As High As You Can

Reading Time: 3 minutes

As High As You Can

This post is not an original. It is a really inspiring message that I received recently. And even though some of you might have read it elsewhere, I think it does come in handy every once in a while for that little push we need on our uphill journeys, before we get to where we had planned to.

The Fern and the Bamboo

One day I decided to quit… I quit my job, my relationship, my spirituality. And I wanted to quit my life. I went to have one last talk with my mentor. “Can you give me one good reason not to quit?”, I said.

The answer surprised me…”Look around. What do you see?” I saw a fern and bamboo seeds?”

My mentor replied, “When the fern and the bamboo seeds were planted, I took very good care of them. I gave them light. I gave them water. The fern quickly grew from the earth. Its brilliant green covered the floor. Yet nothing came from the bamboo seed. But I did not quit on the bamboo.

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“In the second year the Fern grew more vibrant and plentiful. And again, nothing came from the bamboo seed. But I did not quit on the bamboo.

“In the third year, there was still nothing from the bamboo seed. But I would not quit.

“In the fourth year, again, there was nothing from the bamboo seed. But I would not quit.

“Then in the fifth year a tiny sprout emerged from the earth. Compared to the fern it was seemingly small and insignificant. But just 6 months later the bamboo rose to over 100 feet tall. It had spent the five years growing roots. Those roots made it strong and gave it what it needed to survive. Life does not give anyone a challenge they can not handle.

“Did you know that all this time you have been struggling, you have actually been growing roots? I did not quit on the bamboo. Never quit on yourself. Don’t compare yourself to others. The bamboo had a different purpose than the fern; yet, they both make the forest beautiful.

“Your time will come. You will rise high! How high should you rise? How high will the bamboo rise? As high as it can. So you should rise as high as you can. Never regret a day in your life.”

Good days give you Happiness.
Bad days give you Experiences.
Both are essential to life.
Happiness keeps you Sweet,
Trials keep you Strong,
Sorrows keep you Human,
Failures keep you Humble,
Success keeps You Glowing,
But only your faith keeps you going!

So that’s all you have to do. Just keep going….

Sagano-bamboo-forest-Kyoto

                                                                 image: Sagano bamboo forest, Kyoto, Japan

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Compromise? Don’t!

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Compromise? Don’t!

Several foreign countries have been following the professional hire-n-fire policy for several years if not decades, now. We Indians on the other hand, still go strong on references and the ‘chalta hain’ (a Hindi phrase meaning ‘it’s alright, no big deal’), ‘adjust maadi’ (maadi is a Kannada word meaning ‘to do’, in this case, asking someone to adjust) and ‘ki farak paenda’ (a popular Hindi phrase meaning ‘what difference will it make’) attitude.

Do you think Infosys would have been what it is if they fed their ever-increasing hunger for talented workforce with just about any relative, friend or a friend of a friend? Sure they would’ve filled seats in a jiffy, but I strongly doubt Infy would’ve made it even half as far.

I remember some elders telling me years ago, that it’s all about networking, all about the contacts you have, etc. And sure it worked brilliantly when I was watching the Godfather movie. All the ‘offer you can’t refuse’ and ‘I will call upon you to do me a service in return’; but it doesn’t seem to have a very good effect in the corporate world. If favours are done or asked for in any manner that’s less than at what they call ‘arms’ length’, it is, without doubt, going to compromise on something.

Close friends don’t feel uncomfortable in declining requests if they have reasons to. And they feel comfortable in expressing the inability to do so, and it doesn’t in any way, affect the friendship either.

But in our rat race, we have really gotten programmed with the whole ‘doing a favor, asking a favor’ routine. So much so, it is second nature. Often at the cost of compromising on something else. Ki farak paenda after all, aye..?

And don’t you feel its way beyond time that we Indians graduated from call centre jobs? Even if we were considered good at being the ‘back end’ to the world (no pun intended). I ask you now – can you think of any one company, where you’d feel genuinely satisfied with the level of service, were you to call their helpline? Hell, even I’ve worked with a call centre, years ago, so I know what I’m talking about. And believe me, in the past few years, interacting with call centres of the likes of biggies like Vodafone, I can genuinely relate to the frustration and helplessness that foreigners may have felt over the years, when we’ve struggled to ‘resolve an issue’ for them.

And while I still have some hilarious memories from work at the time. For instance, the general process was flawed then, and it is flawed now. So after almost a decade of BPOs, the least we could have done is worked on and simplified the process? Made more sensible options on the IVR? Or made agents more efficient at what they do? Perhaps taught them to ’empathize’ with customers rather than doing a mindless line-by-line delivery of a script? And finally, if it isn’t too much trouble, ensure that the ‘issue’ was resolved? But I guess ‘woh bhi chalta hain yaar’.

So put a bunch of ‘chalta hain’ attitude people in a company, and what do you get? Then put a bunch of companies with a large number of ‘chalta hain’ attitude employees in them together, and what do you get? And while we’re at that, what if we have a nation with several such companies, then what do we get?

What I’m guessing is, a strong probable cause for the next slowdown, where there is a strong possibility that India would play host, because employees and organizations compromised on several little things, and just drifted along, till a point where, just like the gig at the CWG, products, services and efforts start collapsing in front of bigger audiences.

Compromise then, just became a real dangerous word for me right now, something representing slow degradation. How about for you?

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