Two Languages

I believe many of us use two different languages. One for personal things we connect to emotionally and the other professional language is designed to hide our true feelings and to “make an impression”.

I remember an Accenture consultant who came home for dinner. My wife naively asked what do you do? He said something like… “we leverage the clients knowledge assets through our robust processes to deliver maximum value to our clients and their stakeholders.” I burst out laughing seeing my wife’s confused look. I said that is consultant – speak. His wife told us if you wake him from his sleep he will say this and go back to sleep.
In my classes whenever I hear language like this, I ask them to translate into English please.

First published as a response to a LinkedIn post. Read it here.

Why do we work?

What if we had it wrong at all? Have you wondered what is the real purpose of work? Traditional answers include “to provide for the family” or to “make dreams come true”. Fact is that the present way we organise work and contracts is relatively new to the history of human civilisation. There is already some evidence that this approach may not last forever. Some of these jobs moved to countries that had lower wages, other jobs themselves got obsolete and now there is talk of robots taking over more and more jobs. In today’s world what we do is an important part of our identity. Often on meeting a new person, our second question is about the person’s professional work. How would all this be if, in the future, the primary source of family income is from a guaranteed a Minimum Basic Income instead of wages paid for employment?

The Bagavad Gita describe Karma Yoga as one of the four ways for spiritual advancement. What if we, for the present, consider the possibility that the primary value of work is to aid in spiritual growth? At this point work will no longer be primarily valued in economic terms. When viewed from this perspective work is not just the job we are paid to do, it includes everything we do to express ourselves and to contribute to society. To achieve the goal of spiritual progress, there are some ethical imperatives about HOW we work. For the purpose of this discussion we will call this work ethic Karma Yoga.

Basic Rules of Karma Yoga includes

1. All work is important and the difference is only in our attitude towards work.

2. Our work is a GIFT we cannot put a price on it.

3. Our responsibility is to do our best. The outcome depends on many factors beyond our control.

4. Work from a sense of wonder and love (otherwise known as compassion), don’t let fear of failure be the motivating factor

5. You have a choice about what you want to believe about people around you. Believe they are good, even when evidence SEEMS to point otherwise. Learn to trust people and processes around you

6. Be outward looking. Focus on the world and on the task at hand, not on yourself.

7. Courage Don’t spend your time wondering if you can do something, you will never know unless you try..and keep trying.

8. Take each challenge as an opportunity to learn and enhance your skills.

10. A sense of “play”: What if life is a playground and if we can approach work too with a sense of playfulness.

Above all cultivate mindfulness – this is the single most important rule. It may be difficult at first but with practice one can get better at it.

The Rebirth

Yesterday someone asked me if I believed in past births. I said I do, but I think it is extremely rare that we were human in our past birth. I have heard about past birth from two authentic “Gurus” from the Hindu Tradition. The first one said that …. “when I die I will become minerals and merge with the soil. I will then be reborn as the leaves and fruits of a tree near by”. The second one said that…”to be born again is a metaphor. Even Jesus said that ” …I tell you for certain that a grain of wheat that falls on the ground will never be more than one grain unless it dies. But if it dies, it will produce lots of wheat.“. Every moment we die and every moment we are “born again”.

This update of the Talkshop website represents a new beginning. Not the for the first or the last time, but it is a rebirth. Join us and raise a toast to Friedrich Nietzche and the idea of eternal recurrence. Wish you a happy rebirth!