Sri Sri Ravi Shankar lovingly called as Guruji, the founder of Art of Living Foundation through which He relieves the stress at individual levels, thus reducing violence, sufferings and conflicts and spreading the love, harmony, peace throughout the world in various societies.
Take a few moments every day for doing nothing. It really brings a lot of energy and uplifts the spirit. I think this is what is needed today. Our brain is bombarded with so much information, and so we need to recharge from time to time. Isn't it so? So a few moments of conscious relaxation will make a difference.
There are two types of relaxation:
One is unconscious relaxation, which is absolutely essential, and which we do every single night; probably in the day time also. But there is a rest which is different from sleep, when we are conscious and still relaxing. That is what is meditation.
You must have heard about a research paper which has been published recently, that if someone meditates for two months, i.e., eight weeks, the structure of the brain changes; the grey matter increases.
So, there are many benefits of meditation:
1. It just gives you more alertness
2. It gives you a very relaxed and happy feeling from inside
3. It helps you create a stress-free and violence-free environment
4. It helps improve your communication with people
5. It boosts your immune system
See, the mind is very judgmental most of the time. And with these breathing exercises and relaxation, prejudice in the mind just disappears.
2. Don't Just Motivate, Inspire People
You know, the president of World bank once asked me a question. He asked me, 'Gurudev, we do so many projects but most of them don't reach the point of success. How come all your projects are successful? What is the secret?'
I said, 'The secret is I don't manage it, I let it go organically, whatever is happening'.
There are two things, one is motivation and another is inspiration. Usually, in all corporate setups, they motivate people by giving them some raise in the salary, or a bonus, or some facilities. That motivates people and make them do better for a short period of time. Motivation is not long lasting, it is time sensitive; it has an expiration date. After some time you have to motivate them again. But inspiration is something that lasts longer, rather it has a longer shelf life.
You know this is what Mahatma Gandhi did. He inspired people. My teacher was with Mahatma Gandhi for 40 years. When we were children he used to tell us small stories of his days with Mahatma Gandhi, and they were very inspirational. I will tell you an incident, are you ready for it?
Wasting No Time
One incident was when Mahatma Gandhi was travelling in a small train uphill to Darjeeling. Darjeeling is a hill station in India, and you have a small train that goes there. It is a narrow gauge train. Now what happened is that, when the train was moving up the hill, somewhere, the engine got itself disconnected from the coaches. So the engine went ahead and the coaches started sliding backward.
Just imagine on a big hilly terrain, coaches are sliding backward, what would happen? There was huge panic, as people were between life and death. Any moment the coaches could fall off the hill, and one would not even find a trace of a bone. It was the Himalayas.
So while there was panic all around, Mahatma Gandhi was dictating letters, and he said to my teacher (he used to call him Bangalori, because he was from Bangalore), ‘Bangalori, take dictation’.
My teacher said, ‘Bapu (father), do you know what is happening? We may not be alive. We are in-between life and death. The coaches are moving backward with nothing to stop it, and its gaining speed.’
Do you know what Mahatma Gandhi said then? He said, ‘Suppose we get saved, we would have wasted all this time. If we die, we die. But if we are saved, we wasted so much time? So, come on, take dictation’.
With trembling hands my teacher was taking dictation.
He used to tell me, ‘Look at this old man, he would not waste a moment of his life’.
That was very inspiring. Even when he knew that there was danger, and death was just around the corner, Gandhi never wanted to waste even that much of time. He was busy, and he said, let us keep ourselves busy. And in a few minutes, maybe half hour or so, the train came to a standstill. It was picking up speed and then it stopped on its own.
3. Have A Feeling of Ownership With your Company
A person maybe working in a company for 20-30 years without having a sense of belongingness. There are two things:
1. Feeling a sense of belongingness; having an emotional connection with the company you are working for
2. Just making use of the company like a slot machine. You just put a coin and you get what you need
So, if you have the attitude of a slot machine with your company, it will not bring you better results. But if you have a feeling of ownership with your company, an emotional connection with your company, then you will always feel energetic and enthusiastic. And you will be able to take any pitfalls. Having a connection with the organization you are working for makes a huge difference.
4. The Four C's: Commitment, Connectivity, Compassion & Creativity
We need to see how we can bring these four Cs into the setup we are in.
Commitment: We must take it for granted that people are committed. Never question the commitment of the person. If you tell someone that they are not committed enough, it is not going to help them to be more commitment. You must tell them, 'Hey, you are really committed', and re-affirm their commitment. Commitment is actually there in everybody but sometimes it is covered with stress, misunderstanding, and personal issues of many types.
Connectivity: Make people connected. I would say, we should throw open chances for discussions. Discussions create a sense of connectivity. Sharing your problems or issues creates connectivity. Discussions, sharing, and listening will create connectivity. Whether you follow what the opinions of others is a different thing. At least you must have the attitude to listen; listening and respecting.
Some people may have completely different opinion. Sometimes you may think they are very stupid, even then you should listen respectfully.
See, normally if someone's ideas are good, we respect them. If someone does not have very intelligent ideas, we tend not to respect them. My suggestion would be to respect people for what they are, not because they are intelligent or dumb; talented not not talented. Don't you think so? Isn't this a new way of looking at things? Just respect people. They may have the most dumb ideas, or have no ideas, but still giving them respect creates that connectivity. When people feel connected then they also feel protected. And when they are protected, their integrity level goes higher. We all want people with integrity, don't we? Yes!
Compassion: See, we are not machines, we are living human beings with a heart. And our expression of compassion is absolutely essential in a working atmosphere.
You don't have to be compassionate all the time, then there is a disadvantage of people taking advantage of you, and discipline may collapse. But time to time, now and then, at least you must exhibit your compassion. And make a group and get involved in activity which can invoke the compassion of the team, such as, taking up a service project (CSR - Corporate service responsibility).
As a team take up some relief work, or do any activity which is not profit motivated. That is what we call CSR. Such activities bring a good bonding between the team. Of course, Japan is known for its team work. I think that is what I understand. Wherever I go I often mention this.
Creativity: You know, many times, an employee feels strangled in a setup. They feel that their creativity is not being utilized, or they are not able to come up with creativity. I would suggest that you provide some opportunity for people to express their creativity.
You know, we do this from time to time in our Bangalore campus. The cooks, the people who are taking care of the housing, the drivers, the cleaners, we make them all rotate and do a different activity to exhibit their creativity. Sometimes they come up with some music or a dance; things which you normally don't expect them to do. But because you give them an opportunity to come up with some creativity, they do it and it creates such a beautiful energy and a fantastic atmosphere.