Saturday, March 28, 2009

Post 579 : What you might henceforth learn at business school by Prakash Shesh

Picked this from Times Of India. Its simple and yet effective. It rings true if you meditate on some of it. I snapped this online from

I have a similar post of my own at


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Good business schools have now realised that it is not enough to train managers on how to maximize wealth. Successful persons need to possess skills to maximize happiness - their own and of those around them.

We must first differentiate between happiness and joy (or pleasure). On a warm summer day, drinking a glass of cold lemon juice gives you great pleasure - your favourite perfume gives you great joy - even scratching a bodily itch gives you immense pleasure. Pleasure is thus  momentary and sensory. Happiness, on the other hand, is "mental" and therefore infinitely more powerful. Can you measure your happiness at having stood first in a tough examination or having beaten your traditional rivals in a sport or for that matter when your children surpass your own achievements?

Are human beings happier today than what they were, say, fifty years ago? I am not sure about the answer. All the technological progress that we have achieved may not have necessarily contributed to increasing our happiness quotient. How does one then go about maximizing happiness??

(1) Identify what makes you happy!

This is a tough one! I have met very few people who are clear in their minds about what will make them happy. Since they are blissfully unclear about their objectives, they live a perennially unhappy life. Take a piece of paper and start writing what will make you happy. Don't generate "motherhood is good" type of statements & remember, a legitimate GOAL is specific, quantifiable, measurable, "achievable and challenging" (this last is not a contradiction).

(2) Compete against yourself !

A very interesting study conducted at Harvard Business School demonstrated that people are happier when their wealth is more than their compatriots. In this study  respondents were asked to choose between the following two situations: [a] You get an annual salary of $ 1,00,000 while your compatriot gets $ 75,000; [b] You get an annual salary of $ 1,50,000 while your compatriot gets $ 1,75,000. Though the salary was more in the second case, respondents overwhelmingly preferred the first alternative thereby demonstrating that it is relative prosperity (and not absolute prosperity) that is perceived to be important. This could indeed turn out to be a major cause of un - happiness. Why not compete with oneself to constantly improve instead of grieving over someone elses' better performance?

(3) Don't expect everyone to agree with you!

Most of us equate disagreement with enmity in spite of knowing that intelligent people rarely agree on anything (because all have their own perspective and the necessary intellectual firepower to put it across). So if disagreement is going to make you unhappy you have yourself to blame. By all means try and convince the other person about your point of view but if he wants to remain where he is, let him be - discuss something else.

(4) Live your life according to your own beliefs!

After achieving financial independence, intellectual independence must follow. How long are you going to live your own life according to what someone else tells you? Life is anyway too short for you to afford this luxury. Implement your beliefs without inconveniencing others & be happy at finally having become responsible for ones own actions.

(5) Live in the PRESENT (here & now)!

The past is dead & gone - it needs to be peeped into only to learn from the mistakes that we committed. Yes go ahead and DREAM about the future but you can't enjoy it until someday it becomes your 'present'. Only "TODAY" is capable of giving you the maximum happiness - so concentrate on it. Don't postpone enjoyment - try and experience it today.

(6) Increase the number of sources of your happiness!

Gardening, singing, playing an instrument, exercising, meditating, having a healthy sexual life, counseling, making friends, watching 20/20, listening to Jagjit Singh... are all what I call sources of happiness. More the sources, more will be the happiness.

(7) Limit your desires!

All of us get caught in that vicious circle of : Motor cycle - Maruti 800 - Accent - Skoda - Mercedes - Cessna and so on....If you are buying these things to give you happiness, you will soon realise that it is short lived. I agree to the wag who said that luxury must be experienced once to realise how un necessary it really is... To put it more scientifically, incremental benefits [as you climb up this value chain of materialism] are not at all worthwhile for the incremental cost that you have to shell out. Limiting desires judiciously (without under performing) is therefore one of the most effective ways of increasing your happiness quotient.

(8) Forget & Forgive!

In any situation remember to do your best and forget the rest. Forgiving your opponents who played dirty may not make you a winner but it would surely make you happier. Jealousy and prolonged anger have long ago been identified by psychologists as agents of death.

(9) Keep your curiosity alive & kicking!

People who vigorously retain the childlike habit of asking questions in order to seek answers about why things happen the way they do, are happy on two counts (a) because they have a sense of achievement when they get the answer; and (b) this process keeps them from ageing.

(10) Shun HYPOCRISY!

We are a nation high on hypocrisy. We will worship godesses but burn brides for dowry. We will keep our courtyard clean but dump the garbage in the neighbours compound when no one is looking. We will demand respect but won't give it so easily. Hypocrisy leads to unhappiness because in his heart the perpetrator knows that he is a sham.

(11) Spend a lot of time with people younger than you!

Their happiness rubs off on you. It is indeed a zero cost way of increasing your happiness.

(12) Give! Give! Give!

Give a smile, advice, cheer, money, help or just company. This is an age old puzzle. Giving normally reduces your assets but giving away happiness actually increases your own inventory - try it out...

Here's wishing you tons and tons of happiness!!

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1 comment:

Unknown said...

Dear Amitabh

Thanks about the honest feedback. I am glad you liked the "original and good" content of my blog. I am an agnostic but my writing has ironically found a place in THE SPEAKING TREE.

Yes you are right - I am 56 & have clear opinions on many things. While my upbringing does not allow me to harangue people whom I socially engage, I have no such niceties to be observed on my blog CLEAR FUNDAS. That must be the reason why the writing there comes out a little harsh. I will try and tone it down as you say.