empty of worldly desires
“Trust and pay attention to the law of karma that regulates cause and effects … those who are full of worldly desires cannot do anything for other peoples sake and cannot be helpful even to themselves … load your bodies with hard work and your mind with duties.”
Tibetan yogi milarepa
I could very easily use this quote to make a point about how someone can better live their life but instead I will actually talk about business … and managers.
To be clear. This piece is a nice companion to my ‘salvation by society‘ versus economic salvation piece.
I won’t be silly enough <or foolish enough> to suggest that to be a good manager you need to completely absolve yourself of ‘worldly desires.’
However … I will suggest that there is an important point to be made here by Milarepa with regard to management and the influence a manager can have on society <sounds big but remember that subtle actions can influence larger behavioral trends>.
Here is a business <society> Truth. The manager who is focused on personal ‘worldly desires’ or even corporate ‘worldly desires <i.e., profits, efficiency, etc.> cannot be the best they can be to help other people … and even themselves … and society.
Look. I think we can all agree that souls <or salvation> cannot be made of dollars and cents or cars or houses.
I cannot figure out if it is chicken or egg.
What I mean by this is it the fact organizations don’t give a shit about anything other than bottom line therefore middle managers <the leaders of our future> are so focused on “ambition thru solely focused on acquisition of spending power” or if it is culturally there is such a focus on “spending power as measure of success” that the outside cultural norms define action within the business world.
Suffice it to say … regardless of the damn chicken or its egg … we are breeding a culture of middle management that is losing sight of some pretty big issues.
I imagine they fully understand the bigger issues but they are drawing a line between work and non work <i.e., what I, as an individual, can actually do and affect the world in the office>. And, oh by the way, I am not talking about ‘better for the planet’ or some nebulous ‘cause’ but I mean bettering the people on the planet. Bettering through character & social values compass definition.
I think most middle management <putting on my glass is half full hat> really do want to be better people at work … and do want to better people <and positively affect society thru work which, by the way, where we spend the majority of our time anyway>.
However, I also think they feel powerless to do anything. Or maybe they feel like they will be demoted … passed over <net result of therefore not maximize their individual spending power> if they incorporate something other than financial interests.
Doesn’t matter which thought you subscribe to because the net result is the same – it isn’t happening. Oh. Excuse me … there is one really big net result.
What is happening in the workplace is affecting us culturally. It effects attitudes (in general) and ultimately effects behavior (in general). Yeah. It affects attitudes & behavior OUTSIDE of workplace. We in the work world would be foolish to believe “it is just business.”
Stupid in fact.
And, please, don’t anyone throw me the ‘I am a different person at work than I am outside of work.’
Maybe pieces & parts but not the whole.
Contrary to popular myth you cannot ‘flip a switch’ with regard to attitudes and behavior between work and outside work life. We would be foolish to believe so. One bleeds into the other (and I don’t mean ‘doing work stuff’ this is ‘how and what I think stuff’). That said I think we should think of it more like a large fuse box instead of a light switch.
Our ‘being’ of attitudes & behavior has a large fuse box for all of them. If you flipped them all you would just shut down. You can shut down a room or two, or stop the washer & dryer, but the power is on.
Regardless of whether you agree with the metaphor or not suffice it to say we all seek alignment in attitudes & behavior throughout the 24 hours of a day because it is just damn easier. I don’t have to think about what I am supposed to think, or do … or what is right, or wrong … or what is acceptable, or not acceptable.
The work place simply provides stimulus for overall attitudes & behavior … albeit a large stimulus.
I say all that to get back to my opening quote.
‘Worldly desires’ is a deceptively tantalizing objective … fraught with ‘no salvation by society’ peril.
Personally I believe we should be instilling more of this belief within today’s organizations and managers. And I believe we can do so without sacrificing ‘the bottom line.’ It is just that we have forgotten our moral responsibility (or possibly we have just forgotten the affect, impact, which we can actually have as business people on culture?).
Personally I also believe that in our current world of “things” not “society values” that we confuse “being cause related” with “bettering a society.”
It is mental masturbation.
Businesses have convinced themselves into feeling good because they are focused on a cause and, yet, within the organization they expound a ‘bottom line mentality.’
I am glad they feel good as an indiviaul company … because it sure isn’t being shared culturally in any meaningful way.
In the end.
I believe there has to be a shift in business for us to be able to meet an overall ‘greater good’ of a better society.
I don’t remember where I found this quote … “doing the right thing doesn’t really mean being correct … it is actually being righteous.”
Maybe, in the end, all I am suggesting is that business remember being righteous matters <and can still be profitable on a dollars & cents level and on a soul level>.