Day 37: Keeping A Positive Attitude
I could already see the impact of a different attitude, when, instead of being weighed down by a multitude of problems, I decided to disentangle them and tried solving them one by one. Getting the corporate training business going was one of them. It was on my agenda for a while, and I could see clear opportunities. However, it was me who was unnecessarily complicating things by connecting up various issues together - for example, I thought it is a moral obligation for me to refer any business that I have ever discussed or remotely been involved into to my employers. This stalled everything, as a multitude of executives sitting in a distant countryside needed to take decisions on whether to go ahead with a new business in India, an ultra fast marketplace. I should have understood, and decided well in advance, that this is not a workable model. This whole thinking thing wasted a good six months, and finally, I had to decide on the obvious - that this is not a business we have the wherewithal to handle. While this seems so much common sense at the hindsight, my entangling of moral responsibility into everything made it less than clear when the discussions were going on. Now that I have let go off the business and it is taking shape fast, I can feel the impact of some positive thinking - accepting what would not happen and doing with what I have at hand.
Similarly, I suppose, how I am spending my days now. I have decided on two simple principles, both of which impede my professional progress everyday. The first is that I shall never leave for tomorrow what I can do today. Yes, Lincoln here, but this was my biggest problem - procrastination. I am forcing myself into an urgency mode, and telling myself that I only have a few more months to live in London. So, I am forcing myself to take advantage of every moment, embedding myself into work and development activities 24x7.
Besides, I have decided that I must become absolutely committed to what I say, and never say something that I do not mean. My ability to communicate well was a double-edged sword, and I used the grey areas between truth and lie sometimes to get things done. I have come to realize that this undermines my ability as a professional, as well as impede my progress to the next level. I have come to realize that plain truth is painful, and it actually takes a lot of courage and independence of mind to live with the truth. I am also painfully aware that my life has been flawed, and embracing truth unequivocally will cause a lot of pain and disruption. However, on the other hand, one can not get a half-way house on truth, as I have learnt. You are either completely truthful all the time, or you are not. This is something I am struggling with at this time.
I know where all this started from - my reading of Gandhi's life and work with some interest while visiting India. I have shared my thoughts with a few friends, and the most wise suggestion I have got is that since I am no Mahatma, I should shy away from talking big. But, it is interesting to note that Gandhi almost says the same things in his Experiments With Truth, that how imperfect he was and how he struggled with truth, and in the end, how it became the only obvious principle he could live by.
I am not there yet and make no claims that I can ever achieve that. However, it is an interesting experiment to carry out, and as I said, commitment to what I say will actually make me a better professional. I am aware of the cultural differences, but one thing I have learnt with respect in the Western organizations is how professionals are largely transparent, committed to what they say etc. [I am not talking about corporate wrongdoing here and I know they very much exist] I do believe this is one skill worth learning, and I have decided that I shall keep practising this in whatever I do.
There are lots of new things happening in my life. I have got my invitation to a citizenship ceremony, which happens in early March. This has already meant a rather immediate end of all of my travel restrictions, and I am already planning how I can go and live in Asia for a few years. I am considering returning to India, but may as well opt for an opportunity in the South-East Asia if there is one. I am pushing forth towards the completion of the courses I have taken on, clearing off my debts and started packing my bags in a sense. I am making lots of new connections, and entering into new partnerships with people, to explore the market opportunities in Asia.
So, overall, there is a bit of momentum in my life, finally. This has primarily happened because of two major developments. One, I have gotten rid of my sense of guilt that was driving me to focus all my energies into one place, and started looking at the world more pragmatically. I shall argue that this does not make me any less ethical - just that this new thinking presumes that a fair share of responsibility of getting a business to work must remain with its owners. My mistake was that I was too involved - with the business, with its employees and partners. It has been hard to extricate myself from such strong connections. But I have now learnt to redefine these relationships and adopt a more 'practical' stance to each of them. I have also realized my sense of attachment was one of my key vulnerabilities, something that was being manipulated, which was not okay. Two, I am sensing a feeling of freedom in my mind, which comes primarily from completing my residency requirements in Britain and achieving what I set out to achieve six years back, but also from the removal of travel restrictions which affected my thinking all the time over last six years. In summary, I feel like a free man now. And, that will help me push my 2010 spirit further.