Let's start off with a very simple riddle - think of a 5 letter word, easy to write, simple to say, but hard to earn, and dangerous when mishandled. The answer to this? Three terms into my management course, and one thing I have learnt is that the answer 'It depends' can be perfect for any question anyone poses! And so it is here too. Confusing? Well, here is how I think.
If you are a business minded person, the very obvious answer that would jump into your mind would be - MONEY! Studying subjects related to finance has taught me all the problems that this simple thing could bring (least of all, a bad grade in my exam). I am sure that people would love to read a post related to this, but I am the last person to be bothered about this, and have absolutely no idea how to spend money, let alone earn it.
Ask this to a person of importance, and he would say that the hardest thing that he has ever had to earn was HONOR. Honor with the masses, honor within friends, honor amongst thieves - you can see the struggle anywhere you go. But well, from the title of this article- a simple mind, you can know that this is definitely not something I have a good understanding about. So there goes another topic out of the window.
Another common (and a pretty apt) answer that people can think of - POWER. Looking at all the drama that takes place for the possession of power, whether it be in national politics, companies, committees, or even among friends, this is definitely something with very high stakes, and extremely dangerous in the wrong hands. However, as a guy who again has no clue as to what to do with any amount of power, this is an area that I would really be highly incompetent to comment about.
The one that I was looking for, something I feel is the best possible answer to the above riddle, which in itself has posed a lot many questions to people of all walks of life, anytime and anywhere they are, is about the issue of TRUST.
A very simple concept, but still very difficult to understand.
Easy to tell, but very difficult to make it mean something.
Hard to gain, harder to maintain, and hits the hardest when it is lost.
A simple, but a every powerful word - more valuable than gems, a lot more fragile than glass, and as explosive as a bomb - this is something which I have always found very difficult to fathom. One simple act, one sentence spoken, or one small gesture, can change things drastically, either making or breaking everything done previously. Trust, when kept intact makes wonderful things happen, but when broken can cause... well, anything! And yeah, I do mean anything!
Being in classrooms with students of various cultures, working alongside team members from different backgrounds, this is the one of the factors I find which differentiates successful people from people who haven't been able to tap their true potential - the amount of trust that they have managed to gain with their fellow humans. It is only in an atmosphere where people can trust each other, have I been able to find really amazing results. The kind of problems that have arisen because of the lack of trust, or the loss of it, have truly been uncountable, and their consequences irreparable. And I repeat it again, it can lead to practically anything!
So, do I mean to say that people should start trusting each other a lot more?
Well, surprisingly, my answer is NO!
Weird? I hope not.
On the contrary, my message is that people should start becoming more trustworthy. Rather than learning to trust others, they should learn to gain the very trust they expect others to give.
And this definitely does not mean the same thing!
A popular saying is that Trust is a double-edged sword - trust a person and either of the two things happen, you either gain a person for life, or a lesson for life. This is something I have found very true. Having faced similar issues, and being both on the giving and the receiving ends at different points of time, has made me realise that this kind of trust - blind, limitless trust for another person, is not for the weak-hearted. It is only when people learn to truly respect each other, learn to respect that the person they are with has a unique mind which thinks, a heart which feels and hands which work, can they start being persons who are capable of winning others' trust. And this, from what I have understood, is the root of all such problems.
The current scenario is one which is very fast-moving, where people have been trained to run an endless race, as every second lost sees them falling behind, and every extra effort put has them going ahead. But in this quest to reach.Well, I frankly don't have an answer as to what it is. People have learnt to become less sensitive, humans have learnt to become less humane, and everyone is becoming more self-centric everyday. And to what end? Just like the answers to the riddle posed earlier, people have started giving a lot more importance to words like money, power and honor, and have lost the ability to learn to trust and love each other. And it definitely is really saddening to see that the proportion of people in this mindset is fast growing, where more people are becoming 'learned' under the education system. Need proof? Ask any school kid about what they learn in school. Their answers are always - science, geography, mathematics. But ask them about moral sciences, culture or philosophy, and they have no clue about any of them!!
I think it is time that we stop following the crowd in this regard, to stop falling into the well everyone is falling into. Yes, do take part in the race like everyone else, but make it a point to look to your left and right every now and then to see who is with you, and learn to mingle with them and help them. Doing this does not slow you down one bit, but if a time does come where your legs give way in the middle of the race, you will always have people next to you who are willing to carry you until you can get back on your own feet. As the popular saying goes, life is a race, where the end does not matter. So learn to enjoy the journey while it lasts!
- article written by Vishnu Hosagrahar
Vishnu is a first year PGP student in the IIM Indore UAE Campus. He graduated as a BE from NIT Suratkal, and now plans to focus on Operations Domain. Reading books, Blogging and Playing computer games are his passions and hobbies.