Saturday, February 2, 2013
A Balance of the Heart and the Mind
(Sri Sri at the International Leadership Summit)
In a home, do you know who the real leader is? Is the father the leader of the house, or the baby?
You will be surprised to know that it is the baby that leads the house. It is around the baby that the entire family circles, isn't that so?!
That is why, I consider myself as a baby; as a child.
A real leader needs to have these two qualities, one of the head and the other of the heart - Sensibility and Sensitivity.
Often what we see, people who are very sensible, are not sensitive, because they are so focused on reason; on being sensible and logical. And then there are those who are very sensitive that at the drop of a hat, tears come into their eyes, but they are not sensible enough.
Neither of these two can become a good leader, because you need to have a balance of both - Sensibility and Sensitivity; heart and mind, because we are all made up of these two very important aspects of our life.
Intellect has its unique place, and so do our emotions.
In the past century, the emphasis has been only on the intellect. A tear in a man's eyes was considered to be something weird. How can a man cry?!
And a woman taking a mike, and standing up and speaking, or fighting for her rights, was considered to be weird. And that is how the society was. Women could not lead!
Of course, not in Kerala. In Kerala, a different system has been there. But world over, women were not given that intellectual power to speak because she was brushed aside as the more fair and sensitive race. Today, the scenario has changed.
Today, we need sensibility and sensitivity. We need that softness of a female in every leader, and the strength and perseverance of a male in every woman, then one can lead any organization. What do you say?!
There is something very important that I want to tell you. Whenever we have to discuss about leadership, or anything very dear to our hearts, we need to be in a very informal atmosphere.
So, why don't we just take half a minute, to greet the person behind us, in front of us, to our sides, saying, 'I belong to you!'
Done?! Did you greet the people near you?
Some of you were so shy to even say 'Hi' to others.
Many times, we find leaders in such a position. They don't look at people, they look somewhere else and keep talking. They can't relate to people, isn't it?!
So did you really tell the people around you, 'I belong to you'; or you did it as a formality?
You must have noticed, when you get off the plane, the air hostess greets you saying, 'Have a nice day!' They say this much but they don't really mean it.
In the same way, most of the pleasantries that we exchange in our daily lives, is from that level. We say, 'Hi', or 'Welcome', but there is no warmth of welcoming someone.
But the same words, when it comes to you from someone very dear to you; your mother, or your sister, or close friend, then it carries some vibrations.
Most of what we communicate is through vibes, and words play a very small part of it. Your vibrations send more messages, even before words come out of your mouth.
A leader when he relies on his words should know for sure that his words will not be relied upon.
If you rely on words so much, people will not rely on your words. It has to come from deep within. That is what is called sincerity, when there is a connect between your vibes, your feelings and your words.
You may tell me, 'Gurudev, it is so difficult to match these three. How is it possible?! If everybody could match these three, everybody would be a saint. It is not practical!'
I tell you, okay, I agree with you. You will not be able to match it 100%, but at least can you match 25%. That much you can do, because people can feel it; sense it.
So we convey a lot through our vibrations than through words. Words are important but it needs that presence.
People are intelligent, they can make out when you really welcome someone and when you are doing it as a formality.
Okay, I have another exercise for you. Will you do it? Are you ready?
Can you turn to the person next to you and tell the person, 'I don't trust you!'
If your spouse is next to you, this is an opportunity! (Laughter)
You all did it so quickly?!
Did you notice that it was not easy to do that. This is the very first time that you must have told someone, 'I don't trust you', and you started laughing and they started laughing as well. Transformation has begun.
You were not relying on their words and they were not relying on your words, isn't it?!
Just for a minute close your eyes, and just imagine, no one trusts you. Everybody is telling you, 'I do not trust you.'
You may open your eyes.
How do you feel? Relieved?! Awful?!
(Audience: Awful; miserable; uncomfortable; desperate; sad; horrible; dejected)
You know, this is what we generate when we have this attitude, 'I don't trust anybody.'
We create such a vibration, that anybody who comes around us, they feel that we feel that way, and then there is mistrust in society, and that is how society starts going down and conflicts arise.
Do you know, most conflicts can be solved at the very beginning itself, if the pact of trust is attended to.
See, when you feel nobody trusts you, you feel so bad, and you feel such a bad vibration all around you, and that creates such an atmosphere that is not good for you or for anybody else.
I don't mean that you have to be naive, but at the same time I want you to look at this aspect of trust. A society which has no faith in human values cannot flourish, or progress, or be creative, on any count. This is my conclusion.
Now you may ask, 'What about self-doubt. I trust others but I don't trust myself.'
This is another form of the same disease. Lack of trust in yourself leads to lack of trust in others. Lack of trust in others leads to lack of trust in the values of society, which leads back to lack of trust in oneself.
This needs to be corrected. And anything that corrects this should be welcomed.
Trust between communities, trust between members of the same family is important.
I would say, it is stress that is responsible for distrust.
Don't think everyone is a fraud. There are good people on the planet and that counts for majority of them. The world is bad today, not because of a few bad people, but it is the silence of the good people that has created unfavourable situations. Now it is in our hands to change this.
Each one of you is a leader, don't look for a leader.
What is important is to lead from behind. A real leader is not one who emphasizes, 'I am the leader, you must follow me', instead he says, 'Go forward', and he pushes others in front. 'I am here with you, so you run'; just like the coach who assists his participant in a running race, or a coach who teaches you swimming.
Someone argues, how can I jump into the water when I don't know swimming. But unless you get into the water, how can you learn swimming?! You can't swim in the air. So that guidance has to come from one's own very life's example.
You have seen the big uproar that has happened in India. Finally people have woken up to the plight of women. It is not the first time that a woman has been abused, it has been happening for many years and in many places. People have woken up, and everybody is demanding that these people need to be punished, but they are leaving out one person, i.e., Mr. Alcohol.
If these people were not drunk, perhaps they would not have gone out of their senses. And if these people were in their senses, perhaps they would not have committed such a crime. But they were totally drunk. Isn't it?!
It is alcohol which is the first culprit.
I keep hearing of this everyday; every single day. Men drink at night and then they go and beat up their wives, and in the morning they ask her for forgiveness, and she forgives them and life continues.
Q: You just said that alcohol is the main reason behind the Delhi gang rape case. But today, there have been cases of young girls being raped by their own fathers. In those cases, it is not just alcohol. What is the bigger problem?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Correct, it is not alcohol which is the main reason behind this case.
Sex offenders have primarily three issue. One is hormone issues, where there could be some serious hormonal imbalances in them.
Second is emotional disturbances. The person must be a victim of some sort, within themselves.
Third is, total deterioration of human values.
So, these three things together can make a person do such criminal acts which they themselves would regret.
It is not that they would feel very happy that they have achieved something great. They are doing such a bad thing to a small child.
They are compelled because of their sick mind, imbalanced emotions and hormones. So these kind of people need treatment. They definitely need counselling, and society needs to provide them with this kind of counselling without any stigma.
Do you know, this is not just in rural places, in fact, it is more in all the advanced countries. In world over, this problem of child molestation is prevalent. So many such cases are there. Father molesting his own daughter, we have heard of something like this in India only recently, but this has been happening in America for so many years. And it has gone to an extent with all these television shows, that sometimes, children start doubting, 'Oh, maybe my father did like this to me.'
I want to share one such case with you.
An elderly couple came to me. Their daughter who at time was already 38 years of age, suddenly thought, after watching all these talk shows, that she is a victim. That her father did this to her when she was a child.
So suddenly, after this television show, the relationship between the parents and the daughter became so bad.
The father was crying, saying, 'How can I ever do such a crime. My daughter thinks I have done this to her.'
So, some of these television shows can make such an impact as well, that it destroys the family.
Are you understanding what I am saying? It took me quite a while to sit them all together, to counsel them, to make them meditate, and all that.
Of course, finally the family came together, they could let go of these impressions.
Many times people consider themselves as victims to draw more attention. These kind of things also happen in society.
We need to put an end to crime against women and children at any cost. This can only happen when society turns more spiritual, more humane and more sensitive.
Q: If government is corrupt, how can the nation create good governance.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The government has no personality, it is the people in the government who become corrupt. It is the people who can become incorrupt as well.
See, corruption begins where the sense of belongingness ends. Nobody can be corrupt with people whom they think belong to them. They will not take bribe from their friends and family. They take bribe only from those whom they find are outside their sense of belongingness.
So, corruption and crime, these two things have to be removed, otherwise the government cannot be effective.
Criminal elements in the government is a horrible thing.
Do you know why every party gives tickets to these criminal elements? It is because they have a vote bank. If you, the good people start making your own vote banks, you can dictate to every party, 'If you give tickets to criminal elements, we are not going to vote for you', then no party will dare to give tickets to corrupt people or to the criminal elements in society.
That is why I said, we should all, together, stand up for human values in society, united. Individually we all stand up for values, but we need to stand up being united.
If all good people in Cochin stand up and say, 'We will not allow Cochin to be polluted. We stand for cleanliness in our city', then things start changing.
I feel this is necessary.
Q: There are many corporations that are venturing into social responsibilities, but recently the government has introduced some policies where this is being thrust onto corporations. What do you have to say about this?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: If the government says that companies have to spend 3% of their profits on social responsibility, a good corporation would spend 4% of their profits, and not limit to the 3% as per the government's guidelines.
It is a good thing that the government has given such a guideline. At least 2% to 3% must be given towards corporate social responsibility.
I don't think there is anything wrong with this decision of the government. I think this one decision is very good, that every corporation should spend at least some percentage of their profit for the welfare of others.
This has been said in our Dharma Shastras as well. Anyone who gets any profit has to share a percentage of it for the welfare of society.
Q: Can you say something about entrepreneurship.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Entrepreneur is a projection of creativity. One aspect of creativity.
An entrepreneur has to come out of his or her comfort zone. One cannot say, 'I want to be in my comfort zone and I want to be an entrepreneur', that is not going to work.
Entrepreneurship always involves risks and the ability to undergo hardship.
Q: What is the significance of the culture of leadership in organizations?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: A leader has to walk the talk. Be sensible, sensitive and compassionate.
We need three things in life, Passion, Dispassion and Compassion.
You can't have only passion, then you feel very stressed out. You need to have dispassion, you need to know how to let go. If you keep holding onto things when they are out of your hands anyways, you will only be more stressed. And a stressful person is a burden for himself, for the society and for everybody.
A stressful person becomes harmful and toxic.
In any institution you should identify those who are stressed. The ones stressed are soon going to become toxic. So, see to it that the person changes his whole attitude and feels better about himself.
When people are relieved of stress, then you see a wave of change that arises.
It is not an easy task. If someone is not willing to let go of his or her stress, you cannot make them let go of it. So, it is an uphill task and you have to do that.
Q: You have already told that women are naturally good leaders, but there are not enough women leaders. Can you tell us, what are the barriers for becoming a good leader?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I want to tell you that India has more women leaders than any other part of the world. Do you know that?
We have many women members of Parliament, many women in the legislative assembly, and many states ruled by women. The whole country has been ruled by women for several decades; so never think that you need to be empowered by somebody.
Here, in India, women are already empowered. America has to learn that. America has not yet come to that level as far as women empowerment is concerned.
Q: In my work environment, I meet different kinds of people, and I may not like talking to some of them. How do I be diplomatic in my approach?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: This is a very tricky question.
Sometimes if you are not direct, and if you don't tell them on their face, they think that you are giving them some other indications in a subtle way, or are confirming what they have in their own mind.
At the same time, you need not be rude when you need to express your opinions, or ideas, which you want to put forth. So, it is really about striking a balance.
There is no definite formula. You have to play by the ear.
How to be diplomatic - this cannot be taught now and applied later. It has to come out of you spontaneously at that moment.