Tag Archives: Greed

Six leadership lessons highly worth learning from psychology of a physician

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Be your own physician?

We all know that medical practice in any field is a noble profession; but what is little known are unique lessons that we should learn from the mindset of a medical practitioner. We are talking about just a good physician, leave alone successful ones.

Let us look at what does psychology of a physician teach us:

  1. Managing conflict of interest
    Getting into medical profession entails lot of efforts, time and money worldwide. It is natural that motto of getting into this field for most is earning name, fame and wealth.
    It is also clear that every visit to or by a physician fetches a fee for him/her.
    Now, a physician is faced with conflict of interest – treat his/her patients or customers for self-interest or serve them selflessly. Good doctors would always manage this conflict by rising above self and greed, and serve customers keeping in mind their interests. They prescribe minimum medicines and pathological tests and discourage patients to make frequent visits. Many have grace to charge less fees from those, who can’t afford.
    Let us draw a parallel to above the stock options scheme in corporates for employees and top management. Such options have a singular motive of driving employees to perform well, so that company profitability improves, which in turn would reward employees with more options. But, when it comes to top management, conflict of interest creeps in – should company performance improve to increase value of his/her substantial stocks or should it improve to increase values for customers and employees, even if it means slight dent in company’s profitability? Many CEOs allegedly and subtly act in favor of the former – serving self-interest.
  2. Maximum availability
    A physician is available 24×7 to his/her patients, at least in India. Their work-life balance is heavily tilted towards work.
    I am not suggesting that it is good for them, although it is good for their customers. What is more significant lesson is that they don’t make any excuse for non-availability. Their dedication for duties is total.
  3. Memory management
    Did you notice that a good doctor’s memory is very good. He/she would remember history of his/her patients correctly, correct medicines’ name, spelling (usually complex), potency and names of manufacturers for innumerable number of ailments and case histories of other patients.
    What is the key – inbuilt sharper brain or they pop up some pills to sharpen their memory? Not any of these. It is registering the information without any conflict in mind and recalling it without any stress.
  4. Motto of service to customers
    A physician’s actions are completely oriented towards his/her customers and obtaining the results for which they have approached him/her. They never compromise their attitude to serve.
  5. Maximum confidence and concentration
    Successful practitioners give their advice or prescription with total confidence and rarely side or back track. Their focus on duties is deep.
    They are never shaken by patient’s condition, however adverse and do maintain their composure effortlessly. They are attached to their duties but detached from their customers while serving them unflinchingly.
  6. Marvelous understanding of their own body
    In leadership programs or schools, reference to this quality is by and large missing. It is extremely important to understand how you or your body would react to different situations, what triggers your emotions and how to manage the same.
    Doctors do very well on above count and hence, rarely fall sick or fall prey to sickening situations.
    A good leader needs to understand his/her body (including mind) well in order to be robust, consistent and persistent in his/her pursuits.

So, a good physician is a great case study at business schools and organizations!

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Whom to listen and follow – your heart or head?

Follow head or heart? Source: http://www.flickr.com/

Your spontaneous response probably would be – I should follow my heart! This is what you have heard, read or been told time and again by your role models, mentors, teachers or gurus, well known authors or leaders!! But, can you exactly pin point – this is the voice or thought from my heart and that one is from my head? Everyone agrees that head speaks to you all the time; but does heart also do so or it speaks selectively?

Let us take examples of goons, gurus and gods. Do goons have heart as well as head? Off course they do! If you read real stories of goons or gangsters, they do have compassion, albeit for certain class of people – their dear ones or those for whose cause they have become trouble makers or cruel. So, when they show compassion, our conventional wisdom would say they are driven by their heart. But, what happens when they demonstrate cruelty or terror? It may be convenient for most of us to think that it’s because of their head! What happens to their heart at that time? Does it go sleeping; it does not prevent them to perpetrate pains to others? There seems to be a contradiction! Can heart or head switch off and on, depending upon one’s comfort or convenience?

Now, take example of gurus or even successful corporate leaders. A good guru or leader is supposed to be highly balanced and treat all of his followers or fellows on equal footing. He or she would reject any advance by his/her follower/s to come closer; otherwise, he/she runs the risk of falling from grace like it happened with Bill Clinton former US President, Tiger Woods famous golfer or David Petraeus former CIA Director in US. So, a successful guru or leader would never be drawn into emotions! Does that mean gurus or leaders don’t have heart? If no, then from where come their kind and congenial behavior? Yet; most believe that gurus and leaders work through only their heads; that is why they are dispassionate and even desert their comforts and families for their pursuits.

Now for god; in all religions, Gods have been projected to operate through their meta-physical powers or enlightened mind like Buddha. There is nothing like separate voices of their heads or hearts!

How do we differentiate what comes from heart and one from head?

What we tend to relate to heart!

Most consider following feelings and functions belong only to heart:

  1. Love
    We connect every form of love to our heart; but not respect!
  2. Kindness and compassion
    We believe an act of kindness can only come from heart. Only heart is capable of being compassionate; but being considerate, inconsiderate or impersonate is handiwork of our head.
  3. Empathy and sympathy
    Same as in point 2 above; supposed to ooze out of our heart!
  4. Passion and devotion
    We don’t believe that passion for a person or profession, devotion for god, nature, nation or duties can come from head; it is heart!
  5. Positive emotions
    All positive emotions as above and others like happiness, fun, fervor or excitement have been perceived by us as regime of heart!

So, coming from heart, everything is considered right! Heart can’t commit any crime or mistake!!

The rest goes to head!

That seems to be a blatant truth!!

  1. Rationale and reasoning
    Only our head has competence to rationalize and understand the realities – this is what all believe!
  2. Judgement and justice
    That is the job reserved for our head.
  3. Anticipation and analysis
    We believe these functions exclusively belong to our head!
  4. Knowledge and niches
    Our head or brain is the repository of our knowledge, specialties, talents, traits, information, intelligence and habits!
  5. Duties and discipline
    All ideas about our duties and discipline are comprehended by our head.
  6. Convictions
    All of our beliefs, faith and principles get developed and executed by our head.
  7. Negative emotions
    Our brain (head) also takes the brunt of every negative feelings and/or actions – reactions, obsession, anger, anxiety, greed, gaffe and more!

Does our heart function independent of our head?
Remember that we are not talking of our biological heart here! So, what do we mean when we say our heart talking and we listening? 

Factually speaking, we experience the functions of head and heart only through our mind. Then, how a line gets drawn between voices of heart and head?

If you carefully look at above points, you would soon discover that:

  • We relate all of our positive emotions to heart; but negative emotions to head!
  • We perceive that all “spontaneous but right” thoughts emanate from heart; however, “systematic but right” thoughts and “spontaneous or systematic but wrong” thoughts come from head! 
  • Our heart has only virtues; but head can have both virtues and vices!
  • Our heart operates randomly; but head works on rationale, reasoning or realities!
  • Our heart receives only compliments and credits; but head receives both credit and discredit!

Secret of how heart differs from head!

Whatever you want to call it – scientific, material or spiritual fact is both heart (emotional not biological) and head resides in one and same mind!

There is only one and singular situation, when your thoughts are very appealing to you; those are positive and right and that situation comes “When you are thinking purely in present time forgetting the past”. 

When you think in present but keeping reference to past memory however old or fresh (like a second before), then you can go either right or wrong! This is what all of us do all the time and that is actually our head speaking. But thinking is just present, when our mind merge with current moment, is what we have accidentally come to understand – “That’s my heart speaking”! 

So, it is correct to follow your heart. But, you now have a new perspective – what exactly it means when your heart speaks. It can speak as often as you try! Remember, it is very subtle but gives you superlative power for correct decision making and revolutionizing your life/career!

 

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Nature demands balancing; else we end up paying through our nose!

Would you ever like to mess up with Mother Nature? Source: http://www.flickr.com/

US was recently hit by one of the severest snow storms, affecting 80 Million people across 20 states and causing serious disruptions and damages. On 26-December- 2004, world was shaken by great Indian Ocean tsunami, which had released energy equivalent of 23,000 Hiroshima type atomic bombs, as per U.S. geological Survey and killing more than 150,000 people! Giant forces, which had been building up deep in the earth apparently for years suddenly got busted on that day, unleashing killer water waves in Indian Ocean at the speed of a jet airliner!!

Are such catastrophes actually retaliations by nature against excessive tempering by man?

Nature has gifted enormous energy reservoirs of oil and gas in extreme terrains and environments in Middle East, Russia and elsewhere, as if hardships are being rewarded with high returns. It seems often common that right things are found at the wrong places and wrong things are found at the right places. Boom in oil and gas production led to unprecedented economic and industrial growth in last 2 decades and its price peaked at US $ 145 per barrel in July, 2008. On one hand, it led to lot of innovations in explorations and extractions like oil/gas from sea using floating platforms, sand containing bitumen and shale gas and stimulated huge investments to build additional production capacities. On other hand, easy money generated by oil and gas business found its conduit to political rivalries, unrests, wars and terror, which has slowly sucked world economies into turmoil and tumbled oil prices to around US $ 30, as of now. No one knows how much of ecological and geological imbalances that we are witnessing are on account of extraction of this commodity in huge quantity from underground and sea!

Look at countries or regions, which have population in excess of available resources. When we look at their history of calamities, it seems to support economic ideas advanced by noted Thomas Robert Malthus in 1798 that unchecked population growth would be countered and compensated by deaths, diseases, wars etc.

Is it that nature refuses to entertain the extremes for too long and endeavors to balance?

Answer is yes; it appears not only true at global or macro level but also at personal or micro level! Look at following examples:

  1. If we hold any item in excess, we tend to consume more and also waste more.
  2. When quantity of anything goes up, quality comes down and invariably, there are more rejections.
  3. When you have wealth in excess of what you can manage, you are more likely to deploy it for wrong or loss making use or it would lie dormant, losing its value significantly over time.
  4. If you have too much knowledge, you develop lot of differences with others, make bad experiences and eventually, it becomes your liability.
  5. If you are too beautiful, you would get too exposed; get into wrong acts only to make beauty your bane.

Nature seems to be overly against overindulgence of any kind!

Excess of anything is bad; but excess of no-thing is also bad!

We all know that anything in excess is bad; but what is very interesting is to know that excess of not doing anything is worse.

If you communicate with people too less, you would be isolated; deprived of opportunities; get in depression inviting clinical advice to mix with people.

If you spend too sedentary a life, you would be sucked into health issues forcing you to change your life style.

So, message of nature is – do little (moderate) of everything that it has provided to you or else face its fury!

Why nature brings down “excess” to “enough”!

There are 2 main reasons –

  1. Nature excels and allow you to excel under state of equilibrium.
    Whenever nature’s equilibrium is disturbed, it would react to restore it. Depending upon type and extent of such disturbance in short or long term, nature’s corrective action can be mild or massive.
    Corporate gurus go gaga over disruptive technologies; but they seem to fall short on their vision of nature’s balancing act!
  2. Law of least chaos demands that each object or area be charge neutral.
    Whether we take atom or universe, it is charge neutral and that is what gives it stability. If any object or part/whole area becomes polarized – positive or negative, it would become chaotic until it gets neutralized again.
    Anger or anxiety, ferocity or fundamentalism of an individual comes, when he becomes net negative; likewise, ecstasy comes when one is highly positive. What is war on terror? It is a struggle between highly negative and positive minds or people! It is not divine driven!!
    Eventually, everyone has to come to normal (neutralized) state, if he/she has to survive!

Drawing a line between what is excess and what is enough!

Common perception is that it is difficult! Difficulty is really with our unwillingness to draw the line itself! Most people like to keep it vague; not realizing that brings serious problems. Then, they derive consolation by blaming their fate or consider it fait-accompli!

“Enough” is always efficient; but “Excess” is invariably extraneous and waste of energy and money!
World leaders and thinkers have so far failed to define importance of such distinction – excess vs enough – and create correct understanding of nature’s demand for balancing or moderation. They are clueless on how crises and conflicts develop, when no thoughts are given to balancing population vs resources, technological advancements vs moral advancements, industrial development vs nature’s development, quantity vs quality.

It is a very simple mantra: 

Line between enough and excess is best drawn, when you differentiate your needs from wants or desires; distinguish your goals from your greed! 

So, for all levels – individual to international – message of Mother Nature is clear – moderation; balancing; stay in center; don’t lean on left or right. You would then surely secure your future and that of future generations!

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Creativity and Innovativeness come, when we kill fear and create freedom!

An Innovative idea! Source: http://www.flickr.com/

All of us need to be a good manager, supervisor or go getter; but that alone is not be good enough to keep us going. After a certain point, we experience a level of saturation, things appear to have come to a plateau or we face a knot. What was motivating becomes monotonous; excitement ebbs and our performance becomes poorer for what we were otherwise good at!

Everyone encounters above phase or phenomenon consciously or unconsciously. Only exceptions are those who are creative or innovative! Creativity and innovativeness are 2 qualities, which you need to keep your interest and initiative alive and drive in the fast lane. Common perception is that one can run her/his life without these 2 qualities. Yes, one can but then, it would lack luster, liveliness and charm. It would be mired in inertia and comfort zones!

Further, the most talked about word is “Change”. But, most of us are ignorant that very important constituents of “Change” are creativity and innovativeness. Then, there is a misconception that creativity and innovativeness are gifts of God or it comes through genes and it is difficult to develop the same. Such ideas need to be dumped; if you make an efforts, you can become creative and innovative at any stage of life. Only obstacle is the wall built by you in your mind! Key to become creative and innovative is to overcome fear and own freedom!!

Look at some of the top creative and innovative people, who have changed the world and lives of billions – Einstein, Thomas Edison, Benjamin Franklin, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Leonardo Da Vinci, Jeff Bezos of Amazon and Larry Page of Google. They have discovered path breaking ideas to usher dramatic change/s. Most common characteristics with all of these people are or were fearlessness and freedom to think!

Fear and freedom are nothing but opposite states of our mind! So, how to drive fear away and derive freedom?

Overcoming fear!

Fear is essentially a negative emotion, which emerges out of past negative experience or memories. Challenge is that there are host of negative emotions arising from your past – anger, anxiety, arrogance, greed, obsession ad like. You can’t pick and choose one negative emotion i.e. fear and believe that you can drop same. Doing that would only have temporary effect and then it would resurface, because you are still holding on to other negative emotions! As a matter of fact, you would be surprised to know that you should not be passionate about positive emotions like pleasure, thrill, ecstasy or even consolation arising out of your past experience or memories. Reason is that when you recall such positive emotions from past, you would not be able to help prevent negative emotions also from past to surface. This is one of the main reasons, why most people are not able to overcome their fears!

The best bet is to use past memories as a source of knowledge but never a source of emotions! It is the emotions that evolve out of present, which alone can give you excellent feelings and make you frolic!! 

So, to drop fear:

  1. Do not give importance to emotions, which are connected with your past memories. Ignore!
  2. Minimize your preconceived notions.
  3. Believe in putting trust on people and banish doubts.
  4. Focus on efforts but not on results.
  5. Practice to drop hesitation or inhibitions.

Owning freedom!

There is lot of ill-conceived notions about freedom. Freedom does mean right to express oneself through any medium and working at one’s own will. But, many consider getting bound by duties and discipline is loss of freedom, which is bunk. Freedom does not mean exercising no control or restrain and be able to do freely what you desire.

You can own freedom, only when you accept that others have a right to own their own (freedom)! Freedom has more to do with absence of mental barriers or restrictions than physical barriers/restrictions; no doubt the latter is integral to freedom but it loses meaning without the former!!

Now, to own freedom:

  1. First and foremost is to overcome fear, as mentioned above.
  2. Be prepared to break conventions and customs, if need be.
  3. Be an optimist and open minded.
  4. Drop hard notions and prejudices.
  5. Traits, habits and ego could be show stoppers for your freedom.
  6. Believe that nature offers infinite possibilities and mankind has so far discovered only a small portion of the same.
  7. Biggest challenge to your freedom or free thinking comes surprisingly from your faith, culture, traditions, rituals, gurus, mentors and role models. You generally need them for a guided and balanced life; but at the same time, they inculcate in you predetermined ideas and perceptions, and hence limit your ability to go beyond, explore and experience something entirely new.
    So, you need a very careful tradeoff between traditional beliefs/practices and true freedom!

To conclude, it is a glorious idea to get rid of fear and ride on freedom, which would bring creativity and innovativeness well within your reach and you would be able to reap rich fruits!!

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Why on becoming wealthy, you tend to work either for Greed or God!

Is greed good? Source: http://www.flickr.com/

Let us first understand meaning of wealthy here. It means anything which is in excess of your needs – be it money, means, wisdom, talent or skills.

There are very few, who inherit wealth in all forms. If someone inherits lot of money, he/she could be short of wisdom or skills, or vice versa. Dearth of wisdom would make him/her to squander the inherited money. Therefore, most of us race in our life to reach and acquire what we don’t have in adequate quantity. But, once we get that, do we stop racing? No, we don’t! We tend to raise the bar of our needs and consider it as new normal! We feel justified in doing so, forgetting that it is nothing but greed!!

So, majority of wealthy people is in race of greed and there are a small percentage of people, who are indeed engaged in godly acts like philanthropy, empathy, uplifting under privileged, helping others to become better and grow. In this small population of such people, there are 2 categories – (a) Those who consider it as their obligation to society and have no expectation in return (b) Those who do it for their gains like enhancing their business interests, saving of taxes through charity, becoming more visible and/or gaining popularity and publicity. Category (b) is actually nothing but greed, though shrouded under godly acts. It is only people in category (a) who are truly honest, god like and asset for the society.

World history shows long list of famous names as philanthropists, some of whom are Mother Teresa, Bill Gates – chairman of Microsoft, Michael Jackson and Jon Bon Jovi – both famous American rock stars, Warren Buffett – legendry US investor, George Clooney – Hollywood film star, Larry Ellison of Oracle Inc., Lady Gaga and Shahrukh Khan of Bollywood Films. It is up to you to judge who falls in category (a) and who in (b).

Greed comes in since our goals don’t go “beyond I”!

I have observed lot of people leading goalless life! They are often frustrated without knowing the cause!! It is because they lack direction and purpose in what they do in absence of goals. There are some, who just follow others without defining what is their passion and what they want to accomplish. Another set of people fixes goals, but not firmly and keep changing those without any rational reasons. Then there are others, who contemplate and consciously set the goals, what they want to pursue with passion.

In good companies, there is lot of emphasis, training and coaching for goal setting. But, there is one major flaw. It is all about setting goal around you but not beyond you! This is where greed kicks in.

Goal around you sets a limited purpose. Once you get it, then what? You become wealthy and you start raising bar of your needs. This is when maladies start to malign you. It enhances your ego and creates constant conflicts of interests.

If your goals go beyond you like grow my department or company by x%, build y no. of sub-ordinate as my back up or better than me etc., it brings enthralling and exclusive experience. With such goals, you don’t have worry about own your growth and rewards; these are guaranteed automatically! Look at the fine difference between “goal around you” and “goal beyond you”:

“I want to happy and healthy, so that I don’t have to depend upon anyone!”

Versus

“I want to be happy and healthy, to give happiness and help to ones, who are dependent on me!”

Going “beyond I” brings amazing advantages. Normally, it is difficult to visualize its virtues, unless you actually do it sincerely. Your vision touches new horizon; you discover a unique sense of purpose in your life and your confidence reaches a new climax!

Drawing a distinction between Greed and God-like!

Threshold in everyone’s life comes, when his/her essential needs are fulfilled. Beyond that, there are only two choices – greed or godly acts.

The distinction between the two choices is simple – greed is “all about I” and god-like is “all about others”!

Many tend to swing between the two, believing that latter would compensate for the former. That is not true. Fact is swinging or switching between the two in nothing but greed and often it brings more conflicts than comforts!

By greed, you go down. By grace of god-like acts, you only gain; gain what you have never dreamt!

By greed, you would collect more of what you already have. It would decay and degenerate. But, by engaging in god-like acts like love, compassion, sharing your wealth, wisdom, experience or skills with others, you would constantly renew, revitalize and rediscover what you have and add immense values!

Your connection to others is stark local as well as remote reality in scientific sense. Ignoring it is a worst ignorance of nature.

So, it is a 2 step decree to divine:

  1. Go “beyond I”!
  2. Give excess of what you have, to be God-like!!
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