Monday, August 25, 2008

i-TFTD #151

#151-1. Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the men of old; seek what they sought.
#151-2. Begin somewhere; you cannot build a reputation on what you intend to do.
-Liz Smith
#151-3. We change the world not by what we say or do, but as a consequence of what we have become.
-David Hawkins

The first one is profound. We find it easier to blindly mimic the procedural aspects of a past success rather than imbibe the spirit, the values, and do the hard work of evolving an approach suited to the changed times. This reminds me of the inspiring anecdote of Maitreyi, one of the two wives of sage Yajnavalkya. When he decided to retire to the forest and asked his wives how they would like all his possessions to be divided amongst them, she expressed her curiosity to know about that which made him leave all his wealth. This story forms the context for a large portion of the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad – one of the old philosophical texts roughly dated to the 8th century BC that contains, among other gems, the doctrine of "neti, neti" (not this, not that) and the "Lead us from Darkness to Light" snippet beginning with "asatoma".

A lot of books such as Execution by Ram Charan and Larry Bossidy, The Knowing-Doing Gap by Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert Sutton and Getting Things Done by David Allen are selling by the millions because they purport to help us get started with the right action.

I believe our words have an impact on others and ourselves much more than what many believe. Actions obviously have a bigger impact on changing the environment. The third tells us that the biggest impact is from who we are so we need to choose our words and actions such that they help us in becoming what we wish to become.

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