Compete or Collaborate – A personal journey

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About a month ago, I was invited by IIM Bangalore to give a talk on CaSH – Careers, Salary & Happiness. This is the first time I was visiting my alma mater ever since I graduated. As luck would have it a parallel leadership conclave, IIMBue, was happening at Taj Bangalore and since I was already in Bangalore I registered for it as well. About 5 of my batch mates from the MBA program were also attending IIMBue. Although I was excited at the thought of meeting some of the people I studied together with, I was not expecting any moments of revelation. But something happened.

We met, clicked customary pictures, joked a bit, exchanged friendly banter and had good laughs. I realized that 5 years is not a long time to change how we look. Almost all of us looked exactly the way we did during our MBA days except for one who became much slimmer and almost unrecognizable. Years had worked reverse for him ☺ . But something did change in 5 years. And this secret was revealed to us at the end of the day at dinner.

While majority of us had taken up corporate job, one of us found her calling in education as Program Manager for Akshara Foundation. We all view her courage to give up her high paying job to educate the underprivileged as quite an inspiration. As our discussion grew, we learnt what challenges she faces in her cause (From lack of educational toys to curriculum development). Each one of us tried to help her best we could to overcome the difficulties. Another person had been working for a famous tech giant and recently quit his job to pursue his own B2B (Business to Business) tech solutions start up. He wants to base the company in Singapore and was asking me on ways to do so. Yet another felt Tech sales was his calling as opposed to service delivery and again all of us tried to match him with the right job.

Why am I telling all this? Because something had changed fundamentally! While we all looked the same were we the same? Back in college, we were so busy outcompeting each other that half an extra mark or Rupee 10K higher paying job meant life and death to us! And here the very same people were talking collaboration! Trying to help each other, assisting one another in their pursuit, being that bridge, lending that support. Where was all this when we were running in the rat race during MBA? I am myself guilty of this too. I was hyper competitive and felt that the one way I can win is if everyone else loses. But loses to whom? Why was that highest paid job so dear to me? Why was being the class topper so important to me? What is it that I was chasing? And at what cost? We had no clue!

If someone got something, it meant that there was one less for me. This was fueling all our decisions and all our actions in college. An insecure youth is the most lethal force on the planet. And here you had 400 of them! Each individually a genius but collectively a dissonance. We never built anything worth being proud of, we never empathized, we never collaborated. We burned in jealousy and lived in rivalry. And it would take me a reunion for this truth to dawn upon me. As if a mirror which I had not looked into for ages.

Probably the road to renunciation is indeed through attainment. 

Who am I and what am I doing? Was I born only to see others suffer in their insecurities while I enjoy my pseudo sense of ephemeral superiority? At some point in life there is an inner voice which will tell you what your "purpose" in life is. One just needs to be silent enough to listen to that voice - My purpose is to help others find their purpose. The quieter you get, the more you hear. Having heard this inner voice, I happened to echo it to one of my batch mates who was coming for IIMBue. Call over the phone finished, lights turned off and I hit the bed. But someone didn’t sleep that night! The next morning when I woke up, I saw this message

I was stunned. Someone just gave the wings of technology to my dreams. Of course I know that it was not a 40 minutes job! And hence this is the last post on Linkedin! From now on all posts will be at www.gyanalogy.com. What is the difference between 5 years – Well from compete to collaborate!

Part 1: Compete to Collaborate – A personal Journey

Part 2: Compete to Collaborate – The corporate Way

#Gyanalogy #Gyan #Knowledge #Compete #Collaborate #Gyan #Wisdom

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