Saturday, June 16, 2007

Mindful March or Mad Rush?

Rat race is a common term used to describe the hustle and bustle of life in our efforts to realize our life’s aspirations: fame, fortune, status, power, etc. Implicit in the term is a mad goal rush to the oblivion of others, the motto of many being the end justifies the means. At a personal level, this mad rush may also manifest in other worthy endeavors, at least in the eyes of others who are brought onto the bandwagon.

While this single-mindedness pursuit may describe a focused approach, it often lacks the comprehensive planning and due recognition of inter-personal skills that are vital to attaining the intended objective, even one that professes to help others.

Blinded by the zealots’ own grand vision, they often bulldoze through what they see as indecisive, and worse, ignorant compatriots, relegating them to mere peons who do everything as told. Furthermore, this primacy of attaining the goal, no matter how noble it may seem, at such a torrid pace that it outstrips the ability of the other members of the team to flank the team’s progress, is counter-productive to say the least. This is especially so in an enterprise that relies primarily on the spirit of volunteerism.

This myopic way has at least two drawbacks. Firstly, it leads to disharmony as nobody likes to be ridden roughshod over and treated as a mindless drone. Secondly, it brings on added stress to the team leader, who in turn may compensate by relying on the few who are deemed as high performers, further contributing to chaos in an already highly volatile situation, instead of bringing out the best in each and everyone in the team to bear on the enterprise.

Then there is the alternative approach that maintains the same focus but at the same time is mindful of the individual strengths of the team members, making efforts to bring everybody up to speed, and cutting slack where necessary for some others so they may achieve the same leap, thereby pulling the whole enterprise along a mindful march.

Right efforts must be complemented by right speech, which is not reserved only for those in the target group, but more so the team members who collectively view the enterprise as a worthy cause, regardless of their individual motivation. In this respect, constructive criticisms are always welcome, but if those could be couched in a non-criticizing tone, no matter how justified and self-righteous those dishing out the criticisms may deem these to be, those at the receiving end may just take these less personally rather than reprimands, and thus feel motivated to amend their ways.

There is really no band-aid remedy for disgruntlement in an enterprise. Each deserves a case approach to its resolution. But whatever the source/cause, an amiable but yet firm tone of dispensation, be it advisory, didactic, or even reproachful, will surely go some way in soothing frayed nerves.

In the same vein, the obliquity assumed in this blog article is intentional in consonance with the Chinese saying that there is no need to draw the intestine in a cartoon sketch. In a similarly analogous manner, it too fits the Malay proverb that whoever consumes the chili will feel the hot spice.

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