October 20, 2011

Theories That You Pick Up

There are theories you pick up as you work. And a few days back someone asked me, after spending 4 years with India’s foremost marketing company what are the new theories that I had picked up. As I looked back at the time spent in SNDU, I realized that the theories closest to my heart had nothing to do with marketing – they were more about how to live one’s life. And like most life theories these are my interpretations of the same.

The first was Chipkali Syndrome. Told to me by the Mother of The All Knowing Little Girl, Chipkali (Lizard) syndrome is all about giving oneself more importance than is necessary. Sensing me working one Sunday, she lost it and on Monday blasted me away. Her point was that the Lizard hanging on to the roof feels that it is holding on to the roof and if it moves away the entire roof might fall on the room below.

We often tend to be chipkalis, imagining that we are so important to the business that the work will stop without us. If one is a junior, she doesn’t know how to let go and allow the decision to flow down. If it’s a senior, she never knows how to trust her subordinates to take the call and move on.

Tagore of course knew it, having never worked in an organization though – “You don’t hold the fate of the world in your hands. There’s a boatman manning the stern, who will see you through” 

The second was about Pal Money – told to me by a Mallu Salesman in Mumbai sitting on the Carter Road promenade. Wherever you work, you will always be unsatisfied with what salary you get as there will be someone who will be earning more than you. This remains to this day, the major cause of dissatisfaction in a human life. Often we do not take into account that probably to earn this extra money, the other person has probably a tougher life than us and works thrice as hard as us. Pal Money Theory accepts the fact that one will always continue to make this comparison.

But what it says that because of the money you earn less, you gain moments in life or Pal. And a Pal spent well is worth every bit of the money you don’t make. For example, on a Sunday evening, without bothering about the next presentation, I am actually blogging about Pal Money. The worth of this moment to me is almost 100 SGD. (The theory insists that you put a monetary value to it) And I am happy that I have this moment for myself, speaking to through this blog to you.

The last theory is about The Man. Almost everyone thought in college that they were going to cure cancer, save the world, eradicate poverty – in effect do something worthwhile with their lives. Everyone wanted to change the system and make the world a better place. Most of us are not doing anything half as noble. And yet in the late nights when the world seems to have made old men and women out of us, we really want to shout our hearts out. It’s like this silent monster that gnaws at you and you know you can’t let your cries be heard.

At that moment you need an object to direct your frustration and Give it to THE MAN. You know really make him pay for all that’s not right with your life, for it’s never you that is at fault! It’s always the system! So once you have found The Man, you boss or your doodhwala, you just give it to him but then once it’s out of your system you need to sit down and take stock of your life as you see it. And then probably you’ll realize that you are not a chipkali, you can always manage some time and you have the right to earn some Pal Money.

What’s more, next weekend you might find yourself teaching a few kids for free at the nearby school and really feeling good about it. At the end of the day, it’s about being happy without causing hurt to others.

Life’s really that simple.

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