Friday, October 05, 2007

Geeta and Result Orientation!

The Bhagwat Geeta is in my opinion one of the (if not the) most misinterpreted texts, which for convenience sake, most people just happily believe to be true and use it as an excuse to not heed the messages of the great text. The action and result doctrine has been very easily interpreted to mean that man should focus on the work and not bother about the outcomes, given that he can control only his actions but not his results. Now, this has been extrapolated and interpreted to mean that one should not desire any fruits out of his action. Now, it would be utopian to believe that one would go on working without the desire of a fruit or a positive outcome. A simpler interpretation that was made in the class was about focusing on what you can control, rather than wasting your energy bothering about things that you can’t control.

As it is, the result of any action is a combination of the direct consequence plus some random noise, which we usually like to call luck. What can be ascribed to the action and what is luck, is a questionable proposition. A lot of people would place high trust in Allah, but not even tether their camels. And then when things go wrong, they have only ‘luck’ to blame. Some others, would try and control everything, and be shattered if things still don’t go their way. Random noise shall have a role to play, like it or not. How much you let it affect you and your action, is your smartness.

Thus came the prayer that O Lord, give me the power to change the things I can change, and accept the ones that I can’t. This is, in no way a surrendering statement. It is an exercise in practicality. No point obsessing about things that are pretty much out of your control and letting them chew your brain. A simple case in point was elaborated by a senior marketer in a classroom, in a different context. This company was running a huge ad campaign, supposed to be the mega launch of a product, with loads of advertising bucks being spent on a single day on mass media, in a particular geography. The d-day came, the campaign run, but due to some random accident somewhere, a large part of that geography was under a power cut, blowing up all the money for nothing.

One has to take such things in his stride and move on too! If you’d attach a lot of your personal expectations and start spending energy on those kind of calculations, you’ll end up becoming less effective with your work anyway. A business consultant would perhaps tell a CEO, to decide all the variables that affect his business. Next, he needs to classify which variables can be brought under control and which can’t. Then focus sharply on how much effect he wants to have on all the controllable ones, and for the moment, pretty much forget about the uncontrollable ones. If you’ve done a good job, the result shall take care of itself.

My personal take on the whole thing is slightly modified. I would say, if you’re too obsessed with reaching the destination and constantly lost in the calculation of the same, you’ll not enjoy the journey. And for me, the journey is as important as the destination.


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