com­pas­sion inc

The Smart Manager - - Reading Room - By gau­rav sinha

You’re not a drop in the ocean, you’re an ocean within a drop’ — RUMI Re­turn on em­pa­thy is a both a life phi­los­o­phy and a busi­ness strat­egy. It can yield ex­cep­tional re­sults by be­ing con­sid­er­ate to­wards the needs of hold­ers of shared val­ues, as op­posed to share­hold­ers alone. Th­ese are the key con­stituents of com­pas­sion in cap­i­tal­ism and can be nur­tured through prin­ci­ples of en­gage­ment, em­pow­er­ment, ex­pe­ri­ence, en­vi­ron­ment and ex­cel­lence as the main driv­ers to­wards build­ing a port­fo­lio of pros­per­ity, in both life and busi­ness. Re­turn on em­pa­thy does not ne­c­es­sar­ily di­lute prof­itabil­ity; it am­pli­fies a cor­po­ra­tion’s or in­di­vid­ual’s con­tri­bu­tion to­wards driv­ing pos­i­tive so­cial im­pact.

I am an ana­logue soul in a dig­i­tal world who strongly be­lieves mankind has the power to make sig­nif­i­cant pos­i­tive con­tri­bu­tions to ad­dress hu­man­i­tar­ian and en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues and live more mean­ing­ful lives. The cos­mic en­ergy of good hu­man val­ues can be ac­ti­vated and har­nessed across the world, if we choose con­sciously to move to­wards a pur­pose that tran­scends friv­o­lous grat­i­fi­ca­tion and short-term prof­i­teer­ing.

This is not a cru­sade against cap­i­tal­ism but a fun­da­men­tal po­si­tion of ra­tio­nal op­ti­mism, in­tel­li­gence, in­tent and ac­tion. It’s build­ing a move­ment around mind­ful con­sump­tion and eq­ui­table re­turns. If we don’t ad­dress th­ese crit­i­cal is­sues sur­round­ing over­con­sump­tion and sus­tain­abil­ity, there’s a threat that we will be­come bot­tom-feed­ers while re­tain­ing our po­si­tion at the top of the food chain.

The ear­lier chap­ters should have pre­sented you with a ro­bust un­der­stand­ing of my ar­gu­ment about com­pas­sion be­ing a crit­i­cal driver of pros­per­ity, both in life and in busi­ness. It has been proven that the power of col­lec­tive thought and ac­tion can shape new re­al­i­ties and we must con­sciously seek to cre­ate and con­sume prod­ucts and ex­pe­ri­ences that are rooted in ethics and em­pa­thy.

karma in cap­i­tal­ism

The laws of cause and ef­fect are not just phys­i­cal but also philo­soph­i­cal. New­ton’s Third Law of Mo­tion tells us that ev­ery ac­tion has an equal and op­po­site re­ac­tion, so if one ob­ject col­lides with an­other there is an equal force that goes in the op­po­site di­rec­tion to im­pact the orig­i­nal ob­ject. The same prin­ci­ples also un­der­pin the phi­los­o­phy of karma, which em­pha­sises that the sum of one’s ac­tions is di­rectly re­lated to what hap­pens to one in the fu­ture. To

il­lus­trate the point, if you were to say some­thing kind to some­one it would also give you an up­lift­ing feel­ing; on the other hand, if you were to cheat some­one then even­tu­ally some­thing sim­i­lar will hap­pen to you. If I sus­pend the spir­i­tual side of this ar­gu­ment th­ese laws of cause and ef­fect can also ap­ply to the way we con­sume prod­ucts and ex­pe­ri­ences— if you spend be­yond your means, you will def­i­nitely be in debt; if you eat be­yond your di­etary re­quire­ments, you will def­i­nitely put on weight, and so forth.

If you change your mind, ev­ery­thing changes. How you in­vest your time and ef­fort has a clear im­pact on your life. You are ac­count­able for the re­sults of your ac­tions and you can chan­nel those ac­tions to your ad­van­tage us­ing com­pas­sion as your com­pass. The first stage of recog­nis­ing what’s re­ally of worth is by chan­nelling your at­ten­tion to what is truly valu­able. Safety, well­be­ing and hap­pi­ness for your­self and your loved ones seem like pretty ob­vi­ous first choices and then it cas­cades across all vir­tu­ous ac­tions that are eth­i­cally aligned to good hu­man val­ues. All those clichés about ‘the more you give, the more you get’ or ‘giv­ing is re­ceiv­ing’ are clichés for a rea­son: they work.

If you are a neg­a­tive per­son, you will at­tract neg­a­tiv­ity and it will man­i­fest it­self in your life, caus­ing stress, pain and suf­fer­ing that could be avoided through pos­i­tive ra­tio­nal­ity. I re­cently watched an In­dian sage state his sim­ple prin­ci­ple in life: ‘If you can­not do some­thing about a prob­lem, then why worry about it? If you can do some­thing about a prob­lem, then there’s noth­ing to worry about.’ It’s not wor­ry­ing about is­sues that solves them, it’s the ac­tions that sup­port th­ese is­sues that cre­ate change.

El­e­vat­ing the ways in which we think is crit­i­cal to how we act and in­flu­ence our life cir­cum­stances. Be­ing pure, prin­ci­pled and pas­sion­ate are the core pil­lars of liv­ing a mean­ing­ful life and also cre­at­ing hap­pi­ness for oth­ers. The mind is a re­luc­tant mas­ter, but an easy ser­vant, so it suc­cumbs to temp­ta­tion more easily than con­quer­ing things that re­quire greater ef­fort. Our life­styles make it easy for us to order in and watch tele­vi­sion, while it takes more ef­fort to cook a meal or go for a jog. As a so­ci­ety, we are lazy at the best of times but if you want to achieve some­thing great you have to be au­da­cious in your ef­forts.

We should as­cend in virtue on a daily ba­sis by be­ing right­eous, not re­strained.

This was the main ar­gu­ment about the ben­e­fits of monas­tic ma­te­ri­al­ism as a phi­los­o­phy and it’s im­por­tant to un­der­stand the im­pact of the de­ci­sions we make in life. This right­eous­ness about mind­ful con­sump­tion also needs rig­or­ous prac­tice and we can­not let com­pla­cency hi­jack the process of be­ing con­sis­tently aware of the de­ci­sions we make. Evo­lu­tion­ary think­ing and revo­lu­tion­ary ac­tion are the rites and rit­u­als that will pro­pel us to­wards new lev­els of sus­tain­able pros­per­ity, as we can ap­ply th­ese sim­ple prin­ci­ples in our daily rou­tine and even­tu­ally it be­comes ef­fort­less to be pos­i­tive, com­pas­sion­ate and kind.

Sym­me­try in prin­ci­pled thought and struc­ture in con­sis­tently com­pas­sion­ate ac­tion can be aligned with the the­o­ries of causal­ity, too. We can be­come a force for good if we chan­nel our en­ergy to­wards goals that are en­rich­ing for both the planet and its peo­ple and move away from a vi­cious cy­cle to a vir­tu­ous one. Clearly, there are many vari­ables and ex­ter­nal fac­tors that are out of our con­trol, which might skew or tilt our per­spec­tives or di­lute the im­pact of what we in­tend to achieve, but that is not suf­fi­cient rea­son for us to de­vi­ate from our fo­cus on cre­at­ing mean­ing­ful pos­i­tive im­pact, whether as in­di­vid­u­als or as a cor­po­ra­tion. My 4Ps of Pas­sion, Pos­i­tiv­ity, Per­sis­tence and Para­noia ap­ply well in this con­text; we can’t do or­di­nary things and ex­pect ex­tra­or­di­nary re­sults. ■

El­e­vat­ing the ways in which we think is crit­i­cal to how we act and in­flu­ence our life cir­cum­stances.

Gau­rav Sinha Ebury Press2018, 288 pages, Hard­cover

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