financial independence, for their own compelling reasons. It might also be such teens who are caught in the age old career options of medicine and engineering and are frustrated by being in an education area that does not interest them (I often question myself, how many Viswanathan Anand's, Sachin Tendulkar's and Siddhartha Basu's would we have lost to this 2-career-option-syndrome). It might also be various other cases. Unless these people receive economic opportunities, to fulfill their immediate needs, how can they take up spiritual pursuits. If there are a lot of such needy people in a society, at a society level, the higher goal should be Economic Betterment. This also puts a spiritual responsibility on corporate citizens, to provide such economic opportunities to the needy. This does not have to mean philanthrophy but might mean social entreprenuership. I am sensing another potential blog post in this - social entreprenuership and big business - I see that social entreprenuership can also be big business.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
I have always believed that family and career go through lifecycles of their own. There are phases in each of these lifecycles that demand more of your time. Examples of such phases: Child birth vs. Job Change. I believe that we need to plan our career paths with our family lifecycle in perspective. In today's competitive world you need to be able to give your 100% to your job when the job demands it. Scheduling all this around key phases of family lifecycle helps in getting you your 100%.
At a tactical level, I believe it is a matter of setting expectations and planning to deliver beyond the expectations. It would help to let your family understand a little bit about your career. It might help set their expectations on your time. From your side, you need to get your family on your calendar. You need to plan your daily and monthly schedule to pull out every hour of time that you could get with your family and coordinate with your family members in setting up some family events - Daily Dinner, Weekend Trips, Birthday Suprises, Visit to the Zoo, Window Shopping etc. Dont hesitate to dip into your paid leaves for these family events. There are some family events that can be wrapped up in 5-6 hours. Take half day leaves instead of full day leaves. Half day leaves gives your family and you more time than usual and your children dont have to take the day off from school either. Such leaves also let you do 2 family events instead of just 1.
Also, nothing beats geniune love. All of the above is to allow you time to share that love. Think about what you have done to express your love to each member of your family, in the near past. Communicating love is as important as feeling it.
Monday, February 25, 2008
I have come to the belief that this concept is probably based on some of the core principles of universe itself. These core principles are evident in modern science. In modern science you would notice how energy would always get translated one form to another but never gets dissolved - a rock falling from a height expends potential energy and the same rock acquires kinetic energy in return - resulting in net delta of zero energy change within an universe. In a spiritual sense, I see the concept of Karma is in the same lines too - you do a bad deed (equivalent to expending bad energy) and it comes back to you to effect your fate (equivalent to the bad energy getting acquired by things that effect your own fate in return - resulting in net delta of zero karmic energy change within an universe).
I lot of people believe in this concept of 'Karma' due to reasons apart from those of mine. But, I have noticed that this belief by a lot of people is only limited to casual charity. Rarely have I seen people expand the scope of their belief into their daily life. This probably is because a lot of people seem to believe that Karma is only about 'large' bad deeds or good deeds and not about 'small ones'. Very rarely would a lot of people have a second thought on the 'small ones' - when they trouble their neighbors with high volume music or when they kill a chicken for its meat or when they give a bad time to a co-worker at office or when they deliver unworthy service to their customers. But, can the concept of Karma really be limited to 'large' deeds. Universe does have a principle that a lot of small things can add up to a large thing. So, why can't small deeds not add up a large karma? If they do, shouldn't we all take sometime to ponder if we are doing any of those small bad deeds?
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
What are the functions of a living space? It's functions are to protect and shelter the inhabitants. In a holistic sense, the function to protect or shelter includes more than only protection from weather. When we explore the holistic sense for a living space's functions, we can realise the narrow sense in which we had been looking at our houses and offices.
Many centuries ago, some people in India had realised this. They observed the various 'symptoms' of some living space's 'ill-health' and tried to associate them with some elements of the construction of the living spaces. After many lifetimes of refining this emperical research knowledge, they founded a science. This was called 'Vaastu' - the science of building living spaces.
Unfortunately, the knowledge of this science was limited to a few number of people back then. There were limited copies of the subject published in those days. All this led to a gradual demise of the science from popular attention. Still it was followed in some places in India especially for construction of Temples. The advent of modern life and the competitive pressures of it has led us again to realise the need of a science such as Vaastu. This led to rediscovery and the gradual return to popular attention of this science.
However, has this science and it's rules been properly interpreted after rediscovery? (Indian literature has enough grammatical depth to allow multiple intepretations) This could be a matter of debate. Many researchers and consultants have various interpretations for what has been recorded about the science. How should the rules be correctly interpreted? There has been a lot of grammatical debate in this area. Why not test the various interpretations of rules in the science against real examples? If by interpreting the rule in a certain way we are able to connect clearly the cause and effect, this interpretation might as well be the correct one. This helps in scientific rediscovery rather than mere debate on grammatical interpretations. That is why finding a good Vaastu consultant with at least empirical research experience is important.
PS 1: Another point to note is that though Vaastu is a science, it does not explain all the happenings within a living space. This is because Vaastu is a science about the effect of the living space on people. There are many other things that effect an inhabitant like his Karma and Destiny. In other words, Vaastu only helps in protecting the inhabitants from unhappy events entering in but not from what they bring in themselves upon them!
PS 2: Interestingly, in many cases during our research, my mother and I have found that the Vaastu of a house matches the evident attitudes and lifestyle of its inhabitants. This led us to infer a possible relation between Karma and Vaastu. May be if you do good Karma, you end in a good Vaastu house or may be if you are in a good Vaastu house, it facilitates you doing good Karma. Whatever be the case, a good Vaastu house is always desirable. Especially in a competitive world where even a little bit of advantage goes a long way.
Note: This was one of my first writings. I had intended this to be part of a book on Vaastu.
One of the remarkable characteristics that I noticed about smaller enterprises is the amount of dedication you see in the employees of the enterprise. Probably because a lot of these smaller enterprises, starting from the small mom-and-pop stores, are usually manned by family or friends who more often than not know the family. This I feel creates a sense of ownership, a greater sense of commitment. Contrast this with a Large Enterprise. Enterprises with thousands of employees. How many employees of such enterprises feel this commitment? How many would be motivated enough to go to great lengths to explore innovations and to correct inefficiencies?
As a civilization, we have been continously driven to find better ways to make a large group of individuals work together - public stock companies, conglomerates, matrix structures, etc are products of this drive. I think the time has come for us to think about the next level of innovation in these lines - innovation that would not just help get more people work together but would help them work with a sense of ownership. I would like to call this innovation as the 'Totally Owned Enterprise'. But, the how do you build this 'Totally Owned Enterprise' is still a question. I sense that there is no global answer to this. For some industries it might suit to build a KPI structure from top to down and link employee pays with that. For some industries it might suit to let the enterprise itself work as an ecosystem of individual companies or entities. I guess there is more to explore in this area.
'The last mile' has been fascinating me since my B-school days. We had sifted through a lot of case studies during schooling and one thing was more apparant than anything else - the end-consumer was supreme. The companies that cared for their customers' business always fared better than others. Customers were kings, but the customer's customer - the end consumer - was and is supreme. And the entities closer to 'the supreme' had power in the value network. The closest entities to 'the supreme' are the 'last mile' - a term I borrow from the ICT (Internet, Cable and Telecom) industry - I apply this term to the physical goods flow rather than byte flow as in ICT industry. (The co-play of these two 'last miles' is also very interesting!)
The power of the 'the last mile' translates into better growth. Growth creates momentum that in turn adds momentum to all the constituents of the last mile - the careers of employees and consultants included. The momentum also creates a sense of 'things can be done'. This means a fertile ground for creativity and innovation. All these are exciting, hence 'the last mile' is exciting. What better 'last mile' than Retail, 'the last mile' of physical goods flow - the predominant pre-occupation of a vast majority of people in the world! Hence my decision of Retail vs Banking
Request: Do let me know if I am missing any point in this argument.
Sunday, February 10, 2008
But, can the politicians be the only people to blame? They are to consider the mandate of the 'voters'. Can they help it if the voters are typically near-sighted? But, what is putting the far-sight citizens away from voting? I would assume that a vast bulk of these far-sighted citizens would be graduates or post-graduates. Most of these citizens could be persuing more rewarding careers / business. Could it be the long queues at polling stations and the cumbersome formalities that the 'far-sighted' ones cannot afford to spend time in, that is keeping them away from voting? Isn't that a serious neglect of citizens rights that there are such long wait times and formalities? Election Commision of India does choose the number of polling booths to operate and the formalities for voter registration. They take pride in greater turn-outs. But, what if 100% of near-sighted turn out and only 0% of far-sighted turn-out. Was the Indian Consitution flawed in allowing Election Commision excercise discretion in deciding the number of polling booths? On closer inspection, the Indian Constitution does provide a means for citizens to close loop-holes like these - its called the Public Interest Litigation (PIL). Wonder why there cannot be funds financed by 'Corporate Social Responsibility' (CSR) initiatives that take up issues like this through PIL? Systems Thinking can be applied to further discover key triggers for positive change. After all, spending Rs. X for charity through CSR is less beneficial than influencing Rs 1000 * X for welfare through Governmnet spend. It makes good corporate presentation meterial too.
Note: Do let me know if I missed something in making this argument. Apologies if I offended someone.
Saturday, February 9, 2008
Though I know only a little about religions apart from my own, from my readings and from my discussions with the people I met, I realize that 'Mercy', 'Kindness' and 'Charity' seem to be virtues encouraged by all religions. However, it seems so odd that so many people put a 'scope' around these virtues. Not many let the scope of 'Mercy' to include their own food! Makes me wonder if there is a sense of 'duality' in intrepreting what a virtue is (and hence my blog is titled 'adwaita', non-duality).
As funny as it might sound, I felt that some of the foods that most of us take for granted are, for lack of a better word, merci-less. May be if all of us can spare a little thought on why an animal has to make the ultimate sacrifice to feed us, may be if we could explore tastier recipes in vegetables - may be we would make our world 'truely' merciful.
Note: My apologies if anyone has got offended. Do let me know if my english concerned you or someone you know.