We lost one of India’s sharpest industrialist minds yesterday. Cyrus Mistry lost his life in an unfortunate road accident near Mumbai. He was only 54.
While this news shocked the whole nation, what shocked me more were the vitriolic comments across social media. Comments that did not hesitate to raise fingers at his character, comments against the government for their apathy towards road infrastructure, the trolling of the government for favoring rich industrialists, the fact that Cyrus could afford a private jet yet chose to travel by road, judgements about his having a Mercedes and its safety features, the conspiracy angle, and so on and so forth.
Needless to say, all the good things got buried under this heap of negativity.
Somewhere, we have lost our basic humanity.
Death is certain – it is the one common factor in all living beings.
Yet, even in death, people tend to crib, raise questions on one’s character and integrity and do not lose an opportunity to ‘kill’ the character.
Look at our workplaces. When something goes wrong, the first spontaneous reaction is to berate the team, the colleagues involved or put the blame on someone or something else. We forget we have one life and that it has to be lived by making beautiful memories and experiencing the goodness that does reside in all of us.
Why does it take so much of an effort to appreciate what one brings to the table whilst it is very easy to showcase all the weak points? Why do we forget the fundamentals of ethics and integrity and let ourselves flow with the tide of spite and hurt?
The answer lies within us. We have forgotten to be professionally professional.
We let our emotions get hold over us. Our own disturbed state of mind is not because of what someone said to us. It is because of how we have chosen to react to that situation.
What are our options then? No workplace is without upheavals. Each day brings with it new opportunities as well as new challenges. The workplace universe is an ecosystem of our team, manager, colleagues, partners, stakeholders and customers. It is difficult to have two people think alike and agree on everything. How we handle the differences, the voices of dissent and disagreement and manage the overall convergence of dissonance is the key to being professional.
One option of course is to keep quiet. Sounds familiar, does it not? I recall choosing to stay quiet when I was fairly new in the job. I was afraid that if I say something that is not overall aligned with the management thinking then I would stand to lose my job. Only with passage of time did courage take over silence. Staying quiet, therefore, is not really an option. Because one day all that accumulation of unhappiness, frustration, jealousy, mistrust and negativity will burst, and the waters will overflow. When that happens, our own behavior may shock us!
Shifting the focus to our own response and understanding why we feel what we feel helps us to harness our emotions and respond in a positive manner. When we are aware of our own intentions, we are able to make informed decisions at our workplace. This sets in motion a virtuous cycle of goodness and compassion that cascades all across and leaves behind a positive footprint. It is also the cycle that propels growth and learning.
Time we faced the inevitable – we strive at work only when we are better professionals, are compassionate, and are in touch with our inner selves.
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